Give Your Classic ’Stang Modern Steering With Flaming River’s Kit

Admit it. If your fun car is a classic Mustang, you love the way it takes you back in time when you drive it. However, when you go back to your daily driver, you wish that your vintage machine had the same precise, easy steering as your commuter. Today it is easier than ever to give your 1965-1970 Mustang that modern steering experience thanks to the clever crew at Flaming River.

This kit along with other upgrades can definitely improve the performance of the handling of your classic Mustang. — Brett Domin, Flaming River

The solution is the company’s 1965-70 Mustang Power Rack & Pinion Cradle Kit, which is available to fit cars with original or Granada spindles, as well as in complete kits that include the company’s tilt steering column. The column can be optioned in polished or paintable versions, and the power steering pump can be omitted if you already have one.

Flaming River offers a bolt-on solution for modernizing your 1965-1970 Ford Mustang’s steering system with a power-assisted, rack-and-pinion steering system that offers a stronger rack gear, a quick steering ratio, lifetime serviceability, and more. It includes a patented rack and pinion cradle system, U-joints, mounting hardware, and everything needed to install the system. It can be had with or without a power steering pump, and a tilt column is also an optional part of the 1965-70 Mustang Power Rack & Pinion Cradle Kit. (Photo Credit: Flaming River Industries)

What really makes this complete cradle setup nice, is that it installs to the pony car chassis without the need for modification, so you can modernize your Mustang without permanently altering it. That means you can enjoy the light effort and increased precision of power steering knowing your ride can be returned to stock should you ever decide to sell it.

There will be less turns lock-to-lock, which improves the wheel response. — Brett Domin, Flaming River

“The power rack is a benefit for many reasons,” Brett Domin of Flaming River explained. “It replaces a worn box, eliminates leaky valve and cylinder (if you have it), offers a quicker ratio, and delivers more modern steering.”

Because of its patented design, the 1965-70 Mustang Power Rack & Pinion Cradle Kit bolts into the classic Mustang chassis using factory mounting holes. As such, it is not necessary to modify your valuable classic Mustang to enjoy the benefits of a modern steering setup. Its quick-ratio rack offers a full turning radius and travel, so there are no compromises. These kits are designed for small-block, big-block, 351W and 351C engine styles with or without headers. However, if you want headers on a small-block Ford, using those offered by Flaming River (PN FR50003C; $896.08) will ensure a trouble-free installation.

Certainly this setup is a great way to replace an ailing factory system and gain a much better steering experience in the process. The factory recirculating ball steering box is vague, and does not inspire confidence. Not only does Flaming River’s rack and pinion conversion offer a more precise feel, but it also delivers reduced effort thanks to the power assist – especially in typically high-effort, low-speed situations like parking lots. However, the setup is also designed for better performance than the factory steering box thanks to the advantages of the rack and pinion and its brisk ratio.

Rack and Pinion Cradle Kit Features

• Paintable or Polished Tilt Column

• Mounting Hardware

• Wiring Connector

• Universal Joints

• Patented Rack & Pinion Cradle System

• Power Steering Pump with Bracket and Pulley

• Aluminum Mounting Reservoir (hoses sold separately)

“This kit along with other upgrades can definitely improve the performance of the handling of your classic Mustang,” Brett said. “…A stock manual box will require more rotations of the wheel. A quicker-ratio rack allows you to turn the wheel less to travel the same distance.”

The system includes a power steering pump, bracket, and pulley to add the capability to your engine if it is not already so equipped. An aluminum mounting reservoir is also part of the package, but the hoses are optional and sold separately as a kit (PN FR1610-F) to ease the installation for $334.53.

Moreover, that improved ratio will hasten your Mustang’s turning precision, which will boost your driving enjoyment on twisty roads. “There will be less turns lock-to-lock, which improves the wheel response,” he added.

If you order the full kit that wheel can be an OEM unit or an aftermarket steering wheel bolted to one of the company’s tilt steering columns. These 304-grade stainless steel columns are available polished to make a statement or in paintable form so you can match your interior. Not only will the tilt wheel allow you to get in and out of the car easier, but it will also allow adjustment for a more ideal steering position for the driver. Moreover, if performance driving is your thing, opting for a smaller, grippier aftermarket wheel, enabled by the proper column selection, will further enhance the steering feel and precision.

If you choose the complete kit with a tilt column, you can have one that is paintable steel or polished stainless and designed to utilize either a factory Ford steering wheel or an aftermarket wheel.

Of course, should you be a more performance-minded driver, you might have lowered your car to sharpen its handling. If you have or desire to do so, Flaming River offers a bump-steer kit (PN FR1619MU; $189) that will correct the suspension geometry to tame the wild movements that can occur on rough surfaces when that geometry is out of whack. If you didn’t know, the wheels can actually steer themselves without input from the steering wheel when the length or angle of the steering linkage is out of spec.

“The bump-steer kit is only needed if the car’s original geometry or ride height has been altered,” he said.

If your Mustang is lowered or you plan to lower when running the 1965-70 Mustang Power Rack & Pinion Cradle Kit, you will need to add the company’s bump-steer kit to dial in the proper steering geometry. The kit is made up of adjustable outer tie-rod ends hewn from 5/8-inch, Teflon-lined heim joints and 4140 steel.

If that all sounds good to you, the installation proposition isn’t too daunting either. The bolt-in design of the Flaming River 1965-70 Mustang Power Rack & Pinion Cradle Kit makes it is basically a remove and replace scenario, wherein you remove the factory bits and install the improved Flaming River components.

“The kit comes with a colored instruction guide and video online,” Brett added. “A shop or hobbyist can install this kit.”

If you prefer the feel of manual steering or don’t want to add the pumps and lines to your car, Flaming River also offers a version of its bolt-in cradle kit with a manual rack and pinion. These systems deliver a quick-ratio rack and offer all the same spindle, steering wheel, and steering columns options without the power assist.

There you can choose from eight different variations of the 1965-70 Mustang Power Rack & Pinion Cradle Kit, which allow for stock or Granada spindles, stock or aftermarket steering wheels, painted or polished tilt columns, as well as kits that leave out the power steering pump or column. These kits range from $2,240.77 to $2,705.75 depending on the content, and the optional bump-steer kit (PN FR1619MU) will add another $189.99 to the tally if your car is lowered.

We will hit some of the kit highlights here, but the full scoop on the install and options is available over on the company’s website right here.

Article Sources

About the author

Steve Turner

Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge in the world of Ford performance, having covered it for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
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