I just posted this on the POCA forum and I'm cross posting it here.....

In getting ready to buy a new replacement rack for Zonkey I decided to do a little research on the Ferrari 308 compatible racks I'd been reading about. When I did his restoration I rebuilt the rack. Water had gotten in the pinion area and rusted out the lower bearing and pitted the rack. A new one for $120 or so sounds pretty good and has to be better than what I have.

From some of the posts on this and the PI forum it appeared that there may be at least two different after market mfgrs (but maybe not, just cut to the final paragraphs for my speculation). Some months ago, their prices were both in the low to mid $200s. Now one is $120 and the other in the low $400s. Hmmmm. So I started doing some googling. One thing to know is that the Ferrari OEM PN is 104498. This can be of some help in searching.

80-70007 AN is the mfg part # of the BUYAUTOPARTS rack. This is the one that Asa Jay reported on last week.
http://poca.com/pipermail/deto...015-July/234326.html

The ebay price is $119.95 with free shipping. At their website it's $123.75. At that price, is almost has to be manufactured in China (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

Here are the links:
http://www.buyautoparts.com/bu...Manual_Steering_Rack
http://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-...08-GT4-/290640157982

It is also sold by http://www.buy-steering.com and http://www.discountsteering.com and some others for a few $ more. Just search on the part number.

There is another aftermarket rack with a mfg part # of 4308N. On ebay it is sold by APX and Car Steering Experts for about $400. I seem to recall seeing is was around $250 in the spring.

Here's the APX link:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/4308N-...rranty-/330919852533
They also have a website http://apxautoparts.com and sell it there.
RockAuto.com also sells it for $398 + $20 shipping

So, who makes this rack? Searching using 4308N you find the "OEM" is AAE Atlantic Automotive Enterprises. APX might be the retail arm of AAE
http://www.aaesteering.com/430...l-steering-rack.html
Looking at their website, AAE is a manufacturer of some things I'm sure, but maybe not this rack. A little more searching turns up a Chinese company that does really make stuff and they seem to be a quality mfgr.:
http://www.natelix.com/eshowshop.asp?/437.html
Their picture is identical to AAE's except for the background logos.

So who makes the 80-70007 AN version? I don't know. I could only find one Chinese mfgr and they seem to be making the "American" AAE part. It's quite possible the 80-70007 AN is also made by Natelix, the pictures online look pretty much identical. So same mfgr. with different importers giving it their own part numbers (and prices)?

The only thing that throws in some doubt is that Asa Jay Laughton has the 80-70007 AN and posted pictures on the POCA forum.
http://poca.com/pipermail/deto...015-July/234326.html
They show the center tube being black (as it did Mike Drew's Feb. '14 review), not the bright metal in the online pictures of the 4308N and seemingly the 80-70007 AN.

But, realistically, how big is the market for this rack that it would support two after market mfgrs? The Natelix listing only shows Ferrari as a compatible OEM so the market is pretty small. A brief look at wikipedia indicates a total of around 10K. And since nobody actually drives their Ferrari, how many are wearing out, and of those, how many would put a non-Ferrari part on their car!? Another question is, could Ferrari also sourcing from Natelix. It wouldn't surprise me. I've heard much of a Rolex's guts are made in China!

Anyway, I just bought the "cheap" version for $119.95. You can probably think up all kinds of reasons why the $400 rack should be meaningfully better, but I can't!
Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by Robbie:
Sometimes rebuilding the original but putting in the bronze bushing is the best way to assure it is quality. I get nervous whenever China is in the manufacturing discussion.


I understand, and if that is the only thing wrong that is probably the right thing to do. Be sure to check for free play between the pinion and rack motion. This is probably best done by observing the motion of the input U-joint relative to the rack motion. Doing it by steering wheel has problems with linkage play but if you remove the driver side wheel and put a vice grip on the input to the rack, you should be able to detect whether there is a significant dead zone. I'm not sure how large an angle "significant" is. Anyone care to offer an opinion?

