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contemplating rack and pinion. Why not?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by 75K5, Sep 9, 2002.

  1. 75K5

    75K5 1/2 ton status

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    I really hate the soft feeling in the center of the steering wheel, and with the power my blazer will be putting to the ground I want to feel in control of this heavy boat.

    I have been searching the internet for a couple days now, and I haven't found any aftermarket rack and pinion kits available for our trucks. There are a whole boatload of kits for early camaros and corvettes, but no trucks.

    I have started e-mailing friends, trying to figure out which rack would be best suited, and if there are stock tie-rods out there that are close enough length to not require modification. Does anyone have tips to help me save time moving this project along. I also contacted Delphi about E-Steer, but it's going to be too expensive to be feasable to setup remote electric steering in front.


    Before I get too deep into this, am I missing some obvious negative reason not to do this. I find it really odd that there are no kits or information about anyone else attempting somthing similar. If I can do this successfully, I do plan on publishing a how-to article or putting together kits.

    Thanks,
    Brian
     
  2. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    You can reduce that on-center vagueness by just replacing your steering box with one from a later model K5. I don't recall the exact year, but they went to a variable ratio steering box somewhere along the way. An 88 or so should definitely have it. They feel tighter and have a little higher steering ratio right in the center of the steering range. Then the ratio gets lower as the wheel is turned further. Plus it will be way simpler then trying to figure out a totally custom steering setup.

    I don't think a rack and pinion will work because the range of suspension movement is too great. As the axle drops away from the rack, the wheels will toe-in. /forums/images/icons/frown.gif This isn't much of a problem on a car that has 4 inches of total suspension travel. But it can be a a real pain when you're talking 12+ inches of travel that can be found on a modified K5. /forums/images/icons/shocked.gif
     
  3. rodzzilla

    rodzzilla 1/2 ton status

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    I have been thinking about this, too. I was thinking about mounting it to the axle, and then using a slip joint between the rack and the steering column. Figured with a couple of u-joints and a long enought slip shaft, it should work. I figured some of the aftermarket racks would work. Afco has a short one that reminds me of some of the dual ended rams that people are using for full hydro systems.
     
  4. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Constant vs variable ratio boxes can be ID'd by pulling the cover and looking at the gear teeth. Haven't done it myself, but on the car list they discussed this pretty thoroughly, and apparently the "tooth" spacing for variable boxes is obvious.

    One of the main problems with retro-fitting rack and pinion on other vehicles is frame crossmembers, and a 4wd truck has one right near the gearbox IIRC, and also has the engine mounting pieces that hang down a bit.
     
  5. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    I saw a J**p with 36" Swampers on Labor Day that had a rack & pinion set-up. The rack was mounted to the axle in front, where the tie-rod would go. It appeared that the tie-rods ends were welded to the ends on the rack...in kind of a "jimmy rigged" style. This J**p was a total mud truck, so seeing how the steering shaft was set up was impossible due to the copious amounts of mud caked underneath.

    I would imagine this would work for mud, as long as you didn't find anything solid in the goo. But for rocks, I see busted parts.
     

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