Poor Return to Center / Power Steering Conversion - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2007, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Poor Return to Center / Power Steering Conversion

Just completed a successful power steering on a 68 Jeepster thanks to lots of info in this BB. I used a saginaw box with 18:1 ratio off a 1968 Gladiator.

The one issue remaining is a poor return to center of the steering wheel after a turn. I have only a minor lift on the back (2"), no lift on the front, stock tires. I have added as much positive caster to the front as possible with shims to try to help. I have a steering dampner installed.

I did use three steering shaft ujoints and went through the motor mount since I couldn't find the reverse exhaust manifold. I have a bushing stabilizing the steering shaft running through the motor mount. Maybe there is too much friction in this bushing?

Anybody have any suggestions? Is this just normal for Jeepsters with PS? I don't recall the original manual steering having this problem.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 04:09 AM
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Just to be thorough, because caster has always been a tough thing for me (and many others) to understand correctly, when you say you added positive caster, which way did you point the shims? By that I mean did the pinion move up or down because of the shims?

Chris

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Poor Return to Center / Power Steering Conversion

More positive caster puts the thick part of the shim towards the front, tilting the king pins back and the front axle pinion down. It is likely the king pin inclination is what helps the return to center the most and I can't do much about that.

I reduced the steering shaft bushing friction down to nearly nothing, so some improvements have been noted. Taking out the dampner helps a bit too, but I prefer the feel of it in place.

My return to center is now useable but maybe I'm comparing too much to modern vehicles, which have a strong return to center. I suspect the manual steering box had less internal friction and returned to center more easily than the power steering box.

The 18:1 box ratio and big steering wheel seems to be very over assisted, but this is how power steering was in 1968 apparently. I think I will try to find a lower ratio box eventually for a more modern steering feel.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 05:58 PM
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Okay, sounds like you've got the caster right. I was just checking to make sure you didn't get it backwards (seen many here who have). Do you have any idea how much caster you have now. The sweet spot is somewhere between 6-10* if I recall correctly. How about your toe-in? When you put in new steering links, things might have gotten off. I can't remember the best setting on that, but if you pull a tape across, it should be about 1/2-1" shorter from front edge to front edge compared to back-edge to back-edge. You should be able to get a decent return to center even on this equipment with the proper adjustment.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure how much toe in now, I toed it in a little after the conversion. Not sure how much positive caster, probably added about 6 degrees with my temporary shims. I suspect the rear lift left me with about 0 degrees. The addition of caster seems to have only a weak affect on the return to center.

I am going to install 11 inch drum brakes on the front in January so I can get a better idea of caster when I have it all apart. I can check the king pin bearings also while I'm in there.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2008, 07:22 PM
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I thought it was more like 1/4" toe in. 1" seems like a ton. I usually run between 1/8-1/4"
The caster is probably the culpruit though.
Also try taking the sector ajustment on the top of the box loose a little and see if maybe it's a worn box that somebody had tightened the heck out of it.

Tom
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2008, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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yes the toe in spec is 3/64 so 1/8 is plenty. It seems to be coming down to the steering box friction or king pin bearing friction. Still very driveable in it's current state so no complaints about the ps conversion. Am considering a 1:14 ratio box to give it a more modern feel.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 01-02-2008, 12:03 PM
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You want a variable ratio box.
S-10 4x4 box is much better feel and pretty popular conversion for FSJ guys so would work well for our heeps too.

Trickpatrick.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 01-02-2008, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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That sounds good. I hear it has a 76 cast into the box.
Does it have to be a 4X4 S10?
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 01-02-2008, 03:52 PM
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I have read that the 4x4 one is beefier..
Cant say for sure.
I read about them on the Fullsize jeep forum, if you search there you could find plenty on it.

I do know the hoses have the newer o ring seals so you will need a custom hose or matching ps pump.

I think they are a good fit as the s10 is similer in wheelbase and the ratio should be good for a jeepster.

If you need beef.
Then the J2000 box is stronger inside but it has that same free feel, as the older big car box's do.
The ARG aftermarket box's use the J2000 box and rebuild it, very similer.
Rebuilt is about 170.00.
I found a S10 box at the yard for 75.00 looked new no leaks ect.

Trickpatrick.
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Woody: '69 Commando Dauntless V6, SM420, D20, D44, D30.

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A jeepster is alot like 3 different family's living in the same apartment.
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