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Quick Ratio Steering Rack

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by wiztecy, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Just ordered a quick ratio steering rack from Elise-Shop. Was going to go for the TitanQR which is 2.5 turns to lock (over 2.75 stock) but found Elise-Shop had the Hurricane rack that's 2.36 turns to lock which seemed about the ratio I was looking for. Also the Titan was out of stock until July 17th from Sector111. Titan has one that's 2.2 turns but that one is $1,100 + tax. The Hurricane came to $700 total with shipping.

    Getting ready to swap over to 4 new tires, and with that going to do a full alignment. Figured to throw the rack in before I get that done so everything is set to go for some time.

    Hurricane (2.36 turns):
    Hurricane Steering QuickRack (Elise, Exige, 340R, Speedster) [SRTQ] - 429.00 : Elise Shop, Performance parts for your Lotus Elise

    EP Quickrack (2.45 turns):
    Elise Parts - Steering & Suspension - Steering - EP Tuning Quickrack

    TitanQR (2.5 turns):
    titanQR

    Titan Racerack (2.2 turns):
    raceRACK is the fastest steering rack for your Lotus
     
  2. 7racer

    7racer Member

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    NICE!

    good to someone giving this a try! Anxious to hear your impressions!
     
  3. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Would be wonderful for autocross. Sometimes my limiting factor is how fast I can turn the wheel, not how much grip the tires have. You will have to manhandle the wheel more at low speeds, though.
     
  4. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #4 wiztecy, Jul 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
    I think the stock ratio has always felt sketchy not reacting quick enough, doesn't feel matched to the car's nimbleness with the correct suspension setup. The quick rack also helps address issues with bump steer as commented in the Lotus forums. I don't mind a harder wheel to turn at low speeds, its the safety factor I'm concerned most with. To have the car react to my steering wheel input as quick as possible while finding the right balance overall with traction and overall feel that's important to me. Would love to put poly bushings all around to get more feedback from the car. Heard from smorgasbord that Roadsters with the adjustable suspension already have the poly bushings.

    Below are some scan's I pulled from the Lotus forum that'll help other out in the future regarding the steering rack replacement.

    Referenced URL: Steering Rack - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

    129835-recall-racks-diys-rack-004.jpg

    129836-recall-racks-diys-rack-005.jpg

    129837-recall-racks-diys-rack-002.jpg

    129838-recall-racks-diys-rack-003.jpg
     
  5. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    Yes, that's what I was originally told, but at least for the rear control arm bushings, it turned out to not be the case. I will say that after putting in polyurethane bushings there and camber plates in the rear, handling is quite noticeably improved on the twisties. I'm now going to try the V2 steering arms to enable more negative camber on the fronts (which are limited to about a 1/2 degree otherwise) - they're supposed to help with bump steer as well.

    As for a quicker steering rack, that's pretty interesting. I wonder if the longer wheelbase of Roadster makes that more necessary compared to Elise.

    I don't know if I'm doing all these mods because I'm celebrating 3 years of Roadster driving, or because I'm getting ready for Elon's "something exciting," but it sure is fun customizing my car and making it even better.
     
  6. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #6 wiztecy, Jul 2, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    Cool to hear your recent upgrades improved the handling! Good point about the longer wheelbase compared to the Elise, I'm sure that plays a part into some lag. I've been reading in the Lotus forums that others are noticing the same thing I am with the lack of response from the stock steering rack and with the upgrade made is significant improvement and increased the fun while driving.

    As for the V2 steering arms, does offer more adjustment which is always good. But as for myself I don't think I need to go any more negative with the front camber. Pulling out the front shims (abs brake cable mount) did the trick. I've been testing and pushing what I have dialed in right now with the front/rear negative camber and quite happy with it. I'm also doing this with UV beaten and dry AD07's on the front that have 32,500 miles on them and beat AD08's on the rear with 20,000 miles. The front is planting down nicely and the rear breaks away with enough warning to catch it. When I put on the steering rack and new sneakers on the Roadster all the way around I think I'll be quite pleased with the performance. Also as Doug mentioned, you have to be very careful how much negative camber you add to the front. Too much traction up there will dramatic whip the rear out where you don't have any time to recover. I'd first try pulling your front shims out, then test that setting.

    I do want to add that the V2 Arms would actually work out pretty nice if you move around a bit between a hard and soft compound tire. meaning that if you're running a soft compound tire and would like to run a harder compound tire you can add in more negative camber to regain traction up front that's lost from the firmer rubber and dial in more positive camber in the fronts if you're going from a hard compound to a softer compound tire.
     
  7. lookinco

    lookinco Member

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    Anyone here installed the quick steering rack yet? Planning to get a set for myself to go with the Penske coilovers.
     
