my 4-bolt steering box swap... yes, you can reuse your existing hoses. - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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my 4-bolt steering box swap... yes, you can reuse your existing hoses.

ok, so ive been looking for a way to use off the shelf hoses for the 4 bolt swap for a little while. i found a solution but for the past two weeks ive been sick but i finally got this wrapped up.

so i noticed that both the stock steering box and the 4-bolt box use a 5/16" fitting on the pressure side and a 3/8" fitting on the return side, the difference is that the stock box uses inverted flare fittings while the 4-bolt box uses standard o-ring fittings.

inverted flare:


standard o-ring:


note how the inverted flare has a inverted cone shape on the end of the hose

through my research i found out that the gm guys have been using inserts like these for years to do the same thing we want to do:

speedwaymotors.com - O-Ring to Inverted Flare Power Steering Adapter


the problem is i couldnt find one of these fittings that would fit our steering boxes. luckily i hooked up with the guys at Lee Power Steering.

Lee Power Steering | Santa Clarita, CA
email: [email protected]
phone: 661-568-9170

these guys know their stuff when it comes to power steering. they were doing the whole custom fitting the worm gear to the ball bearings and some of the other things that redhead started doing. i had a long conversation asking them about different things like a saginaw adapter bracket and stuff. they even told me they used to make a custom 100% new (not rebuilt) saginaw steering box that would fit our broncos, and might be able to do it again if there was enough interest. anyways, i know im going a bit overboard talking about these guys but i was very pleased with their service. i cant speak highly enough about these guys.

anyways, they machined down a set of the standard inserts so they would fit a 4-bolt box. here's what i got:

E106DEE1-7301-43F2-8948-BC6FD9B7647C by Alex w, on Flickr

D7F61A8B-1CEE-4CBE-9017-0582E21162F3 by Alex w, on Flickr

9D15BEA1-4535-49B1-A243-9A2221007743 by Alex w, on Flickr

they call it a "seat kit." it includes the 2 inserts and the installation tool. note that they also had to machine down the installation tool so it would work on the 4-bolt box.

edit: forgot to mention, I paid $32 for the seat kit, $8 for shipping, so $40 total. its a bit expensive, about as much as buying a new hose from the parts store, but for the reasons listed below I decided to go this route.

basically you just hammer the inserts into the steering box with the cone side facing out.

E874E1C8-0AA0-4C85-A587-4852F2C24436 by Alex w, on Flickr

49EA0AE7-9CE0-41D7-B6AD-CE63DAB61567 by Alex w, on Flickr

973F69EB-4E5B-45D5-8D9B-A53F7D4FDA6E by Alex w, on Flickr

F7C4B0A5-A6A7-44EC-943A-47B8E267892F by Alex w, on Flickr

this allows the stock bronco hoses to seat on the inserts, allowing them to seal in the 4-bolt box. note how there are still a few exposed threads. this shows that the hose is sealing against the insert.

77262C55-A020-435B-8676-8185BE1882A2 by Alex w, on Flickr

i chose to do it this way because (1) it allows me to use off the shelf hoses, (2) i can swap the hose to a stock 80-96 e-van hose when i upgrade to a saginaw pump later and (3) i can use a stock hose with the pressure switch since my bronco has one.






as a side note, here is a comparison of the bronco box + bronco pitman arm (right) and the 4-bolt box + e-van pitman arm (left):

46AC84B7-F1EC-4581-B340-EDC7EA0B93D4 by Alex w, on Flickr

on both the input shaft is in the centered position. note the difference in angle between the two. i believe this is a difference in the box itself, not the pitman arm. if you look at the frame of both the bronco and the e-van, the bronco frame is bent while the e-van is more straight. also, the e-van pitman arm is aprox 1/2" shorter than the bronco arm, center to center.

i was unable to remove the old pitman arm off the old bronco box and didnt want to pay the $40 for a new one from the parts store so i just installed the 4-bolt box with the e-van pitman arm. i adjusted the sleeves on the tie rods so that it is closer to being properly aligned until i can get an alignment done. it doesnt hit anything and for now it is working. if i have to i can always buy a stock pitman arm later.





anyways, i took the bronco for a spin last night and its not leaking and the power steering works fine. hopefully this will help someone else too.

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post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 05:52 PM
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This might be the mother of all threads. On behalf of then FSB community allow me to extend our most sincere gratitude and appreciation for your research.

I'm sure this thread will be referenced for many years to come!

How much did the seat kit cost you?



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post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 05:53 PM
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I'll be doing this swap on my f150 soon and this will help tremendously.


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post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 06:16 PM
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This will definitely help when I do my hydroboost swap. Thanks for posting!
Lee's in Santa Clarita is only like 10 min north of me!
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post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 06:19 PM
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that's good stuff! i have to ask, though...what happens if you need to replace your steering gear? will these inserts come out or are they really pressed in?
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post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 06:44 PM
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its jsut an o-ring holding them in so you should be able to pull them out and reuse them. the inverted flare will hold them down and seated

honestly i dont see a reason to need a custom box made. that sounds expensive despite it being all new. also replacing it would leave you stranded till you send them the box and get it reman. the reason people like the 4-bolt swap is getting them cheap at the junkyard.

why not jsut make and sell these adapters? soemthnig that can easilly be reused and swapped to a new box
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post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the positive feedback. I've spent a lot of time figuring this out.

I forgot to include the prices, they charged me $32 for the 2 inserts and the installation tool, $8 for shipping. So $40 total. It was a bit more expensive than buying a new hose, but like I said, it was worth it for me for a few reasons. Shipping was pretty fast, I think I received them 3 days after I ordered them. I told them what I was doing and told them about this website so they should know what everyone is talking about when you call them.

