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Offline entropy

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Time to deal with the 1972 flex shaft...
« on: November 05, 2019, 09:23:33 PM »
As my car starts to get ever more serious in the power department, it's time for me to start dealing with other aspects of the car that scare the bajeezus out of me....and the flexible steering shaft is stop number one.  Is there anyone out there who has gotten rid of that nightmare cable, replaced it with shafts and u joints *and* who can tell me in detail what I'll need in order to make that happen safely?
1972 "Hoonabout"
SBF swap
8" rear 4.11 posi
T-5 trans
10 point rollcage
Single stage NOS Cheater system

275 rwhp 350 lb/ft on motor.....some thing a bit more than that on the spray.

Offline 71pintoracer

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Re: Time to deal with the 1972 flex shaft...
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2019, 01:19:05 PM »
As you stated in my post, that cable shaft might have been the cause the demise of the Pintoracer. So will a later model u-joint shaft work in the early chassis with the V-8? If so l have an extra column in a parts car. Other wise you will have to make a shaft. Years ago (many years lol) when l drove dirt track pinto's we used the weld in joints from Summit with a heim joint to stabilize the shaft. That way we got rid of the rag joint.
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

Offline 72DutchWagon

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Re: Time to deal with the 1972 flex shaft...
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2019, 02:06:32 PM »
I would like to get rid of the flex shaft too, after 47 years it must be past its prime.
When driving over 80 on the freeway it always feels like the steering gets vague, certainly with load in the back.
Reeves already gave suggestions on April 26, 2014 in the post “Flex steering boots –solid with U-joints, you can find it here: https://www.fordpinto.com/general-pinto-talk/flex-steering-boots-solid-with-u-joints/msg147812/#msg147812 .
 I never found a post of someone who actually did it, and I’m very curious to know if it is possible to do with only two u-joints, because the space in which to make the bend to the rack is rather short in the early cars. Or would a third joint and consequently a heim joint be necessary to get it done?
I keep postponing this upgrade because I’m not 100% sure if I only have to order a Flaming River FR2631, FR1916 (or Borgeson equivalent) and a length of  ¾” hardened steel rod to change this.

Offline Wittsend

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Re: Time to deal with the 1972 flex shaft...
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2019, 05:31:49 PM »
Not sure if the one year only '73 rack and column are significantly different ... . But..., I used the '73 rack, a section of a Fox body Mustang joint and the steering column from my '88 Turbo Coupe.  I remember having to grind (on the joint) the unique shape of the column to match.  I don't have time now but maybe in the next few days I'll post pictures. Not sure what you are looking for but maybe it is an option?

Offline Wittsend

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Re: Time to deal with the 1972 flex shaft...
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 09:56:06 AM »
Here are the pictures. As always, DO AT YOUR OWN RISK. '88 Turbo Coupe steering column to '73 Pinto rack.


It has been a while..., but my recollection was that I used the Fox body joint (a portion of) to couple to the Pinto joint. I just went and looked but I still can't recall specifically. I hate getting old!  I did notice that I needed to indent the inner fender a bit. So, maybe the Turbo Coupe steering column was a bit longer???  Again, as best I recall I used the Pinto steering link and ground/modified the tip of the Fox body link to be an intermediary where as the Pinto link just bolted to the column.


Basically I had to modify the piece (cut off Fox body link) in picture three, to match the shape of the Pinto column (picture one) so it would fit the Pinto link and the other end fit the Turbo Coupe column (picture2)

Offline Wittsend

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Re: Time to deal with the 1972 flex shaft...
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 10:21:21 AM »
OK, going back and looking at the pictures I see I had to modify the column support. The machined piece on the column is fixed and not movable. However, the upper support piece can be fit anywhere. Thus, that determines where the Turbo Coupe column will reside. That also determines the column to rack link length.


 Some of this is coming back to me. I cut just the tip of the Fox body link (that was all I used of it) and ground it to match the Pinto link. However, it came short of matching the portion that went into the Turbo Coupe column. So, I had to elongate the hole. The rack is fixed in place. The machined piece on the column fixed it in place and thus the modification was necessary on the tip cut off the Fox body link to make up the distance.


I'm not sure if all Fox body (Mustang in particular) columns are the same but a lot of people use the TC for a turbo swap and might consider this option.  You get a tilt steering wheel in the deal. I had to rewire the horn/turn signals too. But I cut the connector off a junkyard column and didn't have to cut the original from my Pinto. I just plugged the connector in.

Offline 72DutchWagon

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Re: Time to deal with the 1972 flex shaft...
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2019, 01:40:42 PM »
Thanks for all the detailed info Wittsend.
Not many TC's around here, but I do have an extra Mustang II column, maybe do a little mix and match when the time comes for this job, probably it will go more in the direction of Reeves suggestions.

Offline Wittsend

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Re: Time to deal with the 1972 flex shaft...
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2019, 01:58:24 PM »
Trust me we don't have many Turbo Coupes around here either and I'm in sunny Southern California.  When I did my turbo swap in 2007 I was fortunate enough to already have an '88 TC. It was my daily driver for 10 years. When I went to the self serve yards there were always 3-5 of them. But within about 6 months (2008) there were 1 or 2. By 2010 it was maybe 1 every other month. I don't know that I've seen even one in the past 5 years now.

My hope is that a lot of the Fox body cars (mainly Mustangs) used a similar column and it would be helpful as an option. But, I understand where you are anything American must be rare.