Manual steering

Manual steering sucks.  It increases the number of turns lock to lock at the steering wheel.  It makes it hard to park.  It’s way harder to catch a fishtail or hold a drift because it turns so slow.  But it doesn’t require a power steering pump, I could figure out how to do it myself, and it was cheap.  It should be apparent that cheap, ugly, and easy are always for me.

Second generation f-bodies came with both power steering and manual steering boxes.  The manual steering box pitman arm shaft is both a different diameter and a different length than the power steering pitman arm.  A Chevy S10 manual steering box uses the same diameter pitman arm shaft and therefore allows you to use your existing tie rod setup.  Apparently everyone in the world already knows this and the cheapest S10 steering box I could find was $400.  That doesn’t check the ‘cheap’ box in any way, shape, or form, so to eBay I went.  I was able to locate a used and abused manual steering box on eBay–if memory serves it was out of a g-body but don’t quote me on that and eBay’s history doesn’t go back far enough for me to look it up.  YMMV.

Pictured are the original power steering box and the replacement manual steering box.  I couldn’t break the pitman arm nut loose in my garage so up to the local hot rod hangout, Adam’s Service Center, and a quick burst with the impact gun and I was able to move my pitman arm to the manual box.


I mentioned in an earlier post that I had the engine on 3/4″ spacers with the truck pan under it, then put it on 1/4″ spacers once I swapped that out with a 2000 Camaro oil pan and pickup.  Here is the waste of time and money that I put into making the spacers.  The material, 3/4″ aluminum, came from Amazon (you can buy anything from that place–anything).  I borrowed a Harbor Freight bandsaw from my father and went to town on these things.

Apparently I was pretty proud of these at one point–I sure took a lot of pictures of a hunk of aluminum.

Here is a rubbing I took from the k-member showing the factory bolt holes.  I don’t recall why I did it and also don’t remember the significance of a dirty piece of paper.  It does highlight a nice trick that my father taught me, it only works with dirty hands though.

Is this going to melt?

Is this going to melt?  This was the $64,000 question.  There is a bit more offset then the picture suggests, but it is still close.  Close in this case refers to about 1 3/4 inches.  After 200 or so hard and hot miles I can say that the rubber cover hasn’t melted but I think a fair amount of the grease has melted and dripped out of it.

More Chinese good stuff

This photo shows the two v-band to T4 flange elbows and the two Rev-9 T4T3 GT35 turbos.  I had concerns with a larger turbo not spooling as fast as I’d like it to on the street so I went with two smaller individual turbos instead of one big one.  That’s the reason I tell people on the street.  The real reason I went with twins is because they look cool.  And the real reason I went with the GT35 knockoffs is because they were cheap.  The elbows are from CX Racing.  They weren’t as cheap as I’d have liked but I couldn’t find much else with a 3″ v-band and a four bolt T4 flange.

I had read online that a T4 with a tight A/R would spool fast down low but still have enough flow to not choke the motor at the top end.  I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but I know that the car pulls like nothing I’ve ever been in.  It opens your eyes like two dinner plates and makes your b-hole clench so hard it looks like cigarette burns in the seat.  They are 60mm turbines on the hot side and 78mm on the cold side if memory serves.  These are journal bearing turbos, they don’t build boost very smoothly I assume because of the increased drag over a ball bearing turbo.  You press down the gas and nothing, nothing, nothing, and then ALL OF THE THINGS OH GOD WHY.  They start making positive pressure at about 2800rpm and pretty quickly ramp to 12psi despite the 8psi springs in the wastegates.

I have the fenders set in place to hold the top of the radiator support.  The angle doesn’t show it well but there is only about 1 1/2″ between the cold sides of the turbos and the radiator support.  I kicked around ideas of cutting sections out of the support but then ran into trouble once I started adding in the wastegate plumbing.  In the end I fabricated (in the loosest sense of the word) a whole radiator support from square tube, booger welds, and big dreams.


Fitment, aka “How to get 10 pounds of potatos in a 5 pound sack”.  This series of pictures is all about figuring out how high I can get the turbos and the charge pipe.  I put the car up on jack stands (on the frame, not the suspension, so it’s in a fixed position) and measured from each corner of the bumper cover to the floor.  Then I built little wooden stands, one for each corner of the hood.  With the help of an indignant and angsty teenager I laid the hood on the cowl of the car and set my wooden legs under each corner of the hood.

Since I had already decided I was not using the original radiator support I was free to cut a bunch of the low hanging metal from the front of the hood, including the hood latch area.  This freed up a lot of space for the angled top of the intercooler.

You would think that I’d cook the paint off the hood with as little clearance as I have but so far it has not been an issue.

This is the part where I really start making shit up

Up to this point one could argue that I may know what I’m doing.  This is the point where there is no going back and it is obvious I’m just winging it.  Strap on protective headgear, we’re going in.

Once I decided I need to fab up a radiator support it was time to figure out where everything needs to go.  I now had a lot more freedom to decide where everything needs to go.  Freedom is great if you know what you need to do.  The following pictures chronicle my quest to figure out what I need to do.

I used a couple pieces of offal 2×3 and made a combination radiator/intercooler support.  I experimented with the combo up high, down low, offset left, offset right, front, back, sideways, upside down, you get the idea.

Fun story, near the bottom of the set of pictures is a picture of the hood laying on the garage floor.  It had been sitting on a nice little stand and at some point that evening it fell on the floor.  Luckily no damage was done.  Looking at the rest of the car, what damage would really have been done?