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Old 03-14-2009, 10:59 PM
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1967 firebird powersteering

I have a 1967 firebird with a 400 pontiac with i believe 1973 455 heads (4x1h). I have manual steering and want to convert to power steering using steering. I have access to 1978 power steering gear box. I was wondering what I would need to make this part work such pump, lines, pulley, pitman arm. Any suggestions?

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Old 03-15-2009, 08:46 AM
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I don't know if the center links are the same for P/S equipped Firebirds and manual steering ones.

The idler arms are different between '67 and '68, the power steering boxes and pittman arms are the same between the two years. There are differences in 6 cyl. and V8 parts, also.

The P/S pump and brackets from most any Pontiac-engined car should work- I used a complete 455 engine including P/S pump from a full-size station wagon in a '74 Firebird that came w/a 455 originally.

Now that doesn't say it will be the same w/your 1st. gen 'Bird, but I think you will find that it will work.

BTW, 4X heads were also used on 400's. The difference is in the size of the chambers- 114cc for the 455 vs. 98cc for the 400. What you don't want are the 2-bbl. 4X heads w/paired stud bosses and pressed in studs.

Last edited by cobalt327; 03-15-2009 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:38 AM
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The steering arms (which bolt to the spindles) are also different between manual and power steering on the 67-69 F-body cars. Note that the 68-74 X-body cars use these same parts.
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano
The steering arms (which bolt to the spindles) are also different between manual and power steering on the 67-69 F-body cars. Note that the 68-74 X-body cars use these same parts.
The difference is only in length, and you can interchange them as long as left & right are the same length. Shorter steering arms will give you quicker steering, and are generally found on P/S cars.

Power and manual pitman arms have different-sized holes where they mount to the gearbox. For quicker steering, use the longest pitman arm you can find.

I think the '78 P/S boxes used a different-style hose fitting from the early ones. Adapters are available, or you can have a hydraulic shop make hoses for you.
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimfulco
For quicker steering, use the longest pitman arm you can find.
Sorry, but I must disagree. Use the CORRECT pitman arm, not some arbitrary one. The pitman arm, idler arm, center link, and frame together compose what mechanical engineers call a four bar linkage (not to be confused with a four bar rear suspension). The lengths of each of the four "bars" in the linkage are selected specifically to provide a particular motion. Changing one link by itself will alter the motion of the linkage. In this particular case, lengthening the pitman arm by itself will change how one tie rod moves in relation to the other. This can cause unwanted problems when cornering and may not be safe. If you feel you must change the pitman arm, then the idler arm must also be changed to match. Similarly, if you change the idler and pitman arms (as the factory did when going to PS) then you should also change to the matching steering arms. Failing to do so will again alter the steering geometry. It is not difficult to get these parts for the first gen F-body cars. Why mess with it? The factory spent a lot of time and engineering dollars to get this right.

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I think the '78 P/S boxes used a different-style hose fitting from the early ones. Adapters are available, or you can have a hydraulic shop make hoses for you.
Correct. The later boxes use metric fittings with O-rings. The early boxes use SAE inverted flare fittings. That's really the only difference.
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:23 AM
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I used the long pitman arms on my '69 and '72 Novas and had no problems until the arm on the '72 just plain wore out after ~170,000 miles. The '69 handled about like you'd expect from a stock 6-cylinder car with no sway bars from the factory, but with a front bar added. It understeered quite a bit, but did nothing else unusual. The '72 is an F-41 car, and it has always handled like a champ, except when something's worn out.

I had figured a longer idler arm would be appropriate, but there was no such animal available, even in the Heavy Duty section of the Chevy parts catalog, which is where the long pitman arms & short steering arms were listed. David Pozzi over at camaros.net (a Gen-1 site) said he was aware of more than one length, but GM only listed one part number as a replacement when I bought mine in '70 and '72.
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:48 AM
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80 was technically the first year of the o ring type hose ends but there are a few exceptions in the early 80s years where some models had either the old flared style ends, or the new o ring type ends

kind of random on some models such as on the s-10 trucks and the F bodies

have run across this problem a few times.

on the full size trucks it was solid 1980 and up for the o ring style ends and no exceptions

and otherwise most cars, too.


and i dont see how you would need a longer arm unless your spindles are not turning far enough to hit the steering stops on the lower arms

good luck
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano
Correct. The later boxes use metric fittings with O-rings. The early boxes use SAE inverted flare fittings. That's really the only difference.
Fitting adapters are available to use one type with the other, IIRC.
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