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I added power steering to my RHD 408

When I did the recent rebuild of the front suspension on my 408, I opted to add power steering. The low speed manoeuvering effort required without it was doable but not fun.

Looking back through archived forums (fora?), it seemed that adding a factory type hydraulic system would be complex and expensive. So I started looking at modern electric assistance systems. There were a few options - buy a unit from a wrecked Toyota (or other) and get somebody local to try to make it fit the Bristol steering column or buy a complete universal kit and again try to find somebody to make a column for it. Then I read about an outfit in the Netherlands, EZ Power Steering ( who specializes in electric systems for classic cars and had installed their system in an RHD 408, like mine, before. Whatsmore, they had a set for a 408 made up on the shelf. So I ordered that plus a custom made collapsible steering column as I always got a mental picture of that steel shaft pointing straight at my sternum when out and about driving.

The unit sits under the dash and, apart from bending or cutting a 2" part of the metal lip inside the bottom of the dash (invisible unless you crawl under there), it bolts straight in. The biggest challenge I had was getting the column installed at both ends - it inserts into the u-joint at the steering box and into a socket at the rear of the power steering unit. In the end, the column had to go into the u-joint at the steering box end first and then a lot of heavy wrestling with the power unit under the dash finally got its output shaft over the upper end of the collapsible column. The electrical hookup is simple but needed a new permanent power feed laid from the battery compartment. The other connection is to an ignition powered source to flip the relay that sends power from the main feed to the steering unit. The unit can be adjusted for the amount of assist it gives and there is a rotary switch on a small panel that needs to be mounted somewhere. The kit included all the wiring, connectors and a fuse in an inline holder. The team at EZ Power Steering were very patient and helpful during my installation.

The system makes parking a breeze and has not affected steering effort or accuracy once in motion.