Axel & Steering

SOLID BEAM AXLE, RACK AND PINION STEERING

This is the first truck I've fitted with the Rack and Pinion steering.  My own 1962 Champ 1/2 ton pickup with a 280Z engine.  Although it was a daily driver and my shop work truck it left much to be desired in steering comfort.

The power rack is a wrecking yard removal from a Dodge Omni.  This rack is a rear mount unit.  EG it mounts aft of the axle.  The pump was a GM unit.

To use it I had to fabricate the rack mount frame, a new steering shaft and mount the power steering pump, hoses and cooler.  I replaced the original steering column with a "stubby" from a Chevy Citation.

Let's look at some pictures with some brief explanations in text:

Inside the cab showing the steering column mounting and the upper u-joints for the shaft.


 

 


A rack mount was fabricated from steel plate to mount the Rack to the aft side of the axle.

 

Looking at the axle from fwd to aft.


 


Looking at the mounted rack from aft toward forward


In the engine bay the shaft runs as shown here.

Upper end of shaft with mid-span support bearing

 


Lower end of shaft where it engages with the rack input.

Note the telescoping shaft segment.

 


The pump was mounted on the left side of the 280Z engine on the bracket normally provided for the A/C compressor.

The most costly item was the custom made sleeves to connect the 14-mm inner tierod ends to the 1/2 inch heim joints used as outer tierod ends and the conical adapters to fit a straight bolt into a tapered hole.


 

This, my first effort resulted in an improved steering but left some room for improvement.  The rack, behind the axle, caused the shaft to come up almost vertical through the firewall to the steering column.  This resulted in a "harsh" road feel in the wheel, with every bump transferring right up into the wheel even though the shaft was fitted with a telescoping segment to allow absorption. 

I deduced that a more gradual upward angle on the steering shaft would allow the u-joints to absorb a higher proportion of the road bumps via flexing without sending the shocks up the vertical shafting. 

Next project will be a "front of the axle" mount.

 

Copyright 2007 - 2011 Studebakersonly.com revised 11/20/12