Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ford F100 F250 Power Steering Conversion

If you are thinking of converting an older ford truck from the Armstrong type manual steering to power steering an excellent source of information is here See one of my previous posts about the subtle differences that I has to make to the mods suggested by fordification. This post is to add some detail like the fitting sizes needed and the recommendation that your run a power steering fluid cooler or heat sink on the return side which apparently helps prevent the lower seal leakage issue that a lot of these steering boxes eventually develop.

The cooler I Got from Summit for $29

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The fittings for the pump to box hookup.

Ford F250 Steering Column Follow Up

The Shortened shaft reassembled.
Ready to weld. See previous post.
Welded in multiple passes.
I had already reassembled
the shortened steering
column when I found
out it was too low
The Mounting bracket
removed and the remains
of the spot welds ground

Here's how the column hung
after shortening
You can see that the angle of
the steering column isn't right.
Too low.
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Blair 3/8" spot weld cutter.
The only to cut spot welds.
The 1/4" pads I welded in place to
lift the column up. With a sander
I contoured these a bit before welding
the mounting bracket back on.

Friday, March 15, 2013

SShortening the Steering Column

The assembled steering
column with the steering
wheel removed.
The steering column in this truck was thankfully changed when the previous owner installed the dump truck 360 with the floor shift 4 speed. This means that modifying the steering column to fit the new power steering box is much easier in that all I had to do is shorten the steering stem itself. The housing tube is already short enough. The steering stem needs to be shortened about 2-3/4” to 31-1.4”. The fordification website has a lot of good technical information for these trucks including a guide for converting a manual steering truck to power steering ( I need to note that contrary to their instruction, you don’t need to completely disassemble the column to do the mod .If you have a manual steering column from a 4 speed floor shift, all you need to do is shorten the stem then that can be done by removing the stem from the bottom after removing the nut from the top and you don’t need to take the turn signal mechanism out .another point is that the steering stem needs to be about 31-1/4” long. I actually found that on my truck it could have been about 7/8” shorter which would have moved the steering wheel away from the driver by that much which I would have liked. Where the steering column bolts under the dash there are slots in the bracket that would allow for this. One other issue that you can see in the photos, the brackets for the manual steering column are different than the power steering model. If you use them you will find that the column will be at a lower angle when put back together. I solved this by drilling the spot welds that hold the mounting bracket and adding ¼” spacers to lift the column up. This puts the steering wheel in a much better place and straightens the steering line thus reducing the stress on the rag joint. Two other points: First you should really have a lathe to true and bevel the cut ends of the steering shaft. The bevel is to give you more surface for welding  it back together (see point 2) and facing the cut ends helps align the 2 pieces co that they are concentric and don’t run eccentric when you weld them back together. Second, this is a critical piece of safety equipment. Have a qualified welder weld it back together. Do I have to tell you what it would be like if it broke going around a corner a 50mph with a load in the back?
Cutting the Steering Shaft
with the Cold Saw.

Held with a V block
for a square cut.

After blasting clean I drilled
the ends and Reamed for a
dowel pin fora precision
fit up
Perfectly straight and ready for

Monday, March 11, 2013


The Autometer GS
Series Pyrometer
Turing the weldable
exhaust bung to a reasonable
size for the header
On the list of gages that I’m adding to the dash is a pyrometer. A pyrometer measures the temperature of the exhaust gas and is the fastest indication that your are overloading the engine. If you are towing or hauling heavy loads (both of which I want to be prepared to do though I don’t think I’ll be doing either all that often) you need an exhaust gas temp gauge. That gauge will tell you that the motor is overloaded long before the coolant temperature rises high enough to give you an indication that something is wrong. In fact by the time the coolant temp rises to show a problem you have probably already fried your exhaust valves and turbo. Here is where I welded in the bung for the EGT probe. It’s better IMO if it goes in front of the turbo but I didn’t want to get into drilling and welding the old cast iron exhaust manifold. Placing it after the turbo is perfectly acceptable but you have to take into account the temperature drop across the turbo. About 200 to 300degF.
An original McMaster Weldable
1/8NPT Bung and the re-sized
final piece.
The Probe installed behind
the turbo
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Interior Is Done

Bear did a fantastic job on the interior. As you know he laid down the Dynamat sound control mat and installed the new carpet. He finished it up tonight, getting all the weather stripping back on and the doors all reassembled.The only thing missing is the hole for the shifter and all that's  left to do is modify the steering column to fit the power steering box, and make the gauge panel. I’ll post more on the gauge panel as I make it. Right now I’m still laying it out.
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Exhaust is in.

Today I fabricated the exhaust system. I had the original header pipe that connects to the turbo from the dodge. I cut that short and made everything behind it from 3” 16ga steel tubing parts I got from Summit Racing. In the middle is a 3 chamber Walker muffler which should be fine for keeping sound levels reasonable. Fit is good and there was plenty of room so this was an extremely easy exhaust system to make. Please donut make fun of my welding!

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