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View Full Version : Integral Power Steering Coversion--worth it or not???



karterfred88
11-18-2014, 04:28 PM
I wasn't sure if I should post this question here or in the Tech side. I've scoured all the old posts, know how to do it, and yes my way is a different way than done before. My real question is to those brave souls who've done it--was it worth it? On a manual steering original, I'm sure it was worth it. On a car that already had a Bendix control valve system, did it make any difference in feel or did it just get rid of the "bag of snakes", routine, constant replacement, upkeep nightmare? I have a 1963 Avanti, which is currently down--again--due to control valve leaks. After 4 sets of vendor seals, and determining that it had been "modified" somehow, or polished so much, that the vendor seals were not tight enough on the spool ends, allowing fluid to "blow past them" with minimal use--5 to 10 miles, I gave up and sent it to Stanger. He will try and fit some Ford seals to it and see what happens. Sooo, I need to decide if it's worth bothering to convert to a Saginaw-Delphi integral box, or just bite the bullet and spend the time converting to a rack and pinion--keeping in mind all the hoops that need jumping through in that conversion. Since my Saginaw conversion will keep all Studebaker center steer items, I will wind up with numb feel 60-ish system, but with less repairs. This is aimed at those who have actually experienced the differences. My "update" would be fully reversible (if I don't sell off the original parts) but either conversion is somewhat costly. Opini:confused:ons---????
Fred

Alan
11-18-2014, 04:51 PM
Fred; I converted my 63 Avanti from power to standard. Then to a GM cross steer. On to a 85 Buick Skylark center R&P. Each has it own quirks, feels and idiosyncrasies. All had draw backs of one form or another. I am an old drag racer and don't like power robbing anything. Never tried one of those electric steering setups but at the $5,000 to $8,000 price tag on them, don't think I will try. Was eying the 2000-2005 Honda Civic R&P's but could not find one with out power. I have an Avanti Pitman arm and control valve that didn't leak when taken off 35 or 40 years ago in case you can not repair yours.

karterfred88
11-18-2014, 05:17 PM
Fred; I converted my 63 Avanti from power to standard. Then to a GM cross steer. On to a 85 Buick Skylark center R&P. Each has it own quirks, feels and idiosyncrasies. All had draw backs of one form or another. I am an old drag racer and don't like power robbing anything. Never tried one of those electric steering setups but at the $5,000 to $8,000 price tag on them, don't think I will try. Was eying the 2000-2005 Honda Civic R&P's but could not find one with out power. I have an Avanti Pitman arm and control valve that didn't leak when taken off 35 or 40 years ago in case you can not repair yours.
Thanks for the info, I had thought of trying to go "all the way" with an electric rack but finding one strong enough meant going to newer Mustang or Camaro, which is cost prohibitive even used, plus how to control it without speed sensors etc. I might take you up on the control valve however, PM me a price, I know it fits in a medium Flat rate USPS box without the reach rod. I'm not too hopeful on Stanger. I pulled the "original" seals because of a slight leak, but now it gushes, was never able to cross reference the numbers on the seals in it to anything--but they definitely didn't match the replacements we can get.

StudeRich
11-18-2014, 10:10 PM
Sounds like a no brainer to me. If you have a worn out system, it is not fixable. :(

So no need to convert anything, just get GOOD parts and it will work as other Avantis, Larks, Hawks, Fords, Mercurys always did when New for about 15 to 20 years.

When the spool valve and control valve housing are to spec. the "Vendor Seals" will work fine if properly installed.

