73 B-Body steering column shaft on Borgeson steering gear

Brakes, Steering & Suspension

  1. BB_MUC

    BB_MUC Member

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    Hi,
    I need some help with my project. I am in Germany and don't have the mopar experience of you guys, nor the junk yards and parts supply to experiment myself....

    My 73 Charger has an exhaust clearance problem, after fixing the rear trans mount, the engine moved a few millimeter towards the driver side and the cast iron exhaust manifold (casting# 2861861, probably not the correct part) now hits the stock steering coupler (the "pot type" coupler, not the hockey puck rag joint, don't have that). I would need the uppper edge of the coupler sitting about 1/2 inch lower towards the box to clear the exhaust.

    As the steering gear is anyway worn out and puking oil, I plan to put the Borgeson steering gear in http://www.borgeson.com/xcart/product.php?productid=1748&cat=148&page=1 . Done a lot of research (pitman arms, hydraulic fittings, etc.) and have the following issue:

    If I take the Bergman coupler https://bergmanautocraft.com/product/direct-fit-steering-coupler/ to avoid cutting the steering shaft, I don't solve my clearance problem as the Bergman coupler seems to be extended downwards where it mates the steering gear. That means, the upper part of the coupler is in the same position like factory and will still hit the exhaust.

    If I use the Borgeson Mopar coupler http://www.borgeson.com/xcart/product.php?productid=1724 , then I will have to cut and drill my stock steering shaft.
    As this is non reversible, I absolutely hate to do it.

    Besides, my guts feeling is that the mounting method (coupler to round shaft) with 3 drilled holes and roll pins might be a bit weak. I am sure that Borgeson knows well what they are doing, but if you ever had to manueuvre that car into a parking with a dead engine like I did, you know which extreme force at the steering wheel is required to get the wheels turning, even while the car is pushed and moving.

    Now my question:

    The factory column shaft has a collapsible design and from the drawings it seems the connection between both parts of the shaft is a DD shaped section. Which size is it? Is it possible to replace the lower part of the shaft with a (1" DD tube + 3/4" DD shaft) combination http://www.borgeson.com/xcart/product.php?productid=994&cat=4&page=1 that is cut to length. It would save that original lower part from being cut and I would keep it in a safe place for a possible change back to factory setup?

    The DD tube would slide over the upper part of the original shaft and the DD solid shaft mounts to the coupler which sits on the steering box.

    It could prevent my original shaft from being cut, get the clearance to the exhaust and have peace of mind as I believe the DD connections seem to hold more force than the 3 rollpins which I am afraid to shear off.

    Stupid idea? How would you solve it? Use the Bergman coupler and shim the box on the K-member to an angle to clear the exhaust?

    Sorry, for the long text, wanted to be as clear as possible, and thanks in advance for your help!
    Bernhard.
     
  2. MoparGuy68

    MoparGuy68 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like your exhaust manifold is the problem..

    I have installed the Borgeson steering box and Bergman coupler on my car, a 71 Charger, just recently. The car had headers on it before the install, which did not clear the Borgeson box. I am installing a pair of factory HP manifolds instead. My driver side manifold clears the coupler and the steering shaft.

    I cannot locate your manifold part #2861861 on the net. Is this a non-HP manifold? Sounds like it might be for a 2-bbl non-high performance engine. My driver manifold is part #2843992, passenger side is #2806900. My particular manifolds were manufactured in 1968. You should be able to use any HP big block manifolds that were made from 1968 to 1972, maybe even later. You don't want the log style that hangs down, you want the HP style that goes upwards.

    See my photos. Had my manifolds sandblasted and ceramic coated using Cerakote Titanium. Long story, but they were originally coated Blue Titanium, and I had to have them redone. They didn't re-coat the insides so that is why they are still blue inside, which will turn black anyway from carbon once they get used.

    I also included a photo of the old rusty headers that wouldn't clear the Borgeson box. The manifolds now look much nicer than the old headers..

    IMG_2419.jpg IMG_2421.jpg
     
  3. BB_MUC

    BB_MUC Member

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    Hi, many thanks for your thoughts.

    You are right, I incorrectly read the casting number, sorry. On my particular piece it is quite hard to distinguish between 5, 6, 8 and 9 with the character set they used. I verified that #2951861-4 should be correct. This one here in the photo looks like mine. It has the output flange between cylinders #5 and #7 while yours seem to have it even behind #7

    Manifold_2951861.jpg

    Your manifolds look great. It seems that my vague idea about the manifold being incorrect is true.
    Maybe I should get your kind of headers and keep the steering as it is.

    Just I hate to redo the exhaust downpipe. Plus I noticed they modified the engine mounts on the K member when they did the big block retrofit. I am afraid of other clearance issues arising from that.
    It is a bit diffcult to get reasonalby priced parts here in Germany for some try and error. Ordering in the US costs a fortune in shipping.

    Do you have an idea about which downpipe would fit a stock 73 charger 440 on the driver side using manifold type (#2843992)?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  4. MoparGuy68

    MoparGuy68 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the output flange on the driver side HP manifold is aft of plug 7.

    I need head pipes (down pipes) for my car. That is another problem to solve before I can get it running. I looked at the Big Block Mopar set offered by Magnaflow, but read too many reviews about them NOT properly matching the clocking of these HP manifolds. The different HP manifolds have different clockings too.

    I bought manifold flanges from Mancini Racing (i think it was) and will probably be having a muffler shop custom fabricate head pipes, welding the flanges I bought onto the pipes at the required clocking (whatever that ends up being). I'm using the existing 2.5 inch exhaust on the car, mid pipes all the way back to the machine gun tips. I'm sure the custom head pipes made at a muffler shop will have to be pressure bent. The existing pipes are all pressure bent, so doesn't seem like using mandrel bent head pipes would be that beneficial with pressure bent mid and tail pipes.

    I've attached photos of my driver side manifold before it was sandblasted and ceramic coated. This manifold will not interfere with your coupler or gearbox.

    IMG_2431.jpg IMG_2441.jpg IMG_1739.jpg IMG_1740.jpg
     
  5. BB_MUC

    BB_MUC Member

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    Hi MoparGuy68,
    thanks! You pointed me in the right direction with the hint about the exhaust manifolds.
    I got hold of some used HP manifolds, interestingly with the same casting numbers like yours.
    Will install the Borgeson steering box and the Bergman Mopar coupler. And then weld up some exhaust downpipe to get her running for the summer asap.
     
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