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Power Steering vs straight front axle

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by tonyimpala, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. I was talking with a well known old cars parts supplier tech guy today about the subject of this thread. He did not recommend doing this install. He said the car will be TOO sensitive at highway speeds. Here is my problem the car has a vega style box, with a 4" dropped axle. I had a pace maker installed last October. I find it very difficult to turn. I use the car mainly for cruise nites where there is plenty of parallel parking. Any thoughts/suggestions.
    Therefore would it be safe to say that all street rods with straight front axles do NOT have power steering, and not just for the traditional theme?

    there a company WA Bunddell Speed and Machine make a pump w/ bracket for the gen.
    Vega p/s box by classic performance

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  2. Bent Wrench
    Joined: Jun 18, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Bent Wrench

    Nothing wrong with power steering, probably should listen to someone who knows what they are talking about.

    Unless he knows something first hand about the kit you are contemplating you should seek other input.

    I would consult the mfgr too and not a salesman a Tech. Best to find someone who has one installed for some direct input.

    Myself I am a fan of power steering. With power steering you can dial in more caster which will make your car more self centering - more stable at speed.
  3. Weedburner 40
    Joined: Jan 26, 2006
    Posts: 654

    Weedburner 40

    My avatar delivery has had power steering on an axle for 30 years and it is not overly sensitive at all. In the last couple of years I have done two power conversions on 40's for owners with the same problems as you, only we replaced original boxes for them. We have used both the 605 and 800 GM power boxes. We have done several axle cars with power over the years and have yet to have anyone complain that they are too sensitive.
  4. tiredford
    Joined: Apr 6, 2009
    Posts: 476

    from Mo.

    I think what causes the condition he talking about, is to much pressure from a mix matched pump. Someone makes a adjustable valve that goes inline of the pressure hose that reduces the pressure. Borgeson IIRC.
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  5. okiedokie
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 3,760

    from Ok

    Here is the guy to listen to Tony.
  6. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,080

    from Quincy, IL

    There is nothing inherently wrong with " power steering". Any system that is truly too sensitive has not be properly setup, either in mechanical geometry or pump pressure or both. Also, not all power boxes are equal. One of the factors in the box is the little torsion bar in the input shaft of the box that affects the point at which the valve inside begins to open. For example a box in an older Pontiac firebird tran am has a different torsion tension, and gearbox ratio, than an identical looking box in an impala.

    You may want to inquire further about the specs of the power "Vega" box, and the pump pressure range it is designed to use, from someone who actually knows it's inner details. That may give some insight in what you could expect from it.
  7. F.O.G
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 259

    from Pacific,Mo

    Late 60's early 70's Dodge trucks had straight axles and P/S, probably others and I never
    saw a pileup because of it. Check with the company that you originally posted about,
    looks like they may have your answer.
  8. 48ford
    Joined: Dec 15, 2001
    Posts: 422


    I used a P/S box from an 85 olds on mine.This is not the 605 box you can tell the difference this one is the 800 has 4 bolts holding the cover on,the 605 uses a snap ring.
    I put I
    it in in 2001 and have had no problems. I got an adaptor plate from speedway motors so make it a bolt in.
    I changed the column out for a tilt g.m. column with a automatic shifter and key in it.
    I used the pump that was in the olds I took the box out of.
    I think I used the pitman arm from the car too,but I'm not sure now. I could go look but we have a lot of snow outside.
    This is on a 48 but It should be close.
    I did not have to shim the pump,to cut down the pressure.
    Let us know how yours works out
  9. Thanks guys for the good advice. I will update this thread when this problem is solved.
  10. edwardlloyd
    Joined: Aug 2, 2003
    Posts: 2,064

    from Germany

    Listen, lots of small European cars use electric power steering built into the column. That means you can leave your Vega like it is and just install the column from a Euro car. The MK2 Escort rally car guys use the Vauxhall / Opel Corsa column for an easy install. Look it up. Google "Vauxhall Corsa", and you'll get the English speaking sites.
    No PS pump, no pipes, no power drain, no oily, no space problems. Also the electric only kicks in at parking and low speeds. Once out on the highway it's just normal.
    Not a traditional solution, but a PS rod problem shouldn't be here anyway.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  11. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,010

    Rusty O'Toole

    Dodge trucks to 1971, Chev vans to 1969, Ford pickups to 1964 (and twin I beam thereafter) all these had straight axles and power steering available.

    There is no reason a beam axle and power steering can't be used together.
  12. fiftyv8
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 4,893

    from CO & WA

    Surely the main thing to consider is matching a power steering setup to the wheel base.

    I am not saying you need to find a car of the same wheel base and use that unit, but at least consider taking a look at an equivalent car is using.
    Say in the case of a vega box it could be the length of the steering arm that is important etc.

    A buddy of mine used a Jag IFS in a Model A and it was very sensitive.
    The first thought was well how different is the wheel base of the Jag verus the Model A???

    In saying that he got use to it and he probably could have put a reducer in the line to ease things alittle.

    Anything is possible...
  13. 36DodgeRam
    Joined: Dec 16, 2008
    Posts: 497


    If we're talking about power steering on a straight axle car, here is an idea I've had for a while. My '36 Dodge pickup has stock axle and steering box. It is pretty hard to steer when parking, with this heavy 331 over the axle! I have a stabilizer shock mounted from the axle to drag link, to control high speed shimmy, but this is not the cause of the hard low speed steering. The truck drives perfect at high speed!

    Now I have the complete power steering assist system off a '70 Torino. These don't go into the gear box. They use a ram cylinder like early Impalas. It looks like I could mount the cylinder where the stabilizer shock is now, mount the pump, and have power steering.

    Has anyone tried this, or have a reason it won't work?
  14. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,870

    Atwater Mike

    My bud Sneaky Johnson in San Jose mounted a late Ford ram to the driver side frame rail of his F-1 panel...the ram is parallel to the drag link, and mounts to it near its center.
    Very sanitary, you have to lay down under the front fender to see it.
    Works like Factory.
  15. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,080

    from Quincy, IL

    Perhaps you already know this and didn't refer to it in your post....but...the other absolutely necessary part is the control valve that typically attaches to the pitman arm. That is the key part that when sufficient pressure is applied to the steering gear/pitman arm opens the valve and directs pump pressure to the power cylinder. As long as that is incorporated, it should work.
    Joined: Sep 27, 2008
    Posts: 83
    from USA

    I have use a Ford power steering unit, like that on a 69 Mustang. You can use it on the drag link or cross steering set up. The best thing is that you don't have to change the steering box.

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