JEEP POWER STEERING SWAP
Eric from Motive Gear says he’s got all the muscle he needs for his stock Willys steering system. Some Jeep nerds just like to keep things simple and all original. With originalsize tires, the factory steering does just fine with a little muscle and momentum. If you’re an all-original kind of person and you want to refresh the original steering system, all of the parts and pieces are still available. Christian Hazel’s article on rebuilding a factory Jeep Ross steering box is a great read to help guide you through the hard part (fourwheeler. com/how-to/transmission-drivetrain/1406ross-cam-and-lever-steering-rebuild). This is a view of the stock steering on all Jeeps up to 1971. The Ross steering box is mounted to the frame in front of the driver’s feet. The original steering box pulled on a drag link, which is properly named because it is dragged back and forth by the vertical pitman arm. That drag link operates a bellcrank attached to the front of the frame, which transfers the movement to the two tie rods to turn the wheels. There are a lot of moving parts and joints to wear out in the stock system, and a little bit of wear on each one adds up to a lot of wandering and steering wheel play in the system.
This Jeep was cobbled together out of several different piles of parts. A 1968 CJ-5 “parts” Jeep became the base of this CJ-2A build, and the chassis was already outfitted with an older manual Saginaw steering box that was retained for a while. It is definitely a more robust box than the Ross style, and it has better steering linkage geometry. If you’re still running the factory Go-Devil flathead motor, a manual Saginaw steering box may be the right move to improve the steering since there is no good way to mount a power steering pump on those motors. If you’re set on power steering and keeping your Go-Devil engine, there are some electric power steering pumps on the market, but they are pricey. The three-bolt manual Saginaw steering box mount was removed to make way for a beefier four-bolt plate to fit the spare power steering box (on the tire) out of a CJ-7 I’ve had lying around the shop collecting dust for way too long. It was time to put it to good use. For the new steering box bracket there are a couple of options. Advance Adapters sells a cast-iron bracket, but then you add the complications of welding the cast iron to the frame. A piece of 3⁄8-inch plate and some 0.125-wall tubing out of the drop bin from the local steel supply was about $18 to fabricate our own bracket. Our friend Brennan Metcalf (Ultimate Adventure alumnus ’14, ’15) had a pattern already drawn up for the Saginaw four-bolt pattern. He printed a scale copy and sent it in the mail. This turned out great and saved some time on locating the hole centers. You do not need anything fancy to cut the 3⁄8-inch steel. An el cheapo bandsaw from a yard sale does the trick here. A trusty angle grinder with a good quality cut-off wheel will do the job just fine too if that is what you have available. After the holes were drilled, the bracket was loosely bolted to the steering box. Once it was lined up pretty evenly, a pair of calipers was used to measure for the spacers that were sliced from some 1⁄8-inch-wall tubing. These spacers are essential to clear the girth of the steering gear.