Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

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Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by BBMALIBU on Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:33 pm

Many moons ago (20+ yrs) when I transplanted a SBC for a BBC, finding parts was a little more difficult than today.

One problem I came across was not being able to find P/S brackets, even though I worked in the parts dept of a Chevrolet dealer.

So, I opted to install a junk yard manual gear box.  Over the years, the pit-man arm seal has been leaking.  So instead of replacing the seal, I am choosing to replace it with a new one.

Which leads me question, considering that the cost will be about the same; Power or Manual?  

Here is my comparison:

Manual Steering
Borgeson 525 gear box (920010): Summit or Jegs $304.00
Total: $304.00

Power Steering
Master Pro gear box (503-0104): O'Reilly Auto Parts $135.99 (I have core) limited lifetime warranty.
Master Pro pressure hose (70263): O'Reilly Auto Parts $15.99
Master Pro return hose (70518): O'Reilly Auto Parts 12.99
Duralast Pump & Reservoir (6012): Autozone $46.99 (I have core) limited lifetime warranty
Brackets (est): $75.00
Fluid: $10.00
I have pitman arm and pulley.
Total: $296.96 plus tax

What do you think?
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by bigredlaguna on Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:33 pm

Found manual gears for less than 300 on rock auto. Fast ratio manual (16:1) for 230 or so. Regular ratio for 192. Core return makes it even less.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by bracketchev1221 on Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:55 am

What are you using the car for? If you're going to be racing it, I would leave the manual. To me, the power steering thing only becomes an issue if you do a lot of parking of the car in tight places. Otherwise, my Nova had factory manual steering and other than parking, the car drove fine.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by Joe73 on Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:50 am

My ss is factory manual steering. When it was my daily driver it was no problem at all. When I bad mine rebuilt the builder said my factory box is a heavy duty quick ratio box. Pics of my box are on my build thread.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by BBMALIBU on Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:42 am

Joe73 wrote:Pics of my box are on my build thread.

Since I am still learning how to navigate at g3gm, where can I find your build thread?

I assume you still have manual steering, wouldn't the quick ratio make it difficult to steer at very low speeds such as parking? I know mine is a pain at very low speeds.

Also, do you have the steering dampener (shock) that attaches between the pitman arm and centerlink?
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by Joe73 on Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:54 am

Heres the thread. http://www.g3gm.com/t8584-1973-chevelle-ss-350-4spd-build
I found when trying to park you have to get the car to just roll slightly. That takes alot of ressistance off the tires to turn. An auto car would be real easy since your in gear already and it wants to roll. I used to run 70 series tires on the front with no issues with the manual box.
No steering dampners on manual steering. That would be killer.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by BBMALIBU on Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:05 am

Joe73 wrote: No steering dampners on manual steering.   That would be killer.

I have it.  When I got the gear box from the bone yard, it had the pitman arm for the set-up.

I was working at a Chevy dealer at the time, so I looked through the old part books and found an illustration of the set-up.  It was for manual steering only. I located the last GM centerlink and dampener from a couple of dealers in the U.S. who had these in their old stock inventory.  The centerlink was not available in the aftermarket world.

It is my understanding that for manual steering,  a higher steering ratio (example: 24:1) is meant for heavier cars vs. quick steering (12:1) for lighter cars.

How many turns is your steering from lock to lock?
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by Joe73 on Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:23 am

If you take a look at my steering box, my pitman arm also has provision for the steering dampner. But its not used. The rebuilder did mention that he has never seen a pitman arm like mine on a manual box before.

As for the center link. They're available aftermarket. I've changed mine several times over the years. I ordered my entire Moog steering parts from Rockauto. My center link does not have a provision for a dampner.

I did hear the same thing that higher ratio boxes were for heavier cars.

This is who I used for my rebuilder. http://www.powersteering.com/power-steering-gearbox-rebuilds/

He also has a nice kit to make a stock power steering box into something fast like a 12.7:1 ratio. Or something like that.

I dont have my box mounted in the car right now so I can tell you how many turns lock to lock.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by BBMALIBU on Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:46 am

Joe73 wrote:As for the center link.  They're available aftermarket.  I've changed mine several times over the years.  I ordered my entire Moog steering parts from Rockauto.  My center link does not have a provision for a dampner.

The centerlink for manual and power steering are the same. At the time (20+ yrs ago), the centerlink with the provision for a dampener was not available in the aftermarket.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by Joe73 on Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:50 am

Interesting. I definitely dont have the extra hole for the dampner. Alot of monte guys need it though. So I guess the overall length of both centerlinks (with and without the dampner mounting hole) are the same. So either should work.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by BBMALIBU on Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:55 am

Joe73 wrote: This is who I used for my rebuilder.  http://www.powersteering.com/power-steering-gearbox-rebuilds/

What did he charge to rebuild the gear box?
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by BBMALIBU on Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:57 am

Joe73 wrote:Interesting.  I definitely dont have the extra hole for the dampner.  Alot of monte guys need it though.  So I guess the overall length of both centerlinks (with and without the dampner mounting hole) are the same.  So either should work.  

Yes, exactly the same but without the extra hole for the steering dampener.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by Joe73 on Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:01 pm

If I remember correctly it was about $300 including the detailing and shipping back to me. So around $250 for the rebuild.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by thatfnthing on Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:12 pm

BBMALIBU wrote:The centerlink for manual and power steering are the same.  At the time (20+ yrs ago), the centerlink with the provision for a dampener was not available in the aftermarket.  

Of course it was. I replaced mine back in the 80's.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by BBMALIBU on Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:32 pm

thatfnthing wrote: Of course it was.  I replaced mine back in the 80's.

Sorry, 20'ish years ago Very Happy
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by pila on Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:06 pm

The last car I owned with manual steering was a '59 Pontiac that I bought new. For a race type car manual is probably fine, but when ya get old ya need power steering ! Very Happy
The steering gear box in my Malibu is a 12:1 quick ratio power steering box that I bought when I did the front end rebuild. It had a 19:1 originally I was told (?)

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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by BBMALIBU on Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:07 pm

Anyone with manual steering, please post the steering ratio and how many turns lock to lock.

Thank you
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

Post by Joe73 on Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:30 am

I dont recall if anyone else on the board has a factory manual box in their cars. But anyway, I slid on my new rag joint and did the lock to lock on my bench. I come up with 6 3/4 turns lock to lock.
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Re: Power or Manual Steering; Tis the Question.

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