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  • Steering: Studebaker Steering Options

    After a three year break, I'm finally back working on the 53 I'm building out of left overs in my garage. Its Speedster rolling frame, a 55 coupe body and a 53 nose. I've got a bunch of steering units laying around and am wondering what is the deal with them. Can anyone give me a short tutorial on the steering box options and which one I might want to put in this car if I can find it?
    Thanks
    Bill
    http://www.rustyrestorations.org/index.php
    sigpic

  • #2
    The Ross came with the car, it works (obviously!).
    The Saginaw works a bit nicer, but you'll need a custom bracket to make it fit properly.

    That said...what boxes do you actually have ?

    Mike

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    • #3
      What works even better is one off a 63 or 64 Zip Van. Then modify a 63-64 T cab mount.

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      • #4
        The C & K Champions came with a Saginaw non-power box which is slightly quicker than the Ross with a bit longer life due to internal design simplicity or quality. Both are going to tend to leak, but rebuilt and with modern Semi-fluid Grease that should not be a problem.

        Some have done the Saginaw recirculating Ball S/Gear that is much better than ALL (from a '61-'66 Lark) conversion involving cutting and welding the main Shaft to the upper from the old one to retain the stock wheel and column. This also requires a Custom adapter Bracket to mount to the frame.
        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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        • #5
          The 53-55 Champions used Saginaw units, and are a bolt in. Easy to build. Here's the one I used in my 53 Commander.



          The Lark lip seal is a direct replacement for the leaky leather seal, and with new bushings the leak stops. There's a tech on Bob Johnstones site.

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          • #6
            Steering Box Options

            This rig will have a 259 in it, but I'm not sure if I need power steering or not. (My grandfather said the ice man did not get big arms from carrying ice, but from steering the truck). I've got two power steering options, the Saginaw unit from a Speedster and the other. There are three different boxes, maybe two Rosses and a Saginaw referenced above. I have no idea which to pick.
            Bill
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            http://www.rustyrestorations.org/index.php
            sigpic

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            • #7
              I think we are talking about a '53 C Body Coupe with a 259 V8 correct, not an Ice Truck like Gramps was talking about?

              So there is no reason most people would have a problem turning it with good King Pins, well greased every 2000 miles, properly aligned and with reasonable tire width.

              If it were me, which it is not, I would not even think twice about using the Std. Saginaw box. (Ross )
              StudeRich
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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              • #8
                Originally posted by clarkwd View Post
                This rig will have a 259 in it, but I'm not sure if I need power steering or not. (My grandfather said the ice man did not get big arms from carrying ice, but from steering the truck). I've got two power steering options, the Saginaw unit from a Speedster and the other. There are three different boxes, maybe two Rosses and a Saginaw referenced above. I have no idea which to pick.
                Bill
                [
                I agree with and support Rich, again.
                I do not believe that power steering is needed. What is needed is a front end in good shape, well lubricated and reasonable tires. The other thing is to drive as we used to. Get the vehicle moving, even slightly, before trying to steer.
                I drove a 1953 Commander Starliner with a transplanted 259 for many thousands of miles without power steering.
                The 1953 Commander Starliner that I bought from the original owner and knew from new was daily driven by a five foot, or less, female without power steering.
                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                • #9
                  Studebaker Steering Options

                  Ok then. All the others are back to storage and I'll be cleaning up the Std Saginaw. I'll let you know how it all works out in two or three years when I'm done. Thanks for your help. Bill
                  http://www.rustyrestorations.org/index.php
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Some of us are too old to wait 2 or 3 years.

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                    • #11
                      I made up an adapter plate and installed a 63 lark saginaw box in my 53. I hooked it up to an iddit GM column. even with the 13" steering wheel it is way easier to steer than the Ross unit. It was worth the time and effort. I made my own column drop and a seal adapter that pressed over the box where the stock column used to clamp, just to keep crap out of the box.


                      Originally posted by clarkwd View Post
                      After a three year break, I'm finally back working on the 53 I'm building out of left overs in my garage. Its Speedster rolling frame, a 55 coupe body and a 53 nose. I've got a bunch of steering units laying around and am wondering what is the deal with them. Can anyone give me a short tutorial on the steering box options and which one I might want to put in this car if I can find it?
                      Thanks
                      Bill
                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by stuuder; 02-04-2015, 09:22 AM.

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                      • #12
                        I used a Saginaw from a 64 Lark{column, wheel and all} to replace a Ross 1960 Lark box. I did the right thing as it was easier to drive. cheers jimmijim
                        sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by stuuder View Post
                          I made up an adapter plate and installed a 63 lark saginaw box in my 53. I hooked it up to an iddit GM column. even with the 13" steering wheel it is way easier to steer than the Ross unit. It was worth the time and effort.
                          Did you use the template that was in TW a number of years ago to mount the box to the frame? Looks like you used a double D u-joint to mate the box to the column, what locates the column to the firewall? Did you have to machine the shaft of the box? more info on this swap please. thanks, junior
                          sigpic
                          1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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                          • #14
                            A friend of mine narrowed a late 70's Trans Am front clip (which I wasn't too excited about) and installed it under his '59 (?) Hawk. However, after driving the car, I have to admit it has superb driveability and doesn't even have a front sway bar yet. Gone is the Ross box vagueness replaced with the very quick WS6 response and road feel. I'll know more later this spring when we return home to Canada (we are both snow birds or as our friends call us, "Blizzard Buzzards") and I have chance to really examine what he did. I'll post what I find.
                            Bill

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                            • #15
                              Yes thats the one I used, the firewall support uses a large "ball" with tapered plates on either side of the f'wall, its self aligning. The column is described as a 32", I would go a 30" unit if your going aftermarket, and use a double borgeson joint,which is not as critical for alignment purposes. Yes I machine the shaft. its 3/4" and I milled the two flats.

                              Originally posted by junior View Post
                              Did you use the template that was in TW a number of years ago to mount the box to the frame? Looks like you used a double D u-joint to mate the box to the column, what locates the column to the firewall? Did you have to machine the shaft of the box? more info on this swap please. thanks, junior

                              Comment

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