If I seem to recall correctly, my driver's ed teacher used to beat one technique into my skull day in and day out: "Keep your hands at 10 and 2!" Apparently my one arm out the window and the other resting at the bottom of the wheel wasn't practicing defensive driving. If he thought that was bad, then it's a good thing he never rode in Project Get Shorty, because he would have been standing on the sidewalk flagging down a cab.
You see, it didn't really matter how you positioned your hands on the cracked-out green steering wheel, because no matter how fast you wanted to react, or even turn, there was always one big obstacle to overcome. If the steering wheel was at dead center, the middle of the top being 12 o'clock, and you began to turn left, nothing would happen until the wheel hit just past 9! Vice versa for a righthand turn, only this time just past 3. On top of that, the column's internals had more shimmy and shake than a Britney Spears video. Let's put it this way, if you wanted to turn, you gots to think ahead. All in all, it was just bad for business, and that's why it was time to ditch the '71's decrepit manual steering no-tilt system.
The first thing to hit the road was the busted-up no-tilt steering column. Making things easy was a retrofit kit from ididit. Ididit offers a steering column kit that is a direct bolt-in for the Chevy. Their column has all the specs of a stock column, which translates into no measuring, fabricating, or even busting out the hammer. Simply take it out of the box and bolt it in. They even offer several finishes. Although the column can be used with just about any steering wheel, there is only one for Project Get Shorty, a Mooneyes California metalflake 15-inch dish, and orange at that. The Mooneyes steering wheel is available in several colors, a 13.5- or 15-inch diameter, and it can be bought with either slotted spokes or hole spokes. Mooneyes also has the proper Grant Products adapter so the steering wheel can be bolted up to the ididit column.
The next step is not only going to improve Shorty's handling and safety, but it's also going to add a great deal of comfort. Rounding out the install is a power steering kit from Early Classic Enterprises. Early Classic Enterprises specializes in '60-72 GM truck parts, and their power steering kit is just one item in a long list of available parts. Besides the added comfort of power steering over the old manual box, Early Classic also sent us one of their Saginaw 800 quick-ratio boxes. This new box, with 3 1/2 turns lock to lock, will improve the truck's overall responsiveness over the stock 4 1/2-turn lock to lock box.
In order to connect the ididit column to the new Early Classic box, we're going to exnay the stock linkage and replace it with Borgeson U-joints and a double-D shaft. Borgeson also sent us one of their vibration reducer joints, which we'll dig into later. Along with the new box, the rigidity of the Borgeson setup over the factory rag joint will also add to the steering's responsiveness and stand the test of time...not to mention it looks cool as well. That's that, so once again it's off to the Primedia Tech Center. CCT
Our install starts with this...
Our install starts with this bolt-on power steering kit from Early Classic Enterprises. The kit comes with everything needed, such as the box, pump, bracketry, and various other items.
The first step is to remove...
The first step is to remove the OEM box. Once removed, the Early Classic Saginaw 800 quick-ratio box mounts to the factory holes on the frame with four bolts.
Instead of using the factory...
Instead of using the factory Pitman arm, Early Classic provides a new one. Before we mounted ours, we waited until the steering assembly was complete so we could set the box in the middle of its turning range.