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Tech Question

felix redka, branchton, ON, 1969 plymouth Road Runner 383

I would like to install power steering for easy driving. Are there any model cars that a steering unit can be transferd from or do I have to buy buy new. Thanks. (p.s. – the tech section is one of my faves.)

Felix-

Your question is really more complex than it seems. First of all, you’re asking about a power steering “unit”. But power steering is really a “system”, comprised of quite a few components. So first we need to enumerate them:

  • The hydraulic pump
  • The pump mounting hardware
  • The pump drive belt / pulley setup
  • The hydraulic plumbing
  • The steering gearbox (“chuck”)
  • The steering column and coupling

Most of these parts can be obtained one way or another, but not all can be had “new” without paying a king’s ransom. The pumps, your choice of the Saginaw or Federal style, are widely available rebuilt. The mounting hardware and pulley are sold as reproductions, as are the pressure hoses. You’ll probably be buying used for the steering column, however. Great (better than new) chucks are sold by Firm Feel, Inc (WA) and Steer “n” Gear (OH). There’s wide interchangeability in used ones (see last paragraph for more on this.)

The most cost-effective way to do this is frequently to find a seller who has converted from PS to MS (a much more common swap) and simply buy all his leftovers.

Remember that the pump must fit both the mounting brackets and your engine. I.E., if you get a Federal pump, it must come with (or be fitted with) the correct (approximately) year big block engine brackets. You must also get, if not already so equipped, a crankshaft pulley with the PS drive sheave.

The steering column must also be correct for your shifter system, but can come from any ’68 or ’69 B-body car. (It’s also possible to shorten your column by finagling the inner shaft and breakaway plastic pin, I won’t get into that now).

The coupler housing must have the PS splines, too.

The steering gear arm (“pitman arm”) need not change as long as you use an early small-spline, non-C-body / non B-truck chuck.

Rick

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