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1955 power steering

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I was going to call Mudbone, but decided to ask here for those of you following. Page 268 figure 8-29. It says to install five centering springs and ten plungers in valve housing with drill spotted ends of plungers inward. I have installed the drilled ends facing the inside of the valve. Is this correct, or do they mean inward toward the pump?

This is seriously bumming me out.

Here is my latest guess. The steering gear worked in my wagon, it just leaked. I tried another pump today before disassembly. Since I am not seeing anything wrong with the gear, what do Yall think the chances of having two bad pumps are? Yes... I rebuilt them both, but maybe the vanes are bad, and I don't know how to tell.

Eff. Ess. And other abbreviations for the words in my head.

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Mike, you are correct, the drill spotted ends face inward to the spring and the smooth faces out to contact big washer on both sides. Drill spots both sides face the spring and each other.

If I remember correctly, the pump vane body can be flipped over and will not pump. I will consult manual for clues on that. John

Page 272, 8-26. Cast arrow on rotor housing should point in direction of rotation; clockwise as viewed from front of pump.

Edited by TexasJohn55 (see edit history)
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Thanks John,

I have checked both pumps and you are correct, they can be "reversed". I just don't know how tight those vanes should be in the slots. Slots seemed looser in pump one than pump two.

I know I don't sound like I'm speaking English right now.

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It was the pump. BOTH pumps!

There is a reason some things end up in junkyards or somebody's back shelf.

If you don't have the gauges as described in the manual, do this:

Pull the wheel all the way one way or the other while the drill is running. I used an 18 volt Dewalt cordless with a 3/4" socket to drive the nut clockwise. When the wheel is all the way to one side, the pump will bog and try to rip the drill out of your hand. Do this twice and all of the bubbles stop foaming, at least they did in my case.

There you have it.

Bad pump.

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Okay Mike, inhale, hold it for 10 seconds then slowly exhale. Now slowly lower that hammer from above your head and think about something nice, like that Great Race trip. Now, can I help you here? Like sending you a pump that was good when I drove it 5-6 years ago? We're here for ya brother, let me know. :cool:

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
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I picked up a known working unit from just down the road a piece yesterday (TGFW) which is why I know all of this now. I am really thinking the vanes are too sticky in the slots. The second one definitely was tighter, so it doesn't appear to be a "worn out" issue. I installed it yesterday and am going to fill with gear oil in a minute to make sure I fixed that leak (before putting column etc. back in).

It is 34 outside right now, but I am getting a car shipped to me today, so I gotta move this out of the way...

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Mike, if the vanes were not broken there is likely something else going on besides just worn out. They may be salvageable after a 2nd look inside, maybe stuck flow control or something.

First, Thanks for the kind words earlier Mike!

Second, TJ55 is correct. I would look at the flow control valve. You have to be careful when bleeding the system of air. An air pocket being pulled past that flow control valve can cause it to jam in the housing. When that happens your pump pressure will drop to a point that you loose assist. I think we discussed our bleeding procedure when you and I last spoke. Let me know if you would like me to post it here.

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Flushing and Bleeding Instructions

1. Disable ignition system using recommended procedure in your service manual.

2. Raise front wheels until just clear of ground.

3. Place drain pan under power steering pump return port. Disconnect return line from power steering pump and place it in drain pan. Flush the power steering pump reservoir by pouring new fluid into the reservoir until the fluid runs clear. Be sure to use the fluid recommended for your vehicle.

4. Leave return line in drain pan. Cap the pump reservoir return port to prevent leakage.

5. Fill power steering pump with new fluid recommended for your vehicle.

6. While having someone watch the fluid level and adding fluid to the pump (Keep fluid above top of pump casting) crank the engine over using the ignition switch. (To prevent excessive starter wear; crank engine over for less than 20 second intervals.) Continue to add new fluid until return line runs clear. Reconnect pump return line.

7. This completes the flushing procedure. Now begin bleeding the system.

8. Fill power steering pump with new fluid recommended for your vehicle.

9. While having someone watch the fluid level and adding fluid to the pump (Keep fluid above top of pump casting) crank the engine over using the ignition switch. (To prevent excessive starter wear; crank engine over for less than 20 second intervals.)