There certainly are some less than great performance parts coming out of China, and probably some very good stuff too. But rack and pinion steering gear is not rocket science. Back in the 60s and 70s when it was starting to get widely adopted, it might have been. As an ME who worked in Aerospace for 35 years my guess is that, with modern manufacturing equipment and practices, today's R & P steering gear made in China is as good or better than what was made in England in the 70's. BTW, back in the day there was at least one report I recall in which someone's Pantera rack "locked up".
quote:
Originally posted by larryw:
I got one of the new racks too. It does seem a bit tight, there is certainly no slop. I'd expect it to be a little smoother.
I think I may look at dissassembly and maybe apply a little polishing and de-burring to get the feel I want.

So which one did you get? Link? I ordered mine from BUYAUTOPARTS.com through their ebay posting on Monday. One of their warehouses is in San Diego so UPS says it will arrive on Wed.

I'd try the adjustment screw before trying disassembly and polishing. Also, how "tight" are you talking about? It may feel tight by hand but compared to the force needed to turn the wheels it's probably small. What really matters is the resistance (friction) under load which would be hard to test off the car. Also, there may be a break-in period. If you do disassemble be sure to take/share some pictures. Finally, is the center tube black or metal/silver?
I received my new 308 rack from BUYAUTOPARTS.com. This weekend I removed my original (rebuilt in 2002 with bushing and new lower pinion thrust bearing) to do a comparison.

Like others I've seen with the 80-70007 AN part number, mine has a black middle tube. There are no part numbers or markings of any kind on the rack. As noted above "It does seem a bit tight, there is certainly no slop. I'd expect it to be a little smoother." It seemed a little stiff to me, but when I compared it to my original rack, it was not much different. I measured the torque applied to the input shaft needed to turn it with no load. Using a digital luggage scale and a pair of vice grips I measured <.65 ft-lbs. My original rack measured about 0.5 ft-lbs. It has about 120K miles on it and 15K since its rebuild. At the steering wheel I doubt if these differences would be noticed. What really matters I how much friction there is under load. I have no way to measure this. My guess is there is about 5% loss.

I noticed a variation (somewhat notchy) effort as I turned the input by hand. This was noticeable on both racks. The "vibration" it caused was really noticeable when moving the rack back and forth by push/pulling on the tie rods. On the new rack, it took about 15-20 lbs of force on the tie rod to move it. My old rack took 10-15 lbs. These forces seem consistent with the 17.45:1 ratio (seen on one spec sheet) the input torque I measured.

I played with the adjustment screw to see if I could lower the friction. Backing it out didn't seem to reduce the forces but if you tightened it down you could lock things up. My guess is the it's purpose is to compensate for wear and to keep the dead zone to a minimum as things wear. I removed the two caps on the rack/pinion housing. The photo below shows the screw adjustment assembly. Notice that the lubricant is grease, not oil. The lower thrust bearing is under the other cap.

Finally, I was impressed with the quality of the rack's materials and workmanship. I'm sure it will last and work as well or better than the original.

Attachments

Photos (1)
quote:
Originally posted by r mccall:
Richard,
Are you planning to install a new bushing before installing the new rack?
Ron


I have thought about that a bit and decided I'd wait and see if someone else will determine if the bushing is brass or plastic. Even if it turns out to be plastic, I'm not sure I will change it out. My original rack lasted 100K+ miles, was probably starved of oil for the last 1/2 of that and still didn't have much play in the bushing when I rebuilt it. I suspect that the early demise of some of the original racks was a combination of the oil lubrication failing and possibly the plastic that was available/used at the time. Aggressive driving may be another factor. So, with grease, instead of oil, and perhaps better plastic available today, preventive surgery may not be necessary.

While rebuilding my front end I thought I'd replace the steering rack with one of these Ferrari ones from Buyautoparts.com as a quick replacement. Unfortunately it arrived damaged and is getting returned. I think I will just take the time now & rebuild the original after seeing this. 

