67 Valiant power steering way too touchy

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. ESP47

    ESP47 Well-Known Member

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    I got my girlfriend a 67 Valiant a while back and were just getting it on the road. I'm driving it around and the alignment feels ok but the power steering is crazy touchy. It's almost hard to drive in a straight line because you have to keep the wheel so still. Kinda feels like bumper car steering where I could make a hard left and the car would just rotate in the center and pull a 180* on a dime lol. Is this normal or is there some kind of adjustment I can make? This is my first time driving such an old car with power steering so I'm not sure what feels right and what doesnt.
     
  2. BlackBrick

    BlackBrick The Cult Mechanicus

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    There was an article on how to replace the V8 pump check valve with one from a /6 to releive some of the pressure and that firmed it up a bunch. Gotta find that article though.......
     
  3. 1968FormulaS340

    1968FormulaS340 Well-Known Member

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    Have the suspension checked at reputable shop

    If everything is good, get an alignment. Use modern specs….. Do not use the factory specs from 67.
     
  4. goldfish65

    goldfish65 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    Could be the steering gearbox adjustment is too tight?
     
  5. slantsixdan

    slantsixdan =..=

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    The trouble is not with the steering pump "putting out too much pressure" -- that is not how it works -- and there is no special/different pump check valve for V8 vs. slant-6 pumps because there is no such thing as V8 vs. slant-6 pumps; the difference between slant-6 and V8 is in the bracket, not the pump. The '60s-'70s Mopar power steering systems have very little road feel or self-recentre action and can feel twitchy/squirelly. Alignment is critical; you want as much positive caster as you can get -- offset bushings and adjustable strut rods help here. Take a look at the FSM; the alignment specs for the nonpower-steering setup call for neutral to negative caster because otherwise the non-assisted steering wheel is too hard to turn at low speeds as when parking. The power-steering specs are for positive caster to bring some road feel and self-centring to the system. Moreover, the alignment must be done all the way correctly, which means setting the ride height as the first step. Very few techs at very few shops know how to check and adjust the alignment correctly on a car such as ours. Finding such a tech at such a shop is a worthwhile pain. Also you will get a sense of "twitchiness" if there is play in the wheel caused by the steering gearbox being out of adjustment. There are two adjustments; see here. Once all of this is checked and you've also fixed any other slop in the system (Bushings, arms, links, ball joints...), then it's time to look at a steering gearbox built with stiffer reaction springs. These can be had from Firm Feel or Steer & Gear.
     
  6. ESP47

    ESP47 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Dan, I'll check up on that. I like how you referred me to a previous link you already helped me with lol. I wasn't sure if the power steering adjustment was the same as the manual steering. That adjustment worked perfectly on my manual box. On the Valiant, the front end does look a little too low, so I'm going to raise it up and then see what else is going on in there. I'll take it to the same guy that aligned my Duster because I know he does a good job. I just wasn't sure if this was just normal mopar power steering back in 67 or what.
     
  7. pauly v.100

    pauly v.100 Well-Known Member

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    i think autoxcuda had a writeup on a mod for power steering pumps too, i looked around but couldn't find it. maybe he'll be kind enough to chime in.
     
  8. BlackBrick

    BlackBrick The Cult Mechanicus

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    @slantsixdan - actually, saginaw pumps use a different shim pack to reduce the pressure going from the pump to the chuck. The shims packs are different in the /6 pumps versus the V8 pumps to assist in turning a "heavier" car.

    I pulled the PDF of the article from the Mopar Action website and attached it to this post.

    This is not a substitute for rebuilding your steering setup, bushing, ball joints, etc, but as long as all of that is good, this could help to firm it up a bit.

    I am planning to do this to mine after I finish the front end rebuild I am doing. I will post up what I do in my resto post.
     
  9. autoxcuda

    autoxcuda Well-Known Member

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    I just drill out the oriface just 1/64 larger on the pressure side of the pump on a Saginaw unit. This is because when you autocross and saw the wheel fast back and fourth the power assist can sometimes stall out. Don't really need that in daily driver type car.

    The power steering pressure flow deal was written up by Rick Ehernberg in Mopar Action.

    But as Dan suggested, try to have the car aligned with up to 4 degrees positive caster. If you can't get more than 1 deg pos, install offset upper control arm bushing per the instructions below. DO NOT use the instruction in the box to get more caster.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. 2 Darts

    2 Darts A-body Addicted

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    Most power steering of the 60s and early 70s was over-assisted. You could drive most with just one finger on the wheel. The advice given in this thread is right on.
    1. Make sure all consumable components are in good shape. e.g. ball joints and bushings.
    2. Insure correct alignment (except caster) and ride height are at factory spec.
    3. Set the alignment for as much positive caster as you can get.
    In the case of the 73, I was able to get +2 deg. of caster without using offset bushings or 'problem solver' parts. It firmed up the steering and improved initial turn-in, too.
     
  11. BillGrissom

    BillGrissom Well-Known Member

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    In some cases, tires can make a big difference. I once put bias-ply tires on the front of my '69 Dart, with radials on the rear. It handled squirrelly on the highway - touchy steering and tendancy to wander. The tire shop had advised me of that, but I had the tires in the garage and wanted to use them up. Didn't last long since the tread separated anyway.

    Even if all radials, it could act funny if different sizes between front and rear. Always make sure both front tires are identical - size, tread pattern.
     
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