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E Z steer: my bad experience

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by adventurer, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. adventurer
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 385

    adventurer
    Member

    One year ago I decided to purchase a EZ steer steering box off ebay froma guy: the box looked new, so decided to fork the 500$ to keep the original look on my 32 Hemi powered 32 roadster. Took some time to finish my car, and it's time to test drive. There is a lot of play on the box. My mechanics adjust the screw all the way in, and play remains the same. I mean one third of the steering wheel play, not one inch....car is a real nightmare to drive. The play is clearly seen when trying to turn the steering wheel and seeing nothing that moves at the pitman arm. I mean, I move the wheel and the pitman amr moves when the wheel has completed one third of a turn. I call John Kovar, the man behind EZ, and he says "no problem, send the box over here, and will look at it for free". So the box is taken off the car and sent via Fedex to Ohio, 220$ one way. John on the phone tells me the box is destroyed on the interior because someone adjusted the box al the way in and gears were dead. Repairs were only 400$, plus 170$ shipping back to Italy. Ok, I have no choice, so send him a paypal for the amount. AFter some days, the box is back and mounted on the car. Suprise, same play at the wheel....Write an e mail to John, and no reply for 10 days. At the eleventh day, he gets back to me saying to send the box back to his place so he can check it out. Yes, sure...another time, another 220$ to ship back....I decide to take box out of the car, and open it. The cover is held in place with a gasket and some clear sealant (guess silicon) and there is a bunch of washers between the sector and the bronze bushing. This stack of washer prevented full engement of the sector with the worm screw, causing most of the play. The gears are surely used and now new, as the 400 $ bill was suggesting.
    So put the box back together, and put everything back on the roadster. The play is greatly improved, just a couple of inches before the pitman arm begins to move when I turn the steering wheel....safe at 30 miles per hour but not at 60 mph....
    So I write back to him, asking for a full refund of the money I gave him for the "repairs" but no more word from him.
    This autumn will remove the box and will have it reworked to have some better steering...maybe it will the moment the box will be working satisfactory. I am thinking about chroming the sector and the worm screw, and replacing the bronze bushing to have less play.
    Here are some pics of the box when it was opened
    Check the sealant

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    the stack of washers

    [​IMG]

    gear is pitted and galled

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    bronze bushing is too deep inside the box, not flush

    [​IMG]
     
  2. hotcoupe
    Joined: Oct 3, 2007
    Posts: 470

    hotcoupe
    Member

    i had a very NEGATIVE encounter with john kovar involving some "N.O.S." transmission parts - NEVER again. eventually his reputation will precede him. sorry to hear about your experience.
    i took a closer look at the images you provided, i think i would abandon that steering box based on the way he "engineered" the adjustment cover and the shims. it looks like you vary the number of shims to obtain the correct lash between the worn and sector and then tighten the adjustment screw to hold everything in place. YIKES!
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  3. wetatt4u
    Joined: Nov 4, 2006
    Posts: 2,147

    wetatt4u
    Member

    I don't know the people or the steering box part first hand,
    BUT
    Holy Shit ,
    I can tell all the way from North Carolina that thats not correct.

    No wonder you had a time driving your car.....

    Sorry about the troubles,
    I would love to hear the other side of this story.

    Good luck.....
    Looks like YOU are going to learn more about building a steering box !
     
  4. mprice
    Joined: Aug 16, 2009
    Posts: 63

    mprice
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Washington

    My buddy has had similar experience. John Kovar has always backed up his product but, he had to send 1 unit back and ended up rebuilding the second himself. I think John has had serious issues with this ez-steer project.
     
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  5. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,548

    Bruce Lancaster
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    So what IS the EZ steer box?? That sure looks like '37-48 Ford (or somewhat later pickup) innards there, or stuff from one of the other related Gemmer-made boxes.
    If I am right, why not try a Ford one...they have a somewhat better reputation than what seems to be emerging here!!
    One of the '48-52 or '53-up pickup versions would be side steer style, with two slightly different layouts/shaft angles and should not contain any scary welds or stacks of washers!
    And the cost difference should be seriously impressive...
     
