Building custom power steering hoses for a remote reservoir is something that will really clean up the engine bay. When done properly, the casual observer will glance over the custom power steering hoses and not think twice about them. This can be a tricky undertaking though, and some careful engineering and pre-planning should be given to this type of project due to the number and cost of the components involved. Also, it is prudent to do ones homework on the power steering remote reservoir. There are many different types of power steering remote reservoirs on the market, but in my opinion not all are equally constructed. In this update to the Hot Rod Regal, I will illustrate the engineering & components (with part numbers) I used for building the custom power steering hoses as well as what I have learned about power steering remote reservoirs.
The stock G-body quick ratio power steering box with a ratio 12.7 : 1 is a great starting point. It takes about two and a half revolutions of the steering wheel to go from lock to lock, and is still easily acquired. To use custom power steering hoses, special adapter fittings to convert over to -6 AN outlets are needed. I used Earls 991956 and 991955 for the ports on the G-body power steering box. It is best you check your power steering box inlet and outlet ports as there may be differences. I used a local speed shop (Pats Performance Parts Plus) to purchase some of the parts and return if they didn’t fit. (Thanks Pat)
Some type 2 power steering pumps also require adaptation to AN fitting ports. This type 2 pump was included with the Kwik Performance accessories kit that is installed on the engine. It came with a brass adapter fitting for rubber hoses already installed in the return side of the pump. This brass adapter fitting was removed, drilled out and tapped for 3/8 inch NPT threads. Once the threads were cut into the inside diameter of the brass fitting, a light skim coat of JB Weld was applied to the outside diameter of the brass fitting and it was pressed back into the type 2 power steering pump. The pressure side of the type 2 pump uses a power steering pump adapter fitting that also converts to a -6AN, but due to the variation of thread sizes, it is best to physically check this on your pump if not already equipped with one. When this pump wears out, my plan is to switch to a polished pump with AN fittings already installed.
On the pressure side of the type 2 power steering pump, I used a steel Earl’s 612106ERL -6 AN 120 degree teflon hose fitting that is connected to teflon lined, stainless steel braided -6 hose (russell 632610) , terminating at the pressure “In” side of the stock GM quick ratio steering box with a steel Aeroquip FCM1122 -6AN 90 degree teflon hose fitting.
The pressure “Out” side of the GM quick ratio steering box also uses a steel Aeroquip FCM1122 -6AN 90 degree teflon hose fitting connected to teflon lined, stainless steel braided -6 hose (russell 632610) and terminates at the remote reservoir. Keep reading to see the termination of the pressure “Out” side at the power steering remote reservoir.
Back at the Type 2 power steering pump on the fluid return side, a Fragola 499111-BL -10 AN to 3/8 NPT 90 degree swivel fitting was used for clearance reasons and seated into the tapped threads in the brass fitting. The fluid from the remote reservoir is being returned through rubber lined stainless steel braided hose connected to a Fragola 109010-CL -10 AN 90 degree hose end fitting . Again, please keep reading to see the termination of the fluid return side of the power steering remote reservoir.
There are several reasons why it is a good idea to use stainless steel braided hoses to make custom power steering hoses. As stated, it is one of the best ways to attach a power steering remote reservoir, but cleanliness, durability, and longevity of the hoses are the most important reasons to use stainless steel braided hose. The pressure “Out” side of the GM quick ratio power steering box and the power steering remote reservoir fluid return lines are both routed through the inner fender. I wanted to use bulkhead fittings here, but due to the location I chose for my remote reservoir, the lengths of the hoses, the connecting angles, and allowing for flex, rubber grommets were the way to go. These grommets were obtained from Home Depot and are sized for the outside diameter of the hoses. This still appears very clean and deliberately engineered.
While not riding the frame, the pressure “Out” side from the GM quick ratio steering box -6 hose and the -10 reservoir return hose are hidden from sight under the inner fender in front of the wheel well. The termination for the teflon lined, stainless steel braided -6 hose (russell 632610) is a steel Fragola 600106 -6 AN straight teflon hose end fitting. The power steering remote reservoir return -10 hose is terminated using a Fragola 104510-CL -10 AN 45 degree rubber hose end fitting. As seen here, the fittings both pass through the inner fender to the top side into the power steering remote reservoir. This is not a natural spot to place a remote reservoir. Continue reading to see how I made provisions to attach the remote reservoir to the driver side inner fender.
The inner fender of the G-body has an opening for fresh air and on the driver’s side, attachment of the horns. This negative area draws the eye into it. If left untreated, or uncovered; the negative area makes the inner fender look unfinished. I wanted to mount a Billet Specialties power steering remote reservoir to this area. This was a simple task using “U” channel. Please keep in mind that this is mock-up and the final product will be finished out and painted to keep dissimilar metal corrosion away.
Initially, I placed the Billet Specialties power steering remote reservoir in this forward area to see if it would even fit under the hood. Once I decided on the location and height, I set out to make it work. The lower part of the inner fender (charcoal canister area) needed clearance work to allow for the AN fittings to pass through. The clearance work needed was performed on drain holes, so no structural integrity was lost. Plus, I am not worried about this charcoal canister area and the widened holes because it is to be completely covered by a plate when finished to give it a better visual presence.
