View Full Version : 1949 Champion Steering Box

09-17-2018, 07:35 PM
I want to improve the steering on my 49 Champion.

I’d like to have the steering gear box rebuilt but I don’t want to remove the box and leave the car unusable.

Anyone have an extra steering box (for 47-49 Champion) to sell so I could have that unit rebuilt? Lares is a good source for rebuilding.
Thanks in advance.

09-17-2018, 10:05 PM
When you say "improve the steering" what exactly do you mean?
excessive play?
hard to turn the wheel?
car wanders?
excessive lost motion in the steering wheel?
car pulls to one side?

Have you rebuilt/rebushed the front suspension?

09-18-2018, 07:29 AM
The right front kingpin needs replacement and that probably is the cause of a front end wobble that comes and goes at low speeds. Steering is stiff and there is a resistance to making a turn. After I overcome the resistance the steering is not smooth but rather choppy and going from smooth to hard.

09-18-2018, 08:25 AM
Poor steering performance is rarely ever due to a single item. From wheel bearings, spindles, kingpins, tie rod ends, and every mechanical pivot area in the entire system, each component contributes to the operation. Include suspension components like springs shackle bushings and shocks. Also, keep in mind when checking, that most components will reveal their worst wear with the steering wheel pointed straight ahead where most wear occurs. As a vehicle spends most of its operation pointed straight down the road, that is the position where most wear occurs. If anyone has monkeyed with that little adjustment screw on your steering box, it can cause the hard steering you describe. I have fooled with that adjustment so little, I would have to pull a shop manual and refresh my memory on its correct function, but if memory serves me right, it is not intended to make up for poor performance of other connected components or a truly worn gear, but more to do with internal play for initial setup adjustment. (someone who really knows, please educate me/us):)

In my experience, most truly damaged steering gears I have encountered have been the result of poor lubrication and neglect. One of the worst I ever replaced was in a 1964 International work truck. That production year International used several different steering gearboxes. The most difficult part of the repair was finding a parts truck with the same gearbox. I did that repair in the early 1980's. Examining the gearbox found that it had been lubricated with chassis grease. The gearbox was full of grease, but the little fingers that engage the worm gear had pushed the grease aside and none was left to coat the gears. In other words, the contact areas that needed lubrication had none. It was metal to metal contact and the wear had become so bad that the truck would suddenly go into almost uncontrollable vibration. All because the wrong lubrication had been used.

I think you are OK to look for another steering box, but in addition, make sure to check all the other components too. Tie rods are easily checked by grasping the rod and pushing up and down to see if the ball is excessively loose in its socket. Not long ago, I found one so worn that it was about to separate. Wheel bearings and kingpins are checked for play by jacking up the wheel, grasping the top and bottom, and moving it up & down to see where the play is. If it shakes excessively, and the kingpin does not move, it's probably the wheel bearing. If it's the kingpin, that will be obvious. For wheel bearings, the "pre-load" adjustment of the spindle nut needs to be correct to get a good feel for the bearing itself.

All this is my take on the subject (over morning coffee), and I'm only an occasional backyard mechanic.:whome: Hopefully, someone who makes a living doing this stuff will chime in with credible information.:!: When all else fails...consult your shop manual.;)