Randall rack install...

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by dbfarr, Sep 30, 2005.


  1. 66Runt

    66Runt New Member

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    Cools very well.

    I'd put it up against an R12 system. I think the underdash unit will put out more total air volume at the same temp though. I wanted the A/C to come out the floor vents (because of the convertible), and wanted to keep the full console.
    If I drove the car daily and it was a hardtop or fastback, I'd probably get the factory looking underdash unit designed for R134a... Unless I lived in a very humid area where I needed the A/C to keep the windows defogged.

    On the freeway with the top down and windows up, I can crank up the A/C and the interior feels great even with the sun blaring down. I keep about 60%-70% of the flow out the floor vents and the rest out the dash ducts. Otherwise the cold air will blow out of the car without keeping the driver and passenger cool.

    I think the kit is more of an "installers" kit. Meaning someone who hasn't done many, would be tempted to blindly follow the instructions. It will work fine that way, but can be done much cleaner, and with better performance by paying attention to the little things.

    HTH,
  2. 67gt390

    67gt390 New Member

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    Just installed Randalls Rack on my 67. I have a 390 engine any suggestions on the oil pan? I would like to install a larger than stock pan but don't want major clearance issues. Thanks!
  3. dbfarr

    dbfarr Member

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    Randy

    I'd check with Randy on that one, he is most likely to know...
  4. RGS0907

    RGS0907 New Member

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    I'd still be curious what it feels like to loose 3 ft of turning radius. Does that mean that you need to crank the wheel over more than usual? What does it feel like on a normal road course?
  5. Edbert

    Edbert Founding Member

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    The "3-feet" part is the size of the circle made at full lock. On a race course and even in a 90-degree turn in street driving you are not getting close to the full lock. The only times you'll even notice the reduced turning radius is in a 3-point u-turn or a parking lot, the improved precision and "feel" of the rack more than makes up for the increased radius, at least it does in my book.
  6. 69merc

    69merc New Member

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    ditto.....couldn't have said it better
  7. dbfarr

    dbfarr Member

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    Update

    You know, I installed this thing four years and 15,000 miles ago. I saw a post on another forum and it got me to thinking.

    This post is third in Google ranking when searching for Randalls rack.

    My experiences with Randall and his rack have been somewhat varied, so I wrote the following on another forum. I thought I should update, I'm not sure Randall deserves the glowing review and PR I've been giving him these last 4 years.

    "I was one of the early adopters of Randalls rack in 2005. I installed it in a 1968 mercury cougar J code.

    In fact, I did a writeup, poor as it was, on a more commercial forum many of you are familliar with. Considering my write up shows up fourth in a google search on Randalls rack, I thought I should give an update. After all, I've given Randall a lot of good PR and haven't recieved the best of customer service.

    I've driven the rack for 15000 miles. My car is fairly close to a daily driver, though most don't drive all that much here in Boise.

    Pros:

    On the highway, on the road, anytime one is just driving, the thing is excellent. Steering response is immediate, zero play.

    I recently changed to a 96 explorer 5.0 pump, the steering is much better. The effort to turn the wheel has increased and I feel a higher level of confidence when I am driving. Still, I'm concerned with the differences in pressure vs. volume ratios between Ford and GM racks.

    Cons:

    Reliability issues:

    Maybe I'm a ninny, but the thing should not have to be messed with every six months.

    Within six months the tie rod boots rotted and died. These boots are from a non autommotive application. I called Randall and he swore he'd ship them right out to me. I waited two weeks and called him back. He asked for my information again and told me he get them right out, never showed.

    I ended up hassling the guys at the local parts store until I found a boot close enough to work. The boots I bought have lasted 4 years.

    Shortly after installing the rack, my wife drove over a six inch curb. Not exactly a major impact. One of the tie rods bent and the u-joint developed slack.

    I called Randall about the u-joint, at first he told me he'd send me one out. Didn't get one. Weeks later, he told me it was my fault.

    I fiddled and fiddled with the unit, tried tightening the shaft, Randalls suggestion, no luck. Recently I pulled and replaced the engine, while I had the shaft out, a friend of mine suggested I fill the joints with loc - tite. This solution worked, absolutely no play in the steering.

    Still, even with the arguable issue with the 5 mile an hour curb impact, the u-joint assembly is less than impressive. In fact, it began to rust after a year.

    Honestly, if one is to invest in a rack, it would be expected the pieces are of a reasonably high quality

    Another thing I found when I pulled the engine recently is the bellows boots have burned on my Heddman headers. Ok, so Heddman's arn't the best headers, still Randall does claim they work with his rack.

