Custom Steering Rack and Pinion

Fishayyy

Specialist
Nov 3, 2016
70
Southern California
#1
So I've been looking into a lot of different suspension upgrades lately and one of the things that caught my eye was the idea of doing a custom manual steering rack. Has anyone tried going this route or at least deleting the power steering? I know some people have gone the route of using an M3 steering rack but I haven't really seen anything other than that and I wasn't sure if there's some limitation that keeps people from going with anything else or if people just don't like custom steering ratios at the cost of a little more effort into steering.

I'd love some feedback if any one has any personal experience or knows what steps I could take towards even getting quotes for a job like this. My car is a 2008 e92 335i and any help is much appreciated!
 
Dec 1, 2016
212
New York
#2
So I've been looking into a lot of different suspension upgrades lately and one of the things that caught my eye was the idea of doing a custom manual steering rack. Has anyone tried going this route or at least deleting the power steering? I know some people have gone the route of using an M3 steering rack but I haven't really seen anything other than that and I wasn't sure if there's some limitation that keeps people from going with anything else or if people just don't like custom steering ratios at the cost of a little more effort into steering.

I'd love some feedback if any one has any personal experience or knows what steps I could take towards even getting quotes for a job like this. My car is a 2008 e92 335i and any help is much appreciated!
Might help to post what your actual goal in doing this is....

E9x M3 rack is the go-to upgrade for multiple reasons. It has a pretty quick ratio of 12.5:1 which puts it in-line with most other sport cars in the 12-13.x range. Plus, they are cheap on the used market and extremely easy to swap in. What else are you asking for that the M3 rack doesn't tick the box on?

As a side thought, what gives with BMW changing their steering racks so much???!! Every generation and every model within each generation have wildly different steering characteristics. E36 M3 was known to have an relatively slow steering ratio in comparison to other sport cars. People had to swap racks in from base models Z3/Z4 cars. I am lost on why BMW has flip flopped so much on what they give each model in each generation.
 
Last edited:
Sep 19, 2018
133
#3
If you want super stiff steering you can disable not enable the servotronic on the m3 rack.

The downside is changing the ratio might affect how your traction control functions. Im sure it can probably be coded
 
Dec 1, 2016
212
New York
#4
The downside is changing the ratio might affect how your traction control functions. Im sure it can probably be coded
I guess you might be right in that DSC will assume the wheels are at x degrees when they are really at y degrees. It would have to be re-programmed to know that the voltage output of the steering angle sensor actually equates to significantly more steering angle for the same steering wheel input.

I don't use any nannies on track and most people don't. A quicker ratio would most likely lead to less intrusion for those that do, if what you're saying is right.

Then again, if the steering angle sensor was that far off you would get the trifecta lights (like when your alignment goes out from side to side SAS KNOWS there is a steering angle problem)... seems like DSC and the steering sensor can calibrate for these types of changes...
 
Last edited:
Sep 19, 2018
133
#5
i cant say specifically because 1 have not done the mod. I have heard from other 1 series it lets the backend rotate more in the default DSC setting than stock. Granted that is a blanket statment not sure if those folks had active or non active steering originally


Edit looks like the steering angle sensor is in the steering column so it would not know the tire position only the steering wheel position
 
Last edited:

Fishayyy

Specialist
Nov 3, 2016
70
Southern California
#6
Might help to post what your actual goal in doing this is....
Just for track only purposes. I want to start entering some grip events when summer comes this next year. I've driven my friends e90 M3 before and I liked how his steering felt, but I was looking for something maybe a little more in the 11:0 ratio range. Not sure what most people consider to be ideal for full track use. I know there's companies like flaming river that make custom steering racks but Im pretty sure thats only for Mustangs.

Something else interesting I found is this from HGK
http://www.hgkracing.com/parts/steering-column-lifeline-quick-release
I know that has nothing to do with the ratio or anything, but I also like the idea of getting a quick release steering wheel.
 

Fishayyy

Specialist
Nov 3, 2016
70
Southern California
#7
Oh, also forgot to mention that I was looking to probably delete my power steering to save a little weight and ideally if the powersteering pump isnt there then I wont have to worry about the problem people have where their belt gets shredded and sucked into the engine. Not sure how much truth there is to it, but I know I've read about that problem from a few people.
 
Sep 19, 2018
133
#8
Cant you just get an adapter for the quick release part? The 11.0 ratio is obviously more complicated
 
Sep 19, 2018
133
#9
Oh, also forgot to mention that I was looking to probably delete my power steering to save a little weight and ideally if the powersteering pump isnt there then I wont have to worry about the problem people have where their belt gets shredded and sucked into the engine. Not sure how much truth there is to it, but I know I've read about that problem from a few people.
That was only on certain model years belt would impact subframe

Alternator Drive Belt Broken
MODEL
E82, E88 (1 Series) with N54 engine up to 4/08
E90, E92, E93 (3 Series) with N54 engine up to 4/08 except xi models
SITUATION
The models listed above utilize a single serpentine drive belt for the power steering pump,
alternator, and air conditioner compressor. During normal driving, the front engine mounts allow
the engine to move slightly on the front axle carrier. However, under extreme conditions, such as
driving at high rates of speed over curbs or speed bumps, the engine movement can result in the
serpentine belt or power steering pump pulley contacting the front engine carrier. If this occurs, the
belt and/or pump pulley could be damaged.
 

