Manual to power steering converion

Old November 20th, 2009, 06:28 AM
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Manual to power steering converion

Has anyone performed a conversion of a manual steering to power steering in their 442? I am seriously considering it and am wondering if there are any "watch out for" moments in doing this? It appears that 68-72 steering boxes are interchangeable (at least what I have read elsewhere) and the parts, both salvage and rebuilds are readily available.

Thoughts/comments welcome.

Thanks
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Old November 20th, 2009, 07:23 AM
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I recently did the other way, power to manual, on my W-31. I'll switch it back eventually as the manual box is ultimately for my GT-37.

nothing out of the ordinary doing the swap. you'd just need the power steering box, lines, rag joint (different between manual and power), pitman arm (different between manual and power), hoses, power steering pump reservoir and all the mouting brackets for the reservoir.

If you are interested in selling your manual setup, I'm interested.
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Old November 20th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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You need the parts as described above. If you get junkyard parts, check them before using. Get the pump, pitman arm, hoses, and brackets; maybe pulleys. Easiest swap is from an Olds A body up to 72. Some had a quick ratio/variable ratio power steering box. The steering column will bolt right up, as will the center link, and the box with go right onto the frame.
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Old November 20th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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This might be a question for Joe or someone more familiar with the 1973 and newer Oldsmobile. It's been years ago, but I swapped what I thought was a mid 1970's from a full sized GM car on a 1968 Cutlass. It gave me a much faster ratio than the earlier one.
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Old November 20th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by 2blu442 View Post
This might be a question for Joe or someone more familiar with the 1973 and newer Oldsmobile. It's been years ago, but I swapped what I thought was a mid 1970's from a full sized GM car on a 1968 Cutlass. It gave me a much faster ratio than the earlier one.
These GM steering boxes are pretty much interchangeable assuming you have the correct pitman arm for the chassis. The G-body quick ratio box is a nice swap, though these have metric hose fittings that require adapters, as well as a different rag joint that needs to be changed. The quick ratio box from the 2nd gen F-body cars (particularly the WS6 Trans Am) have also been used, but the internal stops are different and will result in asymmetric turn radii from right to left.

Of course, the problem with any used box is the risk that it needs to be rebuilt. Chip at Power Steering Services can retrofit the 12:1 gears into an original PS box while performing a rebuild.
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Old November 20th, 2009, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
Chip at Power Steering Services can retrofit the 12:1 gears into an original PS box while performing a rebuild.
I've used him for the p/s setup on 70 F-85. had the quick ratio conversion along with redoing the pump at the same time. outstanding!!!! Chip also did the manual box for me.
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Old November 20th, 2009, 06:13 PM
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Thanks guys. Sounds rather straight forward as I had assumed. What do you mean by "rag joint"? I had figured the Pitman Arm was different.

Junior, I'll hang on to my manual (since it is original to the car).
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Old November 20th, 2009, 08:57 PM
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The flexi joint between box and column ...

Def get the quick/variable box ...
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Old November 28th, 2009, 10:18 AM
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Anybody have a good photo of the bracket set up on a '68? The system I bought is off a '70 442 but I know the brackets are different. Half tempted to use the '70 ones...but....
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Old November 28th, 2009, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 4speedBench View Post
Anybody have a good photo of the bracket set up on a '68? The system I bought is off a '70 442 but I know the brackets are different. Half tempted to use the '70 ones...but....
The PS pump brackets are identical from 1968 to 1990. BBO or SBO, the bracket is the same.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 07:50 AM
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Thanks Joe. Hmmm, making me believe my buddy's '70 that I was using as a proxy may not be correct...perhaps he has a Pontiac or other GM bracket on his?? Is the cast housing (which fits against the head) the same as well?
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Old November 29th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by 4speedBench View Post
Thanks Joe. Hmmm, making me believe my buddy's '70 that I was using as a proxy may not be correct...perhaps he has a Pontiac or other GM bracket on his?? Is the cast housing (which fits against the head) the same as well?
Um, no part of the PS pump bracket is cast. There are three pieces, all stamped from sheetmetal (OK, thick sheet metal). There is the front piece that bolts to the front of the pump and attaches to the two studs on the front cover of the block. There is the bottom piece that bolts to the stud on the rear of the pump and the lower side of the block. There is the upper piece that spans from the front bracket to the front bolt on the exhaust manifold. This last piece is actually a little different over the years. On the 68-78 cars it has two holes for BBO and SBO. On the later cars it only has the one hole for SBO applications.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
This last piece is actually a little different over the years. On the 68-78 cars it has two holes for BBO and SBO. On the later cars it only has the one hole for SBO applications.
they also changed ever so slightly from 70 to 71. fit and function is still the same but physical appearance is different.


