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Alright guys, I FINALLY got around to doing my Unisteer install this weekend! It started out quite exciting...

The first thing I had to do was remove the old steering. I started by renting a puller kit from Advance Auto, which included a large and small Pitman arm puller, a tie rod end puller, and a couple other things which I couldn't figure out. I disconnected the bottom part of the steering at the two tie ends (ask me how I figured out not to leave the castellated nut on the end of the tie rod while removing it!), the idler arm (2 bolts through the frame rail), and the Pitman arm.

[Picture: Bottom part of the steering assembly, which I pulled as one unit]


I then went to work on the upper portion of the steering. I started by removing the steering wheel (I went with the "yank as hard as you can" method instead of a puller since the wheel seemed a bit loose to start out with :)), along with all of the mounting gear and - most importantly - the little collar bearing that's wedged down in there on the shaft. If you don't remove this, you don't get to pull your column. After that was removed, I unbolted the three bolts holding the gearbox down to the frame rail. That allowed the whole assembly to move, and I was able to twist off the column from the inside of the car with a good deal of cursing.

[Picture: The steering shaft with collar bearing pulled up]


Next... removing the actual steering shaft / gear box. That was a flat-out NIGHTMARE! I ended up having to remove my equalizer bar (which I found out was improperly assembled anyways), my Tri-Y header, my spark plugs, AND my booster / master cylinder to get the damned thing out the top of the engine bay. Even then, I was just barely able to wedge it out. Whoever designed the one-piece steering system was just sadistic!

[Picture: Who designed this? At least it works well, I guess...]


Anyways, I then went on to the next step in the process, which was modifying the column length. My dad cut a hole out of a block of wood to use as a square guide / holder - it worked really well. We then did a test cut of 1.5" and a 'real' cut at a conservative 2.75" (the instructions call for 3 and 1/8"). I then spent several hours grinding it down an additional 0.25" to the perfect length - should have just cut it to 3" to start out with!

[Picture: Basic wood guide]


We then installed the new bearing on the bottom of the column. The new steering shaft fit into it perfectly with no wiggle room, and I reused the old top collar bearing to set the shaft in place. I then added a brass washer and the bottom U-joint. I left it all as one assembly because I figured it would be easier to install that way.

[Picture: Perfectly measured and cut column with bearing, washer, and U-joint installed on shaft]


I then chose to leave that assembly alone in favor of working on fitting the rack. This is where I truly got SCREWED. Unisteer's instructions say that 'some grinding may be required' on the rolled lip of the LCA brackets in order to fit the rack bracket into the old crossmember holes. Now, apparently some people have not had to grind at all. Also apparently, this car hates me and anything I try to do to it - so of course, no matter how far I ground down the bracket lip, the holes still didn't line up.

[Pictures: Ground-down lips on the LCA brackets - about halfway through, we continued to grind them after this]






We jacked the rack up to the holes and tried to tilt it to wedge the bolts in, but with minimal luck. I think that the bolt on the driver's side would work, given more attention, but the passenger's side bolt is determined to not make my life any easier. Furthermore, now that the rack is more or less in place it has come to the attention that the U-joint is very close to my Tri-Y headers (I don't know how much clearance it will need), the rack bracket is brushing up against the passenger side of my oil pan because I had to crank it over to clear the U-joint (and make the bolts more or less work), AND to top it all off my clutch release lever spring is rubbing on the U-joint, which will cause excessive wear.

[Pictures: Lots of problems.]




So as of now, my installation has been halted. I've pretty much given up and I have NO clue what to do. I put in a call to Brian at Unisteer but he didn't pick up, so I'm waiting for him to call back with any suggestions he might have. I honestly don't know what can be done about this though, and I really wish I hadn't done anything until I had checked the fit of absolutely everything :(

Does anyone have any suggestions and/or thoughts? Opinions? Feel free to tell me that I was retarded to even attempt this in the first place :loco:
 

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I don't think anyone has gotten any brand of rack-n-pinion to bolt in without something needing some re-engineering. Keep your head up, you'll get it right.