Fishayyy

Specialist
Nov 3, 2016
70
Southern California
#10
Cant you just get an adapter for the quick release part? The 11.0 ratio is obviously more complicated
I just like the fit and finish of it, but that is true. There is bolt on and weld on options for the existing steering column. The steering ratio is more of what I'm after I just haven't been able to find anything on it anywhere.

That was only on certain model years belt would impact subframe

Alternator Drive Belt Broken
MODEL
E82, E88 (1 Series) with N54 engine up to 4/08
E90, E92, E93 (3 Series) with N54 engine up to 4/08 except xi models
SITUATION
The models listed above utilize a single serpentine drive belt for the power steering pump,
alternator, and air conditioner compressor. During normal driving, the front engine mounts allow
the engine to move slightly on the front axle carrier. However, under extreme conditions, such as
driving at high rates of speed over curbs or speed bumps, the engine movement can result in the
serpentine belt or power steering pump pulley contacting the front engine carrier. If this occurs, the
belt and/or pump pulley could be damaged.
That's somewhat of a relief. My car is an e92 and was built in 06/2008. Though I do need to check on the powersteering because as is on hard turns I can hear it whining.
 
Dec 1, 2016
212
New York
#11
Oh, also forgot to mention that I was looking to probably delete my power steering to save a little weight and ideally if the powersteering pump isnt there then I wont have to worry about the problem people have where their belt gets shredded and sucked into the engine. Not sure how much truth there is to it, but I know I've read about that problem from a few people.
I don't think my car would be drive-able without power steering lol. It's much heavier than any other car I've driven. Might be the spacers/tires too though.

Belts can shred for more reason than just the power steering pulley contacting the subframe... Happened to me recently actually. I had an oil line break and spray oil everywhere. That oil ruined the belt I guess because a week later it shredded itself for no reason. Maybe the cleaning solutions helped destroy the rubber too who know...

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20181004-192549.jpg


I only ended up with a small 3in piece in the motor, but, i had to drop the pan to get it out and I had to replace the front crank seal. Not fun.
 
Sep 19, 2018
133
#12
That is why leaks from the oil filter housing are so dangerous on this motor once oil gets all over the pulleys the belt can slip then it will end up in the motor
 

Fishayyy

Specialist
Nov 3, 2016
70
Southern California
#13
I don't think my car would be drive-able without power steering lol. It's much heavier than any other car I've driven. Might be the spacers/tires too though.

Belts can shred for more reason than just the power steering pulley contacting the subframe... Happened to me recently actually. I had an oil line break and spray oil everywhere. That oil ruined the belt I guess because a week later it shredded itself for no reason. Maybe the cleaning solutions helped destroy the rubber too who know...

I only ended up with a small 3in piece in the motor, but, i had to drop the pan to get it out and I had to replace the front crank seal. Not fun.
Ya that's definitely something I would like to avoid if possible lol

As far as power steering goes it's pretty damn hard to rotate the wheel when the car is fully stopped, but other than that the steering feels pretty good even at low speed in my opinion.
 

Turby

Corporal
Nov 3, 2016
128
Kcmo
#14
Let me know if you come up with anything for a manual rack, its been on my mind as well. I deleted the powepower steering system and just run a shorter belt.
 

Fishayyy

Specialist
Nov 3, 2016
70
Southern California
#15
Let me know if you come up with anything for a manual rack, its been on my mind as well. I deleted the powepower steering system and just run a shorter belt.
So I think I may have found the solution I was looking for. I'm currently talking to HGK and I believe they can rebuild an M3 steering rack to a 10:1 ratio.

Outside of that there is an electric power steering pump that is available through Motorsport24 and an over-sized power steering reservoir available from Bimmerworld that I might run instead of no power steering because I've heard that it might potentially be bad for the steering rack since it wasn't designed to run without the power steering. What size belt are you using now?
 

doublespaces

Administrator
Oct 18, 2016
6,758
AZ
#16
The M3 rack isn't too stiff but its pretty stiff. I don't think the geometry of the rack is one that would make a good counter steering or on the verge of loss of control experience, but I could be wrong. I noticed before the servotronic that ruts in the road had a much more noticeable effect on the car's tracking, particularly when doing a pull.
 

Hydra Performance

Corporal
Platinum Vendor
Jan 31, 2017
181
#17
The M3 rack isn't too stiff but its pretty stiff. I don't think the geometry of the rack is one that would make a good counter steering or on the verge of loss of control experience, but I could be wrong. I noticed before the servotronic that ruts in the road had a much more noticeable effect on the car's tracking, particularly when doing a pull.
The M3 rack was one of my favorite mods, made the car a lot easier to control at the limit on account of not having to go over center while counter steering.
 

Turby

Corporal
Nov 3, 2016
128
Kcmo
#18
After a lot of reading, seems the z4 manual rack might work and is geared the way it should. Steering shouldn't feel like a ps car without ps. Im thinking about giving it a try and posting the resutls.
 
Sep 19, 2018
133
#19
After a lot of reading, seems the z4 manual rack might work and is geared the way it should. Steering shouldn't feel like a ps car without ps. Im thinking about giving it a try and posting the resutls.
What is the ratio?
 

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