4:1 steering gear ratio vs 3:1

Tie rods, steering box, drag link, alignment.
What tires fit, brands, sizes, beadlocks, etc.

Moderator: Bfix Staff Members

Post Reply
User avatar
Stan
BFix Locked and Loaded
BFix Locked and Loaded
Posts: 3619
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:42 pm
Location: Boring Or

4:1 steering gear ratio vs 3:1

Post by Stan » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:50 pm

A friend is wanting to put PS on his '72 , 302 with manual box.
He's looking at TBPs kit but isn't sure if the 3:1 ratio is too quick for the highway. The Bronco spends 99.99% of it's time on the road.
Anyone have experience with the 3;1 ratio or comparison ? The only 3:1 I've driven was for about 1/4 mile down a gravel road. Both of mine are 4:1 I believe.
Stan
When you come to a fork in the road - take it
Homer - " Facts are meaningless . You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true."

DirtDonk
BFix Locked and Loaded
BFix Locked and Loaded
Posts: 2756
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Post by DirtDonk » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:24 pm

I have always said I'd personally prefer the slightly slower 4 turns lock-to-lock on an EB. But lots of people report that they get used to the quicker ones fairly quickly. I've only talked to one person that has had theirs for awhile and still does not like the quick steering.
But I also think that on a Bronco that's very mild, with small-ish tires and low lift (if any) and that is fairly well sorted out in all other areas won't have as much trouble on the street and would probably like it after awhile. Especially if they're used to newer vehicles with quick steering.

I'm going to be installing one of our new kits, but I have not seen how many turns lock-to-lock it is yet. Been meaning to check, but, well, you know how that goes!

Oh, and what you're describing is not actually the "ratio" of the box. Even though that's what we commonly refer to it as. What we are talking about is simply expressed as "turns lock-to-lock" vs a ratio, which in our cases might be something like 9:1 to 17:1 in actual numbers. Which I believe describes the number of cogs/teeth/engagement spurs of the input and sector gears. They're obviously related, but I have no idea just how. Remember "variable ratio" steering boxes? Same number of turns, but somehow internally varied how quickly they turned at their off-center position vs their near the end turns. And variable ratios at different vehicle speeds. Quicker at low speeds? Or slower for more leverage at low pump pressures? Dunno... But someday I'd love to read up on the subject.
Just the other day I read where a new car has this ultra-quick 13:1 ratio steering gear. Well you know for a fact that a new car is not going to be 13 turns. It's more likely going to be something crazy low like 2.5 turns or something. Even my Buick Regal is something along those lines, so I really don't know what they're referring to when it comes to "ratio".

Paul
'71 Bronco - 302 4v
3.5" WH/Skyjacker Lift
33 x 11.50 x15 Thornbirds on 15x7 Enkei's
Kayline soft top
Hanson bumpers
Dual batteries, Large 1G alt.

WWW.WILDHORSES4X4.COM :mrgreen:

User avatar
Stan
BFix Locked and Loaded
BFix Locked and Loaded
Posts: 3619
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:42 pm
Location: Boring Or

Post by Stan » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:09 pm

Good point Paul - I was thinking about the different gear ratios as one being greater /lesser than the other and kinda carried that same mindset over to the lock to lock numbers.
I think if you had a Bronco that doesn't wander and being fairly stock height and stockish tires it wouldn't be as much an issue.
When you come to a fork in the road - take it
Homer - " Facts are meaningless . You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true."

DirtDonk
BFix Locked and Loaded
BFix Locked and Loaded
Posts: 2756
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Post by DirtDonk » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:25 am

Yeah, I agree. I think I'm going to find out about lifted and loose though, as my new box is in that 4, or sub-4 lock-to-lock category. Should be an interesting change from the old 6+ turn setup!
I'm not set up radically though, with 3.5 and 33's, but it's still a lifted short wheel base truck. We'll see...

If I ever get to drive it again that is!

