Senior Tech Team
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: The Sunny South
Make your own BB 66 power steering pump!
Like many of you, I've fought the battle of finding the "correct" 66 power steering pump. Like some of you, I bought an expensive reproduction "correct" PS pump from NPD. "Oh yeah, it's absolutely correct" said the counter guy. Right.
NPD pump, like most everyone else's is NOT correct. Yep, has the remote reservoir alright - but it's the truck pump. Easy to spot because the low pressure return line is pointing UP, which is the wrong direction. Wrong dimples in the back to, etc. Of course the pump internals are VERY similar to 66, but they are not the same. Probably will work, but very irritating that the return hose now sticks up awkwardly into the engine compartment.
I can swallow my pride on the missing dimples on the back of the pump, but dang it, it just looks Jethro to me to see that pump hose all boogered up and sticking up into the engine compartment.
I see this all the time. "Correct" high dollar restorations on Fleabay of 66 / 67 SS Chevelles with the wrong PS hose sticking up! Goofy and substandard, but what to do when we just CAN'T find the right pump, or don't want to pay 300 dollars for it?
Anyway, here's a quick, easy and cheap way to make the truck pump work a little better for the application. Still won't be exactly correct, but the hose routing will now look right if you do this little trick.
First, if you don't have one, you can pretty easily get the late 60's truck pump version with the upward facing return pipe for about 50 bucks from places like RockAuto. Look close. Some of them even have the correct studs on the back - the ones with the thin heads. Some don't. Chose wisely.
Once you get your new "almost fits the 66" truck PS pump, here's the trick:
1. Disassemble the pump and remove the rear housing. Don't fret. It is very easy to take off the housing. Remove the pulley with a 7/8" socket and an impact wrench. Spins right off and the pulley will fall off in your hand on a new pump. Don't ding the pulley. They bend VERY easily.
Now, gently clamp the nose of the pump in a vise, backside up. There are the two studs and the high pressure valve held in by the 1" sized nut and flare hose fitting. unscrew those three things I just mentioned, and lightly tap the housing around the edge. It will pop right off.
2. After you remove the housing, saving the three o-rings that you'll find in there (1 on each stud bolt and 1 on the big 1" pressure fitting) then carefully protect your exposed pump in a clean box or other clean location. Dirt is BAD.
3. Now, remove the black paint from the housing. It's cheap nitro lacquer on most of them. No big loss. I glass beaded mine off in 30 seconds.
4. Gently clamp the housing in a vise, backside up and taking GREAT care not to squish it. Use blocks if necessary to give it proper support.
5. Using your trusty oxyacetylene rig, heat and loosen the return pipe. It's just brazed in there with a slight swage at the end on the inside of the housing to position it.
6. Before the braze loosens up, stick a Phillips screwdriver in the end of the pipe. When it hits the melting point, just gently rotate the pipe 180 degrees. be patient, go slow and the pipe won't even dislodge. Once you've rotated it 180 degrees, touch a little additional braze on there to refill the gap and strengthen the joint.
7. Cool off the housing and examine the braze joint. If good, reclamp the housing in the vise.
8. Now, using a fine flame on your torch, gently heat the return pipe about 2" back from the end. Get it cherry red all the way around, in a band about 3/4" wide. Using the same screwdriver you used to rotate it, apply GENTLE pressure in the first 2 inches of the pipe that is not red hot and apply light pressure while maintaining the heat. Do this until the pipe will just move at the red hot point without collapsing. Bend it to be slightly more parallel to the rear surface of the housing. Just move it about 3/8".
6. Cool off the housing, bead blast it to get any loose flux off. Thoroughly clean it up and reassemble as you took it apart. Repaint to taste.
That's it. Instant 66 compatible PS pump with correct hose routing for the return pipe.
You can do a suction test with your mouth or a MightyVac and a gauge by plugging the high pressure orifice and the remote reservoir opening. If it holds vacuum, it won't leak fluid
Of course it's not REALLY correct, but it's closer than what you'll see on many so-called "high quality restorations" and it won't cost you hundreds of dollars like the real deal.