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Discussion Starter #1
I am totally new to these cars, I have a 57 2 door bel air that I want to start messing with. Currently has a 350 and a T56 Viper trans, but I have a 454 that I am building for it and need to keep that in mind.

First question, how much better is the steering with a rack conversion vs a new tight box (steering box, easy boys)? The only experience I have with this is changing a loose worn out one on my old 73 mach 1 to a new quick ratio box and a new rag joint, it was night and day.

Second, with a 454 going in, am I asking for trouble with a rack vs a steering box? I have read several threads here, and there is a Milodon #30970 oil pan and pickup I would need, Sanderson block hugger headers (shorty or long tube??). What I cannot find info on is what motor mounts would I use with a 454 and rack?

Sorry for the noob questions, and they are probably all there if I keep searching but honestly there seems to be endless ways to achieve the same goal here so I need a push
 

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First question, how much better is the steering with a rack conversion vs a new tight box (steering box, easy boys)?
My opinion, there's no reason to expect any difference in the feel of the steering. The feel of the steering is defined by the hydraulic control valve on the rack or box, and the valves are typically set up the same.

Besides that, it's usually more difficult to route a rack's steering shaft past the exhaust header or manifold than it is to get a steering box to clear the exhaust.

Only when you have an aftermarket frame or front clip that was designed for a rack does a rack become desirable. Rack conversions are just a lot of trouble and sometimes have negative consequences too.
 

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NOT a 605.....
 

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Use a 500 box and move the engine an inch or so to the passenger side.
I know there are guys on here that have installed racks on stock frames and swear by them but they will also tell you it was a pain in the ass and was not cheap....
The 500 is a bolt on and is night and day difference over the stock box and, for <$400, is a cheap upgrade.
Mark
 

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Do you happen to have factory power steering? If so, I'm very happy with mine. (454, Milodon pan) With the way the factory P/S works, the gear box gets very little wear compared to manual.
 

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500 vs R&P

I replaced our factory steering box with a 500 box and Ididit column and absolutely LOVE it. Have never messed with R&P but had considered it 'til we were told that there were bump steer issues associated with that conversion. Don't know how much basis in fact there is or whether it's only 1 or more brands, but that's what I was told.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am going to put it in the air and take pics of everything.

It has power steering now, so I have no idea what box is in there. Front end parts were apparently new last two years, but the steering is sloppy, so I assume its the box.

Hopefully you guys won't mind helping me figger' this out :)

I could not understand why the clutch was so whacky, turns out they used the factory z bar stuff and made it work with the T56 fork in a currently unknown bellhousing. It works on paper, but it is a nightmare to drive.

Point of that rant is i assume I will find alot more stuff that was done differently than I would have done it as I dig in.
 

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It has power steering now, so I have no idea what box is in there. Front end parts were apparently new last two years, but the steering is sloppy, so I assume its the box.
Have you tried tweaking the box adjustment to fix the sloppy steering? It's on the top of the box. Loosen the nut locking the adjustment screw and turn it Clockwise to tighten it. Do Not over tighten...you want to snug it down gently and then back off about 1/4 turn then re-tighten the lock-nut. If that doesn't fix loose steering then the box is likely worn out. :anim_25:

Have had the same issue in the past. Sometimes that fixed it, sometimes I've just replaced the box.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am going to put the car back up in the air and check the whole front end, same shop that installed the trans did front end work....Took off the crappy console someone built and was surprised and amused at how someone installed the shifter on the T56. I don't know if mickey mouse is the word to use? Not only that, the actual shifter stick bolts were not even tight, I could not figure out why it would not shift right. The shop that did it has a great rep, I cannot believe they would let work like this leave the shop lol
 

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Rack vs 500/605

I would concur with Rick_L. After having a Flaming River Rack in my stock frame with Heidt's narrower tubular control arms, drop spindles & coil over shocks the road feel was absolutely great. However, that's not to say that you cannot have great road feel with either of those two boxes.

The big negative for me with my rack was that it cut down on my turning radius. And that could be because I used the narrower control arms but most people told me it was because racks are rear steer on stock frames. So, to Rick_L's point the after-market frames are all front steer racks and this isn't an issue. I was also told that I could get slightly shorter steering arms and that would solve the problem. So, I found the shorter steering arms on eBay, but never installed them to see if that would correct the problem, because I wound up tearing the car down and went with an after-market frame.

So, long story short, I think you will be happy with the simplicity of a power steering box and also the turning radius won't be compromised.
 