    Considering my low ratio of success in communicating with Randall, I'm wondering just how I am supposed to get a replacement bellows boot.

    Turning Radius:

    Ok, the car was a tank before. Now it's a g*******d battleship. Parking garages, forget it. Hell, I have to three point just to make the turn to get up the ramp to the next level. If you see a spot in cramped quarters, forget it, just drive to the top of the garage. Hell, it's only 3 more 3 point turns to get up there.

    BTW, it really p---s me off to have to consider paying $300 more for the Pro Motorsports bump steer adjusters just to park my car. Man, they've had those things on the market for over five years and they are still gouging.

    I talked to Randall about the pro motorsports unit. He cited his concerns about propriety and patent in relation to fabricating his own.

    I dunno, I realize reverse engineering and patent infringment is a gray area. After all, I am currently nearing completion of my MBA. Then again, I do know it is done all the time. If he marketed the item simply as a steering radius corrector and not a bump steer elimnator, it would likely be dificult to successfully mount a lawsuit.

    Imagine the irritation I'd face if I lived in a real and congested city, like Los Angeles. I'd probably get t boned while trying to parallel park.

    The fact is, the loss in turning radius sucks, big time. It affects your ability to enjoy the car, which is ultimately the point.

    Installation

    Everything went pretty smoothly with two exceptions.

    The rack is easy to install, if you like to bench press. later on, if you have oil pan leak issues you need to deal with, your job just got twice as hard.

    Really, you can lift the engine, or drop the rack. Dropping the rack is in no way as easy as dropping the original linkage.

    The center link

    Randall powder coats the center link, including the rather fine threads the tie rods attach to.

    The powder coating makes installing the tie rods very dificult. In fact, without running a die on the threads first, thereby removing the powder coating, you will easily blow the threads on the link. Then you get to make a trip to the machine shop.

    Conclusion

    The Randalls rack functions remarkably well. It is a good product. But, it is also an incomplete product.

    Many of the supporting parts are either shoddy, the u-joint and shaft assembly, or missing, the bump steer whatsits from Pro Motorsports.

    If I had to give the thing a grade, it would be just one point above a c-

    Honestly, becuase of the customer service issues and poor supporting parts, my next build will probably be using a TCP rack. During the course of ownership of the Randalls product, I think I have racked (pun) up $700 in frustration.

    Don"
  8. gjz30075

    gjz30075 Member

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    Great followup. Thanks! I recently drove a 'racked' car and can't remember whose rack was installed but I do remember the horrible turning radius; probably worse than stock.

    Why would you go with TCP, ie, what do you think makes them "better"?
  9. calpolymustang

    calpolymustang Member

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    I just recieved my Unisteer Power R&P kit today. I will try to take usefull pics and provide my 2cents.

    Notes so far:
    had to pay $35 extra to get the serpentine kit, which includes a nice polished 6-groove pulley. also includes brackets for slightly different water pump mounting (reverse flow has different mount points)

    to get the serpentine version, i had to order directly through Unisteer... $86 shipping :( Summit didnt have this kit, nor did any of the other shops i saw

    total price with serpentine kit and shipping was $1720 (mustang setup includes GM pump, hoses, borgeson joints, steering shafts, column bearings, tie rods, bolts, and a few other things)

    my a/c pump is right above the GM pump, and i had to tilt the pump/resevoir at a 20* angle for the belt to clear the pressure hose coming out of the banjo fitting

    i hear the pump that Randalls provides, is made by Unisteer

    the kit says i have to use a mini-torque starter (like from 1993+ 5.0s), but my 1977 302 starter might not have the clearance issues they warn about
  10. stonecoldtx

    stonecoldtx Member

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    Experiences like dbfarr's and calpolymustang's are exactly why I am glad I chose the AJE route.

    It uses a tubular K-member and tubular lower control arms, just like an aftermarket kit for a late model car
    It uses a set of struts, either stock SN95 or a set of JE's proprietary struts
    It uses a Fox-body rack (manual or power)
    It uses either the stock SN95 spindles, or a set of AJE's spindles (which must be used with their struts), which will accomodate the 13" Cobra brakes

    These components cost me $1323 shipped to my door:

    Tubular K-member with SBF engine mount points (you can specify mounts for *any* engine), with installation hardware
    Tubular lower control arms
    Rebuilt Fox power steering rack and installation kit for it (u-joint, etc.)

