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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all...... I was checking into the Borgeson Steering Mod for my 69 Mach 1 with a 351W and long tube Hooker Headers... I contacted Borgeson and they sent me the attached dimensions for the new gearbox. After a quick measurment, no swap for me unless I change the headers out. I figured I would pass this along as it's very helpful info. I would like to hear from anyone about their success doing this swap and if it’s worth it.
 

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Thanks for this; I'm considering the same swap in my '67...which also has a 351W and Hookers...but I think my headers are mid-length.
 

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I can tell you that the FOMCO steering grearbox is only 8" from the bottom of the pitman arm to the top of the box. The Borgenson is 12"... Currently my OEM box is about 1/4" from hitting the #2 pipe of the header. Really want to do this mod beacause my power steering sucks.
 

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Long story here. Still ongoing and I'm hoping for a happy outcome...

Going with Borgeson PS Gearbox
Well, after yet more problems with the power steering this year, including thumping and popping noises when I turn left, leaky hoses and burnt fluid, I'm scrapping the stock slave cylinder, control valve, spaghetti hose mess that FoMoCo decided was a good design back in 69. The drop bracket that lowered the slave cylinder so it would clear headers kept loosening and seemed to put strain on the system that it apparently wasn't designed to handle.

I got the Borgeson system on Amazon about 100 bucks cheaper than elsewhere and it arrived less than 48 hours after placing the order on a Sunday afternoon.

Today I dug into it. Everything is going well. I needed to borrow a ball-joint fork (actually the smaller version for tie-rod ends) to split the slave cylinder away from the center link. Here it is before I borrowed the fork. It wasn't budging by hammering lightly on the castle nut.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lw2pjmbp2zqmhc...-00922.jpg

Here is the old gearbox next to the new Borgeson power assisted gearbox. In the background of the 2nd picture you can see the now obsolete slave cylinder, some of the 5 hoses and the control valve. The new system will have much less mass to move around and fewer parts to fail.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/h1s1g9ibp9k147...-00926.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dl5j5ldi97argi...-00927.jpg

You will need a 1.25" socket and probably a breaker bar to get the castle nut off the output shaft of the gear box (holds pitman arm on). I didn't have a socket that size in my tool collection, so I borrowed from a friend once again ... same guy that lent me the tie-rod fork. Keep that in mind when you start the job.

You will also need a gear puller to get the pitman arm off the output shaft of the old gearbox. I had one of those and it worked great.

Now the bad news. You'll need to remove the power steering booster and master cylinder to get to the steering column and rag joint and also to be able to remove the original gear box and insert the new one.

From recent experience (brakes), I already know that it's easiest to first remove the driver seat via four 1/2" nuts that are behind the 4 rubber plugs in the floor pan - accessed from beneath the car.

Removing the seat lets you lay on your back to get to the four 9/16" nuts under the dash and above the steering column that hold the power booster to the firewall. There's also a 9/16" bolt under the hood that holds the booster in. As you face looking into the hood towards the rear, that bolt is in the upper right hand corner of the firewall - at the 1:00 position of the booster. Don't remove that bolt until you've removed the four nuts under the dash and have disconnected the brake pedal from the booster eye-shaped rod. That way the booster won't fall as you're laying on your back under the dash removing the last nut - the last bolt under the hood holds it in place. You will need a 9/16" deep-well socket and a universal joint with an extension bar to get to the top nut under the dash.

The Borgeson instructions tell you to mount the new gearbox first, then collapse the steering shaft into the column. Don't do that. Collapse the column first or you won't have room for the hammer to tap the end of the steering shaft.

Once the booster is out (master cylinder obviously comes off the booster first), you'll have plenty of room to work. Take a small hammer and tap the end of the steering shaft to collapse it into the steering column tube. It took some moderately hard taps on mine - no surprise I suppose after 45 years in the same position.

The new Borgeson gearbox fit right in with a bit of maneuvering to clear the brake proportioning valve. The holes line up perfectly and it bolts right in. I tested it it first to ensure that it cleared the headers. It does (I have Hedman full length headers - NOT shorties). After verifying that I had clearance, I removed the gearbox again so that I can cut the steering column outer tube to let the shaft collapse enough to accommodate the longer Borgeson gearbox. I plan on cutting this in place, without removing the steering column. There seems to be room enough for a Sawzall with a hack-saw blade and I'll use a Dremel tool with a cut off wheel to finish the cuts on the top and bottom where the Sawzall won't likely reach. I'll let you know how that goes later this week when I continue after work.

Seeya,
Hutch

Day 2:
Today's revelation was that the steering column rod comes completely out of the column, which makes cutting the column tube(s) a lot easier. At first I didn't know this, so I took a sawzall and cut in from both sides until I got close to the steering column rod (the part with the rag joint on the end), then connected the two cuts with a cut-off wheel on a Dremel tool. Then I cut the resulting "hoop" open with a cut perpendicular to the circumferential cuts and bent the pieces back and forth until they broke off. Here's what that looked like:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/alhd7pgf65yqk3...-00936.jpg

It was going to be tough lying on my back and trying to cut the bottom portion of the outer tubes (from about the 5:00 position to the 7:00 position still needed cut), so I pulled on the steering column rod and it came all the way out. I could then simply cut the outer column tubes with the Sawzall using a hacksaw blade by reaching in from the top. Be REALLY careful not to cut the brake lines, which are very close by.

