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steve200TDi

Quicker steering - All things steering related (mostly comp safari) info dump

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As some of you may know I have a comp safari racer (and race!)

I have been researching all things steering related when it comes to making the steering faster and thought an info dump would be good so that other people can add to it too!

A standard steering box is about 3.5 to 3.75 turns lock to lock (that may be with no steering stops!) with small comp safari tyres on.

I have heard (mainly on ebay descriptions and trawling the internet) that you can redrill the swivel housing arm to move the track rod end pivot point further towards the swivel pivot point. This would reduce your lock to lock by about half a turn, but your steering box would have to work harder as the leverage has reduced. You would also need to make a tapered drill to drill the tapered hole for the TRE! I was going to go down this route for my comp safari racer, but now I'm looking at steering quickeners!.

I had original thought that a steering quickener would damage the steering box because of the quicker rotation, you can get them in 1:1.5 or 1:2, but it appears not. So by opening up the power steering pump holes to improve oil flow then a quickener would apparently work as you need faster oil flow. Again this is from word of mouth on forums that I have read. Now this set up apparently works well, but it would be good to get some more feedback on this.

Another thing I have read is about lightening the input shaft or quill shaft as it's sometimes known. Apparently ACR (https://www.automotivecomp.com/) offered this product to enable the box to turn easier, but again I have found no information on this at all!

Other things that contribute to sharp precise steering are:

Caster - If you have a spring lift then you may need castor correction radius arms or castor correction swivel housings - I suspect I may need to look at this as its quite twitchy on the straight!

Steering damper - I guess this would help, but by how much I'm not sure.

 

That's all the info I have found so far and would be grateful for people to add to this with their experiences and knowledge so that it's here for everyone and also for me to use to formulate a plan for my steering system for next year!

Thanks in advance.

 

Steve

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I have a quick ratio Adwest box on my RRC, I do like it... and solves a lot of the problems you are describing above! It is 2.9 turns lock to lock, and works very nicely indeed.... however, trying to find them for sale on the internet is a little tricky at the moment. Perhaps your google skills can come up with one :) 

I have also drilled out the P38-style PAS pump for more flow, see this thread :

 

Big difference, just don't go too far. If you are running the vee-belted PAS pump, then you can *probably* go a little bigger with the drill bit, as they run lower pressure (900 vs 1500 ish on the P38 pump).

Do you have a spring lift? If so then yes, under race conditions, castor correction will help of course. Though, I would first be looking at condition/preload of swivels, as well as all the other bushes on the chassis, especially given your little 'incident' recently :) 

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I'm not sure this will EXACTLY suit, but the IDEA could perhaps be adapted.

Steve Parker does a kit to go with fitting a 38A box to a Series. The essential element of this is that the drag link is connected to the track rod, which is naturally fitted closer to the passenger side swivel than the drag link normally is. This effectively quickens the steering, but adds a little weight to the feel at the steering wheel. SP counts this as a positive.

The SP product page.
The Forum topic that alerted me to the existance of the product.

Regards

 

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3 hours ago, Bowie69 said:

I have a quick ratio Adwest box on my RRC, I do like it... and solves a lot of the problems you are describing above! It is 2.9 turns lock to lock, and works very nicely indeed.... however, trying to find them for sale on the internet is a little tricky at the moment. Perhaps your google skills can come up with one :) 

I have also drilled out the P38-style PAS pump for more flow, see this thread :

 

Big difference, just don't go too far. If you are running the vee-belted PAS pump, then you can *probably* go a little bigger with the drill bit, as they run lower pressure (900 vs 1500 ish on the P38 pump).

Do you have a spring lift? If so then yes, under race conditions, castor correction will help of course. Though, I would first be looking at condition/preload of swivels, as well as all the other bushes on the chassis, especially given your little 'incident' recently :) 

Thanks Bowie, interesting reading and it appears that Range Rover Blues may be describing what I've been hearing

Quote from Range Rover Blues:

'But the key bit is the torsion bar, if it is reduced it will transmit less steering feel and allow the valve to turn further, providing more power assistance. At least up to the point where all the power assistance is not enough.'

But as you say, could be tricky to do at home and by how much, at least I know a little bit more info and your pas pump investigation is interesting too.

Yes, quick ratio steering boxes seem to be expensive new and don't come up second hand very often! So I'm crossing that mod off the list for now!

It's true that I can check the swivel pre load first on my axle and I know of at least one bush that needs replacing too (one of the rear axle radius arm bushes), but will also check to see what caster I have at the moment. Does the caster relate to the angle of the top swivel bearing cap - say if I put an angle gauge on it would that tell me the correct castor angle?

Steve

2 hours ago, David Sparkes said:

I'm not sure this will EXACTLY suit, but the IDEA could perhaps be adapted.

Steve Parker does a kit to go with fitting a 38A box to a Series. The essential element of this is that the drag link is connected to the track rod, which is naturally fitted closer to the passenger side swivel than the drag link normally is. This effectively quickens the steering, but adds a little weight to the feel at the steering wheel. SP counts this as a positive.

The SP product page.
The Forum topic that alerted me to the existance of the product.

Regards

 

Thanks Dave, I did see this a while ago, probably in the thread you have linked too. That describes the same principle I was explaining for re drilling the swivel housing.

