What they don’t warn you about when you develop an addiction to cars… (aka fitting an Astra electric power steering pump)

I’m not sure if I flat-out wasn’t told – maybe I wasn’t listening. Knowing how I am, I may well have been distracted by shiny things when the sage advice was imparted that could have steered me away from embarking on my folly-filled journey to build my Pontiac.

The fact remains what really causes large projects like a vehicle restoration (or home renovations, or building a boat) are all the small jobs. It is simple to get an engine rebuilt, but then you need to put it in the car, set it up, fill it with fluids, replace the engine mounts and some scungy bits that now look even worse next to your flash new motor. And what about converting to power steering? *cue snowball racing down a hill*

This weekend I decided to remove the old traditional hydraulic power steering pump from my car for an electric unit off a TS-generation Astra (sold by Holden, Opel, or Vauxhall, same-same). This would tidy up my engine bay and reduce parasitic loss on my engine.

20171214_170816

power steer pump 2

The idea behind mounting the pump was simple enough. But first I had to clean it thoroughly, cut up the stock bracket, give it a quick rattle-can paint job to blend in with my blacked-out inner guards. Then I had to work out how to situate the pump, before drilling 2 holes in my inner guard. Each of these only takes a few minutes, but a day is lost by undertaking a sequence of 10 minute jobs…

Rather than using bolts and nuts, which would be a pain to undo if I had to remove the pump, I fitted rivnuts to the holes I drill. These are essentially a rivet with a threaded section to act as a captive nut. If you haven’t seen these before, they’re amazing. 

rivnuts

The new rivnut on the left. It threads onto the riveter, which you then close. The riviter then pinches the rivet into the hole and it looks like the one on the right (smaller). You can then bolt directly into the rivnut! 

rivnuts in guard

Here are the rivnuts fitted to my inner guard. These flush-fitted units are stainless steel, however there are several finishes possible including aluminium (aluminum) or mild steel.

bracket

The bracket was mounted in 10 minutes, clocked so the power steering lines had the clearest route straight to the steering box, and it would be easy to service should I need to. I also left plenty of space to fill the reservoir with the required LDAS fluid (not Dex III as many hydraulic power steering pumps require).  

One thing to note is I have since added a support strap to the radiator support panel, to brace the pump fore-aft. This was bent up out of 3mm aluminium (aluminum) flat bar, with holes drilled in to pass through the Astra pump’s bracket, and a threaded hole in the radiator support panel.

pump and bracket

I had initially thought about hiding the pump under the bottom of the guard out of sight. However, I didn’t want to have to jack my car up and pull a wheel off to check or fill the power steering fluid. I really want this car easy to maintain. 

BENDING LIGHT

With the pump mounted I then got on with the job of working out how to get the power steering fluid from the steering box to the pump. Rubber hose didn’t really appeal to me, so I went out and bought a couple of tube benders, seeing how I was going to need to bend some more hardline when it comes time to redo my fuel lines for the new fuel injection set-up I’m installing.

I had some spare stainless steel 3/8″ line in the garage so I set about teaching myself how to bend and flare piping, and I reused the old fittings as they were all in good shape. Thankfully the Astra pump uses the same size fittings and lines despite being made in a metric country (and 50 years after the car was built).

Once I get the new hardline I’ve ordered I will put up a more detailed post later on for how to bend lines, showing how I did it.

bender

 

 


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