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  #1  
Old 12-29-2011, 07:32 PM
philbird60 philbird60 is offline
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Default 60 tbird steering box upgrade

Hi everyone, I'm new here, but not new to old cars. The T-bird, with its power assist, would seem not to need such tall gearing. I would love to put a box in it that had fewer turns lock-to-lock than stock. Can anyone recommend a direct swap from any possible later model ford? I am doing a disc brake upgrade very soon, so I'd love to be able to do it all in one shot.
Thanks in advance for any advice and help.
Cheers!
Phil
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:40 PM
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simplyconnected simplyconnected is offline
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Phil, I think most folks are going to rack and pinion gears out of production cars.

That's what I did on my '59 Galaxie and it works like a charm. I'm using a pump from a Mustang and a rack gear from a Chevy. It all bolts into my frame and uses my stock outer tie rod ends. No more drag link and no more (useless) idler arm.

- Dave
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:51 PM
Joe Johnston Joe Johnston is offline
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and a rack gear from a Chevy.

Ford tough with GM stuff?????
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:44 PM
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I don't think any of the gears are made by the big 3. Sadly, GM sold Saginaw Steering Gear (Saginaw, MI) decades ago.
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:28 PM
philbird60 philbird60 is offline
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that is a great suggestion, but I'm really hoping to keep the appearance mostly stock. There's got to be a swap box that has fewer turns. I also seem to remember someone making a restrictor valve, so the power assist is reduced and you can feel road feedback more. Anyone ever do something like that?
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:28 PM
Tenshi95 Tenshi95 is offline
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Simplyconnected,
Could you give more info on your steering setup? I did some searches but didn't find any technical info, I think you mentioned once that you got it from a guy up in Illinois. Was there any welding/cutting or pretty much bolt in? About how much did it run you if you don't mind me asking? Also if you could pass along the guys info it would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
-Robert
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:14 PM
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Robert, I first ran into 'Sparky' on eBay, looking for a R&P setup for my '59 Galaxie. He had that, and another for my '55 Customline. After winning the setup for the Galaxie, I contacted him personally, and we made arrangements to buy both sets. How much? I really don't remember because it was a 'package' deal. Seemed reasonable at the time. After installation I was convinced, this deal was more like a steal for me.

Here's John's card:

Every time I call Sparky, he is always there. He is a Machinist who works out of his garage. He fabricates existing 'production' rack gears and adapts brackets that bolt to our frame using existing holes. He fabricates tie rods (with hiem joints) and sells the package as a 'bolt-on' system. I used a pump from a 1990 Mustang which produces 850-1,150 psi. The high pressure hose uses standard Rack & Pinion 'AN' flare fittings. The low pressure return hose has an 'AN' flare at the rack gear, and a 'push-on with a hose clamp' connection at the pump. You also connect your steering wheel shaft to a (included) standard "DD" steering u-joint and bolt them through Sparky's fabricated frame bracket. NO WELDING REQ'D.

I didn't do a web site for my R&P because I had no idea it would be so popular. My rack gear is from a 1982-92 Cavalier, readily available at any auto parts store. The tie rod ends are standard 1957-'59 Ford.

I know Sparky did a lot of work for the 1955-57 Thunderbirds because they shared the same frame as full size Fords. I'm not sure about his fabrication for Squarebirds. I suggest you call him. He is easy to speak with, he does good work, and his prices are very fair. Believe me, if I wasn't 100% satisfied, I wouldn't offer all this good info to our membership.

Robert, I hope this answers you questions and helps you with your rack and pinion retrofit. - Dave Dare
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