I think I read somewhere that Discovery 2 box is slightly quicker, what about the P38 box....it again looks different so mounting holes would need to be modified, but any stronger?

 

Steve

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You mentioned that the steering is quite twitchy on the straight... If you've got wheel spacers on that won't be helping it.

You can check the castor angle with the top of the swivel pin, but obviously make sure its all straight ahead and that you're measuring parallel with the car. Can't remember what the angle is of the top of my head. Ebay and Amazon have some lovely little digital inclinometers. I bought one on the recommendation of the Project Binky lads.

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4 hours ago, landroversforever said:

You mentioned that the steering is quite twitchy on the straight... If you've got wheel spacers on that won't be helping it.

You can check the castor angle with the top of the swivel pin, but obviously make sure its all straight ahead and that you're measuring parallel with the car. Can't remember what the angle is of the top of my head. Ebay and Amazon have some lovely little digital inclinometers. I bought one on the recommendation of the Project Binky lads.

True, I have got wheel spacers, but decided to leave them on as a) I could get more lock, but with small tyres they mat not hit the radius arms if they were removed anyway! and b) They're so god damn tight I couldn't remove them!!

Yes, I think an angle finder could be going on the Christmas list!

Steve

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If you want to turn that fast it is possible that the steering pump flow capacity is not enough. Especially @ low engine revs..

If you go to fast the pressure drops and power is lost.. so you need more effort to steer. If you are fast enough the powersteering is going to act in the opposite way: it even slows down steering.

Edited by Carloz

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15 minutes ago, Carloz said:

If you want to turn that fast it is possible that the steering pump flow capacity is not enough. Especially @ low engine revs..

If you go to fast the pressure drops and power is lost.. so you need more effort to steer. If you are fast enough the powersteering is going to act in the opposite way: it even slows down steering.

That's very true so any mods you do do would need the pas flow raised to a suitable flow rate!

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One of my fellow racers has just commented on using electric column power steering to assist the whole system!

One of these:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vauxhall-Corsa-C-Combo-Electric-Power-Steering-Column-Fixed-EPS-Race-Rally/273512538624?hash=item3fae9e2200:g:NAcAAOSwdzlbcDwm:rk:8:pf:0

And a controller like this:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Corsa-B-C-Kit-Electric-power-steering-controller-box-With-ECU-plug-EPAS-/142463712424

Food for thought for later down the line!

Steve

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9 hours ago, steve200TDi said:

 

Thanks Dave, I did see this a while ago, probably in the thread you have linked too. That describes the same principle I was explaining for re drilling the swivel housing.

I think I read somewhere that Discovery 2 box is slightly quicker, what about the P38 box....it again looks different so mounting holes would need to be modified, but any stronger?

 

Steve

Steve, the disco 2 box is quicker, but does need a bit of work to fit. It has a larger sector shaft as well. Unfortunately, it is not very strong, as the worm is made of cheese. The P38 steering box is actually slower. The simbughinis had 2 steering dampers (one in front of the axle and one behind), the fast ratio box, the arm redrilled and the castor reset on the axle. Quickest way to get more caster is to redrill the swivel balls, I think. This has the advantage that the diff stays in the same orientation

Daan

 

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13 hours ago, Bowie69 said:

I have one of these, very compact which makes it easier to get into awkward spots :

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Digi-Pas-Pocket-Size-Digital-Protractor-Inclinometer/dp/B001NPJGL0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539797483&sr=8-1&keywords=digipas

Not exactly a heap of money either.

That's the one I've got too. Great little bit of kit! 

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Just a mention of the Corsa B power steering - the principle is fine  - but in this case  you are talking essentially a wiper motor assisting - they were, shall we say, not known for their reliability or durability on Corsas. I'm sure you won't be bumping up the kerb to park or doing intergalactic mileage but...

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My brother has the Corsa set up on their 205 gti rally car but I don't know how good it is. However that will just make the steering lighter not quicker.

Mike

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Not entirely dissimilar to BA228

Except on pricing.

Edited by cackshifter

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I suppose my objection, if you want to call it that, to using a steering quickener, is it is just another part to fail, and non-standard. If the pitman arm fell off, then you just stick a stock one on and carry on driving, same for the Corsa PAS system -though fiddling with the pump will likely sort out the assistance.

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Yes, the Corsa steering would help with assistance and wouldn't make it quicker.

Regarding the quickener, yes its another thing to go wrong, but that is what they are designed to do (steer quicker!) so it shouldn't brake! But I would be more annoyed if I broke a £600 steering box! At least the quickener is not exposed to trees, but it could see a bit of shock loading, but it should handle that!

Steve 

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Yep, of course, I suppose what I'm saying is that minimum mods to get it would be my vote, so a pump tweak, and a longer pitman arm seems the 'KISS' solution to both issues.

 

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Yes, it's certainly worth a bit of measuring to see what 20mm does to the lock to lock count.

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Have you considered training to make your arms work faster?  Or one of those little "ball/knob thingys" so you can rotate the wheel quicker?

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47 minutes ago, SPendrey said:

Have you considered training to make your arms work faster?  Or one of those little "ball/knob thingys" so you can rotate the wheel quicker?

The Ball/knob thingies are probably outlawed by the MSA for speed events I'm guessing, the kickback through the wheel could be painful! 

 

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