The steering system is the one thing that connects to the driver to the road; feedback through the steering system is one of the primary ways that a car communicates with its driver. As such, it’s essential to the driving experience that the steering system be totally dialed in to provide smooth, accurate response.
Motivated by this fact, we set out to upgrade the factory steering box on our 1966 Ford Galaxie. We went to Borgeson Universal for the upgrade, and we had the opportunity to talk with sales manager Jeff Grantmeyer about steering boxes and how Borgeson can help improve those of classic cars.
To begin, Grantmeyer gave us a brief explanation of how power steering boxes function mechanically, telling us, “A power steering box is essentially the same technology as a recirculating-ball manual steering box. The input shaft worm gear drives a ball nut assembly back and forth along the worm gear. This motion is translated into rotation of the pitman shaft via gear teeth on the ball-nut and the pitman shaft. The difference between a power box and a manual box is that, in the power box, the ball-nut assembly is shaped like a piston – allowing the valve to direct fluid to either side of the piston to assist in the rotation, putting the power to the steering.”
The power steering box we received for our Galaxie is a Borgeson Delphi 600 series (part #800128), designed as an upgrade to the integral power steering boxes for ’71-’73 Mustangs and a number of ’65-’77 full-size Fords, Lincolns, and Mercurys. Engineered to fit exactly like the factory unit, the Delphi 600 power steering upgrade entirely revamps the cars’ 40 to 50 year-old steering with only one, minor modification: changing the OE steering coupler with the included coupler from Borgeson.
Grantmeyer said, “The stock power steering box suffers from generation gap. Although the stock box in the Galaxie was an integral power box and operates similar to those of today, modern power boxes themselves have evolved greatly in both final ratio and steering feel throughout the years. The box we offer is the latest and most current generation of power steering boxes; this allows us to deliver modern car feel and ratio to the older Galaxie.”
Grantmeyer continued, “Steering ratio is the relationship between the amount of turns at the steering wheel to the amount of rotation of the pitman shaft. A lower ratio will have fewer turns of the steering wheel lock-to-lock to rotate the tires. One can determine the ratio of their steering box by turning the steering wheel from full-left to full-right and multiplying the number of turns by 4. For example, a 20:1 ratio equals 5 turns lock-to-lock; and the Borgeson’s 14:1 ratio equals 3.5 turns lock-to-lock.”
Naturally, a lower steering ratio is preferred over a higher one – the quicker and easier it is to turn the wheels, especially at speed, the better. Our Delphi 600 box provides this upgrade to our Galaxie – resulting in fewer turns lock-to-lock. This, added to the tighter feel at the wheel and more stable on-center feedback, will drastically improve the driving experience of our ’66 Galaxie.
Our Galaxie is still under construction, getting some of the best of the performance aftermarket. And with the new Borgeson steering box and custom suspension, we’re anxious to get this car out on the road – and on the track – to see how it performs. Borgeson has upgrade steering boxes for dozens of musclecars from GM, Ford, and Mopar to steer you straight. Check out the Borgeson Universal website to find out more and to check your own application for a modern feel for your classic.