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Thread: E34 Rack and Pinion conversion completed...

  1. #1

    Default E34 Rack and Pinion conversion completed...

    Some people were curious for a report of the final product in my half-baked idea to have the reviled E34 steering box replaced with a close ratio rack and pinion unit. Well, the conversion is complete and my first impression is: Wow! The dead spot on center with accompanying play and the lack of road feedback as been replaced with tight linear precision trough the range and superb feedback through the steering wheel. (I also specified solid mounting and as little rubber as possible in the steering shaft linkages for maximum feedback).
    Where I felt as if the steering was leaving me isolated from the actions of the front tires and weight transfer, now I feel much more involved in the all around driving experience and more confident driving the car in a sporting manner. If anyone has considered it, I would say give it a shot!
    The rack itself is one specd for a mid 90s VW gti (about 14.7:1 ratio) and tie rods, and lower steering shaft were fabricated using replaceable tie rod ends and u-joints. If anyone is interested in any more details, let me know. This was done by Rick Haner at HanerHaus in Santa Rosa, Ca.
    Colin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    NE GA
    Posts
    157

    Default

    Awesome sounding project! Post some pics...tell us more..how is the steering shaft connected to the rack...costs etc. Sounds like a great alternative to a worn steering gear box!
    JR
    92 525
    1992 525 IA, EAT chip, 16 x 7.5 Rondell 58's, BavAuto Springs, Bilstein Sports, Elipsoid Smileys & fogs, Z3 Pistol grip shifter, 4 VDO gauge package, Azure Blue w/nice patina - clearcoat shot

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,171

    Default you aren't getting much feedback so I will be the first...

    to congratulate you on your effort to make the transistion to R&P steering. Completely agree with your assessment and motivation to make the change away from the dated recirculating ball type gearbox for the reasons you mentioned. The steering system in any car is pivotal ingredient to its personality and have no doubt making this change has transformed the way the car drives. I have always felt the steering on these car's was its achilles heel. The ratio you stated seems about right as well. One of the biggest challenges...there are a few...when adopting a generic R&P steering gear to a recirc. ball car is rack travel relative to max wheel angle which establishes max.turning radius. Do you have any issue with respect to rubbing of your tires at max lock? If not, your tuner did a good job. Manufactures go so far as to offer different rack stops on similar model cars with different wheel packages for that reason...tire clearance at full lock. Generally when a R&P gear is adopted to a recirc. steering box car, a tuner will err on the side of conservatism when setting up the rack to negate tire rubbing at full lock thereby compromising some turning circle. Colin, as these cars age and more steering boxes fail, believe many others would be interested in your installation. Do you have any pictures you could post of the conversion?... would love to see how the rack was packaged. Finally, how many turns lock- to-lock is your new set up?
    Thanks for sharing your major accomplishment.
    George
    90 735iL/149k...original steering box

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Tampa Bay, Florida, USA
    Posts
    898

    Default Sounds like a great alternative

    Sounds like a great alternative for those of us with aging E34s, who wouldnt mind going non-stock with the steering system.

    If you wouldn't mind sharing the whole procedure and posting photos or whatever, that would be great! Did you keep the power steering?

    Thanks in advance.

    MBXB



    Quote Originally Posted by Cacatfish
    Some people were curious for a report of the final product in my half-baked idea to have the reviled E34 steering box replaced with a close ratio rack and pinion unit. Well, the conversion is complete and my first impression is: Wow! The dead spot on center with accompanying play and the lack of road feedback as been replaced with tight linear precision trough the range and superb feedback through the steering wheel. (I also specified solid mounting and as little rubber as possible in the steering shaft linkages for maximum feedback).
    Where I felt as if the steering was leaving me isolated from the actions of the front tires and weight transfer, now I feel much more involved in the all around driving experience and more confident driving the car in a sporting manner. If anyone has considered it, I would say give it a shot!
    The rack itself is one specd for a mid 90s VW gti (about 14.7:1 ratio) and tie rods, and lower steering shaft were fabricated using replaceable tie rod ends and u-joints. If anyone is interested in any more details, let me know. This was done by Rick Haner at HanerHaus in Santa Rosa, Ca.
    Colin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    474

    Default

    What are the advantages of the stock recirculating ball steering over rack & pinion?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Tampa Bay, Florida, USA
    Posts
    898

    Default RP is a simpler mechanism

    JP

    RP is a simpler mechanism than RB.
    Feel is very direct.



    Quote Originally Posted by jplacson
    What are the advantages of the stock recirculating ball steering over rack & pinion?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Philippines
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    474

    Default

    :P I know... that's why I was asking what the advantages of the stock box are over the simpler R&P. :P hehehe I enjoy reading all the stuff people do to their E34s... at the same time, I'd also like to know the advantages of the stock setup, over the mods... BMW engineers are far from stupid, so I just enjoy knowing the reasons for certain stock component choices over aftermarket upgrades.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    4,892

    Default

    Mmm... isn't 525i R&P setup whereas 535, 530 & 540 Recirculating system?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Philippines
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    474

    Default

    would that mean that my Euro 520i is an R&P? If it is R&P, does that mean I can't adjust the steering nut under the dash as well?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jplacson
    :P I know... that's why I was asking what the advantages of the stock box are over the simpler R&P. :P hehehe I enjoy reading all the stuff people do to their E34s... at the same time, I'd also like to know the advantages of the stock setup, over the mods... BMW engineers are far from stupid, so I just enjoy knowing the reasons for certain stock component choices over aftermarket upgrades.
    I thought the reason for not having R&P was that the BMW engineers could not find enough room for it. I can't think of any advantage the stock box has. Of course, the engineers found enough room in all subsequent BMW models...

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