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Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:39 am
by asavage
Nah, I don't really hang out on FTE anymore, who has the time? I drop in to the Aero forum to look up specific answers, but there are so many clueless folks there that reading there is too time-consuming to read everything.

I contribute where applicable. Wait for my upcoming Saginaw PS-to-Aero conversion writeup!

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:34 pm
by asavage
I just dropped $451 on Michelin Harmony tires for this van tonight (ouch!). I never thought I'd spend $450 on tires for a minivan!

Paid $80 for five factory alloy rims in so-so condition from a JY three weeks ago. I cleaned up three, paid someone $20 to clean the other two. Ordered in the tires at Costco. Hauled the wheels 50 miles to Costco tonight, they said all five rims are straight. Tires look nice (but smell awful in my shop van). Hubcaps from Ford arrived this morning ($130 for four). Now for lug nuts (different for the alloys, and they were not all there at the JY), and I can mount them and get it aligned . . .

. . . after the PS pump sheave is bored again. I bought a boring head for my drill/mill the day after T-giving, but didn't know I'd need a Dial Test Indicator to properly align the workpiece (the Ford PS sheave) under the spindle. I used a feeler gauge method and successive approximation to align the work, but the finished result has .012" runout. Paid a friend to run out to a JY this week and pull another sheave, mail-ordered a DTI (nice! .0005" resolution for $30), but though I thought I had the sheave aligned under the spindle to .001" runout (apparently in the bore itself, not my setup, as the runout isn't in the X-Y directions), the boring cutter does not cut in a nice circle on the first pass, so I'm thinking about the problem . . .

Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:42 pm
by asavage
Transmission flush today. Because the radiator is out, it was easy to connect a few feet of 3/8" fuel line to the "out" tube of the trans where it would connect to the radiator, into an old 1 gal. coolant jug.

Used my Holley Blue electric fuel pump with its 6' long 3/8" In/Out hoses to suck oil from 1 qt. jugs and push it into the nearly-horizontal AT fill tube (a very bad fill tube design on these Aeros, which makes it nearly impossible to add ATF without drenching the alternator).

Dropped the AT's pan, wiped it off for storage, changed filter with OEM Ford (which, like the Fram version that appears identical, is a real filter, not a nylon mesh screen like some of the aftermarket AT filters for the A4LD). Installed my old pan that has my custom drain plug and now has a 1/8" pipe socket for the new trans temp gauge sending unit.

Then suck up 3 qts. Chevron MD-3 and push it into the pan, shut off pump, start engine, put in D and let run. Takes about fifteen seconds per quart to push it out, theoretically pushing new oil through the torque converter.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat. I had a friend helping, which avoided the mess altogether: my hand on the key to shut off the engine, his on the hose to make sure it stayed in the jug. Shut off engine when either the 1 gallon jug is full (to change jugs) or when the oil stops flowing (trans pan is empty/below the filter pickup). Run through different gears on different three-quart runs.

I put seventeen quarts of Chevron ATF through before it was coming out of the cooler line at an acceptable color -- at a cost of $2.50/quart = $43 + tax. This compares favourably with our shop flushing machine, that typically pushes twelve quarts through for a normal flush, and sixteen for stubborn/grungy ones. I err on the "too much flush" side.

Then I put ten quarts of AMSOil ATF through, and another three to fill the pan -- at a cost of about $6.50/qt. = $91 (no tax). I wish I had time to install one of my TP bypass filters on the cooler line, but this van has to go on a long trip in six days, and other things have priority.

I spilled no oil during the flush, though I made quite a mess changing the filter. I also found that three or four quarts in the pan from "empty" is fine, but five quarts in the pan will overflow the trans' vent, and dump some on the ground out back.

Tomorrow, the radiator goes back in. Maybe I can drive it with the new Saginaw PS pump then.


Installing tach & trans temp gauges. Trans temp gauge is digital, has memory and recall of hi/lo points, and user-programmable "warning light" setpoint. It's a 2-1/16" unit with blue LEDs. I mounted it in a cheap Vumaxx gauge holder which, while cheap, fit my A-pillar trim much better than one would expect, and the Vumaxx kit comes with a lot of mounting pedestal options. I will probably buy more of these.

