The steering system is critical to the safe & functional operation of your car. When dealing with any older car these systems should be thouroghly inspected and maintained. This article will identify and explain some of the different aspects of the steering system on the Camaro. Two forms of steering where available; Manual Steering (standard), with variable ratio Power Steering (RPO N40) being optional. Power steering was included with the Type LT. Power steering became standard equipment in 1977.
Inspection - Tips/hints....
Prior to driving a car, you can inspect the steering system by testing the various components. Jack up the car and grasp the various components that make up the steering linkage and see if they're loose. Look for obviously bent/defective parts. Check for leaks. Make sure the tires are properly inflated and in good shape.
The best way to restore the steering system is replace everything that can wear out, regardless of how it looks. If you're on a budget you can wire wheel the parts, clean them up and paint them. In stock form, these parts are natural in finish. I paint them cast iron or you can clear coat them so they don't rust.
I recommend finding an auto parts store or supplier who carries MOOG brand. Moog is the best product you can get, and is generally what you get when you buy a top of the line aftermarket front end kits.
There are 4 distinct configurations of steering linkage:
1970 - 1971 (Manual Steering, excluding Z28)
1970 - 1974 (power steering, 1970 - 71 Z28 w/manual steering)
1975 - 1981 (including 1980 - 1981 V8)
1980 - 1981 (V6).
The centerlink spans 1970 - 1981, excluding manual steering & V6 cars.
Idler Arm usage is 1970 - 1972, and 1973 - 1981.
Three sets of Inner/Outer tie-rods are used. 1970 - 1974, 1975 - 1981, and 1980 - 1981 (V6).
Inner tie-rods are side specific. Outers are identical per side. You can mix & match years if you observe the above interchange.
The adjusting sleeves are common to all years.
These items are connected with castle nuts and secured via a cotter pin. The cotter pin is to prevent the nut from backing off due to vibration and allowing the component to become disconnected.
Jump to Related:
Steering FAQ |
DIY Alignment |
Brackets & Pullies |
Steering columns |
Exploded views: Typical Power Steering Pump Assembly | Typical Power Steering Gear
Steering System Information & Restoration
General Description (1974)
Gear type: standard manual steering gear is recirculating ball nut. Power (optional) is integral recirculating ball nut with hydraulic pressure provided from vane type pump.
Ratios, gear: Manual - 28.0:1 (base), 24.0:1 (Z28)
Power: 16.0:1 on center to 13.0:1
Ratios, Overall: Manual - 33.0:1 (base), 28.3:1 (Z28)
Power 15.0:1 on center to 11.3:1
Number of wheel turns, lock to lock: 6.27 (manual), 2.41 (power)
Turning diameter: roughly 40 feet.
Component identification, usage & interchange
|1970 - 1972||PS Pump 6 cylinder||Minus pulley & Brackets|
|1973 - 1979||PS Pump - 6 cylinder|
|1980 - 1981||PS Pump - 229 V6|
|1980 - 1981||PS Pump - 231 V6|
|1970 - 1976||PS Pump - 8 cylinder|
|1977 - 1978||PS Pump - 8 cylinder||YF|
|1979||PS Pump - 8 cylinder|
|1980 - 1981||PS Pump - 8 cylinder||DE|
|1970 - 1974||Steering Gear (manual)|
|1970 - 1974||Steering Gear (power)|
|1975 - 1976||Steering Gear (power)|
|1977 - 1979||Steering Gear (except Z28)||XT|
|1977 - 1979||Steering Gear (w/Z28)|
|1980 - 1981||Steering Gear (w/o Z28 and with std. suspension)|
|1980 - 1981||Steering Gear (w/ Z28 or HD Suspension)||BY|
Notes on above table:
6 cylinder steering pumps have slight differences between California or Federal Emissions system.
Major differences include hose fitting type and upper shaft connection (coupling) to steering gear.
Steering gear is minus pitman arm and upper shaft. Above table lists direct interchange. You can interchange components if taken as a whole compatable system. For example, don't expect to adapt an upper steering shaft intended for use with a square bolt onto a column designed for a round bolt, nor can you expect o-ring hose ends to fit into a steering gear intended for use with flaired fittings.
Steering Gears & Valving
My Z28 information will identify the Z28 steering rate vs. stock. Now, how do you identify, at a glance, what box is what? The trick is in the valving of the gear unit.
Note: 800 gear cover retained by bolts. 605 gear cover retained by retaining ring.
|1971-72||3996780||(Camaro w/PS, Gear unit, power basic, variable ratio)|
|1971-72||7808369||Camaro - valve|
|1972||7815770||(Camaro - exc p/s, spec. h/per. 350)|
|1973||7818145||(Camaro - exc P.S. 8 cyl. Pass, exc police)|
|1973-75||7818138||(Camaro - w/PS, exc. R.T.S, sport susp). (Radial Tuned Suspension?)|
|1973-75||358938||(Camaro - w/PS) Gear Unit|
|1973-75||7808369||Camaro (exc sp. hp 350) - valve|
|1975||7814930||Camaro (exc RTS) - valve|
|1976||358938||Gear kit (use with adapter kit 358942 or 358990)|
|1976||7808369||Valve (w/hd suspension)|
|1977||7833307||(exc Z28, HD) (F41) Gear, hyd strg (800 gear)|
|1977||7826116||Valve (exc HD suspension) Note 3|
|1977||7826113||Valve (HD susp & PS)|
|1978||7826116||Valve (exc HD susp, 605 gear)|
|1979||7826116||Valve (exc HD susp, Z28)|
|1979-81||7832058||Valve (exc HD susp, Z28)|
|1977-79||7833307||(exc z28) Gear, hyd strg (800 gear)|
|1980-81||7848139||(V6 exc HD susp) Gear|
|1980-81||7848140||(V6 w/hd susp)|
|1980-81||7848139||(V8 exc HD susp, Z28)|
|1980-81||7848140||(V8 w/hd susp, exc Z28)|
|1980-81||7833147||(w/z28) Gear, hyd strg (800 gear)|
|1980-81||7834284||Valve (w/800 gear)|
Author: MadMike Maciolek
North Georgia Classic Camaro
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