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fatmans power rack and pinion conversion

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 514door, Oct 31, 2006.

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  1. 514door
    Joined: Jul 6, 2006
    Posts: 60

    514door
    Member
    from illinois

    just wandering if anyone out there has used the fatmans power rack and pinion kit its suppose to convert regular old time steering with a rack unit from a cavalier would appreciate if someone could send me pics of any they did its the only available one that i found that would work on my 46 plymouth without going to a mustang 2 setup so if anyone has any pics or info on another setup for my ply. let me know thanks
     
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  2. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    53sled
    Member
    from KCMO

    I saw an thread/article on doing that to a 49-54 chevy, here it is
     
  3. 4woody
    Joined: Sep 4, 2002
    Posts: 2,103

    4woody
    Member

    I'm in the midst of doing it on a 38 Chrysler. If you are doing a Mopar I might be able to help.

    --Oops. Just reread your post... My install on the Chrysler probably has a lot in common with your car despite the difference in age. Wadja want to know specifically?
     
  4. Vaya43
    Joined: Mar 18, 2006
    Posts: 64

    Vaya43
    Member

    Yeah my roomate used that rack on his 54 chevy, but he did use the whole mustang II setup from fatman. It would be easy to make brackets for another application though, that is if you have room down there which you should. Let me see what pics I have...

    Do these help you at all? He had to space it out a little bit too. Oh and You may have to put a little c-notch in the frame as you can see in the pics, Im not sure what yours looks like, but the rack works awesome, actually everything we have ever gotten from fatman has been awesome. Let me know if you need more info on it.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     

  5. I used a Buick Skylark rack in my T-bird. I think it's basically the same rack as the Cavalier. The reason this rack works so well is because the outer part of the rack is the stationary part and the center is the part that moves, on many older cars the tie rods connect pretty close together on the cross link and by using this type rack you can keep the steering geometry close to or same as the original steering was designed.
    Here's a tech article about my installation on another board, you might want to tackle this project yourself or it will atleast it will give you an idea how it worked on mine. http://www.y-blocksforever.com/tech/html/rpinbird.html
     
  6. 514door
    Joined: Jul 6, 2006
    Posts: 60

    514door
    Member
    from illinois

    thanks stud at least i can see what i am up against fatman did not have any pics and for 225.00 i want to see what i am buying i am sure i could make the brackets myself but fot the plymouth there are some kind of tie rod adapters that come with it they say
     
  7. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535

    50dodge4x4
    Member

    The issue with the modern rack is the diamiter of the tie rods on the racks area smaller diamiter then the tie rods original to the car.

    On my 39 Plymouth I welded the holes in my original steering arms shut and redrilled smaller holes in the same location. I redid the tapper with a die grinder, but using a tappered reamer would be a better bet, I ran out of time and had to move the car. The other brackets are not a big deal, does that price include the rack? The power rack I bought was a reman unit from Napa and cost around $150 including the core charge. I used the tie rods from a 93-97 Dodge Intrepid, had to shorten them 2" per side and add about a 10 degree bend to clear everything. The center connections are bolts and rubber bushings that are available through Mopar and were under $20, I believe. The GM rack has a special size steering column connection that was only available through GM or from a junk yard. The Intrepid rack is identical looking but is a front steer rack while the Gm rack is rear steer like your Plymouth. I did my 39 spring of 06.
    Gene
     
  8. Big Dad
    Joined: Dec 20, 2005
    Posts: 4,569

    Big Dad
    Member

    I looked at doing it that way but, changed all of the suspension out instead ....

    It is a 1946 Desoto
     
  9. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    53sled
    Member
    from KCMO

    that's kind of going the other way from the intent here, but nice build, I like the trans crossmember.
     
  10. bobw
    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,368

    bobw
    Member

    I installed the Fat Man set up in a '49 Plymouth 3 years ago. Didn't like the tie rod end adpters; they look a little shakey to me. But it has been on the road since installed. Also installed a Ply Do disc brake set up and Fat Man shock relocation set up. I talked with Brent (Mr. Fat Man himself) at Goodguys, Indy a few years ago. He doesn't push his steering conversion but rather, recommends his front stub frame which uses Mustang II components. My son's Plymouth is fine, except on rough roads. And, I worry about the strength of the adapters mentioned above. If we wouldn't have gotton all the parts with the car I would have sub framed it. There are good posts on the HAMB regarding sub framing old Mopars.
     
  11. T McG
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 1,255

    T McG
    Member
    from Phoenix

    The Cavilier tie rod ends are wimpy for a big car, and you will be short changed on the turning radius, which is probably why he doesn't push them.
     
  12. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535

    50dodge4x4
    Member

    Yes, the turning radius is a little short on my Plymouth, but nothing not livable. I used the Intrepid tie rods, which may or may not be the same as the Cavilier tie rods, The Intrepid ones seem a little wimpy too, but an Intrepid weighs in at over 4,000 lbs, so I suppose the rods should be OK with my 3,000 lbs Plymouth.
    Gene
     
  13. M2 front will hold up but the one my cuz has in his 50' chevy with sb 350/350 combo is aftermarket with the tubular a-arms and seems to ride kind of rough. like a PINTO! leave the stock stuff in with r&p/discs and spend the money on the interior or your sound system.
     
