Intermediate steering shaft

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering, Brake & Wheel Topics' started by Layne02, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. Layne02

    Layne02 Member

    90
    1
    Jun 25, 2013
    Georgia
    Wondering about an alternative for an 80 intermediate shaft. I know the column end is DD and other end takes a rag joint with splines. 27 ?? Anyway, just curious if anyone had found a new substitute , instead of buying a new expensive one.
     
  2. Rayden2009

    Rayden2009 Member Gold Member

    48
    0
    May 12, 2016
    Calgary AB
    I upgraded to a Lee 12:1 steering box last summer and in the process decided to rebuild my worn out intermediate shaft. As you can see, it needed some love:
    IMG_6990.JPG IMG_6992.JPG
    I poked around on here and found an excellent write up, which I followed to a T:

    http://nastyz28.com/threads/steering-shaft-rebuild-process.92926/

    It cost about $100 CDN ($10.50 USD), which included taking it to the local sandblasting company for a DIY sand blast, new rag joint, Jeep boot and grade 8 bolts to replace the rivits. I then coated in clear coat so it wouldn't rust. I thought it looked pretty good.
    IMG_7239.JPG IMG_7240.JPG IMG_7241.JPG

    Before I could throw it back in the car, I realized that the boot and grease U-joint of the past combined with the rag joint was not up to the job of providing tight steering and feedback, no mater how new the rubber parts were.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
  3. Rayden2009

    Rayden2009 Member Gold Member

    48
    0
    May 12, 2016
    Calgary AB
    I decided to sell the original intermediate shaft and go with a Borgeson shaft, with an isolated U-joint replacing the rag joint, and a U-joint in place of the boot. This cost me about $300 USD. At the time, I didn't see anyone on here that actually went this route, so I was a bit nervous. I ordered the parts from Summit:

    https://www.summitracing.com/int/parts/brg-115252/overview/

    https://www.summitracing.com/int/parts/brg-450024/overview/

    https://www.summitracing.com/int/parts/brg-154931/overview/

    NOTE: I have an 80, so I have 1" DD at the column and a 30 spline at the steering box. The column end was different pre-78. I think it was a 30 spine as well, but i'm not 100%.

    I had to cut the shaft, and clear coat it so it wouldn't rust. The joints were SS, so no worries there. The U-joint that connected to the steering box was a bit longer and wider, so I had to grind down the locking bolts so they would not interfere with the subframe.

    See the difference between my rebuild stock intermediate shaft vs the new Borgeson shaft:
    IMG_7249.JPG IMG_7283.JPG

    You can see at the top of the lower joint were the screws would rub the cross brace of the subframe when turning. Grind the lock screws down and you'll be fine (grind the bottom off, not the end with the allen key!).

    E87D141A-D319-4750-8C0A-367DE4D44FB6-2958-0000042052418C18.jpeg

    The last picture I got off the internet, but it shows the comparison of the two styles of shafts nicely. Also note, it is a pre-78 shaft shown.

    In my opinion, if you want the best, and don't mind spending a bit of dough, make a new shaft with quality U-Joints. They are maintenance free and stronger. The rag joint isolates the road a little too much in my opinion, and gets sloppy over time. The isolation U-joint exceeded my expectations. As I said, I was a little nervous, but the car feels like a new sports car now. No play, and not rough at all. I thought about the Jeep shaft upgrade, but after going to a junkyard and seeing some for myself, I decided against it. The jeep U-joints look weak and pathetic compared to the Borgeson joints. Another option would be Flaming River, but after many hours of research, I decided the isolation joint was the ticket.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
  4. ULTM8Z

    ULTM8Z Veteran Member

    8,589
    134
    May 19, 2000
    Los Angeles
    I have to redo my intermediate shaft soon as well... and this looks intriguing. You'e saying the u-joints didn't result in harshness or vibrations being transmitted to the steering wheel?
     
  5. Rayden2009

    Rayden2009 Member Gold Member

    48
    0
    May 12, 2016
    Calgary AB
    No not at all. If you get an isolator joint at the steering box end, it feels perfect. I have heard that non iso joints can be harsh in our application because the U Joints dont have a large degree of bend in them. A larger bend in the joint apparantly buffers out the vibration. As you can see from the pic, the shaft is fairly straight compared to modern cars.
     
  6. ULTM8Z

    ULTM8Z Veteran Member

    8,589
    134
    May 19, 2000
    Los Angeles
    Oh you'e running that isolator joint... Ok this is great info. I was asking about that thing in an earlier thread while ago. Glad to see someone finally posting their experience with one!

    I'l definitely be getting one now!
     
  7. Rayden2009

    Rayden2009 Member Gold Member

    48
    0
    May 12, 2016
    Calgary AB
    Now that I think of it, I am running a Lee 670 box which is smaller then the stock 800 series. The 800 series may push the isolation joint back (toward firewall) which would not be ideal since it was tight with the 670. A bit of grinding of the cross member may be required. Im not sure, but look into it before you order anything!
     
  8. ULTM8Z

    ULTM8Z Veteran Member

    8,589
    134
    May 19, 2000
    Los Angeles
    Hmmm... thanks for the heads up. Maybe I'll be forced to stay with the rag joint...

    Any way to take close up photos of the setup near that joint and give some dimensions of the coupler?

    Looking at some of your posted photos, it doesn't make me optimistic. The shaft as it currently is only has what seems like <1/4" clearance to the frame in the area where the U-joint would reside. Probably going to be the case that the U-joint will interfere... dang it...

    Oh well, my rag joint is currently pretty worn out, so the mere act of replacing it with a new one will probably "feel like" an upgrade... lol. But the increased caster from the UCA's I put on also helped the steering feel, so all things considered there'll be an improvement I guess.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  9. dave@ztech

    dave@ztech Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    999
    92
    Mar 27, 2016
    NY
    Nice work, and I have a question, were you happy with the upgraded steering box?
    Thanks
     
  10. Rayden2009

    Rayden2009 Member Gold Member

    48
    0
    May 12, 2016
    Calgary AB
    Yes I am. My old 800 box was completely shot. The play was terrible. I could probably have turned the wheel to and fro 20 degrees with no change in direction. The car has been in the family for 20+ years and its always been that way. I searched around for about 1yr before actually doing the swap. Once I heard Lee Manufacturing was back in business, I decided to go that route based on the reviews. I have a 35# valve and a 12:1 ratio. Now I need considerably more "effort" to turn the wheel. Its not a workout or anything, but way stiffer feel. I did my power steering pump at the same time so the valve matching would be correct. Also plumbed everything in with AN#6 hoses and fittings.
    I have a few cautionary pieces of advice on the steering box swap, but I think I'll try to start a new thread, if I can figure out how....
     

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