  6. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy
    Member

    So bottom line you have almost $1500 tied up in the box and its just a core.Bet you won"t buy anything off E-bay again just because of its looks. You would be better off to find a working box than to throw anymore cash in that one.You definitely know who not to use for repair work now.Don"t know anything about EZ steering but do think quality control is not one of their strong points.
     
  7. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,880

    NealinCA
    Member

    I don't know anything about the EZ-Steer boxes...but I will say that the Gemmer II boxes (such as 1936 Hudson) are adjusted just the same way...with shims and a brass screw on the cover plate. It looks like he is using a 53-56 F-100 worm and roller...with a custom sector shaft and housing.

    I have rebuilt a number of Gemmer II and Gemmer III style boxes (doing a 37 Hudson right now)...and I don't understand how someone could ship out a box with 1/3 of a turn play at straight. The worm and roller are designed to be tighter in the neutral position and then have some backlash when at left or right lock. Sounds like there might be a design problem with the box...

    Keep us posted on how this is resolved.

    Neal
     
    100% Matt likes this.
  8. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 7,741

    sololobo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Lottsa fu***n and no kissing, a saying from the U.S.A. So sorry to see one our international brothers taken advantage of. Not being a builder myself, I don't know this product, but things are not adding up. Best wishes for a remedy and a box that lets you drive the roadster with confidence. Be brave amigo. ~sololobo~
     
    INVISIBLEKID likes this.
  9. Phucker
    Joined: Sep 12, 2010
    Posts: 185

    Phucker
    Member
    from Kansas

    That's crap, it doesn't even appear like the gear has been replaced, or else I would expect to see some grind marks where that shaft is welded in. I really doubt the time would have been taken to make sure there were no marks, since not much care was taken with the silicone. Which its even lousy that they did weld the shaft in, instead of other ways to secure it.

    I bet it didn't even get touched.
     
  10. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,387

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    John Kovar is horrible to deal with. I'm surprised you got any sort of reply after sending him money... but then his reply was asking for more money so I guess that makes total sense.

    I'll find a link to my experiences and post it later tonight – on my way out the door right now.
     
  11. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,548

    Bruce Lancaster
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    OEM Gemmer boxes are common, cheap, and durable...Ford ones may be best choice just for ready parts availability. They are readily found in cross-steer and in 2 draglink versions...parts are available and quite cheap in comparison to what you have been through...there are export experienced Ford parts dealers...cores, often usable with just cleaning and adjustment run $50-100...and the worst unadjusted core you could possibly locate would have less play. Or you could send this supplier the rest of your life savings to abuse you further...hmmmm. What to do??
     
  12. Bruce, Look here to see what he claims http://www.ezsteer.net/
     
  13. Tank
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 749

    Tank
    Member

    I personally would never deal with Kovar. I remember my introduction to him. I was gonna buy some '40 backing plates from him at a swap meet. I picked them up and asked "How much?" his reply "more then you fuc*in have!" I also had a friend that bought a "rebuilt" '39 trans from him. He siliconed some new gaskets onto it and spray painted it black.... The syncros were fried in it. When he called him about it he said we must have installed it wrong. Sorry man.
     
  14. HotRod33
    Joined: Oct 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,216

    HotRod33
    Member
    from MO

    I had never heard of this steering box before and it looks like I am not going to be getting one anytime soon.... Thanks for the heads up on there great customer service.......
     
  15. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,559

    hotrod40coupe
    Member

    I talked with him some time back and he impressed me as a purveyor of large amounts of B.S.
     
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  16. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 7,758

    belair
    Member

    Sorry you got cheated. But thanks for the warning about this guy.
     
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  17. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,938

    oj
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I never dealt with the guy, did use one of the cross steer vega replacement boxes and so far it has worked good, but i am going to have alooksee asap.
    Sounds like this would be a good topic for a tech piece...hint, hint...
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  18. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,880

    NealinCA
    Member

    I looked at the link posted above. The pics show a Gemmer III style sector that uses the T-bolt to adjust the worm and roller...

    [​IMG]

    But then again, the one on the right looks like a 37-48 Ford car or 48-52 F-1 piece...as it's not clocked right to be used in this style steering gear...

    I wonder if yours is an earlier design? Or his picture is not what you get?

    [​IMG]

    Being a steering gear "enthusiast", I respect what he is trying to do...but I'd rather see an original looking box that uses a 32 style pitman arm. I guess I'll just keep hunting for the elusive Hudson style boxes...

    Neal
     
  19. oldandkrusty
    Joined: Oct 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,070

    oldandkrusty
    Member

    Beware, John Kovar is the guy that ran the "V8 Store"(I think that was the name) way back in the day. He was one of the first to reproduce running boards for Fords and seemed to have a good business and something reflecting a good business practice. Then, who knows what happened, he went away for a time as a guest of the government and his wife divorced him and wound up with the business. She in turn met with Barry Lobeck and that part is history. Honest people who treated customers with respect.

    After a long period of time old John surfaces again and, apparently, is working over a new set of suckers, errrrr, ummmmm, customers.

    Adventurer, good luck getting this freaking mess straightened out.
     
  20. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,387

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

  21. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,207

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    Throwing this in just for clarity: EZ Steer is NOT Unisteer. Unisteer is good stuff made by Maval.
     
  22. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    The V-8 Shop was the name of John's business back in the 70s.
    Last I heard way back when he was buying up 61-64 Chevy Impalas, especially 348/409 cars.
    "Guest of the government"...shame on you, John.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011
  23. adventurer
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 385

    adventurer
    Member

    I don't want to have any more dealings with Kovar. I don't think I will ever see my money back, so don't want to waste my time anymore. I just want to tell my experience to save someone else from same mistake
     
  24. brokenspoke
    Joined: Jul 26, 2005
    Posts: 2,868

    brokenspoke
    Member

    Doesent he also go by the name of Hot Rod John?
     
  25. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 13,086

    alchemy
    Member


    Ditto.


    As for this steering box, isn't it basically an F-1 box in a new aluminum housing? I can understand there not being a lot of F-1's in Italy, but you should be able to find one and have it shipped for less than it'd take to fix your current mess.

    I took the flange from a '32 box and welded it to an F-1 box. Then rebuilt it with parts from Mac's. All done for around $200 total, including the original parts.
     
  26. oldcarfart
    Joined: Apr 12, 2005
    Posts: 1,439

    oldcarfart
    Member


    Wow! what a costly lesson!
     
  27. adventurer
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 385

    adventurer
    Member

    Wel, this is my first complete build of a traditional rod. First one was a 39 coupe, and steering was stock. Second was a 35 3 windows, and used an IFS with power rack. Now this 32. I was thinking to go with the F100 box, but all I found was on ebay and all needed rebuild. So when I found this one, new, I grabbed it. I live in Italy so everything is much harder to find and modify. If someone is nice enough to sell me a F 100 box, ready to go , I will be happy to buy it. In the meantime, I am learning not to do the same mistakes....just different mistakes....
     
  28. adventurer
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 385

    adventurer
    Member

    I don't have much space between column and headers

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The whole car

    [​IMG]
     
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  29. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,880

    NealinCA
    Member

    An F-1 box might give you more header clearance, as the steering shaft/column come out the bottom of the box...

    [​IMG]

    Although this will change the angle of you steering column and you may have to change the steering column drop, as the EZ-steer box is configured like the Hudson shown above...which is configured like a stock 32-34 box.

    A Gemmer "Hudson style" box is another option. Here's a pic for an example. A 37 Hudson Gemmer III on the left, a Gemmer II (36 Hudson style) machined for a 32 style frame flange in the middle, and a stock 32 steering gear on the right.

    [​IMG]

    A 53-56 F-100 box is configured the same as the Hudson style boxes, except they use a bulky clamp on pitman arm. The older Gemmers have the same tapered spline as early Ford, so you can use a 32 pitman arm.

    Neal
     
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  30. adventurer
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 385

    adventurer
    Member

    Neal, thank you for the pics and infos. Would you happen to sell some Hudson box?
     

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