When I was first reading about installing this system, I wasn't really sure what shortening the steering column tube meant. I didn't know whether I'd need to take it out of the car or not. Here's what the steering column looks like before and after shortening:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rta100cvfiwi0a...tening.JPG

https://www.dropbox.com/s/461c1oefoww4xz...tening.JPG

When I tried to put the steering column rod back into the steering column tube, it wasn't working. I had nightmare visions of having to take the steering column completely out of the car to figure out how to get the rod back into the tube so it connected to the steering wheel. Then I remembered that little mirror on a stick that I got on a whim at the Napa discount parts bin a couple of years ago. By using it to look up the tube, it became apparent that the rod was in two pieces and the piece I had in my hand fit over the piece still in column. Here are pictures to show what I mean. The second picture is looking into a mirror and up the steering column tube. You can see the end of the rod in there.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/k4rt3nrkji860a...-00941.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ewrt1hsap93btx...-00945.jpg

Luckily I had pictures that showed which side of the rag joint was originally facing up when the steering wheel was centered. The three spokes of the steering wheel are such that steering wheel self-centers due to the weight distribution around the wheel when it's free of the rest of the steering system. I'm not sure if it matters or not, but I had the steering rod inserted into the tube upside down at first then took it out again and turned the steering rod 180 degrees after noticing that it didn't match the "before" picture. (I'd hate to get everything back together and then find out that it DID matter).

I started to connect up the pitman rod to the drag-link adapter, but it wasn't happening for me and I was getting tired. It was time to quit. I'm sure that will go smoother tomorrow when I'm rested up.

Day 3:
As an aside, these aren't complete days of working on this; each day is a couple of hours in the evening.
As I suspected, as soon as I approached the task rested, the drag-link adapter went right in to the pitman arm. Then I tightened the 1.25" nut down with the BFSW (Big F'n Socket Wrench), turned around and saw the rubber dust cap lying there. Tip: Don't forget to put the rubber dust cap on first, then the pitman arm, then the big lock washer, then the big nut. Otherwise, you'll be using the gear puller again to get the pitman arm back off. I figured I'd take a photo of it this time, since I hadn't the first time:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6v9k8e1ztzkaw4...pitman.jpg
(Note the nice dent in the header tube from that wonderful power steering slave cylinder)

The hoses needed a bit of adjustment to fit. The return hose was too long (purposefully I expect), but it was no problem cutting it to fit. The pressure hose, because of the angled fittings on each end, may need to be "broken" in the middle where the two pieces connect via a flare fitting and turned so that each end has the desired angle. This picture shows how I angled the pressure hose at the pump to orient the hose away from the headers.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/btr2vrxa9nbezm...ection.jpg

Independently orienting the ends of the hose is impossible without first loosening the connection in the middle of the hose. You need two wrenches to do this. I angled the hoses such that they are pressing against the shock tower and as far away from the headers as possible (still only about 3/4"). Attach the PS hoses to the shock tower with nylon hose clamps (see part number AAF-ALL18314 on SummitRacing.com for an idea of what these look like) - that will ensure that the hoses don't come into contact with the exhaust manifold or headers.

Once installed, the whole system is very clean appearing:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/u6p2ev54x2nram...ctions.jpg
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n5mej3vj0lkcy...outing.jpg
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ys0290gt4z5m66...d-view.jpg

Tonight the brake booster and master cylinder go back in.

Day 4:
Done except for putting the driver's seat back in and filling the system.
Here are the parts I took off the car.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6b2ol7bnopa6k5...emoved.jpg

Note that all of this was replaced by a single gearbox and two hoses. I think I'll weigh this stuff to see the weight savings when going to a Borgeson system. The Borgeson gearbox weighed 28 lbs including packing materials. I'm estimating about 5 lbs of mass are no longer moving with the tie rods (counting the fluid in all of those hoses) and another 5-10 lbs that were static (slave cylinder, drop bracket and steering hose bracket with two-hole grommet)

So far I'd say I have 16 hours in the job, with 2 hours of that looking for tools, running for tools, trying to find where I put my eye-glasses and crawling out from under the car to turn off some horrendous song on the radio.

Hutch

Day whatever...August 14,2014
On the test run a week ago the power steering pump went bad. I guess I ran it dry too long when I got a leak in that hose. Anyway, when I got the new pump I had to use a special pulley puller get the pulley off. (Get one from Autozone, they rent it to you for free - you just pay them the cost to buy it as a deposit and when you take the tool back they give you all of your money back). After I pulled the pulley off, I noticed it was bent (not from pulling it off), so I decided to replace it. They want $80 for a pulley! Unreal. I found one at LaurelMountainMustang for $59 and put it on tonight with the new pump. You use the same pulley puller to install the new pulley. DON'T try to hammer the pulley onto the pump shaft! You need to use the special tool or you'll ruin the pump bearings. All is working well and I hope to be able to get it aligned tomorrow.

