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16:1 Steering Box in a Falcon

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by modeleh, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. modeleh
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 380

    modeleh
    Member

    Just wondering if anyone has put in a 16:1 steering box in their Falcon? The car has manual steering currently, believe either 22:1 or 19:1. It is worn out, but I have a 16:1 box that came out of a power steering car. I understand the early Mustang GTs and Shelbys had a manual box 16:1 ratio. Just wondering how hard the steering is at slow speed, parking lots, etc. Or if I should just bite the bullet and get a rebuilt 22:1 box.
     
  2. tassiepete
    Joined: May 13, 2013
    Posts: 54

    tassiepete
    Member

    even with the large steering wheel and skinny front tyres our GT falcon was almost embarising to park..both hands on one side of the wheel,grunting,sweating while trying to look cool , but on the open road at 100 or more its great....so,if you live in the city go the 22 , if you blast down the back roads - 16:1
     
  3. JEM
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 1,040

    JEM
    Member

    The 22:1 box is is bulk-cargo freighter steering, not sure I could live with it.

    16:1 is quicker, much better over the road, you're still talking 3 3/4 turns so it's not really fast. The early GT350s used longer pitman and idler arms to get down to 3 turns.

    Yeah it's gonna be heavy in a parking lot especially with big modern tires.

    The Borgeson power conversion will give you both manageable effort and 3 turns but it costs money and needs the complexity of pump, hoses, etc.
     
  4. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,521

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I drive a 22:1, with the big wheel, daily. I love it.
     

  5. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    I deleted my power steering, leaving me with the 16:1 box and a 13" steering wheel. It's fine in motion, but turning from a dead stop is tough.

    I still prefer the hard steering rather than having to spin that thing like a roulette wheel with a 22:1.

    You need to beware that some power boxes ('63-'64 for sure) come with 1 1/8" sector shafts and won't fit your manual pitman arm.

    Another thing: Your best bet is to swap everything for post-'65 components because they have improved geometry with longer tie-rods.

    And another: I thought Falcon manual boxes were 18:1, no?
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  6. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,977

    1971BB427
    Member
    from Oregon

    You probably already know this, but you'll have to chop the column to get the box swap done, or replace the column with a late model steering column. I swapped mine to a Ranger steering box when I went to the straight axle in mine. No power, but it turns very easily.
     
  7. modeleh
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 380

    modeleh
    Member

    Thanks for the replies. The car is a 65 and the 16:1 box came from a 64 so I guess the pitman arms won't swap. Now thinking about it, I believe I have read that the shaft that goes up through the column may be a different length 65 vs 64, but I'm not sure on that one, might not find out for sure until I go to do the swap, if at all.
     
  8. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    Why not just rebuild your existing box? they're not that complicated.
     
  9. greggking
    Joined: May 6, 2013
    Posts: 6

    greggking
    Member

    In my 64 comet I have a 16/1 PS box, with all the rest 65 falcon manual V8 parts.13' wheel. I can steer it just fine, 205-70 /14, i live in the country.If you move just a little when in tight spots its not that bad.
     
  10. My X was driving a '65 Falcon Sprint and complained about how 'light' the steering was (16:1 box). Converted it to manual, she was happy.... and never complained about slow speed steering...
     
  11. T. Turtle
    Joined: May 20, 2018
    Posts: 214

    T. Turtle

    Raising this from the dead to ask whether there have been any developments on the market since 2013. My car is a manual steering 289 64 Comet Caliente with a three on the tree change. I think I may be able to adjust the box a bit to have less free play but ultimately it's 54 years old and as noted above the wheel twirling is tedious. So the way I see it I have two choices:
    • convert to a rack. There are a few kits but none is cheap and require modifications.
    • use a quick ratio manual box from a Mustang? Are those interchangeable? Street or Track have something on offer and the price is half OK.
    Any ideas? By the way, I'm in the EU so any scrap yard options will be non-existent (yes, I'm well aware of the steering boxes used on BMWs but would rather avoid the hassle of modifications if I can. And I don't think those would be any cheaper).

    Cheers
     
  12. The '64 Comet used the quick-ratio box with both power and manual steering (one of the myriad small differences between the Falcon and Comet), so swapping to a Mustang box won't improve that aspect. It should be noted that late production '64 Comets used the better Mustang-based '65 steering, if you have the late steering the Mustang box will be a easier swap.
     
