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Borgeson/Bergman kit into a '69 Charger

Vintagist

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Hey all, I've gathered quite a bit of information from this forum and I thought I'd at least share some of what I've learned during the latest project I've tackled with this beast of mine.
So I decided to tackle the Borgeson/Bergman steering box conversion. I'm pretty much done with the installation, but haven't put fluid in and gotten the car on the ground yet.
This is a '69 Charger with a 440 (replacing the original 383), auto trans. I've got Hooker Super Comp headers 1 7/8" primaries.
I had placed the front of the car on jackstands (under the subframe).

The removal of the original steering box was the most painful part of the process and it went like this:
1. Removed battery, battery tray, vacuum canister (for Charger headlights), power steering pump and lines; pull the pitman arm from the steering box and from the center link; unbolt the steering box.
2. Prepare to lift the driver's side of engine by: draining coolant and disconnecting lower radiator hose; remove throttle cable and kickdown linkage; remove driver's side motor mount.
3. Raise driver's side of engine.

Now, here's where more difficulties were encountered.
It just wouldn't squeeze past the #1 primary header tube if I tried to go forward, plus the mounting ears were hitting the K-member. It was even worse trying to go aft. I couldn't raise the engine any further --it was hitting the trans tunnel and floorpan.
I thought about pulling the header but after taking measurements, it looked like it wouldn't work unless I pulled the entire head off! So I decided to drop the K-member. That's right. Drop the K-member for clearance. It ended up being the solution that worked and it ended up being much easier than pulling the head -- probably even easier than pulling just the header (if it would've worked anyway).
This entailed:
1. Completely loosening the torsion bar adjustment and pulling the clip behind the bar. I tried to remove the bar, but after failing to do so, decided to proceed with it in place. Worked out fine.
2. Disconnect the upper control arm from the adjustment cams, but leave the ball join alone.
3. Disconnect upper shock mount. Leave the lower alone.
4. Remove both the driver's side K-member bolts.
5. Loosen, but don't remove the passenger side bolts. I pulled them out, but threaded them back in about 3 turns.
At this point I had a floor jack supporting the K-member so it wouldn't just drop. I was then able to slowly lower it and it came down about 3 inches, which allowed me to remove the steering box forward past the #1 header tube and out where the battery tray was.
I didn't have to mess with removing the torsion bar, the ball joints or the lower shock mount. Fortunately I didn't hit any snags reversing the process to get everything back in place.
The next obstacle had nothing to do with the preceding steps (there had to be more obstacles, right?)
Understand that I brought this upon myself: I decided to go with the larger sector shaft (1 1/4" vs the stock 1 1/8") for a variety of reasons. But using a '74-and-later pitman arm didn't work as I believed it should. The problem is that it doesn't have the amount of drop that I needed to clear my headers; and the ball-joint end of the pitman arm is of a larger diameter than the hole vacated by the old one.
IMG_3675[1].JPG

Fortunately I got one on ebay from R. Ehrenberg's store under "Spline Size Fix" pitman arm.
It's got the large sector splines, the small ball-joint end and the correct drop!

IMG_3674[1].JPG

The top arm is the original, the bottom is the new "Spline Size Fix" unit, and the bottom one is a '74 unit. Note the reduced drop on the last one.

Following are some pictues of the installed box with the headers in place and plenty of clearance. I honestly think I could pull the box out with only the pump and battery tray being removed.
The offset from the steering shaft is also noticeable, but I've noticed no binding whatsoever. As it sits with the front wheels off the gound I can turn the wheels in both directions by turning the coupler with my bare hands!
IMG_3683[1].JPG
Above, you can see that header tube#1 descends past the box instead of having to go all the way toward the firewall, as some others do. There is no contact between the exhaust and the steering box. I can fit a finger between the two at their closest points.
IMG_3689[1].JPG

I had the coupler closed up, but the cap came off during the installation. It worked out fine anyway since I wanted to check how far down the "shoes" were in the coupler to verify it wasn't bottomed out -- or going to back out the aft end either.

That's as far as I've gotten, but in the next few days it should be on the ground. Looking forward to trying it out! IMG_3688[1].JPG
 
The offset on my gtx was the same as well. After looking at some others though, i realised it seemed to be the norm.
 
I'm attempting the same installation. Your header looks very similar to mine, but I don't know what brand mine are. What is the brand of your headers?

Could you take look at this thread, and tell me if my headers look like yours: https://www.forbbodiesonly.com/mopa...-on-k-frame-fail-what-to-do-now.190387/page-2

My header will not clear the Borgeson box on a 1971 Charger, but looks like it would clear the box if mounted on your 1969 Charger. It appears that the engine is further forward in relation to the K-Frame steering box mounting surface on 3rd gen compared to 2nd gen Chargers. Your photos show plenty of clearance that I don't have.

