Retrofit steering column

Suspension, steering, brakes, wheels & tires

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Retrofit steering column

Postby Cowboysculptor » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:58 am

Hey guys!

I've been lurking on here ever since I bought a 1969 Ranger with a 360 and c6 transmission about two months ago. So far the work has been going well on it, but I have a question:

The steering column on this truck needs to be replaced. As far as I can tell there are no bearings in it AT ALL (the shaft sort of rattles around in the tube), and also where the collar is supposed to be, below the steering wheel, the tube is all torn up from a column-to-floor shift conversion. I should also mention that the truck has a Bendix power steering box.

I've been searching to find the dimensions for an aftermarket column, hot rod style, but I'm a bit confused as to the length. After some searching, I found comments saying that the length should be just shy of 35", but when I got in and measured myself, I got 4" on one side of the fire wall and 24" on the other. Unless that fire wall is 7" thick, this doesn't add up. Can anybody confirm a length for me?thanks for any help I can get.

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sargentrs
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Re: Retrofit steering column

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:29 am

Which length? The shaft or the tube? From the bottom of the steering wheel to the end of the shaft? Length is relative to the steering setup. PS vs non-PS, Saginaw vs Bendix, 2wd vs 4wd, automatic vs manual. You can't just say the steering column is X inches long. Your best gauge is to measure from the inside of the firewall to the back of the steering wheel and then from the outside of the firewall to the shaft on the steering gear box then subtract a little for free play and installation. You should be able to adjust everything 1/4"-1/2" once installed. Here's a good article that references some key dimensions. http://www.fordification.com/tech/steering-column.htm
Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: Retrofit steering column

Postby Cowboysculptor » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:54 am

Thanks for the reply. I saw the article you linked, that's the one that gave me confusing dimensions. The measurements I took before and after the fire wall total about 28" when measured in exactly the way you described. The article shows more like 35".

I tried to cover the details you asked about it my original post: c6 (automatic) tranny, Bendix PS, I forgot to mention 2wd. I take your point about tube vs. shaft length, it's just that I usually only see one length given, both in articles and on products for sale. Which length should I be looking at? There are only a couple more inches of shaft beyond the tube on my column.

Something else I forgot to mention: I've been rebuilding motorcycles for a while now, but this is my first cager project. I have a little bit of a learning curve ahead of me. I appreciate all the help you guys can offer.

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Re: Retrofit steering column

Postby Cowboysculptor » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:52 am

Here's a helpful page I found during my search: https://www.ididitinc.com/files/pdf/how ... column.pdf

It doesn't explain why my measurements are so far off from the ones in the other page that was linked, but it does give a good basis for making your own measurements in a custom application.

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Re: Retrofit steering column

Postby sargentrs » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:06 am

The dimensions in the tech article are in regard to the steering shaft. They refer to the length of the part from the round plate on the bottom, which bolts to the rag joint, to the tip at the threads on the top, which is under the steering wheel horn button. I've marked up the length referred to in this photo. The top one is a PS column shift, the bottom is a non-PS floor shift column, I think. Not sure if either is Saginaw or Bendix though.
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Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: Retrofit steering column

Postby Cowboysculptor » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:50 am

Thanks, Sargentrs, that explains a lot. By the way, do you happen to know if the rag joint end of the shaft is a dd end, splined, or just a round end that bolts in place? I found a steering column that may work, but it has a 1" shaft with a u joint set up to fit a 3/4" dd shaft on the PS box.

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Re: Retrofit steering column

Postby Cowboysculptor » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:38 am

Or, would it be possible to use a steering column with a 1" shaft and switch out the rag joint? I found many different rag joints, such as this: http://m.ebay.com/itm/POWER-STEERING-3- ... iid%253A13

Does anybody know the shaft diameter and splines for the Bendix PS box?

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Re: Retrofit steering column

Postby sargentrs » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:00 am

The bottom end of the shaft is adaptable but the top end is not unless you go with an aftermarket steering wheel. The steering wheel is set up for the stock 3/4" shaft so switching to a 1" will cause you problems mounting the steering wheel. The rag joint end of the steering shaft is splined and swedged after the plate is pressed on. Looking at the end with the plate on it, you'll see an indentation/cavity in the center of the shaft. The shaft protrudes through the plate a little and then Ford used some kind of tool to expand the end of the shaft. Those plates are a bear to get off. To remove mine, I used a pipe welded to a heavy bench, slid the shaft through the pipe, heated the plate cherry red and then slammed the shaft through the pipe. Must've taken 10 passes at it before the plate popped off. My plate was worn out and I had a worn out shaft with a good plate. To put it back on, I had to grind the end of the shaft, press the plate back on the splines and then welded it for security. No reason to think you can't swap out rag joints and shafts, just maintain the length you need and the upper spline and thread for the steering wheel. A lot of people have done the CV swap and used Borgenson style or other U-joint configurations for the steering shaft. Space is at a premium between the steering box and the firewall though so you'll have to keep it compact. You could switch to a U-joint configuration however, the rag joint serves the dual purpose of flexibility and vibration dampening so you'd have to go with a vibration damper style like this Might contact Borgeson and tell them your application http://www.borgeson.com/xcart/catalog/S ... -c-17.html. Might contact Borgeson and tell them your application. The only real difference between the '71+ shaft and the '70- shaft is the length of the threads where the steering wheel presses on. Robroy wrote up a great article detailing the difference and adapting a 3 spoke steering wheel to his '72 viewtopic.php?t=35113 (Thanks Robroy!)
Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: Retrofit steering column

Postby sargentrs » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:13 am

Btw, in case you haven't dissected your column yet, here's something I wrote up that might give you so more insight. viewtopic.php?t=72274
Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: Retrofit steering column

Postby Cowboysculptor » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:11 am

Thanks for all the information! The stock column I have is pretty torn up, so a rebuild isn't an option. And I already have an aftermarket steering wheel, so if I go with a 1" shaft I should just have to buy a new adapter.

So it looks to me like a 3/4" 36 spline rag joint should fit the shaft of the ps box. If anybody knows otherwise, give a shout. I'll be posting more as I get this build underway.

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Re: Retrofit steering column

Postby sargentrs » Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:33 am

Looking forward to your updates. This could help a lot of others in the future. Thanks!
Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.


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