Swapping a Borgeson steering box in a 1970 Charger

moparmarks

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Yep that is the later Saginaw reservoir. Here is the 70-74 reservoir. Same pump though.
upload_2022-5-27_16-56-34.jpeg
 

Kern Dog

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That is interesting how the pump is the same but has a different reservoir housing. It seems like from memory, the attachment points are similar if not identical for many years.
I have several Saginaw pumps from cars I parted out. They rarely seem to go bad.
 

moparmarks

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Ya they are a great pump. That is why I have them on several cars and trucks. Getting harder to find the early reservoirs though.
 

autoxcuda

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check for rust and pits inside the can where it slides over the big O-ring on the pump. If rusty and pitted it will make a bad seal and can leak. You can also bang out any dents in the reservoir can with it off.
 
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Kern Dog

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I never noticed any leaks from it.
I did clean out the rust and rinsed it out.....All better now.
Borg 98.jpg


I went to a Chevy dealer to get this:

Borg 99.jpg
 

ckessel

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Greg, did you wear a mask on your face so you wouldn't be recognized going into a Chevy dealer?:lol:
 

Kern Dog

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For a big holiday weekend, there were hardly any people around. I was surprised to find it so barren in there.

It has been suggested to get an alignment after the installation.
Pffft!
What could possibly change? Toe? The caster and camber wouldn't change.
For years, with all of the cars I screwed back together, I've had great luck with making adjustments, test driving and then making more adjustments. That was on cars like these:

Dart 3.JPG


IMG_2817.JPG


Dart H.jpg


IMG_3847.JPG


None of those cars had expensive tires though!

Another thought....I went from the longer "Fast Ratio" arms to the shorter stock ones so the toe is likely to go IN a slight amount.
Back when I installed the F/R arms, I went to my trusted alignment shop. The man put it on the rack and said...."Well, you're at approximately 1/8" toe out which actually can help with autocross and turn in".
No charge!
He may have been right but the trade-off for that is some wandering on imperfect roads. The car did sometimes want to follow ruts but I attributed that to the 275 series tires. It could be a combination of things. Maybe with zero toe or 1/8" in, the car will track better? Certainly the lack of numb on center steering will help with that as well.

I am almost done. I had a snag while installing the column yesterday. Mary was busy so I did it myself. I put a box on the seat so the steering wheel would sit up closer to the final position. With the column close to where it would finally sit, the coupler was still 1 1/2" from the splines.
I thought the coupler was long enough given that the Borgeson spline adapter was welded to the end of it.
I slowly pulled the coupler to the splines in a somewhat cramped space....Power booster and headers as obstacles of course.
With the coupler on the first set of splines, I could see the shoes of the coupler starting to come out from the end. Yeah, the column was too short. The 1967 and later cars had a "shaft within a shaft" type of collapsible design which has the drawback of compressing and making the column shorter. I took a pipe wrench to the shaft and tapped up from the underside with the column stood up on end. This extended the column to reveal an unpainted section of the shaft. I don't know if the length is right though. I'll compare it to the column in Jigsaw....
 

68 Sport Satellite

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Bergman/Borgeson make no mention of year specific columns affecting mounting length? I'm surprised you had to do that.

If you tapped that steering shaft, that means it broke the internal connection, thus making it no longer a collapsible safety feature, correct?
 

Kern Dog

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The shaft within a shaft connection is supposed to be held in position by plastic pins that are expected to shear upon a frontal impact. Age can do this as well, the plastic just gets brittle. I don't foresee any trouble. The shafts will still slide and the column will remain intact with the steering box trapping it on the engine side. In a worst case scenario, the steering wheel and shaft could pull out. There is plenty of tension when extending the shaft though. I am not concerned.
A buddy of mine converted his power column to a manual by the same manner that I did: Tapping out on the shaft. I don't know how much overlap these shafts have but he extended his and added a manual coupler. His car worked fine and it was a no cost fix compared to the $200 for the power-to-manual adapter from Firm Feel.

I am going to record some measurements from the firewall to the input shaft of the steering box of both Jigsaw and this car (Ginger).
I'm guessing that the length of this adapter segment was intended to bridge the gap of the smaller Borgeson housing?

Borg 12_LI.jpg



I am now wondering if anyone else had these same concerns.
 

68 Sport Satellite

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Excellent assessment Kern.
Do you have or did you order the wire clamp that goes over the coupler to hold the seal secure? Easier to install on the coupler prior to column install.
 

Kern Dog

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I went out and measured the distance from the column housing to the end of the stock coupler in Jigsaw....

Borg 102.jpg
Borg 103.jpg


10 3/4".
Next, I measured the column for Ginger.

