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3SX FTL
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Lethal_vr4 manual steering rack is a converted stock hydraulically assisted rack. The rack is disassembled and all ports, fittings, and internal components specific to the hydraulic system are removed. Then the rack is greased and resealed, and new tie rods are fitted. The end product is exceptionally simple and clean. Installing the rack is more of a tedious process than a difficult one. The supports running from the front to rear crossmembers of the front subframe must be removed to swap the rack, as must the downpipe, transfer case, and front sway bar. At the time of my install, solid bushings were not available so the stock rubber pieces were reused. On 3/S with all-wheel steering (AWS), the signal lines to the valve for the rear rack will have to be disconnected.

I find the rack to be manageable during regular street driving and a worthwhile tradeoff for the benefits at the track. Effort at very slow speeds is high, which is to be expected, but it is not oppressive. I can fairly easily turn the wheel with two hands while the car is not moving at all, and though I wouldn’t want to parallel park regularly, it is not impossible. Palming the wheel or making significant one-handed changes to wheel angle at speeds below 5mph, however, is a thing of the past.

Above 10 mph effort to make normal turns in the road is acceptable. I certainly feel the weight of the rack, and the transition between the weightlessness of the center dead spot in our cars to the heaviness of an actual steering input is noticeable and dramatic. However, I was able to make these turns with one hand. However, I found that the effort required to make a tight turn—through an intersection, entering a parking lot, and anything else that requires greater than 50 or so degrees rotation of the wheel—was much higher than expected. This is absolutely a 2-handed process. Specifically, it is not the effort required to turn the wheel that I find to be higher than I expected, but the effort required to maintain that wheel angle. I think that this is partially due to my specific wheel/tire and suspension setup: I have Tein Flex with SCE’s camber caster plates. When I originally installed the plates a few years ago, the front wheels would return to center more forcefully (this is a product of increased caster). Further, I run 275s on 9.5” wide rims with a +36mm offset. The rims are fairly heavy. Even with power assist, steering effort was higher with these wheels and tires. I have not been able to reinstall my old camber plates or use alternate wheels/tires, so I cannot quantify the effects of my current setup.

At highway speeds the car almost feels as if it has assisted steering. The dead-spot transition I mentioned is there (no escaping that), but otherwise I can drive very easily on the highway with one hand—not that I do this normally. Lane changes are quick and easy.

In general, I think the benefits of this product outweigh the drawbacks, provided one is aware of them. Those of you who drive often in cities or who see your cars as comfortable weekend cruisers may not wish to purchase this. But if you are like me and take your somewhat daily-driven 3/S to track days, it looks to be a worthwhile modification. Not only does it drastically simplify the engine bay, the manual rack significantly increases feedback through the wheel. Bumps and imperfections are smoothly transmitted. My favorite part, I think, is that I can now feel how much the front is loaded up through the steering wheel. The hydraulic assist deadens most of this feedback; with the manual rack I can feel the steering effort decrease before I perceive the front unloading. I'm going to be very interested to see how this performs on the track.

Please feel free to contact me or Lethal_vr4 about any installation or driveability questions. For technical inquiries or questions about pricing or availability, please contact Lethal_vr4 only. It is his product and design; I am only a tester.

Clint
 

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Thanks for the write up Clint. I appreciate an un-biased opinion.

Primary weight savings will be from the AWS delete and no PWR Steering pump. This is probably pretty high up on the weight saved per dollar. Right up there with a CF hood.

A small power gain from removing the parasitic loss from not having to drive the power steering pulley is another plus as well as increased simplicity.
 
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I've heard the AWS itself is around 40 lbs saved... so *maybe* another 20 lbs for the pump/bracket and the remaining two PWS lines.
 

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Pricing all depends on market. If few sell (less the five) expect prices to be ~$500.00 per unit, price will drop if more sell. I engineered this rack primarily as I wanted one and no other solution was available. Between the hottanking, sand-blasting, new finish on the rack, and new tie rod ends there is very little left for the actualy modification of the rack and shipping to customers (not to mention profit).

As of now Clint is the only other true manual rack in exsistance as I wanted a un-biased opinion when and if I were to possibly bring these to market.


I imagine that primary the serious drag racers and road racers will be interested in this modification. I expect total sales to be around 20 units over a few years.

I'll start a GB thread soon and post a link in this thread.
 

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Resident Street Racer
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wow..Hey Clint are you ever going to sell your VR-4? I want to buy it..:p

Im serious too!! Great write-up..could we get a before/after picture of the engine bay?

Nomie
 

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3SX FTL
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Discussion Starter #12
NOMIEZVR-4 said:
wow..Hey Clint are you ever going to sell your VR-4? I want to buy it..:p

Im serious too!! Great write-up..could we get a before/after picture of the engine bay?

Nomie
I'll put up a separate thread in the next day or two with some engine bay pics for all you delete fanatics (well, you and and 4 or 5 others anyway). :D This really is lethal's thread and I don't want it to swing off-topic.

I do want to say again, however, that I was impressed with the overall quality of the product. The pictures don't quite show how clean and neat the manual rack is.

Clint
 

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Go ahead and post them here if you would like Clint. I love looking at pics of your engine bay.

I'm glad that you are happy with the rack... I put alot of time and effort into engineering the best product possible. I'd like to think that the end result was worth the effort.

Hats off to you as well. Being a beta tester took risk (time/money) on your part to help me ensure through independant testing that everything was up to snuff.
 

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Pro xfercase destroyer
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This looks like something I would probably want to do on my '91 car... Would the price be any lower if you didn't bother with the refinishing and just stuck to what was necessary for the conversion? I wouldn't mind if it still looked 16 years old as long as it was functional. I don't think anyone other than me will see under the car.
 

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At this time I'm not planning on supporting different levels of conversion "trim". Like Buick said during the GN days.... you can get it any color you want as long as it is black!
 

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3SX FTL
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Discussion Starter #17
I put up a thread in the A/V room with some engine bay photos: http://www.3si.org/forum/showthread.php?t=372419

Links (in case you don't want to go to the A/V room. I always feel out of place there :p):

http://www.pansypatrol.com/people/clint/pictures/misc/fullbay732x549.JPG

http://www.pansypatrol.com/people/clint/pictures/misc/PSsystemgone732x549.JPG

http://www.pansypatrol.com/people/clint/pictures/misc/driverside732x549.JPG

http://www.pansypatrol.com/people/clint/pictures/misc/passengerside732x549.JPG

Also, I'm going to be at Watkins Glen in a week for an HPDE. I'll add some track-specific commentary when I get back. :D

Clint
 

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Struggly said:
I always feel out of place there :p)

[Clint
Very nice work Clint. Thanks for sharing the pics.
 

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Just let me know Matt, all the hardwork is done (the engineering), I just have to sit down and come up with a price for the general public. Dropping one off to you at the UMG or NG will shave about $50 off my costs (and yours too for shipping me your core), I can "front" you a spare, but I will need your core when I drop off the manual rack.
 
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