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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hiya folks!

Looking for some steering advice. The car is a 70 Cougar with power steering. While driving down the road, I can move the steering wheel 20-40 degrees freely while the car continues to track straight. On the flip side, if the car begins to drift (particularly on rough roads) it can be exciting as the slop in the steering can make it slow to respond to gentle corrections instead creating the potential to overcorrect. I've replaced just about everything in the steering system except the actual gearbox itself. My question is this - a new steering box from Flaming River, etc is $400-500. Has anyone tried these and had any success? If its still going to be sloppy even after a new gearbox, I might just want to save that $400 and put it towards a bolt-in rack and pinion system instead. On the same note, anyone got any strong opinions regarding an effective rack and pinion? I would like a true bolt in to avoid modifying/cutting the car, as it is an Eliminator.

Thanks!
 

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With the hood up, and someone moving the steering wheel, and another watching the arm off the gear box, does the ARM move at the same time the STEERING WHEEL MOVES? That might give you your answer. If the steering wheel moves, and the arm doesn't at the SAME MOMENT, then I would think the box is worn out. ADJUSTING THE NUT ON THE BOX, IS NOT THE ANSWER TO FIX THE ISSUE, IMO.


I wish you well,

Dale in Indy
 

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There have been lots of opinions expressed regarding rack-and-pinion conversions and Flaming River gearboxes for vintage Cougars here. Use the SEARCH function.

I found the best thing to do was to purchase a "remanufactured" stock-type gearbox from Borgeson. Mine has worked well for several years. They also have recently introduced a steering gearbox for our cars that has the power assist integrated into the box, eliminating the control valve and slave cylinder.

http://www.borgeson.com/xcart/catalog/Ford_Mustang_6504-orderby_0-p-1-c-48.html
 

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Just a note that the Borgeson PS conversion boxes will not work with factory manual trans linkage.
 

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Hiya folks!

Looking for some steering advice. The car is a 70 Cougar with power steering. While driving down the road, I can move the steering wheel 40-60 degrees freely while the car continues to track straight. On the flip side, if the car begins to drift (particularly on rough roads) it can be exciting as the slop in the steering can make it slow to respond to gentle corrections instead creating the potential to overcorrect. I've replaced just about everything in the steering system except the actual gearbox itself. My question is this - a new steering box from Flaming River, etc is $400-500. Has anyone tried these and had any success? If its still going to be sloppy even after a new gearbox, I might just want to save that $400 and put it towards a bolt-in rack and pinion system instead. On the same note, anyone got any strong opinions regarding an effective rack and pinion? I would like a true bolt in to avoid modifying/cutting the car, as it is an Eliminator.

Thanks!
The flaming river box is not the greatest... With that much play you will not be adjust it out either. Our rebuilt units are the best way to go my in my opinion.

<table id="Contents Table" width="600" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td>
</td></tr><tr><td>
</td></tr><tr valign="top"><td width="600">1967 - 1970 Mercury Cougar / Ford Mustang SMB-K / SMB-F Steering Gear Box (INCLUDES CORE CHARGE) - Rebuilt
(Click Here for More Information or to Order)

Part #: 1000066-CoreCharge
Price:$400.00


PRICE INCLUDES $125 REFUNDABLE CORE CHARGE. Our boxes are rebuilt here in the USA at a one man shop where...
</td></tr></tbody></table>
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Don, always cool to hear from you as I work right down the street in Woodburn and have visited your facility a couple of times. :)
 

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I have a very similar steering issue with my recently acquired cougar. There is 6+ inches of play in the wheel and you are just going straight as it happens. I am going to try to tighten the steering and if that doesn't help then replace with Don's advice.
 

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motors manuals usually have the adjustment proceedure in them---on a 70 you should also have a rag joint to contend with----regardless almost all boxes require you to adjust for end play PRIOR to adjusting the thrust nut
doctordesoto
 

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When you TIGHTEN the screw on the gear box, all you will do most likely is STIFFEN the turning effort, ( make it harder to turn the steering wheel), and NOT take out MAJOR slop. That adjustment was put there for factory use when setting up the box in the first place. Oh, you might gain a TAD if you move the screw a very small amount, but SLOP is some where else in the steering system. Could be the gears within the box have seen better days. Google FORD STEERING BOX, and read what it offers, and adjusting that screw isn't the recommended method.

Dale in Indy
 

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I had slop in my steering, and I thought it was the gear box also. After I unbolted the steering arm and couple, I tried twisting the input shaft while holding the steering arm. There was no slop. All the slop was all in rag joint and the control valve. I replaced the rag joint with the polyurethane version and rebuilt my control valve with the kit from Randy at http://www.stangerssite.com/. I don't have any slop at all now.

If you want your steering box rebuild, Randy will to a great job. Plus, he'll do it for about half of what it will cost to buy a rebuilt one. Check out his site. He has tons of useful information on our power steering systems.

http://www.stangerssite.com/rebuildingindex.html

BTW, if you need to rebuild your control valve, Randy's kit is the only one that comes with all the hose seats.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you Adam. I had my control valve rebuilt (probably in the mid-90s) and the car only has maybe 15K miles in the last 15 years, but it may not have been a quality rebuild at the time - I honestly cant remember. :) Maybe I'll invest in both.
 

