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No Limit Rack & Pinion Kit for Straight Axle - Report

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Old 12-15-2009, 02:00 PM
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No Limit Rack & Pinion Kit for Straight Axle - Report

Hi folks,
Some pics of the No Limit straight axle rack and pinion steering kit as promised.



A I mentioned already, my first driving impression of this kit was very good. The steering is very precise, with no free play, as one would expect I suppose from rack and pinion.

Installing the rack on the axle was pretty easy. Attaching the steering arms is also easy, once you remove the stock steering arms. For this I used a bearing puller, which made short work of it. Very handy tools to have around.



The rack is offset to the driverís side, so one tie rod is short and the other long. This would be a huge no-no with control arm suspension as it would induce bump-steer. But here since the rack, steering arms and tie rods all move as a unit during suspension travel, it is not such an issue. In theory you do get some Ackerman effect, as the rack sits forward a bit of the tie rod ends, thus the tie rods being different lengths means that the driverís side wheel turns a bit more than the passenger side. But this would only really manifest itself when the wheels are turned at full lock, in which case youíre going pretty slow and wonít notice.





Since the rack moves up and down with the axle, the kit uses a collapsible steering shaft to connect to the column. And this shaft is constantly expanding and contracting with suspension movement. The collapsible shaft is a simple Double-D affair, but comes with an accordion dust boot and Zerk fitting to allow you to keep the joint well lubed. The collapsible shaft must be cut to length by the installer, and this is something that took some thinking. In my case my steering column is long (36Ē), and protrudes about 6Ē into the engine compartment. So I have a very limited range with which to work to accommodate full compression and full droop on the steering shaft without it bottoming or worse, becoming disconnected. The Zerk fitting actually acts as a stop to prevent this from truly happing, but it is still something I wanted to steer clear of (no pun intended).



No Limit gives some instructions on what to measure, and some math, to figure out the correct length. But I preferred to figure it out myself. With a shorter steering column (like the 30Ē that is usually recommended) it would have been a lot easier to get the steering shaft length sorted. I may still go that route in the future just to get some extra margin, but it is working fine for now. I used the new Bilstein shocks as droop limiters to help out.
The PS fluid connections are AN6 (high pressure) and 3/8Ē (return). I used some Aeroquip lines that I had made up at a place in Northridge near my house (Orme Brothers). Actually, I did up one of the connections after cutting the hose to length, and of course that is the one that blew off during my initial purging of the system. I took it to Earlís in Hawthorne (near my work) and they fixed it free and admitted that hose/end fitting was one of the toughest to do right, so I did not feel like a complete idiot.



The total travel of the rack does limit your full lock steering potential a bit, relative to my BMW anyway. But I was still easily able to pull out of the driveway and back it in again, so nothing that is really an issue except during very tight maneuvers.


The only other gripe is that the (custom made) tie rods do not have any wrench flats for use in turning them to adjust toe. I had to use vice grips, which is pretty cob and unnecessary if there were some flats machined in.
I do not know what this rack is from. Hopefully it is some type of Ford product (just philosophically), but I honestly have no idea. The rack weighs 16lbs with tie rods. The sway bar I removed weighs 18lbs and attaches to the axle, so in terms un-sprung mass it is a wash. And one you add the mass of the axle, brake rotors, calipers and wheels and tires, 16lbs is essentially in the noise. The rotors weigh 25lbs each. I weighed the calipers and wheels/tires also but do not have it with me. Probably close to 200 lbs for the whole front axle assembly, including that part of the leaf springs that moves with the axle. I will post the weights later.


So thatís about it. For those with leaf springs looking for modern steering feel, Iíd recommend the No Limit R&P kit so far. If I encounter any issues down the road Iíll update the group.


Gustave
 
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:28 PM
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Dr G, That looks super. A few questions. 1. What price range? 2. Do you have link to there website or number to call them. 3. On my 58 would I have change out the sterring column, or can the stock one be cut to fit the double-D on the R&P? Keep up the good work.

Vern
 
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by vbarker View Post
Dr G, That looks super. A few questions. 1. What price range? 2. Do you have link to there website or number to call them. 3. On my 58 would I have change out the sterring column, or can the stock one be cut to fit the double-D on the R&P? Keep up the good work.

