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Nuts & Bolts: Steering Butchery

Posted in How To: Tech Qa on February 28, 2017
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Steering Butchery

Check out the easy power steering conversion I did on my M-715. It makes turning 40-inch mudders easy.
Name withheld

We’re not sure why you sent this to us, since there wasn’t really a question implied, but we sincerely hope you’re not using this on a vehicle that ever sees the street. There are several things wrong here. First, you should never weld on a pitman arm. It appears you took a four-wheel-drive GM steering box, cut off most of the stock pitman arm, and welded a two-wheel-drive pitman arm to it. Why didn’t you just use a two-wheel-drive GM power steering box? They’re cheaper and far more plentiful, and you would have ended up with something much safer. Second, if you needed a steering box that mounted inside the frame, why didn’t you use a steering box designed that way? Most Jeep steering boxes, including those on fullsize Jeeps, mount inside the frame. Not only would it have been far easier to fabricate a mount for a box with the proper configuration, but it would once again be far safer. Simply mounting a box designed to be outside the frame on the inside is not going to work. Steering boxes see a tremendous amount of stress, and having the box spaced off of the frame simply adds leverage to the forces already in play. It is highly doubtful that your brackets will be able to hold up should you ever get the front tires in a real bind.

We’re all about cheap, simple, and thinking outside the box, but safety is also important. This is not safe. Steering, like brakes, is a critical part of overall vehicle safety not just for yourself but for those around you. Properly fabricating steering components and mounts should only be done by someone with the knowledge and experience to do it safely. While your basic idea is sound, we would strongly recommend reengineering the execution using a steering box that would work better for this application, which are cheap and readily available.

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