    The remaining components I need to complete the swap are:

    Struts (I have a pair of SN95 struts I bought in a package deal of a new car take-off set of SN95 struts, shocks and all 4 springs) - $75
    Coilover spring kit for the struts - $150
    SN95 Spindles and hubs (I purchased a used set, shipped to my door) - $90
    Cobra Rotors (E-bay has some listed for $75/pair + shipping) - $100
    Cobra Calipers (I found a set of new ones for $100/pair) - $100
    Miscellaneous parts, such as hoses, fluids, bolts, etc. - $50

    Grand total to switch over to Rack & Pinion - AND - convert to Cobra front disks:

    $1888

    BASE PRICE of Randall's Rack kit: $1695 (the last I checked)

    Yeah, some people say, "well, *I* ain't using that kit, because you have to remove the lower control arm mounting points, because it's not reversible!"

    To which my response would be . . .

    If you're going to modify your classic Mustang to the point where you would even consider switching over to Rack & Pinion steering, why would that even matter?

    Besides, you can always purchase reproduction replacements, or, if you remove them with care, re-use the originals and weld them back in if you ever wanted to return it to stock (not likely--as a matter of fact, I don't recall anyone EVER returning to their car stock after modifying).

    So . . . you can purchase a product that is way overpriced, has questionable customer service and quality, or one that is far MORE overpriced, but with proven quality and customer service . . . OR--you can purchase & install this kit and have proven quality and customer service, AND get the late model suspension and big Cobra brakes, for just a couple hundred dollars more than what you would spend for JUST the rack kit itself.

    Sure, some people can go with Steeroids or Unisteer to save some money, and end up at the price point where I will be for both Rack & Pinion steering and Cobra brakes, but the Steeroids and Unisteer kits (and to be honest, the Randalls kit as well) look pretty flimsy compared to the entire K-member package, IMO.
  11. bnickel

    bnickel Founding Member

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    well now that there is a new integral power steering gear box that keeps the stock turn radius i can see a lot of people switching back to stock or at least almost stock anyway. plus a lot of people don't want to give up that Long Short Arm suspension and go with struts, myself included, because of camber gain issues etc. i myself am considering selling my TCP rack and buying one of the borgeson integral power gear boxes instead.

    i also plan on running a mostly stock (looking) front suspension using Opentracker roller upper and lower control arms and a nice set of coilovers to replace the stock spring/shock combo and this combo shoulc easily be able to keep up with or beat your AJE front end on a road course
  12. fone

    fone New Member

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    i looked at the AJE kit but its just not my style-- nothing really wrong with it but if i was going to change the front end "type" it would be the JME full front clip.. now that is NICE.. but $6500 + shocks + brakes.. but only 2 so far exist

    ring brothers is building a car right now with it
    and another guy in eastern canada..

    i might have to build me a fastback too!
  13. stonecoldtx

    stonecoldtx Member

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    That's all well and good, but I personally couldn't care less about road courses.

    I'm not interested in them, never have been, most likely never will be, so my cars have not and probably won't ever see one.

    I like the options available when using a strut, such as using the late model spindles, which allow the use of the Cobra brakes; those WILL provide some additional braking power not available to the stock 11" disks that came on my car, AND--in combination with the 8.8 in the rear, if I choose to do so, I can adapt an OEM ABS unit into the car.

    Those are both benefits in my eyes, because I drive my car often, and in Dallas traffic

    Another option when using the strut is cutting away parts of the shock tower, for more room in the engine bay.

    When using the tubular K-member, there's a bunch of extra room you gain by removing not only the lower control arm mounting points, but also the steering box itself (currently, there is about 1/8" between the steering box and the collector flange on my left header), the steering linkage (idler, drag link, power cylinder, etc.), which gives more room for stuff like headers, or just being able to work on the engine.

    Another benefit, in my eyes, because I'll surely be under there working on SOMEthing

    To each their own, but IMHO, this is by far the most economical method for obtaining both rack & pinion steering, large brakes, and I'm banking on it providing the stock turning radius.

    By the way, just out of curiosity--will you be using Cobra brakes on the front (or their equivalent)? How much are the Opentracker parts? How much overall will you be spending for all the (listed) parts you plan on using?
  14. dbfarr

    dbfarr Member

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    Borgeson Unit

    I really think the integral unit from Borgeson should be considered an option here.

    The price, after all of the supporting goodies, is only slightly lower than a rack. But, if the steering response is good, well, sounds like a winner.

    Another issue people seem to be ignoring is steering wheel return.

