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Power Steering Conversion on '62 Classic

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AfterhoursFab View Drop Down
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    Posted: Apr/10/2018 at 7:40pm
Hey guys, I'm currently working on converting to power steering on a '62 Classic. I have a power box from a '65 Ambassador and they both have 3 bolts but the patterns are too far off for a bolt-on solution not to mention the shapes are totally different (the Classic has a wedge built-in.)

Can someone give me some info on this conversion? I can try mounting up the '65 box but it would take a few days of energy that could be spent elsewhere! Thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lucas660 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/11/2018 at 12:15am
The original power steering for the 62 was a ram assist type setup, so you might just have to adapt the new box. It should be more reliable.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote farna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/11/2018 at 8:09am
I've adapted a PS steering box to a 63 Classic, that also used the "cross ram" power assist steering. Those had a power assist cylinder taking the place of the drag link, used the manual steering box with a control valve on the pitman arm end of the cylinder. Hard to find parts for now!

Using the PS steering box is a bit of work. Mounting it was the easiest, but you need to drill holes. The lowest hole on the manual steering box will align with the PS box -- at least that's the one I used, IIRC. Run a bolt through that then line the PS box up with the shaft. You should have the original box out, so use a long dowel the shaft size or cut the shaft off the original box near the box. Once aligned tighten that bolt and mark the others. Then drill and run bolts through the sill ("frame" rail). The uppermost bolt on mine ran just above the sill. I used a pipe spacer and ran bolt through the inner fender panel. Not much stress there, probably could have left it out. You will need to either make a spacer between sill and PS box or get one from a Hornet/Concord. My box came from an early Comanche -- I used a Concord spacer. Grade 5 or 8 washers will work as spacers if you don't need much. The Concord spacer is about 1/2" thick, IIRC.

Now you have the steering shaft issue. If using the original column use the original shaft. Just weld a T on the end and bolt to the rag joint, or get a rag joint with a D or double D connector from an aftermarket company (Speedway Motors has them). D is one flat on the shaft, double D is two flats opposite each other. Make sure you get the measurement correct!! Measure with steering wheel on. If using a different column (I used an S-10 truck tilt column) with an intermediate shaft it's a bit easier. You can junk-yard shop for a shaft close to the right length. Some are easy to alter length, some not. You want to use a rag joint and not a simple slip connector. Rag joint not only isolates steering wheel from vibration, it will tear apart in a real hard front end collision. Could save you if using the solid original shaft and not a more modern intermediate shaft!

Final hurdle is the pitman arm. Around 65 AMC changed the angle on the tie-rod taper. I think it was almost universal across the industry. IIRC the older one is a smaller taper, newer larger, but I might have it backwards. The pitman needs to be the same distance from center to center as the idler arm. You could change the idler arm, but that will affect steering geometry. I used a Concord pitman, but the taper was wrong at the drag link. I'm pretty sure the older was larger because I tried making a spacer for the original drag link hole. That didn't work well, beat out. I ended up welding a grade 8 washer to the large end that just fit over the drag link end large diameter (but not all the way down against the boot) and a smaller washer on the other side that just fit over the threaded end. That worked, though I wasn't real happy about welding to the drag link (forged steel, no real issue...). You can get reams the correct taper. I should have welded the hole a bit on both ends and used a tapered ream since I was welding. That would have been better than the washers. Speedway has the reams, they also have end bungs that already have the correct tapered hole and can be welded to the end of the drag link. Safer to weld the hole and ream than cut the end off -- that end weld could break, the welded up hole won't.
Frank Swygert
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AfterhoursFab Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/11/2018 at 11:07am
Thanks so much for the replys! I saw the raw assist style and wanted to stay away from that. I was hoping there was a muriad of parts we could just bolt in but alas, that's wishful thinking! We'll set about mounting up this Ambassador box and see how it works out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote farna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/11/2018 at 6:14pm
The only bolt-on option is for later cars. The 63-64 Classic/Ambo still used the "cross ram" type, but 65-66 used a Saginaw (GM) steering box. The 65-66 will bolt to the 6-64, but for the 62 you're still out of luck. 
Frank Swygert
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AfterhoursFab Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/18/2018 at 11:16am
Here's what I came up with. I had to cut the stock plate off the frame to get to a clean flat surface. I then mocked up the '65 power box and made a plate to convert the 2 bolt patterns. The stock shaft was cut and inserted into an aftermarket steering u-joint. The pitman is from a '65 as well but the taper is too small. I will be machining an adaptor to convert it over and then weld that into the centerlink.

I can't get the images to work at all, but if you copy/paste this link it should go to the album.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Q82igVEuGAYXSAEB3


Edited by AfterhoursFab - Apr/18/2018 at 9:27pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote farna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/19/2018 at 6:34am
Great job! You could probably sell a few of those adapters. Would be nice if you could draw up a plan for others at least, but now that you have it on that probably won't happen.
Frank Swygert
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AfterhoursFab Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/19/2018 at 11:22am
Thanks! It was all done on my cnc plasma table that I built so it would be fairly easy to reproduce. I don't know how popular of a seller it would be, but if someone is interested I could make another
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