Attachments

Photos (1)

A few thoughts: "308" designates a whole series of Ferraris that encompass several models over a significant period of time. They also come in left- & right- hand styles to accommodate England, Australia/New Zealand and Japan-style driving positions. Not sure if Ferrari includes a power assist version- which usually use a different rack & pinion gear ratio. Without a power boost, such racks will result in heavy steering beyond what our needed extra caster adds.  

Next, 'some' 308-style racks look identical to OEMs used in Panteras except where they bolt down. The  left side clamp area (between two cast ridges about 3/4" apart) in the housing is flat-bottomed in Panteras and radiused in some 308-style racks. Sharp-edged steel Pantera clamps that install in that area will ride on those cast housing radii (if present) while being bolted down, unless one files the bottom of the clamp space flat all the way around. You can also bolt the steel clamp halves together and cut or grind a large chamfer into the steel parts to fit. If too much filing is done, rack looseness is not unknown, requiring shim-strips or a cut down stock clamp.

NOT doing mods there (if needed) will cause the attach bolts on such a left rack clamp area to not go in full-depth, so loosening later is a real possibility when the steel Pantera clamps dig into soft cast aluminum and the bolts loosen. Cracking may also occur, and I'm not a fan of cheap far-east castings, as it's well known they ignore world alloy specs and heat treating on their parts unless they are specifically ordered at extra cost. You'll get a feel for the alloy strength if you file the clamp recess to fit. Easy, gummy filing  = a low strength alloy.

At the price mentioned, I'd expect the castings to be made of recycled aluminum to produce a totally unknown 'alloy'. If you try to alleviate steering stiffness by using the original 90-wt gear oil, you may find casting pinholes cause lube leaks. All this happens regularly in 'bargain' cast aluminum cylinder heads and other low cost aluminum parts from the far east. They can be made to work and save a buck, but may not all be 'bolt-ins'. CAVEAT EMPTOR applies!

I haven't tried but it appears that some of the electric-boosted conversion assemblies could be coupled directly to the metric steering rack pinion spline down by the l. front wheel. That would free up under-dash space for better wiring access and remove some top-mounted weight. You'd have to make up a mount for steering forces to react into and probably trim some sheet metal from the inner fender, but under-dash-mount kits require trimming, too. Cam Gears Ltd made several steering ratio pinion shafts over the years and if you add electric boost, it might pay dividends to add a smaller ratio R&P (and more caster w/ wider tires) which the boost would easily absorb. Let us know if someone tries any innovations in this area.

bosswrench posted:

I haven't tried but it appears that some of the electric-boosted conversion assemblies could be coupled directly to the metric steering rack pinion spline down by the l. front wheel. That would free up under-dash space for better wiring access and remove some top-mounted weight. You'd have to make up a mount for steering forces to react into and probably trim some sheet metal from the inner fender, but under-dash-mount kits require trimming, too. Cam Gears Ltd made several steering ratio pinion shafts over the years and if you add electric boost, it might pay dividends to add a smaller ratio R&P (and more caster w/ wider tires) which the boost would easily absorb. Let us know if someone tries any innovations in this area.

Comp2 did it that way but did a lot of sheet metal work to fit the unit in. I think the best way to do it is with a single unit where the rack and motor unit are integrated into one compact unit.  It's becoming so common that it probably is just a matter of time.

The new C8 has electric power steering and will be interesting to see if GM used what they had on the shelf or built a completely new unit for the car? The car is too new to see many of the details yet.

I think Gary used a hydraulic rack with an electric (MR2 or Mini?) pump.

The C7 used an EPAS rack so I assume the C8 is the same. They would both be too long to use in a Pantera application.

Jack's idea is a good one. I'm not sure if there's enough room to simply use a coupler. If you could take an EPAS motor apart and replace the male output shaft with the appropriate female output, you might be able to mount the EPAS motor on the rack rather than in the column.  

Add Reply

Likes (0)
Post
×
×
×
×