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Fixing my 76 power steering for hydro boost

blamejane

Bronco Guru
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
1,953
My BIL says I need to make my bronco safer to drive. He said steering and brakes. My 76 has power steering (probably factory) and it whines and squeaks whenever I turn. It's so embarrassing I try never to turn :p. The steering has a lot of play, probably at least 30 percent. The brakes are disc in front and I think rear drums. I have to use two-feet to stop the bronco, yikes. I know if a deer ever jumps out onto the country roads it's definitely gonna be a problem. So...

I looked into the power/hydroboost tech articles for the brakes, and according to the information I found my power steering needs to be in excellent working order for the hydro system to function well. I may not be conveying this correctly, but the bottom line is I must focus on the problems with my power steering first.

I just searched and read two pages worth of "power steering" here on CB. I see a lot of people rebuild their existing OEM box and some suggest buying new. I'm not sure which I should do!? I see suggestions for saginaw dual return, and another thread regarding AGR Performance having a bolt-in replacement, along with several other msg's in between. I need a little direction here as I'm typically decision impaired. I am not doing a restoration and I drive in town mostly, though I live off 1/2 mile dirt-road. If my DH had his way, everything would be replaced with new billet parts lol.

My EB has a 2.5" WH lift for the 33's 12.5 tires.

I am not concerned about cost, just so long as I can remove all of the play in my steering and add a super awesome hydro type setup for the best possible stopping power. I know this may not be possible, but hopefully I can come close. Oh and if it's not too much to ask, I'd like it to be fairly simple to do lol. That is, I like bolt-on more than conversions; maybe keep it simple.

Pics will be added to document my progress
and help identify what I need to do.
 

bchesley

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Dec 21, 2012
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327
I had my factory box rebuilt by PSC and I am running the MOAB hydro kit from wild horses and the steering and brakes are better than my new dodge Ram. Very happy with the results....
 

NGABronco

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Feb 4, 2007
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N. GA now South Carolina
Ms Jane, Me thinks you need to determine "why" there is play in the steering?? It could be several reasons, worn tie rods or any connecting points of the mechanical steering? The squealing you speak of could be the P/S Pump or the belt, not necessarily the steering box. Get someone to watch the linkage while you turn the steering wheel to determine the cause of the play, then start replacing parts??
Hope this helps!!;D;D;D
 
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blamejane

blamejane

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May 12, 2012
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I had my factory box rebuilt by PSC and I am running the MOAB hydro kit from wild horses and the steering and brakes are better than my new dodge Ram. Very happy with the results....

Thanks so much for your response, glad to hear the steering and brakes can be this good after some work. :cool:

Ms Jane, Me thinks you need to determine "why" there is play in the steering?? It could be several reasons, worn tie rods or any connecting points of the mechanical steering? The squealing you speak of could be the P/S Pump or the belt, not necessarily the steering box. Get someone to watch the linkage while you turn the steering wheel to determine the cause of the play, then start replacing parts??
Hope this helps!!;D;D;D

Thanks NGA, I'm gonna look at this today and take some pics; maybe I'll get lucky ;)
 

Apogee

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Bronco Guru
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Nov 26, 2005
Messages
5,932
FWIW, the factory power steering and power brakes on the 76/77 Broncos were considered to be the pinnacle of Early Bronco options and can work very well with 33" tires IMO. Considering I purchased a basket case '77 about 20 years ago with terrible brakes and steering, I do have some experience, and yours doesn't sound very different from my own.

For the steering, my tie-rods and drag link were worn out, which was the cause of most of the slop in my steering, so I converted over from the "Y-link" to the inverted "T-link" steering with a tie-rod connecting the knuckles. While some may argue that the factory Y-type steering is better, I'm not one of them...I want my knuckle connected to one another directly with a tie-rod. My track bar angle wasn't parallel to my drag link either, so I removed the PO's track bar drop bracket, added a dropped pitman arm (3.5" SL) and they fell into line and this fixed the bump steer issue I was having. Next, I swapped out the track bar bushings which were trashed...this improved drivability and removed the scary "darty" behavior every time I hit a bump or crown in the road.