  8. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #8 wiztecy, Aug 1, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
    My quick rack came in, will do the swap either this weekend or next. Adding some more links for removal/installation reference:

    Replace the steering rack - TechWiki

    Lotus Elise How to Replace your Steering Rack | Z-Car

    Last post talks about how to get the rack out where it appears to get on the height setting plate pop-rivet:
    S1 Steering Rack Removal - Technical Talk - Midlands Lotus Owners Club (MLOC)

    http://www.sandsmuseum.com/cars/elise/experience/modifications/wheel111r/parts.jpg

    Steering Rack Replacement Problem - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

    Lotus Service Manual for Steering (good for torque spec of tie rod end/nut):
    http://www.lotusforum.be/TO-DOWNLOAD/Elise%20MKII/Elise%20s2%20Steering%20HF.pdf
     
  9. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #9 wiztecy, Aug 4, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
    I got the quick rack installed, found the following link the most useful out of the list:
    Lotus Elise How to Replace your Steering Rack | Z-Car

    Its not a difficult job, but the toughest part was re-aligning the steering column spline to the rack's spline. I removed the two front rack mounting bolts that affix the column to the dash and the single bolt that's far in there (behind the instrument cluster and under the switchpack) I only loosened it. If its removed its a bear to get back in there, so I backed it off to get a little more wiggle room to re-align the column to the rack.

    I marked 12 o'clock on the steering wheel with blue painters masking tape, then with the wheel cranked to lock position to the left and then to the right, did the pie slice comparison to get the steering wheel straight with the rack. It took 2-3 attempts to get that right. At worse, you can be off by 5 degrees but no more or else your steering will get affected in negative way.

    Another tough part of the job is breaking the tie rod end free without damaging the boot. The passenger side popped off by itself, the driver's side, that was a bear. I tried a pitman puller and since the tie rod end is so small, that doesn't work. Couldn't find a small enough one at the auto parts store either. Tried small pullers, etc. Nothing worked. I then banged the bottom of the tie rod end (its hardened and has no threads to damage) and after a couple of good whacks the tie rod end broke free undamaged. If you have a couple of crappy nuts to put on there, that'll give more surface area to whack without damaging your existing nut which you may still want to re-use. Also once you have the tie rod ends off, I recommend repacking the rubber boot with grease using a syringe. Lastly, when the tie rod pops off you'll find a very small white washer that's laying on the arm or on the base of the boot. Keep that. It actually is the wrap for the bottom of the boot. Below is a link that describes repacking the tie rod end and of the white plastic retaining clip which I described:
    V2Arms Install Log (pics questions too) - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

    Also I recommend "disabling the APS", meaning shutting down all power to the car's 12v system before you do any work. Actually this should be done whenever you're messing around in the dash or other vulnerable area that has wires and electronics. While playing around with the steering column, I caused a short somehow. My water pump stopped circulating, HVAC couldn't get its firmware version, and my wipers/windows wouldn't work. I got a little worried thinking I may have fried my switchpack, but the aux power supply outlet still worked as well as other 12v systems like the headlights and blinkers. I checked my fusebank and found one 7.5 fuse blown and a 15 amp blown. I swapped in new fuses and all systems were a go. So be sure to shut things down before you proceed.

    I lost my instrument cluster connector with wires and all.... It just vanished. Well keep an eye on that, while messing around with the column, it got pushed back behind the switchpack. Was happy to solve that mystery :)

    I pulled the steering rack out from the passenger side, it came out without any issue at all and plenty of clearance. Just wiggle it some to get the spline of the rack clear of the firewall. So I put it in the same way, again no issue. Another thing to watch out for is the steering boot dust cover. I read in an Elise forum that a person noticed the boot all twisted after they had someone install the rack for them. So before you put your tie-rods back on ensure your steering boot on both sides is straight, not twisted, and free of kinks. Twist them out if you find any. I found my drivers side got twisted and had to address it.

    Also note that you will have to get contorted some to deal with loosening and tightening the column spline u-joint bolts as well as to re-align the steering wheel to center. So just warning you ahead of time :)

    My wheels and tie-rod ends are still off, I just need to put those back on as well as re-assemble the dash pieces. Then sometime soon, within the next week or two, have an alignment done and I should be good to go.

    IMG_7242.JPG

    IMG_7243.JPG

    IMG_7244.JPG

    IMG_7245.JPG

    12 O'Clock Position
    IMG_7250.JPG

    Full Left Lock Position
    IMG_7248.JPG

    Full Right Lock Position
    IMG_7247.JPG
     
  10. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    Want to sell me your used rack?
     
