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  • steering

    Is there a power steering box off a new car that will bolt up on a 1962 GT Hawk? I like the front suspenion but it takes alot to turn it. Please email me at

  • #2
    Here's my thoughts on Studebaker steering, FWIW.

    First of all, there is no "power steering box" for a GT. It used a ram-type power assist, with the control valve built into the reach rod.

    That said, there's stuff you can do before you dive in and convert to power steering. IMHO it's not required on a car that is in good shape and well greased, even with radial tires, although parallel parking is a bit of a chore for those not used to driving without PS - the trick is to not try to turn the wheel unless the car is moving, even at a crawl. The easiest thing to do is to crawl under the car with a grease gun and lube up the front end. Sounds basic, but you have to do it right! This means when you get to the kingpins, keep pumping that grease in there until it comes out the big thrust bearings at the top - all the way around! When that old grease in there gets hard, it makes a dramatic difference in steering effort. If you've pumped a big gooey pile of grease out through the bottom of the kingpins and still none is coming out the thrust bearings, you're going to have to take more dramatic steps. I've heard tell of people gently warming the top bearings with a torch in order to get them to take grease, but every time I've tried that it hasn't worked for me. What I usually end up doing is to disassemble the kingpin and remove the bearing, then let it soak in a can of gasoline or other solvent overnight to loosen up all the nastiness. If you're not as frugal as I the correct thing to do would be to just buy new bearings. You'll need new cork seals for the bottom of the kingpin anyway. You can do this without major disassembly, just remove the brake backing plate and wire it out of the way, leave the shock in place to keep the spring from violently decompressing, and just bump the kingpin out of the lower knuckle with a hard plastic or brass hammer, then you can pull the kingpin up out of the knuckle while it's still attached to the upper control arm. Don't lose any of the needles in the lower bearing!

    Just put everything back where it came from now that your thrust bearing is all nice and clean, don't forget the cork gasket (an O-ring works too; not sure if this has any negative implications for the needle bearing though.) Now you should be able to get lots of nice fresh grease out of the thrust bearing. Go ahead and hit the tie rods, reach rod, and also the little fitting for the center pivot that is hidden in the back of the front crossmember. Also check the gear oil level in your steering box and top it up if required. Then go for a drive and see if you still need power steering.

    If after all this, you decide you still want PS - the easiest way to do it would be to find a complete setup from someone that is parting out a similar car. You will need the pump, brackets, pulleys, I think maybe a longer crank bolt? also the power cylinder, associated frame bracket, Pitman arm, bell crank (with PS there's an extra arm on it for the power cylinder), hoses, the little spring retainer to tie the hoses to the frame, and the control valve/reach rod assembly. The reach rod is body style specific as are the hoses, so make sure you get those parts from a Hawk not a Lark type.

    Finally, I will probably have for sale at some point in the vague future a complete PS setup from a '55 coupe; it will need to have the steering box rebuilt however. It is the Saginaw integral type. Also a nice setup but it would be wrong, wrong, brimming over with wrongability for your car and would also require that you change your steering column, and I don't have one that would work for you. Would be much easier to use the Bendix ram-type as I've described above.

    good luck


    55 Commander Starlight
    62 Daytona hardtop
    55 Commander Starlight


    • #3
      What size tires are you running on this GT Hawk[?]

      Miscreant at large.

      1957 Transtar 1/2ton
      1960 Larkvertible V8
      1958 Provincial wagon
      1953 Commander coupe
      1957 President 2-dr
      1955 President State
      1951 Champion Biz cpe
      1963 Daytona project FS
      No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


      • #4
        Thank you for this information. I just inhereted this nice little car and am not use to not having PS.


        • #5
          Check your front tire pressure. That manual steering wasn't designed with radials in mind. If your pressure is low at all, it would be shoulder-wrenching to try to parallel park. I would jack the front tire pressure to like 40 pounds. It will wear the tire centers out prematurely, but at least you could park the beast, and those radials will still grab better than a pair of properly inflated bias plys. Oh and get yourself a make-out knob.


          • #6
            quote:Originally posted by chey

            Thank you for this information. I just inhereted this nice little car and am not use to not having PS.
            Chey, welcome to the flock! A '62 Hawk is an outstanding car. I can understand your concern since you haven't had a car without power steering. You'll really notice the difference in town, especially when parking. But, once you get the knack it will not as bad a situation as it now seems to be. As Nate advised, just make sure the car is rolling, even if only a little, while you turn. You definitely can't just crank the wheels over while stopped with pavement under the wheels. Once you get used to turning while the car is moving, you can even parallel park without a lot of work. Most likely your Hawk has a V8 engine and that puts a lot of weight over the front wheels. I echo Nate's advice; make sure grease is getting into the thrust bearings on the front king pins; there is a lot of pressure on those bearings. If the grease in the bearings is old or the bearings are rusty, the car will not steer very easily. But, there are other things to check. The steering gearbox in your Hawk is a Ross-type, with 2 hardened pins riding in a worm gear. This type steers harder than the recirulating ball steering gearbox used on the later Lark types because the pins are metal on metal with the gear. The unit must have a high pressure lubricant to allow this to happen or the metal will gall and bind. Plus, those pins wear flat on the sides after a lot of use, further increasing the drag and difficulty steering. So, make sure there is lubricant in the steering gearbox. It is more prone to leak out because it is a fluid, not a grease like used in the recirulating ball types. Next make sure the lubricant has the right characteristics for this application; regular 140 wt gear lub will not cut it. It is also possible that someone tried to take up the play in the steering after the pins began to wear and overtightened the adjustment screw on the side of the gearbox. Jack up the front so there is no weight on the wheels and crank the steering back and forth lock to lock. If the steering binds during the travel through the midpoint, then the adjustment is too tight and needs to be backed off a bit. Personally, I wouldn't carry 40 psi in the tires just to make steering easier; the normal 32 psi allows for pretty good steering without the negative effects of overinflation. I'd be more concerned that the tire pressure isn't lower than it is supposed to be. With old rims, it is not unusual for air to slowly leak out. A low tire can really make a noticeable difference in the steering. So, check the air pressure in your tires. Finally, IMHO those "make-out" knobs (Dad called them "suicide knobs") are dangerous enough when everything is working well. Get the problems worked out of the steering before you add one of those because otherwise you are really putting a lot of strain on the clamp that holds the knob to the steering wheel and the pivot pin inside the knob. Good luck with your "new" car!

            '63 Hawk