When dealing with old cars you never know how things are going to go back together and when you start making changes you really don’t know. Even though aftermarket parts may be labeled “direct bolt on” they really should say “bolt on*”. That asterisk is critical. It basically means “this may or may not be correct for your vehicle. We’ve developed this part to fit a range of vehicles spanning 15-20 years and things change, so you know, good luck!”
I found that out last week with the new Borgeson power steering box. Borgeson makes a line of power steering components to add a saginaw style power steering pump to any Y block powered car and a new, quicker ratio, power steering box for ’52-’64 Fords. It’s a pricey set up, but the idea of not having to modify the frame to fit another kind of box was really appealing to me. I’ve seen other guys who have had to notch the frame, weld on a plate, or do other things to add power steering. The Borgeson set up was designed to alleviate all of that. Supposedly, you would only need to shorten the steering column and everything else is a direct bolt on.
Since I am mocking up everything to make sure it all fits (power brakes, AOD &shift linkage, power steering, etc.), I went ahead and started to install the power steering box.
This thing is huge compared to the original! I wish I had a side-by-side shot, but it is a good 4 inches longer and probably 2-3 inches wider than the stock unit.
As soon as I started to bolt it up I knew things weren’t going to be a “direct bolt on”. I could only get one bolt hole to line up with the holes on the frame. I couldn’t rotate it because the back end was hitting on the top of the frame So I broke out the grinder to create a flat(ter) spot.
That helped, but it still wasn’t lining up. So I took a ball peen hammer and “persuaded” it a little bit more. I also used a round file to oval out the holes on the mounting plate and also took the grinder to the back end of the box to create a flat spot. Nothing like voiding the warranty on a $500 part within a couple of hours!
It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but there is about an 1/8″ clearance between the box and the frame now. It took close to 3 hours to get this in. I would grind and/or file a bit, check for fitment, grind and file some more, check for fitment, and repeat, repeat, repeat. So while Borgeson calls it “direct bolt on” it’s really more like “bolt on*”.
I know I probably sound like a whiny b*tch and I know it could have been far worse. I guess I should just chock it up to wrenchin’!
Next step is to get a new steering column and get that mocked up.