I wanted good-looking wiring from the gauge down to the dash, and needed four conductors. I walked over to Goodwill and bought an HP serial cable (25-pin), cut off 8" and stripped it back, stripped quads and soldered them together (16 wires for four conductors) and the grey of the cable's jacket looks good with the grey dash and grey A-pillar trim. Much better than corrugated wiring loom.

Tach is missing the illumination socket, have to order it and get it Monday evening. It is a marine "Det-Mar" from eBay in an Autometer 3-3/8" universal cup and fits best just laying in the wedge between the A-pillar and the curve of the dash. It could theoretically fit down in that unusable corner window the Aero has, but then I can't really see it easily. I'm thinking Velcro. Meanwhile, it looks like it will stay put if I just leave it sitting there.

This tach tops out at 6k. The engine redline is 5500 or thereabouts, and I see no reason to have a tach that reads to 8k when I'll never go there. Give me usable range.

Have to run the trans temp sender wire yet; other wiring is done and labelled.

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:56 pm
by asavage
Gauges done (except the missing tach illumination socket). Trans temp gauge is a "Cyberdyne". It's blue and way too bright. It dims with the HLs on, but not enough. I think the fix will be something like tinted window tape.

Spent 20 minutes chasing a non-problem with it. On powerup it continuously scrolls "LO" across its display. Got out the manual, says check for open to sender or teflon tape on sender's threads. Range should be 25 to 5k ohms. I have 2.1k at the sender, 2.1k at the dash connector, 2.1k at the gauge, so what gives? Shunted the sender wire to ground, gauge climbs up slowly (updating twice per second, max 1°F change). Disconnect shunt, gauge falls slowly same rate. Gets to 70° then switches to "LO" scrolling again. Aha.

Fire up the engine, idle in drive for 15 minutes, gauge begins showing numbers. It just bottoms out at 70°F. Hmmph.

Had quite a bit of purging of air in the PS system, lots of "run it for ten seconds, let sit off for 15 minutes to let bubbles settle". Couple of top-offs, lots of wheel cycling (front end raised), and it was done.

JY radiator had plastic caps on cooler fittings (was replacement radiator installed in MT Aero). OEM cooler line fittings wouldn't fit the supplied adapters. Measured lines: .375" OD. Measured line flare nuts: 5/8" across the flats, 18 TPI. Went and got a pair of brass 3/8MNPT x 3/8 inverted flare adapters. Installed in radiator perfectly but line nuts will not go in: apparently 10mm metric nuts on SAE lines :roll: . Ordered more-correct adapters, but parts guy can't find a number. Call warehouse tomorrow. Put bypass hose back on the lines so I can at least drive it. Aeros have both internal and external coolers, so it still has cooling. On drive home, peak temp on the new gauge showed 152°. (ambient: 44°, and synthetic ATF). Without the internal cooler in the circuit., the ATF will not come up to temp in this weather.

New Motorcraft thermostat, but it will not come up to temp (according to the dash gauge, and the temp of the heat out of the new heater core is underwhelming). No good ideas on that one.

Aimed headlights by seat of pants parked in the middle of the street. Windstorm is making things difficult. Looked OK, but drove it home tonight: pass. lower than driver's and both too low overall.

New tires are wonderful. No tire vibration up to 80.

New motor mounts are terrible. The Ford ones are obsolete but can be had at $100 each side, so I went with aftermarket: one Anchor and one Balkamp. Now I have a drone at a certain engine RPM (can't read tach in the dark yet) and quite a bit of drone at full-throttle. Guess I'll order the $100 ones now :roll:

Deceleration shudder is not ameliorated. Damn!

Turned rotors stop without shudder now. :D

Saginaw power steering pump works fine! Steering is much lighter at parking speeds, which is nice. It's lighter at highway speeds too but I can't tell if it's "too light" because the wind is terrible right now and I'm being blown all over the road. And no more "Ford PS Pump Whine"!

I'm aligning it Wed. night; I hope to determine before then whether I should dial in another degree or two of caster.

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:31 am
by glenlloyd
I like reading your updates on the Aero progress, keep em coming if you can find the time!

