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Seeking "User" feedback of STEEROID's Rack & Pinion conversion

Craig1979

Active member
Joined
May 12, 2001
Messages
28
Location
Seattle
Corvette
1979 L82
I'm considering the Steeriod's Rack & Pinion conversion set-up for my C3 (1979) Corvette.
I'm looking for feedback from C3 owners who have installed and driven the Steeroid's Rack & Pinion conversion set-up.
The manufacturer's performance claims state that the rack & pinion eliminates all the on-center wander and vaqueness that is so common to the C3 factory power assist steering system (especially evident with wide tires).
The conversion is not inexpensive, but would be a reasonable if it is as good as the manufacturer claims.

-Was the improvement in steering quality truely significant??

-Was there any U-joint binding that you were not able to eliminate by the steering column adjustment procedures suggested by the manufacturer??

-Was the steering radius of the car reduced after the install of the rack & pinion (ie: did the front wheels not turn as sharp in a full-lock turn - like making a tight u-turn)??

-If you were using headers, did the conversion clear your headers OK?? (If so, what make/brand of headers were you using??).

-Any other general considerations, warnings, or observed performance improvements that you can pass along to other thinking about this conversion??

Please share any first hand information you have after driving this rack & pinion conversion so that fellow Corvette owners can make an decision before spending the money on an aftermarket system.
Thanks.
 

Evolution1980

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Messages
4,302
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Corvette
ZZ4, 700R4, Steeroids rack & pinion, VB&P Brakes
Craig1979 said:
The manufacturer's performance claims state that the rack & pinion eliminates all the on-center wander and vaqueness that is so common to the C3 factory power assist steering system (especially evident with wide tires).
This is due to the nature of the recirculating ball technology used in the OEM setup. Typically, the worm gear gets worn and over time more slop is introduced into the steering.

Was the improvement in steering quality truely significant??
Without a doubt, 110% YES!
Was there any U-joint binding that you were not able to eliminate by the steering column adjustment procedures suggested by the manufacturer??
Besides adjusting the steering column, the install also required shaving areas of the u-joint to avoid binding
Was the steering radius of the car reduced after the install of the rack & pinion (ie: did the front wheels not turn as sharp in a full-lock turn - like making a tight u-turn)??
I wish I could recall exactly the difference. I believe it's just about the same. However, due to the nature of the setup, the car will turn a slightly tighter arc when locked left than when locked right. (Or I may have that reversed...I can't recall now)
If you were using headers, did the conversion clear your headers OK?? (If so, what make/brand of headers were you using??).
It was tight during the install, but once in, the headers weren't a problem. (I have Hooker headers.) However, we did have to notch the lower control arm just a hair in order to clear one of the set screws.
Any other general considerations, warnings, or observed performance improvements that you can pass along to other thinking about this conversion??
Your in luck. I found the email that I sent to VB&P as a "suggestion" for future sales and/or installation documentation revisions. Here ya go! (Oh yeah, this is no "few hours" project if you are going to do it correctly. It's more like a full weekend (or more) if you want it perfect. If "almost perfect" is acceptable, then yes, you could probably do it one long day. And I don't care what magazine said they did it in 3 hours...that's in some fairy tale utopian world!)

---------
Back in 2004 I also purchased your complete VB&P O-ring caliper kit (lines, pads, mstr cylinder, etc). Regarding your complete brake kits, with all the hardware, it seems kinda silly that you'd leave out the brake proportioning valve since it is part of the system, AND prone to failure. We (vette owners) have to get it elsewhere such as MidAmerica or Corvette Central.

Notes Regarding the Steeroids package for my 1980:
1) The hollow aluminum tube that connects between the u-joints is supposed to be notched so the setscrews seat into it. It was not notched on either end. This required EVER SO CAREFULLY getting a drill in there to notch the tube when everything was already in place. This is a very cramped job and not very easy to do once everything is lined up and in place! Additionally, with that tube being so light, too much pressure on the drill and you'll drill right through the surface.

2) The pressure hose is almost exactly 3" too long. Between the sharp angle on the hose connector and the rigidity of the hose, it is essentially impossible to mount due to it getting in the way of the A-arm travel. As soon as the car would be down on the ground, it would hit the hose and likely break it off or do critical damage to the fitting on the pump. I had to go out and have a custom high pressure hose made along with the proper size and angled fittings.

3) I took a die grinder and had to notch the frame in order to have the lowest setscrew (u-joint on the rack) have clearance for a full rotation.

4) There were extra washers supplied, however they were the smaller, incorrect size. Unfortunately, at this time, I don't recall the exact washers needed or on which parts they were on. I know it was towards the end of the installation.

5) It seems kinda silly that the tierod sleeves aren't shaved on both ends for wrenching/adjusting. They only have the wrench flats on one side, which adds to the difficulty of adjusting either the inner or outer, depending if you have them on the inside or outside.

