Manual steering rebuild

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Manual steering rebuild

Post by keithg on Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:08 am

My 62 has manual steering. I ordered a new idler arm and will order a rebuild kit for the drag link. Between the 2 it is $300.00+. The idler arm has a ton of play in it for sure so it gets replaced first. The drag link is original and I am sure the cups are worn and asking to be replaced even without opening it up. Looks pretty easy to do, so I'll spread the cost out a bit. The bigger, long term problem is the steering gearbox. Mine has manual steering which as a manual coupler (no 'rag coupler'). The bushing on the pitman arm shaft has some play in it. The manual says nothing about how much play is OK, but I am considering anything greater than 0 is bad. I have not found a kit or anything on the manual steering box parts for this car even listed anywhere. I do not think the power steering stuff will fit it though I have found some of those. I have found some miscellaneous bearings and seals for the manual box as NOS on a couple of sites but no bushing. Has anyone tried to rebuild one of these? Can I send it somewhere to be rebuilt where they won't kill it?. It is a pretty simple device (ball screws, sector gear, etc.) I am considering making a bronze sleeve and seeing if a modern seal may fit the bottom end and hoping i can get it back together without damaging it or loosing parts.

Keith (In Chicago)

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by keithg on Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:36 pm

I found some good info. These guys have just about everything you need to rebuild a steering gearbox. Midwest Steering

When I pull it off and open it up, they said they can supply just about any part I may need. I'll keep this thread posted.

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by keithg on Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:34 am

Just tore apart the steering gearbox I got from Woody1640 (Keith, too). It is out if a 63. As you may know, the 63 has a one year steering link system so the pitman arm is different. Upon disassembly, it is a slight bit different than the manual shows, anyway. The bearing race retention in the end cover (adjuster) is pressed in on the 63 and it looks like there is a clip on the 62 to retain the bearing cage in the. The housing is cast in '63', so this will not be 'original', though mine is a survivor and original is not of too much importance to me. The internals are mostly Saginaw 525, so a saginaw 525 rebuild kit will work. The difference appears to be the side cover gasket and the input (steering) shaft seal. I was able to get a steering shaft seal from RockAuto and will get the rebuild kit from Midwest Steering. I am not worried about the side cover as I'll use Locktite 518.

Challenges to remove the bushing from the blind hole in the side cover and the bearing race in the adjuster from a blind hole as well. The worm shaft on this one out of the 63 has some pitting in 2 ball locations. I'll see what the one looks like in the 62 maybe in the spring and continue if I cannot find a good condition one or possibly have this one ground.

Keith (Chicago)

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by 62cutlassconvert on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:13 am

Don't know if the buick is the same as the f85, my is a cast finned alum box with a manual coupler. Didn't have it done but about a year ago a local rebuilder here in San Jose CA said he could rebuild mine no problem, had an exchange on the shelf actually.

I can dig out his name and number if you want it. Maybe good for some info or parts?

I was calling around to see if anyone could make it quicker ratio, get it to 16:1 or so but no luck.

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by keithg on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:25 am

62cutlassconvert wrote:Don't know if the buick is the same as the f85, my is a cast finned alum box with a manual coupler. Didn't have it done but about a year ago a local rebuilder here in San Jose CA said he could rebuild mine no problem, had an exchange on the shelf actually.

I can dig out his name and number if you want it. Maybe good for some info or parts?

I was calling around to see if anyone could make it quicker ratio, get it to 16:1 or so but no luck.

A contact may be useful if Midwest Steering cannot come through. Please pass it on. I am pretty sure the gearbox is the same between the Buick and Olds. A quick ratio would be a tall order, though. The worm shaft is shorter in the Buick/Olds than a standard 525 gearbox at 8 - 1/8" versus 9 - 7/8" for a standard 525 box. Maybe could be cut down and a new spline machined, but still a one off.

Keith

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by 62cutlassconvert on Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:51 am

Talk to Vince at Straightlinesteering.com 408-289-9850 San Jose CA, they also have a shop in Riverside CA. Just spoke with him and he said he believes there are two types of manual boxes, one the the cover plate facing straight up (mine) and one with the plate at a 45 degree angle. He didn't check but thinks the skylark and cutlass boxes are the same. Rebuilding is no problem and he said "he probably has one on the shelf" didn't have him look.

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by keithg on Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:14 am

I have not contacted Vince, yet. The contact at midwest steering pretty well confirmed that the buick/olds are the same. He sent me the link on the GM Parts Wiki which calls out the olds stuff and it appears identical to the buick in This Diagram, though he was not able to cross reference them exactly. He claims the worm shaft (and possibly ball nut assy) is common to a certain bel air/impala, but I am not certain which year. GM part number 35673150 but google was unhelpful in finding a reference to it.

Keith

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by 62cutlassconvert on Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:05 am

Hmmm, be interesting to know what it crosses to. Maybe quicker ratio is not out of the picture? Thanks for the links. I'll check back with Straightline to see what he says. Sounds like midwest steering has some good knowledge.