  14. Vinnie
    Joined: Aug 17, 2005
    Posts: 127

    Vinnie
    Member

    As above said by 53sled, I posted on the Chevytalk.

    http://uk.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/chevyrodders@btinternet.com/album?.dir=9937&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//uk.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/chevyrodders@btinternet.com/my_photos

    The R&P I used came of a SAAB 95 station wagon, I used this one as this model of car is around 4000lbs so heavy as the 54Chevy. I used the stock saab tie rod and the UJ is from a SAAB 900.
    The only think I modified in the R&P was the plastic spacer (as you can see from the pictures in the link).
    The whole job took me around 60hrs.

    Vinnie
     
  15. MacTexas
    Joined: Feb 7, 2005
    Posts: 513

    MacTexas
    Member
    from DFW

    Here is what it looks like on a 48 Desoto. It really worked well. I like the power steering, really easy.
     

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  16. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535

    50dodge4x4
    Member

    OK, I have pictures. I installed a 88-04 Cavilier rack on my 39 Plymouth independend suspension car. Pretty much the same set up used through the mid 50 Mopars. I used the original a frames & spindles. I also installed a disc brake conversion at the same time. All this work was done in the spring of '06 and has been driven over 6,000 miles since.

    These are pic of a '95 Dodge Intrepid tie rod ends. The bottom part is a complete rod from one side, as removed. Both sides are the same. The top part is the adjusting sleave and the inner and outer apart. The entier side is 24 1/2" from the center hole to the tappered shaft. There is 14 1/2" of unchanged 3/4" diamiter shaft on both sides of the inner tie rod. There is plenty of material to remove the 2" or so from each side ans also enough room to put in the slight bend for clearance.

    The Intrepid tie rods are 3/4" diamiter. With 3/4" of threaded rod in each end of the adjusting sleave, the rods are measured from the center of the tappered shaft to the end of the threads on the inner rod end. The max measurement is 7 3/4" and the min is 6" and if some of the trreads were cut off, another 1/2" could be had on the min. The threads were bottoming out in the sleave! This amount of adjustment is PER SIDE.

    The pic with the end with the hole in it is the inner connection to the rack. The rubber bushing and inner sleve is replaceable with parts from NAPA.

    This pic it two outer tie rod ends. The one on the right is from the Intrepid. The one on the left is an original from my 39 Plymouth. Notice the differences in the diamiter of the tappered shaft and also the differences between the threaded ends. Also notice that the tappered ends from the cotter key hole to the relief at the bottom of the tappered part are the same length. After I welded the hole closed in my 39's steering knuckle and redrilled the hole at the same location to a smaller size, care was taken to not "sink" the tappered hole when it was recut. On my 39, when the nut is tightened and the cotter key is in place, my tie rod has full fre movement without binding on the steering knuckle. If you are concerned there is plenty of meat on the knuckle to grind a little extra clearance.

    The next pic it the center of the rack. The two threaded holes are where the left side and the right side inner tie rod ends attach to the rack. There are two bolts, a lock plate (my name, not Mopars) and a guide plate (my name). Missing in the pic are two machined flat washers. The bolts pass through the lock plate, then through the guide plate, then through the left side and the right side inner tie rods, then through the machined flat washers and screw into the steering rack. Once torqued, the tabs on the lock plate are bent against the bolt heads. The bolts, lock plate, guide plate and the machined flat washers are available through Mopar as individual parts and cost less then $20 in the spring.

    The next bunch of pictures are the mounting brackets for the rack and a few views of the tie rods as they live in the real world. Note that the car was jacked up under the lower controle arm and the wheel was pulled. Also notice that the passenger side tie rod is under the steering knuckle and the driver side is above the knuckle. That is the way Mopar did it and I coppied them.
    Gene
     

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  17. 41 C28
    Joined: Dec 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,772

    41 C28
    Member


    Did you have to bend the steering arm or arms or the tie rods?
     
  18. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535

    50dodge4x4
    Member

    I bent the inner part of both of the tie rods about 10 degrees, about 3"-4" from the center connections. The original Intrepid inner rod ends were straight, the bend seen in the picture(s) is what I did.

    The only thing I did with the steering arms was to weld the hole shut and redrill a smaller hole at the same center point, then tapper the hole to match the intrepid tie rods.
    Gene
     

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  19. Circus Bear
    Joined: Aug 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,237

    Circus Bear
    Member

    Just when I think I have something figured out for my car this comes up. So am I hearingthat the fatman kit is possibley unsafe. I know there was questions raised about the MII kit before. I was gonna use this kit mainly because I need to in order fit my big ass engine in. But now I may do some more diggin.
     
  20. Circus Bear
    Joined: Aug 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,237

    Circus Bear
    Member

    back on up. Are there possible safety issues here or just poor quality?
     