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:43 pm
by asavage
It's more of a combination blog & maintenance diary. I used to keep a paper logbook in the glovebox, so I could tell two years down the road just when it was that I changed the No. 8 injector (for example). It's probably very boring for most people to read.

I am getting down to deadline for this van to either be able to make the 2400 mi. trip to SoCal, or drive the Wagon.


Got to work this AM, remembered to check tach. The engine will not run above 4400 RPM (indicated). It is either fuel cut or ign. failure, something like that. Pulls fine under all loads but will not rev. I can floor it in the driveway in N just like my diesels, and it has its own gasser governor :?

Not a big deal: I never run my 3.0ls that high anyway unless I'm towing, so it's not a trip-stopper, but I'll have to figure it out someday.

During that rev test at 9am, the alternator failed :( I had pulled it down last week because I didn't like the sound of the brgs. Could not get the stator out of the case! After pulling and prying, I decided that based on past experience, I was going to break something if I continued, so I took it down to Colin @ Townsend Electric and he bailed me out again. Told me they "never" come apart without heating them, due to corrosion (?). I told him I wanted a new rotor due to heavy scoring of the slip rings.

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So I got a reman rotor, new brgs, and a brusholder with new brushes. Put it all back together. Reinstalled it while the radiator was out, all the hoses and brackets off the front of the engine: piece of cake.

So, today I took time off work and removed the failed alternator (failed after only 30 miles). Got it apart and found rotor resistance under one ohm: internally shorted. Called Colin to confirm that it should be three to five ohms. Took it all down to him, he did his own measurement (shaking his head), got me another reman rotor and transferred the new brgs to it, and sold me a new voltage regulator, as there's no way the old reg's output transistor survived driving into a shorted rotor. I kind of thought he'd give me the VR free, since his rotor fried mine, but I didn't argue: when you get someone who will drop what he's doing and work through his lunch to get you turned around, you cut him some slack.

Rotor is Rexco 37-1683, "3G", 95A
VR is Transpo F794HD. I like "HD".

Trans cooler line adapters are made of unobtainium. After much more research, several phone calls, and more careful measuring, I find that the OEM line nuts are really 3/8" inverted flare after all, but with an extended blank "nose" on the nut. I actually got someone to say he was holding some of the fittings in his hand, but he couldn't sell them to me without selling me the radiator too :roll: At least he was very helpful, and I'm going to buy an S-10 radiator from him in two weeks.

So, I used a mini tubing cutter and succumbed to cutting off the line flares, used two off-the-shelf 3/8"MNPT x 3/8" compression fittings to connect the OEM lines to this aftermarket radiator that was missing the correct adapters. Took me all of 20 minutes, once I decided that I was going to cut the lines. I really didn't want to.

Bought some Limo window tint ($12, 80%). This is pretty dark stuff. I've never played with window tinting before, I don't believe in it, but it is fairly easy to work with in small areas. I cut a circle for the trans temp gauge, held it over the gauge and turned it on: still too bright. So I glued two layers of this 80% tint over the gauge. On the drive home, it's still a bit too bright. I may try a third layer tomorrow. At least it doesn't make the edges of my glasses glow blue anymore :roll:

Tried to order the OEM motor mounts this morning. $100 each + $75 each for overnight shipment, because they were coming from different locations. That's $350 for a pair of stinking motor mounts! I took a deep breath and said, "do it".

Got a call back a few hours later. Only the right one is actually available, the two dealers whose inventory says they have the left one, don't. Sigh.

Coolant still draining dark brown after eight flushes, but a better shade of dark brown :lol:

Took thermostat out, it's closed. Dunked it in boiling water, it opens. Bought another new gasket, put it back in. OEM new Motorcraft t-stat, says 197°F on it, but the dash gauge moves up and down from "N" to "O" and back, not mid-scale. Infrared thermomer says max of 180° just below the t-stat housing. I do not know what's going on yet. Too hot, I'd have more options, but too cold??? I may buy a third gasket and a Stant t-stat and swap them in tomorrow just because -- but now I think about it, there's no way I'll have time tomorrow, I have two IID to install tomorrow, and we're closing shop early for a NWLA meeting in Auburn, so scratch tomorrow for Aero work.

