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Power Steering on a hotrod?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by The Rabid Whippet, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. Why and why not?
    I am running a 1952 Desoto Hemi with a 1957 Imperial generator with the power steering pump on the back so I was looking for a gear box that would fit to utilize the pump. Looking at all the pictures on EBay, it looked like the only option was a Mercedes gear box because of size. So I looked on Craigs list and found one that is small and may work with my 1940 Ford cross steer set up. I went and got the whole set up from the power steering pump, gear box and all the rods to the spindles for $60.00 it even has a dampener. I think with the weight of the hemi and getting a bit lazy, it would be nice to steer into tight spots with little effort and to use the old pump would be cool.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  2. oilslinger53
    Joined: Apr 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,500

    from covina CA

    Normally I'd say no way, but iffin your running that cool generator with a pump built on, use it!
  3. simplyconnected
    Joined: Jun 5, 2009
    Posts: 64


    Hey, there are plenty of R&P setups out there that will replace a good drag link. I got one in my '55 Ford from a '92 CAVALIER. Sure tames parking lots quite a bit when I'm cruisin' in that heavy car. - Dave
  4. My question is why? Is it really that hard to turn with the size wheels normally found on rods? I don't find manual steering on these lightweight cars an issue at all. But manual steering takes unique driving techniques a lot of people probably don't understand because so many cars today (ok, all) use power steering. You need to anticipate more, start turns before coming to a stop, or if unavoidable, start them late after starting. Even at 1-2 miles an hour, steering is much easier than trying to muscle a turn at a dead stop.
    Although PS was available with many of the motors used for hot rods in the late 50's and on, they typically were not used because it is a hot rod after all. Extra weight means slower ETs at the drags. Also, with an open hood, they ain't pretty to look at.

  5. MengesTwinCustoms
    Joined: Oct 16, 2009
    Posts: 279


    personally i think power steering just doesn't look good. the generator/pump sounds pretty cool but you also would have to use the big power steering box with all those hoses and such. Just doesn't fit with a hot rod! Just my 2 cents
  6. Thats why I'm doing it.
    The generator with the pump looks cool on top of the Hemi. Its only 2 hoses that will be the only eye sore but black hoses don't pop out like some other shit I have seen.
  7. Why? makes it easy to steer.

    Why not? looks a little ugly and out of place with all the hoses and stuff, more things to go wrong, less feel of the road, squeally noises when turning, and it's not really necessary. It's a little tough to steer when you're not moving at all, but easy to steer once you're barely moving.

    I've never put power steering on a hot rod and the only time I ever notice anything bad is when trying to steer when at a dead stop. With manual steering you get a better feel for the road and it seems more fun to drive with manual steering. To me, power steering always has sort of a mushy feeling.
  8. I use to drive cars with non power steering and I remember yanking the wheel and using some force while going slow. Now with chronic Tendinitis, I'm thinking it may be a good thing. I know all about saving weight and using power to turn the pump but if I was looking for power, I wouldn't be running a 276 desoto Hemi. I also think that the Generator with a pump on the back kicks ass in the looks department compared to an Alternator which I see a ton of on hotrods . The two hoses will drop out of site behind the big hemi head.
    If I didn't have the Generator with the pump I might not have gone this way as a small manual gear box is sure easier to find.
  9. claymore
    Joined: Feb 21, 2009
    Posts: 896


    Do it and drive in comfort. There are many way to disguise or hide the hose so they don't stand out. With your medical problem I think you will have more fun driving that looking at it and thinking dam my tendinitis is acting up today I think I will give it a pass.
  10. zzford
    Joined: May 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,823


    I believe that medical needs overrule "cool". I swapped a Muncie for a 700r4 because of arthritis. Screw these weenies that say "cool" is everything. That tune will change as they age.
  11. So if you knew "why," why did you ask us?
  12. onlychevrolets
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 2,307


    do you think those few horse power that pump uses will make a difference? If you have it use it. I would.
  13. tudorkeith
    Joined: May 10, 2009
    Posts: 454


