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Old 10-29-2012, 07:50 PM   #1
72SBVet
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for those with R&P steering

For those who have rack & pinion steering, what is your feedback. Does it feel loose or does it have a "better" feel of the road? Thanks. I have a ton of stuff planned for my Corvette before the paint goes on it, and am trying to figure out what comes now or later.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:13 PM   #2
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I got a Steeroids setup back when they first came out. So early in fact I got the fifth one they made. It's a decent system, but I am very picky and have high standards, and ended up replacing it. I tried to improve it, and did in many aspects, (modified mounting brackets, including the tie rod center link, which liked to twist on the mounting points, made aluminum bushings, made custom steering input shaft setup) but the main limiting factor it has (as do the homemade systems that many people have done and documented on here and other forums) is the rack itself. I had flex in the rack itself. I measured about 10 degrees of input shaft movement before any lateral movement of the rack, and could feel the flexing in the steering input, like twisting a spring; not play. I tried three different racks (newly rebuilt, not junkyard finds), including adjusting them all, to eliminate the possibility of it being a bad rack and had no improvement. The rack these systems are based on is out of a 90's Cavalier z24, so I believe that it is just not designed to handle the extra weight and sticky tires (I run 275's up front and have a front axle weight of 1450 lbs.). The flex was not as severe under movement, of course, but was still there and noticeable, especially under hard turning and/or braking conditions.
I then got one of the new Flaming River power systems. This system is better (especially the rack itself; very nice piece), but it is not without its flaws. For starters, they made the cradle with the rack mounts off by about two inches. I have no idea how something built in a jig could be off so much and when I called them about they couldn't believe it either, so much so that they didn't believe me. I sent them pics of it, with a tape measure in the pic along with solid reference points and they still denied there was a problem. I could not even screw in one of tie rod ends because it would not reach the rack, and the pics verified this but still was not enough to convince them. They finally said "return it, we'll refund your money," but that would not solve my problem of needing a good steering system, so I fixed it myself. I also had to cut down the pillow blocks a little (1/4 inch) so the rack would clear my aftermarket oil pan. That of course changes the intended geometry, which brings me to the next problem with this system; bump steer. Normally I would be concerned about doing something like cutting the pillow blocks because of the geometry change, but in this case I did it because it really didn't matter with this system because, well, it already has atrocious geometry. I'm not really sure what they were thinking with this but they should have used a much narrower rack and mounted it accordingly for improved geometry (less bump steer). I decided to stick with it because the rack is nice and it's strong enough to deal with my sticky tires, and my suspension is so stiff and limited it doesn't move enough to make a huge difference anyway. That said, it is enough that I still notice it occasionally, it's just not that detrimental, at least not in my case. I also completely changed my steering column and shaft setup when I changed to this system. I no longer have a conventional column, it's a mounted shaft upper with a u-jointed lower into the rack, all with completely different geometry and dimensions then stock, or what they include with the kit, so I can't comment on how that part of it would normally be.
So, final verdict? I'm much happier with the Flaming River setup, despite its shortcomings. The feel is much better then the first rack or the original system. Many people are very happy with the Steeroids/homemade systems, but likely are not as hardcore as I am. Same kind of goes for the F R system; most will not push their car hard enough to notice the bump steer, despite softer suspensions. My suggestion is to go with either the F R system because of the rack, or upgrade the stock system. The bump steer is obviously an issue with the F R, but if you are hardcore like me, then you probably have a stiffer suspension and probably avoid seriously bumpy roads anyway, or are pretty easy on it and won't notice it much anyway. Or upgrade the factory system with good parts, including an aftermarket box with improved ratio and internal power assist (Borgenson is good). They all have compromises, the only way to really get rid of them, is to go full on, pure custom. I plan to build a tube chassis for my car and will use a rack out of a C6 (maybe C7; we'll see when the time comes) to go with the rest of the front parts I plan to utilize, including switching to front steer. No matter what you do, plan to modify if you want to get the most out of it.
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:45 AM   #3
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I got a steroids system used. I beefed up all the brackets with plate steel. I had bump steer blocks so had to order threaded tubes from Speedway Motors. I run it non-powered, so may change to a rack with more turns.

All in all great improvement. Wish there was a Beefier rack available.
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:26 AM   #4
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I'll offer my opinion based on the Steeroids system I installed on a friend's '74.

First, I want to say that my 1977 still has the stock box with stock components and it is still VERY tight and smooth. No play in the wheel at all.

Second, my friend's stock box prior to the Steeroids was worn so badly he had 4" each way from center so a total of around 8" of play in his steering wheel. Driving it was like wrestling an alligator. Near impossible to maintain a straight line.

My friend then ordered the Steeroids kit and we set out to install it. There were several issues that required modifications and what was touted as a bolt in kit was NOT a bolt in kit. Regardless, once it was installed and the system bled properly, there was a huge improvement from what he had before.

Compared to my tight stock steering...I would not install it. For me and my car it would be a down grade. It felt over assisted to me, and I felt like it lost feel with the road. Kind of out of touch.

Now, compared to his completely worn out stock steering, it was a 100% improvement that not only made it safe to drive but it because easy and fun to drive.