For brakes, the booster on my rig wasn't functioning properly, so I replaced it and did a brake job with new calipers, pads, rotors, wheel cylinder and drum brake kits. I didn't replace the master cylinder, however 2 weeks after doing the brake job, the MC failed and it was replaced as well.

At this point, the rig drove well at any speed up to about 85 MPH, stopped safely and never made me or my passengers fearful for our lives.
 
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blamejane

blamejane

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May 12, 2012
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...For the steering, my tie-rods and drag link were worn out, which was the cause of most of the slop in my steering, so I converted over from the "Y-link" to the inverted "T-link" steering with a tie-rod connecting the knuckles. While some may argue that the factory Y-type steering is better, I'm not one of them...I want my knuckle connected to one another directly with a tie-rod. My track bar angle wasn't parallel to my drag link either, so I removed the PO's track bar drop bracket, added a dropped pitman arm (3.5" SL) and they fell into line and this fixed the bump steer issue I was having. Next, I swapped out the track bar bushings which were trashed...this improved drivability and removed the scary "darty" behavior every time I hit a bump or crown in the road.

Thanks Apogee, I was wondering why the vendors offered a Y to T conversion, when the Y was supposedly an improvement. Just curious if this is a big job, or if this is for off-roaders but I will research about this.

For brakes, the booster on my rig wasn't functioning properly, so I replaced it and did a brake job with new calipers, pads, rotors, wheel cylinder and drum brake kits. I didn't replace the master cylinder, however 2 weeks after doing the brake job, the MC failed and it was replaced as well.

At this point, the rig drove well at any speed up to about 85 MPH, stopped safely and never made me or my passengers fearful for our lives.

Thanks for the info about which brake parts to update. I'm definitely excited to get them functioning like you described.
 

gnpenning

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Bronco Slave
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Dec 26, 2011
Messages
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I have more questions than answers.
A little diagnosing will go along way here. Put the shotgun down, unless someone is coming up the drive. ��. As mentioned check for play in your steering and correct any problems here.

Do You still have the canned ham Thompson pump? If so a up grade to the Saginaw pump with dual return will be a step in the right direction.

If I'm not mistaking you have a long history with your Bronco, has the pedal pressure needed to stop changed during this time or is it the same. Do you have a vacuum booster on it?? My 76 did not come with one. If so can you feel the vacuum assist? After the motor is shut off you should get a couple of stops with assist. If not you may have a bad booster. Depending on the above would depend on the next step I would take. The booster needs a good vacuum to be effective. Check hose and vacuum from the motor. The booster is a small one and marginal, if bad I would step to hydro boost at that point.
 

ep67bro

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Easton, MD
I switched my 67 to a 77 steering set up and a 77 brake set up and it is the best stopping and steering bronco I have owned. On 33s the factory stuff should be fine. I will say that I changed to the the T style linkage on the front axle. I also change to a Saginaw style pump and the whine and leaks went away. I do have a vacuum booster and just had to change it out as the old one was shot.

Double check all your steering linkage, get someone to turn the wheel when you watch the front end and see where that play is coming from. Could be the box could be ball joints in the linkage, could be a little of both. Work your way form the steering wheel down to the wheels.
 
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blamejane

blamejane

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May 12, 2012
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A little diagnosing will go along way here. Put the shotgun down, unless someone is coming up the drive. ��. As mentioned check for play in your steering and correct any problems here.

Do You still have the canned ham Thompson pump? If so a up grade to the Saginaw pump with dual return will be a step in the right direction.

Still has the Thompson pump, and since my DH prefers I purchase new rather than rebuild this is probably the direction I'm heading.

If I'm not mistaking you have a long history with your Bronco, has the pedal pressure needed to stop changed during this time or is it the same.

