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Steering Coupler Replace - How To Fab


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#1 mstieg

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 12:23 AM

Credit here goes to my mech buddy Gil Neves, at Prestige Foreign Auto here in Ft. Myers who worked this up with me.  This was done to replace the OEM coupler which is NLA anywhere and had the rubber all but worn/gone/mushy resulting in sloppy steering of 2-3" either direction before it got firm - borderline dangerous aside from terrible response wasting an otherwise tight suspension.

The whole steering column needs to come out and you'll need to order up a u-joint & fab it in/have it done (we sent some to fab shop).  It's now safe, serviceable, and tight.


The following is Gil's writeup on what he did:

1_ Remove the steering shaft from vehicle.

2_ Remove steering shaft from the column, do not use a hammer at anytime during this process or drop the steering shaft, the accordion looking part on the shaft is meant to collapse upon impact ( so that the steering wheel does not end up in your chest i case of an accident ) if the steering shaft collapses, it can no longer be used.

3_ Separate the factory joint. Be careful when removing the two pins that hold the factory joint together, you will need a very strong magnet and at least 2 people to get the job done, it looks a lot easier than it actually is.  - - Gil said this was a big pita as the pin just wouldn't come loose & outta there.  Don't get mad as you'll want to beat on it but cant or you;ll damage the shaft!!

4_ Now you need to decide what steering box is going to be used, the factory length of the shaft is 37.5 inches ( almost sure of that number ), if using the factory box, you are going to want to keep that length, if using the truck box it will have to be extended by an inch.  - - We went with a Car-Done refabbed unit that I got from RockAuto.  Note that they sent me one for a D-50 truck which is nearly identical to SQ but NOT the same as the shaft is 1" shorter.  For this mod this actually helped.  Clarify before ordering as they may or may not have fixed their catelogging by now.

5_ Take the original joint, cut the splined end off of it, it will have to be welded into the new joint, this has to be done because the diameter of the box will not match the splined end of the new joint, I was not able to find a joint that matched.  With this part "close enough" is not good enough, it has to be exact. Once the welding is done, use that overall length to calculate where the steering shaft will be cut. Here is the link for the joint: http://www.flamingriver.com/index.php/products/c0005/s0003/FR2635  
   ~$66
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6_ This part is where you will want to be extra careful, if you cut too short this entire process will have to be rethought. The measurement for the universal joint from Flaming River will have to be taken into account, in the case of the truck steering box you will want the final length to be 38.5 inches. Remember to account for the fact that the u-joint will have to slide into the shaft. Cut the steering shaft above the old joint.

7_ The steering shaft is a metric measurement and the u-joint is standard, the joint is 3/4 diameter, the shaft is slightly bigger, now the end of the shaft will have to be machined to form a snug fit into the new joint, about 0.7 inches from the very bottom of the shaft. Now the new joint should fit into the shaft.

8_ Now install the new joint onto the shaft, the joint will have a set screw, mark where the set screw will be in relation to the shaft, once marked use a 5/16 drill bit to drill a hole that is 0.1 inches deep, that will allow the set screw to get a good grab on the shaft, if not done properly, the shaft will just spin inside of the joint and therefore, no steering. The hole will be about 0.25 inches from the end of the shaft.

9_ Now take the steering column, you will have to shorten the end of it by about 0.5 inches, the reason being the new joint now slides into the shaft as opposed to being welded to the end of it. This was done this way to keep the assembly serviceable, there are two bearings for the steering shaft, one at he top and one at the bottom. If they have to be replaced (you should be able to get the bearings from any bearing store by the numbers printed on the old one) the assembly can be taken apart, if the joint is welded to the end of the shaft that will not be possible. - - beats welding it in permanently!

10_ At this point it should be a matter of assembling the steering column and shaft and installing in the car. I know that this sounds a little complex, but I have talked to a lot of people and spent a lot of time in research and it is the best way in my opinion. You will end up with a part that will be safe, look factory and will be able to be repaired if needed.

Another very important note, at each step the whole assembly should be mocked up to ensure a good result at the end, you only have about half an inch of adjustment at the mounting screws under the dash, you don't have to be exact but you will have to be within half inch.