  21. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    53sled
    Member
    from KCMO

    Lets be sure we're all talking about the same thing here. the fatman kit uses a center mount rack, and the mII, saab, etc are the more common type of rack. I have my own plan here, but I may go the other way if it performs better.
     
  22. olddaddy
    Joined: Apr 17, 2004
    Posts: 310

    olddaddy
    Member

    I'm doing this conversion on my 50 model Plymouth right now. I didn't buy the Fatman stuff, made my own. I'd seen the kits and the tie rods are from a Datsun 510 and require a special tapered bushing to use in the original Plymouth steering arms. I modified the threaded adjusters in the rack N pinion to accept the original Plymouth adjusting tube and outer tie rod. The original tie rods are still available at Napa and are beefy compared to the ones in the kit. I may offer the modified adjusters as a kit, but I suspect the market will be pretty small considering how many ways there are to solve the problem.
     
  23. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535

    50dodge4x4
    Member

    Olddaddy, refresh my menory, are you using the Mustang rack or are you using the Cavalier rack?
    I have Olddaddy's disc brake conversion on my Plymouth.

    53sled The mustang rack and most other racks have the inner tie rod that attaches to the ends of the center mounted rack. The Cavalier (and Intrepid) racks have the inner tie rods attached at the very center of the steering rack. Doint it this way gives very long tie rods (two feet long) for each side.

    The biggest problems with most mustang II front suspensions are the method used to attach the upper control arms to the weld in (or bolt in) crossmember. They have been known to rip through the slotted plate and allow the upper control arm to become loose from the car.
    Gene
     
  24. Circus Bear
    Joined: Aug 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,237

    Circus Bear
    Member

    Looks like I may try my own hand at this with the great advice from the HAMB.
     
  25. Circus Bear
    Joined: Aug 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,237

    Circus Bear
    Member

    ordered up a cav R & P today. Did you use Cav or Stang sounds like you used a stang setup. Do you have any pics of your setup? Maybe a little tech like 50 Dodge did? (which is great by the way).
     
  26. 40Standard
    Joined: Jul 30, 2005
    Posts: 5,833

    40Standard
    Member
    from Indy

    has anybody installed one on a 55-57 chevy?
     
  27. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535

    50dodge4x4
    Member

    Really, installing a rack & pinoin steering is pretty much a genaric opperation. You make (or buy) brackets to mount the rack under your car frame near the motor crossmember, connect to your steering column, and connect to your tie rods/ spindles.

    Racks come in front steer, where the rack sits in front of the spindles, or a rear steer, where the rack sits behind the spindles. Match up whichever your car has.

    Next is either power steering or manual steering, get which ever you desire, if you go for the power steering, you will need a pump, pump mounting brackets, and hoses. If your car already has power steering you can probably use your pump, brackets and hoses with little modifications.

    Attaching to the steering column will probably require a steering u-joint, some couplers, and maybe a short length of steering shaft. Many of the racks had extensions that were used to attach to the columns in their factory configuration that you may be able to use to adapt to your car.

    The last opperation is adapting the rack to your cars steering system. This one is where most of the challenge comes in. Most of the factory cars that were equipted with R&P also had different configurations for tie rods. The trick here it be able to adapt from one system to the other safely and the most cost effectively. Your best odds are probably going to be to adapt your cars outer tie rods to the racks inner tie rods. On my Plymouth I used the complete tie rod system from the rack and modified my cars steering arms to fit the racks outer tie rod ends.

    Most R&P (like Mustang II) have the inner tie rod connections attached at the ends of the steering rack making short tie rod assemblies that can cause bump steer. The Cavilier (and Intrepid) rack have the inner connections at the center of the rack making long tie rod assemblies. There are several choices on available racks out there and most have different lengths, different mounting systems, different tie rod assemblies. Some are pretty pricy or carry a huge core charge or have expensive tie rods. If possible I would suggest you investagate some of the options there, one may be better/easier to adapt to your ride. There are a couple companies that will make a R&P to your order (look in a current Street Rodder mag,) As I understand there is even a company making a cross steer rack that they say can be installed on a straight axle!

    Above it all, evulate your skills honestly, if in doubt, buy a kit or pay someone else to set yours up. This your steering we are talking about, sure would suck to crank the steering wheel at 90 mph only to find out its not attached to nothing. Be SAFE.
    Gene
     
  28. Circus Bear
    Joined: Aug 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,237

    Circus Bear
    Member

    once again great info. Olddaddy? any pics of your setup?
     
  29. Circus Bear
    Joined: Aug 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,237

    Circus Bear
    Member

    ok guy's I just got my rack in but only the side by the steering input has the mount bracket setup. not the other side? Is it defective or do I need to fab that side up?
     
  30. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535

    50dodge4x4
    Member

    Where did you get your kit from? I made mine, but one would think there should have been both mounting brackets. Two thoughts come to mind: The brackets may be just flat plates and they may be stuck together? Or I'd be calling the supplier and see if someone forgot to throw the second bracket in the box, could have been a honest mistake.
    Gene
     
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