To remove the stock box, which cleared my header, I just had to loosen the lower control arm shaft nut, remove the torsion bar and slide it back out of the way. Disconnect and swing the tie-rod out of the way. Then unbolt the header at the head and collector. And remove the starter. I did not have to unbolt the motor mount or raise the engine. Didn't have to unbolt the K-Frame or anything else either. Though due to do a bunch of other problems, my installation is not finished and has taken an eternity.
 
MoparGuy68, I read your thread. What a heartbreaking story, and I hope it works out.
My headers are Hooker Super Comps. There is a plate welded to them that says so. I noticed yours also has the #1 primary tube coming down at a similar angle, but apparently not exactly the same if it’s hitting. Mine also seems to have longer primaries since they snake around more near the bottom, so they’re probably not the same brand.
As I mentioned, taking the header off wouldn’t have worked for me unless I pulled the head also since the old box was wrapped in tubes. A least you got it out but now the header issue won’t let you complete the install without changing the exhaust around.
 
MoparGuy68, I read your thread. What a heartbreaking story, and I hope it works out.
My headers are Hooker Super Comps. There is a plate welded to them that says so. I noticed yours also has the #1 primary tube coming down at a similar angle, but apparently not exactly the same if it’s hitting. Mine also seems to have longer primaries since they snake around more near the bottom, so they’re probably not the same brand.

Mopar Guy's car technically shouldn't be that different but in his car, the engine looks to be further forward OR the steering box is further back. This is strange because the 66-72 B uses a similar K member in terms of fitment. I wonder if Mopar Guy's car somehow had a prior owner that installed the engine with the motor mounts on the block wrong, moving the engine forward. Look at the OPs setup: Just like my '70 Charger, the #1 header tube is almost in line with the vertical sector shaft of the steering box. With Mopar Guy's '71 Charger, the steering shaft is between #1 and #3 tubes...strange.
 
Mopar Guy, is that a 383? 440? I’m wondering if being a B vs RB could explain the difference in header position due to deck height.
Of course nothing could be done about it but it may explain the clearance issue.
 
My engine is a 383 Magnum, matching to the car’s VIN. Motor mounts look normal to me, but I’m no big block expert. I could take some photos of the mounts and post them.

Prior to this car my Mopars were all small block A & E Bodies (273, 318 & 340), and I had them 20 to 34 years ago. This is the first big block car I’ve ever owned.

Was without a vintage muscle era car for two decades. Don’t remember having this many problems with any of my small block Mopars years ago. None of those cars ever got me as upset as this car has. The steering box thing is just the first of several problems I need to fix on this car. This car was a 100% nostalgic purchase. Being a 71 model with the same build/birth date as my old Challenger, and not costing a fortune, is what motivated me to buy it. If I knew what I know about it now, I probably would have passed on it.

What I am thankful for is after crawling underneath it every weekend for the past two months, it hasn’t fallen off the jack stands and killed me.. US Jack makes some good sturdy stands! Almost 9 weeks on the stands now..
 
God how stressful! I think I'm just going to go with the Firm Feel box! Thanks for posting, though OP...
 
My engine is a 383 Magnum, matching to the car’s VIN. Motor mounts look normal to me, but I’m no big block expert. I could take some photos of the mounts and post them.

Prior to this car my Mopars were all small block A & E Bodies (273, 318 & 340), and I had them 20 to 34 years ago. This is the first big block car I’ve ever owned.

Was without a vintage muscle era car for two decades. Don’t remember having this many problems with any of my small block Mopars years ago. None of those cars ever got me as upset as this car has. The steering box thing is just the first of several problems I need to fix on this car. This car was a 100% nostalgic purchase. Being a 71 model with the same build/birth date as my old Challenger, and not costing a fortune, is what motivated me to buy it. If I knew what I know about it now, I probably would have passed on it.

What I am thankful for is after crawling underneath it every weekend for the past two months, it hasn’t fallen off the jack stands and killed me.. US Jack makes some good sturdy stands! Almost 9 weeks on the stands now..

If the trans mount is in the correct position and the engine & trans are bolted together correctly then the chances of the engine being too far forward seem pretty slim.
I’ve never worked on post ‘69 B bodies so I can’t say how things are laid out in them.
 
MoparGuy68; Please don't blame the car. Mopar never figured that anyone would want to install an aftermarket steering box in their car. I'm sure that if you'd have gone with a FirmFeel or Steer & Gear revalved stock unit you'd be looking cool cruising down the road... Wish I could help you with a solution.
 
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