HOW TO: Install EPAS
Make light work of your classic Ford’s steering by upgrading to electric power steering. Rick Birchall of Mk2Mania shows us how it’s done.
Step-by-step guide to going down the electric power-steering route.
T hese days we’re all used to power-assisted steering (PAS) in modern cars. In fact, it’s almost frightening to think PAS has been standard on most models including base superminis for at least 15 years. So when stepping out of your modern daily and into your classic Ford, one of the first things you’re reminded of once you first make that first turn is that damn heavy steering.
All is not lost however, as 10 years ago Rick Birchall of Mk2Mania/ Easysteer noticed there was a market for fitting electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) systems into classic cars and he soon developed his B-series kit which caters for those of us who are becoming fed up looking like Popeye while trying to parallel park their classic.
Rick’s B-series kit can be fitted to any existing Ford’s non-PAS steering column, though he does point out if you want to tackle the whole job yourself, some fabrication work is involved. However, for those of us that aren’t so handy with a lathe or welder, he does offer the option of fitting the kit to your existing column once posted to him, so the hard work is done for you. Then it’s simply a case of slotting the B-series column complete with its steering gearbox, motor and ECU into place and plugging the wires in, which could easily be done in an afternoon. Alternatively, he also offers the option of a full, in-house conversion.
Our mule is a Cortina 1600E with its original steering box in place, though rack-and-pinion systems can be modified with the B-series system, too. Before starting work, Rick takes the car for a drive around the block to check for any existing steering play or veering to one side. There’s little point in fitting EPAS to a car if the geometry and alignment isn’t correct as this will exaggerate any existing problems. Luckily, Rick has the knowledge and equipment to correct any steering issues.
We don’t need to point out the benefits of EPAS, especially if your typical day involves plenty of town driving and tight parking. Having felt the steering of this car before and after the EPAS system was fitted, we can confidently conclude the difference was huge, especially at slower speeds. It’s not just cars Rick takes on either, he’s happy to work his magic on any vehicle. He’s even had a classic campervan drive over from Denmark, whose elderly owner would have had to give up driving his pride and joy, had it not been for the option of fitting power steering! Here’s how it’s done.