It's hard to believe-and it won't be long now-but the El Camino is nearly on its feet, literally. Originally, our plans for Project Brutus blueprinted a corner-carving street car. However, as with any project, budgets rule the roost and they can dictate where parts begin and the wallet ends. So for now, we have brought the El Camino back down a bit to a more moderate budget with ties to basic street/strip duty.
The rack-and-pinion we installed previously wasn't going to do it any justice on the strip, especially the extra weight. Also, some issues with the larger aftermarket steering shaft left little room for 2-inch headers. We were back to a modest approach and favored a manually steered vehicle. Moreover, this would give us a chance to get some great baseline numbers on the car once it's up and running. That's not to say we won't be throwing this thing through the cones, but we are after simplicity and won't have to worry about running power steering lines or adding more accessory drives to the engine.
Unfortunately for us, though, we didn't have any of the original manual rack. We needed a complete rebuild kit, including new tie rods, centerlink, and adjustable tie-rod sleeves. We picked up the whole lot from PST, which also offers up a 16:1 manual steering box. While our old steering shaft got cut, we found a universal shaft, coupler, and joint from Flaming River. As for this install, we won't be covering how to remove the old hardware; we begin at the steering box and end with installing the shaft last. As our step-by-step opens, we've removed the front sway bar for better access and rattle-canned the tie rods and steering box to protect them.
To ensure that our parts were fastened securely, we got a hold of a complete hardware kit from Totally Stainless. It comes with stainless bolts and all of the nuts, washers, cotter pins, and zerk fittings we needed to button up the frontend. All in all, this install took less than half a day. With the steering in, we can finally get the motor back in and get Brutus rolling under its own power.
All-new tie rods, drag centerlink, pitman arm, idler arm, and manual steering box with a Flaming River universal joint, coupler, and shaft
All you need is a couple of hours and some basic handtools