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Before: 352 rwhp @15psi; MPI: SDS EM5F; Chad intake & equal length header; S256 turbo (56/80comp-64/74ex); 48" of 2.5" IC piping
Now Done:  7.5:1 .35 Wiseco rebuild w/ crank scraper; 274 Magna roller cam & 1.55 rockers; mod port AMC head; 1mm>valves; Innovate WB; GM alt/rewired; 3" 240 alum radiator, elec fans; BMW X5 oil separator exh. crankcase vent; gas tank renewed; D2s; sway/strut bars; LT1 T56 clutch & trans swap w/ Fidanza; 4.22 rear; 265 Kumos on SHP rears; new steering pump/box/lines & coupler fix: http://www.starquest...howtopic=139558; full dash/console rewire - Autometer, push start, etc.
In Progress: breakin & tune
Future: Enjoy driving again; meets & local shows; AC; WG reroute from open vent to exh; Water/Meth?; body/paint

FOR SALE:  Rear Camber plates (basic); NIB beefy U-joints(2); etc.see-->  http://www.starquest...howtopic=133262 Custom 5 gauge overlay panel: http://www.starquest...pic=136703&st=0





#2 randy

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 05:38 AM

Man that's a superb write up and nice work a lot of peeps are gonna be pleased here.

#3 CaliConquestAlex

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 11:59 AM

This is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! I have the exact same steering box from a mighty max with the 1" shorter shaft but mine is a manual box. What did all this work end up costing you? Would you make me one for the right price?

Edited by CaliConquestAlex, 10 October 2013 - 12:01 PM.

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Magna Intake, MEGASQUIRT 2 (V3 Extra fw) Direct Coil Control - EDIS 4, 292m cam, Synapse Synchronic 40mm WG, Synapse Synchronic BOV, T3 TD06 20G turbo w/ .80 housing, 95 lb injectors, Treastone turbo manifold, ST springs, KYB GR2 shocks, MK1 front camber plates, Drilled/slotted rotors and braided brake lines, HD valve springs, SR20DET 3-row Radiator. MK1 Short Shifter, Da Funk Loc motor mount, Transmission Tuff-pan, Stedebani poly trans mount, Cusco front strut brace, TEP rear strut brace w/ battery tray, AEM UEGO wideband sensor.

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#4 mstieg

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 12:58 AM

View PostCaliConquestAlex, on 10 October 2013 - 11:59 AM, said:

This is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! I have the exact same steering box from a mighty max with the 1" shorter shaft but mine is a manual box. What did all this work end up costing you? Would you make me one for the right price?

I can ask Gil when he gets back in.  He would need your steering column parts and steering box, and even then, it is still something better done locally by a mech following this same process w/ this u-joint, etc. since there needs to be fitment testing and massaging to get it lined up with depth just right.

lmk if you guys can't see the pics here - just says "posted image" now for some reason.  I'll re-link those if needed.  They're in my signature's pics gallery.
Before: 352 rwhp @15psi; MPI: SDS EM5F; Chad intake & equal length header; S256 turbo (56/80comp-64/74ex); 48" of 2.5" IC piping
Now Done:  7.5:1 .35 Wiseco rebuild w/ crank scraper; 274 Magna roller cam & 1.55 rockers; mod port AMC head; 1mm>valves; Innovate WB; GM alt/rewired; 3" 240 alum radiator, elec fans; BMW X5 oil separator exh. crankcase vent; gas tank renewed; D2s; sway/strut bars; LT1 T56 clutch & trans swap w/ Fidanza; 4.22 rear; 265 Kumos on SHP rears; new steering pump/box/lines & coupler fix: http://www.starquest...howtopic=139558; full dash/console rewire - Autometer, push start, etc.
In Progress: breakin & tune
Future: Enjoy driving again; meets & local shows; AC; WG reroute from open vent to exh; Water/Meth?; body/paint

FOR SALE:  Rear Camber plates (basic); NIB beefy U-joints(2); etc.see-->  http://www.starquest...howtopic=133262 Custom 5 gauge overlay panel: http://www.starquest...pic=136703&st=0

#5 importwarrior

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 05:43 AM

anyone know the measurement from End to End of an installed STOCK coupler?
i had the answer but lost it somewhere.

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