Paul
'71 Bronco - 302 4v
3.5" WH/Skyjacker Lift
33 x 11.50 x15 Thornbirds on 15x7 Enkei's
Kayline soft top
Hanson bumpers
Dual batteries, Large 1G alt.

WWW.WILDHORSES4X4.COM :mrgreen:

mybronco69&74
Bfix "What's a Bronco?"
Bfix "What's a Bronco?"
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:57 am
Location: California

New steering box, which one?

Post by mybronco69&74 » Wed May 27, 2015 12:28 pm

I have two bronco projects, one is a 69 with 6" lift/1" body, and 35"s. I know it has seen lots of miles and isn't yet running so I havnt an idea how it drives, but I need to replace the steering to power and am trying to decide which ratio like you are saying, my other truck is a 74 with mostly stock gear-automatic and I think a minor lift maybe 2" I got it that way also and it needs steering also, just need recommendations as I havnt driven one of the new close ratio boxes. Any opinions/advise welcomed as Im new to this, both will be offroaded, but mostly street. The 69 lifted ect will be my hunting rig and will see tougher terrain, the 74 might mostly get driven by my wife, but who knows. I need safe, and want it as nice as I can afford ; ). Thanks.

DirtDonk
BFix Locked and Loaded
BFix Locked and Loaded
Posts: 2756
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Post by DirtDonk » Wed May 27, 2015 8:59 pm

It does still come down to personal preference, but most people that I've heard feedback from really like the 4-turn boxes. And it's what Ford put in the '76 and '77 EB's anyway, so is not really out of line quick-wise.

But for a twitchy rig, it is going to make it that much twitchier. Luckily, it's at the level that most will get used to and not hate it.
I have spoken to some that preferred the slower 6-turn boxes, but they are few and far between, and almost all much older owners. They like what they're used to, and thought the change was a bit much.

The only ones we really ever heard much griping about (and still it wasn't that many) were the 3-turn boxes that were common for awhile a couple of years ago. Not sure what the parts were that were used to get that and if they ran out of them, or the 4-turn parts just got that much more common.
Or maybe the rebuilders had more complaints about them than we did.

hope that helps. mostly it just comes down to personal preference and how the rig is set up. Your more stock-ish rig will likely love the quicker steering. While your 7" rig, if it's on soft-ish springs and shocks and old worn out tires could get kind of hairy.

Paul
'71 Bronco - 302 4v
3.5" WH/Skyjacker Lift
33 x 11.50 x15 Thornbirds on 15x7 Enkei's
Kayline soft top
Hanson bumpers
Dual batteries, Large 1G alt.

WWW.WILDHORSES4X4.COM :mrgreen:

User avatar
sykanr0ng
Bfix "What's a Bronco?"
Bfix "What's a Bronco?"
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:42 pm

Post by sykanr0ng » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:31 pm

One of the things that no one has mentioned:

What size steering wheel are you going to use?

It is my understanding that the smaller aftermarket wheels make the fast ratio boxes feel very twitchy, while the OEM (larger) Bronco wheel does not.
"You say overkill like it's a bad thing"

DirtDonk
BFix Locked and Loaded
BFix Locked and Loaded
Posts: 2756
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Post by DirtDonk » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:14 am

It definitely would. I'm liking the idea of larger wheels with the flat bottom (for more leg/lap clearance) more and more these days.
I never was going to mount a 13" wheel myself. I'd rather keep a stock one than go that small. But a 14 to 14.5" wheel might not be too bad. The usual compromise we have to take.

Small wheels are for those that want the fastest steering feel, or just need that much more clearance with their seat height and body girth combination. I've got a buddy that probably could never fit back in his Bronco if he put a normal sized steering wheel back on!

Paul
'71 Bronco - 302 4v
3.5" WH/Skyjacker Lift
33 x 11.50 x15 Thornbirds on 15x7 Enkei's
Kayline soft top
Hanson bumpers
Dual batteries, Large 1G alt.

WWW.WILDHORSES4X4.COM :mrgreen:

Post Reply