In summary, I would say it like this. If your stock box is tight and feels good with no play in the wheel...wait until you need to fix it to switch to a rack system. If your stock box is worn and you have play in the wheel, by all means, I think switching to a rack is better than trying to repair it with a remanufactured box which are never set up as good as the original stock boxes.

One final thought. Your stock box can be rebuilt by one or two people in the country that will return it to factory spec and I feel that's a good option over a switch to a rack.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:58 AM   #5
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Youíre getting some really great advice from knowledgeable people here on the forum.

Iím of the home built set-up group,

Enginerd has really great input on the subject,

I started with the stock system, replaced every component of the system but it still was not what I thought it should be. I have tires and wheels off of a 02 Z06 so this made my car more sensitive to steering input and has forced me to look for steering improvement.

I than had a custom rebuild on my box and will say it was a good bit better than the box I ordered from a mass rebuilder but still not to the level I was looking for.

Next was a custom R&P install based on what I could find on the internet for our cars. I tried to take the good and bad points and capitalize on the good points and minimize the bad points on what I had learned from their install.

I agree with Enginered that there are weak points of the Grand Am rack. The rack internal cradle is not manufactured to the tolerances it should be. I think Gene hit on the head when he stated that he felt it was due to the way its used in the Grand Am vs the way we are using it in the vette. In the Grand Am the tie rods are long and mounted straight to the rack but when we adapt it to the vette we us a center bracket that adds more leverage to the output section of the rack that was not intended to be there. This is done to get acceptable tie rod length and better bump steer control but it adds more stress and a lot of flex to the rack.

This flex can be eliminated with the installation of a guide bar and will make the Rack 99% slack/flex free.

I wasnít happy with my install until I added the guide bar.

It doesnít matter what system you have if your alignment is off, your car will not drive as it should so make sure you either get it done by a shop that will take the time to do it right or do it yourself and get it perfect.

You also need to research alignments and the adjustments made and the effects of the adjustments so you know what to ask for when you bring it to the shop.

After working out all the issues with the Rack install I am very happy with the way my car handles now.

And to close, the entire front and rear suspension must be up to par or your car may never have the feel youíre looking for.

Neal
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:04 PM   #6
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496BBC you wrote:

Quote:
I wasnít happy with my install until I added the guide bar.
Any pics? None in your Photos section - and no luck searching your posts.
Any explaination/picture would be helpful!
Thanks - Jim
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:44 PM   #7
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Its hard to tell but these are close up pics of the middle bracket and the guide bar.

Those are linear brgs attached to the mid bracket to act as a guide. The guide bar prevents deflection of the mid bracket.





Neal
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Tuned with Innovate LM-1
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:06 PM   #8
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Neal, that's some very good fabrication.
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:18 PM   #9
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I'll be using a GM type2 remote resivor pump. Got some things to figure out since I'll be adding my hydroboost sometime in the next few months. I'm going with the March Performance Revolver for Corvette....it's #21170
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:44 PM   #10
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I am running the VBP rack attack on mine. But before I wasted any money on the steering system, I would replace the control arms so you can get better caster and camber control. If you don't you will have more sensitive steering and you will feel you are wandering all over the road.

Up dating the steering with out updating the suspension is like trying to put 500 hp to the ground with bias-ply 6.70x15 tires.
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I can't tell if I'm dealing well with life these days or I just don't give a shit any more.
Old 10-31-2012, 03:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iburke View Post
I am running the VBP rack attack on mine. But before I wasted any money on the steering system, I would replace the control arms so you can get better caster and camber control. If you don't you will have more sensitive steering and you will feel you are wandering all over the road.

Up dating the steering with out updating the suspension is like trying to put 500 hp to the ground with bias-ply 6.70x15 tires.
Suspension upgrade is definitely going to be performed. Plan on SPC upper control arms along with other upgrades and a composite spring out back, and am going to lower the car.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72SBVet View Post
I'll be using a GM type2 remote resivor pump. Got some things to figure out since I'll be adding my hydroboost sometime in the next few months. I'm going with the March Performance Revolver for Corvette....it's #21170
Make sure March recommends that reservoir be used with the Hydra-boost. Most are not built for use with the Hydra-boost.

Neal
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77 vette
GM 454 stroked to 496
10: to 1 comp
Lunati solid roller 260* .701 lift
4:10 rear
2002 Z06 wheels
Dewitt's Radiator and Spal fans
Holley 1000 cfm HP series carb
Tuned with Innovate LM-1
Old 10-31-2012, 11:22 AM   #13
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The resivor is optional so I'm getting one that can be used for hydroboost.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:23 AM   #14
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If you want to save money on the r&p, speeddirect did sell the brackets separate and everything else could be sourced from the best source (speedway, Jegs, summit, etc).
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:45 PM   #15
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rtj

That's what I did. (I'm assuming you have done likewise) I haven't gotten the beast off the saw horses just yet. But now, I am considering the mod that 496BBC showed with the bearings and guide bar. Have you noticed any play or poor response on you set up? Now would be the time - grind away the powder coat and do the welding. Let me know what you think.

Cheers - Jim
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