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Electric power steering install in a '54 Ford.

5285 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  alwill923
I've been working on this for 2 weeks. Finally got it all mounted up but no performance review 'cause the car is far from roadworthy, sorry. I don't see where there would be any issues, but ya never know!

First order of business was to pull and dismantle the '54s steering box.

After cleaning and inspection all needle and roller bearings looked to be in great shape! Only thing I replaced was the oil seal. For teardown and inspection I followed this article...………

With the box remounted I made a run to Pick-N-Pull to find the proper EPAS unit. This 2005 Saturn Vue gave up it's EPAS. $66 out the door!

It's surprised me how simple it was to remove the unit. A couple of mounting bolts, disconnect a U-joint and a few wires and you're done. Took me 1/2 hour at the yard. Oh yeah....bring metric tools!

Get the steering wheel (I'll explain later) and make sure to get the 6ga power wire with the fuse and it's neat little fuse holder too.

There's lots of lists on the internet as to which units will work. I think with the Saturn units you need the ones with the metal ECU cover. Here it is for reference.....

Now it's time to dismantle it to the bare unit. Remove the steering wheel (save it)! Also remove the ECU. It'll need to be remounted and the wires lengthened. It's connected to the torque sensor by 4 short 22ga wires. Cut all 4 right in the middle and then solder on some lengths of 18ga to all 8 cut ends. Soldering is necessary 'cause butt connectors won't crimp to the 22ga very well. I added quick disconnects to the other ends.

There are many ways to mount these things. This way worked for me. I highly recommend dashboard removal! These units aren't light (25 lbs) and trying to manhandle it under the dash while designing brackets and such is best left to the young studs!

I'm also adapting power brakes during the build so I killed two birds with one stone here. I decided to mount the EPAS off the brake pedal mount so I removed it and made some mods. I extended the mounting flange and opened up the center hole to accommodate my new 8" dual diaphragm brake booster. Also, made a bracket for a generic brake light switch.

In addition, I reinforced the front section as the column will be supported by a U-bolt that threads up into the dash.

Welded a plate to the firewall for added reinforcement.

Mounted the booster and master. Here's what I used.....

OK....enough of that. Back to the EPAS!

The Saturn column cover was 2" wide and if I wanted to use the '54 column it would have been a whole lotta work so I decided to just cover the Saturn column with a length of 2-1/4" exhaust tubing. I welded some ears onto the bottom so it bolts right on top of the Saturn piece.

You'll also notice I adapted the '54 turn signal housing to the pipe. Just cut it off from the old column, fabbed some brackets and welded it on.

I came up with a main EPAS mounting bracket of 1/4" plate that mounts to the motor itself at a 32* angle (same as the stock '54 column). Not pretty but it works!

You can see where the U-bolt comes into play. It's simply a 2-1/4" muffler clamp.

Now to connect the lower part of the unit, I had to cut the '54 column down to 13". Depending on your mounting procedure that number may vary.

The main piece for this conversion is the 16.5mm x 3/4" smooth U-joint. Took me forever to find one 'cause most of them are listed as 17mm but they're actually 17.5mm (too big). Digging deeper I found the proper one. Woodward Steering in Wyoming carries it. Part # 114/100. #114 is the 16.5mm 36 spline and #100 is the 3/4" smooth end. $70. Steering Universal Joints, Splined Couplers and Shafts.pdf

The 3/4" smooth end is to be welded onto the '54 shaft. The other end slides onto the Saturn splined shaft. The U-joint has 2 small setscrews to lock it in.

I also made a lower column cover from the '54 column. Cut it to length, split it in half and welded some ears on that connect to the floor plate.

Here you can see the remounted ECU. That little black box up top is the 'Bruno' controller. The 'Bruno' controller is necessary because the steering ECU isn't receiving any input from Saturn sensors. The 'Bruno' controller sends the proper signals. $59 shipped from Portugal. Takes a few weeks to get here!

The other end of the controller is an adjustable pot that varies the amount of power steering assistance. It came with a generic knob and I didn't want that. So I welded a bracket to the backside of my dash and adapted the factory choke knob to it. Works great!

Tidying things up I needed to cover that muffler clamp on the column. I chopped up the old column cover and made it fit.

Almost done! Wait.....what about a steering wheel? I had always planned for an old Cal Custom 3-spoke metalflake wheel. I plan to eventually paint the car two tone. Calypso green with a white top. No swap meets due to the corona virus shelter-in-place so I had to buy a new one. SoCal Speed had what I needed.

Come to find out that absolutely no one makes an adapter to adapt an aftermarket wheel to a Saturn! Remember at the beginning of this post I said 'save the Saturn steering wheel, I'll explain later'?
It's later.

Made my own adapter from the old Saturn wheel. The center of the wheel is aluminum with a splined steel insert that matches the Saturn EPAS splines. Cut out the center of the wheel with a Sawzall then trimmed it to fit on my bandsaw.

I wanted to retain the self cancelling feature for my original '54 turn signals so I removed the turn signal cam from the old wheel and welded it to the steel insert. The Saturn insert is a smaller diameter so I had to build up the edges with a weld bead to trigger the cancelling mechanism.

Drilled and tapped three 1/4" x 28 holes in the adapter to mount the wheel.

I used an adapter cover that came in a Grant wheel adapter kit I had laying around. Fit perfectly! Grant #4510.

I simply need to hook up the power wire and I should be good. The steering wheel sits just right. It's about 5" from the top of the speedo. I was even able to utilize the original turn signal wiring cover at the bottom of the column. Total cost was under $200. Now I have unobtrusive power steering that should work well. I think it came out pretty good!

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6,548 Posts
good info

Thanks for all the info. I am still not getting time on my projects. one rental house needs a new roof this summer. I was planning on using a cavalier center link modified per the WIKI article to get the pivot locations right and electric power steering on a project
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