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  • Rack and pinion conversion

    Hi All, Major restoration work has now started and am in the process of converting my 60HT to rack and pinion steering, ( my complete original power steering is totally shot, everything is leaking, chrome on the damper ram pitted badly, all arms bent and joints worn.) Obviously, replacement, original parts are a big problem here in the UK so need to get a shopping list prepared for shipping from the States.
    The steering rack isn't so much the problem, but, my main question for anyone who has completed this is how do you connect the steering column to the rack? I know I am going to need a universal joint somewhere, but do I have to try and use the drop arm from the T-Bird steering box, do I have to modify the steering column and remove the box? I have seen various threads and pictures on this conversion but have been unable to get a positive answer to this problem.
    Any and all answers greatly accepted.
    I am happy to order any parts, but due to the implication of non return and import duties etc would like to try to get parts that I know will work.
    Many thanks in advance.
    Mal

  • #2
    Originally posted by Uk Mal View Post
    Hi All, Major restoration work has now started and am in the process of converting my 60HT to rack and pinion steering, ( my complete original power steering is totally shot, everything is leaking, chrome on the damper ram pitted badly, all arms bent and joints worn.) Obviously, replacement, original parts are a big problem here in the UK so need to get a shopping list prepared for shipping from the States.
    The steering rack isn't so much the problem, but, my main question for anyone who has completed this is how do you connect the steering column to the rack? I know I am going to need a universal joint somewhere, but do I have to try and use the drop arm from the T-Bird steering box, do I have to modify the steering column and remove the box? I have seen various threads and pictures on this conversion but have been unable to get a positive answer to this problem.
    Any and all answers greatly accepted.
    I am happy to order any parts, but due to the implication of non return and import duties etc would like to try to get parts that I know will work.
    Many thanks in advance.
    Mal
    Hey Mal! I don't have any advise but I am really interested in the process!!! Take LOTS of picture and share with the rest of us!!
    I have heard and seen some pictures of people retrofitting a R&P in the past.. so its been done... just not sure how! lol
    Best of luck to you!
    Cheers, Justin
    --------------------------------
    1960 Thunderbird
    Been in my family since 1961
    San Diego, CA -> Portland, OR

    Comment


    • #3
      And if you do a search on the subject on this site you'll find some interesting tid bits...
      --------------------------------
      1960 Thunderbird
      Been in my family since 1961
      San Diego, CA -> Portland, OR

      Comment


      • #4
        Rack and pinion conversion

        Mal, I found 5 links that deal with rack & pinion conversions. Here is what I was able to find on here regarding this for you.

        http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin...ht=rack+pinion

        http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin...ht=rack+pinion

        http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin...ht=rack+pinion

        http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin...ht=rack+pinion

        http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin...ht=rack+pinion

        Perhaps you will be able to find the information you need in these threads.

        Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
        '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
        "It's Hip To Be Square"
        Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

        Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

        http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          From what I'm seeing you need some mad fab skills to do the conversion, I don't so.......
          Scott
          South Delta, BC, Canada
          1960 White T-Bird, PS, PB that's it
          Red Leather Interior!
          www.squarebirds.org/users/sidewalkman
          Thunderbird Registry #61266
          http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_g...ibrary/trl.htm

          Comment


          • #6
            The conversion payoff is tremendous. Our '59 Galaxie steers just like a modern car. The power portion never leaks, the car maneuvers around parking lots easily and the car steers straight without 'hunting' back and forth on the highway... just like a modern car. - Dave
            My latest project:
            CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

            "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
            --Lee Iacocca

            Comment


            • #7
              i`m in the process of adding a r&p to my 59... what i`m using is a rack from a dodge "K" car. most important thing is check tire rotation right to left before choosing a rack set up. i have to cut 2" from each side then re cut threads for my tie rods. the mopar tie rods work ok,but think i`ll go with tie rods from a fairmont rack..probably a 08 thousands difference. i`ll probably fab brackets to mount to my cross member as that`s a pretty straight line to your spindle ends...i knoticed some use the idler and gear box holes and fab brackets to adapt. only thing i`d be concerned about is the rack would be setting quite a ways behind your spindle causeing maybe bad bump steer...that means when you hit either a bump or a dip your wheels will actually pull on their own...not a good thing. most importaint thing is think it out and trail fit before making or welding any brackets...hope i have put some insight for you

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tiltbed View Post
                ...i knoticed some use the idler and gear box holes and fab brackets to adapt. only thing i`d be concerned about is the rack would be setting quite a ways behind your spindle causeing maybe bad bump steer...
                I respectfully disagree. My tie rods are as close to the #2 cross member as the OEM links were, if not closer.

                Notice there is no engine or trans. When they are installed, the R&P setup sits flatter. No, I do not get bump steer.

