Steering Simplification

VBP’s Kit: Ease the Turning Chores on ’63-’74 Corvettes

Andy Bolig Aug 1, 2002 0 Comment(s)

Step By Step

We started by removing the center link that connects the pitman arm to the tie rods. A new one is supplied in the kit.

Next, the tie rods were removed on each side.

To remove the center link, you’ll need to disconnect it from the steering box. Do this by removing the nut that holds the pitman arm to the steering-box output shaft. A new pitman arm is supplied in the kit. The other side of the center link is connected to the idler arm.

There are two holes for the outer tie-rod ends. The power steering uses the forward hole, while the manual steering uses the rearmost hole. Take a few minutes to clean out the forward hole for the power steering. This is a must for the tie rod to seal properly.

The kit comes with the necessary mount for the power-assist slave cylinder. This is a good time to install it. The correct mounting bolts are included.

We installed the hoses onto the top of the control valve before we installed it onto the new pitman arm. The pitman arm should be tightened to 140 lb-ft. Also connect the other end of the center link to the idler arm. The nut for the idler arm should be torqued to 45 lb-ft.

Install the tie rods. Remember that the outer tie-rod ends will go into the forward-most holes, not the original holes. This will give you better feel for the road.

Install the slave cylinder next. The end that connects to the center link will be torqued to 45 lb-ft. Don’t forget to install a rubber bushing on each side of the cylinder-rod mount on the frame. Believe it or not, we’ve seen both bushings put on only one side of the mount.

When installing the hoses on the control valve, be sure they cross over before attaching to the valve. Not doing so will cause the steering wheel to cycle from lock to lock when you start the engine and the wheel is turned for the first time. A very dangerous situation.

We installed the new pump with the supplied brackets and fasteners. There is a mount that will go back to the front bolt of the motor mount. A new, longer bolt is supplied in the kit.

Hooking up the lines is straightforward. One simply screws into the back of the pump and the other slides onto a barbed tube out the back of the pump. Be sure that the clamps are tight but not cutting into the tubing. Also make sure the tubes are not interfering with the travel of the suspension.

Check the pulleys to make sure the sheaves line up properly. We needed to change the pulley on our non-stock engine. We finally ended up using a NAPA Premium XL belt, PN 25-7440.

The main reason for owning a Corvette is the joy of driving it. Nothing else compares to the feeling of power and handling you get while driving a Corvette at speed. Problem is, when you slow down for areas where you have to make tight turns and maneuvers, if you don’t have power steering, the power and handling now relate to the effort you’ll be applying to the steering wheel. This doesn’t have to be the case, because Vette Brakes & Products has kits designed to make your Corvette just a little more enjoyable. Its power-steering conversion kits contain all the necessary parts to “turn” your Corvette into an easy-wheeling wonder. We went to the Corvette Clinic in Sanford, Florida, to follow along as they transformed a hard-steering shark into a power-assisted performer.

As you can see from the photos, our engine wasn’t quite ready to fire up and drive away. If this were the only thing we were doing to this Corvette, all we’d need to do is install the power-steering fluid and bleed the system. The control valve is already adjusted, and you shouldn’t have to make any adjustments. If you do have a control valve that needs adjustment or you just want to know how it’s done, check out the sidebar below, How to Adjust the Control Valve.

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