Some 700 gallons of power steering fluid later, or so it seemed, I figured that I might have a leak somewhere in the steering system of my 1974 Corvette. After a quick degrease of the undercarriage, I discovered that the power steering control valve was the culprit. That’s not a great discovery because C3 Corvettes are known for leaking control valves. Since the control valve needed to be replaced, it provided the perfect opportunity to rebuild the entire power steering system with new hoses and power cylinder.
To keep things simple, Zip Corvette Parts offers Power Steering Renew Kits for 63-79 small-block Corvettes, 65-74 big-blocks, and 80-82 models. Available with new or rebuilt components, the Renew Kits include a steering ram and control valve (be sure to return your old ones for core refunds with the rebuilt kit), power cylinder, and hoses. When our box arrived with our new Corvette Power Steering Renew Kit, we headed to the garage.
Click on the images for expanded views – it’s much easier on the eyes.
01: To get started, disconnect the pair of flexible steering hoses from the power steering control valve and let the fluid drain into a container. Then remove the hoses.
02: Remove the cotter pin and retaining nut that holds the piston rod to the chassis.
03: To disconnect the power cylinder from the steering linkage relay rod, first remove the cotter pin and retaining nut. A ball joint separator or two-jaw puller may be required.
04: Then the power steering cylinder can be removed.
05: Remove the clamp bolt from the control valve and relay rod.
06: Disconnect the two remaining hoses from the control valve, but leave them connected to the fluid tank.
07: Then let the hoses drain thoroughly before removing them.
08: Using a ball joint separator, we removed the inner tie rod end from the rod relay to obtain clearance for the removal of the valve from the pitman arm, which also required the use of the separator and a big hammer. Then we were able to unscrew the control valve.
09: After threading the new valve onto the relay rod and installing the pinch-bolt finger tight, then installing the pair of new top lines from the tank to the control valve, finish mounting the control valve to the pitman arm using the new nut and cotter pin. Then reattach the tie rod to the relay rod and tighten the pinch bolt on the control valve. Now you can finish attaching the two hoses running to the fluid tank from the control valve, keeping them at 45 degrees (see diagram) from the control valve and using a new clamp on the low-pressure side of the tank.
10: This diagram shows how the new hoses should criss-cross each other for a proper installation.
11: Install the new Corvette power cylinder rod onto the chassis using the new bushing and nut supplied.
12: On the other end of the power cylinder rod, install and tighten the new nut and cotter pin.
13: Install new lower lines that run from the control valve to the power cylinder. Be sure to criss-cross the hoses that attach to the control valve, per the diagram.
14: Now fill with fluid and crank engine. Run it for a few seconds, then shut it off and check the fluid level. Do this a few times. Don’t worry if the fluid starts out foamy; it will work itself out as air is released from the system. This is also a good time to double-check for leaks.
Power Steering Rebuild:
1963-1982 Corvette Power Steering Rebuild
Text and photography by Mark Potter.
Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
Corvette Parts List Related to Article: