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Thread: Shortening Steering Racks

  1. #1
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    Shortening Steering Racks

    Ok people, you have seen what I am doing I have hit a cross roads.

    Firstly I have a couple of steering racks at my disposal. 2 Triumph 2500TC non power steering and a ford escort rack. I think the Escort rack is front mounted and I know the Triumph rack is front mounted. I am after the rack pinion to me more centeral to the car. not all the way to one side. When doing this would you prefer a locating pin and have a mild steel rivet peened over cold (not very hard to make) or braze the parts of he rack together?

    I am reluctant to braze or weld the rack damaging the heat treat around the rack teeth

    also I can for see many a fuckups, so has anyone come accross something that is non power steering that would be easy to modd and plentfull in supply Triumph racks are a bit thing on the ground these days

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    Opens GAZ914's Avatar
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    I have no idea about the cost but any 911 rack has the pinion in the middle.
    Has to be easier than making something...



    cheers
    Gaz
    Race Car: 1972 GA Galant 2.6 aka Morgan
    www.vsport.com.au

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    Not sure it would work for you, a bloke up here has system designed for a rhs driving position. Just rough castings with pinion on an eccentric a la van diemen, the rack bars seem to have been cut in a variety of positions so some might have sufficient length on the right for your application.

    You'd need to finish machine, weld on tube to the pinion housing, add bearings and nylon supports for the rack bar....well, you know the usual drill.

    Not entirely sure of the lock requirements for h/c, these would deliver about a 20 point turn on a suburban street.

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    18 degrees of freedom each way should be enough

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    what are you trying to do?
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    Gday

    I am attempting to move the pinion somewhere to the left hand side of the car so it won't interfer with the pedal box or make the universal joints bind. I'll post some photos of the progress. I decided I'll braze as well as pin the rack together

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    Spoke to a guy who used to mod the usual British based racks in days of yore for formula cars. Typically, he'd cut the rack in the appropriate spot, drill and tap for a 1/4" stud, V the join, screw together and weld and finally turn it to clean everything up. Some of these same racks are still getting round more than 40 years later.

    When appropriate racks became available locally, they were not heat treated as far as he could recall. Cheetahs even had an aluminium rack, so unless you are doing parking manoevres, doubt you'll have a problem.

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    cool thanks for that

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    Right here is a Triumph rack among other things (it's on top of the pile of shit) this is how they come off the car a triumph 2500tc similar to triumph herald etc. (please don't quote me on that)


    This is the ball joint for the triumph rack ball ends. they are adjustable for slop in the ball joint and rack width (to an extent)
    You will aso see a brass bush I fucked up earlier.


    this is one of the racks chopped up, the chopped rack casing slightly modified. I cut off a flange used as a shoulder for one of the bushes used to sit. In the background are parts from a ford escort steering rack.


    closeup of ford escort ball ends. I like them for their weight compared with the triumph ones. the threads of the steering rods on the triumph seem to be 1/2" UNF I have no idea what the escort one is. also the escort rack. much more comlicated


    this is some of the excess rack. I'll probly use it all in this project. I like the idea of using an alloy steering rack... I could use that idea. anyone else interested in one? I am also considering a hollow rack what you reckon fellas and gals


    close up of the triumph rack and pinion.
    Last edited by PHULL; 26-06-07 at 09:55 PM.

  10. #10
    Surf's Up! bigmuz's Avatar
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    I don't know about those steering arms exactly, but lots of them use a non standard pitch- on or two threads per inch coarser than unf. Grab a nut and test them.
    Quote Originally Posted by brasher View Post
    put ya stackhat on mate and back in your cage.

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    aaa

    Yeah I tested a jamb nut off the triumph rack ends on a 1/2" shonky chinese spearical bearing and it fitted perfect. I'll see about the escort one

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    Registered User Cameron_Datto's Avatar
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    Do you know the rack ratio of the triumph rack ?
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    Last edited by Cameron_Datto; 19-04-11 at 03:35 PM.

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    it's about 2.1 why?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gxxr
    Cheetahs even had an aluminium rack, so unless you are doing parking manoevres, doubt you'll have a problem.
    Are you serious? I simply cannot imagine ANY kind of aluminium rack lasting more than the time it takes to get the car out of the garage.

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    That is apparently the case, this guy was responsible for the maintenance of an old F3 version when they were new and I believe it is still getting around in hysterics. Didn't get into specifics of the design, but will ask next time if he has anything to offer there.

    The bloke I mentioned in the initial post, have been told by a third party he has subsequently had additional racks cut, so may accomodate the central position you require - depending on length. No idea on price, his name is Geoff O'Toole in Mulgrave - rally guys will know him, should be in the White Pages. Probably worth a call just to see if he has any leads on mills, hard to believe some of the CNC stuff he has picked up for a song.

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    I guess the simple solution would be to ask someone who has a cheeta then. I'll be off to the hillclimb then
    Last edited by PHULL; 30-06-07 at 09:12 AM.

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    You can design suspension and uprights etc to have very light steering loads of course, and perhaps this allows them to get away with it. It's a luxury they can afford on a hillclimb car perhaps, but absolutely forget it on anything like a road car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John
    You can design suspension and uprights etc to have very light steering loads of course, and perhaps this allows them to get away with it. It's a luxury they can afford on a hillclimb car perhaps, but absolutely forget it on anything like a road car.
    well it just so happens to be for a hill climb car. I wouldn't consider doing it for a road going car.

    I did a little more of it today I'll post some photos later on.

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    Spoke to someone else yesterday in the build process. Either the current or a recent issue of "Race" magazine (the newspaper variety, not the glossy) he thinks(??), has a bit on a few sportscar builds going on around the country.

    Mention is made of an aluminium rack which was hard anodised - it performed pretty much to John's expectations. Will be intrigued to see if there is anything to improve the durability and what they did back then.

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    Yeah thats what I though it would be hard anodised, anyway I have another set back the rack is bent near the rack teeth so I can't bend it back to shape. If I do it just bends and the root of the rack teeth so I will attempt it with again and cut it and screw it together this time. the first time I brazed it together it this time I'll not use any heat whats so ever.

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    Nothing of note to add, looks like you might be up for a bit of experimentation (and maybe heartache) if you go the aluminium route. Other than periodic inspection, cleaning and lubrication and the odd replaced steering arm/clevis/rod end, he didn't have much further info to offer.

    An associate of his makes gears for another application in 5083 that hold up well , so that may be a starting point.

    By my calculation, probably 700~800 grams to be saved if the rack is about 450mm long.

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    cool yeah it's about 500MM long, but that is a fairly good saving. main issue I can see is cracks forming at the root of the rack teeth might add a silver steel cramp along the back to re-enforce the rack teeth. ( fine hone/polishing in these areas might help. I gotta get these pics up soon too. Cheers for the info dude
    Last edited by PHULL; 09-07-07 at 08:11 AM.

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    Feel like I'm rabbiting on a bit, just noticed the guy you got the pedals from, has added a rack a bit shorter than you were after.

    Sounds possible the rack is slightly bent from a bingle, but as it sounds you have access to gear cutting equipment, might be an option, otherwise a conversation piece over the mantlepiece.

  24. #24
    default title xbgs351's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gxxr
    Spoke to a guy who used to mod the usual British based racks in days of yore for formula cars. Typically, he'd cut the rack in the appropriate spot, drill and tap for a 1/4" stud, V the join, screw together and weld and finally turn it to clean everything up. Some of these same racks are still getting round more than 40 years later.

    When appropriate racks became available locally, they were not heat treated as far as he could recall. Cheetahs even had an aluminium rack, so unless you are doing parking manoevres, doubt you'll have a problem.
    According to Brian Shead, they were manufactured by Holinger.


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    Don't suppose he has any info on the material he specified or was this left to Holinger?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gxxr
    Don't suppose he has any info on the material he specified or was this left to Holinger?
    The housing material? I have an old pinion at home that I could take a photo of if you wish. Cantech in Adelaide made a replacement.

    I reckon the only person at Holinger that would know, would be Peter Holinger. He was the only person there that knew anything about the Holinger VW based transaxle.

  27. #27
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    There are other, MUCH better alternatives to aluminium for racks. Titanium for instance (but has to be coated), but much more viable for you would be prehardened steels. They are used all the time in the steering industry to make cheap racks for evaluation purposes. They do not last forever however, as hardness is around the 45HrC from memory, but for a race only car, they'd be absolutely fine.

    Stay away from anything that has to be case hardened, as heat treating long shafts with teeth on it is an artform that no one will get right for a one off.

    Or the last alternative is through hardened exotic steels, like Maraging steel. This is very commonly used in the race car industry for all kinds of applications, including steering racks and pinions. It makes heat treatment of complex parts like racks a piece of piss (relatively).

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    have you looked at the racks for sand buggy/cars? Sandsports mag has ads 4 them, nice and narrow etc.
    get lead like a leader

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    Quote Originally Posted by xbgs351
    The housing material? I have an old pinion at home that I could take a photo of if you wish. Cantech in Adelaide made a replacement.

    I reckon the only person at Holinger that would know, would be Peter Holinger. He was the only person there that knew anything about the Holinger VW based transaxle.
    No, the actual rack bar. If it's aluminium and hard anodised, should be a chocolate brown colour. If you serviced the rack, would be pretty obvious I'd expect if it was ferrous.

    On the other hand might be a case of my grandfather's axe. I believe Nero was going to speak to Holinger about gearboxes, maybe get word from the horse's mouth so to speak, if the interview hasn't already occured?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    There are other, MUCH better alternatives to aluminium for racks. Titanium for instance (but has to be coated), but much more viable for you would be prehardened steels. They are used all the time in the steering industry to make cheap racks for evaluation purposes. They do not last forever however, as hardness is around the 45HrC from memory, but for a race only car, they'd be absolutely fine.

    Stay away from anything that has to be case hardened, as heat treating long shafts with teeth on it is an artform that no one will get right for a one off.

    Or the last alternative is through hardened exotic steels, like Maraging steel. This is very commonly used in the race car industry for all kinds of applications, including steering racks and pinions. It makes heat treatment of complex parts like racks a piece of piss (relatively).
    I don't know about Maraging Steel, seems it dosen't like load reversals very much, which kinda rules out most suspension componets. Titanium would be interesting problem being galling (needs a coating)... I would use silver steel but then I am back at square one again. unless I use a thinner section.

    I could also use the original rack teeth and instead of having a solid rack using a tube that is riveted together, I like this idea the best. Also I have a few photos of the completed rack posted in my build thread.

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