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Borgeson steering box upgrade.


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MIT

Club Member

Mon 30 Jul 18 15:21

Borgeson steering box upgrade.


Hi, as some will know, I wasnít happy with the steering feel on my 74 coupe, lots of play, and just not very confident. I adjusted the box, but decided to buy the Borgeson steering box upgrade. Iíve heard good reviews on the kit, and itís a much cheaper option to the rack and pinion kits, like 3rd the price.

I ordered the kit from the states, and after 3 long weeks, it turned up last Thursday. So set about installing on Friday.

The kit replaces the standard steering box, with a lower ratio Delphi 600 box, lock to lock being 3 turns of the steering wheel, the old box is 4.
It also replaces the control valve, and negates the need for the ram assembly, which gets removed. Also in the kit is a new rag joint, hoses and hose adaptors. All existing plumbing is replaced.
The new box is actually a power assisted box, unlike the old one which relies on the ram and control valve to assist. So the existing power steering pump plumbs directly to the new steering box. This has the advantage of getting rid of the bits that often leak.

Hereís the kit:

Image

Image

First things first, the front needs jacking up, so the wheels are off the ground. I opened the doors, hood, and released the t tops, as I read that chassis flex can cause problems opening things later.

Next, I disconnected the hoses from the control valve, and ram, and the ram from itís mount at the drivers side chassis rail.

Image

Then removed the ram mount.

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This is messy, and I compressed the ram to empty the fluid, do this slowly as it ejects it everywhere otherwise!

Once the fluid had drained, I disconnected the hoses from the pump, and removed the ram from the steering linkage. I used a pickle fork for this, itís was really tight. In hind sight, a puller would have been better.
There are 4 hoses in total, only 3 shown for reasons explained later

Image

Next, I disconnected the pitman arm from the control valve, and unscrewed the valve. The pitman arm was tight, I used a pickle fork again.

Image

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I did try and remove the pitman arm from the steering box while attached to the car, but it wasnít shifting. I ended up removing the box with it still attached.
The box is held on with 3 bolts that push through from the wheel arch. 2 can be seen, the 3rd is behind the access panel, which I left in place.

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I unshipped the alternator to give better access, and unbolted the 2 halfís of the rag joint. Which was in much worse shape than thought!

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Next job once everythingís off, is to collapse the steering column to clear the longer box. This was easy on my car, it collapsed with firm taps with a soft mallet. Others have had real issues with this, some removing the column completely to do this.
Itís a bit of trial and error to get the correct length, shorten it a bit, trial fit, and repeat. Once done, the column was about 2.5inch shorter.

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One problem a few have had is the new larger steering box touching the headers, and having to dent them to clear, but mine were fine. I think itís definitely an issue for big block cars.
Also, others have had to move the brake line under the rag joint, but again, mine was clear.
So, once the column is right, the box can be bolted in. Split the rag joint in half, put the 2 halfís on the column and steering box, and bolt it all up, simple! Well....
You need to set the steering box into its centre position, so as if the wheels are straight. Rotate the shaft fully one way, and rotate back roughly 1.5 turns. Youíll need to work out the correct position that the rag joint pushes onto the column, itíll only press on the steering box one way. So the steering wheel is straight, If allís correct, then the pitman arm will bolt on straight. The arm can only go on at 12,3,6 and 9 oíclock positions, so to get this wrong, means your 90deg out, so unlikely!

Image

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Now you can connect the hoses. I had a problem with the return line to the pump, itís a bit short to get a nice curve on it, it kept kinking, as the pipe on the pump it connects to is facing the wrong way really. So, I used the old hose, cut the end fitting off, and pushed the new pipe onto it, shortening it a bit.

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Also, the new brass insert that goes into the return line on the steering box was too big, and needed turning down a little. I made a jig to fit it into my drill, and used sand paper to reduce the size. Itís a non sealing edge, so wonít leak if itís a little rough.
The pressure line insert was fine.

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Next thing is to thread the new drag link onto the steering control arm, it replaces the old control valve.

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Last thing is to bolt up the pitman arm, or so I thought. Itís now I realised the shaft seal on the new steering box was leaking, and on further inspection, and removing, found the outer, and inner seals were badly damaged. I was fuming!! This is how it came out, I didnít do this damage removing them. And this explains why there was so much fluid leaking out in the box

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Iíve sent Borgeson emails, with pictures, asking for part numbers for new seals, no replies. Iím not sending it back, itís taken 3 weeks to arrive, return costs, inspection etc, itíll take over a month, and my cars in bits. I found what I believe to be a new seal set, so should get these tomorrow. Once theyíre installed I can fit the pitman arm.

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And thatís where Iím at! Alternators back in, everythingís ready, waiting the new seals, and fluid top up, so hopefully all finished tomorrow.

Regarding the fluid, Borgeson say any decent power steering fluid will do, not transmission fluid. The box came with red fluid inside,



Last edited by MIT on Mon 30 Jul 18 15:27; edited 1 time in total. [5 %]
--------------------
Tim.

