Classic Performance Products (CPP) Steering Box Installation 1965 Coupe
I know there are a few threads already addressing this issue but I thought I'd add an updated one with an overview of my experience. I apologize in advance for the lengthy post but I want to provide as much info as possible.
I just finished the install of my CPP power steering box this weekend on my 1965 289, C code coupe. My car is a driver quality car in above average condition but not show quality. I went to this setup from a 16:1 manual box. I'll try to add some pics this weekend if I get some time. I am a shade tree mechanic with above average skills and lots of tools, but no expert by any means. Unfortunately, I don't have a lift so jacks and stands had to do. I will say that this is definitely a weekend project. I was not in any hurry so I just took my time.
These are the parts I bought and where acquired. IIRC, everything ran me about $600 (without the pump). I'll add part numbers and actual totals as I find the packages I already tossed out. I am in PA and the parts came from CA. I feel the shipping time was reasonable for the distance. I think no more than a week for any of the parts.:
1.) CPP steering box - 400 Series; part CP5005MU
2.) Rag joint - I actually found an older CPP version on eBay of the one they sell now. The only difference was that the side on mine that the shaft goes into was round, as opposed to the double D they use now. I just used a roll pin and welded it for good measure. Saved me about $25. I actually had an extra 19:1 steering box so I just cut the shaft off of that to use for my conversion. That allowed me to cut the other shaft on the 16:1 box I had in the car that I had replaced previously which made removal a lot easier. (If anyone has removed these boxes/columns as one piece, you know how difficult and labor intensive it can be.)
3.) Pitman arm - you have to use their modified arm. Can't remember why right now. Maybe the size of the box's output shaft and slightly different angle?
4.) Column installation kit - this is like a 3 or 4 piece kit that comes altogether as one and helps to hold the base of the column in place at the interior floorboard/firewall. You need this because you have to cut your existing column shorter.
5.) PS pump - They sell a Saginaw style pump to go with the box. I had an original Eaton pump and rebuilt it and that is what I am currently using until I get a Saginaw style. Both the Eaton and Ford style original pumps should work. HOWEVER, they will not put out the 1200 psi pressure that CPP recommends for these boxes. I think they'll put out somewhere in the neighborhood of 800-1000. I noticed the difference on my first (and only because of our crappy PA weather) test drive. It feels like power steering but probably not quite as boosted as it should.
6.) PS lines - I bought some PTFE and AN fittings from Summit Racing and made my own hoses.
NOTE: CPP sells most, if not all, of this stuff together in a kit as well.
I have read others say this is not a "plug and play". They are correct. However, if you can do some minor mods, it's really not an issue. Would definitely help to have 2 sets of hands. CPP provides comprehensive, easy to follow instructions that were pretty spot on minus the clearance mods. There was a fair amount of test fitting and resolving clearance issues. I removed and installed from under the car because I did not want to mess with the new power brake setup I've already installed. I, like others, had to dimple the shock tower to clear the back (actually the portion closest to the front of the car) of the box. It looks like the back of the box had been cut/shaved square by CPP so maybe they had tried to modify the newer versions of these to eliminate the shock tower issue. Regardless, I still had to dimple it. I have Patriot mid length headers on my car and had to completely remove the driver's header (again, from below and at both the head and the collector) but had to lift the header up into the engine compartment and zip tie it up to get the box up in there. Had to do it in that order too or things wouldn't fit. Header up loosely then box up and in. I had to cut a small part of the ends of my upper control arm bolts on the driver's side to pull the headers up more. you may not have to do all that. Had to dimple one of the primary tubes for clearance on the box as well. I mocked the box and pump in place and figured out the orientation and length of hose and fittings. (NOTE: I just spoke to CPP today re: the proper PS fluid to be used. Because of the Eaton pump, Ford demands you use Type F (formerly Type A) but CPP says you should use a GM rated fluid like the basic Prestone and whatnot. So I will be flushing the Type F out of mine this weekend. CPP said that if you return a damaged box and it would have resulted from using Type F, it would void the warranty. Fair enough. Another reason for me to switch pumps eventually.) Then, for ease, I connected both hoses to the pump before putting it up in place for the final time. Cutting the shaft and the column are pretty straight forward and are spelled out clearly in the instructions. Once installed, get the box centered up and install the pitman arm then continue with the column, wheel and lower column holder/installation kit. I had to remove my steering wheel and reposition it to straighten the orientation after the test drive but other than that, the car still feels like its aligned. I'll still have it checked. I'm sure there are some other things I left out.
Overall, I am pleased with it. Very responsive and, even with the Eaton pump, still has a good deal of power assist. Could definitely parallel park without a problem. I can't compare it to the Borgeson as I've never felt that system, but its probably similar. I think some of the CPP literature says the box is 2.75 turns lock to lock but it is actually right around 3. I would not want anything more responsive. I am running 70 series 14 inch tires but will be upgrading to wider tires soon as well. I have seen some folks in older threads remark about CPP poor customer service. I will say, from my experience, that I've called CPP probably 6-8 times between January and now before and after purchasing and never had a bad experience. Spoke with different people and they all were courteous, knowledgeable and helpful and didn't seem to mind if I was asking lots of questions. I have no affiliation with CPP. Just want to give them an honest review. Maybe they have improved on their customer service? Not sure. I can just tell you what I experienced. Anyway, again, my overall impression is good about the product and the company. I'll try to give some updates on longevity as I start to drive it more if it ever stops snowing in PA!
Thanks for reading my long-winded post.