Register now to get rid of these ads!

Technical STEERING, Cowl Steering, strong, simple and affordable

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hillbillyhell, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. hillbillyhell
    Joined: Feb 9, 2005
    Posts: 934

    hillbillyhell
    Member

    Ok, here’s my take on cowl steering. I won’t say this is the “right”, “wrong” or only way to do it, but I’ve seen some pretty sketchy cowl steer setups here and there. I’ve also never seen a cowl steer post that really definitively points you in the direction of a useable steering box, other than the BMW 2002 box, and those don’t grow on trees. So I set out to find a cheap, plentiful and sturdy solution to the steering box problem, first of all, and from there design and construct something that is safe, simple, and attractive.



    Before we get started…using these parts and this method requires reversing a steering box, and FIRST CLASS welding. If taking apart a steering box and drilling holes in it isn’t your thing, this isn’t your answer. If your welding is anything less than perfect, find someone to do the welding for you…it IS your steering after all J



    Parts:
    • Early Ford Ranger manual steering box. Not sure the year spread here, mine was from an 85, I’m assuming anything in that first body style is the same.
    • 1.75x.120 wall DOM tubing, about a foot max. I do NOT recommend CR tube, as it requires normalizing after welding.
    • A pitman arm of some kind. Dad and I had a dozen of these cut at our local laser shop, the same results could be had with some bandsaw time. The one pictured is made from ½” coldrolled plate.
    • Misc. plate and tubing to mount the box into the car. This is up to you, as it is gonna vary by car.

    [​IMG]



    With parts in hand the first step is to reverse the box. I’m not going to into detail on that here, because it’s been covered a million times with Corvair boxes, and the process is exactly the same. The nice thing about this box is that when you drill the hole for the input to come out the other side, the case is thick enough to hold the seal. I used a 1 1/8” holesaw after drilling a pilot, and that worked out perfect to hammer the seal back into.



    [​IMG]

    Pay no attention to the size 12.
     
  2. hillbillyhell
    Joined: Feb 9, 2005
    Posts: 934

    hillbillyhell
    Member

    Once your box is reversed, it’s time for the fun stuff. Mock up a steering shaft using whatever’s handy, I used a straight coupler and a piece of tube (didn’t want to waste real steering shaft material until I knew how long it was going to be) By the way, splines are ¾”-36, so couples and whatnot are super easy to find. Grab your box and crawl around under your dash until you find a good place to put it. I positioned mine so that the steering shaft was centered on the drivers side of the cab, and angled it such that I didn’t need a U joint. I’ll add here that when I put the box together after reversing, I left out the sector for a while so the box was lighter.



    Once you figure out where to locate it, figure out how to mount it. Every car is going to be different, so I’ll just post pictures of what I did to give an idea of the support required. You’ll find that it’s pretty easy to make up a plate to mount the box with. I used a ¼” mounting plate welded into my tubular support structure. You’ll notice in my pictures that I did not tie into the frame. In this truck I have a complete subframe within the cab to stiffen it, tying into that was adequate. If it’s possible with YOUR build, I’d recommend building off the chassis. The watchword here is STRONG. Most of the forces exerted on the box will be front to rear, so keep that in mind.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    With the box mounted, it’s time to drill a bigass hole in the side of your ride. Since I had the sector out, I used a 12” long ¼” bit to drill a pilot from the inside out, through the box. With that done, I moved outside, and used a 2” holesaw.
     
  3. hillbillyhell
    Joined: Feb 9, 2005
    Posts: 934

    hillbillyhell
    Member

    Once the box is mounted and we have a hole, it’s time to get a pitman arm on there. The beauty of this box is that the sector is long enough to be within 1”-2” of what most people need. I used and recommend what I call a “tubular extended pitman arm thing”. It’s an old sprint car trick, and ideal for this application. First step, saw the splined end off your pitman. Buy your buddy with the lathe a case of High Life, and have him turn down the piece you just cut off so that it fits in your 1.75” tubing.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Get the splined bung that your lathe buddy just made you square in the end of the tube, and weld that sucker in there. I used 3 rosette welds as well as a seam all the way around the edge with the TIG.



    [​IMG]





    With your tube done, you can go ahead and install it onto the sector shaft, and figure out how long it needs to be. It’s also decision time. There’s a few different methods you can use to mount your pitman arm to the tube, ie make a flange that the pitman bolts to (what I did), or make a pitman with a hole to slide over the tube, and weld it. I think the flange method is a better bet, gives you some flexibility with trying different arm lengths and whatnot. Whatever you do, make sure you can get to the middle of the tubing to install the nut holding this whole deal to the sector.



    [​IMG]





    ***Remember when your calculating the length of your extension tube that as you steer right the pitman arm comes rearward, give yourself enough room so that the tie rod nut doesn’t collide with the bodywork *** I used a combination of tube length and a slightly bent pitman arm to give me about an inch behind the arm at full right lock.
     
