Saturday, May 10, 2008

And so it begins...

My first ever component just arrived. Behold, the Spartan's steering rack!

I was alerted to a good deal on Ebay by an astute member of the LocostUSA forum. I'm not entirely sure it'll be what I need, but at the price I picked it up for it was too good to pass up.

Here are the details:
Appleton p/n: 7010410
18.25" width, tapered ends
2.5" travel per turn
4.5" total rack travel
17 lbs.*

The factory specs say that this unit weighs 17 lbs., but the shipping label says it's 14. I'll have to get a scale to make sure.

If you've been reading this blog, you'll remember that I'm not inclined to cut and weld a normal automotive rack. It's not that I think it's a bad practice, I would just rather spend a little more and know I've got a reliable unit. Losing steering control at speed doesn't sound like fun.

This rack isn't as nice of a unit as a Woodward rack, as you have to replace both the outer housing and the steering pinion to change the ratio. There also seems to be a bit of friction in the system, possibly due to the fact that the rack and pinion spacing are determined by the manufacturing tolerances of the housing, not some fine adjustment. I may be off base, but Staniforth claims that a good steering system will allow you to move the front wheels with one finger. Maybe he's a little used to high-buck purpose-built cars. I'll wait until I can inspect a stock Miata rack before I pass final judgment.

In any case I got such a good deal on it I figure I can still recoup most of my costs by selling it on Ebay if it doesn't work out. Besides, I've come to learn that a companion hobby to working on cars is collecting car parts.

Even if it's only one part, I'm still pretty excited about what this represents - my first tangible component of my car. It's all uphill from here!

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