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1964 camino, 350 Vortec, 700r4
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a reman quick ratio steering box from a 78 Camaro in there now and it’s been nothing but problems. The lifetime warranty is annoying when it keeps breaking. I’d rather get one that simply doesn’t break at all. Any suggestions on a direct bolt in replacement that is more bullet proof?
 

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I love my 95 to 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee steering box. It needed only a Dorman 31011 rag joint to adapt it to my steering shaft.

Rick

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I second Old Bear´s suggestion from personal experience.
I went with a Lee power steering box and it made a night-and-day difference in the steering department. Feels just like the rack and pinion in my F Body.
Not cheap but well worth every dime.
 

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1964 camino, 350 Vortec, 700r4
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482 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What are the problems you are having? Maybe it's the install and not the part and then you will have the same problem but with a more expensive part.
This time it’s leaking where the pitman arm connects. The main problem I keep having is the play in the wheel. They will fix it, steering will be tight, then a few hundred miles later there’s several inches of play again. The front end was lowered incorrectly causing a good amount of bump steer. Not sure if the potholes are breaking it or not.
 

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87 Caballero Amarillo, original 305/200-4R, QJ
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How are they fixing it? There's a lot to the steering in general, and play can be for any reason, not just the steering box. Control arms, tie-rods, steering shaft, rag-joint, box, pitman, linkages, all play a part. I saw a vid a few days ago, drivers upper control arm getting replaced. The front was shimmed 6x out and the rear bar had worn through the bushing, through the case, and was 1/4" from wearing completely through the control arm itself. When dude turned the wheel several inches, it turned the control arm, not the tire at first. Ton of play.

So I'd be doing a decent testing/inspection on everything involved, because the pitman leak may very well be a victim, not the cause of the play problem and successive adjustments to the steering box could have tightened it up for a minute, but some other part could then be wearing at that adjustment bringing back the play.
 

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1964 camino, 350 Vortec, 700r4
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not sure how they’re fixing it. At this point I’m assuming they just keep tightening it instead of actually fixing it. The play is easy to spot, as you can grab the steering shaft right off the box and turn it by hand. Front end is all new and been inspected by a few steering shops for this issue. Nobody can find anything wrong with it.
It’s been noted by everyone (including myself) that it has a lot of shims on the control arm. The alignment shop added a few more. It’s about 3/4” of shims on each side. Not a fan of it but….I’ll fix it someday.
 

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87 Caballero Amarillo, original 305/200-4R, QJ
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Ooof, 3/4"? That's a lot of shims. And I think that's the issue. The factory would never have needed to add that much shim to calibrate the geometry. To my mind, (and granted I have a hard time with thinking Inside the box) whatever has caused the need for that much adjustment is also putting undue pressure on the steering.

So they tighten the nut a ¼ to ½ a turn, which presses the pinion against the gear. Which wears quickly under duress, which then needs adjusting again in a few miles. They'll adjust that nut until it's gone, buried into the box, then replace the box, only to have it start all over. Because you fix the symptoms, not the cause. It's also why the pitman is leaking, the bearing it sits in can only take so much before it wears too.

I had a 94 Choo Choo Suburban. 305/50-R15 on all 4. GVWR was 9800lbs. Each tire was load rated at 1495lbs, so well short of the trucks weight. Add in Dayton spokes for rims and the pressure between turning and the tire distortion from over-weight and the amount of grab a 305 applies in a turn basically sheered off several of the spoke rivets on each front tire, which got regular rotations, so destroyed the rims as well as tore up the entire steering. It took 3 boxes, multiple replacement ball joints, multiple replacement tie-rod ends and a set of Cragar SS before an old man in the waiting room told me it was the tires. Too wide, too much pressure on the steering.

So to my way of thinking, whatever was done to fix this is only going to be a stop-gap, a band-aid. I'd be looking at everything as suspect until proven otherwise and slapping on a $400-$700 steering box, only to have it destroyed would be a shame.
 

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1964 camino, 350 Vortec, 700r4
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Reason for the shims is to make up for the lowering springs. Guy didn’t use drop spindles and I have no idea why he did that. I’m running 15” 235s up front, 255s rear.
Tried putting an OEM steering box on but it didn’t fit, so the one on there now is from a 78 Camaro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Why wouldn't an OEM fit? Sounds to me like there's something else done down there other than a half-&&&'d drop and resultant shims.
Nobody has been able to figure that out. The guy put 78 Camaro brakes on, and put 78 Camaro tie rods, drag link, idler arm and pitman arm. First time the steering box went out, I changed the drag link, tie rods, and idler arm back to oem. I couldn’t change the pitman arm because it had different splines, but I measured it against the stock pitman arm, and they are identical besides the splines.

Look at all these beautiful shims 😅
Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread Alloy wheel
Automotive lighting Automotive tire Vehicle Tread Motor vehicle
Automotive fuel system Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Gas
 

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87 Caballero Amarillo, original 305/200-4R, QJ
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If dude put the 78 Camero spindles on there too, it'd mean your ball joints on everything OEM you replaced, are most likely dancing around, but the spindles look similar. (post #6)

And yes, the Camero and camino boxes are different, similar bolt pattern but different splines.
 

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And I think its more than the splines that are different on the Camaro steering box. I've heard that the Pitman arm sweep angle range is narrower than a similar A-body Saginaw box. This may not matter to you but the Camaro box makes it harder to do a U-turn compared to the A-body box.


Rick


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1964 camino, 350 Vortec, 700r4
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
And I think its more than the splines that are different on the Camaro steering box. I've heard that the Pitman arm sweep angle range is narrower than a similar A-body Saginaw box. This may not matter to you but the Camaro box makes it harder to do a U-turn compared to the A-body box.


Rick


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I can do u turns fine, as long as I’m in a football field 🤣
 

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I can do u turns fine, as long as I’m in a football field 🤣
Camero's weren't intended to do u-turns, you stomp on the gas and fishtail in a half-donut if you want to turn around. A/G bodies were intended to navigate parking lots, F bodies were intended to navigate highways.

The prior owner did you dirty, for sure. I'd be ripping Everything out that wasn't OEM and be looking at a drum to disc conversion that's actually correct for your A body, with or without any drop. All those shims do is take away any real stability in the front end allowing far too much flex.
 

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1964 camino, 350 Vortec, 700r4
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Camero's weren't intended to do u-turns, you stomp on the gas and fishtail in a half-donut if you want to turn around. A/G bodies were intended to navigate parking lots, F bodies were intended to navigate highways.

The prior owner did you dirty, for sure. I'd be ripping Everything out that wasn't OEM and be looking at a drum to disc conversion that's actually correct for your A body, with or without any drop. All those shims do is take away any real stability in the front end allowing far too much flex.
Yeah, I’ll probably look at replacing those spindles back to oem and get rid of those lowering springs before I take the steering box out then.
 

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87 Caballero Amarillo, original 305/200-4R, QJ
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Sucks, lot of work to undo a half-witted attempt to get discs instead of drums on front and drop the front end a couple of inches.

But on the bright side, by the time you are done undoing, your play will most likely disappear completely, your suspension will work as it was supposed to, you'll no longer need a football field worth of space to turn right into your driveway and the only thing you'll need to remember is exactly what kind of brake pads you'll need to occasionally replace.
 
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