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Power steering conversion
#1346002 Tue Feb 11 2020 07:16 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 42
R
Rubidu8 Offline OP
Wrench Fetcher
I have a ‘47 Chevy one ton panel. I would like to install power steering. The truck is bone stock original and I want to keep it that way, However steering it is a challenge at my age. I know there are kits available. I would like to hear from some bolters who have tackled this and what I’m getting myself into. Looks like ‘69-87 Chevy pickup steering box works and I’m assuming same pump, hoses, etc. Is there an aftermarket bracket and pulley available to mount to a 216? Thanks in advance to all responders!

Re: Power steering conversion
Rubidu8 #1346089 Wed Feb 12 2020 04:10 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 555
M
Shop Shark
You might want to look into EPAS, (totally electric power steering). Use all you original parts and cut a section out of your column, bolt it in and run power wire. Adjustable gain. No power steering box, pump, hoses, belts, pulleys or mounts. It's pricey but since I was starting from scratch not really that bad if you plan on using new parts. You can put hydraulic power steering pretty cheap if you use used parts. There is a lot of info on this site about conversions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkUh8rAVtLo


Old enough to know better, too young to resist.
Re: Power steering conversion
Rubidu8 #1346101 Wed Feb 12 2020 06:41 AM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 335
G
Shop Shark
I used a kit from CPP. steering box from 69 GMC. I also upgraded to disc brakes and a V8. It wasn’t to hard. You’ll have to weld on a bracket for the top bolt on the steering box to the frame. And notch the inner fender a little. Only regret I didn’t use a faster steering box.




These old bolts are in my blood. Hard thing is focusing on just one.

1937 Chevy 1/2 ton panel
1953 GMC 2 ton. future car hauler

Re: Power steering conversion
Rubidu8 #1346111 Wed Feb 12 2020 01:13 PM
Joined: Nov 1995
Posts: 4,656
J
Unrepentant VW Lover
uh oh ... One of Johnnie's hot button topics ... The ole "The only way to improve an original/unrestored truck's hard steering is the power steering modification" myth ...

Just a question ... Have you done anything to your current/original steering system? During the course of a resto on a '49 1.5-ton, I found that a complete rebuild of the original/stock steering system made steering incredibly easier. I could literally steer the truck, even at idle in granny gear, with one finger. Stopped, it required the whole hand, but it was still very easy. If I had added a "Brodie knob" it *might* have been just as easy as power steering.

Of course, it's your truck and only you know for sure what your physical limitations are, but over the years around here, we've seen a lot of guys put a lot of time, effort and money jumping to the conclusion that power steering is the only answer to "hard steering." Personally, my first hand-experience was that addressing the steering box (rebuild and proper adjustment), king pins (replace), tie rod ends (check, replace if required), spring pins (replace) and correct front end alignment did amazing things for steering -- it approximated the ease of power steering while preserving the truck's originality. Not to mention being less expensive, easier and (arguably) safer (in that you aren't altering the front end design of the truck ...). And then there's the issue of mounting a PS pump on your engine ... the 216 doesn't have a whole lot of power to begin with, and now you are going to require some of it to run the hydraulic pump? Or not, if you can afford the (admittedly very interesting wink )electrical set up described above...

Why go to all that trouble and expense when merely addressing the set up you already have (that the truck was designed for) gets you 90 percent to the objective (my estimation)? ... Can you deal with 90 percent? Or do you really need to go all the way?

Just a thought as you seem hesitant to disturb your truck's originality ...

FWIW -- Having been married to a T-4/5 paraplegic (Complete) for 31 years who had her own car (until I sold it out from under her last summer ... smile ), I'm no stranger to adaptive devices or the need for them and I do not make the observations above glibly ...

Regards,
John


John
"There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes..."


'49 Chevrolet 3804

Re: Power steering conversion
Rubidu8 #1346115 Wed Feb 12 2020 01:29 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 30,487
ace skiver
"Personally, my first hand-experience was that addressing the steering box (rebuild and proper adjustment), king pins (replace), tie rod ends (check, replace if required), spring pins (replace) and correct front end alignment did amazing things for steering -- it approximated the ease of power steering while preserving the truck's originality. Not to mention being less expensive, easier and (arguably) safer (in that you aren't altering the front end design of the truck ...)"

ditto ... ditto ... ditto


Tim
1954Advance-Design.com [1954advance-design.com]
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [stovebolt.com] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [1954advance-design.com] - part of the family for 15 years
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
- The 216 and early 235 engines are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler. [chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com]
Re: Power steering conversion
John Milliman #1346125 Wed Feb 12 2020 02:16 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 42
R
Rubidu8 Offline OP
Wrench Fetcher
John, thanks for your thoughtful advice. I’m all in with your recommendation. I do want to preserve the originality of this gem. It has only 42,000 original miles and spent all of its life as a fire/rescue vehicle in Pennsylvania. Probably from lack of use it’s like wrestling a bear to steer. Is a challenge with my arthritis! Thanks again. David

Re: Power steering conversion
mick53 #1346126 Wed Feb 12 2020 02:17 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 42
R
Rubidu8 Offline OP
Wrench Fetcher
I wasn’t aware of electric ps. Thanks for that tip!

Re: Power steering conversion
Rubidu8 #1346131 Wed Feb 12 2020 02:26 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 30,487
ace skiver
Originally Posted by Rubidu8
John, thanks for your thoughtful advice. I’m all in with your recommendation. I do want to preserve the originality of this gem. It has only 42,000 original miles and spent all of its life as a fire/rescue vehicle in Pennsylvania. Probably from lack of use it’s like wrestling a bear to steer. Is a challenge with my arthritis! Thanks again. David

What size wheels and tires do you have?
What is the PSI of the air in the tires?

Are all of your front end parts properly adjusted (and, properly lubricated) and moving freely?
Have you checked your steering alignment - what is your toe-in setting?


Tim
1954Advance-Design.com [1954advance-design.com]
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [stovebolt.com] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [1954advance-design.com] - part of the family for 15 years
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
- The 216 and early 235 engines are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler. [chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com]
Re: Power steering conversion
Rubidu8 #1346135 Wed Feb 12 2020 02:48 PM
Joined: Nov 1995
Posts: 4,656
J
Unrepentant VW Lover
David -- Do as Tim says and if you do not see a dramatic improvement in your steering, then we will all be very surprised.

With only 42K miles, my best guess is you have fossilized grease, underinflated tires (underinflated bias plys are NO FUN to steer) and general stiffness from lack of use as your main culprits here. Hard to imagine you need to do a major resto of your steering components, but a lot of sitting over the years/ lack of regular attention may have caused some issues ... might be worth a detailed check of everything from the king pins out.

My '49 1-ton has it's all-original front end. We've adjusted everything, greased everything regularly and I put brand new 17-inch bias plies back on it last fall and the truck has no steering issues to complain about (it isn't as low mileage as yours, but not bad ~65K). A slight bit of wander above 70 MPH wink


John
"There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes..."


'49 Chevrolet 3804

Re: Power steering conversion
John Milliman #1346156 Wed Feb 12 2020 03:46 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 42
R
Rubidu8 Offline OP
Wrench Fetcher
Thanks John. I’m going to go through the steering and clean, grease, adjust. That’s probably the cure.

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