Street Rod Life

Steering Solution

Borgeson 01

Borgeson solves steering issues we lived with for far too long

Words & Photos by Shawn Brereton

They say, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” and no truer words could describe the steering on my ’55 Chevy. I’ve been living with slightly sloppy steering and a poor fit installation for a decade. It’s not that the steering was dangerous or iffy, it just wasn’t 100 percent, so I just “lived with it.”

My ’55 has a Fatman front stub, with a power rack and pinion, so it rides great, but two things needed to be addressed: The wheel had about 1/2 inch of excessive play, and the column position was not where it needed to be.

When I happened by the Borgeson booth during the NSRA Nats last year, Sales Manager Jeff Grantmeyer schooled me on different U-joints and basic steering design. He pointed out the steering wheel connects you to the road surface, and there are varying degrees of linkage quality that affect that connection.

I knew I had a problem, so I checked it when I got back and found the U-joints were worn and the long linkage shaft was too short. Grantmeyer assured me the problem could easily be solved and recommended the parts to make things right.

With an understanding of what I needed to measure, I determined the ’55 would need a floor mount, three U-joints, and two 7/8-inch splined shafts. One would be 3 inches, and the top shaft would have to be determined once the column was moved into the proper position. Grantmeyer recommended I use one of their vibration-reducing U-joints to connect to the column. I also decided to spring for polished stainless to better match my engine bay.

My friend, Chris Johnston, and I assembled the new steering linkage and repositioned the steering column. Not only does the car drive and steer much better, but the Borgeson stainless steel components look outstanding under the hood.

The results were immediate, and I’m nearly embarrassed it took only about two hours to correct a steering issue I had been living with for years. The steering is so much tighter — no more little corrections going down the road — and the vibration-reducing U-joint removes all those little annoying bumps you expect from a 62-year-old car. It is like a new car all over again.

It’s true you really don’t know what you’ve got until it is gone — and I’m glad it’s gone!

Here is what we started with. Note how far the column protrudes through the firewall, not to men-tion the ugly hose clamp securing the column to the makeshift mount underneath. Things get tight¬er and change directions closer to the rack.

Here is what we started with. Note how far the column protrudes through the firewall, not to mention the ugly hose clamp securing the column to the makeshift mount underneath. Things get tighter and change directions closer to the rack.

Inside, you can see the poor positioning of the steering column. The wide part of the column should not be touching the gauge bezel! Not to men¬tion the ugly gap between the bezel and the cover for the mount.

Inside, you can see the poor positioning of the steering column. The wide part of the column should not be touching the gauge bezel! Not to men¬tion the ugly gap between the bezel and the cover for the mount.

Repositioning the column with a Borgeson floor mount for Tri-Fives was first on the To Do List. Due to some replacement floor panels installed long ago, we had to slightly modify the mount, but it bolted in place and properly secured the column.

Repositioning the column with a Borgeson floor mount for Tri-Fives was first on the To Do List. Due to some replacement floor panels installed long ago, we had to slightly modify the mount, but it bolted in place and properly secured the column.

With the column in the correct position (about 2 inches back), we went about setting up our new linkage. After careful measuring, we determined we needed a slightly longer top shaft. Here is a com¬parison the day we received it. Notice the vibration-reducing U-joint (left) that connects to the steering column.

With the column in the correct position (about 2 inches back), we went about setting up our new linkage. After careful measuring, we determined we needed a slightly longer top shaft. Here is a com¬parison the day we received it. Notice the vibration-reducing U-joint (left) that connects to the steering column.

Any time you have more than two universal joints, a shaft support is required. This ad¬ditional support will prevent the shafts from ‘looping’ and wreaking havoc on the steering action.

Any time you have more than two universal joints, a shaft support is required. This ad¬ditional support will prevent the shafts from ‘looping’ and wreaking havoc on the steering action.

We assembled the shaft and U-joints before connecting it all to the rack and col¬umn. A bolt goes all the way through the steering column shaft, plus a set screw to keep things in place. It’s also a recommended safety mea¬sure to dimple the splined shaft to seat the set screws, and thread locker is also a smart move.

We assembled the shaft and U-joints before connecting it all to the rack and col¬umn. A bolt goes all the way through the steering column shaft, plus a set screw to keep things in place. It’s also a recommended safety mea¬sure to dimple the splined shaft to seat the set screws, and thread locker is also a smart move.

And here is the final product. It not only looks better, but functions better. The vibration reducing u-joint dampens all those little bumps in the road.

And here is the final product. It not only looks better, but functions better. The vibration reducing u-joint dampens all those little bumps in the road.

SOURCE: Borgeson, borgeson.com