74 coupe.

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kentvette

Club Member

Mon 30 Jul 18 15:54

Re: Borgeson steering box upgrade.


Tim, interesting story so far. Sorry to hear about the seals.

Still have reservations about the shortening of the column I have to say. I wonder how much effect the worn rag joint was having on your vague steering?

It'd be a good idea to post teh story on the US form, many of them are Borganson fans and the seal story might be worth passing on!

Hope the replacements go in well and you get it finished soon.


--------------------
Stephen J Irons
CCCUK Lifetime Member
Corvette Club France
Corvettes of Southern California
NCM Family Member
Stephen & June's Web Site
Red Corvettes Have More Fun!

Apple IS Genisys!
The "Born-Again Greenies" are killing the planet! It's time to wake up and smell the rain-forest burning!

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MIT

Club Member

Mon 30 Jul 18 16:25

Re: Borgeson steering box upgrade.


I couldnít see any actual play in the rag joint when moving it on the car, it looked as though the bolts had been tightened down to compensate maybe.

Borgeson have emailed back, and the seal kit I ordered is the correct ones.


--------------------
Tim.

74 coupe.

Reply with quote

kentvette

Club Member

Tue 31 Jul 18 08:50

Re: Borgeson steering box upgrade.


MIT wrote (View Post):
Borgeson have emailed back, and the seal kit I ordered is the correct ones.


Pleased to hear that. Thumbs up

I noticed by the way that your "old" P/S Control Valve must be a new/rebuilt unit with few miles on it. No doubt it could be of interest to someone on here one day! You might recoup some of the Borgeson costs Laughing


--------------------
Stephen J Irons
CCCUK Lifetime Member
Corvette Club France
Corvettes of Southern California
NCM Family Member
Stephen & June's Web Site
Red Corvettes Have More Fun!

Apple IS Genisys!
The "Born-Again Greenies" are killing the planet! It's time to wake up and smell the rain-forest burning!

Reply with quote

MIT

Club Member

Tue 31 Jul 18 13:24


Yes, the control valve was pretty much new, as is the hoses and ram.

I received the seals this morning, installed them, and the pitman arm, filled the system, ran the engine to bleed the air out, and checked full movement on jacks, all seems ok. Even seem to have the steering wheel straight which is a bonus!
Just need to take it for a drive in a minute, to see if itís all worth the hassle and money!

Image

Image


--------------------
Tim.

74 coupe.

Reply with quote

MIT

Club Member

Tue 31 Jul 18 16:01

Re: Borgeson steering box upgrade.


Well had a good drive, and itís much better, nice and tight steering, no wondering, worth every penny!


--------------------
Tim.

74 coupe.

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Nick B

Club Member

Tue 31 Jul 18 16:14

Re: Borgeson steering box upgrade.


Hello Tim

Great post with loads of info and photo's, thanks very much for that, glad to hear that you are pleased with the results too.

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kentvette

Club Member

Tue 31 Jul 18 17:39

Re: Borgeson steering box upgrade.


Tim, Pleased it has all worked out! As Nick says, great story - now you've got to get an article written for VetteNews!Thumbs up

A very speedy and (apart from the seal problem) painless job by the sound of it. I just wish you had cleaned the engine and those headers before you took the photos - I think I saw a few specs of dust there! Laughing Laughing


--------------------
Stephen J Irons
CCCUK Lifetime Member
Corvette Club France
Corvettes of Southern California
NCM Family Member
Stephen & June's Web Site
Red Corvettes Have More Fun!

Apple IS Genisys!
The "Born-Again Greenies" are killing the planet! It's time to wake up and smell the rain-forest burning!

Reply with quote

MIT

Club Member

Tue 31 Jul 18 17:54


Cheers guys, without the seal issue, which now Iíve sorted wasnít that big a deal, itís a days job easy enough. So long as everything comes apart easy without too much trouble. Iím lucky in that a lot of bits are quite new, so not that much still 44 years old, apart from the steering box and rag joint.
The biggest possible error would be setting the rag joint correctly on the column, so not to have an off centre steering wheel, think I was lucky!
Now just need to sort the rear bearings next, when the kit arrives. Then a full alignment, just need to find somewhere that can do it. Anyone have recommendations near Bedfordshire?

One last thing, Rock Auto really came up trumps, again. Ordered the seals Saturday, turned up this morning, and still much cheaper than buying in the U.K.


--------------------
Tim.

74 coupe.

Reply with quote

Vetteheadtony

Club Member

Fri 03 Aug 18 00:57

Re: Borgeson steering box upgrade.


Very nice write up Tim I can tell already you will be a valued club/forum member, that also looks a nice bit of kit, good choice I think! Thumbs up


--------------------
Vetteheadtony
2004 Z06 lemans edition pro charged
613 BHP
Black C6 ZR1 wheels
FECKING FAST!!!

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