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Thread: p/s vs manual steering differences in setup

  1. #1

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    p/s vs manual steering differences in setup

    So I'm curious what the major differences are in the first gens manual vs power steering. I'm starting to notice i only see p/s on 4wd models because the steering linkage is relocated to the front of the crossmember with a longer gearbox to make room for the diff. Whereas the manual steering is on the back of the crossmember with a short stubby steering box.

    Here's my dilemma. I've contemplated making my diesel truck 2wd to see what kind of MPG I can get from it. The 2wd and 4wd have different front suspensions. Keeping in mind my previous statement means the steering linkage hooks to different points on the knuckle on both models (power on front of the knuckle with manual on the rear of the knuckle) This would mean that since all 4wd had p/s due to the rear diff making manual steering not possible by design) you can't have 2wd with power steering unless you modify a 4wd suspension setup to accept the power steering type of linkages. Or unless mitsu made power steering on 2wd models you'd need those knuckles. Also the rear mounted (manual steering) boxes would interfere with the starter and clutch slave cylinder on the diesel making the stubby gear box with manual steering not possible.

    I'm starting to think keeping 4wd and just swapping bodies will be easier than trying to make the diesel truck 2wd since I'd also need tougher front springs on the 2wd to accept the extra weight.

  2. #2



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    Not true - Geronimo is 2wd and p/s. There are many more differences such as torsion bars for the 4wd vs coils for the 2wd. I don't think the diesel motor is much heavier than the 2.6. I do think the 4wd to 2wd would be much more involved, not impossible, but I don't think the gains in mpgs would be worth the added work. If your 2wd donor truck is p/s, then it will be a lot less work than if you have to convert to p/s and diesel. It is your truck, it comes down to what you want and if you are willing to spend the time to make it happen.
    Pennyman1
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  3. #3

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    I was aware of the major suspension differences. I was getting at the steering linkages hooking to different sides of the knuckles. Does geronimo still have the steering box in the rear by the firewall or infront of the crossmember? My donor isn't p/s and has the steering box by the firewall. Like i mentioned if the gear box is behind the crossmember near the firewall for p/s models also then I'll have to swap bodies because the starter on the diesel is so large it's only inches from the framerail on that side where it meets the trans bellhousing. And if I were to keep the hydraulic clutch well the lines and bracket takes up those few inches. All this is between the motor mount and firewall on the driver side not to mention the fuel filter and other odds and ends here. If geronimo's box is by the radiator (infront of the member) then that means there are different knuckes for 2wd to accomidate standard style p/s setups and it would accept the diesel's 4wd p/s gear box and linkages. However if they are modified knuckles they'll be a rare find since most trucks don't have p/s unless theyre 4wd and those knuckles are different.

  4. #4



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    His steering box is by the firewall. I have never looked at a 2wd diesel 1st gen for how they did p/s as they are rare to start with. I have a friend that has a 2wd diesel ram 50 truck, but I don't know if it is p/s or not. I do understand your points about clearance, but I would have to think they had a way to do both manual and p/s on a diesel 2wd. I can try to get ahold of him and see which steering setup he has on his 83 Ram 50 Diesel 2wd - I have to call him anyways about the tranny and transfer case 74 dusted is selling.
    Pennyman1
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  5. #5

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    If you would, see how his is set up. I'd like to get some pics of the truck one day so I've got some references for mine. I know the 83 being the first year of the diesel had the battery under the hood. I've contemplated using that setup but if I swap bodies it'll already be setup for being under the bed since the battery box is part of the frame. I wonder if the 2wd just used a cable clutch and a standard p/s setup. I think that's possible it'll just be tight by the starter.

  6. #6



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    All diesels used a hydro clutch - the steering should be away from the starter enough to not cause problems, although it may be tight.
    Pennyman1
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  7. #7

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    If that's the case then either they use a front mounted setup with torsion bars just no front diff or they have a different routing for the hoses for the slave cylinder and possibly a modified gear box. At the present my 4wd's starter is about 3" from the rail and the clutch hoses are less than 1" from the framerail and mounted to the firewall through a 1" wide bracket where the metal line and rubber hose connect. Similar to a brake caliper hose setup. However using a torsion bar setup for 2wd and giving the truck the same stance as the 2wd would cause alignment issues I would think since you'd have to run the bars down pretty low leading to camber wear. If the truck is 2wd with a lifted stance that would explain alot.

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