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Steering upgrades....some ideas that I'm kicking around.

Kern Dog

Life is full of turns. Build your car to handle.
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I just got back from an almost 900 mile road trip and just like every other time I've spent a few days in the car, I come away thinking of how I can make the car better.
Mechanically, the car performed fine. No breakdowns and it was reasonably comfortable.
Road noise is the biggest complaint and I'm chewing on a few ideas on how to reduce that.
The steering system could use some improvement.
I have a Firm Feel Stage 3 power steering unit rebuilt in 2003 along with Fast Ratio Idler and Pitman arms. It is about 2 3/4 turns lock to lock. Like all of these Mopar steering boxes, there is that dreaded on center slop from the 11:00 to 1:00 position. The higher effort of the Stage 3 rebuild and the F/R arms makes the slop even more noticeable. Once I'm past the slop, the steering feels fine. The steering in Jigsaw feels different. It is an original unit, never rebuilt but also has the Fast Ratio arms. Whatever slop that is there just blends in with the easy effort to turn the wheel.
I am considering a change to the Bergman kit with the Borgeson steering unit. Everyone that I have read from claims that it steers like a new car and the on center slop is gone. That would really be nice.

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Another change that I have in mind is a tilt steering column.
I have 2 columns from mid 70s Chrysler Cordoba models. These are built by Saginaw and very similar to GM steering columns. Years ago I modified one to fit in my 74 Duster:

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Unlike most newer cars, the old style tilt wheel columns had a great range of movement with several settings to choose from. New cars with air bags have a limited range.

The wiring is one small hurdle. The key would need to be matched to the door locks. I'd need to find a locksmith that could reset the tumblers in the door locks to match the column.
 
Do some research on how a stock box works. That slop you feel is the part where it tells it to apply power assist. I don't think there's any way around it. You're thinking manual sports car tight.
 
I’ve found a lot of improvement changing the steering shaft coupler from stock to the borgenson u-joint style. Borgenson Link There is always a bunch of play there that can be eliminated and the borgenson feels way more connected. I’ve done it on a few trucks and it was we’ll worth it.
 
I can look at the steering coupler turning and the Pitman arm sitting still. The coupler was rebuilt with new parts a few years ago.

I have adjusted this one a few times and it seems that I am at the end of the range of adjustment. Any more and the steering feels bound up.
 
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I have adjusted steering boxes in the past to tighten up the slop. There is a proper procedure so be careful if you decide to mess with it. When I was younger and more careless, I just turned screws till the gear box on my truck felt good. Too much and the steering got to tight.
 
On my 67 coronet manual steering box I had the same center slop you described, I noticed if I grabbed the steering column shaft. I could turn it about 1/4 inch in both directions before the coupler would move. Found the shoes inside the coupler were installed wrong. Re-installed them in correct position and all the slop was gone.

I have a borgeson box in my 71 RR. Stock pitman arm. Love it. If you go that route, go to bergman autocraft they sell complete kits and have a coupling so you wont need to cut the steering column shaft.

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Mopar door locks are super easy to re-key.

You may need a spare lock cylinder or two to get all the proper length pins, though.
 
Mopar door locks are super easy to re-key.

You may need a spare lock cylinder or two to get all the proper length pins, though.
I have several from all the cars that I have parted out over the years.
Thank you.
 
I like to use an egg carton to keep all the pins in order as I remove them.

Then you can visually analyze them and trial/error one at a time until you get all of them working.

I've started building a new kit for this and am using a monthly pill minder to sort and store pins.

I've found about 99% of the time three pin sets from the original cut will work with the new key.
That 4th pin set is about 60%, and the fifth almost never works, hence the need for a supply of additional pins.
 
Yes, Call Peter at Bergman... The Stock boxes were junk 50 years ago..
 
I guess I'm pretty lucky w my '67 Coronet. P/S and stage 2 Firmfeel. No slop anywhere. Only complaint is it doesn't come back to center super easy n tracks on the smallest irregularities on the road. Can't get more adjustment out of the front end so will eventually be going to different upper control arms.
 
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I have adjusted steering boxes in the past to tighten up the slop. There is a proper procedure so be careful if you decide to mess with it. When I was younger and more careless, I just turned screws till the gear box on my truck felt good. Too much and the steering got to tight.
When I had futzed with steering boxes back when it was a catch-22. Get rid of some of the slop; but then lose the auto return on the wheel having to move the wheel straight. The FFII box has been fine on my ’63 like night & day and no wandering. Its only been 3 years and 3,000 miles so not sure how long before wear can start slopping it up. Odd thing is had to replace the pitman as the center link started playing the violin on the left header, a slight canted span left to right. All I did was order a stock pitman from a member on the forum who sells them and it provided the clearance – thing is have no clue why the old arm became a problem. Old age maybe..
 
I guess I'm pretty lucky w my '67 Coronet. P/S and stage 2 Firmfeel. No slop anywhere. Only complaint is it doesn't come back to center super easy n tracks on the smallest irregularities on the road. Can't get more adjustment out of the front end so will eventually be going to different lower control arms.

Is your caster set correctly?

You're not running bias ply tires are you?
 
Is your caster set correctly?

You're not running bias ply tires are you?
Radials and all alignment is correct. No binding or anything. It's just the factory UCA's don't allow enough adjustment. That is why there are aftermarket that allow more.
 
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With the weight on the tyres and the engine off you should be able to see if the coupler has any slop.
The control valve design in the stock steering box will always give a little bit of radial "slop" - it is just the way they are.
The shaft also moves in and out a little which is why the designers have made the coupler design the way they do.
I have gone to the Borgeson box in my Challenger.
 
It's just the factory LCA's don't allow enough adjustment. That is why there are aftermarket that allow more.
Im guessing that you mean the UCAs, “upper” since there is no adjustment in the lowers.
 
I don't know? Everything was rebuilt on mine and a reman gearbox put in and it's fine.. nice and tight. The biggest improvement I found was getting a good alignment guy to align it, first guy aligned it twice and screwed it up big time! It felt sloppy even though it wasn't because you had to steer it all the time and took a fair amount of movement at the wheel before it turned. I found a guy that knows his stuff and now it doesn't even feel like the same car. Guess I'd have to pay a lot of attention to see if there's any slop but if there is it isn't enough that I notice.
 
I don't know? Everything was rebuilt on mine and a reman gearbox put in and it's fine.. nice and tight. The biggest improvement I found was getting a good alignment guy to align it, first guy aligned it twice and screwed it up big time! It felt sloppy even though it wasn't because you had to steer it all the time and took a fair amount of movement at the wheel before it turned. I found a guy that knows his stuff and now it doesn't even feel like the same car. Guess I'd have to pay a lot of attention to see if there's any slop but if there is it isn't enough that I notice.
Yeah, after the modifications OEM alignment spec’s are off; found this after the 1st shop aligned it, all they knew was matching the orig specs..
 
Boxing the power steering mounting bracket on the K frame will also firm up the steering; although welding might not be feasible with the K frame installed.
When restoring the Coronet I used scrap steel pieces and boxed in the bracket prior to painting.
 
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