    It's all about drivability. I'd rather look less cool and enjoy my car more while driving than look cool just sitting there. cours that also depends on your intentions with the car. if you run the track then every pony helps.
  14. BobK49
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 123


    DING DING DING! Thank you ZZ. Well said.
  15. If your running a fender less car like a 28-34 Ford or similar than power steering isn't necessary. If you have a late 40's & up land yacht or truck then power steering is worth any sacrifice on a street driven car. My 66 Chevy truck has had power steering for 20 yrs. It was the single greatest improvement I've ever done to it. Driving with the manual steering got old real quick.
  16. I was thinking about kool factor and how about talking to your local hose making shops for maybe cloth covered hose that looks old or maybe rubber hose that has a nice texture. This and the style of fittings can help smooth out the look.
  17. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,257


    Hey Rabid, how about a picture of that stuff. It sounds like its' got possibilities. I've got a customers' blown '32 bbc and its a whore to steer.
    I did see a roadster (les noises') that had a pump on the steering box under the cowl, i believe it is part of a boat unit. I didn't get to talk to him about it but have a pic or two that i'll get digitized and email them to you. A very interesting setup. Later, oj
  18. hvychvy
    Joined: Jul 21, 2005
    Posts: 1,874


    I've got a 72 year old good friend, who has some medical problems also.He had rack&pinion put on his model a.:)
  19. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,505


    with that kind of weight of that car. why not......
  20. Retro Jim
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 3,859

    Retro Jim

    I have a 55 Ford with a heavy "Y" Block . I even changed the steering wheel to a 12" . I can turn the wheel at a stop and even park it when I have to . It's a damn bitch too and the smaller wheel makes it even harder . To top it off , I am disabled with serious lower back problems ! I am changing the engine this winter to a 302 but wish I could put a R&P in the front end . I know they make them but can't afford them on crappy S.S.Disability ! I am going back to a larger steering wheel but I still like manual steering the most ! You get to feel so much more of the road on handling and everything else . I will not change to P/S ! But if you do have a serious disability and need it to enjoy your hot rod then use it .

    All comes down to what you want in YOUR hot rod ! It's your's so do what you want to it ! Just drive it & enjoy it ! That's the whole point , right ?
    BTW , if someone knows what R&P will work and how to do it please let me know . I can't afford a kit so bartering & salvage yards are my friend !

  21. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,962


    I guess I just always do this without thinking about it, I don't have any problem driving 50s stuff with manual steering.
  22. hotrodfrank
    Joined: Jul 28, 2009
    Posts: 98

    from dearing,ga

    when you build a car, you build it to your needs, don't matter what anyone else would do, when you post it on here????
  23. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,257


    Hey Rabid, sorry about the pic size. Do you see the fittings just under the speedo? More pics at Dynamat, scroll down to the gallery.[​IMG]
  24. R A Wrench
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 462

    R A Wrench
    from Denver, Co

    I have a dissability, it's called age. Tight situations are getting a bit tougher with time. May switch to a 5 turn steering box. A friend who is a few years younger just installed P/S on his 40 sedan and is very happy with it, even tho' the job was a pain. If you drive a lot it will be worth it.
  25. Just wondering why so few hotrods have them and if there are problems with a floating feeling on a fairly light car. The steering gear box is 3 turns lock to lock. Also if anyone has problems finding a power steering box, try a Mercedes box. The older ones look pretty traditional and the AMG ones are very modular, square with the pitman arm shaft out of the middle of the bottom.
  26. I agree...
  27. Nice!! I have seen the sprint car PS gear box but the money is a big issue with me. I love that set up.
  28. I will try and post some later today as I need to push the car out for a Christmas picture.
  29. Am I the only one that thinks the old school power steering pump with the reservoir on the back of the generator looks cool? I think it adds to the cool factor!!!
  30. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,962


    It looks cool in a modern "look at that old technology" way....but back then, it was something you'd see on grammas car, not a hot rod

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