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Looking to upgrade the steering in my 1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7. Would Rack and Pinion be the way to go and if so, who sells the best bolt in system?
 

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I installed the rack and pinion in my 68 from Chris Alston Chassiworks Total Control Products. I am still building the car so I haven't driven it yet. There are videos on his web site which shows installation of his products.
 

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Looking to upgrade the steering in my 1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7. Would Rack and Pinion be the way to go and if so, who sells the best bolt in system?
I put a Mustang II Rack and Pinion in my 69 Cougar from Heitds.
It was a little more expensive than most but they come well recommended in the Hot Rod world. Very simple instructions, well Engineered.
 

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I had a 69 Cougar with regular power steering and I had problems with leaks. I bought another 69 Cougar that had been converted to rack and pinion steering by the former owner and I talked to the mechanic who converted it. He works primarily on Mustangs and Cougars and says he converts a lot over and recommends it. It tidies things up a lot, gets rid of overboosted steering and makes the steering feel much better. I have a GM power steering pump. I don’t know what brand of rack and pinion steering was used or the cost, but I can figure it out from the paperwork that came with the car if you need it.
 

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What’s wrong with your current steering? The stock Ford steer8 is actually quite good when properly maintained, but 99% are not. having the steering box rebuilt by an expert makes a huge difference, as does stiffening the chassis and running the proper modern alignment specs. Rack and Pinion is not necessarily better, in fact there are some negative to using it in the Classic Fords. The biggest advantage of it is when you need to remove the shock towers for a big engine. Most of the suspension set ups that support the big engines also use R&P steering to save room.
 

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I had a 69 Cougar with regular power steering and I had problems with leaks. I bought another 69 Cougar that had been converted to rack and pinion steering by the former owner and I talked to the mechanic who converted it. He works primarily on Mustangs and Cougars and says he converts a lot over and recommends it. It tidies things up a lot, gets rid of overboosted steering and makes the steering feel much better. I have a GM power steering pump. I don’t know what brand of rack and pinion steering was used or the cost, but I can figure it out from the paperwork that came with the car if you need it.
Most times the system leaks because the hose seats weren’t replaced when the hoses where disconnected. Most people don’t know they are removable and the shop manual says to replace them every time.. They function like crush washers and are 1 time use.
Some people feel the system is overpowered. A bigger pulley on the pump helps with that.
Unless I needs a rack and pinion for Clearance, I would rather use an EPAS than the R & P.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What’s wrong with your current steering? The stock Ford steer8 is actually quite good when properly maintained, but 99% are not. having the steering box rebuilt by an expert makes a huge difference, as does stiffening the chassis and running the proper modern alignment specs. Rack and Pinion is not necessarily better, in fact there are some negative to using it in the Classic Fords. The biggest advantage of it is when you need to remove the shock towers for a big engine. Most of the suspension set ups that support the big engines also use R&P steering to save room.
I have two XR-7 cars and on my big block the steering works great but on my small block the steering feels like it is manual.
Hard to steer. I don't see ant leaks and the pump seems to be working. I'm not much of a mechanic so I don't know much about the components. So maybe I can find someone who knows more about this system. I just assumed R & P was the way to go. Thanks for the info.
 

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I have two XR-7 cars and on my big block the steering works great but on my small block the steering feels like it is manual.
Hard to steer. I don't see ant leaks and the pump seems to be working. I'm not much of a mechanic so I don't know much about the components. So maybe I can find someone who knows more about this system. I just assumed R & P was the way to go. Thanks for the info.
If someone put regular power steering fluid or sealer in the original pump instead of Type F fluid that would cause the steering to get hard. My guess is you just need to rebuild the power steering pump and you'll be fine.
 
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