Archive for December 6th, 2011

GM Type II Power Steering pump for the 1929 Ford hot rod

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011


GM Type II Power Steering pump for the 1929 Ford hot rod

The weather here for the last week has been terrible.  Last week we had 70mm or almost 3 inches of rain.  Many homes had flooded basements.  I was lucky, no problems with my home or shop.  Yesterday started again with rain and ended with a bit of snow.  Winter is here.  What a great excuse to work indoors.  I am still working out a few things with the website since the unfortunate mishap in October resulting in the website being down for almost a month.  So much to do!  Only if the days were a little longer!  Oh well, there is always tomorrow, so this is what keeps life exciting.  No helping elves here.

As I started to build the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod, I realized that having power steering might not be an option for this build.  Using the stock 1928 -31 Model A Ford wheelbase of 103.5 inches seemed like a good idea when I first designed and built my custom hot rod chassis / frame using the C4 Corvette suspension.  This created minor problems for me later on in the build for my hot rod.  Not wanting to cut or modify the Brookville Roadsters firewall for the 1929 Ford roadster was important to me.  I am 6 feet 4 inches tall, and require a reasonable amount of leg room.  This meant that the engine needed to be mounted towards the front of the hot rod.  That was not a big deal but moved the engine very close to the radiator.  As I was designing this custom hot rod chassis / frame, I was hoping to mount the coil over shocks inboard, in front of the engine for a clean suspension look on my open wheeled hot rod.  With the stock wheel base, there was not enough room for inboard suspension.  Secondly, using an electric water pump on the SBC 350 cubic inch engine also created additional minor issues.  Not having the space between the radiator and the front of the engine, I needed to mount the alternator and power steering pump lower on the engine.  I am using the mounting holes on both sides of the timing case cover on the lower front of the engine.  With this requirement, many of the pulleys, stock and aftermarket had an offset that would have the belts very close to the radiator and too far from the engine.  As a result I was not able to fit a power steering pump on the engine.  I felt this was not a big issue as the1928 – 31 Model A Ford roadster hot rod using a SBC engine will not be very heavy, and would not create steering problems using a manual steering rack.

This past summer, I decided to fabricate my own aluminum V belt pulley on an old Logan metal lathe I purchased a few years ago.  Using 1 inch thick and 6 inch square aluminum I created a decent looking pulley without any problems.  I must say this was a bit of a learning process.  The engine pulley I designed would just mount directly to the front of the SBC engine on the harmonic balancer.  This pulley will drive the alternator that will be mounted on the lower left side of the engine.  This worked out perfectly.  Now I realized that just maybe power steering would become a reality.

1986 C4 Corvette power steering pump

A couple of years ago, I attempted to mount a GM type II power steering pump to the front of the engine in the 1929 Ford hot rod.  The power steering pump that I saved from the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible could not be used.  These pumps require reverse rotation when compared to engine rotation.  Rotation of the pump can be determined very easily.  When looking at the pump pulley, if there are no ribs in the pulley, the pump will need to turn opposite to the engine.  On the 1986 Corvette the power steering pump receives its drive from the back or smooth side of the serpentine belt.  Power steering pumps with ribbed pulleys will turn in the same direction as the engine.  So off I went to the wrecking yard and started looking at GM type II power steering pumps.  I found one with a neat little reservoir tank attached to the pump.  This just might work, as it was all very small and compact.  After a considerable amount of fiddling, and fitting, using a variety of engine pulleys, I realize that power steering was not an option anymore.  At the time, my friend Jim wanted to add power steering to his 1937 Chevrolet and bought the pump from me.  Jim bought a nice aluminum pulley and bracket for this power steering pump.  Unfortunately, Jim was not able to stop a very minor oil leak between the pump and the reservoir tank.  Not liking the oil leak he abandoned the pump and decided to try the old style GM power steering pump with the built in reservoir tank.

This is my first power steering pump bracket for the GM type II power steering pump.

Now that it looked like I had more room on the front of the engine since I fabricated my own engine pulley, I thought I would give the power steering a second look.  I asked Jim if he still had the pump and he did.   So another road trip was in order to pick it up in my new Ford F150 ECO boost 4 x 4 truck.  This will be another story / post later on. 

Determining the correct location of the power steering pump on the 1929 Ford hot rod.