I have a power Unisteer kit still sitting in the box, so sooner or later I'll be dealing with these issues as well.
 

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I ended up having to grind that entire lip down quite a ways to get my rack to fit. I got lucky with my JBA shorty headers fitting without issue.
 

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Yeah, I'm hoping there's a way to get my Tri-Y's to work out because I really do like them. That, and I'm really not anxious to pull them again! I like to stick with what works.

Zed, since you've already installed the rack... how much space does that bottom U-joint need? Do you have any pics you could share with me of your ground down LCA brackets or header clearance? I'd like to see what others have that works.
 

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Geez, what a nightmare. I contemplated doing an r&p, but I wasn't feeling that adventurous. All I can say is good luck man. I think most of us have been in that spot before, where things seem hopeless, but there's always a way.
 

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I almost went with a R&P upgrade, but when I was shopping them I read all the website info and I think I remember all of them mentioning that Tri-Y's won't fit with any of them.
So instead of just a R&P upgrade, I just placed my order yesterday for a Rod & Custom MII suspension!
 

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Keep your head up, take your time and think it through. I haven't heard of any of these going smoothly but mustangs are all about the challenge. You'll get it right!!!

While you have the column out you may want to consider swapping it for a 68 or later collapsible column. That way if god forbid you're in a head on collision you're not going to get speared by your current column. Ebay has a bunch of them and they're not expensive. Just be sure to get the upper bracket, you need it. mustang steering column items - Get great deals on eBay Motors, Toys Hobbies items on eBay.com!
 

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Unisteer Installation

Kelly Hang in there. Great photos, by the way. I am in the middle of installing the power unisteer on my '65 coupe. I have a little advantage (I think) as mine is upside down on a rotisserie. We have completed the upper and lower control arms and the stering column and are just getting ready to start grinding on the LCA bracket. It does indeed look like a lot of grinding to get the holes to line up. It also appears that when we get it to fit, there isn't going to be much room between the rack and the control arm. Keeping my fingers crossed. I will keep you posted and attempt to get some photos, shortly.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, any photos that anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated (by me as well as others who read the thread in the future)!

About to go out to the shop and do MORE grinding... after that, calling Brian again to see if I can get some ideas. I swear to god, once I am done with this pony I am going to drive the bejesus out of her for the rest of my life! No way am I going to let her take it easy in a garage :pirate:

I'll continue to post in this thread as I come up with more problems and solutions.
 

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Sorry to hear about your luck on this install. I know I'm thinking of doing this as well. However I have replaced the long column on my 67 but I took it out from under the car which was much easier than what you described by going out the top.
 

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I installed my Unisteer a few weeks ago and drove the car today for the first time. Believe me when I tell you it will all be worth it once you get it sorted out. The car now drives straight and true with NO slop at all! I have the power rack in my 67.
I had to elongate the holes on the rack itself (thick steel bracket) before I could bolt it to the car. I also had to cut the threaded rods that you screw the tie rods into about an inch on both side to get the toe close enough to drive for an alignment. I'm still having some trouble with stiff steering and my v-belt keeps loosening. I think one is causing the other. If you do a search, you’ll find that these are typical DYI engineering issues.

It is soooo nice to drive the car without constantly correcting the sloppy steering!
 

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Stick with it... you will get it. Slightly off topic, but it looks like your dad does a good bit of woodworking... kudos to a whole family of hands on do it yourselfers.
 

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Alright, still in the shop but here's a quick update - we ground down the LCA brackets even further and the rack now fits, more or less. I elongated the holes on the bracket after consulting with Unisteer about this (they said it was fine), but unfortunately my brain must have failed or something and I ground down on the wrong side of the hole :loco: Whoops! About to elongate the holes in the OTHER direction - they don't need to be lengthened much by now it looks like.

I also ground an edge off of the bracket where it comes too close to the oil pan on the passenger side. Don't know if I ground off enough yet since I was so busy smacking myself for doing the holes wrong!