10. While you are cranking the engine over, turn the steering wheel lock to lock slowly at least 4 times to bleed the system. If you see any bubbles and/or foam enter the pump; stop and let the system rest until all of the bubbles and/or foam has dissipated. Repeat steps 8-10 until bubbles and/or foam no longer enter the pump.

11. Reconnect ignition system. Lower wheels to the ground. Start engine and test drive car. If assist is smooth, bleeding is complete. If assist is erratic, whines or fluid is foaming; repeat steps 8-10. If you have questions, please call our tech line at 1-800-555-0638 or support@larescorp.com

Edited by dan@larescorp (see edit history)
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A comment on "recommended fluid", from my experiences. When I was learning about "things" in the earlier '60s, almost every service station had a can (pint or quart) of automatic trans fluid on their lube bay's bench, for "topping off" power steering reservoirs. The literature, at the time, noted that using atf to "top off" the p/str system was fine. Usually, it just took a little bit to get the fluid level above the "Add" line.

Later, I discovered that Chrysler and GM had their own specific power steering fluid, starting in the earlier '60s. I knew of a Mopar Jobber and bought a quart can of it for our Chrysler. It was a clear, waxy-looking fluid, whereas atf was red and low-viscosity fluid. The Mopar can also had a really nice, rolled lip on it, which made it easier to pour and not drip it. So that's what I used in our/my Chryslers and the Chevy pickup we also had back then.

Along about '81, I bought a '67 Newport from our used car lot, a trade-in on a new Citation sedan. I noticed that it had many "red seeps" from the hoses and a few connections. I checked and found "reddish" fluid in the reservoir. I suctioned the reservoir and got a new OEM hose for it. I put the Chrysler ps fluid in it and all of the leaks/seeps stopped.

I'd already discovered that, although an o-ring seal on the bottom of a THM350 dipstick tube might work (for about two weeks before it'd start to leak again), when the OEM GM o-ring (for that application) was used, the leak didn't reappear. Hence, seals usually are rated for the oils they seal against, although they might appear to be identical/universal otherwise..

Up until about '61, most GM power steering systems had the "Type A" fluid spec stamped into the reservoir cap. For those systems, some sort of atf (either Type "A" or something from the Dexron family) probably would be fine. IF that spec isn't there and the model year is after than, then a specific power steering fluid should be used for best longevity and operation. When I bought some GM PSF, in the later '70s, it looked just like the Chrysler fluid, waxy and not watery. GM later developed some "Cold Climate" PSF, which I suspect was something of a semi-synthetic fluid, for better low temp flow.

I later noticed that Ford Mercon fluid's cans also mentioned use in Ford power steering systems. Whether for "top off" or "full system" was not mentioned.

In a power steering gear and also in the hydraulic pomp, there are many rubber and plastic seal rings and other seals. Keeping the OEM-spec fluid in the complete system can be very important!



Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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With the upgraded seals that are used for rebuilding these days it is not as important to run a vehicle specific type of fluid. If you have your pump, and gearbox rebuilt with modern seals you can run a generic power steering fluid without any issue. NTX5467 is correct, if you don't do the entire system you may notice a leak with regular power steering fluid that you wouldn't have with ATF.

Edited by dan@larescorp (see edit history)
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  • 2 months later...

Just showing off. :D

I am adding power steering to my 55 Special with factory air. I rebuilt the gear and pump by using Mudbone's videos and Old Tank's website. Pics:

Could you please post a link to the afore mentioned wedsite and video? Thank you

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I disassembled the gear again and noticed that I tore one of the seals when I took it apart the second time. If the pump had been working, I imagine I would have been successful the first time. After I finally got it back in the car a third time with a working pump, it drives great! Better than my wagon. I mentioned this to Willie and he reminded me that the radials I have on the wagon would obviously have a wider tread pattern. With bias ply tires and the power steering, my Special feels like a 60's car. I can park with one finger...


Thanks for indulging me.

Helpful links:

Youtube. Mudbone posts as Dyna 1955. All of his videos are very informative.

Old Tank's website (also very good info throughout):


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is there a kit or information on rebuilding the power steering oil reservoir ?

Reservoir or pump? Nothing to the reservoir other than gaskets you can make and spacers that need to be retained. Pump is detailed in the service manual.

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