1966 300 power to manual steering

Early C Bodies - The Slab Side Years

  1. NormanPlombe

    NormanPlombe Member

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    17
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2020
    Location:
    Kingman, AZ
    I'm wanting to swap from power to manual steering. I'd like a rebuilt steering gear but I'm having trouble sourcing one other than Cardone and I've heard negative stuff about their quality. Also I've been totally unable to source a pitman arm, which I'm assuming is different from manual to power. Also....it looks like they used the same manual box way up into the late 70's at least. Anybody know the which other cars/years used the same box as the 300 in '66? I'm thinking maybe all C bodies were the same.
     
  2. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,413
    Likes Received:
    1066
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    Location:
    Scotland, Ontario, Canada
    65-68 Plymouth Fury, 65-68 Dodge Polara/Monaco and 65-68 Chrysler Newport - all offered as standard equipment a manual steering box and associated hardware.

    Of all three lines, the Fury is the most likely to have manual steering - I've seen a lot with it.

    Firm Feel, Steer and Gear and a few others offer good quality remanufactured steering boxes, but keep in mind you get what you pay for.

    Respectfully, why would you want to go to a manual setup? The power steering in C bodies is somewhat of a necessity at lower speeds, especially if you get an upgraded box. I'm interested in your reasoning around the swap.

    Same for manual to power brakes - while some love manual brakes, typically most enjoy power assist on our big cars. Upgrading to power discs is easy and very effective improvements are gained using all factory parts.

    eBay has lots to offer here:
    Manual Steering box search:
    C body manual steering box | eBay

    Manual steering C body pitman arm
    NOS MOPAR 1965-6 C BODY MANUAL STEERING PITMAN ARM | eBay

    C body Idler arm (I do not know if this is compatible for manual steering applications)
    NOS MOPAR 1965-73 C BODY STEERING LINKAGE IDLER ARM | eBay
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. SGT FURY

    SGT FURY Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    824
    Likes Received:
    740
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2019
    Location:
    Northern California
    There might be a difference in steering colum length to think about. I know there is with B bodies
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Ripinator

    Ripinator Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,961
    Likes Received:
    2795
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Location:
    Germantown, MD
    Why do you want to do this ?!? Are you having trouble adjusting the belt? Is the pump leaking? What? BTW, welcome to FCBO.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    13,736
    Likes Received:
    8559
    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Location:
    Marcellus, NY
    Someone needs to say this...

    It's a bad idea... You don't want manual steering in a big C body. The ratio is going to be slower, the effort is going to be really high to park it. There's a reason you don't see manual steering in any of these cars.

    Firm Feel and Steer and Gear can rebuild a box. Buy a used "core" and send it to them while you drive it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 9
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  6. LocuMob

    LocuMob Fluid Technician with a hat FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,166
    Likes Received:
    8023
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Location:
    Blue Earth Mn
    I had unhooked the brake booster for whatever reason, and my car stopped like crap. I'm not one to shy away from iffy brakes and whatnot, but I was relieved after hooking the booster back up. And I've stopped from high speeds in panic situations a lot faster than I thought the car could with drums all around, surprisingly fast. They just need to be adjusted correctly, which is very simple.

    I don't having power steering I'm one car right now, and it's not too bad. Like @Big_John said, parking can be a quick workout, but not the end of the world.

    As per the parts book, the steering column housing and shafts are the same, manual/power.
     
  7. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    13,736
    Likes Received:
    8559
    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Location:
    Marcellus, NY
    I've had manual steering cars (although not a C body) and I agree, it's not the end of the world, BUT, it can be for someone that might not have the arm strength to park it. For example, if my car had manual steering, that would stop Mrs. Big John from being able to drive it. I could still do it, although I wouldn't enjoy driving the car at all.

    It also makes the car just about worthless for resale and IIRC, the OP started his first conversation with the comment about selling it.

    Manual shaft is longer.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. NormanPlombe

    NormanPlombe Member

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    17
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2020
    Location:
    Kingman, AZ
    This is why I usually avoid seeking answers on message boards. "WHY DO YOU WANT TO DO THAT?" That's not helpful. I'm not a child...I know the difference between power steering/brakes and manual. I prefer manual. Did you guys expect some spiritual answer? Could there be any other answer than "Because I want to?" If you prefer a bunch of pumps and plumbing because you have weak arms and legs...go for it. I don't ride a Rascal scooter around Wal Mart either, though that would be easier on my legs and arms. We've got robots building self-driving cars now...go buy one of them and take human effort out of the equation altogether. Convenience is a hearse running over a baby carriage (that's a metaphor).