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I am going to put the car back up in the air and check the whole front end, same shop that installed the trans did front end work....Took off the crappy console someone built and was surprised and amused at how someone installed the shifter on the T56. I don't know if mickey mouse is the word to use? Not only that, the actual shifter stick bolts were not even tight, I could not figure out why it would not shift right. The shop that did it has a great rep, I cannot believe they would let work like this leave the shop lol
I've looked at this picture several times, and I have conflicting notions...I think it's a good idea that was poorly executed.

On the one hand, it appears to be a simple and practical solution to a customer request (that can easily be undone if desired) that should be totally hidden by the shifter boot or console. On the other, it was poorly executed: I would have used shorter bolts and made sure they didn't loosen up (loctite perhaps?).

I'm no fan of shoddy workmanship, but I've been around enough fabrication shops to know that they are constantly torn between achieving outstanding results and keeping costs down, and ultimately keeping the customer happy. One hour of labor vs. four. It's a never-ending struggle.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I agree 100 percent, right idea with horrendous execution... Dan at Fantom Works would have a meltdown if one of host guys made this ;)
 

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Looks like you have a 500 or 600 box already (I'm not familiar enough with the appearance of a 600 to tell from your pic). If there is too much movement internally, you can adjust as already mentioned - when doing it make sure the wheels are in the straight ahead position, then screw the adjusting nut in just until it meets resistance, and back off ever so slightly. If what you've referred to as a loose feeling in your steering and the box itself is in good condition, you are probably dealing with either wear issues (tie rod ends, ball joints, drag link) or alignment. With power steering additional caster is recommended for proper road feel - up to 4-5 degrees. If your front end is set up to original specs you may be dealing with 0-1 degree, and with wider than stock tires it will feel like the car is going where it wants to go instead of where you want it to go. Getting that additional caster dialed in can be a whole other deal, usually requiring different upper control arms. As to R&P - opinions differ...I don't feel they're worth the extra headache and expense. A properly outfitted and aligned front suspension (upgraded wear items, power box, disc brakes, sway bar) will provide a very nice ride.
JR
 

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Main difference in identifying a CPP box vs. a Borgeson box is the CPP box has a cast steel top cover, and a Borgeson box has a cast aluminum top cover. From the photo it looks like a CPP500 box with a cast steel top cover. The other way to tell which one you have is a CPP box has a splined input shaft, where a Borgeson box has a double D input shaft. Each has a corresponding rag joint, and that's the main difference in installing one vs. the other.

On the play in the steering, check the idler arm, tie rod ends, and the center link to pitman arm connection before even thinking about adjusting the box. Neither box should ever need adjusting unless someone has screwed with it and done it wrong.
 

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Main difference in identifying a CPP box vs. a Borgeson box is the CPP box has a cast steel top cover, and a Borgeson box has a cast aluminum top cover. From the photo it looks like a CPP500 box with a cast steel top cover. The other way to tell which one you have is a CPP box has a splined input shaft, where a Borgeson box has a double D input shaft. Each has a corresponding rag joint, and that's the main difference in installing one vs. the other.

On the play in the steering, check the idler arm, tie rod ends, and the center link to pitman arm connection before even thinking about adjusting the box. Neither box should ever need adjusting unless someone has screwed with it and done it wrong.
Rick you can get the 500 box with a aluminum cover also I did I think it was a option don't know why i did doesn't make it work any better & you sure can't see it unless your looking I would say he's got something loose or like stated above not enough caster to me mine feels very much like a modern vehicle as far as steering goes other that not quite as much self centering
 

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The aluminum cover for a 500 box is actually a "cap" that goes over the actual cover - it's for looks only. It's identified by square corners and it's shiny/polished. to install you remove the 4 bolts slip the cover on and replace the bolts. The box in the photo doesn't have one.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Some things I found when I lowered it....

Keep in mind the previous owner got charged for 'all new front end' from the shop that did other shoddy work.. I saw the invoice but of course very vague on stuff

the 'new' ball joints were re used ball joints with new boots...who does that??

Tie rods were old but solid

Put it in the air again yesterday and its very clear where to start...

The bushing on the idler arm side is crushed/frayed/coming out if you will

The other side of the center link is just as bad

Pretty sure I will start there, and leave the box alone for now as last suggested
 

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Some things I found when I lowered it....

Keep in mind the previous owner got charged for 'all new front end' from the shop that did other shoddy work.. I saw the invoice but of course very vague on stuff

the 'new' ball joints were re used ball joints with new boots...who does that??

Tie rods were old but solid

I’d be looking at all your steering components before the box it self.
Good luck.

Put it in the air again yesterday and its very clear where to start...

The bushing on the idler arm side is crushed/frayed/coming out if you will

The other side of the center link is just as bad

Pretty sure I will start there, and leave the box alone for now as last suggested
 
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