Steering Gear Upgrade Project
First Gen PS box to Third Gen PS box
I wanted a heavier feeling steering box so after exhaustive research I
decided the best route was to install a third gen box into my 69 Camaro. This
requires multiple items that need to be addressed but its all documented
After reading tons of
message boards I found that most people recommended Lee Manufacturing to get the
- New PS unit
- New PS unit uses different metric adapters
- New PS unit uses different coupler size
New Unit uses different coupler size
- #40620 - pressure
- #40630 - return
They recommend a GM 7826542 coupler and 7807271 bolt.
They recommend a
Steering Gear box for an 84-92 Chevrolet Camaro with Performance Suspension.
- I called Lee first, and glad I did! They are VERY familiar now with this
upgrade and actually stock the coupler as well and package it as a whole kit
for only $85 (new coupler + two inserts)!! Coupler is $44 from Rockauto, its MotorMite Part #31011, but you still need the inserts from Lee
- I called my local Kragen Auto Parts (partsamerica.com) and ordered a
Cardone 276550 for $139.99, it took only 1 day to get the unit to the local
store so I could pick it up. $25 core but my old unit can be returned to get
that back. Unfortunately it seems Kragen charges different prices for this
unit based on where you are in the country, so your price might differ, and in
that case you should consider RockAuto.com for $116
TOTAL COST: $140 + $85 = $225 for a late model fast ratio heavy
feeling system, new!
- 67-69 Camaro use Cardone 276550 (Yes it works for all 3 years)
- 12.7:1 Ratio - Steering Valve Tension 32lbs/in
- Moog K6582 Long Pitman Arm is $50 from Rock Auto, great time to replace this
while you are at it to make sure you have no slop in your steering system!
- The Cardone 276550 is the box you want, although other Gear rebuilders
make similiar units and are available from any auto part store, I just found
that Kragen was the least expensive. Just make sure you get an 85-92 Camaro
IROC with Performance Suspension box, otherwise known as a GM 7843512, as
recommended by CarCraft.
- Rock Auto carries this same unit
for $116, but after shipping I would think it would be the same as Kragen plus
I don't have to ship the old unit back anywhere.
- If you had manual steering before you might need a 7807271 bolt, my
previous power steering coupler bolt fit just fine.
- If Lee Manufacturing didn't have the coupler/bolt I was going to go to GMPartsDirect who carries these two
items (7826542 coupler and 7807271 bolt) for a little more
- Other idea was to have a place rebuild my current box to make it stiffer
and change the ratio, that was going to be $175 from some steering place in
Michigan, shipping back and forth. So after all said and done it would cost
the same for just the box, but then I wouldn't have a new coupler, and I
wouldn't have a newer style box.
- Lee Manufacturing: (818) 768-0371 - Sun Valley, Ca.
- Kragen Auto Parts: aka Checkers, Schucks, Advance Auto Parts,
Discount Auto Parts, partsamerica.com
- GMPartsDirect - Good
source for GM parts at decent prices
- RockAuto - Good source for
aftermarket parts and great prices
The new Cardone unit is painted black but it was a sloppy job that probably
wouldn't last long, so I sprayed auto paint remover on the box and wiped away
the paint a few times until it was bare metal. I then used Simple Green and
Metal Ready to clean the box up really nice. Mine had a nice polished top so I
masked that area and the splines off and put two coats of POR15 Black on the
unit. Once that dried, I removed the masking tape from the top and masked the
rest of the unit. I then sprayed 2 coats of clear enamel to protect the polished
top from rust.
If you have headers you need to unbolt the header from your exhaust pipe,
loosen up all the bolts for the header to the intake manifold so that the bottom
of header can swing towards the transmission. This is necessary to provide room
to pull the steering box out.
I had to unbolt the two large bolts that hold the steering column to the
dash, unbolt the 4 (1/2") bolts that hold the bracket to the column, remove the
2 bolts holding the plastic cover near the firewall and loosen the 2 bolts on
the column clamp. This allowed me to pull the column about 2" towards the driver
seat to give me enough room to get the old rag joint out and new one
Weatherhead units below seem to be a great solution verses the Lee Inserts
according to MikeRS68, I haven't tried them yet but plan to purchase some
If Lee Manfuacturing was out of business I could have gone to Napa Auto
Parts and bought these which supposedly work just as well:
- Weatherhead #1446: 3/8" is 5/8 18 - 16x1.5
- Weatherhead #1447: 3/8" is 5/8 18 - 18x1.5
Notes, currently I am told the Pressure side fitting will not work, its not the right size, not confirmed.