  4. hillbillyhell
    Joined: Feb 9, 2005
    Posts: 934

    hillbillyhell
    Member

    Once your length is decided, weld that thing on up. I used a 3” round flange with a hole to slip over the tubing, my pitman bolts to that.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    That’s more or less it, it’s *done* but not *finished*. Gotta do something with that unsightly tube sticking out the side of your car!! I had never hammered a blister before, so I decided that I’d try it to hide the arm coming out. What I’m thinking here is that I’ll make it a rivet on part. After bodywork and paint, it will get installed with stainless rivets. That also gives a chance to make a seal for the shaft from thin flat rubber and use the blister to fasten it to the body. I also considered welding a bigger piece of tube to the body and blending it into the panel with a bit of filler. Going that route would let you use a lip seal if you use the right ID on the tubing.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    So I suck at writing tech articles, but hey, I tried! J
     
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. Winfab
    Joined: Dec 10, 2002
    Posts: 260

    Winfab
    Member

    VERY nice work. Thanks. I'll read through it a couple times.
     
    brinskan likes this.
  6. Works for me.[​IMG]
     
  7. hillbillyhell
    Joined: Feb 9, 2005
    Posts: 934

    hillbillyhell
    Member

    If anyone has specific questions, feel free to ask. I had these big plans to write the tech article of the century, took a ton of pics, sat down at the PC....and was like "shit, how do you write directions for this" :)
     
  8. Gregg Pellicer
    Joined: Aug 20, 2004
    Posts: 1,346

    Gregg Pellicer
    Member

    WOW!! Great tech article.That sure look's alot better and easier than cutting and welding the sector shaft. GREGG
     
  9. briggs&strattonChev
    Joined: Feb 20, 2003
    Posts: 2,231

    briggs&strattonChev
    Member

    very good, thank you
     
  10. NICE TECH ! That setup looks real solid and trouble free . I'd trust it. I'm thinking you dont even need a buddy with a lathe.. You could probabbly grind the spline end round enough with a bench mounted disk.... I'm heading out for one of them steerer box thingies in the morning.
     
  11. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,661

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    WOW......great pics and great text......thanks!
     
  12. hillbillyhell
    Joined: Feb 9, 2005
    Posts: 934

    hillbillyhell
    Member

    The reason I recommend turning that with a lathe is to keep it concentric. if your splines end up off center, your extension tube is gonna wobble as it rotates. Not a huge deal, I guess, since it only rotates maybe 100 degrees.
     
    hemispherical likes this.
  13. Oh yeah, by the way, five stars for this one !!!!!
     
  14. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,558

    zman
    Member
    from Garner, NC

    Nice job..... good tech.... :D
     
  15. ChuckleHead_Al
    Joined: Mar 29, 2004
    Posts: 1,812

    ChuckleHead_Al
    Member

  16. Nice job, Exactly what tech week is all about.
     
  17. woody
    Joined: Feb 11, 2005
    Posts: 215

    woody
    Member

    Simply awesome! I'm thinking about ditching my vega box after that one.

    Woody
     
  18. dodgerodder
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 1,943

    dodgerodder
    Member

    Real nice job. That ain't goin nowhere:). I also like the cover. I thought I would do something similar for a cover on my sedan, but didn't end up needing to. Nice work, looks like you're making great progress
     
  19. awesome tech. Nice job!

    The ingenuity here is great :)
     
  20. cheaterslick
    Joined: Nov 2, 2003
    Posts: 798

    cheaterslick
    Member

    As Shiny would say...thats KILL!
     
    29EHV8 likes this.
  21. Bashful? C'mon, that's shit hot!

    And well written, take a bow.
     
  22. joeycarpunk
    Joined: Jun 21, 2004
    Posts: 4,440

    joeycarpunk
    Member
    from MN,USA

    Excellent tech, one I plan on using.
     
  23. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,886

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

  24. burger
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 2,347

    burger
    Member
    from burbs

    Would you mind explaining how to reverse a steering box?


    Thanks!
    Ed
     
  25. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 3,960

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    Gotta say, "That's the best tech article that I have seen in a long time!"

    It's a doable deal, but do expalin ther reverse proceedure & well as the seal install. I'd also like to see shots of you hammering out the blister. That work was fantastic!!!!!
     
  26. I would say that is a better way to do it than mine!
     
  27. Django
    Joined: Nov 15, 2002
    Posts: 10,197

    Django
    Member
    from Chicago

    That's really well thought out and executed. Nice job!

    Question... Is the bracket holding the steering box to your inner structure strong enough? Is there another bracket closer to the cowl that isn't visible?
     
  28. skumbag
    Joined: Feb 16, 2005
    Posts: 688

    skumbag
    Member

    awsome tech post, thanks! :D
     
  29. burger
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 2,347

    burger
    Member
    from burbs

    Hey, one more question.

    How do you get to the pitman arm nut? Is there room inside the "extension tube" for a deep socket?


    Thanks!
    Ed

    PS- Great tech! I'm asking all these questions because I'm thinking about using this box now instead of the F1 that I already have
     
  30. I was rooting around "The auction site whose name shall not be mentioned" and found a picture of the BMW 2002 box. I flipped it over and put it above the '85 Ranger box he used here. looks pretty close huh?

    The pitman arm doesn't look as nice, but it looks like it'll clear the angle of the cowl, and it doesn't need reversing.

    I like the way the blister gives the cowl a race car look, but for those with limited skills (me), the BMW box could be used in the same way.

    Burger, here's a Link for ya
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.