Crap! Another bum steering gear box

I just picked up our '68 XR-7 GT after having the second replacement steering gear box (P/N 25920) installed. Now, it’s almost undriveable. There is a bit more than 2.5" of floppy play at center before the pitman arm even budges. There’s no slop anywhere else in the front end.

Between product purchases, installation labor, and core charges that I lost because it takes weeks to even get scheduled into a reliable shop around here, I’m out about $1K with zero improvement.

I’m wondering if the next step needs to be a Borgeson conversion or something else. I’m open to all suggestions, but I’m not spending any more on stock gearing boxes unless it’s a brand-new, warranteed replacement (I know; that doesn’t exist).

Any suggestions?

Where did you purchase the current unit?

They should offer $ back or replacement.

More than likely they did not have the knowledge or parts to properly rebuild the unit.
I know for a fact is is getting harder to find ANY parts for our Cats.

Best of luck

I noticed your review on WCCC so I’m assuming this is where you got the latest gear box? Have you watched Don’s video on other sources of slop in the steering? While it’s not impossible for you to have received a defective unit, for this particular part that would seem unlikely given the source Don uses for rebuilds.

After a look at Summit, there is some options available in stock. Not sure what you got before or how this may compare with price. Obviously it doesn’t include the labor portion.

I put a Flaming River FR1498 in my '69 20 odd years ago, never had any problem with it.
Just looked at Summit - they are now 2X what I paid.

Flaming River is what I used 13 years ago in my SS. I’m surprised it didn’t come up in the search I posted above. Perhaps it needs to be looked up as a Mustang? Yup, just tried it as a Mustang, Flaming River comes up along with all the others.

Yes, I’ve watched Don’s video. A couple of times, actually, and went through checking all that when the first box went in a year ago. I had the mechanic whose shop shared the building with us watch Don’s video, then he and I went through the front end together. I believe we replaced the pitman arm on that occasion as well.

I had the current shop go through it again (also someone we know and trust) and there is zero movement on the pitman arm through about 2.5" of on-center play. I had also asked him to go through the whole front end again if a test drive didn’t show tightened steering, which he did. He stated unequivocally that the slop is in the steering gear.

Unless I missed something, all the FR boxes that come up are for manual steering, where I have power steering. The Borgeson boxes cover power steering but I’m not crazy about having to collapse the column 1-2" to get it to fit. That might be the only option, though.

I installed a Flaming River box in a 68 GT500 Shelby convertible. Power steering. Worked great. No issues.

I dunno. The PN I used is still for sale on Flaming River’s site.

Bob, this is the first paragraph in the part description. I take it your car is power steering and this box worked?

That box is for power steering or manual steering with the 16:1 ratio. The pitman arm determines what it fits.

Thanks, Royce! That looks like the way to go, then.

Yes, mine has P/S.
When I asked FR about it back then I was told it’s listed as a ‘manual’ box because it does not have integral P/S like the GM boxes of the time.

Thanks! I ordered it last night.

It’s probably covered in the WCCC video but I believe the steering column for 68+ have a two piece design that would collapse in a crash. These two pieces can get sloppy over time and be a source of lost motion in the steering. Figured I’d mention it just in case.

I’m not an expert, but i think you can adjust the engagement of the box to take out that “input to output” slop. There is a lock nut and internal hex drive screw on the top (when installed). Loosen the nut, adjust the screw. I think “righty tighty” to take out the slop.

It would be a lot easier / cheaper fix and is possibly the issue.

That has a very limited success rate and can affect the wheel returning to center by itself. Given the amount of slop, I don’t think that will do the trick.

We’ve also ruled out the rag joint, which looks practically brand-new and doesn’t show any flex when the wheel is turned with the car sitting on the ground. However, we did confirm there is slop in the gear box before the pitman arm even starts to move. There is also slop where the pitman arm attaches to the control valve so both the box and the control valve will be replaced. The rest of the front end is tight.

I picked up the Cougar today and the installation of the Flaming River gearbox and new control valve have completely eliminated the play in the steering. I still need to get it aligned but now the car turns when the steering wheel turns and there is no need to counter-steer against the slop.

Problem solved.

Glad to hear it.