6) The gusset bracket DEFINITELY needs to have some manual intervention on the part of the enduser. Although it's nice that they put the extra piece of steel to align with the frame, it has to be significantly grinded/filed down so it gives a seemless mating surface with the frame. This requires a lot of 'check for fit...shave it...check for fit...shave it'. Then, to keep it from rusting, we coated it with rustproofer. This is a critical part that was more or less unmentioned in the documentation. That bracket is what bears the load of the pressure on the frame from the rack. If that's not flush with the frame, eventually you are going to have wear and slop in the system, and worst case scenario it will break. Years ago, this actually occured with my OEM setup I had. The frame itself actually tore with the bracket still attached, which caused the pump shaft to snap over a bumpy corner.

7) The drivers side bracket which holds the steering shaft support bearing... If that tab that carries the support bearing was rounded off instead of being squared on the ends, it would make the adjustment of the pinch nuts way way easier, not to mention less
dangerous because of the sharp corners. When wrenching down on those nuts, the amount of turn/leverage that you can get from a wrench big enough to fit them is damn near zero, due to space constraints. Having the edges rounded off on that tab would not
incur any loss of rigidity or supporting strength.

...That's all I can think of right now. If you want pictures, I suppose I could supply some.
 

yellow77

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 17, 2004
Messages
184
Location
Tulsa, OK
Corvette
1977, Bright Yellow
wow, after such an informative post, I feel inadequatly qualified to comment. I installed my steeroids system about 1 year ago. At the time I didnt have headers and the install was easy. I have now installed Hedman Hedders and they fit with no clearance issues.
I still have some on center vagueness but it is much much less than was evident with the original steering. I run P255 &0R15 tires and the car will still tend to follow ridges or ruts in the road, however, I am quite happy to release the steering wheel on an uneven surface and the caqr will track straight.
The improvement overall of the steering quality is stunning, perhaps a tad heavier at parking speeds, but other than that, great.
I did not and still do not experience any binding in the universal joints. The path looks a tad tortuous, but works just fine.
I dont think the turn radius is very much less, if at all from stock.
The only comment I would have is that since the turns ratio is so much lower, the steering is a bit fidgety so you have to stay with it while driving.
The whole kit, with the instructions was excellent, I had a few nuts and bolts left over, but every hole has a bolt and or nut so they must have packed some extra.

Cheers

Richard
 

Evolution1980

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Messages
4,302
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Corvette
ZZ4, 700R4, Steeroids rack & pinion, VB&P Brakes
yellow77 said:
I run P255 &0R15 tires and the car will still tend to follow ridges or ruts in the road.
The steering is...perhaps a tad heavier at parking speeds
The steering is a bit fidgety so you have to stay with it while driving.
Sounds like it could be an alignment issue. Depending on how you told the shop to setup your alignment, that could certainly cause the effects you are noticing. I qualify the different settings as "Stock/OEM", "Straight Line" and "Autocross".
I have mine setup for Straight Line, high speed stability. Speaking completely non-technically, "straight line" does cause the steering to feel heavier at slower speeds due to the tendency for the car to want to remain straight. Initial left/right turns require a bit more effort now, which could in effect have me overcorrecting sometimes. But at high speeds, it's never felt better shooting down a long stretch. It's as buttoned down as I've ever felt it, as opposed to wanting to wander and get light in the front with the OEM alignment.
With an autocross alignment, you'll have a much easier time steering left/right at lower speeds, but I believe you'll lose some of that "buttoned down" feeling on the high speed straights.
This is just how I understand it. I'm not mechanic and could be way off on my descriptions of the alignment. :L

If you are interested, I can give you the alignment specs of my car, both per corner and overall. (Assuming I can find the paperwork.) Also, there's a book I have somewhere about upgrading and restoring C3's which lists Gouldstrand's alignment numbers they used for the C3's campaigned during those years. I think if I found my book, I'd likely find my alignment specs not far from it. :)

Craig1979, the Steeroids lock to lock is 2.5 turns. So you can at least reference that to yours as it is now.
 

Eddie 70

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2002
Messages
383
Location
Kingston, Tn
Corvette
1970 Convertible LS6 and an 02 EB Z06
I installed Steeroids last summer. It is kind of tricky working through the u-joint setup but once you get it set. You will love it. It almost makes the vette handle like a go cart or like it is on rails. Turn the wheel just a little and you are there. I am glad I did the conversion and I had a newly rebuilt front suspension and steering setup in my car at the time of Steeroids installation.
 

yellow77

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 17, 2004
Messages
184
Location
Tulsa, OK
Corvette
1977, Bright Yellow
Craig,
Tried to e-mail you pictures twice and they kept getting returned. Anyway, the steeroids is about 1 1/2 " lower than the crossmember, but I dont think it is lower than the stock unit.
 

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