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What's Your Problem? - Tech Questions

Jeff Smith Answers Some Of Our Readers' Questions

Stress-Cracked Steering
Clelia, via CarCraft.com: I'm 16 and my first Mustang is out of commission because of a power-steering problem. My dad and I have replaced the steering high-pressure hose three times now. Within 100 miles of installation, a fine split appears in the S-curve entering the control valve. We have observed tension on this S-curve as the hose does not travel properly during turns, particularly when turning to the right.

As the hose leaves the power-steering pump, we have formed a loop where the hose seems too long to fit otherwise. It travels through the inboard side (engine) of the hold-down clamp and then to the control valve on the steering linkage.

Our two ideas are improper placement and/or looping of the hose in the engine compartment or binding through the hold-down clamp in the engine compartment

Jeff Smith: We took a look at the power-steering setup in our own '67 Mustang, Clelia, and found something interesting. Our car had a heavy steel clamp that looks like a factory postproduction retrofit or perhaps an aftermarket piece that secures the steel tubing end of the high-pressure power-steering hose in place (see accompanying photo). It appears that if left unsupported, the steel line will vibrate, which eventually could create the stress crack you mentioned. An Adel clamp or some type of rubber-cushioned clamp that would secure the line without crimping or abrading the tubing would be the best solution. It's a simple fix, and it should only take an extra five minutes to mount the clamp. Then you can go back to driving and enjoying your Mustang rather than working on it!

Vortec 383
Clark Dexter, East Islip, NY: My daily driver is a '98 Yukon. I've racked up 168,000 miles and am now thinking about a fresh engine. I was going to do a 383, but my transmission guy insisted the 4L60E won't live behind the torque of a bigger engine. I am going to use an Eagle kit in the short-block and was wondering if there is any advantage to building a 6-inch-rod 350. Also, I'll probably use E-Tec heads and shorty headers. Can you guys recommend a cam? I will be running the stock EFI.

Jeff Smith: First thing we'd do is run a compression check and see exactly where the engine's at for cranking compression. This will tell you what kind of cylinder leakage you have compared with the factory specs. Assuming the stock cranking pressure is 175 psi, consider anything less than 160 psi, or 20 percent, suspect. The beauty of late-model engines is that with EFI, overdrive transmissions, and today's superior lubricants, it's entirely possible an engine with more than 150,000 miles could still be in decent shape.

As for the 6-inch-rod question, there is little benefit to spending the extra money for a longer rod in this application. Perhaps if this were a high-rpm engine, where piston speed was a concern, the longer rod might help durability. There is no horsepower advantage to be gained from a longer rod. That statement will generate many letters with differing opinions, but the reality is there are a ton of places to spend your money that will have a far more positive effect on power. Rod length is not one of them. The only advantage might be to reduce piston compression height, which will reduce piston weight, but we're really splitting hairs here.

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