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Old 09-27-2011, 04:18 PM
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Upgraded steering on a 68 Camaro

Hey all,

Just thought I'd share with you the swap I completed last night. It's a somewhat common swap, but thought I'd mention it over here in case anyone else is playing around with a First Gen Camaro.

Yesterday, I took out the stock power steering gear box, with a 3.5 turn-to-turn ratio, and replaced it with the box from a late 80's/early 90's Camaro. I was sure to select the box from the performance steering option. It has a 2.5 turn-to-turn, and dramatically reduces the floaty feeling found in older steering.

The swap was pretty straight forward.

I won't go through the install step by step unless asked, but here are a few things you need to know:

1. The 3rd gen box does not use flared fittings by default, and the 1st gen power steering lines do. A company called Lee Engineering makes adapters for these. The 3rd gen box is metric, and the 1st gen, standard threads, but they are so close that the 1st gen lines thread into the 3rd gen box without any issue. I believe the fittings were 5 bucks a piece, and the punch to install them was 5 bucks. I went up to Oreily's and picked up a Cardone #276550 reman box for about $116.

2. You'll need a new steering coupler. Most guys say that after 40 years, it's time to replace the stock one anyways. Lee sells a kit that includes the coupler and fittings for 90 bucks or so, but you can also source the coupler from GM. GM #7826542 should be the right coupler.

3. Driver side headers may need to come out or be loosened.

4. Loosen all the bolts under the dash holding the steering column in. And loosen the coupler bolt on the steering box, then pull the shaft in the car to pop the coupler off the steering box. It's easier to remove/replace the coupler after the steering box is out.

5. The Pitman arm nut is a pain in the behind. Use a puller and a big wrench. Reinstallation torque is anywhere from 140-180 ftlbs. Be sure the splines are lined up properly. If your Camaro already had power steering, the pitman arm should be fine. If you're going from manual to this power setup, you'll need the right power steering pitman arm.

6. Once done, flush the system then connect the lines. Then turn the wheel end to end to get the air bubbles out.

7. Take it out, and enjoy.


Feel free to post any questions, and I'll help as best I can. I am by no means an expert on this, but did manage to get it and have put about an hour driving time in with no issues (fingers crossed). Overall, for 200 bucks, it was definitely worth it!

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Old 09-28-2011, 02:44 AM
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The Box from a 78-88 G-Body is a better choice, the internal Steering Stops are closer to OEM.
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siggy_Freud
Overall, for 200 bucks, it was definitely worth it!
Thanks for posting that. Regarding the internal stops, generally speaking the early 3'rd generation F-bodies use less degrees at the box than A-cars, for example- so the swap as described works well if going into a Camaro rather than a Chevelle, even though all the boxes will physically fit. Besides, finding a fast ratio high effort box from a 'yard for a G-body is a lot harder than for an F-body in my experience. I suppose if ordering a new or rebuilt box, it might be easier to get the 'good' box like from a Monte SS or GN w/F41 or whatever.

As can be seen below, the "XH" box is a good choice if picking through a 'yard- high effort and fast ratio. The code is on the end of the box, stamped in ink, often lightly so be careful wiping the crud away to see what box you're looking at so you don't erase the code.

When getting these boxes it's a good idea to get the pressure valve from the high pressure side of the P/S pump to use on your pump.


Last edited by cobalt327; 09-28-2011 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:22 PM
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I haven't swapped the pressure valve in the pump. It appears that some do, and others don't. I believe it would cause higher pressure, thus making the turning a bit easier? If this is the case, I might go without it, as I am comfortable with the feel and effort of steering at this point.

If I am way off base, please enlighten me as to the reasoning behind changing the pressure valve .
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siggy_Freud
I haven't swapped the pressure valve in the pump. It appears that some do, and others don't. I believe it would cause higher pressure, thus making the turning a bit easier? If this is the case, I might go without it, as I am comfortable with the feel and effort of steering at this point.

If I am way off base, please enlighten me as to the reasoning behind changing the pressure valve .
My thoughts on the valve is simply that the original valving used w/the replacement box is what was spec'd for the box to have the properties (i.e. effort or "feel") that it was supposed to have. So unless you tried the other valve, you really wouldn't know if it was 'better' than what you now have- just that it is better than your original box.

But- if you're satisfied w/the way it is now and the box is working as it should, then no need to do anything. I doubt the difference would be that much either way.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:11 PM
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Yeah, I honestly don't know what it would do for how it would feel. I know I am content with how it steers now, so unless having the other valve presents and issue, I am not terribly pressed to change it. I'll readdress the issue when I do the LS1 swap and end up using the LS1 power steering pump.

Thanks for the info though Much appreciated.
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