  11. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Let me think about it, I may just hold on to it so I have all the original OEM parts. Is there something wrong with yours that it needs replacing? If you want the stock ratio, you can pick that up new for around $650. The quick rack (hurricane) I installed also comes in the stock ratio.
     
  12. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    So my first impressions of the quickrack are good, it totally cleaned up the lag/slop I felt the Roadster had in the initial 1/4 turn of the wheel. Its not twitchy, takes a little adjusting to relearn the new lines and how much faster the car dives into a turn. I also don't feel the bumpsteer that my stock rack had as well. Really feels like the rack that should have been in there from the start.
     
  13. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #13 wiztecy, Aug 15, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
    Took the Roadster through the twisty turns of the Redwoods though Highway 9 today, Highway 17 was crawling so I took the long way home and love it :) Had my Roadster re-aligned on Tuesday putting it back to -1.0 camber front and -2.0 rear. Was off on front/back for some reason but we fixed that. I also requested balasting the driver seat of 170lbs to set the alignment with my personal body weight to be more precise. I have brand new AD07s on the front and brand new AD08's on the back so its fresh all the way around.

    Steering rack is perfect! I'm no longer whipping or floundering around with my hands through the turns, feels more balance, precise, and what really appears to be the right fit for the Roadster channeling through the turns. Roadster felt planted, braking was good with the camber, handled good with the camber, and great feel through the wheel. Its not twitchy at all. Highly recommend the Hurricane. I suspect this one is made by Titan as well, has the same shaft look and design.

    Also you may be able to get away with loosening the top and bottom u-joints on the steering to remove/install the rack. The shaft for mine was tight so the steering column had to be loosened first to get more play. Try that first, it may save you some time. If its a no-go, then remove the cluster, console and loosen the steering assembly as I did.
     
  14. Perrin21

    Perrin21 Member

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    Great post, I really fancy doing this on mine, the steering takes too many turns lock to lock as is. Any downsides? How long does it take to fit? How do you adjust your camber
     
  15. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #15 wiztecy, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    Thanks. Only downside is getting in the Roadster and being upside down to loosen/tighten the u-joints on the steering rack. Gets old fast. As for downsides after being installed, I don't have any. As I mentioned you have to relearn the lines the Roadster takes into the turns since its quicker than stock.

    I spent the weekend removing/installing the rack really dragging it out (not a full weekend of hours). After you've done one it would take 2 hours to complete as long as your tie rod ends pop free and there's no hangups.

    As for the camber I removed my front shims to get more camber and utilized my previous alignment numbers ( I always request and keep the spec sheet in the car ) to eyeball having the front even at around -1.0. However it appears something shifted in my alignment or possibly the alignment was off when it was first done (old front right tire shows excessive camper wear) before I did the shims.

    My front should have been around -1.0 and the rears around -2.0/2.2.

    This time my alignment before the changes came out to:
    FL: -0.9
    FR: -1.3

    RL: -1.9
    RR: -2.6 (how'd this get so exaggerated I don't know, we reset everything on the alignment machine twice to double check)

    We then played with shims and brought it back to:
    FL: -0.9
    FR: -1.0

    RL: -2.0
    RR: -2.2

    Key is taking the Roadster to a place who knows Lotus Elises very well and has extra shims. I took mine to DieschWerks who specializes in Lotus Elises and races them. We actually took out the right rear ABS bracket and put in a front shim which is not as thick to increase the neg. camber there. Be warned, good places charge a premium for alignments. Mine came out to $280 but we spent 2 hours playing with the car and adjusting it. Its something that's essential for the car but not done all that often so its worth it. I couldn't dial the camber in like this at any regular tire shop, they'd be clueless plus I'd have to supply the shims.

    **Note: I would not touch the camber or steering rack unless you have the adjustable sport suspension or the Nitron upgrade. Otherwise the stock suspension is way too sloppy and these modifications will plant traction more to the front too quickly and the rear shocks/suspension will uncompress/rebound too quickly in the right conditions resulting in the back to spin out that will be impossible to catch or control.
     
  16. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    WOW. Exciting post.

    I have the sport adjustable suspension so I may consider this.

    Please keep this post updated.

    Now I need to find a Lotus Elise shoppe here in New York City.

    Best,

    T
     
  17. andybm3

    andybm3 Member

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    #17 andybm3, Apr 3, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2015
    Roadster quick ratio steering mod

    I have a quick ratio steering rack on its way and need new rear tires on my car and would like to get it all done at the same time
     
  18. m0rph

    m0rph Member

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    Now you've got my full attention. Where did you buy this?
     
  19. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Do you have really strong arms? (To be able to turn in parking lots...) I assume still unassisted steering.
     
  20. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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