Manual steering rack..

Discussion in '1974 - 1978 Mustang II Talk & Tech' started by Blue Thunder, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. So how many of you guys have ditched the power rack and gone "armstrong" manual steering in your II?

    I bought an $80 Pinto manual rack from NAPA, scrounged junkyards for a Pinto manual rag-joint, and installed them in my car.
    (Now I guess Flaming River offers the parts the easy way?)

    Benefits of going manual rack.
    1 The manual rack weighs almost nothing, maybe 3 pounds? The power rack + pump + hoses + belt + brackets/bolts probably weigh at least 30 pounds.
    2 The manual rack is physically smaller in diameter. (This allowed me to run a milodon standard 302 oil pan, not the special small MII pan. Why run the larger pan? Because the small MII oil pan won't clear a main stud girdle!) Although I did need a ministarter to clear the edge of the large oil pan, due their close proximity caused by the small MII bellhousing.
    3. Power steering pump draws, what, 10-12 hp from parasitic loss? Hell, I'd do it just for this reason! :)
    4. Less stuff to fail/break = more reliable overall car.
    5. One less source of possible flammable fluid leaks - slightly less fire hazard under the hood.

    1. More steering effort. (It's a tiny car, no big deal)
    2. Slower steering response in the turns. (The manual rack has a higher ratio than the power rack, to make it easier to turn the wheel)
    I'm not sure how big of an effect this actually has on handling. Hmm.

    Any comments?
  2. Steering effort is only a problem in parking lots (351W + manual rack + 245 width tires)

    The slower steering response is only a problem if you regularly switch between a p/s II and a non-p/s II. Back when I regularly drove my '78 w/ poer steering and my '74 w/ manual rack, I had a hard time controlling the '74 when it'd get sideways.
  3. My ol' 77 had PS, I loved it, Steering effort was nill. (2.3l wasnt enough weight to be a problem)
    But I was constantly battling leaks in the pressure side, and dunping tons of fluid into it. (didnt have money to fix it right)

    Now my 74 has the manual (factory) in it. I definatly notice the extra effort, but its got a 351W in it too. All in all, I dont mind the work, Kuz it is only at slower speeds that its any real work. (small steering wheel, 351, 205/50/R15s) and even then its not a big problem

    So, its up to your preference I guess.
  4. What do you have to actually do to convert to manual?
  5. Measure and mark toe-in adjustment. Disconnect the outer tie rods from the rack.
    Remove the rag-joint bolt. Pry the joint open, until it comes free of the shaft.
    Remove both large rack retaining bolts that go through the crossmember.
    Disconnect all the hoses and such from the rack.
    Drop the rack.
    Remove rubber mounting bushings, check for cracks, wear, etc. If bad, replace. If good, install bushings in new rack.
    Unbolt power steering ragjoint unit from steering shaft. Install manual ragjoint unit onto steering shaft.
    Lift manual Pinto rack into position on crossmember. Slide ragjoint onto manual rack shaft.
    Install and tighten rack retaining bolts through crossmember.
    Tighten ragjoint bolt.
    Install outer tie rods onto new rack. (get it as close as you can to the original toe-in adjustment, so you can drive the car to the alignment shop)
    Remove steering pump, hoses, lines, and all other related parts.
    Bring car to local shop for alignment.
  6. I'm seriously considering this mod what year Pinto parts did you use.
  7. How did you get the pinto rack from NAPA for $80? NAPAonline lists it for $225 + core. Do you have the NAPA part #?
  8. I bought my rack new, because there was no core. I get shop price on parts at NAPA. I think I ordered a mid-70s unit, but I purchased the rack in 1993, so I'm not certain which year. The rack laid around until I stumbled across a Pinto ragjoint, something like 4 years later!

    I will crawl under and see if there's a part number on the rack.
  9. Finally getting around to this. Blue Thunder, what did you do about the water pump pulley since it runs with the PS pump? Did you use a different pulley or did you use spacers to bring it out so it would run with the Alt?
  10. I switched to a manual rack. I bought all new March pulleys to get my alt, water pump and crank lined up. I like the feel much better then my old numb power steering rack that leaked. The hardest part was getting the old rack off... now that was a real PITA.

  11. I put a manual rack in the ThunderSnake, mainly because I needed the oil pan clearance. I already sectioned an inch out of the 5.4 pan, I didn't want to make it any shallower. I'm running skinnys up front, so steering effort shouldn't be TOO bad. My engine weighs a lot more than a windsor though :). But I can't turn the wheels too far anyway, cause the headers come out the fenderwells :D.
  12. OK, I purchased a "New" manual rack yesterday. Does anyone have the part number for the Flaming River u-joint that I assume replaces the ragjoint? Or should I get a Pinto ragjoint like Blue Thunder, if so can they be purchased new somewhere? And, since I'm running dual electric pusher fans I'm just planning on using spacers on the water pump pulley to get the proper belt alignment with the alternator.
  13. The flaming river coupling doesn't replace the rag joint. It goes on the end of the rag joint (facing the rack). The shaft coming out of a power steering rack is much bigger than the shaft coming out of a manual rack. I don't know the part number but you can look it up on their website. I believe the part was $79 before shipping.

