View Full Version : Did the frame change or the dash?

05-11-2007, 05:47 PM
I have a '62 GT Hawk that was originally manual steer. I wanted power steering and decided to try the Saginaw unit that was on the '54 thru '57(I could be off on the years, but you know what I mean). I was hoping the Saginaw unit would have a little better road feel than the Bendix unit the GTs had.

I finally found one at a Studebaker junkyard. The junkyard owner couldn't remember exactly what it came from, but thought it was a '56 Golden Hawk. I modified things a bit so I could use the GT column and steering wheel with the Saginaw box.

When I tried to mount the saginaw steering box up to the GT frame it put the column center a little less than two inches to the left of the cut out where the column is supposed to come through the GT dash. If I space the steering box out away from the frame rail enough to line up with the GT dash it hits the exhaust manifold(I do know that oginally those were a very tight fit to the manifold). I can make the whole thing work but the column hugs the left side of the column cut out in the bottom of the GT dash.

My first thought is that the frame rails must have been closer together on the earlier C/Ks. Or maybe the steering was a little further outboard on the earlier cars? Anybody have any info on this?

05-11-2007, 07:31 PM
You could have a sedan/wagon Steering gear, that's the only thing I can think of that would cause that much misfit, how does the ANGLE look? That was the major difference between the two. Check the mounting holes in the frame to see if they look like they COULD line up if everything else went together.

Studebakers Northwest
Ferndale, WA

05-11-2007, 08:03 PM
I don't think the box is different between the C/k or the sedan. I think the Saginaw powers the box, which is much larger, while the Bendix powers steering rams, making the box assembly smaller.

I hope Dwain chimes in here as, I suspect, he has the answer you seek, like it or not.

05-11-2007, 10:04 PM
I found the difference on Pg. 424 Sect. 1302B '53-'58 Chassis Parts Catalog. Yes the gearbox IS the same, BUT:

The mounting bracket Picture #1301-7 is a 534298 for W,F,D,P,Y,
and is a 534301 for C and K.

So Casey will defenetly need the correct mounting bracket for the K body. That IS the difference. If you lucked out and got a C/K bracket, then it should bolt up.

The later years with the Bendix unit needed a different shape and angle mounting bracket also, but it was built into the box.

quote:Originally posted by rockne10

I don't think the box is different between the C/k or the sedan.

Studebakers Northwest
Ferndale, WA

Dwain G.
05-12-2007, 02:35 AM
I'm sure Rich is exactly right! I seem to remember those brackets having a casting number? No, nothing different about the dash (firewall). I'm thinking this unit is probably from a '57-'58 car because I believe the steering wheel splines are different from '57 on. I'm guessing you had to shorten the GT column? Do you remember about how much?
I was going to ask which set of holes the engine mounts are in, but the engine was never moved was it?

Dwain G.

05-12-2007, 10:00 AM
I have a saginaw unit from a '57 hawk in my '53K. The column from the '57 is shorter with a smaller spline shaft compared to the '53. I found all the parts needed (mostly NOS) to convert it to the earlier column so my stock '53 steering wheel would fit. The brackets are definately different. Someone I know was working on a '57 GH that had had the bendix PS put in and he was wanting to make it correct by switching to the saginaw setup. He got a entire setup but when we tried to put it in the car, the stearing column kept hitting the underside of the dash and we could not get the frame to box bracket bolts in. Turned out the setup came from a '57 sedan so the bracket was the problem. I bet the column was too short too but we never could check. He managed to find most of the correct column parts but the bracket was unobtainium so he gave up. The bracket is either cast or forged and not much to it. My car at the time was not done and I offered to take the bracket out and see if a welding shop could clone it out of plate steel but he declined.

Your problem could be that you need some shim washers between the box bracket and the frame. The car I took my setup out of had some and I have come across them in the manual steering cars too. A small washer at one of the bolts down by the frame can have a bigger impact in tilting the column left-right than you would think due to the trigonometry (aka lever arm).

Jeff in ND
'53 Champion Hardtop

05-14-2007, 08:36 AM
Thanks to all who replied. I think from what I'm hearing I must have the wrong bracket. It never occured to me that there were different brackets for different models. And the holes in the bracket didn't match the holes in the frame, but I knew that going in.

The set up when I got it was made for a different steering wheel- bigger diameter rod & different splines. And yes, I did have to shorten the GT column to make it mate up- and the GT column was a little smaller diameter too.

And I needed more than shims to fill the space between the mounting bracket and frame. More like a filler block about 1 & 1/4' thick. And a bit of an angle had to worked into the block as well.

I'm still fine tuning- it will work but I'll never be able to get the column centered on the dash- engine won't cooperate. Eighth of an inch clearence between steering box and exhaust manifold makes me nervous.

Thanks to all who had info to contribute. I'll let you know how it turns out.