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Gary

Are you still doing manual steering gear rebuilds? I know this is an older thread but it's so informative I would like to have you rebuild my steering gear. Could PM me with information? cost and turn around time.

thanks, Jesse 982
 

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Discussion Starter · #104 ·
Gary

Are you still doing manual steering gear rebuilds? I know this is an older thread but it's so informative I would like to have you rebuild my steering gear. Could PM me with information? cost and turn around time.

thanks, Jesse 982
Hi Jesse
yes, I'll pm you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #105 ·
FYI- I have been using Coastal bearing grease for years now to lube the boxes but they no longer make it. So if you're rebuilding your box go with Lucas Red & Tacky or their Green grease. I haven't see any weepage issue with those greases. I still have several tubes of the Coastal left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #107 · (Edited)
I had a challenging box in recently. It was a recent FL vendors "rebuild" and pretty bad. The owner told me the steering feel was all over the road. With a correctly built box there should be no play in the box on center, it should be snug and smooth full travel.

I found there was 1 in/lb preload- which is nothing, the high lash was 2 in/lb- bad, there was end and side play in the shaft, and still had the original parts inside. However, new seals were installed and a new end plug! They added Mobil 1 grease but never removed the old acidic sludge that was in the box for years. It was nothing more than a worn out core a box that should not have been sold. In fact, it was an exchange box so the original box was probably in better shape.

All the above I can correct and this type of work is now more common than ever before. Buyer beware.

The odd thing with this box was once I got it cleaned up and new end bearings installed I had a very choppy preload which is no good. Sometimes the bearings can be damaged installing, not too common but I have done it. So I replaced the bearings again and still had the same issue. Next I swapped in a new worm and still had the problem! I found a problem with the plug end race bore, probably from day one. I corrected it and the preload was smooth as a clock.

As mentioned this was most likely a bad bore from day one that should have been rejected and corrected but it got by. When the rebuilder "worked" on the box they may or maynot have noticed it. If they setup the preload as is should be then you can't miss it., if they saw the problem and didn't address it -well that is what I think happened and the car was all over the road.

It's fixed and blueprinted now, better then it ever was.:thumbsup:
 

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Gary Rules!

I'll be sending you my steering box soon. I can't wait to feel the difference in steering. :thumbsup:

:cheers: Les
 

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Discussion Starter · #110 ·
Hi Gary,
Like many others, I saw this post and opened an account to contact you about help with my Vette's Steering Box.
I'll send a PM to follow up.
Hi & Welcome to DC

I will send you a PM

Gary
 

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I feel your pain. I put a rebuilt steering gear box in a 67 Toronado...... it wouldn't steer. Pulled the box and raised the cover, the piston was 90 degrees out. Yep, the gears that engage the pitman shaft were pointing straight up (photo below).

Don't ask me how that one got through their rebuild process. It wouldn't even turn the shaft. :nuts:

Buyer beware is totally correct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #113 · (Edited)
I feel your pain. I put a rebuilt steering gear box in a 67 Toronado...... it wouldn't steer. Pulled the box and raised the cover, the piston was 90 degrees out. Yep, the gears that engage the pitman shaft were pointing straight up (photo below).

Don't ask me how that one got through their rebuild process. It wouldn't even turn the shaft. :nuts:

Buyer beware is totally correct.
While I can't comment on non corvette boxes, I don't work on any other model, I can say the quality of "rebuilt" vette boxes has gone down a lot in recent years. I am seeing more vendor boxes coming my way. Rebuilders are not going through them - at least not the boxes that were sent to me as rebuilt. Many used boxes have worn out gears, if you are a rebuilder you should know good from bad which leads me to say they are either idiots or crooks ....maybe both. This has caused the aftermarket box business to explode with "jeep" boxes and racks. I am willing to bet if the owners received a quality built box instead of the junk they were shipped, a good portion would not have looked beyond the Saginaw box. Yes there are some advantages but also some trade offs with those aftermarket setups.
 

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This has caused the aftermarket box business to explode with "jeep" boxes and racks. I am willing to bet if the owners received a quality built box instead of the junk they were shipped, a good portion would not have looked beyond the Saginaw box. Yes there are some advantages but also some trade offs with those aftermarket setups.

I've been with Gary on this for a long time. I'm just as vocal about it too. I've had some unique experience with each type. First, I've had three C3s with varying degrees of worn out boxes. My current '77 has an amazingly tight stock box and while I rebuilt the assist valve, the steering is everything I want it to be with a slightly smaller diameter steering wheel.

My other two C3s were somewhat more worn, one more than the other, and a friend's '74 had about the most abysmal steering I've ever felt in a box that was only held together by the dry grease inside.