I used existing holes and attach points for the “U” channel. As seen in this photo, the lower attach points for the inner fender and wheel well were used for the bottom structural connections. A smaller hole already present in the inner fender was used for the aft “U channel and the Horn attach point was used for the forward “U” channel. This took some trial and error to make the horns work, but essentially portions of the “U” channel were cut out to allow for horn clearance. Next, the power steering remote reservoir mounting bracket was used to locate the holes in the new structural “U” channels. The holes were slotted to make certain the mounting point for the power steering reservoir would be level and allow for some “wiggle room” when tightening the AN fittings to the bottom of the reservoir.
Seen here, the Billet Specialties power steering remote reservoir mounting bracket is mounted to the “U” channel structure. It holds the reservoir level, and looks great doing it! Also, it is now visible that the horns were not sacrificed during this project. The forward horn did however need some persuasion, and the bracket holding it in place was bent outboard to allow for “U” channel clearance.
Barely visible from the side, one can see the simple cuts in the “U” channel to allow for the clearance of horn brackets. Simple hand tools were used in this project, so any do it yourself’er can probably accomplish this in the garage like I have.
So, this is the platform that the power steering remote reservoir is based from. It is very solid, light weight, and functional. The remote reservoir is farther away from the engine / heat source, and above the pump height to aid in fluid return. Really, this is a win – win situation. Finally, by placing the remote reservoir in this area, it cleans up the engine accessory brackets and gives me a symmetrical look for future project I have in mind.
Continuing on, the negative space is not completely addressed by simply hanging a remote reservoir in front of it. Basically, it’s still ugly and has a lot of negative space. Additionally, now there is a big shiny thing in front of a negative space! Yup, your eye will go right to it… The attention span of most onlookers is very short, I don’t want them focusing on one thing. A simple solution to this is to build a plate. Side note – any fellow G-body enthusiast or Hot Rodder could adapt part of this information to simply build a plate for this area and not hang a remote reservoir here… just something to think about.
Yet another simple technique – make a template. This shape was simple enough to make and cut out using cardboard, but typically I like using cereal boxes, or a sturdier card stock paper.
By following the rolled edges of the inner fender as a guide, there was enough material on the plate to create a seamless fit. The final plate was cut using this over-sized template and placed behind the inner fender but on top of the “U” channel structure. I used 3032 alclad aluminum due to the structure being aluminum, and the Billet specialties remote reservoir bracket being aluminum. This plate will be painted the same color as the inner fender so, no worries about dissimilar metal corrosion from steel and aluminum contacting each other.
The holes were line up on the plate, the “U” channels, and the Billet Specialties remote reservoir bracket. Now time to re-install the Billet Specialties remote reservoir bracket.
Obviously there is an order of operations when assembling this and disassembling the parts. But, as you can see, it can be done.
The final product is a clean install that has zero negative space. Again, the bottom charcoal canister area will be covered by another plate to cover up the oddly shaped forms in the wheel well. These last few images show a quick progression of how the parts come together. The fasteners are hidden from sight and are completely accessible from the backside.
As stated earlier in this update, I chose this power steering remote reservoir for a reason. Yes, it is billet and polished so it looks pretty, but there was another reason. The Billet Specialties power steering remote reservoir (part# 77910) was chosen due to its superior engineering design qualities, as well as its increased fluid capacity. The inside of most power steering remote reservoirs have a tube extending into the reservoir that dump fluid directly back into the static quantity of fluid. The direction of this pressurized fluid can cause a churning action or aeration of the fluid causing tiny air bubbles to form and become trapped in the power steering fluid. These tiny air bubbles are then suspended as a static mixture in the power steering fluid. This causes trouble! The air is then returned into the type 2 power steering pump within the power steering fluid. This air can cause a “Whining” noise in your power steering system. The Billet Specialties power steering remote reservoir has an inlet tube that is angled to send the power steering fluid in a direction that does not cause aeration. Also, this remote reservoir is one of very few that allow the pressurized power steering fluid to be delivered to the static quantity of fluid in the reservoir out the side of a tube instead of at the top or curved around. This side exit of pressurized power steering fluid does not trap air. This is a good thing. No air in the system means no whining noise. The fluid capacity of this reservoir is also superior. The larger quantity of fluid allows for more heat transfer. Under extreme driving conditions though, it is still a good idea to run a power steering fluid cooler. Finally, the price seems steep for this product. Comparatively, when similar products are researched, GM replacements, or other racing style remote reservoirs are evaluated; the Billet Specialties is by far the better product. I was fortunate enough to get this one at a discount at a large car show.
The final product is one that is functional, and pleasing to the eye. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this little project is how the lower -6 stainless steel braided hose disappears under the -10 return hose. From several angles, it appears as if there are only 2 hoses instead of 3.
Hopefully you can use some of the techniques seen here on www.HotRodRegal.com on your project. If you want to receive the latest updates and information, check out my Facebook and Twitter links; plus there is always good ol’ RSS feed!
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