There are a few hot rod upgrades, such as installing a Chevy small-block engine or a Ford 9-inch rearend, that are just near impossible to top for pure functionality and ease of installation. Another upgrade along those lines with nothing but positives in its favor is the installation of a Vega-style steering box in an early, framed rod.
For most, the process begins by tracking down an original Vega steering box. Once littered in wrecking yards, finding a Vega today ready and willing to give up its precious steering box has become a rare commodity. Original Vega steering boxes will most likely be found at a swap meet or on the ever-helpful Internet. Once you have the original box in hand, you can tell initially if you are looking at a decent box if the input shaft turns freely and smoothly.Further investigation will require removal of the sector cover. Once opened, the condition of the worm and sector can be inspected along with the internal bearings. If worn, parts may be replaced, but replacement of the bearings will only temporarily solve any problems, as the races that mate to the bearings cannot be replaced.
Beware of "rebuilt" boxes that may have only had fresh grease added and the external adjustment screw over-tightened to remove the play of worn components. Removing the play of a worn box in the center of the turning radius with the adjustment screw only makes the steering box hard to steer in both directions as it is designed to get looser as the wheels are turned in each direction. A worn steering box will allow the car to wander, and you will continually be correcting the vehicle back to the center of the lane, while a properly maintained and properly functioning box will track to the center of the lane without wandering and will turn freely throughout the steering arc in both directions.
With a solid 30-year history of better controlling all types of hot rods, the Vega steering box has proven itself over and over, but has now become scarce, and when one is found, the condition is usually less than optimal. This is where Flaming River Industries saves the day and insures a long and bright future for Vega-controlled hot rods with their completely new and greatly upgraded Vega-style steering box. Available with a brand-new re-engineered cast-iron case in both standard and fast ratio styles, the Flaming River Industries Vega-style steering boxes use 30-percent larger and much stronger internals that will far outperform and outlast original Vega steering boxes. For hot rods already equipped with a Vega-style steering box, a new unit from Flaming River Industries is a direct bolt-in replacement.