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STEERING BOX ID TAG DECODER
Passenger Car Steering Box Codes
A = Galaxie & big Fords
F = Mustang & Fairlane
P = Maverick & Comet
U = Bronco
B = Fairlane
G = Granada
S = Thunderbird
X = Falcon & Comet
TYPE CODE: M = Manual Steering P = Power Steering
RATIO: Box Internal Ratio
MIXES WITH: Functionally, the same box
Most Ford steering boxes have a metal ID tag attached to them by one of the top cover plate bolts.
The top line is the ID Tag Code of the box. The charts on the following pages are listings of Ford passenger car steering boxes from 1960-1979.
The first part of the second line is the Assembly Date Code listing the date the box was assembled - not the day it was installed in the car. After the date code is the Shift Code, indicating the work shift during which the box was assembled that day.
The date code follows standard Ford date decoding. The first position is a number indication the Year of build. Decoding the ID Code on the tag shown above shows that the box was installed in 1965-1966 Mustangs, so the first digit '6' means the box was assembled in 1966. The second position is a letter indicating the month the box was built.
Using the tag shown above as an example, the ID Code (HCC-AW) shows the application to be for a 1965-1966 Mustang with Power Steering and a 16:1 ratio.
A = January
B = February
C = March
D = April
E = May
F = June
G = July
H = August
J = September
K = October
L = November
M = December
On the example tag, the letter ' F ' indicates that the box was built in June. The third and forth positions are the day the box was built. On the example tag the numbers ' 17 ' indicate that the box was built on the 17th.
So, the box for the example tag was built June 17, 1966, during the ' B ' work shift.
FORD NEVER USED THE LETTER 'I ' IN THEIR DATE CODING SINCE IT WAS EASILY CONFUSED WITH THE NUMBER ' 1 '
ID TAG CODE
ASSEMBLY DATE CODE
Steering boxes were built in batches by code. It is not unusual for Mustangs all across the country to have HCC-AT steering boxes all assembled within a 3 or 4 day span. We have seen boxes come in from all over the country for rebuild and notices that many of the same ID code have exact or similar date codes.
Comparing the casting dates on the steering box housings, often boxes were built from 3 to 10 days after being cast up. Mustangs especially were being built so fast that it seemed that the cases barely had time to cool down before they were being used to build new boxes.
Steering Box Differences
March 1964 to early 1967 used 41 7/8" long Input Shaft
Later 1967 to August 1970 used 6 3/16" long Input Shaft
March 1964 to 5/1/67 1967 used 1.000" diameter Sector Shaft
5/1/67 1967 to August 1970 used 1.125" diameter Sector Shaft
1965-1970 Steering Boxes came in only two ratios:
16:1 Quick Ratio - used on Power steering and all GT's
19:1 Slow Ratio - used on Manual Steering cars
1965 - 1966
GT Steering Box
Mustangs equipped with a special option "handling package", which included all factory GT-equipped Mustangs and K-code Mustangs, came with "quick-ratio" steering setup. Part of this package was a quicker ratio steering box to reduce steering wheel movement when turning. This was accomplished by installing the 16:1 ratio steering box in the car. If the car had Power Steering, it already had the quick ratio box which received the normal power steering ID tag code. If the car was equipped with Manual Steering, the quick ratio box was installed and received a special ID tag code.
There is no special GT steering box for a power steering equipped car. They simply received the same identical box as all other power steering cars.
The only special GT steering box was one installed in a manual steering car. The ID tag is a unique code that only came in GTs.
The only difference between the power steering 16:1 box and the GT manual steering 16:1 box was the bearing load and gear mesh settings when it was built. It was set up just a little bit tighter since a manual steering box has more strain on it and tends to loosen up more than a power steering box.
Pitman Arms: (3590)
1965-1966 6cyl Manual
1965-1966 6cyl Power
1965-1966 V8 Manual & Power
1967 6cyl & V8 Power built before 5/1/67 with 1.0" sector
1965-1966 Shelby only (Quick Steer Kit)
1967 6cyl & V8 Manual built before 5/1/67 with 1.0" sector
1967-1970 6cyl & V8 Manual built after 5/1/67 with 1.125" sector
1967-1970 6cyl & V8 Power built after 5/1/67 with 1.125" sector
1971-1973 6cyl & V8 Manual
1971-1973 6cyl & V8 Power
Long Shaft / Short Shaft
Ford changed the Mustang steering box from a long shaft to short shaft for two reasons: the short shaft box was needed for cars with tilt-wheel options and for the coming introduction of the collapsable steering column.
Castings & Interchange
1965-1967 Mustangs with the 1.0" sector shaft used the C4DR-A casting, which is a Falcon casting
.Later in 1966, Ford went to a C6ZR-A casting
1967-1970 Mustangs with the 1.125" sector shaft used the C7ZR-A casting housing, though some used a C4DR-B Falcon casting also
Long Shaft Boxes:
All long input shaft boxes used an Adjustment Nut with the long snout and no rubber seal. Bcause of this, the top of the box is vented through the top input shaft bearing, so it uses a non-vented grease fill plug
Short Shaft Boxes:
All short input shaft boxes used an Adjustment Nut that was very short and had a rubber seal mounted in it around the input shaft. Since this style box could not vent through the bearing and seal, they were equipped with vented grease fill plugs.