Ok, so the rack&pinions suck... What are we gonna do about it?

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by DarkBuddha, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. I'll cut to the quick... We all know the great benefits of a good r&p, but we also have to acknowledge the possible pitfalls, like poor fit, lousy turning radius, horrible bump steer, exorbenant cost, loss of ground clearance, etc., etc., etc. So, once again, I'm here to ask: can't the original system be made to perform well? Sure, the steering system that came stock on our cars is far from ideal (hell, what system is?), but at least it was engineered for our cars.

    Post your best parts, tips, ideas, dreams that could/would improve the stock system.

    Here are some of mine:

    Already available:
    - Shelby quick steer kit (for manual steering cars)
    - Bump steer corrector kit from Global West or others (supposed quickens steering response)
    - Flaming River boxes (19:1 and 16:1)
    - box rebuild kits
    - poly rag joint
    - p/s pump pressure control valve (to limit overboosting p/s and add feel back)
    - roller idler arm
    - new rams & rebuild kits
    - new center link & tie rods

    Wish list:
    - Quick steer kits for p/s cars
    - integral p/s box
    - spindles with relocated tie rod attachment point (to quicken steering and eliminate bump steer)
    - variable rate p/s box (speed sensitive would be nice)
    - $10000000.00 to buy the only cars that I'd replace the Mustang with

    Who's next? :nice:
  2. Although many would not classify this as a steering improveent, I belive a tilt column would improve steering simply from a comfort/leverage standpoint.

    Also, it's often the rubber bushing material deteriorating that causes some slop in our steering linkage - so we end up replaceing all the parts. Anyone know why there are not aftermarket manufacturers making a poly or composite bushing material for our steering components? I would imagine it would stiffen and smooth out operation, as well as promoting longer wear.
  3. you sound like me, got fed up with it and installed mustang 2 crosmember and all frontend parts, hopefully ill be done this weekend
  4. you can have the stock box blue printed using vette internals, global west does this (or at least to) i was just checking out one of the vette forums to see what all they do when they rebuild a box, but couldn't find any info. i did however find a lot of info on rack conversions and ps control valve and slave cylinder rebuilding. here is a link if anyone wnats to check it out (and no i don't own a vette or any other chevy) :)

  5. I rebuild my entire front end using Polygraphite bushings, etc. from PST...I did not have any trouble finding upgraded (over stock) components.
    I have an early '67 so no rag joint between the column and the box and it's still the original non-power, slow steering box but the new front end helped a lot.

    I bought power steering components but I am rethinking putting them in, I've had manual steering forever and it's really not that bad...I would like a quicker ratio box and the quick steering kit though. Of course that decreases the mechanicial advantage so the pwr may look more attractive then.
  6. DarkBuddha, you said what I have been thinking for some while now. Personally, I wouldn't even consider r&p unless I had gone to MII frontend. The original style setup can be made to perform quite well. At this point, r&p just doesn't have enough advantages over a well performing 'box' to justify the cost and other disadvantages. A quick steering kit, 16:1 box, and a tight suspension are all I'll ever need. However, if a good r&p came out with a tighter than stock turning radius, was easy to bolt on, and sold for around $500-I might consider it. Otherwise, I'll pass.
  7. My biggest complaint with the stock P/S is lack of feedback. My theory is there is too much pressure going to the control valve. So, I agree with your control valve recommencation. This should limit the amount of hydraulic pressure and increase feedback from the steering.

    My '66 already has a new Flaming River steering box. I purchased a KRC P/S pump (with flow valve), rebuilding my control valve, and adding a rollerized idler arm from Cobra Automotive. Toughest part will be fabricating custom lines from the stock control valve to the KRC pump. I'll proably opt to find a local hydraulic shop to fabricate the lines for me.

    A quick-steering kit for the P/S car would have to be compensated for in the steering box. There isn't enough clearance for a longer pitman and idler with the P/S assembly.
  8. I encounted this problem also. My solution was to make some of my own bushings (like at the idler) from poly swaybar endlink bushings. It was easy enough to modify with a dremel.

    I considered this route, but the cost is a bit much. It also precludes ever restoring the car again. And, I've heard far too many horror stories regarding welds breaking and metal fatigue causing catastrophic failure.

    Exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. I think a lot of Mustang folks don't realize the early 'vettes had the same steering setup and used the same components as our cars. I think they even shared the same ratios (anyone know for sure?). Frequenting 'vette forums might get us some nifty tricks.

    I had the same reaction when I first rebuilt my suspension with PST's bushings back in 1990; improved response and feel. Certainly suspension quality does have some relationship to steering. Regarding p/s... I understand your hesitation, but I'm a fan of p/s. I'd love to find ways to make improvements that made our p/s stuff perform better. I know one thing I'll be doing is adding a pressure control valve.

