Advice on switching a Ford Pinto's steering column to manual steering.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

I live right in New York. I've got a 1977 Ford Pinto Wagon that came from
Florida. It's in very good shape (ugly green, though). To me, it's worth fixing,
but to a limit. Right now I'm driving it with no power steering. The rack is
leaking, and possibly the pump and lines. I want to switch to manual steering.
Will the steering column fit, or will it need to be replaced? -- Don

TOM: What a perfect car for New York City! You should nominate this car for
"official vehicle of the Big Apple," Don. Why? What car could possibly be any
less desirable to thieves?

RAY: Well, several of my brother's cars come to mind. But the answer is that you
ought to be able to switch to non-power steering pretty easily. You'll need a
new steering rack, and I'd look first for one in a junkyard.

TOM: Most people don't realize that steering a car with broken power steering is
a lot harder than steering a car that never had power steering to begin with.
That's because, even when the power steering isn't working, you still have to
move all the power steering-related valves and components in the rack, which is
hard to do!

RAY: Once you get a manual rack for this car, you can just leave all the other
power steering stuff in there and disconnect it (the pump, the lines, etc.). And
then you can implement a slightly less intensive Pinto Urban Upper Body Building
Program. Good luck, Don.

* * *

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