View Full Version : power steering conversion?

09-07-2017, 12:37 PM

My 64 hawk has manual steering with the Ross steering gear. It appears stand still steering (Like parallel parking) has gotten a lot harder. Moving steering is great. It's probably my 72 year old bones. But: What would I need to convert to power steering? I Probably would want to keep it all Studebaker. But I'm curios; I saw, on one of the Velocity channel garages. A guy brought an Avanti II in for restoration. One of the modifications were to retrofit an electric power steering unit in place of his manual steering unit. They didn't go into detail. But I'm wondering how that got installed. And even if it would be considered safe. Have any of you converted to power steering? I'd like to hear from you.


Commander Eddie
09-07-2017, 12:44 PM
I saw that episode of Phantom Works Garage. You're right, they did not go into much detail on the installation but I got the impression it is fairly straight forward. I also saw this done on an episode of Wheeler Dealers with another car (a Mustang??). Ed China went in to more detail and made it look pretty easy. I suspect you could find a suitable unit and a garage that could install it in your area. It will be interesting to see if anyone one here on the Forum has done one of these.

09-07-2017, 01:09 PM
The first and BEST option is to try and check & improve the condition of the King Pins, Tie Rods, Center Steering Pivot by working a LOT of grease into them and checking condition of Bushings, Alignment etc.

09-07-2017, 01:14 PM
Thanks Ed: I didn't see that episode, on wheeler dealers, with the mustang. But Ed China is quite a mechanic. The other guy is obnoxious. :-)

09-07-2017, 01:37 PM
You might have hit on something StudeRich. I completely rebuilt my front end last year. I get grease out of all 20 something grease points including the 2 thrust bearings. With the exception the center pin. I had a hard time fitting that pin in the bushings. I used bushings instead of needle bearings because that's what 1964 called for. I guess I need to check that.


09-07-2017, 11:29 PM
If your suspension is in good shape, then do the easiest thing first. Install a center pin for the bell crank that uses needle bearings. You'll be amazed...

09-09-2017, 01:19 AM
Look up electric power steering conversions on youtube and there are lots of videos on it .. Guys taking them off junked cars like Saturns I think and using them on older cars with no power steering ..

09-10-2017, 09:36 PM
There's a company called "Unisteer" that makes an electric power steering steering column. It simply bolts in place of your existing column. I doubt they make one specificly for the Studebaker but they have a kit that can be installed in almost any column, and I believe they will also install it in your column or make a custom column for you too at a price.

09-11-2017, 08:57 PM
I built my 53 coupe with a Studebaker V8 and radials on Lincoln wheels and no power steering and it was very uncomfortable for me to drive. I installed a Bendix unit from a Hawk. I'll admit I had to make a couple modifications for the pump to clear the radiator shroud and the ram to clear the radiator, but except for the tires and wheels and the T5, the car is all Studebaker and the installation is pretty clean. Its now the most fun car I ever built. I was told here that I was building a Rube Goldberg. I can't imagine what you would have if you put electric steering in a 64 Hawk. :)

52 Ragtop
09-11-2017, 09:53 PM
Rich is right! I "always" thought that the steering on my 63 Avanti (non power) was pretty damn good. That is, until I completely disassembled the front end, all new bushings and bearings, AND had the spindles hot dipped for cleaning, That removed ALL the 50 year old + grease, used the O ring instead of the cork gasket on the bottom of the spindle. Then replaced all the zerk fittings. What a BIG difference it made! I'm actually thinking of pulling apart the front end on my 52 convertible too.


t walgamuth
09-12-2017, 06:09 AM
My dedicated autocross car, the lotus seven clone has electric power steering from a small GM car. The unit is about the size of a large grapefruit and is installed in the steering column above the rack and pinion.

It works fine but I've never thought a car that light should need it.

I'm gonna disassemble the front end this winter and look for binding in the steering parts.