How to put modern power steering in an old car

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Update by Tim Suddard to the Ford Mustang Fastback project car
Jan 12, 2023 | Ford, Mustang, Ford Mustang, Summit Racing, power steering, Vintage Race Car, Cobra Automotive, Powermaster, KRC Power Steering, Borgeson

Power steering on an old race car?

Yes.

Our mentor on this project, Curt Vogt of Cobra Automotive, recommended that we put power steering in our Mustang. And he didn’t mean the absolutely wretched power steering that came on Mustangs back in the ’60s. The original setup operated more like power-assisted manual steering.

Curt suggested that we contact KRC Power Steering as they make a whole kit to fit a small-block Ford. Borgeson then makes a steering box for our early Mustang. Summit Racing has the Borgeson box for $575 and sells the KRC kits for about $950.

The KRC kit comes with pulleys, belts, mounting bracket and the pump itself. The company also sells a bracket separately to mount the alternator.

To finish this conversion, we went with a small, lightweight Powermaster race alternator, part No. 8182. The Summit part number is PWM-8182, and this 75-amp alternator sells for about $260.

Once we figured out what we needed, the installation was quite straightforward. With the box mounted and the power steering and alternator in place, we could figure out both high- and low-pressure return lines for the power steering system. For about $150, we were able to get the lines made up at a local hydraulic supply house.

While we have not driven the car yet, we are confident that this system will work correctly and feel natural with our 13-inch steering wheel.

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Comments
GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/12/23 11:07 a.m.

Not a bad setup, but not as modern as I was expecting...

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/12/23 11:41 a.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH :

My thought exactly. It's at least a generation or two removed from "modern". But it's less antiquated than what it might have had when new, so maybe "more modern".

It would be interesting to know why this is considered better than the Mustang PS. What does it bring to the table? Why did it require a new alternator? For the quoted $1935 plus shipping, what other options are there and why is this one the best choice?

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
1/12/23 11:57 a.m.

I see a lot of queries even from owner of even relatively light car (MGs and such) for after market power steering. Other than in cases of the physically handicapped who can't manage the modest steering effort required, I just don't get it.  Almost every power steering set up I have experienced robs at least some of the feedback and makes you feel like you are trying to do microsurgery with baseball gloves on.  Have car owners suddenly become frail and unable to steer unassisted?

I understand why one would need assist on modern cars with gumball tires, but not on older lighter weight models.

There are a few that aren't bad - my Z4M is actually quite good and perhaps the best I have experienced in a sports car, but in order to get that precise feedback, they had to throw away the electric PS steering system on the non-M cars which robbed far too much feel  and replace it with a new hydraulically assisted rack and pinion.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/12/23 1:33 p.m.

A lot of people equate weight with feel. It's not, but it's the go-to from the traditionalist :) If you think a boosted setup doesn't have feel, relax your grip on the wheel a bit. It helps a lot.

There's no benefit to working harder. Nothing wrong with a good PS setup, regardless of where the assist comes from. Note I said "good", there are certainly bad implementations out there, or ones that are designed for more isolation.

I've run PS on my rally/track miata since the start because driver fatigue is a real thing, and I'm not exactly a 98 lb weakling.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
1/12/23 2:31 p.m.

I have a friend who recently changed his '59 Tbird to  Cavalier power rack and pinion and also added a manual 4 speed floor shifter. He also owns an NC Miata for comparison purposes.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
1/12/23 3:51 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

A lot of people equate weight with feel. It's not, but it's the go-to from the traditionalist :) If you think a boosted setup doesn't have feel, relax your grip on the wheel a bit. It helps a lot.

There's no benefit to working harder. Nothing wrong with a good PS setup, regardless of where the assist comes from. Note I said "good", there are certainly bad implementations out there, or ones that are designed for more isolation.

I've run PS on my rally/track miata since the start because driver fatigue is a real thing, and I'm not exactly a 98 lb weakling.

You are spot on. Any bit of that tactile steering feel that might be gained without PS is lost on about lap 6 or 7 when fatigue starts to set in. Driving is all about weight transfer and timing............fatigue effects timing.

Most people racing cars aren't in professional driver shape.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/12/23 4:30 p.m.
DeadSkunk (Warren) said:

I have a friend who recently changed his '59 Tbird to  Cavalier power rack and pinion and also added a manual 4 speed floor shifter. He also owns an NC Miata for comparison purposes.

that is the setup I put in the Torino FH.  It was INCREDIBLY GOOD.

Noddaz
Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/12/23 5:50 p.m.

While we have not driven the car yet, we are confident that this system will work correctly and feel natural with our 13-inch steering wheel.

**********

Please be sure to let us know how this turns out!  I used to have a 1968 Cougar without power steering.  I was young and it was not hateful to drive.  But real power steering would have been nice.

te72
te72 HalfDork
1/12/23 11:42 p.m.

I'm still waiting on the day that somebody offers a rack that swaps into Mk3 Supras that doesn't leak. If I can figure out a way to integrate a cooler into the circuit (steering failures are what took a lot of these cars out of competition) I may try going back to OEM lines, but not sure of what I'd need to do for the cooler aspect. Tried converting to AN fittings, and while they work everywhere else, I've never been able to keep them from leaking at the rack manifold area. Of course, that's the hardest area to turn wrenches in. =P

j_tso
j_tso Dork
1/13/23 12:35 a.m.
Tom1200 said:
Keith Tanner said:

A lot of people equate weight with feel. It's not, but it's the go-to from the traditionalist :) If you think a boosted setup doesn't have feel, relax your grip on the wheel a bit. It helps a lot.

There's no benefit to working harder. Nothing wrong with a good PS setup, regardless of where the assist comes from. Note I said "good", there are certainly bad implementations out there, or ones that are designed for more isolation.

I've run PS on my rally/track miata since the start because driver fatigue is a real thing, and I'm not exactly a 98 lb weakling.

You are spot on. Any bit of that tactile steering feel that might be gained without PS is lost on about lap 6 or 7 when fatigue starts to set in. Driving is all about weight transfer and timing............fatigue effects timing.

Most people racing cars aren't in professional driver shape.

reminds me of this article from Motorsport.

An RS3100 Capri had its electric power steering removed because it wasn't allowed in Historic Touring Cup. This wore out the driver causing him to retire the car. They were able to remedy it with adjusting caster and scrub radius.

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