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Tech Tips 1

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 Pitman Arm Length

Steering speed can be adjusted by box ratio or pitman arm length. The longer the pitman arm, the quicker the steering will be. That is, a longer produce the same amount of front wheel movement. So if you are looking to speed up or slow down the steering, changing the pitman arm is an easy way to do it. pitman arm means less steering wheel movement is required to move the wheels.


Connecting the steering Colum to the steering box or rack and pinion unit,

Often the steering system is designed late in the building process. We recommend that the steering be mocked up at the time the engine and exhaust components are installed. Positioning of the column, shafts, and u-joints with respect to the engine, exhaust and steering box early on can help in selecting the correct parts. With our wide selection of u-joints, shafts, and vibration reducers, any system can be designed or modified to result in a car that is not only safe, but a pleasure to drive. Keeping a system simple is the best course, but even a system with up to 10 u-joints can be designed as long as the proper phasing and supports are used. Remember to use a support bearing if more than two joints are used. Anytime more than two universal joints are used in a system, a shaft support is required to prevent the shafts from looping. In a system with 3u-joints, one support is required. For each additional u-joint, an additional support will be needed. In a 3 joint system it is best to locate the shaft support as close to the center u-joint as possible. If one of the shafts is significantly longer than the other, it is best to locate the support on the longer shaft.

The above information was found at  borgeson .com

The above diagram was found at  

The above diagram was found at 


Steering system safety


Rag Joint Angles of Operation

Rag joints are designed to dampen vibrations, they are not designed to accommodate an angle. If you do not have a straight connection a rag joint should NOT be used. 


U-joint Angles of Operation

The Borgeson 16 series u-joints will operate smoothly up to35°. The 16 series double u-joints will operate smoothly up to70°. The u-joints must not be altered in any way. Pin and block style u-joints will operate at 30o smoothly.  


U-Joint Orientation

When two joints are used on a shaft, the forks of the yokes closest to each other should be in line, or “in phase.” Premature wear or binding can result if the u-joints are not phased properly. Sometimes if the u-joints are at a severe angle, even if they are phased correctly, a hard spot in the steering may occur for no apparent reason. If this happens, index the u-joints two or three splines in one direction. The hard spot should disappear or be minimized.  


CAUTION: Collapsibility

Every steering system should include some means of directing energy away from the driver in the event of a collision. One method of reducing the chance of this happening is to intentionally design angles into the steering system so that the force of a collision deflects the column away from the driver. A second method is to use the Borgeson telescopic intermediate shaft. 


CAUTION: Shaft Size

BORGESON DOES NOT RECOMMEND USING LESS THAN 3/4” DIAMETER SHAFTS All Borgeson spline and DD shafts are 3/4” diameter. We will not sell a shaft with a smaller diameter due to safety considerations. A 5/8” shaft is 42% weaker than a 3/4” shaft and can be twisted with a 14” steering wheel. 


CAUTION: Do Not Use Flex Cable

Another less common (and definitely not recommended)method of getting from the column to the rack or box is to use flex cabling from a Pinto (this cable is no longer available from Ford). Ford only used these for a couple of years before switching to joints and shafts, which should tell you something. When a heavier engine is put into a larger heavier car, a flex cable is not reliable. 


CAUTION: Welding

Welding joints is a common practice in racing, however, it is nota method we at BORGESON would recommend. Hairline cracks, which may be all but invisible to the unaided eye, could cause a weld to fail under severe stress. It may also be illegal in some states to weld steering system components on a car used on the street. Improper grounding can cause damage which will result in the failure of the steering. Overheating, which can occur at relatively low temperatures, can distort the yoke and melt the grease out of the needle bearings or damage the seals. This can prevent the joint from operating freely and it may fail. Cooling a weld too quickly can cause cracks, leading to sudden failure. Also, welding is a permanent connection that makes disassembly almost impossible should it become necessary. Caution: Welding on steering components is illegal in some states. Check first. 


CAUTION: Keying and Set Screws

Using a key, as is done in many industrial applications, can transmit power effectively from the shaft to the joint. A key, however, is not suitable to take sudden shock (such as from a pothole or accident) which can distort or shear the key or shaft keyway. This may cause play to develop in the system or, even worse, failure. It should be noted that in industrial applications, keys are designed to shear to prevent damage to expensive components. In automotive applications a sheared key will cause extensive damage by causing a loss of control of the vehicle. Set screws should never be used to secure smooth bore joints. They should only be used as a method to prevent a splined or “Double D” shaft from disengaging from the joint (an indentation or flat should be made for the set screw on splined or DD shafts). 


CAUTION: Corvair Steering Boxes

Corvairs were rear-engined cars; this means there was very little weight on the front tires. The steering box used in these cars was a very light duty box. It is not recommended for use in a street rod with the engine in the front. Steering gear failure could cause a severe accident. 


CAUTION: Vega Steering Boxes

We also recommend a maximum weight limit of 2500 lbs. for a vehicle using a Saginaw 140 (Vega) steering Box. We recommend the 525 Saginaw box for vehicles exceeding 2500 lbs.

The above information was found at  Borgeson .com




Diagnosing Power Steering Problems

When trying to determine what is causing a problem in your power steering, keep this in mind. If the problem occurs only in one direction, the problem is probably in the box or rack .If the problem is in both directions, it is most likely the pump,dirty fluid or hoses. Be sure there are no kinks or obstructions in your power steering hoses and that they are the right inside diameter for the application. 


Dirty Steering System

Before changing any single component of the steering system ,inspect the cleanliness of your system. Dirty or black fluid can quickly ruin new steering components. If changing the box or rack, rub your finger on the inside of the reservoir. If it isn’t clean, you must flush the pump and hoses with clean fluid before installing new components. 


Bleeding Power Steering

All power steering systems are designed to be self-bleeding, but sometimes they need a little help. After installing new components, fill the reservoir and let it sit for a few minutes .Raise the front end of the vehicle and turn the wheels back and forth slowly with the engine off to allow the steering box to draw fluid. Keep the reservoir full. When the fluid level stops dropping, start the vehicle and continue turning the wheels. When the fluid level remains constant the system is fully bled. Put cardboard under the front tires while testing your steering system. The cardboard will slide on the floor and prevent wearing flat spots on the tires from excessive turning of the wheels while not moving. 


GM pump with a Ford rack?

All GM power steering pumps generate approximately 1,000 to 1,200 PSI of line pressure. This is compatible with GM steering boxes and GM rack and pinion units. If these pumps are used with a Mustang II rack & pinion ,the steering will feel too sensitive on the highway. This can be corrected by adjusting the pumps flow control valve to generate the proper pressure for the Mustang rack.

The above information was found at



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