    I have to "help" my steering wheel back to center quite often. And I am running +2.5 left, +3.0 right. That phenomena is pretty annoying as well.

    I imagine retaining the original linkage would make for better steering wheel return.

    I guess, once the euphoria of slack free steering wears off, one may get sick of the things one gave up to get tight steering.

    but, well, life goes on. I definitely would never go back to the burnt ATF power ram and cylinder nightmare. yuck.

    Don
  15. 66Runt

    66Runt New Member

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    Hi Don,

    You should not have to "help" your steering return to center. I have not had this issue with Randalls Rack. I am running more caster than you are though. Just under 4* both sides. I did not differentiate for crowned roads.
    Your caster would be good for stock steering with radial tires, but I think it is not enough for the rack setup.

    The down side I see to the Borgeson unit is it is still 4 turns lock to lock. That's pretty slow for anything other than a cruiser. I guess a quick steer kit could be installed, but that would put a lot of stress on steer linkage.
  16. 1992MustangGT

    1992MustangGT Member

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    I just read this entire thread and it is very informative. You all did a great job. But I do have a question....Has anyone out there used or installed a rack and pinion from Heits or Rod & Custom Motorsports? I'm curious to know the quality of their front suspension and racks compared to the brands you all have used. I have a few classic fords/mercurys to include a 64 Ford Fairlane 500 Sports Coupe, 67 Cougar (standard), 67 Cougar XR7, 68 Cougar XR7, 92 Mustang GT 5.0L (yes, I think the Mustang is now considered a classic), and a few other cars. I want to convert all my classics to modern technology (not talking about the Mustang, obviously), including rack and pinion steering. I've been casually studying or keeping an eye on different brands of racks and suspensions and am not sure which one to use. That's why I took the time to read this thread. I think after reading this, I have decided against using the Randall rack. One of my main concerns is that you spend all that hard earned money on something that's supposed to improve the function and performance of a car just to have to be careful not to bump a curb in fear of damaging the tie rod on your expensive new rack you just installed. Not to mention that the turning radius is worse than the 40+ year old Ford technology. You would think that after all the designing and research that one has to go through to market a product, that the manufacturer would make sure that such parts like the tie rod would be able to hold up to a simple 5 mph bump against a curb. That problem alone tells me the rack isn't designed very well. Plus the turning radius is worse. Are you kidding me? If you're going to spend that much money on an improvement, there should be absolutely no problems with the funtion. Sounds to me like the Randall's rack needs to be re-engineered a little and strengthen the week points. If I remember correctly, I think one of you mentioned that the Randall rack was actually a GM rack? If that's true, then that would explain the bad turning radius. Most GM's that I'm aware of have a worse turning radius than any Ford. For example, to support that statement, my 79 Bronco (full size) turns on a dime!!! It will turn just as sharp as a small compact car or pretty close. Anyway, back to my question....what's your experience or knowledge about Heits & Rod and Custom suspensions and racks? Are they a good product? What issue do they have that a consumer would have to consider? How about turning radius, bump steer, bending tie rods, etc.....???? Tell me the pros and cons....
  17. Steve69

    Steve69 Member

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    TCP Rack

    Bnickle, Have you had problems with your TCP Rack? Just wondering why you would sell it? Nice write up boys.
  18. bnickel

    bnickel Founding Member

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    no problems i bought it used and it's only the rack itself i didn't get the install kit with it so i'll have to buy that from TCP and it'll cost about $500...about the same as this new gear box from Borgeson
  19. speed1972

    speed1972 Founding Member

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    There is a thread dedicated pretty much to the Mustang II started by reenmachine. Basically it boils down to the arguement of whether structural integrity is lost by swapping to the Mustang II kit. From what I have read, it seems a good quality kit like the one from Heidts should not give you issues.

    The big problem you are going to run into that I am struggling with right now is the stock steering is rear steer which the randall and the borgeson rack is desgned for. The MII rack setup is front steer like the more modern mustangs. The stock suspension is a pretty decent setup but the rear steering is atrocious if you ask me.

    It really boils down to personal preference, some people swear by the stock suspension + aftermarket rear steer rack, some by the aftermarket suspension + aftermarket front steer rack. Then there are some people like me that would be fine with the stock style suspension, if it could be converted to the front steer aftermarket rack. The problem is noone makes a system that will work.

    So in the end, looks like I'm going Heidts on both stangs.

    just my .02

    LB
  20. Steve69

    Steve69 Member

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    With the Borgeson after you buy the pump with the extras you need to do the conversion your over $1000 anyway.

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