Many of us want power steering for our truck. I think that we all do. The only
way to get a power setup if your truck didn't have it OEM is to:
Considering the fact that the OEM units seem to be rare, my opinion is to wait and search endlessly for the parts if you REALLY badly want the system. I choose to stick with what I have until I can afford to put an IFS unit under the front end of my truck. This only applies to 2WD truck owners, but if I owned a 4x4 I might try and find a way to fabricate a new setup. After reading the '65 service manual section on PS units for these trucks, it looks like the actual PS cylinder unit sat on the I-beam and the control valve unit was located between the steering knuckle arm and the steering arm. This seems very different than any other system I've seen, studied, or heard of. So, it may be difficult to try and reproduce this kind of setup with existing parts from other manufacturers.
I also discussed the Power Steering topic with Richard, the owner of Mid South Auto Sales. He believes that the units were somewhat unique and rare, and when found the cost of repair outweighs the service that the system will provide. He also said that he's seen some power steering boxes from other vehicles adapted and doesen't recommend this type of setup for a number of reasons (modifications necessary, OEM non-PS setup and box location, reliability, etc). There really isn't much you can do with these trucks in regards to power steering unless you drastically modify the trucks and/or their front suspensions. If you have engineered or know of a power steering setup that works in these trucks and is reliable please let the author know with an Online Response.
If you know of any businesses or individuals that offer a solution for the power steering dilemma on these trucks, please let the author know by sending in an Online Response. I will certainly post any other helpful info that I find, and remember that you are helping fellow enthusiasts when you submit something to this site. We can all be wiser from the valuable information you may have.
Unfortunately, no known manufacturer has marketed a kit to adapt Mustang II or other front suspension setups to '61-'71 Dodge Trucks. Companies such as Michael Thomas Enterprises and Fat Man Fabrications have crossmember kits for Mustang II components for '39-'47 and '33-'59 Dodge Trucks respectively. Chisholm Enterprises is another source, and they offer a kit for '40-'55 Mopar Trucks. Some companies say they will custom fabricate a suspension system for any rig, but can you imagine how much that would cost? Plus, they might not even be located in your state, which would make it hard to give them an example truck!
One can also have a local shop perform a complete subframing operation, but there won't be any guarantees on quality or performance once the job is finished. This route can also cost an arm and a leg.
The other option, is to perform the job yourself. The only problem here is the amount of experience one has and the tools they have access to. This lies in line with the true spirit of building the truck on your own as an enthusiast, hot rodder, or restorer. With the proper research, a total subframe job on any truck can be highly successful.
Some interesting news has arrived in regards to the Plymouth Volare\Dodge Aspen IFS swap. Steve Kepper of Tacoma, WA has completed two trucks with the Volare/Aspen swap. What is so interesting is his impression of the completed swap and the related information he has. First, he states that the swap works very well. Handling is greatly increased, ride is enhanced in leaps and bounds (over the single I-beam) and no modifications have to be made in regards to engine or transmission placement. Another bonus, the headers that you may have installed will also work, as there is plenty of clearance with the clip installed. Steve had a custom fabricator install the clip on both trucks and maintains that the whole swap is quite inexpensive overall.
Nonetheless, the above doesn't answer the eternal question of, "What about power steering?" Fear not, the Volare/Aspen clip with a power steering box requires nothing more than the added MOPAR pump and a steering rod extension from the column to the box with a couple of u-joints. The Volare column can also be swapped in easily, which would bring a more modern look and feel to the cab. In regards to availability, the Volare/Aspen cars can be found cheaply, even if one has to get the front end from a salvage yard. Please watch this section for more information on the Volare swap as more correspondence from Steve arrives on the subject. Planned are pictures, measurements, specifics, a technical writeup, cost chart, part numbers, sources, and possibly a few CAD drawings of the parts that need to be fabricated to accept the swap. I sent the letter out to him sometime around the middle of January `98 with no response as of nearly one year later. If ANYONE out there has seen or knows of this IFS swap being performed on a Sweptline Era Truck, Please contact me with the Online Response Page. Numerous truck fans out there would like to know how to add IFS to their own trucks (including the author)!
Dodge Mirada\Chrysler Cordoba - Truly large cars, these suspensions will match up well with '61-'71 Dodge Trucks due to the heft of all components. Big disc brakes, large diameter torsion bars, and thick A-Arms will be nearly as tough as if Dodge had built them that way at the factory. This setup is tougher to implement since it requires much more than four bolts for installation.
'72-'73 Dodge Dart, '70-'76 Plymouth Valiant Duster - Front ends under these vehicles are heavier duty than the Volare/Aspen, but again require more work to make a swap. Among the benefits are disc brakes, larger, thicker components and the availibility of polyurethane bushings.
Later Dodge Trucks ('72-`93) - Since the later trucks were engineered with an independent front suspension, and since they are direct decendants of Sweptline Era vehicles, later Dodge trucks can also "make the donation" of an IFS front end. The benefits include truck-duty components, parts availability, disc brakes, and lowering kit capabilities (from aftermarket companies). To learn more about this swap possibility, consult the Frame Swap using `72-`93 Truck IFS Page for a detailed description of how this swap is accomplished.
'70 1/2-'73 Camaro front ends - It was once noted by a fellow enthusiast that, after chopping a Sweptline Era Truck frame off near the firewall, a '70 1/2-'73 Camaro subframe will simply slide right in to the modified truck frame horns.
Mustang II - This design only applies in a sense that it is popular for pre-fab crosmember installations on other classic trucks, including earlier Mopars. It is a good all around performer, especailly with a solid, well engineered crossmember and matching components.
Chevrolet Corvair - These cars had front ends that were attached with six bolts, which seems perfect for an easy remove and reinstall. Consequently, all Corvairs came with drum brakes and aftermarket discs cost nearly $600 plus whatever labor and modifications are required. It sounds like a good option, but why go halfway with a good suspension and then have to pay more for adequate brakes?
Jim Meyer Racing specializes in independent suspension systems for custom vehicles. He offers a free catalog that includes a spec sheet that you fill out with the measurements for your vehicle. After one call and sending him the form, you can have a crossmember kit made for your truck. The author called their company and many others recently, and they seemed the most interested. Watch this site for an upcoming printable version of the spec sheet described above. For more info, contact:
Jim Meyer Racing Products|
1345 S.E. 23rd
Lincoln City, OR 97367
Tech Line: 1-541-994-7717
Chisholm Enterprises is a company that offers a variety of kits for custom cars and trucks. Although they do not offer a kit for any of the '61-'71 Dodge Trucks, they do have IFS suspension systems for '40-'55 Mopar Trucks. When asked if they would fabricate a '61-'71 Dodge Truck IFS setup, their main concern was to have the subject truck in their shop to work off of. If interested, contact: