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

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Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (5/15)
 7/16/20 12:24am
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: 857

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? (6/15)
 7/16/20 6:43am
cinorLifetime Member
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, - Canada

Vette(s):
1975 L48 Stingray 1992 LT1


Joined: 12/24/2013
Posts: 414

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? (7/15)
 7/22/20 12:18am
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: 857

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? (8/15)
 7/22/20 12:19am
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: 857

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.  




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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.
Borgeson Steering Upgrade Notes (9/15)
 7/22/20 12:38am
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: 857

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? (10/15)
 7/22/20 12:38pm
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 Borgeson power steering box


Joined: 7/3/2016
Posts: 269

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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Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (11/15)
 12/6/20 3:24pm
J1/J3
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Murphy, TX - USA

Vette(s):
1974 Silver Coupe 2019 Silver Grand Sport Coupe


Joined: 5/13/2020
Posts: 2

Just curious if you still like the Borgeson conversion after 5 months and if you got all the leaks stopped.  I purchased a '74 coupe last May as a project car for me and my grandson.  It's a no-options car, mostly original.  Seriously considering converting it to power steering so my old arms don't have to work so hard to park it :)  When I discussed Borgeson with the owner of one of our local Corvette shops, he said he had installed a lot of them and a lot of them leaked.  Any feedback you can spare would be most appreciated.

Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (12/15)
 12/8/20 1:00am
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: 857

BillHanna said:

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.

 


Hmmm, not sure about any Borgeson setups that still use the valve and cylinder.  IMHO, there are two main advantages of going to the Borgeson for C3 owners: 1) you get to get RID of the leaky cylinder and valve, along with two of the four hoses and 2) quicker ratio.  

I know that both Corvette Central and Ecklers offer kits that look like the Borgeson unit, but they're not identified with that brand.  I don't know if they're knock offs and made by someone else or if they just have an agreement with Borgeson.  I got mine on eBay from a reputable seller and it came in a Borgeson box with printed materials from them and their stamp on the parts.  

Out of curiosity, I did a little research.  Borgeson started in 1914 making steering components and that's all they make today.  In the 50s they started on power steering conversions for GM cars and other makes.  In the 60s and 70s it became popular to replace stock GM saginaw boxes with a Borgeson since they're stouter and have the quicker ratio.  But most GM cars with P/S have the boost built right into the box so it was really just a direct bolt in-replacement.  But C2 and C3 Vettes have the system we know all too well that relies on the external valve and cylinder to provide the boost.  I've always wondered why they went that way for the Vette - the Saginaw P/S box was already designed and being used.  Maybe it was space considerations.  But the fatal flaw with that design is the hoses that have to flex every time the car is steered.  It also reduces ground clearance and is susceptible to road debris.  



______________

 

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? (13/15)
 12/8/20 1:14am
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: 857

J1/J3 said:

Just curious if you still like the Borgeson conversion after 5 months and if you got all the leaks stopped.  I purchased a '74 coupe last May as a project car for me and my grandson.  It's a no-options car, mostly original.  Seriously considering converting it to power steering so my old arms don't have to work so hard to park it :)  When I discussed Borgeson with the owner of one of our local Corvette shops, he said he had installed a lot of them and a lot of them leaked.  Any feedback you can spare would be most appreciated.

LOL, you'll have to ask me next summer!  Summer was pretty much over when I got the conversion finished up and I drove the car very little this summer anyway due to COVID (no shows to go to and such).  

I think I've got the leaking resolved, but it's something I'll have to watch.  At least on here I haven't seen a lot of negative feedback about leaking, but the owner of that shop probably has more experience with that.  

In the handful of times I've driven it since the conversion I have an overall positive impression.  The quicker ratio is great but the effort is lighter than I was hoping for so that's a bit of a disappointment.  (Lighter than stock P/S on my '76)  That, coupled with the fact it needs an alignment is making it a bit of a learning curve in driving.  Also the center "dead zone" is reduced greatly from stock so all those things combined can make it a little twitchy at speed.  Borgeson recommends a 4 wheel alignment after install with at least one spec (I think it's camber) changed from stock.  I'm hopeful that once I do that next spring some of that twitchiness will decrease.  (or maybe I'll just get better at driving it).  But as I said in my last post, the best benefit for me was getting rid of the cylinder, valve and hoses that have to flex at every steering input!  So tired of P/S leaks!



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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? (14/15)
 12/8/20 4:39pm
VetteCountryLifetime Member
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Belvidere, IL - USA

Vette(s):
1977 Black T-Top ZZ4 5Sp 16in Wheels


Joined: 10/24/2004
Posts: 423

Hi Dave, check in Borgeson for a washer kit. It lowers the fluid pressure in the pump. Goes on the pressure end. I used this on my steroids rack and it helped the dirty feeling.

Re: Column's out - what else should I do? (15/15)
 12/10/20 1:14am
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: 857

VetteCountry said:

Hi Dave, check in Borgeson for a washer kit. It lowers the fluid pressure in the pump. Goes on the pressure end. I used this on my steroids rack and it helped the dirty feeling.

Thanks for the tip - that would make sense to reduce the pressure, thus lowering the boost.  I'll check that out!



______________

 

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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