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Power Steering and Clutch Operation


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I installed power steering on my 1963 Studebaker Avanti. Afterwards, the clutch pedal would hang up and the clutch would not release when making a sharp left turn. On the lift, you could see that the control valve actually bumped into the lever on the clutch linkage when the steering wheel was turned hard left. Apparently, when the new steering bell crank associated with the power steering ram was installed, the right and left tie rods were switched. And this changed the toe in.

In a Studebaker, the toe-in is adjusted by positioning the left (driver's side) wheel straight ahead on the high spot and then adjusting the right wheel to the correct toe-in. With proper alignment, the control valve will no longer press into the clutch linkage.  And, if you are lucky, you can find an alignment shop that welcomes you to step under the car and show the technician how to adjustment the caster and camber. 

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The reach rod is adjustable on the control valve to the belcrank. If that is off, or the Pittman arm (with the control valve assy.) Installed without the steering box centered on the 1/2 travel high spot, it will travel too far one direction.  I think that is what happened. If you look very carefully, there is an alignment mark on both the Pittman arm, and the splined shaft of the steering box. Line up the marks with the box at the 1/2 travel and you should be good to go.


Edited by brad
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Brad, thanks for your comments. The items you mentioned would cause this problem. When the power steering components were installed, the Pittman arm was lined up with the mark on the splined shaft of the steering box. I did my best to adjust the length of the power steering reach rod to match the original reach rod. Maybe I was off a turn or so.

When I backed the car out of the garage the first time after the power steering was installed and the clutch hung up, I didn't know what was going on so I had the car transported to an automotive shop. When we found out that the control valve was bumping into the clutch lever on tight left turns the car went to an alignment shop. The technician had to turn the steering wheel slightly, about 15 degrees to the right, to hit the 1/2 travel high spot and that did the trick.

Tolerances are pretty tight down there around the power steering control valve. The engine has R3 exhaust headers which cramps the space; exhaust and starter had to be pulled to install the Pitman arm.  When all this went together, I replaced the original starter with a NOS one because I didn't want to have to fight the battle again.


Edited by wwundt
not finished
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