As far as removal, I'm not too sure how easy they would be to remove. They were really easy to install but I did have to hammer them in place. I'd be worried about damaging them during removal. I know I would not be able to remove them using one of my cheap picks, it would just bend the pick. But if you hang on to the installation tool you can buy some new inserts. I think they were $11 each so that would be like $30 including shipping for just the inserts.
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post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 06:50 PM
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post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 06:54 PM
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Those normally not that tight and are retained by an o ring on the bottom. Matter of fact someone on recently got a box from Redhead where one of the seats had fallen out.
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post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 07:01 PM
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No worries with the van pitman arm, my shop was able to align everything to factory specs. As you stated the sleeves need to be adjusted to get the steering wheel centered but everything worked out just fine in the end
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post #11 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingfish999 View Post
that tight? i would have mine machined abit smaller. somehting that can be removed easilly
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillbilly Heaven View Post
Those normally not that tight and are retained by an o ring on the bottom. Matter of fact someone on recently got a box from Redhead where one of the seats had fallen out.
That's what I thought too. I think the reason these were like this is because on the 5/16" one there would not be enough material to machine it down that far. That one is pretty thin already.

By the way, I didn't really have to pound these into the box, it was more like tapping it in. They are in there just firm enough I MIGHT damage them if I removed them.
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post #12 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingfish999 View Post
why not jsut make and sell these adapters? soemthnig that can easilly be reused and swapped to a new box
I don't have the capability to make these myself so it was just easier to get these guys to do it for me. But it wouldn't be too difficult to do.
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post #13 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 07:49 PM
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Since they are brass you could thread the inside of them. Then you could screw a machine screw in and pull the insert out.
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post #14 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 09:52 AM
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I thought I had seen these adapters before so I went searching and found them. They claim fits 5/16, 3/8, and 7/16.

http://www.tallonhydraulics.com/stor...roducts_id=267

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post #15 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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I ran across those, but couldn't find much about them or anything about that website. I actually found those and that website on google images, so I wasn't too confident about it. I've had a lot of problems with my credit card info getting stolen so I don't buy stuff from websites unless I'm 100% confident in the site. I'm not saying that that website is bad or anything, just saying I didn't know anything about that site so I didn't order from them. the guys at Lee came highly recommended on a GM forum, so I felt more confident ordering from them. also, I was kinda unsure about it since they said it would fit both sizes. not saying it won't work, but I wanted to find someone with some experience doing exactly what I wanted to do.

those do look like they might work though. if someone tries them, be sure to post the results up here.

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post #16 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 12:57 PM
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Talon has been around for a long time offering hydroboost parts and kits. Yes their website does kind of suck. I have found in the past dealing with them it is best to call them. If you notice that is two different adapters but there are no options on selecting type and size. A phone call would be required to get the right adapter.
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post #17 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 05:50 PM
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Looks like Lee Steering now offers this seal kit online ?, I will be ordering it on Monday to reused my current hoses with my Saginaw I updated to last year, picked up today the 4 bolt Steering gear of a 01 2wd Excursion. Attached is the link to Lee Steering.


http://leepowersteering.com/product/ford-seat-kit/.
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post #18 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 07:46 PM
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post #19 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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that's cool they have it listed on their website now.

i thought i should post up an update. after installing these fittings i had a small leak through the return line fitting at the steering gear. i figure that the issue is because the bronco return line is not flexible, meaning it didn't fit flush against the "seat". so i decided to replace the bronco return line with a e-van return line and cooler. in order to do this i had to remove the brass fitting on the return side. this was much more difficult than i expected. i had no chance of removing it with a pick. i tried using aggressive threaded screws, but couldn't get them to thread into the fitting. what i finally ended up doing was using a tap to tap 7mm threads into the fitting, then screwed a bolt into the fitting and used a hammer to pry on the bolt head. it came out pretty easily once i did that.

inverted flare adapter fitting for steering gearbox by Alex w, on Flickr

e-van power steering cooler by Alex w, on Flickr

unfortunately it looks like i didn't take many pictures of the setup. as far as mounting the cooler, i used a strip of aluminum i had laying around. i bent it into shape using a vice and an adjustable wrench. then i used a self tapping screw at the top and a nut and bolt in an existing hole at the bottom. i used standard transmission hose from the cooler back to the reservoir. the only thing that might be different is i think i fed the hoses through a hole in the core support that is used for the air intake on my 87. i then re-routed the air intake to the more common style over the core support. i wanted this type of intake tube anyways because it pulls water from a higher point, in case of water fording.

i know this is not the answer everyone wanted to hear, but it is what it is. the bronco return line might be able to seal properly if you unbolted it from the crossmember, then tightened down into the steering box, then bent into the correct shape. but it is much easier and better to use the e-van return line and cooler because the e-van cooler is more efficient than the bronco one. at any rate, i haven't had any problems with the pressure hose/fitting, which is why i think the issue with the return line was because of the hard line not being at the proper angle to seal.

i am not admitting defeat. i still call this a success because i am still able to use a stock bronco pressure hose. this way when i switch to a saginaw pump, i can use a stock e-van hose.
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post #20 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 10:05 AM
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Ive got that same van p.steering cooler in mine. I guess it works well Its definitely better than that loop Ford put in.


So swapping to the newer 4-bolt box seems like a pain since you have to make a special hose or buy that adapter. So whats the benefit over, say, just running a Redhead box?


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