I do have a long history, however there was a 20 year span in-between where I kinda forgot some things :cool:. I was early 20's when this was my DD, back-and-forth between Plano and DFW, and I have to believe that the brakes could not have been this bad; either that or I was just oblivious lol.

Do you have a vacuum booster on it?? My 76 did not come with one. If so can you feel the vacuum assist? After the motor is shut off you should get a couple of stops with assist. If not you may have a bad booster. Depending on the above would depend on the next step I would take. The booster needs a good vacuum to be effective. Check hose and vacuum from the motor. The booster is a small one and marginal, if bad I would step to hydro boost at that point.

I don't think I have the vac assist. This would be mounted between the MC and the firewall correct?
 

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Pops68

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Yup, NO vacuum assist pictured.

Added that to mine with 33's and worked fine vs. going to hydroboost.
 
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blamejane

blamejane

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May 12, 2012
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I switched my 67 to a 77 steering set up and a 77 brake set up and it is the best stopping and steering bronco I have owned. On 33s the factory stuff should be fine. I will say that I changed to the the T style linkage on the front axle. I also change to a Saginaw style pump and the whine and leaks went away. I do have a vacuum booster and just had to change it out as the old one was shot.

Double check all your steering linkage, get someone to turn the wheel when you watch the front end and see where that play is coming from. Could be the box could be ball joints in the linkage, could be a little of both. Work your way form the steering wheel down to the wheels.

Another EB with the T link conversion; that's interesting. Checking the steering top to bottom is top of my list today, just waiting for help with testing since it takes two people. Thanks!
 
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blamejane

blamejane

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May 12, 2012
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Checked from the steering wheel, down the column to the box and everything moves as one, looks nice and tight. Below I see lots of movement, may or may not be correct.

I see an AGR sticker on the pump, maybe a rebuild from PO?

Pics and a video...

video doesn't seem to embed into the post correctly. Link to YouTube video: https://youtu.be/cD6NsTmYjXw

[youtube]cD6NsTmYjXw[/youtube]
 

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76YETI

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That looks all bent up on the passenger's side. I also run the Y-Link with 33's...no problem...but I don't rock crawl either.

76-77 Tie Rod Drag Link.jpg
 

gnpenning

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I have more questions than answers.
Pops answered the booster part. Some type of assist is helpful, but only if everything else in the system is working as it should. Hard glazed pads don't offer much stopping power. A thorough brake check should be done. Does your Park brake work?

Have you checked your PS fluid level? Belt tension? Are the pulleys and belt glazed?

Watching your video there appears to be a fair amount of movement in the linkage. Is the person moving the wheel just going to where the slop ends then changing directions? Go over everything that has play and replace as needed.
 
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blamejane

blamejane

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That looks all bent up on the passenger's side. I also run the Y-Link with 33's...no problem...but I don't rock crawl either.

View attachment 521993

Thank you. Yeah I guess mine doesn't look like the one pictured in your attachment.

Pops answered the booster part. Some type of assist is helpful, but only if everything else in the system is working as it should. Hard glazed pads don't offer much stopping power. A thorough brake check should be done. Does your Park brake work?

Have you checked your PS fluid level? Belt tension? Are the pulleys and belt glazed?

Watching your video there appears to be a fair amount of movement in the linkage. Is the person moving the wheel just going to where the slop ends then changing directions? Go over everything that has play and replace as needed.

PS fluid shows full and the Belt tension seems good. What do you mean by glazed? Does this mean shiny instead of dull?

Regarding the video, I was turning the steering wheel to where the slop ends, back and forth to where the steering gets tight. I don't know if the parking brake works, but will check everything.

Thanks guys!!
 
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blamejane

blamejane

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Thanks for the help everyone. I've ordered a few parts from WH and now only have to wait for them to arrive. I am starting with replacing the tie rods and drag linkage. Also picked-up a new steering stabilizer and a new HD Saginaw Power Steering pump (dual return for the hydro). Pretty excited to fix a few things after years of delay.
 

chuckji

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I’m no power steering expert, but won’t the Saginaw pump need a different bracket to mount?
 
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