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Topic: Column's out - what else should I do?

in Forum: C3 Handling Components

Column's out - what else should I do? (1/10)
 6/14/20 3:04am
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.


Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 844

I have my steering column out to install my Borgeson steering box.  I know brake booster for sure - I just ordered a new one from Bair's. I'm pretty sure mine is original and it looks like it will be WAY easier to get to those four nuts with the column out.  Anything else?  At first I was thinking I might rebuild the column but after it was out, I got it collapsed enough for the Borgeson without any trouble.  It turns super smooth and the bearings don't have any play.  I don't really want to tear into the column if I don't have to - everything else works fine.  

Any tips on getting the booster out?  Three nuts look pretty easy but that fourth, upper left one is going to be tough even with the column out.  I remember reading other posts years ago about folks struggling with this project.  multiple articulating joints for a socket if I remember correctly?  

 



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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (2/10)
 6/22/20 1:20am
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.


Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 844

Not sure if anyone really cares - don't see too many technical here discussions anymore 😢 - but FWIW, I'm proceeding with the brake booster removal.  Tonight I finally successfully got the upper left nut off the stud (the hardest of the four).  I had to remove the clutch linkage between the pedal and Z-bar and the clutch interlock switch.  Had to remove the linkage to get enough room to rotate a ratchet, with it installed there's not enough room to get even one click.  Now I'm just waiting for the new booster to arrive from Bairs and the rest should be fairly easy.  Famous last words....

I decided to not do anything else while the column's out, other than a brake bleed/fluid replacement.  Doesn't seem like there's anything else to do, since everything in my column is working fine.  Some other '76 owners might decide this would be a good time to get rid of the Vega steering wheel, but I'm keeping it.  It's part of the car and one of the few things that make a '76 unique.  

And although I have no experience the other way, I'm fairly confident replacing the booster is far easier with the column out.  Having my head in the footwell, legs in the luggage compartment, looking up I'm wondering how the hell I could have gotten to those bolts with a big tube right in my way.  



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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (3/10)
 6/22/20 4:48pm
BillHanna
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Cana, VA - USA

Vette(s):
1975 Stingray 71 350 engine Flat top pistons Sniper fuel injection Hyperspark ignition Vintage Air air conditioning


Joined: 7/3/2016
Posts: 196

I for one care about technical discussions.  Keep the questions -- and answers -- coming.  This forum has helped me significantly with getting my '75 all fixed up.  If anyone has been following my issues, I can say that at the moment, everything works on mine --  for now -- ya'll know that does not last long on these 40 something old cars.

I feel for anyone that works under the dash of one of these cars.  I do most of the work myself on mine, but when it comes to working under the dash, I take it to my mechanic -- who does not seem to mind the small space as much.  I don't even see how anyone can get to the fuse panel.

 



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Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (4/10)
 6/23/20 1:58am
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.


Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 844

Thanks for the comments, Bill.  Yeah, I've been following your threads recently (your car is definitely easy to follow!) -- I'm going to try to speak up more often on the technical topics going forward.  I've been a member here since the mid-2000s and have had my same '76 since 2001.  Back in those days, this place was always hopping with technical topics, but it seems like there's not as much engagement on the tech side as there once was.  I still like that this is a paid site and the people that are here really want to be - the arguments and general mean behavior on free car forums drives me nuts - but I might have to break down and become a member of one of the other Vette forums.  :-(

the booster arrived from Bairs today - looks great.  Always fast and good service from them.  I'm hopeful the hardest part of the booster project is done, but I'm sure there will be some challenges getting linkages (some with "Jesus clips") hooked up.  

I'll report back on progress.  



______________

 

1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (5/10)
 7/16/20 2:24am
daveo76
Standard Member
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.


Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 844

Brake and steering systems back together now!  Brakes are bled with a firm pedal (better than before) and hopefully this weekend I'll get steering system bled and the car back on the road.  I'll eventually need an alignment, but hopefully I can get some test drives in before.

Some observations and notes about the upgrade:

- Theoretically it's possible to put the Borgeson system in without removing the column first, but I think it'd be really tough.  I don't think it'd end up saving much time.  Might be easier if you have a lift, but I don't have one.  

- Once you have the column out you might as well do the brake booster if it's original or even a hint of being close to failure.  I think it'd be a 1000 times more difficult to do the booster with the column in.  Replace any parts related to the stuff you have to take apart, such as linkage pins and springs, that are worn.  

- The Borgeson box requires you to shorten the column.  Sounds more difficult than it is, but it is a little tricky.  You're really just taking up some of the slack in the collapsable steering column.  I could not get mine to collapse by hitting it with a hammer while it was in the car (using a block of wood between hammer and shaft).  But once I got the column out it was pretty easy.  Follow the instructions for measurement included with the Borgeson box.  

- To do the the Borgeson upgrade you must also purchase the following parts: 1) Borgeson-specific rag joint.  The OEM one will not work, the connection on the box end is different.  2) Hose kit from OEM pump to new box.  OEM hoses do not work, the fittings on the box end are different, and they might not be long enough or formed correctly.  3)either a manual steering relay rod, or an adapter that screws on to the OEM pwr steering rod in place of the original control valve.  Adapter is about half the price of a new rod - that's the way I went.  You may also need a new Pitman arm - I ended up breaking my puller and all the YouTube videos for this situation involve cutting the old arm off anyway.  You CAN use the original pump in its stock location, so good news there.  Of course if your car has manual steering you'd need a pump, pulley, brackets, belt, etc.  