    I used to worry about keeping things stock for the next guy. Well, look around--do you see a bunch of young guys interested in these cars? I don't. We're not the next guys. We're the LAST guys. So don't bust my chops, eh?.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  9. NormanPlombe

    NormanPlombe Member

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    17
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2020
    Location:
    Kingman, AZ
    Thanks for info about columns being the same....That's what a helpful reply looks like.

    Re. the disconnect of booster. I agree, (my booster's defunct now and brakes are surprisingly not too hard to stop) but that's nothing like a purpose-built manual (that's a silly word for a foot-operated device) brake setup. Especially in my case where the car's been sitting forever and heaven knows what's going on inside my non-functioning booster.

    I'll never understand why booster systems use different pedal geometry and master cylinders....It seems like you could use a much smaller assist unit on an existing setup that would be just as effective. Yes, I know you're trading pedal travel and length for mechanical advantage...but this ain't a sports car...I'm not going to be finessing this thing through the esses.

    Thanks again for info on steering columns. Does parts book call for different Pitman arms between power and manual? I swapped a Chevy truck from power to manual and it was a bolt-in except for Pitman.
     
  10. mikedrini

    mikedrini Active Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    497
    Likes Received:
    260
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Location:
    Center Barnstead, NH
    All but one of those responses above was meant to be helpful. More food for thought than chop busting. No one insulted you. There are answers to the question you asked. Don't be so defensive.
     
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. NormanPlombe

    NormanPlombe Member

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    17
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2020
    Location:
    Kingman, AZ
    thanks for heads up on ebay listings....I was searching too specifically, and don't have the experience to know if all C bodies used the same box.
     
  12. Ripinator

    Ripinator Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,961
    Likes Received:
    2795
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Location:
    Germantown, MD
    So. . . You still haven't answered the question. Why do you want to do this? Just trying to understand your thinking here. . . And lighten up, Francis.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,413
    Likes Received:
    1066
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    Location:
    Scotland, Ontario, Canada
    I think some people just like manual brakes and steering - and we may never know Norman's reasons beyond that.

    However, in regards to the ugly tone that seems to be raising its head - @NormanPlombe - most of the people who've responded have respectfully asked for your thinking on the idea of swapping to manual, with no intention of beating you up about it. They just want to know your reasoning, and they're trying to be helpful by simply voicing their concerns and opinions, since many of them have "been there done that or at least considered that". Again, there's a wealth of experience here to draw on.

    In defence of language and misunderstandings - One of the things I hate about forums is that written word has the ability to have emotion attached to it by the reader that was never intended when the person wrote the words. We can't hear tone, nor see facial expressions, and I am as guilty as the next person in "reading the meaning" wrong.

    Let's all take a deep breath. Norman - no one is trying to beat you up, and everyone else, Norman has his reasons for investigating the swap.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. stubs300

    stubs300 Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,903
    Likes Received:
    1174
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Location:
    Free America
    OK, so now it's my turn! Before you go wasting your time & money, do this. Remove your PS belt and go for a drive and then tell me how well you can handle your car! I can sure as hell guarantee your ass that you won't be able to deal with it, and you'll immediately and majorly regret the decision after it's done! Then what? You'll come on here pissin & moanin about how you screwed up, and shouldn't have done it, blah, blah, blah! I hope you have a large source and supplier of spinach!
    I wish you luck in whatever endeavor you choose!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Ripinator

    Ripinator Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,961
    Likes Received:
    2795
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Location:
    Germantown, MD
    Yes. Since I have three '66 300s, I sure would like to know what Norman is thinking here. Hell. . . Maybe I would want to do this too.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. stubs300

    stubs300 Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,903
    Likes Received:
    1174
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Location:
    Free America
    Hell, I'm surprised you haven't already done this?
     
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  17. '66 Fury I

    '66 Fury I New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB, Canada
    My '66 Fury has manual brakes and steering. Manual brakes are FAR superior to power brakes with a faulty booster unit, and manual steering is also FAR easier than power steering with the pump disabled. My brakes are, IMHO, always more than adequate. The manual steering is, admitedly, "heavy" at low speed.
    A call to National Mo-Parts (888) 652-7464, will probably lead to all the parts necessary.
    What ever you do, enjoy your ride, after all, it is "Just for Fun"!!
     
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,413
    Likes Received:
    1066
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    Location:
    Scotland, Ontario, Canada
    Agreed - and @'66 Fury I comments are helpful.

    Just comparing manual steering to disabled power steering is not really realistic. The factory would never have made manual steering and brakes an option if they were as hard to use as power assisted systems are when disabled.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  19. stubs300

    stubs300 Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,903
    Likes Received:
    1174
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Location:
    Free America
    It's still a good barometer of how much work will be needed to steer!
     
  20. Snotty

    Snotty Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,714
    Likes Received:
    1312
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    Chico, California
    ...Why??