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1979 Ranger XLT 400m T18
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Discussion Starter #1
My '79 has a reasonable sized dead spot in the steering and wanders a little. I just put 35" tires on and that has exacerbated the problem a little. It was already fatigueing to drive on the freeway because of how much attention and input it needed. It's not where I'd consider it really unsafe, but it's approaching that point. I want to fix things and have a nice driving truck. This is my daily/main vehicle, not some serious offroader. I have no lift and right now don't plan to put one on. The 35"s are temporary because I got a good deal on used ones. I expect to settle on 33" or 32" tires long term.

I've been reading about steering fixes and seeing redhead boxes, borgeson shafts, and saginaw pumps. I'm thinking there's plenty of bushings etc. that I will need to replace also (because I know some of mine are old and bad). Is there a checklist somewhere that shows all the things I should replace or rebuild? I'm not super excited about putting together the list myself. Do any of the normal vendors have a kit you can buy? Do I need to upgrade my PS pump? Mine seems to work fine, I think. Is there at least a writeup somewhere that explains troubleshooting steps to isolate problems and maybe determine which parts are causing my problems and need replaced?
 

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1978 Bronco Ranger XLT, 400/C6 92 K documented miles &1994 Bronco,XLT 85K original miles
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In addition the the Redhead, Borgensen, have a friend left and right within the dead spot. Look at the rag joint at the shaft to steering box. If its moving much, replace it.$25. Then look under neither. Start at the steering box. How much slop before the pitman arm starts to move. Your friend needs to be moving the wheel. Next, the center link to the RF tire. Is the tie rod end moving around or pushing/pulling the wheel? Then the left side. Last 2 things to check are the "C" bushings that holds the axle to the radius arms. If the are heavily cracked, replace. Last radius arm bushings. These locate the axle when driving in a straight line, turning and braking. Also replace if cracked or you have red dust coming out of them . Dont go fancy, just use Moog or NAPA. It wont drive like a modern car but itll drive good. Especially with the Borgensen,Redhead and Saginaw combo.
 

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1979 Ranger XLT 400m T18
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167 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
In addition the the Redhead, Borgensen, have a friend left and right within the dead spot. Look at the rag joint at the shaft to steering box. If its moving much, replace it.$25. Then look under neither. Start at the steering box. How much slop before the pitman arm starts to move. Your friend needs to be moving the wheel. Next, the center link to the RF tire. Is the tie rod end moving around or pushing/pulling the wheel? Then the left side. Last 2 things to check are the "C" bushings that holds the axle to the radius arms. If the are heavily cracked, replace. Last radius arm bushings. These locate the axle when driving in a straight line, turning and braking. Also replace if cracked or you have red dust coming out of them . Dont go fancy, just use Moog or NAPA. It wont drive like a modern car but itll drive good. Especially with the Borgensen,Redhead and Saginaw combo.
This will probably sound extra lazy on top of the original post but do you know of anywhere that just sells a bushing kit. The radius arm bushings are old and cracked. I'm sure everything else is similar. I'd like to just buy all of them and go bonzai replacing everything in one fell swoop. It would minimize downtime on my bronco too.
 

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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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12,310 Posts
Before replacing any big parts like gear box, pump, etc, check as mentioned, the rag joint, and any bushings in the steering column. Then move on to suspension bushings, like the track bar and radius arms on both ends. Then the tie rods and ball joints. Then you can determine if the box is bad.

A Saginaw swap wont help wandering, but will help with input ease. Plus, a 351M/400 Saginaw is a rare bracket, if it actually even exists.
 

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1979 Ranger XLT 400m T18
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167 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Before replacing any big parts like gear box, pump, etc, check as mentioned, the rag joint, and any bushings in the steering column. Then move on to suspension bushings, like the track bar and radius arms on both ends. Then the tie rods and ball joints. Then you can determine if the box is bad.

A Saginaw swap wont help wandering, but will help with input ease. Plus, a 351M/400 Saginaw is a rare bracket, if it actually even exists.
Thanks for the info about the Saginaw. I'll plan to not do that then. My steering already feels too easy in my opinion. It feels like there isn't much feedback. Some of that is how easy it is to cross the deadspot, but there is plenty of power to turn the wheels. For the saginaw bracket, I was looking at the kit at wildhorses4x4. They have the bracket and pump new manufactured for them supposedly.
 

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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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You could likely modify a BBF saginaw bracket to fit. I've found one type that bolts to both SBF and BBF, with simply a longer spacer on the SBF.
 

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a 351M/400 Saginaw is a rare bracket, if it actually even exists.
They exist(ed). I had one out of an LTD when I had a 400. I have a picture of it in the thread I posted when I added hydroboost to my brakes. Someone had asked me if it was custom and I replied that it was because I wasn't thinking at the time, but it was a junk yard bracket.

I guess I shouldn't have let it go with the engine when I sold it...
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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12,310 Posts
They exist(ed). I had one out of an LTD when I had a 400. I have a picture of it in the thread I posted when I added hydroboost to my brakes. Someone had asked me if it was custom and I replied that it was because I wasn't thinking at the time, but it was a junk yard bracket.

I guess I shouldn't have let it go with the engine when I sold it...
I'll have to re read that thread, it is in my saved list! I wonder if it was factory to the LTD or swapped in, or dealer added? I've found a sag setup in a 72 f100 2wd with a 302 that looked factory (more likely dealer installed). I just picked up a HB unit off an 88, so I'll be going back through your thread.
 
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1978 Bronco Ranger XLT, 400/C6 92 K documented miles &1994 Bronco,XLT 85K original miles
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Just make note of how you lay the parts out so they go back the same way. It's actually fairly easy.Given your location, I would order the inner & outer wheel bearings and inner seal. Don't forget the bearing grease.
 

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Yo, I just went through all this and I have notes and images on my build thread. Mostly about saginaw pump/bracket. I did that AND swapped to another used PS pump and my main issue was track bar bushings. That helped TREMENOUSLY! Sag pump IS nice too! there is a wild horses kit, I just bit the bullet and got it all. The bracket they include is 95% GTG, You may need a longer belt to use the tension rod they include, I used stock belt and fabbed my own tension bracket, you'll still need the bracket they sell or some other one from JY.

Check/do the cheap/easy stuff first. Having a friend yank on the wheel while your under the truck checking play is worth a case of beer. I had no one to help and thus chased down minimal issues first.
 
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