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Thread: EPAS for the Champ

  1. #1
    President Member Kurt's Avatar
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    EPAS for the Champ

    I am coming am coming down the home stretch on this project. I installed a Saturn Vue/ Chevy Equinox EPAS unit into my 1961 6E5 Champ pick up. I decided to do this because even after rebuilding the steering box this truck was a bit of a bear to steer.

    i was encouraged by others who had done this before and I thought I would try. I didn’t cut up any of the original steering gear, so that I could go Bach to stock if I so choose.

    I started with a Lark steering column, a hawk steering column, a spare steering shaft out of another T cab, and the EPAS unit.

    i dismantled the EPAS and took the original steering mount and welded it onto the bottom 4 inches of a 62 GT Hawk steering column. The original clamp fit right inside very nicely.Then I took about 10-12 inches of the Lark column and grafted it to the Lower end of the Hawk column. I put a piece of two inch exhaust pipes inside both pieces to keep everything aligned. Then inreassembled and ran turn signal wiring through the column.


    The EPAS unit had a splined removable steering shaft. I removed it, cut it down on the splined end and slid the original T cab shaft inside the splines and mig welded it up. On the bottom end I took the Saturn shaft out, cut it down, and ground 2 flats on the shaft effectively making it a double D. On the other end, I agonized over how to deal with the hollow round shaft. Grinding flats in it were going to compromise strength and welding could crack or break. Pinning seemed like an option too, but I was concerned about trusting my life to a 5/16 inch pin in a hollow shaft. Eventually I settled on a borgeson coupler with DD on one end and 3/4 round on the other. I pinned and welded. Looks to be safe. I’ll keep my eyes on it.

    i tried it out last night and it worked great so far

    Below is pictures of some of the modifications.











    5424A9A0-1998-44E7-BC89-602892C9171C.jpg51AE8261-7464-4E0A-BABC-793EA1AF1E40.jpgB751B271-5541-4A95-A3A3-AF41E8EF8E9A.jpgE52C5892-1938-4F88-A80D-A34FCBCF5BD8.jpg5E2AC1F6-D465-46C4-B85D-B04D6E5FCBA6.jpg90590133-3EF2-4F37-BBDF-148658BBDEAA.jpg84A441CD-D3B4-4621-BAB3-5740326032C6.jpg
    1962 Champ

    51 Commander 4 door

  2. #2
    Golden Hawk Member
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    Impressive. Hopefully it is just an optical thing with the picture, but the two joined shafts do not appear to be in correct alignment (straight) in your picture #5.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

  3. #3
    Silver Hawk Member
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    Congrats on a good solution.

    When the system is operational, you should be under the truck watching the steering gear and frame. When I installed GM power steering on my C-cab, the new system had enough power and the radial tires had enough resistance that the frame twisted alarmingly. My fix was to remove the steering box and weld the K-crossmember to the frame side rail. The T-Cab frame and steering is different, but all that EPAS torque has to go somewhere.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  4. #4
    President Member Kurt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by studegary View Post
    Impressive. Hopefully it is just an optical thing with the picture, but the two joined shafts do not appear to be in correct alignment (straight) in your picture #5.
    it does look crooked.....

    It is straight and it turns smooth in the column
    1962 Champ

    51 Commander 4 door

  5. #5
    President Member Kurt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PackardV8 View Post
    Congrats on a good solution.

    When the system is operational, you should be under the truck watching the steering gear and frame. When I installed GM power steering on my C-cab, the new system had enough power and the radial tires had enough resistance that the frame twisted alarmingly. My fix was to remove the steering box and weld the K-crossmember to the frame side rail. The T-Cab frame and steering is different, but all that EPAS torque has to go somewhere.

    jack vines

    Thank you. High praise from someone I do not know personally, but admire your knowledge. I was concerned about that as well. I played around today and things seem to be staying put. I am very happy with how it all came together. I think down the road I might try to adapt a more robust steering box.
    1962 Champ

    51 Commander 4 door

  6. #6
    President Member bensherb's Avatar
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    An interesting consideration. The EPAS adds load to the input side of the steering box, so everything from the box up is under more stress than it was before the EPAS. Whereas, the factory Bendix power assist applies its force post steering box, and actually reduces force/load on everything from the box up.

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