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Old 02-17-2007, 08:36 AM
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Headers hitting power steering box

I bought my car almost a year ago now and it had headers on it. They are beat up pretty bad and really rusty. Before I forget the number 1 tube is pinched almost completely shut. So I ordered new headers and they are here. The only problem is that they appear to be EXACTLY the same as the old ones. Right now my old ones were bent because they were hitting the power steering box. It looks like someone strapped the headers on and set the motor in the car to dent in the headers as necessary.

I could really care less about the power steering box since I don't have a pump installed and the box has been open to the air for over 10 years and probably needs rebuilding. I've found a manual steering box in a wrecking lot. Can I just swap out the power steering for a manual steering setup? Is there anything to watch for here? The vehicle I had scoped out was a 72 ventura. My car has the older style steering so I think it should fit. Apparently the 74 nova's were a half half kinda year where some had steering boxs infront or behind the crossmember.

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Old 02-17-2007, 08:44 AM
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The 68-74 Nova (and derivatives like the Venturea and Olds Omega) are all the same and use rear steer. The 75-79 cars are completely different and use front steer. The GM steering boxes are all pretty much the same, however.
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Old 02-17-2007, 08:56 AM
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I can seem to find out if switching to manual steering will fix my clearance problems though. It looks like the general shape is all the same. I'll see if I can find a picture of where its hiting. It looks like the place is the same size on all steering boxs.

Found a picture:


This one is after the new carb but you can see how the headers are hitting.
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Old 02-17-2007, 09:13 AM
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Most headers, especially the inexpensive ones, have fitment problems. In addition, there seems to be a problem with repeatability in manufacturing. Having said that, however, the problem you're having seems to go beyond normal header fit problems. The first question is, is this an original V8 car or has the motor been swapped? If it's a swap, it's possible the motor mounts are incorrect or mislocated. Also, are the rubber motor mounts possibly broken or sagging? I'm not that familiar with Novas, but some cars use a spacer on the motor mounts to shift the engine slightly sideways for clearance. Unfortunately, it's hard to know exactly what's happened to a car over it's lifetime.
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Old 02-17-2007, 10:41 AM
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The car originally did have a v8. It was swapped out and a 4bolt main out of a 74 chevy truck was put in.

I know quite a few headers have problems hitting the power steering on 69 camaros. I'm guessing this is a similar problem.

These are cheap headers that I bought. Cost me $175 CDN when all said and done.
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Old 02-17-2007, 11:21 AM
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There are lots of 1 5/8 headers available that do not have this much of a problem. I suggest you spend a little more and get a better set.

You should also check with other Nova owners to see what they are running and look at their interferance problem.
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Old 02-17-2007, 12:08 PM
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It is inexcusable for a company to be selling headers that don't fit what they say they will fit, number one.
That said, have you checked your motor supports to be sure they haven'y collapsed? They will drop up to 1 full inch when. Motor mounts are so cheap it is almost a habit with me to replace them when I get a car. Try it, it can't make anything worsem, can it?
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Old 02-17-2007, 02:18 PM
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Is there any way to check my motor mounts without disconnecting it all? Is is possible/easy to change motor mounts without pulling the motor?
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Old 02-17-2007, 03:19 PM
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Usually you just remove the nut that secures the mount to the chassis and jack the motor up until you have enough clearance to remove the bracket/mount from the block. Replace the mount, bolt it up and do the other side. The *proper* way to elevate the engine this is with a hoist/crane. You can however jack the engine up by the oil pan but you really need to make sure to put a 2x4" in between the jack and the pan to spread the force out so you dont crack/dent the pan.
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Old 02-18-2007, 06:26 AM
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Hope these help you out. These are the summit brand headders for 68-74 small block novas less than $100 and come with everything gaskets, bolts and collector extentions. As you can see they are a tight fit but nothing compared to what you currently have. These are on my 72, they are tight at the A/C box as well if you have a non A/C car then pass. side has 0 issues. Sparkplug clearance is tight on both sides, I had to dimple a tube or two to give a little extra room. As for your original question yes a non power box will fit but needs to be from a 68-74 car that mounted it behind the cross member, the non power box is the same size as what you have now so I don't think it will solve your headder issue. If you do switch over to the non power set up take eveything you can from the doner car, I have read that there are slight differances between the two styles. Later mid 74 is when they started to change things. Sorry about the quality of the pics. I know it doesn't show in the pics but there is a 1/4 to 3/8 inch clearance between the tube and the steering box.
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Last edited by 72 Chevy Nova; 02-18-2007 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:48 PM
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If you use the '72 Ventura parts, beware of the weird pitman arm/relay rod system that Pontiac used. On a Nova/Camaro, the greaseable joint is in the pitman arm, but on a Ventura/Firebird, the joint is in the relay rod. Those rods are hard to find, and expensive when you find them.

Manual and power steering gears use different pitman arms (the hole for the shaft is bigger on the P/S arm). You can use the manual Ventura gear with a new manual Nova pitman arm and your current Nova relay rod.

This applies to '68-'74 Novas, '71-'74 Venturas, and '67-'69 Camaros & Firebirds.
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