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Technical Power Steering Into a 39 Pontiac. What gearbox?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by AGELE55, Jul 13, 2020.

  1. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    I’m a little stumped. I’m shopping for a power steering gearbox for the 39 Pontiac. My pitman shaft is a 1 -1/8”. Everything I’m seeing has a 1-1/4” shaft. So I’ll just swap pitman arms also right? ... but my pitman arm has a steering ball which the newer ones do not.
    I’d like to keep the original pitman arm, so I need a steering box with a 1 1/8” output shaft.
    I’m open to suggestions. Little help? C3BD7AC3-77E2-4DA3-A9F7-FCC78C87646F.jpeg
     
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,195

    squirrel
    Member

    what about a saginaw 605 gear? I think they use the small size
     
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  3. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    I’ve been digging all day and you’d think SOMEBODY would just tell me the pitman shaft size for a 605.... Everything I see tells me everything except that tidbit of info.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,195

    squirrel
    Member

    it's the same as a 525, and smaller than an 800.

    I don't know if I have one left to measure. I used to have a couple. it's too late to go out to the shed and look right now.
     
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  5. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,232

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    @AGELE55

    I second the idea of the 605 box. It has a configuration/size reasonably close to your stock box. I am preparing to install a 605 in my ‘55 Chrysler as the length of the sector shaft is short, like the one on your Pontiac. In my Chrysler’s case, the the pitman arm does have the same spline size as the 605 box.

    You likely already know you will need to modify (or replace) your steering column as the vast majority of modern P/S boxes have a short input shaft requiring a coupler or ujoint, whereas your Pontiac shaft is continuous from box to steering wheel. A common mod and parts are readily available.

    Ray
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
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  6. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 19,089

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yeah, 605.

    Don't forget that you will need to build a lower mount for your column, on the firewall, put a bearing at the bottom of the tube, and put a u-joint, or two, or a rag joint in-between.

    Many common steering shafts in that era are 3/4". I toss those in the mill, and make a flat on each side, duplicating commercial 3/4DD shafting. If you have a steady hand, and sneak up on it, you can do it with a grinder.
     
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  7. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,043

    RJP
    Member
    from PNW

    525 box is 1 1/8" ish..
     
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  8. truckeroy
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 92

    truckeroy
    Member

    I owned a 39 coupe for 24 years. The first 5 years or so I used the stock suspension with added tube shocks and a modified pitman arm.. A friend of mine had a 40 sedan that he has owned for 40 years now , but at the time he had just subframed his and I got from him a power steering box that he had a qualified welder cut the stock pitman arm ball end and welded it to the power steering arm rear half. He had the weld x-rayed to insure it was good. I used that until I subframed mine. I'm not saying that is the way to go, but an idea. By the way, I wish I had subframed in the beginning.
     
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  9. buds56
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 190

    buds56
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  10. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I’m’ all about using a 605. I actually did the 605 mod in my 55 decades ago. I know what all is required to get the new box in there, along with the steering column mods and dash attachment.
    I’m still looking for that peace of mind that says any 605 I order will have a 1-1/8” shaft with four key slots at 90 degrees. Finding a 605 in the salvage yard may be difficult these days...but maybe I’ll go trekking. I’ll research year/make /model application for the 605 and give it a shot.
    Thanks y’all
     
  11. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    Thanks for the article. I figured I would need to modify the frame and this article pretty much spells it out with a couple things I hadn’t thought of.
     
  12. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,661

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Does this help? Upper right shows pitman shaft diameter for 605 box.

    Pitman Arms.jpg
     
  13. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    Lol...more fuzz on the question. This pic says the 605 shaft is 1.090” where a 1-1/8 shaft = 1.125”
     
  14. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,195

    squirrel
    Member

    The picture shows the inside diameter of the spline...you're measuring the outside diameter of the spline.
     
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  15. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    Aaah..
     
  16. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,808

    31Apickup
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    They also make bolt on ball studs, so you can add one to a pitman arm that doesn’t have one. You’d have to do some research on the size of ball. I see them offered for mid 50’s f100’s.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  17. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,195

    squirrel
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  18. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,743

    deathrowdave
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    from NKy

    I think I may have one or two of the bolt in ball studs from my F1 , if you think you may need one send me a PM .
     
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  19. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 19,089

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    In any case, a triangle file taken to the double splines in the pitman arm, makes them into single splines.

    Then it doesn't matter how many there are, or where they are.
     
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  20. OLDSMAN
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,422

    OLDSMAN
    BANNED

    Yes a subframe would have been the way to go. They aren’t that bad to install, it also gives you a much better suspension as well. I have one in my convertible, wouldn’t have done it any other way.
     
  21. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    Went in search today of a 605 steering box. Local yard had an 84 Cutlass, which supposedly should have a 605...but no.
    Heading out again tomorrow to a different yard.
    I truly get the whole subframe thing...but just wanted to stay a little more traditional.... at least for now
     
  22. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    Frustration level is growing... I have searched for a list of year/make/ model that the 605 box was used on. I’m getting erratic answers ranging fro 64 through late 80s. I went through another yard today that has some older stuff, but no joy. It’s difficult trying to call around when I can’t even nail down a year, much less make and model.
     
  23. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,195

    squirrel
    Member

    I think most of them went on the midsize cars, first they were called A body, then G body, from 1978 to 1987. They used the 800 series box as well, the parts catalogs distinguish them as either having the round cover (605), or 4 bolt cover (800). so you have to look till you find one. And most of them wore out, because the steering box is a really cheap crappy design.

    malibu, monte carlo, regal, cutlass supreme, etc
     
  24. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    The best list I found says 78-84 A,G,F,&H bodies. But everything I've found in them so far is not a 605. I guess they just randomized the boxes during those times..
     
  25. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,156

    goldmountain

  26. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,195

    squirrel
    Member

    and you could replace the crap wore out 605 with an 800, if you got the right pitman arm.

    It's been a long time since I tried to find one of those boxes...not surprising they're getting scarce, 40 years later.
     
  27. evintho
    Joined: May 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,896

    evintho
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    I see your frustration. This suggestion is far from traditional, and I'll probably get slammed but...…
    Have you considered electric power steering?
    Cheap, easy installation, plentiful in yards, eliminate all pumps/reservoirs/hoses, just a small motor tucked up under the dash.
    Flame suit is on.
     
  28. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    I may have to look at other options. Can't even buy a 605. Everyone wants to rebuild your core, and I have no core...
    Not familiar with the 800. I'll have to do my research and see what it would take to make it work.
     
  29. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,195

    squirrel
    Member

    it has the large pinion spline, and is bigger overall.
     
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  30. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    First concern moving to the 800 is centerline offset of the input from the frame. I'm shooting blind here, but seems like the 605 measures close to the original box and hence equal frame to centerline offset. Yes, I could use universal's to get back in line, but would love to bypass the extra parts.
     

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