The Mighty Merc – Making A Steering Box Fit
Now that I have a blank slate to work with, the real fun gets to start. That fun being making a hole for a traditional steering box to fit in such a way that it won’t interfere with the oil filter adapter, keep the pitman arm from hitting the frame, and tucked up as high as it can possibly be. Easy right?
Not so much, this has turned out to be the biggest pain of the whole project, but at least it’s done now. It started with removing the last of the bracketry out of the way on the inner frame rail:
And tossing a box up there to see where we’re at (this is the standard Ford steering box found in everything from the early 80’s to late 90’s):
Doesn’t look too bad there right? Well unfortunately, the oil filter adapter (talked more about in a later post) isn’t installed, and the box is nearly touching the bung for it. So that means that the box needs to be recessed into the frame quite a bit (like nearly 1-1/4”). So out comes the death wheel to do some hacking:
Finally, after lots of fine cutting, and lots of test fitting, we’re in the ballpark of where we need to be. There is about ¾” clearance between the box and the oil filter adapter:
And the box is tucked up about as high as it can get without the swing of the pitman arm hitting the oil pan, or frame:
So I got busy with the plasma cutter during lunch and busted out some filler and reinforcing plate:
Jigged it all up and burned together what I could on the bench:
A quick test fit of everything (more info on the steering shaft will be in a later post):
Slapped some paint on it and called that portion of the job done. I still need to get some lines made up for the steering, finish the steering shaft, and align everything before this portion is complete. This portion is by far the most time consuming part of the project.