  14. So does it replace the lower half of the ragjoint? If anybody has a picture it would be worth 1000 words.
  15. jeffnoel, I'm not sure about running spacers to make up the difference for the pulley alignment. I would think that spacers would allow the pulley too much side to side give which wouldn't allow the belt to be properly tightened. It has been several months since I done the conversion. However I remember trying pulleys from all types of other cars to try to get something to work. I think your best bet would be getting the waterpump pulley from a non-PS equipped V8 car. However I don't think there weren't many of those made. Anyway eventually I gave up and shelled out the big bucks for March pulleys. Just thought I'd try to share my experiences in hopes that it saves you some time.

  16. Yes, it bolts to the lower half of the rag joint. It is U-shaped with a bolt at the top of the U and splines all around the inside. It has two bolts on each end that attach it to the rag joint. It is a specially tempered part critical to the integrity of your steering.. that is why it costs so much. You could probably find one on any 70's Ford car originally equipped with a manual rack and pinion.

  17. I dunno what the hoo-haa is about the power to maunal rack swap is. Mine fit just ducky and I used the existing rag joint. Didn't nee any Flaming River garbage or any of that. The rack I used was out of an '80 Pinto Wagon.

    As far as the pullies, it seems as if this discussion has repeated itself .... a few times, to say the least. BUT look for a pulley set off of a 68-73 Ford product that didn't have powersteering. Known to be scarce, there were cars and trucks out there without P/S. Trucks and Econolines would be your best bet as they were sold as stripped down works trucks. I pulled my single groove pulle set off of a '70 F100. You CANNOT mix and match the Mustang II factory V8 pullies with other SBF Ford pullies without having to make shims to line them up again. For some stupid reason, ford set up the Mustang II pulleys with about a 3/8" difference (backspace or offset, depending on which pulley) when they stuffed the v8 in it. But finding a whole set off of and eariler 302 should't be that hard, just comb the trucks and Vans in the Boneyards. I've found 2 sets, so i know they're out there. :nice:
  18. So Dano78, you were able to use your PS ragjoint without any problems when you switched to a manual rack? So far everyone says the PS ragjoint doesn't fit the manual rack properly. And as far as pulleys go, I'm thinking of calling a machine shop and having the factory one modified to work.
  19. Yeah I'm almost 100% sure it was the rag joint off the PS rack. I don't recall using the Pinto rag joint at all. I'll roll the car out tomarrow and snap a pic of it. :nice:

    You can run a spacer behind it, within reason of course. It won't hurt a thing and I really doubt there will be any belt tension issues unless you're using like a freakin 4" spacer. Cause if you think about it, the pullies we use are offset quite a bit in comparison to the more common 289/302 pulleys.
    In order to get the pulleys to line up correctly using the waterpump I had, I made a thin metal spacer behind my waterpump pulley to get it to line up with the Lower pulley. I just do recally if it was a Mustang II V8 waterpump or just a std. pump. I think I was a Std. Right now I have an original 4 bolt single groove lower (crank) pulley off another F100 and pretty much makes the set. I'm also using the common 289/early 302 alternator brackets aswell.

    Really, IIRC, before the manual rack conversion, I was running the P/S pump by itself and the alt, w/p, and crank tied together on one belt. I used a Water pump pulley from a '70 302 out of an F100 and put that small thin spacer i made between the w/p and the pulley itself. Everything lined up great and the belt seem to stay steady all the way up to 7500 rpms. The spacer is probably no more than 1/4" thick, but i can find out for sure if you need so. The key is the waterpump pulley. You need to find that piece, so that the spacer will remain thin as possible and the overall diameter is small enough that it won't interfere with the Crank pulley. I have a picture or two of the pulley and i believe one comparing a couple others to it. For some reason I can't seem to upload pics to SN anymore otherwise I'd post it here. :shrug:

  20. But, Dano, don't you know you have to have that $80 billet-joint eye candy in there to tell the world your Cool?

    Over the period of several years I went from power to manual and back with parts on hand.

    What I think happens is someone gets their manual rack home without having the yoke for the manual racks smaller shaft which puts them into a panic attack.

    Don't you know that isn't cool either?

    You gots to spend the Jing for the Bling March set. No one will think you have anything without the Bling.

    So they spend the jing for the bling and it doesn't match up because no one told them about the MII water pump.