- The Borg rag joint is also different on the steering shaft end.  OEM uses a pinch collar with a bolt, but Borg has splines all around and is secured with a set screw.  I had a really hard time getting that end of the rag joint installed.  I should have spent more time cleaning up the splines on the column while it was out of the car.  The issue is if you have to tap on it hard with a hammer (of course column is in the car now) you will collapse the column further, making it too short.  I thought I'd be able to tap the joint on and not cause any more collapse, but it did end up going another 1/2" in.  Fortunately the rag joint did go on to the splines enough so the set screw would engage, but I really would have liked a little bit more.  Maybe a pair of vice grips latched to the shaft would prevent it from collapsing more.  

I can't think of too many other install pitfalls, but maybe I'll add to my notes once I get the car running and driving.  I'm pretty confident I'll be able to report back that the Borgeson upgrade is worth the effort and cost!

 



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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (6/10)
 7/16/20 8:43am
cinorLifetime Member
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, - Canada

Vette(s):
1975 L48 Stingray 1992 LT1


Joined: 12/24/2013
Posts: 409

god oto know all this info.  That is going to be one of the upgrades I will probably regret not doing on my 75 when I did the restore, but maybe in the future.  Had to pick and choose as this resto was costly enough as it was.  I remember taking out and putting the booster in, it required taping extensions together and a swivel on the end, not for the faint of heart.  I am thankfully not that big so fit in the front seat out of course, 



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Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (7/10)
 7/22/20 2:18am
daveo76
Standard Member
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.


Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 844

cinor said:

god oto know all this info.  That is going to be one of the upgrades I will probably regret not doing on my 75 when I did the restore, but maybe in the future.  Had to pick and choose as this resto was costly enough as it was.  I remember taking out and putting the booster in, it required taping extensions together and a swivel on the end, not for the faint of heart.  I am thankfully not that big so fit in the front seat out of course, 

I actually read your booster post before I tackled that project.  In fact that was where I got the idea to lie on my back where the driver seat would be with my legs up in the luggage area!  All the under-dash repairs I did before that I don't think I ever did it that way - I'd either be forward facing with neck craned up or backward facing looking up, but I think I always had my knees on the garage floor.  Not comfortable (or healthy) either way, but I was a lot younger then.  Your way was almost relaxing.  :-)  Good thing I'm a bit vertically challenged too (5'-6") - I'm not sure it would work if I was much taller.  




______________

 

1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (8/10)
 7/22/20 2:19am
daveo76
Standard Member
Send Private Message

Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.


Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 844

cinor said:

god oto know all this info.  That is going to be one of the upgrades I will probably regret not doing on my 75 when I did the restore, but maybe in the future.  Had to pick and choose as this resto was costly enough as it was.  I remember taking out and putting the booster in, it required taping extensions together and a swivel on the end, not for the faint of heart.  I am thankfully not that big so fit in the front seat out of course, 

I actually read your booster post before I tackled that project.  In fact that was where I got the idea to lie on my back where the driver seat would be with my legs up in the luggage area!  All the under-dash repairs I did before that I don't think I ever did it that way - I'd either be forward facing with neck craned up or backward facing looking up, but I think I always had my knees on the garage floor.  Not comfortable (or healthy) either way, but I was a lot younger then.  Your way was almost relaxing.  :-)  Good thing I'm a bit vertically challenged too (5'-6") - I'm not sure it would work if I was much taller.  




______________

 

1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
Borgeson Steering Upgrade Notes (9/10)
 7/22/20 2:38am
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.


Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 844

I just changed the title of this thread to make it more descriptive for the Borgeson upgrade.  

System is fully installed and working.  I've only driven it about 1 mile in my neighborhood (insurance wasn't active yet).  It definitely feels different - quicker and more responsive for sure.  A little disappointed that driver effort decreased; I was hoping it would stay the same or increase.  But I'm sure I'll get used to it and all the other advantages will outweigh that in the end.  

A couple more install notes....

- the Borgeson hose kit comes with three brass inserts.  They are needed when what you are attaching to uses an o-ring fitting instead of inverted flare.  Don't make the same wrong assumption I initially made - the Borgeson box has o-ring style fittings so the brass inserts MUST be used.  They will leak like a sieve without them.  The output fitting on our pumps is inverted flare so the insert not needed there.  (and of course the return line just uses a hose clamp)

- Even with the brass inserts installed on the box end, I still had some leak issues on one of the lines.  I really had to reef on the fittings to get them to fully seat.  You should not be able to swivel the fitting at all if it's properly tightened as the flares have to be really tight with each other to get good sealing.  I think I still might be leaking a little at the pump end of the high pressure line as well.  Going to have to jack it up and see.  

- Borgeson recommends a full alignment after install with a deviation from stock on at least one parameter (don't have the install notes in front of me but I think it's positive 3 degrees caster).  I have a shop in my town that I trust for 4 wheel veto alignments - I'll be taking it there in the next few weeks.  

Overall I'm pleased and I think this will end up being one of the better C3 upgrades in my book.  



|UPDATED|7/21/2020 11:38:18 PM (AZT)|/UPDATED|


______________

 

1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (10/10)
 7/22/20 2:38pm
BillHanna
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Cana, VA - USA

Vette(s):
1975 Stingray 71 350 engine Flat top pistons Sniper fuel injection Hyperspark ignition Vintage Air air conditioning


Joined: 7/3/2016
Posts: 196

Are there different Borgeson setups?  The ones I've seen at Summit and Jegs look like the standard C3 setup with the power steering valve and cylinder -- is what you have different?  Where did you get yours?

I'm not planning on putting more money in my '75, but I am a bit interested in tighter steering.

 



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