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Mounting a 48-52 F-1 Ford Steering Box in a 32 Ford (tech with pictures)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by paulsec, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. paulsec
    Joined: Nov 5, 2006
    Posts: 10

    from Reno, NV

    Here’s how I mounted a 48-52 F-1 Ford truck steering box on top of my 32 Ford frame. This provides a traditional, factory look to mounting the steering box and can be used on any year or type of frame. This method provides for easy mounting and maximum steering location flexibility/adjustability (front to rear, side to side and steering column angle).

    I started by disassembling the steering box and cleaning the parts. F-1 boxes are simple. Next, I used a cutting torch to cut the triangular-shaped flange off, not getting too close to the outside diameter of the cast steering box sector shaft area.

    Then I used a disc sander to carefully sand what used to be the flange to be slightly larger than the outside diameter of the sector shaft area of the cast housing. Be careful here. You can easily remove too much material. I left about an 1/8” of extra material.

    Here’s what I started with:


    You’ll need to get a cast 55-67 VW bus steering box mounting bracket. These are available from Bus Boys 530-244-1616 in Redding, CA. VW part number 211-415-151AY. Make sure to get the two bracket pinch bolts and the sheet metal bolt locking tab for them too. Bus Boys is great. They send you a sandblasted and painted mounting bracket for $22.90 ready to go. Here is a picture of the bracket:

    <O:p DSC01609.JPG
    Next you will need to machine the outside diameter of the cast F-1 steering box sector shaft area to provide a .003-.005 inch clearance to fit inside the VW mounting bracket. I took the box to a machine shop (cost: $20) and they machined the cast outside diameter of the sector area on a lathe to approximately 1.770” O.D. X 2.80 long. It’s only about a .060”-.090” cut or so centered off the existing sector shaft I.D. That’s why you need to be careful not to remove too much material when sanding the flange after cutting it off. There isn’t a lot of material to work with (no mistakes allowed). There is a cast gusset on the housing that needs to be sanded down (not off) before machining. Here is a picture after machining:

    <O:p DSC01613.JPG

    The cast outside diameter of my housing wasn’t concentric to the machined sector shaft center. Consequently, the clean-up cut left a small area uncut as shown here below. This doesn’t affect the functionality at all.

    <O:p DSC01614.JPG
    Here’s some pictures of the steering box on the frame. You want to keep the box square to the front axle. A 32 frame tapers towards the front, so you either have to put some washers (or standoffs) under the front part of the mount or you could cut/form a recess in the frame for the rear part of the mount to sit in.


    <O:p DSC01618.JPG

    <O:p DSC01621.JPG

    On unboxed frame rails, you can attach the mount to the frame with five 3/8” bolts, lock washers and nuts. On a boxed frame, you can weld in 3/8” nuts (or other threaded inserts) flush in the frame rail that are square to the VW box mounting flanges and use 3/8” bolts with lock washers to attach. Shorten the steering shaft if required.

    Dennis Carpenter Ford 704-786-8139 Concord, NC has parts to rebuild the 48-52 Ford F-1 steering box. Sector shaft bushings: $6, sector shaft seal: $5 and gasket set: $9.

    That’s it. This method provides a cool factory-looking mount for a traditional rod that allows for maximum mounting flexibility and adjustability and low cost.
  2. Not bad. A different way. Looks O.K. also.
  3. The Brudwich
    Joined: Oct 3, 2005
    Posts: 788

    The Brudwich

    Great Tech. This is one of the few top of the frame mounts that actually looks right.

    Do you have anymore pics of the angle/position of the column and steering wheel?

    What made you decide to mount your steering box this way instead of inside the frame? Just curious.
  4. lowsquire
    Joined: Feb 21, 2002
    Posts: 2,564

    from Austin, TX

    Mounting on top gives two advantages, on a lowered car it gets the draglink closer to the correct angle in relation to the rear wishbone or hairpin pivot, and it decreases the severe angle of the steering shaft, getting your steering wheel a little more vertical, and less bus-like.
    nice job! i wish i had read this two weeks ago..just fitted an F1 box to a 34, do you have any idea what a bitch that is right hand drive? not only do you have the starter on a flathead right where the box goes, the brake AND accelerator have to squeeze to the right of the column, and the brake pedal im using (39) is cant be heated and bent...arghhh! I should move to the states.

  5. paulsec
    Joined: Nov 5, 2006
    Posts: 10

    from Reno, NV

    I don't have pics of the column angle/position as I haven't reached that stage yet, but in mocking it up things look good. Reasons that I did it this way:

    1) Puts the draglink roughly parallel (not going uphill, which makes for weird steering geometry/bumpsteer) to the ground and lines up with the steering arm well (right to left (top view) and up and down (side view).

    2) Provided more header clearance for my particular flathead/frame combination.

    3) The steering column came through the factory firewall cutout (32 frame/30 coupe body) perfectly (side to side and vertically).

    4) The steering column angle is more laid-down (not so bus-like) making it more comfortable.

    5) The steering wheel is square to the driver and not angled (looking down from the top).

    6) The steering column is a little higher coming through the firewall, giving more foot room.

    7) No cutting of the frame (has to be right the first time) to add a hole for the box to stick through. No Tardel wedge/shim/spacer required (sorry Vern) or reworking (cutting/welding/angling) of the exisiting F-1 mounting flange.

    8) Puts the pitman arm above my (longer) 36 Ford split wishbones (no clearance problems).

    9) Has a very factory look when done and provides max box location flexibility (side to side, front to back and column angle).

    10) Inexpensive and solid mounting solution.
  6. brentthebarber
    Joined: Apr 8, 2008
    Posts: 265

    from San Diego

    good tech....I'm getting ready to fit one on my '30. Thanks.
  7. Good tech, thanks for posting.
  8. nice an cool tech.
  9. gary terhaar
    Joined: Jul 23, 2007
    Posts: 656

    gary terhaar
    from oakdale ny

    Well done,Good things done here.:D
  10. ModelAMafia
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 189


    Nice post, looks like I may be coping your approach when it comes time on my '29.
    Joined: Sep 11, 2007
    Posts: 972


    Thanks for the post. I printed it up to save in my archive for future use. I might buy the bracket just to have when I need it. Thanks again, gary
  12. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,454


    Very nice, I have heard of this but the pics make it clear!
  13. Pinewood
    Joined: Sep 28, 2006
    Posts: 349


    Has anyone else completed this installation? I'd love to see some pictures of a finished one in the daylight. Are there any issues that came up later, etc... Thanks-
  14. j ripper
    Joined: Aug 2, 2006
    Posts: 722

    j ripper
    from napa ca.

    Another way to skin the cat... great job...
  15. mattrat31
    Joined: Mar 30, 2010
    Posts: 117


    HomemadeHardtop57 likes this.
  16. jville_hot_skater
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 1,002

    from jville

    old post, but i like the idea...
  17. artificer64
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 39

    from maine

    Wicked smart job. I found this thread just in time.
    Thank you.

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