In that same '74, we installed Steeroids. Huge improvement for him in that car, but to me, compared to my '77, the steering was now too loose and the ratio was too fast and at high speeds it felt almost as squirrely as his worn box.

Finally, I had the opportunity to drive a C3 that had the Jeep box installed. It was fine in the way it felt, again, a little too fast, but the biggest issue I saw was an amazing amount of frame flex when the wheels were being turned while sitting still. I know that's not a problem that would be experienced a lot but when I look at zero frame flex with the standard steering and a lot of flex from a frame box only, that tells me it'll eventually lead to cracks and frame failure.

Unless I don't have other options, I will always choose the stock steering system in these C3s.
 

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Gary, I'm not near as qualified as you are to speak on gear boxes but I have rebuilt a number of them from quite a few different vintage cars (including Corvettes) over the years. What I have learned is that the Saginaw functional internals are mostly all the same. Exterior configurations are of course different, four wheel drives have larger pitman shafts, on some the piston is turned to the left side but the overall guts are very much the same.

IMHO you would be surprisingly comfortable rebuilding just about any of the vintage Saginaw gear boxes.
 

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okay, now i'm confused, please pardon my ignorance.

is the Borgeson power steering box a version of the Jeep box?
 

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Discussion Starter · #117 ·
Gary, I'm not near as qualified as you are to speak on gear boxes but I have rebuilt a number of them from quite a few different vintage cars (including Corvettes) over the years. What I have learned is that the Saginaw functional internals are mostly all the same. Exterior configurations are of course different, four wheel drives have larger pitman shafts, on some the piston is turned to the left side but the overall guts are very much the same.

IMHO you would be surprisingly comfortable rebuilding just about any of the vintage Saginaw gear boxes.
Yes I could take on the other models and do get calls for them because there just are not a lot of real quality builders out there these days but I stick with only the vettes. The boxes are similar but the parts are different and the vette is the same box for both manual and PS, the others used different boxes for each.
 

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Discussion Starter · #118 ·
okay, now i'm confused, please pardon my ignorance.

is the Borgeson power steering box a version of the Jeep box?
I generally refrain from naming vendors online unless they are producing a dangerous product, and those are out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #119 ·
I've been with Gary on this for a long time. I'm just as vocal about it too. I've had some unique experience with each type. First, I've had three C3s with varying degrees of worn out boxes. My current '77 has an amazingly tight stock box and while I rebuilt the assist valve, the steering is everything I want it to be with a slightly smaller diameter steering wheel.

My other two C3s were somewhat more worn, one more than the other, and a friend's '74 had about the most abysmal steering I've ever felt in a box that was only held together by the dry grease inside.

In that same '74, we installed Steeroids. Huge improvement for him in that car, but to me, compared to my '77, the steering was now too loose and the ratio was too fast and at high speeds it felt almost as squirrely as his worn box.

Finally, I had the opportunity to drive a C3 that had the Jeep box installed. It was fine in the way it felt, again, a little too fast, but the biggest issue I saw was an amazing amount of frame flex when the wheels were being turned while sitting still. I know that's not a problem that would be experienced a lot but when I look at zero frame flex with the standard steering and a lot of flex from a frame box only, that tells me it'll eventually lead to cracks and frame failure.

Unless I don't have other options, I will always choose the stock steering system in these C3s.
The complaint I have heard was they were too sensitive at speed. One guy in came one Saturday had a C3 with every catalog upgrade on it. He just purchased it and the owner lost big time on all those upgrades. I asked how it liked the car and said it caught him by surprise at 80 mph with the faster ratio. I personally like the stock 16:1 steering in these cars and never had any issues with them. True I am not racing the car but that is a different situation altogether.

The 63 Gran Sports had a faster ration, as I outlined last year when I blueprinted one of the five cars boxes and diff.
 

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OK So only my second wandering into a steering box and not nearly as succesful as my first

Helping a friend out with a box from a 76 basket case (literally, project someone started and walked away from, everything is in boxes and milk crates)

Box felt like it was full of tar, smooth but stiff and sluggish, took off the cover and it was just bunged full of thickened goop (?) Basically cleaned and installed a new "kit" (seals etc)

Gears all looked pretty clean with no real etching and nothing visually leaping out as a excessively worn.

When I set the preload and then the lash as suggested, there is still about 3 turns showing on the screw above the lock nut. Everything turns nice and smooth on the bench from lock to lock but there's a fair amount of play right in the middle. I'm guessing by the time you would get out to the edge of a steering wheel it's probably an 1" either way.

Did I miss something or are the gears just worn badly? Is it safe to bring the adjustment in farther and keep testing for slop vs tight spots in the rest of the travel?
Thanks
 
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