Upon further inspection, the U-joint looks like it WILL clear my Tri-Y's. However, my clutch release lever spring is still rubbing up against it a lot so I'm looking for a solution to that (see my most recently posted thread).
 

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Frank- yep, my dad is a hobbyist woodworker, as well as a stonecutter, electrician, and now mechanic! His gift lies most in his woodworking, though - he's built almost every piece of furniture in our house. Between all of his skills and my love of learning and research, we make a pretty good team :) I'll pass on your compliments, thanks.
 

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It's projects like this that really make you wonder what car these companies used as a template to build their products. I just installed a set of headers that hit right smack into the bellhousing and kickdown lever. WTF? I'm about to install a R&P set up too, but I got the Aeroform kit. Got my fingers crossed on that one.
 

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Another update - we elongated the holes in the bracket in the other direction by 1/8". I also ground off some extra material on the bracket where it squares off on the passenger side near the oil pan. Now, magically, the rack fits! :pirate:

[Picture: 90-degree angle lines drawn to elongate hole in the right direction, the right amount]


[Picture: Elongated hole (in the wrong direction, whoops!)]


[Picture: Finished hole, after being ground on both ends by 1/8"]


[Picture: I ground the edge off of the bracket here, and then sprayed it with some black rust preventative paint for good measure]


...Well, kinda. So the rack fit without the hoses installed, and we were super excited. We stuck on the two hoses and lifted it back into place... and found that the pressure hose was directly interfering with the frame rail. This, of course, was not surprising to me just because of the nature of this install so far. So we dropped the rack again and tried to undo the hex bolts holding the ports on so that we could rotate them - but no luck. In a random fit of rage, I grabbed a rubber mallet and smacked the side of the hose attached to the port, with the intent of simply knocking the port over to the direction I wanted it to go. Now imagine my surprise when it actually worked! :lol: Turns out it was on a swivel all along. Good thing the instructions didn't say anything about it, right? :)

[Picture: Directly interfering line]


[Picture: All better! (I later banged down the upper port a bit to gain more header clearance)]


We then routed the hoses to the pump, which I had already previously installed. I put them right down along the motor mount and underneath my oil filter, than ran them up to the pump. I made sure that I had 1" of space between the lines and my headers to avoid heat soak and any funny business that might accompany that! I decided not to install the lines to the pump today in favor of getting a thick bit of rubber hose to run both of the lines through at the motor mount - it'll prevent them from abrading on the rough metal, and you won't be able to see it since it's so far down there.

I then turned my attention to the clutch release lever spring, since it rubbed badly on the U-joint when I last checked it. Unfortunately, since I didn't remove it completely when installing the rack, it had gotten all tangled up in the hoses and the header and all kinds of good stuff. A good 10 minutes of wrestling and my dad managed to pull it back down, with the added bonus of a lovely bend in the end of the spring that made it clear everything but one port! Good stuff. I plan to pick up another piece of rubber hose to stick on the end that touches the port to prevent wear. Until I (or anyone else) can think of something else to do with that spring, I guess that's the way it'll have to stay.

A side note: the instructions say to torque the U-joints to 40ft/lbs. I had a bear of a time doing this, mostly because the bolt that holds the U-joint on only takes a 6mm hex wrench. Apparently 6mm hex-head drill bits don't exist at regular hardware stores (after all, this is America, and we hate the metric system! :p), and clearly you can't use a regular hex wrench attached to a torque wrench to torque the bolts since hex wrenches have right angles to them. My solution? I chopped off the straight end of a 6mm hex wrench, stuck it into a 6mm socket, attached that to the torque wrench, and torqued away! :p Wish there was a better way to do it.

Tomorrow I plan on going to hunt for an actual 6mm hex head bit, since I cracked my 6mm socket and kept rounding off the pieces of the hex wrenches. I'll pick up some rubber hose, install that on the 2 hoses, and attach them. I also fully intend to install my steering column with new steering wheel, U-joint, and pinion and finish up this whole project! Wish me luck, because it looks like I'll need it :pirate: More pics coming soon.
 

