Addressing the Steering Feel with Steeroids Kits
Many factors can affect the way the steering feels. Many words can describe how the feel is, but this section is mostly covering how much resistance there is in the steering wheel. If you have play, or a dead spot where there is no responce at the wheels when rotating the steering wheel, go back to the Steeroids – Addressing Play in the Wheel section. This section talks about the amount of resistance or the amount of effort that is required to turn the steering wheel. Again, there are several factors to consider, so please read carefully.
Pump Pressure & Volume.
All of the Steeroids rack and pinion conversion kits are designed to work with the stock power steering pump. More questions arise when people are not using the stock power steering pump, or their stock pump has been rebuilt. Our racks can handle anywhere from 800-1400 psi. Usually the higher the pressure the pump puts out, the easier it is to turn the steering wheel (less resistance). If you have lower pressure there is usually more resistance in the steering wheel. We prefer running in the 900-1200 range, but that is also up to the driver’s personal preference and the alignment settings (more caster = more resistance in the steering wheel). If you have a stock pump that has been rebuilt and is putting out more pressure than desired, we do offer pressure reduction kits for GM Saginaw pumps.
The pump cannot have a max volume exceeding 2 gallons per minute UNLESS you have a system (such as Hydroboost braking systems) that includes an additional amount of fluid over the stock amount. Why? If you run just from the pump to the rack, then back to the pump, excessive heat is the enemy. Any more than 2 gallons per minute could damage the rack. Systems with additional fluid and routing allow the fluid to cool, allowing some pumps with higher outputs. Unfortunately, higher output pumps may result in slightly less resistance in the steering wheel. This, of course, is a matter of preference for the driver.
Steering Feel Too Sensitive
Steering feel can be described in two different ways, so the main thing we need to do is determine what “too sensitive” means, and then work to fix it. Please see the two different instances below:
1) If the steering wheel is too easy to rotate (no resistance in the steering wheel), start here: If the steering wheel spins easily and it feels like there is no resistance in the wheel, there are different adjustments that can be made to add stiffness, or road-feel, back in to the steering. First of all, make sure the car has been properly aligned TO OUR RECOMMENDATIONS. If the car was aligned to the factory alignment settings the car will feel light and darty with a tendency to wander. Be sure to set to the following alignment recommendations:
• Camber: Between zero and .25 negative
• Caster: As much positive caster as possible (usually between 2.5 and 4.75
• Toe: Between zero and 1/8 inch toe in
Alignment is the first thing to check. If the alignment has been set to our recommendations and the wheel still does not have the resistance required, it can be caused by remanufactured power steering pumps putting out more pressure than preferred for the rack unit. Reducing pump pressure to about 900-1000psi will help increase the resistance in the steering wheel. If you have a GM Saginaw pump we have pressure reduction kits that you can use to lower the pressure on your pump just click here.
2) If the steering wheel is too responsive due to the quick ratio (small amount of steering input results in dramatic turning, for example, you change lanes when barely touching the steering wheel), start here: The rack units that we provide with our Steeroids™ kits are quick ratio racks that were used in multiple GM performance cars. Honestly, it can take some getting used to! We recommend driving the car for a good hour or so to get used to the feel of the kit. Once you are used to it, we are confident that you will enjoy the fun responsiveness of the quick ratio rack. However, some people would just rather not have the quick ratio. If that is the case, we do have slow ratio racks available that will slow down the steering responsiveness (taking the steering from 2.5 turns lock to lock to 3 turns lock to lock). We can swap the rack out without having to replace any brackets or any other part of the kit.
Steering Feel Too Hard
Begin buy determining when the steering effort is heavy. If you increase the rpm from idle to about 1500 rpm does the power assist work? Is the steering effort too heavy all the time, regardless of engine speed or vehicle speed? Is there any associated power steering pump noises such as groaning or whining? If the lack of power assist is only at idle then the your options are to:
– Increase the engine idle speed
– Increase the speed that the pump rotates at by either increasing the diameter of the crank pulley or decreasing the diameter of the pump pulley
– Check the reservoir while the engine is running to see if fluid circulates. The fluid level should change slightly when the steering is moved
– Check for kinked or collapsed lines and be sure there are no blockages in any of the lines
If the power steering pump is older it is often the case that when a rack & pinion unit is connected than it will start to whine or prove to be inadequate even though it was working fine with the old steering.