My name is Donald Niosi. I live in Punta Gorda, FL. I have a 69 Firebird with manual steering. I purchased a Saginaw steering box (PN 5691676) from a scrap yard in PA. They said it was from a 69 Firebird. It included the oil lines and pitman arm. I found an upper pulley set and crankshaft pulley set, plus steering pump and mounting brackets from a scrap yard in Iowa. I installed the pulleys and brackets, mounted the steering pump and relocated the alternator. Then I installed a Lares 201 steering coupler on the splined shaft of the steering box. Next I removed the manual steering box (PN 5879142). Then I removed the clutch return spring and bracket and dropped the exhaust from the left side of the engine. I couldn't get the power steering box to bolt up. The steering coupler was hitting the flange on the bottom of the steering column.The old box was 1/4 inch shorter from bolt hole to coupler than the new box. Can the flange be moved?The Flange is not splined like some earlier firebirds Any information or knowledge you could provide would be appreciated.
Welcome, the columns for manual and power steering in 69 are the same with the only difference being tilt. Here is the parts manual to get a good visual of what I am about to say. http://www.teufert.net/partbook/67-76/6-i.pdf The lower part is telescopic as Bob said and can be slid into position. Just be careful if It's stuck to hold the upper part of the shaft when "persuading it" so as not to collapse the upper part of the collapsible shaft which is held in place with plastic shear pins and if broken can cause all sorts of rubbing problems in the upper part of the column.
That's awesome guys, that did not even cross my mind, and it should have because my 67 bird has "Energy Absorbing" on the steering wheel because it was the first year of the collapsing column to reduce impalements
[img]https://firstgenfirebird.org/forums...umber/19881/filename/20220111_124940.jpg[/img] I've included 2 photos of the flange at the bottom of the steering column. It doesn't push in. I might be able to hit with a hammer and hope it moves and doesn't damage the column, As you can see with the photos there is very little room to work with. The vacuum canister and brake lines are in the way.
I am not an expert on this but did a little research, some say this swap requires quite a bit of changing starting with a new rag joint, I see others talk of pitman arms and complete steering linkage for correct geometry, I don't know how much of their claims are correct. This is one conversation I found and I'll post the link below --
Alright, here's my experience and I'll go into as much detail as possible unlike most of the other people online who leave out a lot that they assume is common knowledge...
First of all, manual and power boxes have different size output shafts and require different pitman arms. If you already have a ps box, they say your original pitman arm will switch right over.
Any box up to a '92 will bolt directly in place of a 1st gen box... only difference between the years is the hose fittings which changed over certain years from male to female, AN to O-ring, and SAE to Metric. (I don't know all the specific years since I only have experience with one)
You will need a new rag joint GM#7826542 (I used a DORMAN 31011... same thing).
As I was going from manual to power and couldn't use my old pitman arm anyway, I bought the MOOG K6582 that everyone reccomends. Some others are available for different lengths I'm sure, but this one is closest to stock at only like 1/2" off... (you cannot use the stock one from (at least a 82-92 anyway) because the connection at the drag link is different... idk about other years.
My details: I used a simple 3.25 turn box from a 90 Firebird that I picked up for 25 bucks shipped to my door... a little work, some wax and grease remover, and a can of paint and it looks like new. The total steering geometry is what figures your ratio, not just the box. There are long and short pitman arms, and also steering arms. My original manual box was a 6.5 turn (i'm sure to ease the work of no power assist by having a low gear) and long steering arms to help speed the ratio back up at the tires gave me a 4.5 turn at the steering wheel. Since I used an almost stock length MOOG pitman arm, that didn't change much, but the extra 1/2" did help a little (longer arm makes for faster steering since the end travels a farther distance for the same amount of turning radius). Overall product with the replacement 3.25 box, stock length arm, and my stock long steering arms, made for a hair over 2.5 turns lock to lock at the steering wheel... which is what everyone reccomends. They say any quicker and the steering becomes twitchy and hard to control. If I had gone with the "quick ratio" box, then my car would be [censored] near undrivable. So make sure you match your box to your other parts... quicker number isn't always better.
As far as hoses go, since my 90 box uses the O-ring style connectors (and i'm installing an 01 LS1 motor with the factory pump still attached) I was even able to use my stock hoses that come from the factory 2001 rack and pinion setup... the sizes are the same (all metric -box and pump). The return line was simple, it fit right in and just trim to length and reattach to the resevoir with the original hose clamp in place of the line that went to the ps cooler in the factory 01 setup. Pressure line is a bit trickier since the length and bend of the tubing needs to be modified to reach the port on the box. There may be other years of hoses actually designed to reach to a box instead of down to a rack, and may still be the correct metric thread (maybe from a 90s car). I've read that for boxes like mine anyway, the two fittings are just an 18mm x1.5 and 16mm x1.5 metric O-ring connectors if you want to make your own or have custom lines made. The other guys that need to make the SAE conversion, or the AN to O-ring, can do like everyone says and call Lee Mfg. (I've also read of adapters picked up from Advance Auto and such that do the same thing if you want to search for the posts in other forums).
I wish I had something more for you but without being able to put my own hands on the job I don't know if it's an installation problem or an aftermarket mismatch part problem. the only thing I can say is after verifying it's neither be very careful if tapping on the bottom of the column shaft flange as it will only move if previously damaged.
After thinking about this I hate to assume but I think it might be an installation error. When I remove a box on an original setup with a 2-piece, coupler I split it to get the tight-fitting pins out of the column slot/holes. and then back in. With your new coupler rag joint is this even possible? I believe most aftermarkets are one piece. If you can't split it, you have to loosen the 3 self-tapping bolts on the firewall plate that holds the column and also loosen the two nuts that hold the bracket support under the dash. the bracket support holes are slotted fore and aft for adjustment. Also, if needed the plate down at the firewall has a clamp around the column that once loosened can also be moved fore and aft a little if needed. I suspect once you move the column backwards for installation it will probably bolt right back in without any adjustments needed. Here is an exploded view of the mounts I am talking about, they are numbers 2,12,13 and the 2 nuts for the bracket support are number 3. http://www.teufert.net/partbook/67-76/6-i.pdf
I had reached out to Lee Power Steering in Valencia CA in addition to First Generation Firebird. One of their service people called me yesterday. He said the Saginaw power unit is longer than the manual unit. He said look inside the car at the column, loosen to small bolts that hold the column to the fire wall. Next he said, just under the dash there are two nuts on studs in slotted holes, loosen those. In the picture the nut and slot are at the top. I was able to pull the steering wheel outward the length of the slot. This provided enough room to install the Saginaw box with the rag joint attached. I still have install the rag joint bolts and connect hoses. I haven't attached the pitman arm yet, but will shortly.