Still hoping to align it Wed. night.

Less crosswind on the drive home tonight. Yeah, it needs more caster. As others who have done the Saginaw-pump-into-Ford-rack swap have discovered, it's a little too "flighty" at speed. Perfect for parking though, like a Cadillac.

Bedtime . . .

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:06 am
by asavage
Third thermstat, still won't heat up. Infrared says 175°F max and fluctuating.

Googling shows that maybe corroded thermostat housing, consequently gasket flutter letting water around the t-stat. Will look harder tomorrow. If I can't get the temp up, I'll have to drive the Wagon 2400 miles, which is literally a pain in the back for me.

Got the 4400 RPM cutout figured out -- answer "given" to me by my former boss at the garage. I mention that it wouldn't rev above 4400, and he asked, "in neutral, or while driving?". Blank stare. He said that some engines are RPM limited at one level with the AT in Park/Neutral, another level when in gear.

Sure enough, when in L, it'll rev to 5500 (where I stopped). So, it wasn't really a problem.

Aligned it tonight (6pm to midnight). Got almost 6° positive caster, took a while to sneak up on it. Drives a bit better I think -- meaning that the difference is not so significant to be certain, but it does have better centering now.

The motor mount arrived (overnighted from Wisconsin or something, $170). It was supposed to be the right side mount. Comes with a bracket, not just the bare mount. Fussed and fumed and fought the old (new) one out of the chassis with its old bracket (I didn't pull the bracket on the right side when I put the new aftermarket mount in). Then found that the new OEM $170 mount/bracket is for the left side, not the right.

Put the old (new, aftermarket) mount back in. No time to pull the PS pump and replace the left side mount, so that's on tomorrow's (now today's) schedule.

If I can get it heat up.

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:19 pm
by redmondjp
Hi Al,

A couple of comments on your project vehicle (I can relate).

I wouldn't be surprised at all if you had water bypassing your thermostat. On my 1988 Buick Electra (with the series I 3800 V6), after R&R'ing the thermostat from the intake manifold for the first time to flush the system many years ago, I found that it would not get up to temp. There was a very narrow paper gasket on the thermostat so it would seal, and when I removed the thermostat it lost this seal (figured this out later). OF COURSE, Buick parts counter nor any other parts place has no freaking clue about this paper gasket that I KNOW came on there from the factory.

I lived with it this way for years, but finally this last spring my intake manifold gasket finally went (200K miles & 19 years, not bad!) so I used some Permatex Ultra Gray RTV and just sealed the thermostat inside the housing (I'll probably regret this, but if it ever fails I'll use some water pump pliers to yank the thermostat out and then clean off the RTV). Now it comes up to temp perfectly. The gap around the thermostat wasn't more than 10-15 thousandths, but apparently this made a big enough difference in the flow to affect the temp.

On the bright bulb in the tranny temp gauge, here's an easy way to dim it--spray the bulb with a light coating of engine enamel, which will take the heat of the bulb. I did this in my '71 LTD on the mechanical coolant temp gauge that I installed inside the dash cluster where the OEM clock was. I had blue dash lighting, and didn't like the bright white light from the temp gauge, so I sprayed the bulb with some Chevy blue engine paint and presto, perfect match! Of course, you have the tint already glued on the face so I don't know how much this will affect things.

OT in the OT: I visited with the current owner of my old 720 diesel pickup two weeks ago and she is still very happy with it, using it as a daily driver. She is going to take it into a body shop to have the small (but now growing) areas of rust taken of. I had scared up a box of additional parts for it that I hadn't located at the time that I sold the vehicle, and dropped them off with her. Her name is Georgina and I believe she signed up here and posted once or twice. She doesn't know much about cars but is an excellent gardener (she makes her own raisins!) and bird-watcher.


Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:32 pm
by asavage
I read about the problem you describe last night (also on a Buick 3800), and went in to work today prepared. I pulled the housing, cleaned it again (fourth time), wiped it dry and RTV'd the Motorcraft thermostat into the housing, wired it upright and let it set for two hours, then bolted it back to the manifold (with the paper gasket, of course).