  13. T. Turtle
    Joined: May 20, 2018
    Posts: 214

    T. Turtle

    Steve: if I get you right, what you're saying is that there were only 16:1 boxes on 64 Comets?
     
  14. kabinenroller
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 690

    kabinenroller
    Member

    I have seen quite a few ‘64 Comets in my life and I have never seen a ‘64 with the ‘65 style steering unless some had converted it. The ‘65 steering design is superior in that it does not have the bump steer like a ‘64 does.
    I have installed a ‘67 Cougar manual box and tilt away column in my Comet along with the ‘65 steering components.
    I found this photo on line which shows the difference in design of the two years of Comet.
    1CC2D59A-A4D8-41AE-8353-6D05C1B60BE3.jpeg
     
  15. Hook up the power steering.
     
  16. T. Turtle
    Joined: May 20, 2018
    Posts: 214

    T. Turtle

    Hmmm... Thanks for this, which effectively answers my question. Looks like the only way for me is to eventually go with a rack kit (RRS in Australia offers one which corrects all of the geometry issues you mentioned, although it's a bit OT for this forum). There are a number of things which suck in the EU, and not being able to easily and cost effectively source parts like you mentioned is one of them lol.
     
  17. According to the research I did (although it may have been only the V8 cars). There were a number of mechanical/structural differences between the Comet and Falcon starting in '64. '60-63 they were all-but-identical, sharing pretty much all major mechanical parts and body structure. In '63 with the advent of the V8 and convertible, Ford realized they needed a stiffer body, building one with heavier-gauge frame rails, rockers, and shock towers plus torque boxes tying the rockers/frame rails together (plus additional bracing for the 'vert). This is why putting a V8 in an original 6-cylinder car (other than a 'vert) can be problematic. But for '64, Mercury elected to use the 'V8' body across the line, regardless of engine while Falcon/Mustang continued with the two versions. This was probably due to the fact that after Mercury 'stretched' the comet, none of the main structural members from the doors back would interchange with the Falcon. The Comet got it's own rear suspension (similar to the soon-to-come Mustang), full gauges, and upscale interior trim (also used in the early Mustangs). Comet got it's first 4V carb, something the Falcon didn't get until the very end of production.

    As to the '65 steering under the '64 cars, the story I got was Ford knew they were going to replace the '64 style steering with the Mustang-based version (it would reduce the number of different parts needed on the line) so they had enough parts built to last to the end of production. But they miscalculated and started to run out, forcing the use of the 'new' parts. Supposedly, there weren't that many produced, with the majority being Comets with a few Falcons.
     
  18. T. Turtle
    Joined: May 20, 2018
    Posts: 214

    T. Turtle

    Steve, this is interesting information. I'll check when I'm under the car again, I may get lucky (I did already, the car was advertised as a 260 (that's how it left the factory according to the VIN) but has a 289 5 bolt on it which makes life a bit easier).
     
  19. kabinenroller
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 690

    kabinenroller
    Member

    The problem with using a rack & pinion set up is space. The rack takes up valuable exhaust space. ( remember you have “rear steer” spindles not “front steer” like a Mustang Two) Years ago when I was installing the Boss engine in my ‘64 for the first time I could not use the factory steering because of the design of the headers. I looked into a rack but after measuring everything and quite a bit of thought I decided converting to the ‘65 style steering was the best choice. RRS makes good products but I know getting them to the USA is a hassle. I was planning to use their strut conversion in my Comet but after hearing about the problems with shipping and payment I elected to go with a very similar set up that is made by Gateway Performance Suspension here in the U.S.A.
    Jim
     
  20. T. Turtle
    Joined: May 20, 2018
    Posts: 214

    T. Turtle

    Jim from what I saw on Gateway's site they base everything on the assumption you have the Mustang/65-on set-up. RRS - perhaps because Aussie Falcons (and 1st gen Fairlanes which were imported downunder) kept the obsolete bits until 67 - can offer kits for my car. Shipping would be a hassle, yes. US-sourced bits would be easier because my cousin lives in NY and can package the lot for me in one go but it's still a pain being in the EU... I will get in touch with Gateway in any case, maybe they have adapters or similar for the earlier stuff.

    PS: Kabinenroller? You have one of those death traps in the US?
     

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