Almost a bolt-in
I went out to the local bone yard and got a power steering gear off a 77 f-150. I read the post on the Ford truck forum and shortened the steering shaft 2" and welded it back together just like they said. Only after vainly attempting to install the box did I realize that I had to shorten the column as well. Out came the torch and off came 3/4" off the bottom of the column. The pitman arm had the wrong angle bent where the idler arm hooks up, so I had to remove the pitman arm and heat and bend it to the correct angle. I would have used the pitman arm off the manual box but it would not fit the shaft. Luckily I removed the arm once before I installed the steering gear, so it did not come off very hard. (usually I am never that fortunate)
Everything else hooked right up and it all seems to work. Looking back on this experience, using to torch on the outer shell of the column was a bad move. This pickup used to have a '3 of the tree' standard and now is equipped with a c-4 automatic. I have been using the column shifter arms to shift the auto tranny, which worked OK at best, but not real well. With all the heat of the torch, I must have melted something inside the column because now my shifter is stiff at best and I can hear something ribbing inside the steering column when I turn the wheel.
When Dad-in-law had the pickup, the front cab mounts rusted away the the weight of the can was running on the bearing at the bottom of the steering column, which wore it out, so I really didn't have much of a steering column to begin with. I got the cab mounts all fixed up so now I am now thinking of installing a floor mounted shifter and getting a good steering column out of a 4 speed pickup and fixing this column right.
I started this project at about 7:30 last night and was done (sort of) at 11:30.
'51 Chevy 1/2 ton
'42 Chevy 1 1/2 ton
1935 John Deere A - 413881