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Projects S-10 Frame Swap Steering Rack Needed

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Scott Danforth, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. Long story short. Using a '97 S-10 chassis under my '53 Chevrolet truck ( The Diesel engine and cooling system interfere with the stock recirculating ball steering box. So, I have to go in the direction of a rack and pinion.

    I have already checked out Unisteer. A bit too much cash for my taste.:eek:

    Is there an OEM front steer R&P that works well with the narrow S-10 front end that I can get from a salvage yard. I do not want to introduce bump-steer, so the rack needs to be short. From measurements, the only one that I think may work is a Chevette unit which is a re-badged Opel Kadette. Problem is finding one has been difficult.

    I have heard rumors of a Ford Explorer rack working. The Durango/Dakota rack is a bit wide as well as the M2 racks.

    Any suggestions welcome.
  2. OldSub
    Joined: Aug 27, 2003
    Posts: 1,064

    Member Emeritus

    Hey Scott, don't have any answers, but since I see you here on the HAMB I thought I'd say hi and good luck!
  3. C4 Metal Werks
    Joined: Mar 29, 2007
    Posts: 380

    C4 Metal Werks
    from California

    Since you might need a wider track to keep the stock offset wheels from sitting under the fenders to far I would look into some of the GM metric chassis parts
  4. was one of your 'bolt links that lead me hear a while ago, so I thought I would join and share chaos elsewhere.

  5. C4, thanks, however I already know about the narrower track width. the issue isnt track width, the issue is I cant use a stock box and have to go to a R&P. I used the S-10 because I had it handy since I designed my own crossmember for my stock framed '48. That being stated, I have the S-10 frame and simply need to find a short rack. Sweet and Appleton both make really nice extremely short racing racks, however they do not stand up to road use.

    I am not using stock wheels, however those left over from a friends Mid Am car - 10" wide with a 2" back spacing
  6. At least some, racks can be narrowed, if necessary. This is common with the Locost crowd.
    Some of them use S10 spindles, but the steering arms are kinda long for most racks.

    Maybe measure the steering arm lengths at your local wrecking yard, start from there.
  7. kustombuilder
    Joined: Sep 18, 2002
    Posts: 7,754

    from Novi, MI

    seems you know about the bumpsteer potential. do your homework. there is specific geometry related to where the pivots on the rack are in relation to where the control arm pivots are.
  8. MarkX
    Joined: Apr 8, 2003
    Posts: 1,232

    from ...TX

    There is a Rack swap for S10s, and i think theres more info about it on one of the Minitruck/airbag forums............
  9. keep us posted when you find something out.
  10. The only ones I found were the Unisteer kit or a few attempts at an Explorer rack which havent made it to the road yet.
  11. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,296


    I've never seen it used on an S-10, but a Subaru rack might work for you. I've seen it done on several 240Z V8 swaps and I used one on a TR6. It's narrow, compact and easy to find. The inner and outer joints can be easily swapped around with several different vehicles to get a combination that fits.

    There's quite a few pics at and a few other links. [​IMG]
  12. Thanks Jack, any dimensions? Overall inner rack length, housing length, etc.
  13. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,296


  14. i have read that thread in my personal quest to find a rack setup for s10. i talked to my local subaru person and they thought the subaru rack was not heavy enough for the truck. said it would probably work but wear out prematurely based on weight differences of said vehicles.
  15. Cool. anyone have a Ford Explorer and can measure the rack on there?
  16. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 10,743

    Tech Editor

    Why did you do a Frame Swap on your Truck that doesnt work with the Engine you want to use?
  17. Hi Scott, I have got the same damb problem. I can tell right now that an Explorer will not work on an s-10 2wd. However it will work on a 4x4. The pivot points are extremly different from 2wd to 4wd. If my shot memory serves me right you need a rack between 12 and 15 inches wide where the inside tie rod ends pivot. Ive been thinking about this for quite some time. What i think may work is a front wheel drive rack like out of a cad or lincoln, fab a think plate that would bolt into where there tie rods go( mountings for inner tie rods, on a rear steer car seem to be really close together) on the chosen rack, make the "plate" wide enough so as you could get your desired width for your inner tie rod pivots. The only problem with this idea is that you would then need to find rear steer spindles and mount the rack behind the cross member so when you turn left your wheels do not turn right. So my question is would anybody know of such a spindle? Sorry if I really confussed anuone!

  18. Because I am building a Frankentruck out of parts that I had laying around and couldn't sell. The S-10 chassis had less then 47k miles on it when someone hit a small sign and split the rad toasting the engine. The cab and front clip were originally purchased because I planned on stretching the cab on my '48. I could purchase a different engine and do what everyone else has done, however I am an extrovert non-conformist masochist and have to do things the hard way.

    If such a spindle existed, I would use the J-body R&P that i have. I could build a set since the spindle is just pressed into the knuckle, however that is a lot of work.

    I plan on crawling under the Durango with a tape measure this weekend

    Plan B is to build two short arms to come downward of a stock rack (possibly another camaro rack) and mount a stainless shaft about 1_1/4" in diameter between them. I can then support the shaft with delrin bushings mounted to the rack mounting brackets. I can then take the stock S-10 inner and outer tierod ends and mount them to the stainless shaft. This would be similar to the unisteer solution for about $1000 less.
  19. Hey Scott I helped a good friend install M2 rack on a s-10. The only catch was the rack had to be shortened and the steering shaft had to go through the s-10 crossmember. The amount it was shortened I don't remember but the steel tube in the middle of the rack was only about 2'' long when finished!If you need more info contact me and I will get the exact dimensions and posibly some pics. Hope this helps!
  20. Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  21. caseyrod
    Joined: Feb 9, 2008
    Posts: 138


    I am not shore but maybe a jag rack may do the trick an d is power ass. possibly wide enough they already use a gm pump and are plentyful, at list here in south florida
    Joined: Apr 4, 2007
    Posts: 672


    A MII rack is very close and will need to have the links to the tierods shortned/lengthened slightly. You can pick up a OEM replacement/power unit from most auto parts. If I remember... $135-$165?
  23. I checked out the dimensions on the MII rack at flaming river and it is way too wide to use as is. Although Flaming River does offer shorter racks as custom, just not the power units.
  24. Ahh you are correct it was a manual rack ! I will try and get some pics for you !
  25. brad15301
    Joined: Nov 12, 2008
    Posts: 1

    from Washington

  26. Brad, That is the problem, a low $ one does not exist.
  27. I found the problem. Sold the S-10 frame, and obtained a '53 3/4 Ton frame. I will be installing one of my crossmembers
  28. Bra-VO!
  29. sfort
    Joined: Jan 15, 2009
    Posts: 48

    from texas

    Can't wait to see more of your build! Always wanted to see more diesels put in these old trucks.
  30. I cant wait to see more of it myself. I have more money than time lately and I seem to be broke...... LOL

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