One of the project trucks here at Custom Classic Trucks that we've recently inherited from our now-defunct sister publication Kit Car is Eric Geisert's California Hauler '41 Willys pickup. I've been helping Eric sort out a number of items on the project including mounting the Smeding-built small-block Ford drivetrain as well as mounting the cab and related components. The foundation of the Willys is an '82-95 S-10 chassis that has been modified to accept the Ford drivetrain and Willys' fiberglass body and fenders. The stock GM suspension was kept intact but the stock S-10 steering box and cross-steer components proved to be too cumbersome for the new setup and were deleted in favor of a new steering system.

Enter Unisteer Performance Products and their rack-and-pinion retrofit kit available for the aforementioned S-10 family. It consists of a new manual rack-and-pinion as well as the necessary universal joints, available in a number of configurations, to mate it to any aftermarket steering column. For that end, we opted to go with a LimeWorks Hot Rod steering column in raw stainless steel to mate to the Unisteer rack. We figured out the length we'd need for the Willys' column and gave the measurements to LimeWorks while the column drop and floor mount requirements were handed over to Borgeson Universal. With parts in hand, we set out mating the components together to provide a bulletproof combination that will work flawlessly while maintaining an early hot rod vibe that will complement the rest of the build.

As a one-off setup, our steering system is most likely more complex than what most builders will be confronted by. But with the rise in availability of custom rack-and-pinion units designed to replace stock side-steer boxes and the popularity of retrofitting stock columns with tilt versions, we thought this how-to example would solve a number of questions the first time steerer-setter-upper would confront.

With the help of the aftermarket industry, we tore off with parts in hand and within an afternoon had the steering in the Willys dialed in, allowing us to move it about the shop with ease. It not only freed us from the confines of the stock S-10 box, which would have contributed to a myriad of problems due to the small-block Ford engine choice, but it also gave the Willys the improved steering characteristics related to a modern rack-and-pinion design. Take a look, take notes, and let us know how your steering relegations in your custom or classic truck take shape.

SOURCE
Unisteer Performance Products
Twinsburg
OH
800-338-9080
855-248-9110
http://www.unisteer.com
Limeworks Speed Shop
7717 Greanleaf Ave
Whittier
CA  90602
562-698-1227
www.limeworkspeedshop.com
Borgeson Universal
91 Technology Park Drive
Torrington
CT  06790
860-482-8283
https://www.borgeson.com
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