Ford Maverick Rack & Pinion Conversion

This article orginally appeared on fordmaverick.com.

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To the left is the diagram sent to me by Joe Roberts(Your browser may not view the graphic correctly. I suggest that you save it to disk then you can print it out). He has done a Rack & Pinion conversion. The following information is from excerpts sent via e-mail from him.

“I drew plans for a cross member to mount the Rack where the stock linkages are. It is basically a U shaped thing with ussets. Very nice and sturdy, it slid perfectly between the frame rails where it bolted on. Cost me about $100 plus the rack and pinion unit and the die for shortening the tie rod ends took me for another hundred. Also made a neat little universal joint bearing to connect the column to the R&P. It worked great, except for one problem……”

He goes on to tell me how you need to get the correct R&P unit that steers in the correct direction. This bracket is designed for a rear mounting R&P unit. It mounts where the existing steering system is. This would be the easiest. Be sure that you get a R&P unit that is designed for the back or front. If you put a front mounting unit in the back the wheels will steer in the wrong direction. I believe this will work with a Mustang II R&P unit. These are the most common.

I also know of a person that used a lo-ratio unit out of a GM Celebrity Euro sport on a ’70 Ranchero. Adapted instructions follow:

“It’s the same set up. Belt sizes are very much universal. Pressure is important. Use a GM pump as close to OEM pressure as possible. R&P and pump from same car. Make or adapt bracket as needed. Mount pump as FORD OEM would . Hot rod companies also make pressure relief valves, to raise or lower pressure as needed. SAGINAW pumps work the best. just change the relief valve to match the R&P. SAGINAW is not just GM.

The Celebrity is a rear steer car. The Ranchero has a cross member that the lower control arms are mounted to. I adapted off of that. The cross member does not have to be very heavy, as long as there is NO side to side movement. Centerline of R&P must be the same as centerline of original drag/center link. Use OEM R&P mounting holes. This R&P does not have to be sandwiched between separate mounting ears, like OEM. bolted up against one side is ok.

Obviously you must remove all steering linkage, including OEM steering box. Inner tie rods on new R&P must be machined and rethreaded to use OEM adjusting sleeves and outer tie rods. Hot rod companies make hundreds of U-joints and shaft adapters. find the right ones for the OEM steering column, and the R&P. Join them with a length of steel rod. Hoses are easily custom made. Car can be aligned to OEM specs.

Test movement of everything in the driveway before driving it on the road. Remember keep it simple, do not over engineer, use as many OEM type parts as possible. If it ever fails or breaks, it will not be in the driveway.

I am working on a Ford Taurus unit. I haven’t actually gotten the unit, but I did get the Steering column and was able to wire it up to the existing wiring with little problem. See ’86 Ford Taurus steering column upgrade for more info on this end. When i get the unit and figure out how I’m going to do this I’ll be sure to post it here.

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