The evolution of the power steering pump bracket

Now this time, I had a custom made aluminum power steering bracket to work with from Jim.  Mounting the pump and bracket to the right lower side of the engine started to look pretty good.  There was one problem; the pump was about 0.5 inches out of alignment with the second aluminum engine pulley I made.  Removing the 0.5 inch of material from the custom made bracket was not an option and would destroy the bracket.  Now, I thought just maybe I could fabricate my own bracket using scraps of aluminum in the shop.  Using a 1 inch aluminum block, and some 0.5 inch and 0.25 inch aluminum plate, a design was starting to come together.  Using my metal cutting band saw, 1 inch belt / 5 inch disk sander, I was able to create a power steering bracket that worked perfectly on the 1929 Ford hot rod.  Now during this process, I was really wishing I had a milling machine to use for this bracket.  On the down side, the machine shop that pressed the aluminum pulley on the power steering pump for Jim may have ruined the pump.  I noticed a slight deformation on the back side of the pump and will not know if this will be an issue till I get everything connected and go for a run.  I suspect that they used a press to install the pulley instead of using a bolt to press the pulley on the shaft of the pump.  A very minor issue if at all.

The original power steering reservoir for the GM type II power steering pump.

The power steering pump reservoir tank would not fit onto the pump as I have the pump oriented slightly different then the intended use it had.  No problem, I could make an adapter to facilitate an externally mounted reservoir tank similar to what is used on the 1986 C4 Corvette.  Carefully measuring the opening on the power steering pump I used the existing reservoir tank inlet as a model.  I then machined from 1 inch aluminum round stock on my old Logan metal lathe an adapter.  This adapter will be pressed into the power steering pump and has threaded inlet.  I will be using a NPT brass nipple for a rubber hose.  A short rubber hose or even a stainless steel braided hose will be used to attach the remote reservoir tank to the power steering pump.  I might machine the reservoir tank later on using the metal lathe unless I find something pre-made at a swap meet.  Unfortunately, I sold the power steering reservoir tank for the 1986 Corvette on eBay.  It would have been perfect for my application.  

Power steering reservoir adapter for the type II GM power steering pump.

A few weeks later and after having the power steering pump bracket made, another friend gave me a lead for some machine shop equipment which included a Bridgeport style milling machine and a metal lathe.  My curiosity got the best of me, so I took a look at the equipment.  Thinking I could only afford the metal lathe I gave the fellow a deposit for the lathe.  It was so much better than the Logan metal lathe that I had.  I did tell him I was interested in the mill but needed a bit of time to come up with the funds.  The deal was so good I mentioned it to my wife that night.  Of course I do not usually make big purchases before discussing them with her so needless to say, she was not impressed.  After considerable discussion she agreed that I should purchase the equipment.  Over the years, my wife has just been shaking her head in amazement with my hobby.  Having a hobby that is traditionally very expensive has not been the case for me.  Money going out and money coming back again always with a very respectable financially gain.  To date, the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod and most of the equipment I have purchase has been totally financed by my wheeling and dealing.  Since then, I sold my old Logan metal lathe for a profit, along with some other equipment I did not have much use for.  Now I have a good 12 inch by 36 inch metal lathe and a very nice milling machine with X, Y, and Z digital readouts, power feeds, and a variable frequency drive for speed control.  A considerable amount of tooling came with both machines.  I never thought this would happen so soon, a dream of a lifetime.  Now I will be able to fabricate another and more refined power steering pump bracket, not to mention numerous other parts for my 1929 Ford hot rod.  In a later post, I will show the equipment I have acquired over time making the build of my hot rod much easier, especially when I like the challenge of fabricating many of my own parts.  Of course purchasing this equipment caused a bit of a hot rod building distraction.  Now I needed to add a dedicated machine room to my shop.  A sealed room is needed.  One that is free from wood dust as I also have a complete wood shop, and the general dirt of welding, grinding, and so on.  This is a good distraction.   

The powering steering pump installed on the small block 350 cubic inch Chev engine

In the case with power steering for my build of the 1929 Ford hot rod, the morale of the story is to never give up.  Sometimes you just need a break from something, and come back to it later on.  A solution is always around the corner.

Now that I have a bit of a rhythm, you can expect to see more regular posts / information on the build of my 1929 Ford roadster hot rod.  This is definitely a unique build.  So make sure you add to your favourites and subscribe to a feed at the top right of this page.