Can You Retrofit an Electric Power Steering System in a Classic Ford Mustang?

April 18, 2024

As an auto enthusiast, one of the most common questions you likely ask yourself is, "Can I retrofit an electric power steering system in a classic Ford Mustang?" Electric power assist steering (EPAS) systems have become a popular topic in recent car forums. With their improved steering precision and less energy consumption, it’s no wonder car owners are considering converting their manual steering systems to electric. In this article, you will learn about the merits of an electric power steering system, the retrofitting process, and what you need to consider before making the switch.

The Advantages of an Electric Power Steering System

Before you make any changes to your classic Mustang, it’s essential to understand why an electric power steering system could be a beneficial addition. An electric power steering (EPS) system replaces the traditional hydraulic power steering pump with an electric motor. This motor provides assistance as the driver operates the steering wheel.

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An EPS system has several advantages over a conventional power steering system. One of the most attractive benefits is its lower energy consumption. Because it uses an electric motor instead of a hydraulic pump, it only draws power when the steering wheel is turned, thus reducing the load on the engine and improving fuel efficiency.

In addition to efficiency, an EPS system also offers smoother and more precise steering. It provides a more consistent level of assistance, regardless of the car’s speed. That means you’ll have better control over your Mustang at high and low speeds alike. Furthermore, because an EPS system is less mechanically complex than a traditional power steering system, it is less likely to fail or require extensive maintenance.

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The Conversion Process: From Manual to Electric Power Steering

Retrofitting an electric power steering system into a classic Mustang is not a task for the faint-hearted. It requires a significant amount of technical knowledge and a comprehensive conversion kit. The conversion process involves several steps, starting with the removal of the old manual steering system. This includes disconnecting the steering column, removing the steering rack, and disconnecting the power steering pump.

Once the old steering system has been removed, the electric power steering motor can be installed. This motor is typically mounted to the steering column and connected to the existing steering shaft. The motor is then wired to the car’s electrical system. It’s important to note, you must ensure the car’s electrical system can handle the additional load of an electric power steering motor.

It’s also worth noting that retrofitting an electric power steering system may require modifications to the car’s frame or body to accommodate the new components. For example, you may need to modify the firewall or the steering shaft to ensure the electric motor fits correctly.

Essential Considerations Before Going for the Retrofit

Before you decide to retrofit an electric power steering system into your classic Mustang, there are several factors you should consider.

Firstly, consider the cost of the conversion. In addition to the cost of the conversion kit, you may also need to factor in the cost of any modifications to the car’s structure, as well as the cost of professional installation if you do not feel comfortable doing the work yourself.

Secondly, consider the age and condition of your car. While an electric power steering system can provide many benefits, it may not be the best choice for all vehicles. If your car is in poor condition or has a lot of mileage, the cost and effort of retrofitting an electric power steering system may outweigh the benefits.

Finally, consider the authenticity of your classic Mustang. For some auto enthusiasts, maintaining the original features and mechanics of a classic car is of utmost importance. If authenticity is a priority for you, retrofitting an electric power steering system may not be the right choice.

Choosing the Right Electric Power Steering Conversion Kit

It’s important to choose the right conversion kit for your classic Mustang. The conversion kit should include all the necessary components for the conversion, including the electric power steering motor, the wiring harness, and any necessary brackets or hardware.

It’s also essential to choose a conversion kit that is compatible with your specific make and model of car. Some conversion kits are designed for specific car models, while others are more universal. You should consult with the manufacturer or a professional mechanic to ensure the conversion kit will work with your Mustang.

Remember, quality matters when it comes to conversion kits. Look for a kit that is well-reviewed and from a reputable manufacturer. A high-quality conversion kit will ensure the longevity and performance of your new electric power steering system.

In conclusion, retrofitting an electric power steering system in a classic Ford Mustang is possible, but it requires careful consideration and planning. The benefits of an electric power steering system are undeniable, but the conversion process can be complex and costly. By considering the factors discussed in this article and choosing the right conversion kit, you can make an informed decision about whether an electric power steering system is the right upgrade for your Mustang.

The Importance of Professional Help and Follow-up Maintenance

When you’ve made the decision to transition from manual to electric power steering for your classic Ford Mustang, it’s crucial to seek professional assistance. While there are many do-it-yourself guides available, the complex nature of the retrofit can be challenging even for the most seasoned car enthusiasts.

A professional mechanic who has experience with electric power steering conversions can guide you through the process and ensure that all modifications are made correctly. They can also verify that the car’s electrical system can handle the additional load of the electric power steering motor and make any necessary adjustments.

Following the retrofit, the work isn’t over. The maintenance of an electric power steering system is less than that of a hydraulic power steering system, but it is still necessary. Regular checks of the steering rack, steering column, and electric motor are important to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of the system.

Common issues include a worn-out steering shaft or issues with the wiring harness. Specifically, you should check for wear or damage to the wires that connect the steering motor to the car’s electrical system. Once detected, these issues should be addressed promptly to prevent further damage or potential steering failure.

Conclusion: Is it Worth it to Retrofit an Electric Power Steering System?

Retrofitting an electric power steering system in a classic Ford Mustang is a decision that requires careful consideration. The benefits are numerous, from enhanced fuel efficiency to smoother and more precise steering. However, the conversion process can be both expensive and complex, and may require significant modifications to your car’s structure.

The cost of a conversion kit and professional installation, as well as potential maintenance down the line, are something to consider. Plus, the state of your car’s current condition and mileage can significantly impact the feasibility and practicality of an electric power steering conversion.

Moreover, for classic car enthusiasts, authenticity might be a priority. If maintaining the original features and mechanics of your classic Mustang is important to you, then retrofitting an electric power steering system may not align with your vision for your car.

Despite these challenges, if done correctly and with the right support, an electric power steering retrofit can breathe new life into your classic Mustang. It can improve the overall driving experience, and give the vehicle a modern touch while preserving its classic charm.

In the end, the decision to retrofit your Mustang with an electric power steering system is highly personal. It depends on your preferences, your budget, and your comfort level with making significant changes to your classic car. As always, careful research, planning, and consultation with professionals can help guide you towards the best decision for you and your Mustang.