Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

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DoubleD
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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by DoubleD » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:14 am

I converted to rack & pinion. It required making a pair of clamps to attach a Cavalier/Astra rack to the back of the beam, a T25 bevel box and a Land Rover double jointed shaft to connect the two parts. Red9 supplied me with a bracket to mount the T25 box in place of the stock steering box and a replacement column with a UJ at the bottom end.

It works perfectly - very precise and easy to turn. My bus is RHD, which made obtaining the rack straightforward. The most time-consuming part was designing and making the rack mounting brackets.

This is a completely bolt-on setup which can be quickly returned to stock if desired. I have kept all the stock parts in case.

For speed and ease, I would suggest using one of VWJim's or CE's conversion kits, but I wanted to do mine myself. It took time and effort but I'm happy with the result.

Image

Image
Last edited by DoubleD on Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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maddison
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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by maddison » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:01 am

so is that a LHD rack for RHD bus…and RHD rack for LHD bus ?

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DoubleD
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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by DoubleD » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:57 am

It's a RHD rack for a RHD bus.

When mounted in a car, the rack input shaft points to the rear, whereas in this application it points forwards - this reverses its output direction. Fortunately, the T25 box reverses it again, so everything works as it should.


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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by MarkFer » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:39 pm

Ignoring the under tray is there room to mount the rack higher with the land rover shaft going through the middle of the upper and lower beam tubes? So you would have more ground clearance?


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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by Daniel » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:29 pm

maddison wrote:the way the rack works with the chassis and other steering components makes NO difference whether the bus is on the floor or in the sky…Zero relationship
Thanks, that's what I thought too.
Sounds like my "information" was tainted by the fact the guy had already bought a box raise kit!

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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by DoubleD » Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:22 am

In reply to MarkFer, initially that was my preferred arrangement, ie. the rack sitting between the beam tubes, but to achieve this the T25 box has to be mounted at a different angle in order for the Land Rover shaft to clear the master cylinder fully. As I wanted to make use of the Red9 T25 box mounting bracket to save making another one, the position of the box was predetermined. In addition, to fit the rack between the beam tubes also required it to be positioned well off-centre towards the nearside. Again, this is due to the necessary line of the Land Rover shaft.

If you look at the photo taken from the front of the bus, you will see that the rack is actually no lower than the bottom of the centre pivot block normally used for the stock steering arm. This is the lowest point of the beam itself, so there is little benefit in going to greater lengths in order to mount the rack higher up than that. As it is now, the rack has the same ground clearance as the beam itself.

I tried various arrangements and, in my view, what you see in the photo is the most straightforward to achieve. Also the rack sits neatly between the end plates of the beam and is virtually central. Although not essential, in order to compensate for this minor offset, I designed a slightly offset bracket for attaching the track rods to the rack. This resulted in equal length track rods. The track rods I used are standard VW bus items, not modified Vauxhall.

Other folk have used the same rack and have positioned it between the beam tubes (see threads by Moler and Magic8). However, their mounting brackets are all quite different to mine and required at least one of the rack brackets to be welded to the chassis member. I wanted a simpler, bolt-on arrangement to avoid any welding. My rack brackets are a matching pair that simply clamp onto the beam tube.

Hope this helps.
Dave.


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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by ernie » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:53 am

Like the look of this set up mate - would it be achievable/relatively straightforward for a LHD bus & would you need a LHD rack?

I would very much like to convert my LHD bus to rack & pinion but have only limited knowledge & fabrication skills.

Creative set up uses too many joints in my opinion to be direct enough.

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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by maddison » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:55 am

its the best solution I have seen, well thought out, well done and very well executed ….

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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by DoubleD » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:47 am

Thanks Maddison, it took a while to complete but I'm happy with it. It's a little over-engineered bracket-wise but, with steering, I wasn't cutting any corners (if you'll excuse the pun)! It isn't a cheap solution because wherever possible I tried to use available, proven steering parts for safety's sake. The only 'home-made' components are the rack mounting brackets and the trackrod-to-rack bracket, which I had made to my own design by a local metal fabrication company. I've never worked out the total cost but a rough estimate would be no more than half that of a CE kit.

Ernie, as regards LHD, you would need a LHD rack. I don't know how difficult it would be to source one, but there must be loads of used ones floating around in Europe. It's a GM component, so used on Opel cars, ie. the Cavalier/Astra equivalent models such as the Rekord or Kadett. Mine is a NOS RHD one I picked up on eBay for £50 - as fitted to Cavalier/Astra models of the late 80's to early 90's (non-power assisted type of course).

In terms of fitting to a LHD bus, the honest answer is - I don't know. I'm not sure where exactly the key items are located in relation to each other, the master cylinder in particular. I assume that Red9 could supply a LHD mounting bracket for the T25 box, as this is the same part as that supplied with their wishbone front suspension kits. They also supplied me with the Land Rover shaft and the steering column, which are part of the same kit.

Many thanks are due to Simon and Trevor at Red9 who were extremely helpful and were also willing to supply me with individual items normally sold as part of their own products.

I should add that my bus sits about half an inch lower than stock height and runs on stock height tyres, so ground clearance was not the main consideration for me - I just wanted good, positive steering. However, I can see no real problem with adequate ground clearance for a lowered bus with this setup.

Dave.


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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by MarkFer » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:01 am

Thanks for the detail Dave! It all makes sense.

Mark
DoubleD wrote:In reply to MarkFer, initially that was my preferred arrangement, ie. the rack sitting between the beam tubes, but to achieve this the T25 box has to be mounted at a different angle in order for the Land Rover shaft to clear the master cylinder fully. As I wanted to make use of the Red9 T25 box mounting bracket to save making another one, the position of the box was predetermined. In addition, to fit the rack between the beam tubes also required it to be positioned well off-centre towards the nearside. Again, this is due to the necessary line of the Land Rover shaft.

If you look at the photo taken from the front of the bus, you will see that the rack is actually no lower than the bottom of the centre pivot block normally used for the stock steering arm. This is the lowest point of the beam itself, so there is little benefit in going to greater lengths in order to mount the rack higher up than that. As it is now, the rack has the same ground clearance as the beam itself.

I tried various arrangements and, in my view, what you see in the photo is the most straightforward to achieve. Also the rack sits neatly between the end plates of the beam and is virtually central. Although not essential, in order to compensate for this minor offset, I designed a slightly offset bracket for attaching the track rods to the rack. This resulted in equal length track rods. The track rods I used are standard VW bus items, not modified Vauxhall.

Other folk have used the same rack and have positioned it between the beam tubes (see threads by Moler and Magic8). However, their mounting brackets are all quite different to mine and required at least one of the rack brackets to be welded to the chassis member. I wanted a simpler, bolt-on arrangement to avoid any welding. My rack brackets are a matching pair that simply clamp onto the beam tube.

Hope this helps.
Dave.


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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by MarkFer » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:10 am

Sorry, thought of another couple of things! (after reminding myself by looking under the front of my van).

With the rack where it is the inner ends of the track rod arms are lower than stock - do you get any bump steer? And secondly you now have no option for an anti roll bar - did you have one before the conversion?

Mark
p.s. as Maddison said, it does look well thought out.

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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by DoubleD » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:53 am

Good questions Mark!

1. No problem with bump steer as the track rods are the standard length and attach at the centre of the rack. If a different style of rack were to be used, ie. a long rack with a short track rod at each end (as typically found on modern cars), you would very likely get bump steer with VW bus suspension geometry. Quite honestly, the steering is really nice - smooth, easy and precise.

I've just realised that the photo I've posted does not show my latest configuration. The track rod bracket at the centre back of the rack is now inverted, hence the track rods are at the same height that they would be if they were connected to the stock steering arm on the beam. It wasn't a necessary mod from a steering point of view, just looks neater from below. I'll take a current pic and post it later on today hopefully.

2. Well spotted - the double-jointed shaft would get in the way. Being a '62 bus, it never had an ARB fitted as standard, but I realise there are benefits to fitting one. I did consider this early on and I'm thinking about the possibility of having one made with an appropriate shape to clear the shaft, even though I haven't particularly felt the need for it as I've stiffened up the front end a little anyway using adjustable shocks. I guess it's like a servo, you don't know how you lived without it until you've fitted one!

Dave.


Current pics as promised:

1. Viewed from front - track rods now mounted on rack at same height as stock steering arm

Image


2. T25 bevel box mount and Land Rover double-jointed shaft

Image


3. Viewed from behind - track rods attach to centre of rack

Image


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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by Abbo » Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:06 pm

Creative kit no question


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Re: Steering Box Raise vs Rack Conversion

Post by Geekshack » Fri Apr 29, 2016 7:07 pm

Check this out if your going for a rack
http://geekshackltd.co.uk/shop/products ... litscreen/

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