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by 62cutlassconvert on Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:54 pm

Straightline tells me gears from a corvette box (don't know what year and the builder at the shop is gone for the holidays) will fit and give the box an 18:1 ratio, reducing the turns lock to lock from the stock 22:1 @ 5.5 to 4.5 and result in a firmer "wheel". I'm thinking with the light car this would be about right without firming it up too much. However, the input shaft for the corvette gear is about 1" shorter than stock from the case to the splined end. This is a floor shift car so linkage is not a problem and the steering column is adjustable through the floor boards by loosening the clamp at the floor and the ubolt at the dash. So I will see if this distance can be made up by just lowering the whole column and steering wheel shaft 1" to meet the new shorter corvette shaft. If so this would be a nice manual steering upgrade.

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by keithg on Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:12 pm

Sounds good. With the help of the guy at midwest steering (Dave), I was able to determine that an ebay NOS worm/nut was identical but with a different number 5674275. Ours is 5674287 but is identical as far as we were able to tell. I'll know for sure when it arrives next week.

Keith

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by 62cutlassconvert on Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:38 pm

Same 22:1 ratio or quicker?

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by keithg on Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:37 am

62cutlassconvert wrote:Same 22:1 ratio or quicker?
Don't know, yet, but I think it is the same ratio. When I get it, I'll let you know.

Keith

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by keithg on Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:02 pm

Ok, so it is the same ratio. Identical part, just a different number. Typical GM. It is a bear getting the bearing race out of the one end. I had to buy a pilot bearing puller and grind it down to fit under the race.
The Midwest Steering kit RK550 fits correctly. Chinese bearings, though. Don't know how I feel about that. If it was a high speed device, I'd be more concerned. Still better than what was in there. The brass bushings fit correctly and, with mine, required no re-sizing. Packed it with Redline CV2 lube. Had to order a side cover gasket from Clark's Corvair as the one in the kit is wrong. Also had to order a seal from Rock Auto as the input seal is different - Carquest 340495. Clark's has kits which fit as well. I am pretty sure that the internals are the same as a corvair greenbriar, but you'd have to double check it. I measured mine and they gave me a quote for a corvair van rebuild kit.

I also got a steering column from the same car ('63). The 61-62 steering shaft has a u-joint to connect to the steering gearbox, similar to many earlier GM trucks and cars and also similar to the corvair. Once again, I think you can get anew seal and internal bearings for this from Clark's but the cup portion of the coupler is NLA and has to have wear. I saw one on ebay, but decided to go with a rag joint. The '63 for whatever reason has a rag joint which has less play and is also available to be easily rebuilt. I took the steering shaft out of the column i bought then cleaned, painted and replaced the rag joint. Looking forward to spring and tight steering in the '62.

Next project wheels

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by 62cutlassconvert on Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:42 pm

Good to hear some parts are available and the box is looking good. Haven't gone any further with the check to see if the column will lower to fit the shorter corvette input shaft as I'm working on other stuff on the car but I hope to check it soon.

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by keithg on Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:10 am

Update:
The steering shaft comes out easily from the column (remove circlip and gently tap it out. Don't even really need to disassemble much more than the turn signal mechanism) and I cleaned and painted it and replaced the rag joint. Can't wait to get it back in the car. Should steer like a new car (new tie rods, drag link, pitman arm, rebuilt steering gearbox). There is a mark on the worm shaft which should line up with something on the steering coupler (there is a cast caret, I wonder if that is it. Nothing in the owner's manual, but all I have is a 62 manual and this is out of a 63) and the steering wheel mark should align with the mark on the steering shaft. I will be extra careful and take pictures of mine before I pull it as I want to get all the marks aligned. I did not mark it when I rebuilt it, but you can put the coupler together either way and have the mark on the steering shaft 180 degrees out. The steering 'turns' are 5-1/4 or 5-3/8 or so lock to lock on the worm gear.

I thought the corvair box side cover gasket was the same, but it is a different diameter. I had to make one. I used the torque settings in the manual to set the bearings and preload and it should be ready to go in as soon as I go get it from storage. I was reading somewhere that a potential problem is that air in the gearbox can expand and push out the seal. One 'old hand' suggested using a wire tie or something to break the lip seal and put a zerk fitting on the fill plug and use a grease gun to purge the air. I got a bushing (3/8 NPT to 1/8 NPT) and will do that before I put it in.

Keith

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Re: Manual steering rebuild

Post by keithg on Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:12 pm

I put the box in this weekend and finished it up today. Have not driven it more than just around the block, yet. So much better. Dad drove it a couple weekends ago and commented it was 'scary' with that much play. I told him it always had a lot of play in it and he just forgot. Well, now there is none. Very happy! Now for tires and wheels.

I was considering pulling the old one apart, but have too many otehr projects. It has a ton of play. The old coupler could be repaired with a new cup portion as the bearing blocks are square and can be turned 90 degrees for a new wear surface. Like I said earlier, I am pretty sure the rubber seal is available form Clarks, but would have to measure itt to be sure.

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