Best option for steering gear replacement 81 Z-28

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering, Brake & Wheel Topics' started by Z28zz383, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. Z28zz383

    Z28zz383 Veteran Member

    771
    3
    May 11, 2012
    Florida
    The steering box is finally leaking fluid as fast as you put it in. Just gonna replace it I guess and install new hoses, pump. This is the orig system, what's the best option for replacement? Just a cruiser for the most part. I see prices from 700 bucks to 90 bucks for a gear box. Thank's for any info.
     
  2. Zspoiler

    Zspoiler Veteran Member

    I would just have your stock steering box rebuilt .
     
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  3. Z28zz383

    Z28zz383 Veteran Member

    771
    3
    May 11, 2012
    Florida
    Good thinking! Any suggestions on who could do a rebuild? I have my doubts about anyone local being able to do it reliably.
     
  4. Da_Raabi

    Da_Raabi Veteran Member

    821
    68
    Jan 19, 2011
    Daytona Beach, FL
    Dude. Easy choice. Go to the Advance Auto website and order a gear box for a third gen Z28. It's got a quicker ratio than your old box, and is a direct bolt on for your 81. Your hoses are already metric so no issues there.

    Either use code P20 for 20% off, or look for codes for 25% or 30% off. They come up from time to time. If you don't have an advance Auto nearby don't worry, they ship to home for free.

    And most of their parts have a lifetime warranty.

    That's what I did on my 80 lol...

    Seems like a no-brainer to me.
     
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  5. biker

    biker Veteran Member

    What he says above. Did this exact thing on my own 81 this spring and it works perfectly. Fit perfect, great finish on it, no leaks. I laboured over the decision too because i wanted to keep my stocker, but the reality is that i dont have a rebuilder anywhere near me, and I wasnt going to waste spring with the box apart on my bench.
     
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  6. Z28zz383

    Z28zz383 Veteran Member

    771
    3
    May 11, 2012
    Florida
    Thanks for responding guys. Sounds good also. I want to replace all the parts at once to keep it a dependable driver. This is def a low cost alternative for the gear box problem. Makes me more confident in a rebuilt one than I was before knowing you guys have had good luck with yours.
     
  7. Da_Raabi

    Da_Raabi Veteran Member

    821
    68
    Jan 19, 2011
    Daytona Beach, FL
    This is what I used:

    CARQUEST Power Steering16MM Male O-Ring x 18MM Male O-Ring P/N 36179 - $18.99

    Dorman - HelpPower Steering Caps P/N 82581 - $3.99

    DriveworksPower Steering Pump Pulley P/N 300-121 - $26.49

    CardonePower Steering Pump w/Reservoir - Domestic P/N 20-7803F (Has built-in filter) - $50.99

    CARQUEST Power SteeringBulk - 3/8" ID Return Hose (CPE) P/N 36219 - $13.39

    Edelmann Power Steering Return Line End Fitting P/N 39107 (ordered from rockauto because I forgot to order it from advance. Advance should have something similar) - $7.20 shipped

    Total, out-the-door price for all of the above - ie a 100% brand new system (I was starting from scratch so you may not need all of this) was $130.04. I think that's pretty feasible!

    Oh, while its all apart, don't forget a new rag joint. Might as well while you are in there! I forget the part numbers (did that LONG ago) but I think I used a Dorman joint. Should be readily available off-the shelf or online everywhere.

    I did this on a big block, and the pump I used was not quite right, so ignore the goofy angle. I used big block brackets because I had them...

    20170824_152622.jpg
     
  8. Z28zz383

    Z28zz383 Veteran Member

    771
    3
    May 11, 2012
    Florida
    Wow ! Talk about making it easy. Thanks a lot for all the info. I looked up the steering box for a 3rd gen and turn to turn was 2 and 3/4 turns lock to lock. Haven't counted turns on the one my car has, but that seems quicker than what I have now. This should be a big improvement over the old worn out system. Went to a little local car show tonight. Man, what a nice bunch of cars. Really gets me motivated when I see what others are doing with their old muscle cars.
     
  9. Z28zz383

    Z28zz383 Veteran Member

    771
    3
    May 11, 2012
    Florida
    Ok so I dug a little deeper into the boxes. 3rd gens have two boxes available. A W-S code which is 12.7 ratio, med effort, with a 70 deg turn. 2.4 turns L to L (15'' wheels) Then, there is a X-H box that came on the camaro's with 16'' wheels (FE-2 pkg, or sport suspension) and it has a 12.7 ratio, hi effort, and a 64 deg turn. 2.4 turns L to L (Less turn for the 16'' wheels) My stock 81 Z has a 14.1 ratio and a med effort 67 deg radius box. I have 2.5-2.6 turns lock to lock. So it looks like a W-S 3rd gen box will be the best pick for me to keep the turn radius I have and a med effort steering feel. If you don't mind giving up some turn radius and want more effort then the X-H is the box for you. Hope this adds to the info for anyone wanting to upgrade. The reg camaro's from 68 thru 81 had a variable ratio box with light steering effort.
     
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  10. kendpotter

    kendpotter New Member

    2
    1
    Sep 18, 2007
    Tri-Cities, Washington


    I found a core unit from the '79 WS6 Trans Am. It is a quick ratio Saginaw with much improved feel over the stock unit. I sent it to Red Head (https://www.redheadsteeringgears.com/) and had them rebuild it. They did that for a very reasonable price and it is perfect.
     
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