Anyone recall using VW bus steering box in rods? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 01-12-2008, 05:47 AM
F&J F&J is offline
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Anyone recall using VW bus steering box in rods?

I saw an article way back in the early 70s about using the early VW bus box in rod frames. These have the pitman arm facing up to get the side drag link to run horizontal instead of angled like when using the F-100 box.

I have a mint low mile, late 50s box, but the arm seems too short to work with an aftermarket Ford steering arm bolted to the 1940 left spindle.

Was there a mod for that short pitman? Also, I think these were used on T buckets; would they hold up on a highboy with an early Olds?

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Old 01-12-2008, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F&J
.....I have a mint low mile, late 50s box, but the arm seems too short to work with an aftermarket Ford steering arm bolted to the 1940 left spindle.
Was there a mod for that short pitman? Also, I think these were used on T buckets; would they hold up on a highboy with an early Olds?
These were used on many rods built in the 60's including the T buckets. I had a friend back then that had one mounted in his fenderless channeled A roadster. It had a very poor turning radius.

Those boxes can be set in many locations because of their mounting design but make sure you design your set up to take into consideration "bump steer".

Making a new arm would not be too hard. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone these days but my friend cut his and welded in a new piece to make it longer. Luckily he sold the car before anything broke. The new owner changed the box to a Mustang as he didn't like the turning radius.
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:45 AM
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Couldn't you shorten up the steering arm on the spindle and get some turning radius back?

If you need the frame mount for that box, there is a company called "bus boys" that specializes in those old boxes and has a mountain of pitman arms and associated parts.

I have 2 of those VW boxes, They say ZF on them and they look like an old Gemmer. I have one with a stock length column and one that was cut off to be used in a model T.



I would think those are kind of light for a V8 to sit on, but then again, I remember seeing some hippy vans that were pretty loaded...

In more ways than one.


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Old 01-12-2008, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
....I would think those are kind of light for a V8 to sit on, but then again, I remember seeing some hippy vans that were pretty loaded...
In more ways than one.
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:02 PM
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Vw bus steering box

I used one on a T bucket in the mid '70's. I thought it worked well. I took the splined end of the pitman arm and turned it on a lathe, then welded it in an arm I made out of 1/2'' stock the same length as the spindle arm.

Shortening the steering arm on the spindle might lead to a problem with the tire rubbing on the drag link. Better to fab a new pitman arm.

Ron
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Old 01-12-2008, 04:40 PM
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This box I have is REAL old VW, maybe even the barndoor-bus style. The box is all cast iron. It's marked with bold letters "ROSS" and a ATE logo (ATE did the hyd brakes for VW for years). I thought Ross was a good brand??

The box looks promising for strength as it has a 4 bolt flange where the column tube attaches and a bolt-on flange to support the lower sector bearing.

The arm measures only 4-1/8" from centers. So it would be best to shorten the arm on the spindle??? That short arm must cause the turning radius problems posted above?

It does have the cast iron frame adapter that can adjust to any column angle.

I'd put up a pic, but the camera got lost during our move in late Dec. Heck, I found the long-missing VW box, but lost the camera With the 90 foot long garage, I want to get started on the 32...
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:21 PM
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Vw bus steering box

I'm working from memory here ( that's scary, huh! ), but the box would end up sitting inboard of your frame rail. Could get kinda tight around the header.

As I stated before, shortening the spindle steering arm will cause problems with the tire rubbing on the piman arm at full left lock. Better to lengthen the pitman arm.

The ross box is a good solid unit. They were several version of it used by a few different car makers. Willy's, Crosley and VW to name a few. Most all applications were light cars. I would wonder about replacement parts and the cost of them once they're found. IMO...there are more servicable boxes avalable to you for your '32.

Ron
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngster

The ross box is a good solid unit. They were several version of it used by a few different car makers. Willy's, Crosley and VW to name a few. Most all applications were light cars. I would wonder about replacement parts and the cost of them once they're found.

Ron
Good point about the steering arm, and tire clearance.

I've seen drag links with a slight bend to clear tires too.

Parts.

http://www.bus-boys.com/bb41556.htm

To be sure, there are steering boxes that are better, but if finding parts is an issue, it doesn't need to be.

Later, mikey
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