                The advantage in using existing frame holes is in the ability to make the brackets hold the rack gear just about anywhere you want. Check out my tie rods...
                Attached Files
                My latest project:
                CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                --Lee Iacocca

                Comment


                • #9
                  Looks like a nice conversion!
                  I see the U-joint going to the rack. Can you explain what you did to the column? I think you could replace it with an aftermarket unit but the T-bird column is kinda neat!

                  Is yours a modified stock column?
                  .
                  .
                  .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    very nice set up..difference being you are using a GM style rack where as i`m using a mopar where the ends come directally out of the ends of the rack. I have a GM rack in the barn...might have to look at it too.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tbird6 View Post
                      ...Is yours a modified stock column?
                      From inside my car, everything looks bone stock. I converted my stock Town & Country radio to play AM/FM/MP3 (with full 'seek' function ala: Gary Taymann Electric), I converted my vacuum wipers to electric (New Port Engineering) with full squirts and interval wipers (using stock dash knobs), I converted to power disk brakes with dual reservoir M/C, electric fan with 130-amp alt., and power rack and pinion steering.

                      I'm certainly not a 'purist' because without hesitation, I run my car on the highways or to cruises. That means, I must compete with the braking performance of modern cars on the road.

                      While I rebuilt our 292 Y-Block and C-O-M, I mounted my R&P steering. The scary part for most folks is, cutting the steering column and steering shaft.

                      As a side note: It happened that a buddy of mine really needed my steering gear box. I was happy to give him mine, so it still lives. I've swapped parts and services for years with many of my restorer buddies.

                      Ok so, manual shift clutch pedals use a "Z" bracket that mounts to the frame. Since ours is an automatic, I used all the stock frame holes for my conversion. The big reason why is because the holes are reinforced inside the frame. That's why you've never seen the frame 'crush' under the torque required for the steering box or idler arm. Ford welded 'curlicues' that surround the bolts, inside the frame halves.

                      I mocked-up the rack gear and fabricated simple plates to accommodate the frame holes and the rack gear rubber mounts. I made another bracket for the 'swivel eyelet' using the top frame holes. You could say that I started at the rack gear and worked my way up to the steering column.

                      All my hardware was purchased from speedwaymotors.com except for the nylon bushing I made at the very end of my steering column. NONE of my steering components are welded except for the bracketry. I used 'double-D' configuration joints that positively bear all the steering shaft stress. Power steering is such a gift on classic Fords.

                      Some restorers put a ball bearing at the end of the steering column. Mine isn't that fancy. I turned a piece of nylon on the lathe to fit inside the column, bored a clearance hole for the steering shaft and left a collar so it can't move up the column. A little grease and all is good.

                      I simply fitted all the joints to complete the links. My power steering pump was from my Mustang. I chose a rebuilt 1982-92 Chevrolet Cavalier rack gear which offers long tie rods (from the middle, like our OEM drag link) to eliminate bump steer. It works fantastic! My wheel spindles are not altered.

                      Other gears use much shorter tie rods (which have a shorter radius) that must be mounted farther from the #2 cross member:


                      This Chrysler gear creates a 'bump steer problem' because as the suspension moves up and down both spindle arms tend to pull into each other causing toe-out. If this happens around corners the problem worsens.

                      p38fighter, here are more pictures you asked for, showing a closer look:
                      Attached Files
                      My latest project:
                      CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                      "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                      --Lee Iacocca

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the pictures.
                        I have not seen the old Y-block installed in a Squarebird before?
                        The single exhaust threw me off until you mentioned it was a 292.

                        The links mentioned are interesting but they all appear to be dead at this point in time.
                        .
                        .
                        .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          very nice explanation. i`ll have to wait untill the engine and trans are installed as i don`t want to interfer with the headers. How did you mate the GM arms and tie rod ends up with your ford spindles? can the GM arms be replaced with a set of arms with helm fittings?...thanks

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tbird6 View Post
                            ...I have not seen the old Y-block installed in a Squarebird before?..
                            This car is a '59 Galaxie. There isn't much difference but it came with a Y-Block. I should have put an FE in its place but I wanted to build the Y. I should have gone with my FE instinct because it's a better mill. Spindles for the 1959 Galaxie are the exact same part number as Squarebird spindles.

                            Originally posted by tiltbed View Post
                            ...How did you mate the GM arms and tie rod ends up with your ford spindles?..
                            I'm not using GM arms at all. I'm using my original outer tie rods and these rods with associated heim joints (as mentioned, from https://www.speedwaymotors.com): CLICK HERE
                            My latest project:
                            CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                            "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                            --Lee Iacocca

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Nice job Dave, I wish the photos were larger so I could get a closer look at them. This is an item on my To-Do List,

                              Cheers Bryan

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