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Dale, perhaps I was mistaken when discussing this with a fellow car enthusiast who owns a 65 Mustang. In seeing your posts it is my impression that I am going to need to rebuild/replace the steering box. If so, so be it. For ****s and giggles I'll perhaps try to tighten it first and see where it gets me. Either way, it can only get better. Thanks for the info.
Bill
 

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When you TIGHTEN the screw on the gear box, all you will do most likely is STIFFEN the turning effort, ( make it harder to turn the steering wheel), and NOT take out MAJOR slop. That adjustment was put there for factory use when setting up the box in the first place. Oh, you might gain a TAD if you move the screw a very small amount, but SLOP is some where else in the steering system. Could be the gears within the box have seen better days. Google FORD STEERING BOX, and read what it offers, and adjusting that screw isn't the recommended method.

Dale in Indy
Dale,

In general you are correct, but the adjustment can help quite a bit - if there is play - (and this is key) - at center point of the steering box. If you take up the play - and no more - you will not increase steering effort. My method is to tighten the screw up at center point and lightly snug the nut, check for binding at center point, if none adjust a tad more and so on until there is a tiny bit of bind/effort (that you can clearly feel) at center point. Then, back off a tad and recheck for no bind at center point. This is the best you can do without going into the box.

And of course as others have mentioned, many/most times a lot of play issue is due to other steering components rather than the box. Still, it is always good to have a tight, errr, nevermind... :buck:

Regards,

Bob
 

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I've found the Flaming River box to be a quality piece. I've bought two of them.
They don't come with much lube, good idea to pack grease in them before bolting em' in.

OEM boxes wear on the non-replaceable parts, always in the straight ahead position. You can tighten them up but 99% of the time they will bind when the wheel is turned.
Rodger Rode has always done an outstanding job rebuilding boxes, pumps, control valves (IMHO)
 

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Art,

What kind of rag joint did you use on your Flaming River boxes?....Polyurethane or the factory fabric one? Or did you use one of the universal joints instead? I am installing an FR box on my 70' and I'm thinking on using a poly rag joint.


I've found the Flaming River box to be a quality piece. I've bought two of them.
They don't come with much lube, good idea to pack grease in them before bolting em' in.

OEM boxes wear on the non-replaceable parts, always in the straight ahead position. You can tighten them up but 99% of the time they will bind when the wheel is turned.
Rodger Rode has always done an outstanding job rebuilding boxes, pumps, control valves (IMHO)
 

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My 67 Rustang racer uses a FR solid shaft, on the coug I used a Borgeson splined (3/4" x 35sp. IIRC) U joint.
Art,

What kind of rag joint did you use on your Flaming River boxes?....Polyurethane or the factory fabric one? Or did you use one of the universal joints instead? I am installing an FR box on my 70' and I'm thinking on using a poly rag joint.
 

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Hiya folks!

Looking for some steering advice. The car is a 70 Cougar with power steering. While driving down the road, I can move the steering wheel 20-40 degrees freely while the car continues to track straight. On the flip side, if the car begins to drift (particularly on rough roads) it can be exciting as the slop in the steering can make it slow to respond to gentle corrections instead creating the potential to overcorrect. I've replaced just about everything in the steering system except the actual gearbox itself. My question is this - a new steering box from Flaming River, etc is $400-500. Has anyone tried these and had any success? If its still going to be sloppy even after a new gearbox, I might just want to save that $400 and put it towards a bolt-in rack and pinion system instead. On the same note, anyone got any strong opinions regarding an effective rack and pinion? I would like a true bolt in to avoid modifying/cutting the car, as it is an Eliminator.

Thanks!
Here's what you do... Unlock the adjustment screw nut with a 11/16" open end wrench, keep track of where the screw was by counting the turns outward. Pump about 7 ounces of 90 wt gear oil down the hole and then put your screw back in the same amount of turns plus a 1/4 turn. If it still has some play go another 1/4 turn. If your box is not cured with this procedure you need a rebuild. From the factory your box had 7 oz of grease, putting too much on top of it can ruin your box as the bearings can actually be forced from their seat. The 90 wt. will soften up the unknown amount of remaining grease and will damage nothing. In time gravity will send a small amount of this 90 wt out the bottom of the box and you may / will get seepage. If your car looks like my drivers it will blend right in...
 

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Heres what you do... Unlock the adjustment screw, keep track of where it was by counting the turns outward. Pump about 7 ounces of 90 wt gear oil down the hole and then put your screw back in the same amount of turns plus a 1/4 turn. If it still has some play go another 1/4 turn. If your box is not cured with this procedure you need a rebuild. From the factory your box had 7 oz of grease, putting too much on top of it can ruin your box as the bearings can actually be forced from their seat. The 90 wt. will soften up the unknown amount of remaining grease and will damage nothing. In time gravity will send a small amount of this 90 wt out the bottom of the box and may / will get seepage. If your car looks like my drivers it will blend right in...
This sounds like the adjustment I am going to try. Thank you.
 
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