Check your Borgeson rag joint! - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-01-2017, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Check your Borgeson rag joint!

To owners of 64 - 66 with Borgeson power steering conversion, go check that the "safety" pins in the rag joint extend far enough to make contact with the metal shell in case the rubber biscuit fails. Although I thought I had followed the directions during the installation when the rag joint failed (after maybe 500 miles), the pins barely, barely made contact allowing me to steer the car. I believe either the pins should be longer, or the joint has too much built in "spring", and the joint has to be forced together before tightening the set screws on the shaft splines. Anyone else have this problem? Either way, go check and make certain yours is assembled correctly in order to avoid disaster.
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-01-2017, 06:29 PM
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I've had these fail on 3 cars so far...

It's always something...
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-01-2017, 09:26 PM
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One thing you can do is weld a thrust washer on the column and the shaft to prevent movement of the joint.

Amateur restorer. Well, sometimes I have been paid for it. But not right now.
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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The washer idea might work. I'd be concerned about getting it "square and true" to the shaft. The instructions say to set the top of the upper union within 1/16" of the plastic bushing at the bottom of the shortened steering column tube, and this may be where I went wrong the first time. I honestly don't recall if I checked the engagement of the safety pins at installation. After replacing the rubber biscuit after the failure, I found I had to force the upper and lower halves of the joint together in order to get the pins to engage. I used Visegrip pliers to compress the two halves to engage the pins. The new biscuit may have been a little thicker, but not the 1/4 inch or more, the pins missed the metal shell. With the set screws on the joint loosened, I moved the entire rag joint as close to the bottom of the steering column as possible and tightened the set screws and lock nuts. (Yes, I know, I should have then disassembled the entire thing after marking the positions and filed flats on the splines, but I will be watching things carefully for any movement until I take the car off the road over winter and will address things then.)
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-14-2017, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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time to take a look?
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-14-2017, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bella View Post
After replacing the rubber biscuit after the failure, I found I had to force the upper and lower halves of the joint together in order to get the pins to engage. I used Visegrip pliers to compress the two halves to engage the pins.
That right there should have been an indication that something wasn't right. No forcing of anything required. It should all just mate up and be in proper alignment. Correctly installed there should be no tension on the joint for it to want to pull away from the box or the column.
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Last edited by 4ocious; 10-14-2017 at 11:31 AM.
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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I recently removed the column to paint the dash and the column tube and so I'm looking at the same problem with the rag joint. I may have cut the column tube too short during the original install.


I searched and found some references to replacing the rag joint altogether with a universal joint. Called Borgeson and have a part number of 013425 for about $85. Guy I spoke to raised the alternative of adding a lock collar (around $10) to the shaft between the rag joint and the end of the column tube. He also mentioned that the use of a universal may introduce noise and vibration. Obviously, cost not a consideration when dealing with the steering, but want to hear others experience.


Anyone tried either method and what was the result? Owners of later years can throw out opinions, but really want to hear from early car owners.
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 04:36 PM
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I put a Borgeson Universal Joint in my 66 project with an Ididit tilt column.

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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 05:20 PM
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There used to be U joints with a rubber isolator built into them to replace rag joints. There will be a little more vibration etc but it will be much tighter feeling than a sloppy rag joint.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 05:27 PM
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The shop that finished did most of my bodywork refused to use the Borgeson set up for that rag joint problem. He knew what he was talking about in 2014
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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 06:31 PM
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Its not the length of the column that causing this, its preload on the spring behind the steering wheel thats puts upward pressure on the rag joint. If you use the Mustang Steve lower column bearing kit, it has a locking collar that carries the preload of the spring behind the steering wheel. That in turn takes the load off the rag joint and will keep the rubber ragjoint isolator flat and the pins engaged on the flanges for safety.

I have done this and it works perfectly.
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2001 Lightning #1757

Last edited by Lightning; 06-17-2019 at 06:34 PM.
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning View Post
Its not the length of the column that causing this, its preload on the spring behind the steering wheel thats puts upward pressure on the rag joint. If you use the Mustang Steve lower column bearing kit, it has a locking collar that carries the preload of the spring behind the steering wheel. That in turn takes the load off the rag joint and will keep the rubber ragjoint isolator flat and the pins engaged on the flanges for safety.

I have done this and it works perfectly.
This explains a lot. I put a Borgeson kit on my car and followed the instruction to the letter. Lately I noticed my horn doesn't work the the turn signals didn't cancel. Turns out the spring was pushing the steering wheel and shaft about 1/8" so the cancelling cam wasn't hitting the tabs.

Looked at the Part number Bella posted and the universal joint is 80 bucks. Also looked at Mustang Steve's website and the steering column lower shaft bearing kits are 75 bucks. Kind of a wash. I'm thinking of the Mustang Steve route but as Bella stated cost is not a consideration when dealing with steering.

What about doing both?

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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 07:29 PM
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If you choose to go the route of the borgeson U joint, be aware its longer than the length of the assembled rag joint. The column will still fit but it's difficult to get the upper set screw tightened because of its proximity to the firewall opening. Cant comment on doing both from experience but I think it would work.

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Last edited by Lightning; 06-17-2019 at 07:33 PM.
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning View Post
If you choose to go the route of the borgeson U joint, be aware its longer than the length of the assembled rag joint. The column will still fit but it's difficult to get the upper set screw tightened because of its proximity to the firewall opening. Cant comment on doing both from experience but I think it would work.
So I went out to look at my rag joint, this thread got me paranoid, turns out one of the metal pins had the nut fall off and it was barely hanging on. IF, and that's a big if, I use the rag joint, I'm pulling it apart and using locktite on the nuts. I'm thinking I'll use the universal joint. I'll call Borgeson tomorrow and talk to them. I'll also call Mustang Steve. I like the idea of the lower column bearing.

66 Convertible, GT clone. 289 4V, C4. Springtime yellow with black top
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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 08:18 PM
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I went with the Mustang Steve lower collar. About 600 miles on it now and the rag joint looks brand new. I have also recently bought the U-joint but not yet installed it. I am looking to tighten up the play that comes from the rag joint (I hope). It's not much but it could be better.
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