Okay gents, here goes.
After spending the better part of the afternoon in the garage on the "problem," here's what I have discovered:
To the guy who was interested in the Steeroids unit, I still have it, it worked great, and it's for sale. I installed it after having bought the car, about three months ago. The car had a small block when I bought it, and it was dead tired. The steering was also so bad that I was a little scared to drive the car. My original intentions were to build a relatively hot 383 for the car, and because small blocks are so "small," I tried the Steeroids kit. The web page said that if there were issues wit fit, that they'd talk about taking the unit back. In fact, I had no issues with fit at all, it dropped in the car really easily. The rack itself, I found out, is from a Grand Prix type car made in the early ninties. Doing the research, I read some post's from David Pozzi that questioned the strength of the tie rods, quoting some second hand experience from early rear-steer vette's. The tie rod ends are not what I would call extra beefy, but this is not my area of expertise. I figured that if they were good enough for GM to warranty on production Grand Prix's, they'd probably be okay. If you'd like me to measure the diameter of the rod ends, I'd be glad to. I literally only drove the car five miles to shake out the steering before I realized that I was so frustrated with the tired small block that I decided to pull the motor out of the car. Now it gets fun.
I had a stroked big block that I kept from the sale of a Chevelle about two years ago. It's a monster, probably around 550HP, even more torque. I had placd a build order from the same shop who built the rat (ESI in San Diego, HIGHLY recommended, but not too cheap), but they had troubles finding a block. After three weeks I got tired of waiting for them to find a suitable block, so I decided to put the rat into the car.
I bought a set of Hooker headers, and there is NO WAY they'll fit around the steering shaft on the Steeroids kit. I pounded the **** out of them trying to clearence them, but it was pretty clear that they won't fit. It's a shame, the Steeroids unit was pretty trick, and a super fast (too fast?) steering ratio. So, I have the unit, with literally five miles on it, and it's for sale.
Back to the current situation. Thanks, David, for the measurement on the input shaft. I'm glad I got a second opinion, it's a beautiful box, I was hoping I wouldn't have to deal with a return. No question though, the coupler I got from Rick's is about .040" too small. As I mentioned above, I opened it up, but now it is offset as a result, and I am going to have to do some fabrication/clearancing. I think I can just open up the rag joint and offset the dowels a bit to make it work.
After more playing around, I noticed (without the coupler installed) that the major issue with the steering box alignment was just that: the box input shaft did not line up with the centerline of the steering column shaft. I tried sitcking a thick washer between the box and the frame rail on the front lower bolt, and it lined up really nicely. When I pulled the old stuff off of the car, I did not notice if there was a shim or not, not even sure they are supposed to be shimmed. Regardles, it worked, and I think I can make it fit nicely.
Now, for the headers: There is a clearence issue between the #3 pipe and the "fat" part of the steering box. More pounding, and I'm close. I needed a break so I checked the message board. Thanks for the reply's.
By the way, if I had to do it all over again, I'd wait for the small block. A big block in these cars is really damn tight, and I think it may a little too much motor for the car, but I'm in too deep at this point. The small block would have dropped right in, no issues. As it stands, I am three weeks behind where I thought I'd be, I thought the neighbors would be smelling rubber by now!
69 SS, Stroker 489, Tremec TKO, Tight Road Suspension