SN-60
11-19-2014, 08:10 PM
I wasn't sure if I should post this question here or in the Tech side. I've scoured all the old posts, know how to do it, and yes my way is a different way than done before. My real question is to those brave souls who've done it--was it worth it? On a manual steering original, I'm sure it was worth it. On a car that already had a Bendix control valve system, did it make any difference in feel or did it just get rid of the "bag of snakes", routine, constant replacement, upkeep nightmare? I have a 1963 Avanti, which is currently down--again--due to control valve leaks. After 4 sets of vendor seals, and determining that it had been "modified" somehow, or polished so much, that the vendor seals were not tight enough on the spool ends, allowing fluid to "blow past them" with minimal use--5 to 10 miles, I gave up and sent it to Stanger. He will try and fit some Ford seals to it and see what happens. Sooo, I need to decide if it's worth bothering to convert to a Saginaw-Delphi integral box, or just bite the bullet and spend the time converting to a rack and pinion--keeping in mind all the hoops that need jumping through in that conversion. Since my Saginaw conversion will keep all Studebaker center steer items, I will wind up with numb feel 60-ish system, but with less repairs. This is aimed at those who have actually experienced the differences. My "update" would be fully reversible (if I don't sell off the original parts) but either conversion is somewhat costly. Opini:confused:ons---????
Fred

Just for clarification,...are we talking about converting over the power steering system in your '63 Avanti from the factory Bendix system to the '53-'57 Saginaw integral system? (As used on, say, a 1955 President sedan?)

StudeRich
11-19-2014, 10:26 PM
Just for clarification,...are we talking about converting over the power steering system in your '63 Avanti from the factory Bendix system to the '53-'57 Saginaw integral system? (As used on, say, a 1955 President sedan?)

Don't know, ya got me! He calls it a Saginaw-Delphi ??? That is some New GM/China? Part I think. Maybe for some late model GM Car. ?? :confused:

karterfred88
11-19-2014, 10:31 PM
Just for clarification,...are we talking about converting over the power steering system in your '63 Avanti from the factory Bendix system to the '53-'57 Saginaw integral system? (As used on, say, a 1955 President sedan?)
No, I've devised a way to use a combination of two newer Saginaw-Delphi steering gears to get a version that will adapt to the Avanti, one that puts the pitman shaft below the worm, same as all the boxes used by Studebaker on "center steer" cars, that minimizes the pitman shaft to exhaust manifold interference problem, while placing the input shaft higher and on a closer plane to the existing steering shaft. The older GH, etc., power steering won't fit in the available space on an Avanti. Although "modern" by comparison to Bendix systems (mid 80s to early 90s vs mid 50s), it still uses the center bell crank and original tie rods. As such it is still isolated from the steering arms, leading to a lack of "feel". The major cost is in obtaining the two units, disassembling them, mix and matching parts, and winding up with only one usable gear box. Then making the bracket from box to frame, and making a new pitman arm out of two due to spline and length differences. Since rebuilding the original system is easier, IF you have rebuildable parts, that is probably more cost effective, but--have you seen the CORE DEPOSIT charges from the vendors!! If yours is NG, by the time you get finished you're into it to $1200.00 or more. The supply of the parts is dwindling and in some cases, such as the pump internals, there are no parts to be had to build it right. The Stude system is SIMILAR to early Ford, but the ball housing and attaching flanges are different and clocked differently, making them not just "another" control valve, and even on old Fords the Eaton pump internals are NLA, giving us units that are put together with "the best" worn out parts.

Xcalibur
11-22-2014, 12:07 AM
StudeRich offered the best advice, imho... fix/replace the original--not only the p/s but the entire system and go from there. From my experience that alone will produce a FAR better set-up than most are used to, given age and general lack of proper maintenance/repairs by past owners (and, no offense, but yours seems to be one of these from your description of your current parts). Then, at the least, go with quick-steering arms. Finally, IF you have access to a VERY good fabricator the center-pivot can be converted to ball-bearings with absolutely no slop... zero, zilch, nada, none. I can assure you these things, in combination, will produce an Avanti/Stude that handles far better than 99.999% have ever driven. I've done so with several Avantis over a 20 year span under conditions most would only dream of with complete satisfaction. Now, if you really MUST make a significant change... adapt an independent rear suspension like Studebaker originally wanted for the Avanti but couldn't afford. Again, works for me. All the best!