    Exactly right... the problem is that no major r&p company will ever spend the time, money, and effort to develop a proper rack conversion for early models. It would require engineering a completely new and probably unique unit. I just don't thin the market is big enough to justify that kind of investment. So we're left with one-offs, boutique builders, junkyard engineering. I'm simply not willing to lose turning radius or easy of repair and parts location, or suffer horrible bump steer, so I'm looking for bolt-on mods for the stock system.

  9. I know his ideas aren't always the most popular around here, but didn't Historic Mustang put together a list on his website about making the old stuff work better for less???? I have been meaning to check it out but haven't gotten around to it yet.
  10. At one time, the whole rack and pinion thing seemed pretty good, but now I am leaning toward a good rebuild of the stock system.

    Here are a few ideas that I have been contemplating...
    1. Get a new quick steering box or rebuild the original
    2. Replace and check all of the power steering hoses, fittings, valves, etc.
    3. Replace all of the bushings, balljoints, ragjoints, etc that are probably worn out.
    4. Rollerize the idler arm.
    5. Replace any of the hard parts that are severly worn, the tie rod ends and even the center link come to mind.
    6. Check out any modifications that were used on the Shelby and Boss Mustangs.
    7. Have everything greased.

    A lot of the complaints that people have against the OEM system are due to poor maintenance. The only drawback is that you may spend as much upgrading the existing system as you would to install a r&p if it is in really bad shape.
  11. had sort of an epiphony last night, what if we were to use a power servo similar to the one on the TCP rack (wodward unit) between the box and the column, it would require some mods to the column to make it work but that shouldn't be a big deal, that is if we could find one that is short enough. what say you to that? anyone done any research on poweer steering servos?
  12. Here's my thoughts on the subject: I was lucky enough to buy a fairly low-mileage (91,000 easy miles) Mustang. Since it had led a very easy, well maintained life, the steering was in top shape. The last time I drove it before the tear down, it drove very nicely. The steering was very tight, and I have no intentions of ever swapping to a R & P system. I agree that the feedback leaves a bit to be desired, but you can help that by having some serious caster adjusted into it. Also, my personal opinion is that the lack of feedback is due to the flexy feel of the chassis and suspension. Stock the car has about as much suspension travel as a modern motocrosser, so unless you plan on off-roading your car, why not drop it a bit? All the rubber bushings don't help either. By taking away the flexy stuff, doing the A-arm drop, and replacing or repairing the worn parts, I think you'd be surprised at how well these cars can be made to drive. Also, I wouldn't get too choked up on any Corvette box parts making your car into an automatic corner-carver. My wife owns a very low mileage, one owner '69 Corvette and it has at least as much steering play as my fastback, maybe more. I think the Mustang II swap is great for opening up the engine bay for a big block, or whatever, but until I get the bucks for that all aluminum 427, I'll probably be OK with the modifiying my antiquated, but functional stuff.
  13. Its never occurred to me... maybe it would be worth researching at least. Everyone load up their favorite search engine and get lookin'.
  14. here are a few pics of one solution to getting a proper r/p system in your classic stang.
  15. and these.

    as you can see he used the stock tie rods, and made a new center link that is all one piece, and is run off the end of the rack. i forget which rack he used, but you can find more info at www.vikingmustang.com and click on the r/p file. he has some other interesting mods as will. oh and when selecting a steering rack, you want one with the most travel for the least turns lock to lock.
  16. Here is my question: How did he make the centerlink?
  17. He is me and I made the centerlink from a square piece of steel that I first turned in a lathe, drilled the holes in a drill press, tapered the holes for the inner tie rod ends using the lathe (might sound strange but I am just using the lathe to get everything lined up). I then used a gas welder to heat it and to get it into the shape it has.

    Here´s a pic a took a couple of days ago of the ´65 - ´66 Mustang manual r&p prototype I´m working on right now:


    I am also working on a new design of the crossmember for the ´67 - ´70 Mustang as I think it´s a good idea to connect the lower inner A-arm attachment points as I did in the ´65 - ´66 design.

    I still don´t know how well my design is going to work as they are not road tested yet. I´ve been very busy with a lot of other job and family related projects lately and have had very little time left to work on this stuff.

    Hopefully I´ll have my ´67 (with the r&p) back on the road later this summer and I´ll update my website with news about this and my other projects.
  18. sold!! that is frickin sweet!! what kind of rack does it use?? any talks with selling the idea to big name manufactures?? I like that a lot more than the TCP which to me looked weak.
  19. Hakan, you are one awsome fabricator. If I didn't already have my shock tower cut out for the Mustang II conversion, I would be very interested in your kit. Any ideas an estimated price?
  20. Very very nice...and interseting. I think you need me to market these here in the states :)