Vern
POWER STEERING STRAIGHT AXLE-No Limit Engineering

I do not know if it would fit a 58, you'd have to call them and ask. I bought my kit from Mid Fifties before I realized it was made by No Limit.

A universal joint is used to adapt the steering column output shaft to the collapsible shaft.

Gustave
 
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:44 PM
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Did I read correctly that the zerk is what prevents the collapsible shaft from pulling out? I would not trust that.
 
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:52 PM
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Thanks, They do show a listing for the 57-60. I do believe this will go on my wish list. Keep us informed as to how your's performs.
 
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ALBUQ F-1 View Post
Did I read correctly that the zerk is what prevents the collapsible shaft from pulling out? I would not trust that.
I did not. That's why I engineering the suspension to limit droop so it was never an issue.

The shaft is at an angle relative to suspension movement. So 1" of wheel motion might only be 0.5 inch of shaft compression. My suspension has 2 inches of compression travel (from static) and about the same in droop. The travel of the shaft is enough to accomodate that. If my colum was shorter allowing a longer shaft it would be a no brainer.

Gustave
 
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:13 PM
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Rob (owner of No-Limit) is a member here. He stops by from time to time. Maybe he will respond to your questions. You could PM him. (DROPTOP46) He really builds some nice stuff.
brian...
 
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Old 12-15-2009, 05:08 PM
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I have been using that exact system on my 48 F1 for three years and 6000 miles and have not had any problems. Made the truck so much more fun to drive.

Terry
 
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Old 12-15-2009, 05:20 PM
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Thanks for the report and the pictures - thats what this place is for.
 
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:07 PM
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Here are some weights I measured while things were apart:

Rack and Pinion with tie rods and axle clamps = 16.0 lbs
Original steering linkage and arms = 18.0 lbs
GM steering box = 26 lbs
Brake Caliper = 10 lbs
Brake Rotor = 26.5 lbs
Wheel and Tire (front) = 38 lbs
Front Anti-Roll Bar (attaches to axle) = 18 lbs

Note that calipers, rotors and wheels with tires add up to 149 lbs. That is not including the axle, caliper adapters, steering arms, part of the steering linkage etc. So the addition of 16 lbs for the R&P is not a huge change in unsprung mass for those who stay up at night thinking about such things like me

Gustave
 
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:02 PM
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Dr. G, This is a great produce report and can't wait to hear how the truck handles. What was the cost of the R&P?
 
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:16 AM
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any thoughts about the wear and tear as far as the steering shaft constantly moving from suspension travel? we want to build ours as a true daily driver. i realize that it would depend on the road roughness. i love the look of an i-beam. so this kit is reallly appealing to me. just wonder about the long term. hate to end up with a loose and rattling steering shaft. tlb looks to be off to a good start @ 6000 miles. can you feel "the road" thru the column?
 
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by rastiss View Post
any thoughts about the wear and tear as far as the steering shaft constantly moving from suspension travel? we want to build ours as a true daily driver. i realize that it would depend on the road roughness. i love the look of an i-beam. so this kit is reallly appealing to me. just wonder about the long term. hate to end up with a loose and rattling steering shaft. tlb looks to be off to a good start @ 6000 miles. can you feel "the road" thru the column?
You know, the whole telescopic steering shaft thing sort of turned me off as well, until I realized that it is no different than a drive shaft or drive axle. Those are also constantly changing length as the suspension travels up and down. And they do so while transmitting a large amount of torque. And last forever doing so.

No, you cannot feel anything through the steering wheel as you move over bumps in the road.

Gustave
 
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:16 PM
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That is a nice looking set up, basically the same as the R&P on my corvette. It also has a telescoping shaft as they all do so I don't see any issues with that either. Definatly going on the build list as one of my daughters will most likely get this truck someday and manual steering will not likely work for them ;-)
 
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:46 PM
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I was just Googling around and found that the telescopic steering shaft as part of the No Limit R&P kit is quite probably this one offerred by Borgeson.

Steering Shafts

Gustave
 

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