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Alright, it's been a couple days since my last post and I've gotten a decent amount done (though the project's losing speed - oh no! :shocked:). I'm hoping to actually finish it up for real tomorrow.

Here's what I've done since my last update:

I went out to a few places and picked up a new 6mm hex head bit and some rubber hose. The rubber hose went over both of my lines at the motor mount, as well as a part of the clutch lever release spring that touches a port on the rack.

[Picture: Rubber hose used to protect lines / hold them away from the header]


[Picture: Rubber hose on spring to protect the spring / port from each other]


With that done, I attached the hoses to the pump and tightened them up real good. I also torqued the rack to 65 ft/lbs and made sure that the U-joint and pinion were properly torqued. I opted to stick the pinion onto the rack U-joint instead of the column U-joint because of the way the ends were constructed - the rack side can only be placed one way due to an interestingly-shaped hole, but the column side just attaches with a star-shaped opening so it can be placed much more easily. For those who have the rack, you know what I mean. I'm sure everyone else is thoroughly confused! :)

[Picture: Hoses installed on pump]


Anyways, with the rack in place and centered and the pinion attached to its U-joint, I set about attaching my column (which received a new coat of paint first!). We first had to install a new collar down around the bottom at the firewall, which had a heavy-duty clamp that got tightened down and hid from view under the carpet. I then had my dad push the column through the firewall while I attached its U-joint to the pinion at a 90-degree angle to the other U-joint.

[Picture: Freshly painted column on a 'spit' that we constructed. Nothing fancy, we just put on a couple new coats]


[Picture: U-joints attached to pinion at 90-degree angles. Note that it gives my equalizer bar a little over an inch of clearance, and my header around an inch]


We left the U-joint loosely attached and twisted the column until it was situated correctly. Then we attached the under-dash bracket, which was a pain in the BUTT! And, later, we actually ended up taking out the entire column and putting it back in due to some issues with the brass bearing collar at the top of the steering shaft... but I'll leave that part out.

Next, we installed my brand new Grant Signature Series steering wheel. And man, is it a beauty! When I got it it was a little too shiny for my taste (guess they're a fan of extra-shiny lacquer over there or something) so my dad abraded it a bit to remove the shine. The result? A beautiful, glowy, not-plasticy-looking wheel. :pirate: When I installed the basic Grant mounting hub, I found that I wouldn't be able to use the hub cover because, when tightened down, it prevented the steering wheel from turning. So I cheated a little bit and taped some washers to the underside of the cover as a sort of spacer, then screwed in the shoulder bolts (torque to 10ftlbs) and main steering shaft nut (torque to 25ftlbs). The rest of the wheel install went quite smoothly, and I got it installed perfectly straight on the first try (though that was really just a lot of luck on my part).

[Picture: Cheater spacers :thumbsup:]


[Picture: Wheel installed!]


After the wheel installation we went to work on the tie rod ends, which are really the only things left. We found that even with the ends screwed in all the way, they were still too long, so we chopped off 1&1/4" of the threads on both sides. Now the tie rod ends come within reach of the proper toe range quite easily. I thought it was pretty weird that they screw onto the rack instead of using a sleeve like the old Ford setup - seems like kind of a nuisance because you have to remove them to adjust them. Wonder how much of a nightmare that's going to be for whatever tech has to do my alignment?

[Picture: New tie rod end mockup]


So it looks like I might actually finish this thing tomorrow! I need to call in to Unisteer to find out which part of the tie rod end I am supposed to torque to 45ftlbs - the large bolt side midway up the rod, or the small nut that goes on the end. Both maybe? Not sure. I also have to torque one of the U-joints to 40ftlbs (it wasn't accessible with a torque wrench before, but now that the steering wheel's on I can safely displace the rack and then return it to center). Stick a belt on the power steering pump, a seat on the driver's pan, and a wheel on each corner and I'm ready to head to the shop for an alignment!! :pirate:

(...Hopefully!)
 
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