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.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.
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.
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.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.
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.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.