Now I can shoot 200°, but I can't quite count it as fixed:

a) The gauge still reads low. Rather than test the gauge (I have no 94 ohm resistors at hand, much of my pot collection -- go ahead and laugh -- is in storage), I rolled the dice and bought a new sending unit -- and lost: still reads low.

b) The temp (measured via the Raytek infrared thermometer) does fluctuate more than I'd like, at least at warmup.

However, it isn't dipping below 180° anymore, so I decided to run with it for now.

On the Trans temp gauge: it's a digital LED gauge, no bulbs and the case is not user-serviceable. The window tinting is sufficient, though again a third layer will be better. It's also glare-y and needs a hood to tone down the blue haze on the windscreen. But I can live with it as-is for this trip.

Got the tach's bulb socket soldered in, tonight I was able to drive it and see the tach for a change, without having to use a flashlight. WAD.

Tomorrow, I have tires to drop off in Olympia at noon, IPC & SD oil pan drop off in Vancouver at 3pm, PU SD25 starter in West Linn @ 5pm, Carlton at 6:30pm. No more scheduled stops until LA, drop off Ford 6.9l heads on the 28th. I tried to kill a lot of avians on this trip. Too bad I'll be coming north mostly empty.

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:28 pm
by asavage
One of the things I got done before the Christmas trip was to fix the Ford "dummy oil gauge".

As detailed on this site and many others, the oil pressure "gauge" on many Fords is a gauge all right, but is rigged up to only indicate mid-scale. The pressure sensing device is a typical snap-switch, and when pressure comes up to a minimum level, the switch is connected to the gauge via a 20-ohm resistor. So the gauge can only indicate two positions: OFF and mid-scale.

I wanted to change that, and since the path to doing this was so well-beaten . . .

On my 1993 Aero (3.0l), removing the instrument cluster is more difficult than it first appears. Because the PRNDL is mechanically connected to the column shifter via a string cable, you have to remove the column lower plastic to disconnect it. Also the radio surround. Lots and lots of screws, many more than you'd think. And disconnecting the harnesses from the cluster is curse-worthy, too.

(click on any image for larger)

Back of the cluster. Locate and short the 20 ohm resistor:
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The hole you have to work through, and the oil pressure switch (grey) that you are replacing with a real sending unit. Note that this is a 3.0l; the OPS on the 4.0l is not in the same location:
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Note the steel bracket that supports the AT vacuum modulator line. Its right side needs to be trimmed to clear the fatter sending unit. I used my Dremel and a cut-off wheel:
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Sending unit. I paid $23 for the OP6091. Not shown is the 1/4 NPT 45° M/F adapter, a std. brass part ($4). It's needed because the sender will not clear the back of the head or the AT fill pipe. With the 45° adapter, it all fits nicely:
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No clearance problem.

With the cluster mod and the sending unit instead of a snap switch, the oil pressure gauge is a real gauge now. It hovers a bit lower than mid-scale when cold or revved now, and moves lower at hot idle. I like it!

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:35 pm
by asavage
Just like our Gen1 Maximas, Aerostars that have power windows tend to crack their inner door skins. When the door is slammed, the door frame stops but the mass of the PW motor "oil cans" the inner door skin. After enough repetitions, the sheet metal's sharp creases crack, and cracks develop around the spot welds of the inner skin.

My Grey '89 Aero had very bad cracks in 1999, when I first went in to replace the first set of PW motors, and I reinforced them with aluminum flatbar. It was tough work, as access was poor. When I later had occasion to obtain an entire window regulator from a JY, I found that most of the PW doors in the JY had similar cracks in the inner door skin, though few were as bad as on my Grey '89.

When I had to put a second driver's side PW motor in, in 2006, I took a pic of the reinforcement I'd done seven years earlier to both doors:

(click on most images for larger)

My blue '90 also had severely cracked door skins, like my '89. I had them welded, which is not as permanent fix IMO, as it does not reinforce the metal.

So it was that I was not surprised to find that my '93's inner door skins also have some cracking, though much less than I expected. The doors' inner skins have been redesigned in the intervening four years and access to the PW motor and window regulator is much better on these newer doors. The severity of the cracks is much less on my '93, but then again this Aero has half the miles of my old Grey '89.