and the Pontiac p/s setup is a little different, so your buddy's 70 setup probably isn't from there
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Old November 30th, 2009, 01:08 PM
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Here's the "cast" piece I was wondering about. I assume I need this similar to the structure that cradles the Alternator on the other side. Sorry for the questions, but I can't find a good source to check out and carshow season is over...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
bracket.jpg (22.0 KB, 39 views)
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Old November 30th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 4speedBench View Post
Here's the "cast" piece I was wondering about. I assume I need this similar to the structure that cradles the Alternator on the other side. Sorry for the questions, but I can't find a good source to check out and carshow season is over...
That's not part of any 68-90 Olds PS pump bracket that I've ever seen. Looks more like part of the A/C compressor bracket.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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Keep the manual steering.
I too have a bench steat 4-spd car with manual steering,1970.If you are looking for a complete power set-up,I have them.I have the boxes,pumps,brackets,etc. Do you have a single-groove water pump pulley,or a double? My car has a single-groove,but not sure if they did the same for your car.You will need a double-groove water pump pulley for the power steering belt,& the power steering pump should have a single-groove pulley,for your car.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 04:37 PM
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Here is what got me confused as I was searching for the necessary parts. Anyway, I'll lay everything out and see what if anything it looks like I'm missing.

5070olds, I do have a double groove pulley. And I'll keep you in mind relative to parts.





http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/66-72...Q5fAccessories
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Old December 1st, 2009, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
That's not part of any 68-90 Olds PS pump bracket that I've ever seen. Looks more like part of the A/C compressor bracket.
agree with Joe, looks like an A/C compressor bracket to me also
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Old December 1st, 2009, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by junior supercar View Post
agree with Joe, looks like an A/C compressor bracket to me also
In fact, it looks an awful lot like this one:

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Old December 4th, 2009, 05:44 PM
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Yep, looks like AC bracket to me...so much for Ebay accuracy.

BTW, is there any external marking, tags or codes that would tell me a quick ratio box from a standard one?

Thanks
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Old November 19th, 2014, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by 4speedBench View Post
Yep, looks like AC bracket to me...so much for Ebay accuracy.

BTW, is there any external marking, tags or codes that would tell me a quick ratio box from a standard one?

Thanks


Are there any markings or codes that distinguish a 70-72 variable ratio power steering box from a "standard" power steering box or a non-power steering box?
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Old November 19th, 2014, 07:02 PM
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alignment

Question


If one swaps from power steering to manual steering (or the other way around) are there any effects on the steering alignment? Is it necessary to do an alignment after swapping steering boxes?
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Old November 19th, 2014, 08:17 PM
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I changed from a manual steering to a p.s. setup after I had the front end rebuilt and aligned. No problems. I did not make any adjustments to the alignment,other than a pitman arm. It steers down the road with no problems. My car is a 65 cutlass.
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Old November 20th, 2014, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by anthonyP View Post
Are there any markings or codes that distinguish a 70-72 variable ratio power steering box from a "standard" power steering box or a non-power steering box?
You can't tell a variable-ratio from a fixed-ratio from a close-ratio from the outside.
If you find a stamped part number, it may mean nothing, as the box may have been rebuilt with different parts.

As for non-power, well, those are the little ones without any place to screw in the hoses.



Originally Posted by oldsmobiledave View Post
If one swaps from power steering to manual steering (or the other way around) are there any effects on the steering alignment? Is it necessary to do an alignment after swapping steering boxes?
Changing the steering box does not affect the alignment.

- Eric
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Old November 20th, 2014, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by MDchanic View Post
You can't tell a variable-ratio from a fixed-ratio from a close-ratio from the outside.
If you find a stamped part number, it may mean nothing, as the box may have been rebuilt with different parts.

As for non-power, well, those are the little ones without any place to screw in the hoses.

Changing the steering box does not affect the alignment.

- Eric

Thank you Eric for the information. Considering the steering box was not rebuilt, is there any stamped code and part number that would distinguish a variable ratio from a fixed ratio.


I believe only the Cutlass "S" and 442's with power steering built in the 70-72 model years had variable ratio, with the other A-body variations during those years having the fixed ratio power steering box. Please correct me if that is incorrect.
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