August 30, 2014

Turns out it wasn't the power steering pump. More on this saga follows - this is my email to Borgeson tech support today - won't get a reply until Monday since they work bankers hours:

Hi guys,

I just installed the
Borgeson 999024 power steering conversion kit on my 1969 Mustang Mach 1 with a 351W. I bought a newly re-manufactured power steering pump and used the drag-link adapter setup. I used Ford type FA power steering fluid at the recommendation of Borgeson (via an earlier email question).

I bled the system of air as recommended by turning the steering wheel from stop to stop several times without the engine running, then refilling the pump reservoir and repeating this until the fluid level no longer dropped and there were no air bubbles present. The pump has a new pulley and the belt is new. The hoses are routed up over the shock tower, but not completely over the top. The hoses are attached to the shock tower via a plastic wire tie and a screw.

Initially, while the car was on jack stands, all was working fine. It was obviously easy to turn the steering wheel with no weight on the tires. I let the car down off the stands and again could still turn the wheel with just a finger. All seemed to be working fine. I took the car out for a test drive and within 300 feet I could feel the steering start to tighten up a bit. After driving about a mile, I no longer had power steering while stopped at idle, but it appears to be working while driving, but occasionally gets stiff. While stopped with the car idling, there is no power assist whatsoever. I have to muscle the wheel with both arms to get it to turn. If I put the car in neutral and rev the engine while turning, it gets easier - at first easy enough to turn with one hand. However, it then seems to start to stiffen up again, although revving the engine does help.

Thinking that perhaps the stock Ford pump (part number 20-6142) did not have the capacity required for the gearbox, I purchased a Saginaw-style pump (part number 800330) that is supposed to fit a 1969 Mustang with air conditioning. The pump installs such that it is directly below the air-conditioning compressor and it's impossible to remove the filler cap. See these 2 pictures: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a758w8mlzcvdnzb/AAB7XmldZ3LRIif8olndGZZDa?dl=0

Because of this, I didn't even try it - I don't want to lose my factory air conditioning in order to get the Borgeson conversion to work. I also wanted to be sure that I could return the very expensive Saginaw pump, which would be questionable if I filled it with fluid and tried it.

Thinking that the gearbox may be defective, I processed a return via Amazon and they sent me a new conversion kit via overnight delivery. I installed this new one, with a second newly rebuilt power steering pump and the behavior is identical. Obviously there's something else going on that is preventing the Borgeson system from working.

Car's now been off the road for 3 weeks in prime driving season! Tip: do the conversion over the winter.

Hutch
 

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Ok, back on the road at last...

Here's a summary: Most stock Ford pumps don't put out enough fluid pressure to work a Borgeson steering box. A Borgeson Saginaw-style pump that puts out 1200 psi. is needed. I got mine from SummitRacingEquipment.com.

If you have air conditioning, you need to tilt the pump out to the right (looking towards the back of the car) on the bracket and use a different belt. For a 69 Mach 1 with factory air, that is a v-belt 51 - 52 inches long and 3/8" wide. I'll edit this post later today and include the belt number that I'm using.

I needed to have a custom hydraulic line fabricated in order to clear the headers since the pressure hose supplied by Borgeson was too short. The return line was exactly the right length. The hoses loop up to the top of the shock tower and I used a black plastic wire-tie to attach them to the shock tower brace.

I've sent a summary of these installation notes to Borgeson. Their guy Blair said he'd "send it up" so that someone would make the info available on their site. I'll believe that when I see it.

So now it's working great. The steering has less play than before and there's more road feel. I like it. Tomorrow I'm going out to put about 200 miles on the car in the mountains, so I'll have more feedback on it afterwards (and maybe a video)

ps - I have Hedman full-length headers and the Borgeson box clears them by about 1.5"
 

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How was your test drive? I'm thinking about installing a Borgeson set up in my '68 which has a Cleveland, with manual steering.
 

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I put the Borgeson kit on my 66 289. After 3 Ford PS pumps I got the expensive Saginaw pump as well. It works great now. But nowhere did it say I needed it when I bought the kit. I don't have headers so that wasn't an issue for me.
 

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Hutch,
You sir, are a great American. Your post is exactly what I've been looking for. I have the same car as you. I am greatly impressed, and thankful for the great write up and photos. I hope to get this project underway as I am fed up with the Bendix system on the car now.
 

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I have a 68 GTCS and it had factory power steering also. I did the conversion and that was my mistake. I told them (Borgeson) That it had originally come with factory power steering so they gave me a power box for a stock ford pump.When I told them I was going to a Saginaw style pump they told me that I needed to exchange the box for a Chev compatible box, as they run a constant pressure not a variable RPM matched volume box. They are both awesome systems, you just need the correct combo! It now steers like a sports car!
 
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