OBS Steering Box Upgrade with Borgeson Universal Company

By Todd Ryden   –   Photography by the Author

 Considering how your truck drives usually leads to thoughts of coilover upgrades or sway bars, but have you ever thought about the steering action and feel? Unless you’re still rocking a slow, stock, manual box, a steering upgrade may not have ever been on your radar—but you may want to rethink that!

- Advertisement -
02 Start by draining the power steering fluid then remove the two lines at the box
Start by draining the power steering fluid then remove the two lines at the box.

After being in business for over 100 years, Borgeson Universal Company knows a bit about steering! They recently introduced a new steering box for GM OBS trucks that has a turning ratio of 12.7:1 versus the stock ratio of 14:1 or the factory 16/13:1 variable ratio unit. This means that for every 12.7 degrees of steering wheel movement, the output shaft rotates 1 degree. In the case of our OBS, the new box now turns lock-to-lock within three turns of the wheel compared to the four and more from the worn-out original.

03 removed the rag joint bolt then pried the shaft up toward the firewall
With the fluid dripping away, we removed the rag joint bolt then pried the shaft up toward the firewall.

For two-wheel-drive OBS fans, Borgeson has you covered as their new box is a bolt-in for ’88-96 models. The box is a touch shorter in length than the factory but installs with the same three mounting points and connects directly to the factory steering shaft. The OEM fluid lines bolt right into the 16mm and 18mm x 1.5 O-ring ports of the steering box, making this upgrade a true direct bolt-in affair.

Check it out: Borgeson C10 Quick Ratio Steering Box Upgrade

- Advertisement -
04 removing the original pitman arm by using impact gun on nut
If you’re replacing a worn-out OEM power steering box, the original Pitman arm may be reused, but if you’re going from a manual box to the Borgeson unit, be sure to order a new Pitman arm. An impact gun, or a long breaker bar, will help with the nut removal, then you’ll need a puller to get the arm off the steering shaft.

It should be noted that if you’re upgrading a manual steering truck to power steering, you’ll need a new Pitman arm to finish the installation. Also, if you’re in need of a new steering shaft or U-joints, Borgeson can help you with everything. The installation can easily be done with hand tools, other than needing a Pitman arm pulling tool, which can be rented at most parts stores—and make sure you have a socket large enough to remove the Pitman arm nut or you’ll be making two trips to the store.

05 Using a puller to get the arm off the steering shaft

The quick ratio of the steering box was a huge improvement, especially at slow speeds and around the neighborhood, however we’re still surprised at what a difference the new box made to the feel of the truck at speed on back roads and even the highway. It definitely made an overall improvement to the way the truck drives.

06 Three bolts secure the steering box firmly to the framerail
Three bolts secure the steering box firmly to the framerail and are accessible from inside the fenderwell.
07 The Borgeson unit is slightly shorter than the OEM model
The Borgeson unit is slightly shorter than the OEM model but still bolts directly in place with the three same mounting holes.
08 A new bolt lock washer and seal are provided for the steering shaft
A new bolt, lock-washer, and seal are provided for the steering shaft. Note the four flat, indexing marks every 90 degrees on the shaft that help align the Pitman arm. It is recommended to turn the shaft its full sweep, about three turns from the steering shaft side, then position it in the center so the steering linkage connects properly.

Power Steering Conversion: 67-72 C10 Power Steering Conversion Kit

- Advertisement -
09 lining up the steering shaft rag joint
There’s a big ___ to the steering box and an extra set of hands will help when lining up the steering shaft rag joint and the mounting holes.
10 Borgeson supplies new bolts for the installation
Borgeson supplies new bolts for the installation but if you end up using the factory bolts, check to make sure they don’t interfere with the housing. Due to the bolt length variances from the original assembly line, there could be interference that causes the box not to be tightened in place properly.
11 connected the steering rag joint to the shaft by sliding it into position
With the box mounted, we connected the steering rag joint to the shaft by sliding it into position. There’s a relief on the shaft that allows the bolt to go through to help secure the connection. Once aligned, tighten the bolt.

12 Theres a relief on the shaft that allows the bolt to go through

13 make sure the O ring seals are installed and in good condition before connecting the fluid lines
Make sure the O-ring seals are installed and in good condition before connecting the fluid lines. The lines have different size fittings, but for the record, the low-pressure line is closest to the input shaft and the high pressure is closer to the four-bolt cover. (In this picture, we’re connecting the high-pressure line.)
14 The seal Pitman arm and new fasteners were installed to finish the linkage connection
The seal, Pitman arm, and new fasteners were installed to finish the linkage connection. This is a great time to inspect the tie-rod ends and update the steering linkage by the way.
15 fill the reservoir with a high quality fluid start the engine and slowly turn the steering from lock to lock to purge any air from the system
With the front end still off the ground, fill the reservoir with a high-quality fluid, start the engine, and slowly turn the steering from lock to lock to purge any air from the system. Add fluid until the proper level is achieved.
16 Be sure to check for leaks before your testdrive The steering wheel should be centered in the right position
Be sure to check for leaks before your testdrive. The steering wheel should be centered in the right position—as long as you centered the steering shaft properly before mounting and connecting the rag joint. The improvements in steering feel were evident as we turned onto the street!

Source
Borgeson Universal Company
borgeson.com

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of OBS Steering Box Upgrade with Borgeson Universal Company.

ctp october 2023

- Advertisement -

Related Articles

Search Our Site

More Classic Truck Performance

Daniel Stewart’s 1967 C10 Lookin’ Like a Million Bucks

By Fuelish Media You don’t see a killer truck with...

LMC Bed Box Assembly for an F100 Flareside

By Ryan Manson  -  Photography by the Author Sourcing the...

Todd & Natasha Collins’ Kruzin Kustoms–Built 1971 C10

By the CTP Staff   -   Photography by Aaron Mai Bought...

2023 C10 Nationals Goes Full Throttle in Music City

By Christopher Reynolds   -   Photography by the Author Setting the...

Block Sanding Tips for First-Round Primer-Surfacer

By “Rotten” Rodney Bauman   -   Photography by the Author Final-primed...
More Classic Truck Performance

Put a Lid on It!

Old Anvil Redesigns an International Harvester Roof By Eric Geisert  ...

I Am Gert

Kenzie Moss’ Goolsby-Built ’68 C10 By Kenzie “Gert” Moss &...

UNCLE JACK’S JIMMY

Part 2: The Harrison’s Rod & Custom ’71 GMC By...

Closure

Jose Galvan’s Second Chance ’88 OBS Comes to Life By...

Evacuate a Big V-8 in Style

Tips and Tricks for Building a Granatelli Motor Sports...

FARM AID

Rob Brooks’ Patina-Skinned ’72 F-100 Lives its Life Doin’...