I used some 3/16" x 2" alum. flatbar, and took out two of the alum. pop rivets that retain the window regulator to the inner door skin, replacing them with 1/4" bolts.

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Nothing is exposed after the interiour door panel is reinstalled, and the fit is fine.

Saginaw PS Pump in 3.0l Aerostar

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:50 pm
by asavage
I replaced the Ford OEM power steering pump with a Saginaw PS pump in my 1993 Aerostar:

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As of Feb-2008, I've driven this setup about 4,000 miles. Comments on how well it works are near the bottom.


[Warning: long, long post alert!]

Whining . . . that's the noise for which the later Ford plastic-reservoir power steering pumps are infamous.

When I acquired my 1989 Aero, it whined terribly. Thinking I had a bad pump, I bought a reman: nearly as noisy. Changed fluids, used additives, tried various flushing and bleeding procedures, but nothing cured it. I replaced the pump again. And again. Finally, I found a quiet pump on a late F150 that was leaking, put a reman on the truck and a seal kit in the quiet one and then installed it on the '89, where it remains to this day. I'd been thinking that the solution would be a new pump, but as of 2000, Ford would only sell me a reman, not new. Four "rebuilt" PS pumps in my '89, finally settling for one that moaned and whined less than the others . . . long about 1994 I was seriously considering retrofitting a quieter (non-Ford) pump, but after that many miles . . . I grew used to the noise.

When I got my '93 Aero -- that also whined -- I decided that I would solve this problem forever, by replacing the pump with a completely different style. After reading Pablo-UA's account of how he put a Saginaw pump in his Aero, I was encouraged.

In preparation, I had bought a random Saginaw pump at the Portland Auto Swap Meet in Apr-07, on the off-chance I'd be able to use it in future: $10.

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Here's the summary version of the process:

[Disclaimer: I am not a machinist. I own tools I barely know which end to hold, or where to find the ON switch. Those of you who are trained to actually know how to use a milling machine will get a good laugh at some of these pics. I bought an old Jet Mill/Drill last summer, and I have bought tooling along the way, so sometimes the way I depict doing things is due to lack of tooling -- and often it's because I don't know any better. So lay off, already!]

Both the sheave offset and the shaft diameter is different between the two pumps, but the overall size is comparable.
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So, I bored the Ford sheave to fit the Saginaw shaft. I bored to about .7485 (ie about 1.5 thou interference fit at room temp).
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Later, I found that I had to remove some material off the backside to get correct belt alignment.
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I heavily modified the OEM PS mount to fit the Saginaw pump entirely within the OEM footprint. This was more work than I originally anticipated.
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Now the pump will fit within the OEM mount's footprint:

But I've removed so much internal bracing etc. that I'm afeared there may not be enough for long-term durability (ie it might crack).

I decide on a doubler plate. This is 1/4" or 5/16" plate from a scrapped Demco Tow-It tow dolly fender support, off my scrap pile. Lots of Dremel work to "connect the dots". I've since purchased a couple of end mills, but didn't have them when I made this plate. Expensive tools aren't necessary, but I would find it hard to get by without a Dremel and a couple of carbide burrs.
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Needed to clearance the casting more to get a level place to bolt the pump up:

Determine the different space heights needed, using std flat washers for the mock-up, then fab'ing spacers from some roundbar laying about
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Some hardware can be re-used, other bolts need to be longer.

Mount up the sheave for about the fiftieth time, determine correct location WRT the idler:
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Some measurements . . . this is where I realized I had to take some material off the back of the sheave to move the belt inbound. Lowest wrench is merely a spacer to allow the installation tool to press the hub beyond flush.
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Checking runout. When I bored the first sheave, I didn't yet have a dial test indicator ("DTI"), and I tried to do the setup without. Result was .012" runout -- too much. After that, I went and bought a DTI and a second sheave from a JY for $5 and was able to correctly get the bore under the spindle. Made a huge difference.