Borg 100.jpg
Borg 101.jpg


11 1/4" I had tapped it out about 1/2" too much. I tapped it back and installed the column. Mary was taking a nap so I went ahead and did it myself. New parts sure do slide together easier than old ones!
I lifted the car up to get the tires in the air then started it up. I made a couple of sweeps left to right then the pump made noise that it was low. I topped it off. This took almost 1 full quart to fill with the pump, lines and box empty.
On the ground, it was immediately evident how much easier it is to steer. The Firm Feel and F/R arms made it feel like 16-1 manual steering. On a scale with stock Mopar steering rated at 0 and my old setup at 100, this Borgeson effort comes in around 35 or so. Seriously, I did not expect the steering to feel this easy. I like it though. Manual shift and stiff steering can be annoying sometimes.
As stated by others, yes...the steering response is excellent. No bad manners. Linear feel, equal tension instead of how it was before.
The old setup with the slop had that low effort center that hit a hard edge when the slop was taken up. It reminded me of worn out manual steering where it is easy until it isn't. That is a crappy arrangement. This has even feel throughout. This is what we feel in our daily drivers so it is what feels comfortable. Comfort inspires confidence.
No leaks, no issues. It tracks straight but I do need to center the steering wheel. I can clock the tie rod sleeves or pull the steering wheel and clock the adapter. The tires hit the frame rail before the lower ball joint steering stops touch the LCAs so I have room to work with that.

Here are the approximate costs I had for the build.
Borgeson kit including the steering box, coupler, coupler rebuild kit and hose adapters: $895 shipped.
Paint, ATF4, drill bits and Zerks + Grease $58.
GM P/S fluid $13
$966.
Is it worth it?
That is a relative question. For me it is worth it. I have long felt that this steering box was the Achilles heel of how the car handles. It was like a beautiful woman with horrible breath. $966 buys a LOT of toothpaste though!
 
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OKDart

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Ya they are a great pump. That is why I have them on several cars and trucks. Getting harder to find the early reservoirs though.

Here is a link for a new pump with reservoir, maybe they are reproducing them. There are also several remans listed that includes reservoir for half the price of this one.
I can’t stand the look of the canned ham reservoir, due to the fact they used them on RV’s, trucks, and almost every domestic car in the 70’s and 80’s. It just does not look right on any vehicle from the 50’s or 60’s.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/parts/lares,12094,power+steering+pump,7380
 

68 Sport Satellite

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"a beautiful woman with horrible breath" - haha you crack me up! Trouble is - I've actually dated a few girls like that:)

On the 0-100 scale it's about a 35? Wow, that surprises me. Bergman had said it's in between FF Stage 2 and 3 without Fast Ratio arms, but he also said it wasn't as responsive as his Acura and more like his Ford F150. Do you think it feels more responsive than an F150 steering? I've driven my dad's 10 yr old F150 and that thing is numb with no feel. I think I'm hearing that your feedback is with your 18" wheels and this box it's way better than that, but much easier than you expected as well.

You sure made fast work of this. I need to pay you a visit and we can drive my FF stage 2 with stock arms back to back with your car. I think this swap is now on my list. Unfortunately, I don't have the kind of garage space you do. My car barely fits inside and not much room to work.
 

Kern Dog

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I could have worked faster if I ram-rodded straight through. I used to do marathon like sessions when I had friends nearby. They have slowly faded away and I'm not quite as driven as I used to be.
I need more seat time to give a better review on the feel. I have a 2007 Ram 1500 2wd. The Wife has a 2003 Honda CRV and a 2015 Challenger R/T, all have rack and pinion steering. The Challenger and truck actually steer quite well. The Charger does feel great but not as precise. Maybe an alignment can close the gap OR it is the best that it can be at the current state.
Either way, I am pleased.
I don't recall what a Stage 2 FF feels like. I have a stock box with F/R arms in my Jigsaw car. The FF Stage 3 with regular arms would have been easier to steer but still had the slop.
 

68 Sport Satellite

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I think the Challenger is power assist rack and pinion. My mom had an old 1978 datsun 200sx with non-power assist rack and pinion. It wasn't horrible, but it got tiring after a while.

I'm so pleased this met your expectations!
 

OKDart

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I could have worked faster if I ram-rodded straight through. I used to do marathon like sessions when I had friends nearby. They have slowly faded away and I'm not quite as driven as I used to be.
I need more seat time to give a better review on the feel. I have a 2007 Ram 1500 2wd. The Wife has a 2003 Honda CRV and a 2015 Challenger R/T, all have rack and pinion steering. The Challenger and truck actually steer quite well. The Charger does feel great but not as precise. Maybe an alignment can close the gap OR it is the best that it can be at the current state.
Either way, I am pleased.
I don't recall what a Stage 2 FF feels like. I have a stock box with F/R arms in my Jigsaw car. The FF Stage 3 with regular arms would have been easier to steer but still had the slop.

That 2015 Challenger has an electric steering rack. I was surprised the first time I did an oil change on my 2017 Challenger and saw what looked like battery cables going to the steering rack. I’ve heard they make electric assist for some classic cars that mount under the dash.
 

Kern Dog

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The steering wheel is centered again. Instead of clocking the tie rod sleeves, I removed the steering wheel and the adapter....

IMG_2703.JPG


Borg 105.JPG


Borg 107.JPG



Just clocking it CCW a little more than 1/8 of a turn was enough. Good to go there.

Regarding the steering column shaft, here is one from an A body out of the column:

Borg 108.JPG


The steering wheel end:

Borg 109.JPG


The coupler end....

Borg 110.JPG


Here is the middle where the 2 shafts intersect.

Borg 111.JPG



Look close, you'll see the yellowish plastic pins that keep them at a prescribed length. Once they shear, the shafts can slide.

Borg 112.JPG
 
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