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54-56 Ford Steering

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BigThree, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. BigThree
    Joined: May 3, 2006
    Posts: 120

    BigThree
    Member

    My Buddy and I are working on his '54 Crestline and has about 8 inches or more play in the steering wheel. The steering linkages are pretty tight but most all of the play is in the box, and replacments or swap meet boxes are pricey and a gamble. I've done some research and heard of people swapping boxes but they don't illaborate on how or what they did. Here is one article where they use a GM 605 box.

    http://www.webrodder.com/article.php?AID=303&SID=34&CID=

    There's also the route of Rack & Pinion but my friend wants to keep the original column and three on the tree. Is there a box that can be used and keep the stock column or be modified to hook up to a cavalier rack?
     
  2. Paul2748
    Joined: Jan 8, 2003
    Posts: 2,200

    Paul2748
    Member

    On the YBlock site they mentioned the use of a late 60's Cougar box. Supposedly, two of the three bolt holes line up (at least in a 56- I think 54 has the same pattern). It is a Saginaw 3550a.

    If there is enough room for the shifter mechanism in the engine compartment, you can keep the original column by cutting the shaft just at it goes into the old steering box and splining it (a double D is the easiest) and get couplers from Flaming River or Borgeson. You will have to get a bearing for the bottom of the tube to center the inner shaft. You will also have to fabricate a mount on the floorboard for the lower part of the column..
     
  3. parksquijada
    Joined: Aug 6, 2008
    Posts: 316

    parksquijada
    Member
    from norcal

    do the rack. has nothing to do w/ the column. if the cavalier rack dont work, get a mustang rack.....
     
  4. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    Hve you bothered to adjust the box by the factory shop manual. Drop the pitman arm and do the adjustment by the factory procedure and see what you have.
    If all the "mechanics" prior to you have ever done is reach down and untwist the locknut and twist the adjustment screw in they've probably ruined the gears by now, BUT it is worth the try.
     

  5. hotrod-Linkin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 3,382

    hotrod-Linkin
    Member

    mustang racks are front steer.you need rear steer gm product or chrysler sebring.
     
  6. vertible59
    Joined: Jan 25, 2009
    Posts: 1,058

    vertible59
    Member

    Check out a '60-'64 big Ford (Galaxie) box. Best I remember, two of the three holes in the '54 frame line up...just have to drill the third. We used the '54 pitman arm on the '63 box, by having the original line up notch machined from the splines. After that was done, the pitman bolted on the '63 box. By trial and error, the correct positioning was quickly determined. Was an easy and effective swap, as the '54 drove MUCH better, once it was done.
    If you go this route, the stock steering column will have to be changed or modified. Will be necessary because the '60-'63 boxes were connected to the column with a rag joint. We just used the '63 column as well. It looked ok in the '54 interior. Hope this helps...at least it gives you another alternative.
     
  7. parksquijada
    Joined: Aug 6, 2008
    Posts: 316

    parksquijada
    Member
    from norcal

    oops! need to do this same thing on my 56 so thanks for the info...
     
  8. krooser
    Joined: Jul 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,584

    krooser
    Member

    Why not rebuild the original box?
     
  9. caseyajones
    Joined: Nov 21, 2007
    Posts: 607

    caseyajones
    Member

    The Ford Taurus mounts the same as the Mustang but is rear-steer. Used it in my 57 Ford---works great.
     
  10. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,904

    50Fraud
    Member

    helpful thread
     
  11. BigThree
    Joined: May 3, 2006
    Posts: 120

    BigThree
    Member

    Sorry I haven't got back sooner, been at work. joy.

    But in response to a few replies we've adjusted all we can with the box. Got about 3 inches of play out of the steering wheel to get it down to 8". So I think its toast.

    I'm gonna try to see if I can make a different steering box work first instead before trying to re-do the steering geometry.

    But if end up going with the cavalier rack and I know it shorten a car's turing radius. Is it poss or safe to shorten the the rod where the outter tie rods attatch?
     
  12. FiddyFour
    Joined: Dec 31, 2004
    Posts: 9,008

    FiddyFour
    Member

    why would you want to? it isnt going to make the rack go out any farther...
     
  13. bulletproof1
    Joined: Feb 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,080

    bulletproof1
    Member
    from tulsa okla

    i put the cavalier rack on my 53 ,turns great. but i did loose some turning radius.i dont think cutting the tie rod down will give it anymore throw.
     
  14. BigThree
    Joined: May 3, 2006
    Posts: 120

    BigThree
    Member

    The cavalier rack doesn't have as long of a throw as the stock steering box which shortens the turning radius. So if you can shorten the bracket on the spindles where the tie rods attatch it should compensate for the loss of steering.

    But what I'm not sure of is if it will make the steering too touchy.
     
  15. FiddyFour
    Joined: Dec 31, 2004
    Posts: 9,008

    FiddyFour
    Member


    no, it wont... the rack is only going to turn so far, period. the only way to get the spindles to turn farther is to make the spindle steering arms longer and THEN shorten the tie rods. if all you do is shorten the rods, the result will be serious toe out on both sides.

    dont mess with the steering geometry... you're asking for trouble, especially if you start moving the tie rod attachment points.
     
  16. BigThree
    Joined: May 3, 2006
    Posts: 120

    BigThree
    Member

    FiddyFour, I think we are on different pages here. I understand that the rack will only turn so far and it can't be changed. You mentioned the spindle steering arms, thats what I have been talking about modifying.

    I don't know if I'm thinking about this wrong, but I was thinking of shortening it to get more of a turning radius. I was thinking it takes less distance to travel a smaller circle. Cirlce being the turning radius (for explination purposes) and the shorter spindle steering arm being the smaller circle.

    I'm pretty inexperienced with changing steering components, so I'm just making sure I have a full understanding.
     
  17. BigThree
    Joined: May 3, 2006
    Posts: 120

    BigThree
    Member

    This little guy with the red arrow is what I've been talking about modifying.

    Not trying to beat a horse here :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. FiddyFour
    Joined: Dec 31, 2004
    Posts: 9,008

    FiddyFour
    Member

    do not fuck with your spindles. you dont loose that much steering with the cav rack setup... not enough to worry about anyhow. its not gonna turn on a dime any way you slice it
     
  19. BigThree
    Joined: May 3, 2006
    Posts: 120

    BigThree
    Member


    Why didn't you just say that in the first place??
     
  20. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 8,059

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    Those boxes are easy to rebuild and Macs has all the parts,rebuilt the box in my 55 sunliner and it steers great now.
     
  21. hotrod-Linkin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 3,382

    hotrod-Linkin
    Member

    i recently sold a 72 corvette chassis and while it was in the shop,i did some sizing up in my head.it's rear steer,power and swings like the ford with about the same idler arm...anyone ever check this out further?
     
  22. caseyajones
    Joined: Nov 21, 2007
    Posts: 607

    caseyajones
    Member

    Here is a pic of the Taurus rack in my 57.
     

    Attached Files:

  23. JEM
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 1,040

    JEM
    Member

    Can you say 'bumpsteer'?
     
  24. Here is the wurth it rack and pinion- which "claims" to bolt right in....not. I believe it used a Cavalier rack- this is from when I first installed it- need to dig up a pic now as had to modify some parts to make it work right - make it stop binding up

    [​IMG]
     

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