Get the high pressure hose prepped:
I used an Edelmann 71280 from an unknown application, cut it and swedged on a hydraulic compression fitting that adapts the hose to 3/8" tube. I have used this type of high-pressure compression fitting for PS hoses in the past, and so far have not had a leak. Credit to Todd Cheeseman at WestBay Auto Parts for actually doing the research to find this hose. It has a formed bend on the pump end that magically clears all my obstructions in the engine bay.

Original hose:

Cut the steel tube just to left of the hose crimp.
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I left off final fitment of the high pressure hose to the OEM hardline until after everything was hung in place.
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Return line is std trans cooler line, Gates 400 PSI stuff. Off-the-reel at most parts stores.

Ford teflon seal rings:
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Hang the pump, put a belt on and a stock idler setup to check if the belt runs in the old wear area on the idler:

Put on my custom idler that uses the same idler/brg as the A/C idler, so it's bolt-on (replaceable separate from the bracket). Kind of a waste of time, since the aftermarket idler w/bracket is about $40, and the A/C idler is $32, but hey! It's done, what can I say?

Clearance is quite good, in excess of 3/8" at the tightest.
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Finished installation:

Notes on results

As others have reported when putting a Saginaw pump on a rack-n-pinion vehicle: there's too much assist at higher speeds. "Twitchy" is an oft-used word that you'll see when talking about these conversions, and it's a good term for the way the vehicle handles.

The first thing I tried was dialing up the caster. The caster spec for 2WD Aeros is 2-5° (for 4WD: 3-6°). I installed new Michelin Harmony tires, and aligned it to 6° positive caster. This requires quite a tall shim stack to achieve, and even more caster would probably not be adviseable. While 6° did improve returnability (the steering wheel returns to center better when you let go of it while driving), it's still too light at highway speeds with little road feel. Some pressure/flow reduction is needed.

The conventional fix seems to be to add a restricting orifice or some mechanism to restrict the flow from the pump to the rack.

GM has had a variety of variable assist setups for their power steering systems over the years. This particular pump is set up with an Electrically Variable Orifice ("EVO"), a solenoid that is supposedly cycled (PWM) by a feed from either a dedicated controller or a Body Control Module ("BCM"). From what I've read from Googling, the BCM or controller monitors the VSS (and sometimes the angle of the steering wheel and/or the rate at which the wheel is turned) and pulse-width modulates (PWM) 5v to the EVO on the pump. Info on this system is kind of sparse on the internet.

I'm thinking I can use the EVO (Electrically Variable Orifice) valve on this pump to achieve a similar effect, even without tying into the VSS. I have acquired a couple of DC-to-DC converters to get 5V to play with that option; future project.

An exploded view of the EVO assy. in the back of the pump:

Other approaches to this common problem:
I just today received the Mullins shim kit and may try it out.

Borgeson/Mullins 899001 pressure reducing shim kit, $18
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Billet Specialties BSPRP1300, $25

Detroit Speed 091401, $26

March Performance P306, $27

A variation on this is an adjustable bypass valve that bleeds fluid back to the return line. Advantage to this approach is the pump works less and the fluid may not get as hot.
Heidt's Adjustable Power Steering Valve PS-101, $80

("Random extra pictures" removed from this section)

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:52 pm
by asavage
I'd appreciate feedback on the above article. Too busy? Get rid of random photos? More text details?

It's really hard to cover a project like this. I don't know if I'm up to it. I've spent hours trying to make it readable, and I'm still not happy with it.

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:41 pm
by rlaggren
"Random photos" are too much, though it's nice to have all the raw data somewhere in case you want it later.

The problem areas and any "paths not taken" are the interesting parts. Also the final note on results - Saginaw performance w/racks - and various product links was nice.

Cheers, Rufus

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:16 pm
by kassim503
I think u did a supurb job doing that swap, the backer plate is a good idea, definitely worth the work

ford ps pumps can get pretty pesky on the noise level.

U know what might work well for the saginaw swap onto a rack vehicle, using the pressure relief from the 1st gen gasser maximas, its a rack vehicle with a saginaw, and the steering is pretty dead at highway speed. That could just be me though, my pump is going down the tubes. That might cost more than a normal shim kit for the relief valve though.