1960 Manual Steering Gear Rebuild or Replace

32witha409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#1
Let me preface this question by telling you that I have not tried to adjust the slop out of it.
The OEM manual steering gear in my 60 is loose. I can refresh it with the commonly available rebuild kit that really only has gaskets and seals, but other than the pitman shaft bushings, where can you source the hard parts that may be worn like ball nut or sector shaft? I have surfed around the internet but find nothing.

If I want to replace it, and don't want a commercially rebuilt box, is there an available new OEM styled or upgraded box that will bolt in?
 

32witha409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#5
Thanks for the leads on manual box stuff. Unfortunately as I have found, reconditioned boxes are it for the manual steering X frames. I'll buy the most comprehensive kit I can find and see if I can resurrect my box.
 

boxerdog

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 5
#6
The only difference between the manual and original power steering boxes is the gear ratio. I like to use the P/S box in a manual application. So you could add a slightly quicker gear if you wanted to.
 

32witha409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#8
Tore down the box this weekend, Things don't look all that bad. The sector shaft measures good no real wear, the cover bushing is tight.
The ball nut and shaft was loose so hope the replacement balls fix that. The input shaft end play was pretty big. The bearing adjuster/end cover was not tight, and may have backed off a little attributing to the end play. I have the right grease on the way and should have it back in the car Saturday late or Sunday morning.
 

Junky

Well Known Member
#11
Be interesting to see what the other parts look like once you get them cleaned up. I am going to need to do this to my car at some point, so that is the reason for my interest. If you find the name of the source of the kit, please post it. I and other will appreciate this. I believe that you have made a wise decision to rebuild, rather than replace.
Update: While looking on the internet, I found this vendor from your information about "Bowtie something".
https://bowtieclassicparts.com/product/chevy-steering-box-rebuild-kit-1958-1964/
 
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32witha409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#13
Update on the steering gear rebuild. The box in back in and the steering has "0" play on center. Super happy with it.

The kit comes with instruction that for the most part are good enough but the assembly requires some setting that they miss. Without them you'll end up doing it again.. here is the Saginaw service instruction for a manual 525 steering gear. The design and setup will be identical. Pay close attention the the preload set up method for the worm shaft and sector shaft on center setup. These are critical, and ensure that the box will be nice and tight for many many years of use.

Further more, the included instructions say to drive in the worm shaft races in using the worm shaft and the ball bearing and cage. NEVER beat on a ball bearing to install it where the ball and race interface takes all of the impact load. I made a small aluminum arbor on the lathe that loaded the outer edge of the race. Also made a bushing driver tool.

The new bushings will require a lot of honing to fit them. I set up my 3 stone small hone in the drill press. This made life easier while stroking the length of the bushing. The housing bushing took about 1-1/2 hours. I snuck up on them, checking it with a telescoping gauge it as I went, then the last bit to a fit of my preference.

I loaded one 14 oz cartridge of NLGI 1 grease (picture included) in to the box after completing the build. All parts were liberally prelubed during assembly.

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IMG_4774.JPG IMG_4776.JPG IMG_4777.JPG
 
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Junky

Well Known Member
#14
Have you considered going into the steering box rebuilding business. You did it correctly the first time, and as you mentioned, you never beat on a part to get another part to seat. I have been of the opinion that the wear on the races is so miniscule, that it isn't worth replacing them. New bearings are important, since the outer cage is effected in the wear of the bearings. I am going to be doing this at some point on my car, but it is more a winter project for me, since I want to drive the car in the warmer months. How worn was the bronze bushing? May I borrow your installation tools when I get to doing this job.. thanks Junky
 

32witha409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#15
Long ago I figured out that my process of rebuilding things is way to costly to be able to make it a business. Company's like Lares (not trying to disparage them) gloss over the details, and can build a some what acceptable product by the price they charge. I doubt they put enough time into the correct set up to do it right. I have rebuilt a few Ross steering gears for the International Harvester community. It worked out OK but not enough to quit my 9-5.

The cover bushing was not bad, only a little looser that what I wanted. The sector shaft bushing was loose. It had considerable movement.
The races had no visible wear or damage, I replaced the one in the main housing but left the adjuster plug race alone, just replaced the ball cage.
 
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Junky

Well Known Member
#17
The last one that I did was on my 1964 Corvair, and it was mostly a clean out the old grease, put new seals into the box, and put it back together. It wasn't worn at all, just a bad seal and very thick grease. That was about 20 years ago, and it is still fine. I don't remember what I used for grease back then, however, as long as there is no metal to metal contact without grease, I don't think that it matters much. It isn't as if it were high speed turning. My biggest problem has always been getting the arm off of the bottom of the box. Every puller I have is either too small or too big. Now, I cheat and take it over to a friends shop, and ask to borrow his puller, and he always says, leave it and he will remove it. Sometimes I feel more like Huckleberry Finn than Junky... LOL..
 

32witha409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#18
I've got a 3/4 ton International Travelette, all wheel drive, long bed pickup that has a Sag power box in it. It needs a rebuild due to slop. Only commercially rebuilt stuff is available. I'll be doing that box soon. Need to find an appropriate kit for it. The Saginaw model information is a little vague.
Photo of OT vehicle for those not familiar with the IH trucks.

IMG_1434.JPG
 

Junky

Well Known Member
#20
I have a 1969 Cadillac Ambulance, and that steering box was leaking so badly, that I had to have it replaced. I got a Larsen rebuilt box from rockauto.com and it just didn't work properly. I returned that one, and they sent me another, and it was no better. Got a full credit from rockauto and bought one from http://www.powersteering.com/power-steering-gearbox-rebuilds that worked perfectly right out of the box. Only problem is that I had to pay a shop for R&R 3 times, since I wasn't able to do the work myself. Takes about 2 1/2 hours to R&R the steering box on that car. I do as much as I can, but old age has slowed me down a lot. What I used to be able to do all day, now takes me all day now!
 
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