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I couldn’t leave well enough alone, or maybe I am just too paranoid. In any case, I learned to listen to Paulwall Saturday afternoon.

I arrived at the Mardi Garage early Saturday morning to install the new 5 leaf mid-eye springs on my 66 GT Coupe. Paul conquered the task in record time – with very little frustration. I’d say we got the new springs installed in less than 2.5 hours…including removal of the original springs in place. We were both awed at the ease of the original springs and the insignificant use of PB Blaster required. So, with task of the day complete before lunch, we threw around ideas for the rest of the day.

I believe Paul was in the favor of going for a nap, or doing anything inside from the 90+ outdoor temperatures. We had already established that we couldn’t start on the front suspension, but I pressed the issue of a power steering fluid return hose hanging too low on my car. I insisted that we try to shorten the hose or install a different one. Paul insisted that it was fine, and I had nothing too worry about. Well, I come from a long line of Irish stubbornness (despite my last name), so no sooner was I turning the car around to the shade to work on the hose. Well, in short, I ruined the threads on the power steering control valve and instead of having to worry about a low-hanging hose, now the hose would not connect to the valve. Of course, it wasn’t as simple as it reads, as it took about two hours of frustration and bending the hose before discovering the reason it would not screw into the valve.

Fortunately for me, Paul had a complete manual steering drag link setup waiting in his garage. So, we pulled off the power steering assembly and installed the manual drag link.

After cleaning up the driveway, I pulled out of the Mardi Garage with new rear leafs and turning the wheel a heck of a lot harder at nearly 6pm!

Lessons learned:
1. Paul knows best about the hose.
2. I’ll never have power steering again if it’s up to Paul.
3. Manual steering offers much more control of the car at higher speeds. I like it! (read heading again – FORCED CONVERT)
4. The five leaf mid-eye springs are really nice and I believe create the perfect height for my car.
 

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Mark me down as a semi-forced convert. My '68 came with power steering, which I always hated. When it came time to rebuild the steering gear, I was looking at rebuilding or replacing all three major components... so I listed the options, from converting to manual to putting in a power TCP rack, and decided to go with the simple and cheap option of converting to manual steering around a new FR box.

Won't have the chance to drive it for a month yet, but I took over 100 pounds off the front end (battery to trunk, aluminum top on the engine, no PS pump or gear) and from what I've been told, steering should be much more precise, if a trifle tough at very low speeds.

And if not, TCP still sells rack conversions... and I still have the entire power subsystem to refurb and reinstall.
 

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I grew up driving manual streer and manual 4 wheel drums :D Heck, I use to drive my brother's '72 Econoline with manual steer and manual drums....so I know what tough is.

The trick with manual steering is simple. Keep tires inflated and always make sure you have some movement of the vehicle how ever slight and keep a stock size steering wheel. Some PS cars had steering wheels that where smaller in diameter and thinner. Use a manly steering wheel ::
 

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I grew up driving manual streer and manual 4 wheel drums
Heh. I worked with a guy who liked old Willys trucks. I looked at one, then stopped and stared under the front end.

"Yep," he said, "Armstrong steering and Manpower brakes!" (Translation: very primitive manual steering and mechanical drum brakes all around!)
 
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