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Projects Sloppy Vega box: Part Duex.

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by flynbrian48, Jun 13, 2018 at 6:14 PM.

  1. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 5,874

    flynbrian48
    Member

    IMG_4662.JPG Some of you may recall my struggle with the cheap off-shore Vega box in my '34. I was going to pull the trigger on a Uni-steer, but I wanted to snug it up one more time while I wait for one.
    I got under the car after work this afternoon to adjust it, turned the U-joint, and the pitman arm didn't move. But the shaft did.
    WTF?
    I thought the nut must have loosened up (not the first time I wouldn't have torqued something down right), but it was tight.
    I grabbed the end of the arm, and to my surprise, it moved up and down.
    WTF?
    So I looked a little closer, and discovered the threaded end wasn't deep enough to fully engage the pitman arm. Fearing the spines on either the arm or the shaft would be worn, (I've put 650 miles on it), but they look sharp and crisp. I found a couple of big flat washers in my bolt bin and put them on top of the nut under the lock, and tightened it down.
    Viola.
    No play at all, the arm is tight on the shaft, and the car now handles like a go kart. Which is what it should drive like.
    So, we'll run this for a bit and see how it holds up. The box itself still feels nice and tight, and while I'm a little disgusted at having bought stuff that doesn't fit just right, at least it was a simple "fix". Perhaps the bad rap these things get is partly due to the poor quality of components down the line, like the pitman arm, which must be a bit thinner than it should be, or the shaft on the box is indeed not threaded deep enough, but I'm rolling for now.



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    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018 at 6:23 PM
  2. millersgarage
    Joined: Jun 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,952

    millersgarage
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  3. That is scary enough on it's own. Me personally, i would pull it apart and inspect everything in that box.
     
    Fordors likes this.
  4. See my other post on this. Ball bearings need to be 'round' for a start.
     
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  5. 1pickup
    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 677

    1pickup
    Member

    I tried the "off-shore" brand of Vega box too. The right front tire of my '39 Ford had a death wobble. I had just put a Sid's axle in, & the new eBay box, so WTF? Closer inspection found the wobble. The output shaft of the box (with the pitman arm attached) would move in every direction. Junk. Never again. Find a GM box & rebuild it.
     
    Fordors likes this.
  6. I'm having a problem finding a rebuild kit for a Vega. Anyone have a source?
     
  7. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 50

    X-cpe

    There was a thread with a list of parts to do it on here a while back.I was looking for it the other day but my search skills were insufficient. If I remember right he said to use Corvair bearings. I don't remember what he said about the sector shaft bushing. Another post gave CR9818 and CR6130 as the seal numbers. I'll see if I can find the envelope with the bearing info written on it.
     
  8. NashRodMan
    Joined: Jul 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,374

    NashRodMan
    Member

    Good for you Brian! Glad you got it figured out. Love it when a cheap, easy fix does the trick! But...keep an eye on it.
     
  9. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 5,874

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Eyes peeled! ;)
     
  10. stubbsrodandcustom
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 815

    stubbsrodandcustom
    Member
    from Spring tx

    glad you found something, just keep an eye on it man. Once you hit a couple thousand miles then the real test is shown. Just remember all the advice from the previous thread and you will be good. I had a buddy show me one that snapped the selector shaft off, just a bad casting and clean break. So be careful man....
     
  11. Any off-shore steering components have to be looked at with great care. I ordered a tie rod set for my '59 Ford, it came with a variety of 3 different castle nuts, I used my OG ones that will be good for another 58 years. I had to put a washer under the nut on one of them. By rights I should have sent them back, but I was on a mission. I should have saved the old ones as well, they were in good shape. I have close to 8000 miles on the whole thing and it is due for greasing. I was concerned about the hecho en India drag link, but it seems to be fine.
     
    flynbrian48 likes this.
  12. Kan Kustom
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 1,979

    Kan Kustom
    Member

    Thanks for sharing your experience. That always helps other's.
     
  13. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 5,874

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Thanks! Trying to help others learn from my mistakes!


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    Chavezk21 likes this.
  14. Vimtage Iron
    Joined: Feb 28, 2010
    Posts: 448

    Vimtage Iron
    Member

    Instead of buying off shore junk as far as linkage and joints,tie rods and such give Rare Parts in Stockton Ca a call, they will make the part you need,I've had a few things made there and have great success, mostly parts for the 47 Caddy that someone had made a mess of,one of the tie rod ends had been installed upside down,because of a Bendix power steering addition, and there was no way to make it work correctly,Rare Parts made a new tie rod with the end pointing in the right direction.
     
  15. Was that Pitman arm from Speedway ?
    Someone else here had the same problem.
     
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  16. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 7,153

    dirty old man
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  17. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 5,874

    flynbrian48
    Member

    No, both came from Southern Rods, so I have no idea of the manufacturer. In their defense (Southern Rods), I got the beautiful original, replated '34 grill for the roadster from them on eBay for $1400, so, they're not total losers. :p It's prolly the same off shore crap Speedway sells for cheap too. Not to disrespect, we get what we pay for, and should expect things not to be perfect. If, by using a couple of flat washers, I can use a steering box, frame bracket, and pitman arm that cost $100 in total, and share what needs to be done to make them work, and save someone else from some frustration, I'm good with that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018 at 5:57 AM
  18. Yeah well, just remember, it is steering...not a shifter knob or headlight etc.
     
    Fordors and Unkl Ian like this.
  19. Oh ,,,,I was taught early on,,,,,NEVER CHEAP OUT on brakes, steering or suspension. Those three systems WILL kill you if they are not completely up to snuff. Chinese crap just doesnt cut it, bottom line ! Mitch.
     
    Fordors likes this.
  20. MIKE STEWART
    Joined: Aug 23, 2016
    Posts: 163

    MIKE STEWART

    I put a 30% larger Vega box from Flaming River on my 1939 Ford coupe about 4 years ago. The block hugger for my 351 SBF hit the bigger Saginaw box. Spent about 2x money for this Vega box - so far - great service. Redoing another 1939 Ford and replaced the original stock steering box with this F/R Vega box to clear the 2.5 inch ram head manifolds. Not on the roads yet - drives nice when I sneak it out on the city streets . I stayed away from the cheap China 99 buck boxes.


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