Cheap Rack-in-pinion conversion

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by sabersimon, May 13, 2009.

  1. Hey guys,
    I have a '65 2+2 that I just installed the unisteer manual rack and pinion. The install was pretty straight forward. The only thing was that we had to do a tad bit of grinding to get it to bolt on right, but that didn't take but 5 minutes. My problem now is headers.... I REALLY would like to put some tri-y's on but unisteer says they won't fit without modifications, which I'm trying to avoid. Unisteer is said to have used hooker super comps on their built from what I've read. Does anyone have any advice or know about what the best option to go with would be?
  2. Just talk to unisteer. If they say the tri-y headers won't work without modifications, you can bet they are right. However, to know that they must have at least tried them so they should be able to tell you what modifications they are talking about. Getting ANY headers to fit ANY aftermarket r&p is ALWAYS going to be a challenge. You won't really know for sure until you've tried them and saw where they hit to know for sure if there is a workable solution or not. I wasted a good set of long tube Headman headers, tried a set of Hookers, and finally got a set of Sanderson shorty headers to work on my Cleveland. Even at that I had to add an extra u-joint to the steering shaft to get it away from the exhaust. After all that I canned everything and fabricated my currect front steer circle track rack and gained a ton of header clearance. I hope to get all this stuff together before they come get me to take me to the rest home, but I better quit changing my mind so much or I ain't gonna make it! Good luck!
  3. Looks like a nice setup has anyone done one for an earlyr 66 We want to use our 408instead of the current 289 setup..
  4. AMEN!

    How big a deal it is is somewhat subjective, and depends on how the car is used. But it's much more than just a pain parallel parking. The u-turn radius can leave you exposed to oncoming traffic as you have to reverse against the grain when turning around on a road with even 2 lanes each direction. Making a u-turn can be pretty scary when you're blocking traffic. Parking in a crowded parking lot is a headache to say the least, not to mention embarrassing.

    I just went for a test drive yesterday with my short, rear steer drop steering arm Wilwood spindles. The difference is night and day. I parked in a crowded lot between two cars in a single move, I made a u-turn into the middle lane with no problem. I'm lovin' it. Before when I got gas at Wawa or Sheets, I had to plan which pump to use so I could be sure I could get out without having to back up. Now I can pull out like any other car.
  5. 109jb,
    What is the status on your homebrewed rack and pinion? Have not seen an update recently and am very interested in any clearance issues you may have had with the 351W. Thanks,
  6. FWIW I went with the New Unisteer model 8001110-01 and I got it from Summit. It was around $775 shipped. Its the center take off rack and I cant see headers having issues but I am still on manifolds for a while.
  7. I also have the new Unisteer model 8001110-01 from Summit. It cleared my Flowtech long tube headers just fine. It was not even close to touching anything. The Flowtech header were really tight to the old gearbox before the swap.

    The only problem I have was with the Unisteer support bracket. On my car, I had to trim some metal from the backside of the channel where the lower control arm sets. I also had to wide the holes in the unisteer support bracket for the cam eccentric bolt. I am using an Ididit tilt column. I had to get another u-joint to connect to the Ididit column, but I originally ordered the rack and pinion with the intent of using the stock column (can't remember if there was and option for non-stock column). Once I got the correct upper u-joint, the steering linkage all went together really ease.

    I am still finishing the restoration / build so I haven't driven the car yet. However, there is no play in the steering. You move the steering wheel a millimeter the front wheels move a millimeter. I look forward to driving the car and trying the new steering.
  8. I agree, the Saginaw box is a great starting point. Plus they still use them in Nascar so you can get them upgraded. I had a guy in SoCal rebuild my standard box to a 12:1, Lee Engineering IIRC. What a difference and only cost me $350.
  9. I am studying what it will take to put a rack & pinion into my '67. My budget is measured in 10s of dollars rather that hundreds or thousands.
    I came across this during my search:
    Dodge Intrepid Rack Stats are...

    - Total length 34 5/8 inches.
    - Total travel 6 7/8 inches.
    - 3.2 turns lock-to-lock.

    Years 93 to 95 have the same part number. This is from a 1995 model. This also has some type of auto sensor for varying the pressure and speed but the standard model ($173.25 reman from Cardone) doesn't have it.
    If you want to use this make sure you get the "standard" model without the electronic attachments on it.
    *** For those concerned about turning radius this rack exceeds the stock Mustang travel by 3/8 of an inch.

    This guy was building a '71. I am aware that the '71 to '73 cars are wider and all around bigger than any other Mustang made.
    I am wondering if this is an alternative to the J-car setup.
    If I had 2700.00, I'd love to put the Rod & custom Rack and disc brake conversion kit from CJ's in it. I am considering building my own crossmember for the '74 Torino setup I have, But, I would still need a rack.
    Does someone have dimensions for the stock steering setup on my '67 by chance? or, do I have to get out the measuring tools?
  10. The ONLY way the Intrepid rack would EVER work is by stripping it all down and welding some mounting tabs on it. I have one of those racks in my scrap heap with all the other other racks I went thru trying to get something to work that I felt was acceptable. I have a J-car rack setup in that heap too that I built that is as good as anything I have saw on the market. However, to me ANY center link rack setup is pretty flimsy and not something I wanted on my car. I now have different spindles with a front steer circle track rack that I am pleased with. For a rear steer set up the best fitting solution I came up with is to use a rack from a late 90's Chevy Cavalier after they went to the end link rack and not the earlier Citation type center link crap. The Cavalier rack is too wide to work perfectly with the Mustang lower control arm length, so you will need to make your outer tie rod mount height adjustable for bump steer. You will also need to have a shorter steering arm mount point if you do not want to loose any turning radius. There is a WHOLE lot more to getting a r&p setup to work properly in an early Mustang than just making some mounts and bolting the thing on. If you want cheap and still want it engineered correctly, the MOST expensive setup you could ever buy is one you built yourself (about 10 times!). R&P is nice but if you want cheap and good I would just get a CPP or Borgeson integrated steering box to get rid of Fords leaky factory mess.
  11. I'm with 2+2GT... No R&P for me. I'll stick with what works. There are a a lot or great upgraded components from places like Opentracker.
  12. Hi I have a 69 mustang and was using this thread for my swap. I am using the rack and pinion the OP is using.

    I'm having some issues with the R&P hitting the drivers side header. Unsure if stock or aftermarket
    . 1420305218188.jpg 1420305280873.jpg 1420305218188.jpg 1420305280873.jpg 1420305336166.jpg 1420305218188.jpg 1420305280873.jpg 1420305336166.jpg 1420305381913.jpg

    Should I bend the header to get clearance and wrap them? Bring the R&P down some?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you, Josh
  13. I thank you for the good opinions, and after researching this extensively, and seeing all the headaches with clearance issues, mounting issues, bump steer issues and the like, I'm thinkin' that I'll save my pennies 'til I can afford an integral box like the Borgesen. Patience is the key here. Maybe I'll have enough by summer. :cool:
  14. Josh, I think what you need to do is remove the header and get the R&P setup properly so that all the angles that the steering components are working form are proper. At that point you can take a torch to the headers and heat the hell out of them so you can gently bend them into position so they fit where they are supposed to. It might take a few test fits but if they are close enough you should be able to finagle it in place.
    BoostenYa likes this.
  15. This is almost done. Just need to make new tie rods and basically that's it. Need little dumb stuff but its coming along.

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