Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

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Henry K. Lee
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Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:42 pm

After a lot of request, here you go folks. I will do my best to show the procedures which work best. But first a little pre-cautions and findings;

Use only USA made parts, ie, original Vega Saginaw Steering Box in good condition or new from a US manufacturer. They start at $350.00 new, used can be found from around $50.00-$100.00 and around another $30.00 in seals, grease, etc. On some mods depending on your front end set up, the original pitman arm works fine.

The same goes for the joints, pitman arm, hardware, etc. Remember, it's "Your" steering! Dave just found out the hard way on this project that the overseas made items and the good ole USA parts to not match up.

Over the years, I have converted to and from Ross Boxes, Model A's, Apex, Franklin's, etc. The Vega probably is the most universal and ease in fitting with plenty of options in suppliers. If a Model T is to be driven over 45 MPH and has an aux transmission/overdrive this steering will give you the ultimate steering at any speed in my opinion. I know others will criticize me for this, well that is your opinion. Safety is first, my cars haul a$$ and I am having my fun too.

I will be adding later a list of required supplies and templates made of cardboard if you require them. I am NOT manufacturing any of the parts anymore so please do not ask. I have to get on my cars and projects before I die. You folks can do this if you can read this.
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First things first, make sure all of your front end components are in good condition and everything is in alignment.

As you can see from the photos, the silver overseas made pitman arm slides way to far onto the shaft and wiggles, (not good). There are 90 degree master index notches on the originals, but you can if needed use a triangle file and re-index the factory pitman arm.

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Henry K. Lee
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:51 pm

Here are some different styles of pitman arms so there are more by length, drop, and angle from the supplier.
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This Speedster is using a conventional front end except for the drop axle. An original pitman works great here.

Your can use either a bolt in ball as shown or a replacement one for a Model A as shown (welding required). There are options. I find that pressing a sleeve into the oversize hole if using the bolt in style works great, then re-drill as needed.

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Henry K. Lee
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:22 pm

Now comes the setting of the box, be patient and take your time. The geometry of steering as stated by the early books of the 1910's thru 1930's says it best, "The straightest of angles (pushing and pulling) must be maintained in order for the components to work in harmony". I just can not stress this statement enough. I have seen so many beautiful modifications fail due to a high angle coming from the pitman arm. It will under steer and load up. Think of an old car you had as a teenager that turned around a corner, but when you were coming out of the radius, you had to turn the wheel a lot to straighten up, understeer due due worn components. Same applies to poor geometry. Every action has a reaction.

Now we find the sweet spot where to mount. For this application it is a setting approximately 1 1/2' in a vertical line from the back edge of the center link to the front edge of the ball in the pitman arm. (see photos)
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I will be providing other templates for these brackets so do't panic.
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Since all the torque has been redirected to the frame instead of the firewall (those gears are in the box now) we must brace the frame at both the lower and upper sections. Do NOT weld on the frame! These frames are of a high carbon steel, micro fractures will occur. I have seen others break!

You can see by the photos, the spark mechanism can be maintained with another modification. Simple. I use wooden 3/4" dowel rod for mock up purposes. For those with deep sumps, I machine a cut out or take the milling machine to remove excess fins, and weld in a recess if needed.

Will be going over in Part 2 the column flange angle and pedal clearances.

Hope you All Enjoy!

All the Best,

Hank inTin-A-See
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spadpilot
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by spadpilot » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:56 pm

....any body out there in need of a door stop for their shop? I've got a brand new Chinese "Vega" steering box that is worthless. As it is worthless, you can have it for postage. Hats off to Hank!
...some people are like Slinkies....they're generally useless but fun to watch when you push them down the stairs.


schwabd1
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by schwabd1 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:14 pm

Heck David, for free it would be a great door stop.... i'll take you up on your offer if you're serious... PM me or my cell is 419-283-6363. Dave

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Henry K. Lee
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:12 pm

Had a little more time so I started the twist modification and reforge of the steel. The drag link needs to be twisted approximately 84 degrees to the right.
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Good fit, ready for more in the next few days.

All the Best,

Hank


Les Schubert
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by Les Schubert » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:07 pm

Another option for the drag link is to use model A tie rod ends. If you have the ability to thread some 3/4” heavy wall tube


Allan
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by Allan » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:59 am

Hank, are the reproduction drag links with the new threaded fittings on the end, not the correct length for your application? It would have made setting the angle of the ball ends a piece of cake, at a cost of course.

Allan from down under.

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Henry K. Lee
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by Henry K. Lee » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:47 am

Allan I have found that the shortest of the factory links works best, but all will work. You have to take a triangle file and remove the master keys from inside a factory pitman arm that is it and rest one to two notches over.

All the Best,

Hank

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John Warren
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by John Warren » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:58 am

Looks like a great steering package. Thanks for sharing your projects. I look forward to reading the posts.
24-28 TA race car, 26 Canadian touring, 25 Roadster pickup, 14 Roadster, and 11AB Maxwell runabout
Keep it simple and keep a good junk pile if you want to invent something :P

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Henry K. Lee
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by Henry K. Lee » Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:44 pm

BTT

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TRDxB2
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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by TRDxB2 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:07 pm

Thanks Hank - a great help once again. Frank


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Re: Vega Box installation 101 Part 1

Post by Chad_Marcheese » Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:50 pm

Your right, its not a mod for everyone. But its nice to see a detailed write up with pics on it. Should be good food for thought for anyone building a speedster.

On my speedster build, I debated the Vega box, but ultimately I decided I wanted to use as many pre war parts as possible. I ended up using a '30-31 Model A 2 tooth steering box, but mounted it further back like an A does.

Sorry for the thread drift
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Speedster Project 27.1.jpg
Speedster Project 27.1.jpg (70.06 KiB) Viewed 710 times

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