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  1. #1

    Default Still not happy with upgraded steering rack, what next?

    After considerable research on this forum I decided to upgrade my base model 1980 original Mustang steering rack with the full unit and all associated parts such as tie rods, etc, from an 85 GT. We had to change the size of the tie rod ends but overall it was a bolt in project.

    I got the car back last week and although the steering is clearly better and more precise, it did not accomplish what I really want.

    The steering is still too light. There is no heaviness, or weight, or resistance in the steering wheel. It still offers virtually no road feel.

    I can still drive down the road and literally steer the car with one finger with no difficulty. It feels like it wants to dart from one direction to another. It feels like the steering system out of a high-end luxury car from the 1970s.

    I'm going to keep researching this project and go through all of the old threads again, but if any of you guys have experienced this and can help me out, it would be greatly appreciated. I really want to solve this problem and have a great, sports car like steering system that is rewarding and fun to drive.

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  2. #2

  3. #3


    I'm pretty happy with my Terminator rack and MM hybrid steering shaft. Get ready to spend some big bucks for that though! And it's still a little numb on center. I just don't think you can make these cars steer like a new one. At least not without sacrificing things like NVH mitigation, something I'm not willing to do.

    '79 Mercury Zephyr ES 5.0L GT40 EFI, T-5
    '17 Ford Focus ST
    '14 Ford Fusion SE Manual

  4. #4
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Grand Junction, CO/RR TX


    You can reduce the assist from the pump to the rack, but you have to be careful as that can cause damage if there is not enough fluid flow and pressure.

    I personally would recommend installing a set of Maximum Motorsports CC Plates. This will allow you to increase positive caster which will reduce the "dartiness" of the vehicle and also add some resistance to the steering. In my experience, I don't mind good power steering, but I hate a vehicle that feels "twitchy" going down the interstate at 75 MPH. I have done the same with my Foxes and I just went thru this with my Super Duty. I added an adjustable caster bushing to the front end to increase the front caster from @ 1.5 degrees to 3.5 degrees. Made the truck so much more enjoyable at high speed. Before I felt I had to constantly add steering input as the truck darted left and right. Now everything is straight and steady with minimal steering input in most cases.

    I believe the stock caster reading for the early Foxes is only around 1 degree with a max of 1.75, although I don't think I have ever had one that had any more than 1 degree. Ford realized later in production the issue and changed the strut towers in 1990 to increase the caster. You should be be able to get @ 3 degrees of Caster with the MM kit. I know you can often get much more than that, but I believe 3 degrees is the recommendation from MM. Good Luck!
    Last edited by wraithracing; 12-14-2018 at 05:42 PM.

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  5. #5


    What size tires you running in front? You need meats like 225/60/15 or wider

    I would underdrive the pump, but not via larger pump pulley. Instead ..... A smaller crank pulley like the underdrive in the UPR kit then the smaller water pump pulley from Summit that’s a repop of the 93 cobra pulley. 93 cobra belt is a direct fit.

    You could change fluid type. Factory calls for type F. I enjoy mine with synthetic PS fluid that’s about $15 per bottle. I run a filter and a trans cooker which makes the fluid a lot less watery

    I dialed in max caster on my car with the caster/camber plates centered in the strut opening and used camber bolts to get my camber where I wanted it. Works great.

  6. #6
    FEP Super Member gr79's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SE Michigan


    Was the 85 pump also transferred?
    Pump has to match the rack.
    Stock pulleys?
    How many turns lock to lock?

  7. #7
    FEP Member Dadsccat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Niagara Falls , Ontario, Canada


    I had a similar problem. Easy to steer but not positively correcting back to center. Made sure alignment was on spec several times. Even tried applying more camber but to no avail. Turns out the problem was that the ball joints were too tight. Replaced them and all was good.

    Currently in the stable:
    83 Capri RS Crimson Cat
    90 7 UP Mustang
    87 Mustang GT
    83 Porsche 928S
    69 Thunderbird Landau
    65 Cadillac Calais 4DR Hardtop
    02 Thunderbird

  8. #8


    I agree with the caster camber plate suggestion. One of the top 5 mods to these cars IMO, the improvement to drivability, cost and ease of install make it a must have item. I installed a set of MM CC plates this summer on my 86, my only regret is not doing them several years ago.

    Underdrive pulleys might also help the overboosted feel.


    1986 Mustang GT 5spd
    1998 Explorer Limited 5.0AWD (Wife's Ride)
    1999 Ranger Ex-Cab 3.0 5spd (My Winter Beater)

  9. #9
    FEP Power Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    San Mateo, CA


    Different models perform differently.
    My 84 GT Turbo is very light.
    My 85 McLaren seems about normal as in I never think about it.
    My 89 LX 5.0 seems very heavy. I suspect maybe something is going on in the lower control arms or power steering pump/relief valve.
    Wife’s 88 Mclaren probably about the same as the 85.

    Mixing parts such as the pump, pulley and relief valve will give unpredictable results. Trial and error may be needed. Ford did not do a good job of definiing the part differences.
    Last edited by KevinK; 12-16-2018 at 12:02 AM.
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  10. #10
    FEP Power Member vintageracer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008


    SLIGHTLY increase the diameter of the power steering pump output orifice which will lessen the pressure to the rack and therefore increase the effort to turn the power assisted steering wheel.
    Remember, "Drive Fast, Turn Heads, Break Hearts!"

    1995 Ford Powerstroke F350 "Centurion" STRETCHED Crew Cab Dually

    I like "Cut & Coach Built" vehicles!

  11. #11


    I would install an SN95 steering rack. This will require more steering wheel torque before there is a significant amount of assist. It makes the steering much more linear. It requires a new steering shaft to install one in your car. You reuse your existing inner and outer tie rods. See the link below for more information.

    Adding caster will require the PS system to do more work to turn the front tires, so the the required effort at the steering wheel will be increased. The added caster has numerous positive benefits to the handling and steering feel. The early Fox cars only have 1 degree of caster. By 2005, Ford finally figured out that it was a good things and built the car with 7.1 degrees.

    Slowing down the PS pump is not a good idea. It makes the steering heavier, but causes other problems and does not improve the steering feel. Improved feel comes from different hydraulic valving in the rack and increased caster.

    If you purchased a rebuilt 1985 Mustang GT steering rack, it is entirely possible that you don't actually have the rack that you think you have. What is the SPR code from the rack? If it is stamped out, then the rack has been rebuilt and you don't know what you have.
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  12. #12


    Is this the part I'm after?

    The rack is Duralast#22-207. We tried to make sure it was rebuilt with original valving.

    I'm a little hesitant to go with an SN95 rack because it requires a new steering shaft. We've already had to use a steering knuckle to route around the new headers, which were rubbing against the original shaft. Not sure how an SN95 would fit.

  13. #13


    Yes. ***
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  14. #14


    Funny this post came up, I'm having a similar issue with my old 86 LX. Did a 5 bolt conversion on SN95 spindles and B motorsport springs, I have installed the caster and camber plates and they helped a lot, still have some issues with it wanting to dart on me, but most of the trammeling is gone. I work in parts at a Ford dealer and just purchased a r/built Ford rack for a Terminator ($250), the ID on the gear is SPR-ZM. Just received a Hybrid shaft from Maxium Motorsport, found a r/b Ford power steering pump from a dealer in California at cost minus 55% or $45, plus have the bump steer ends for a SN95. Hopefully have all the parts needed and will be making the switch to SN95 gear this weekend. Wish me luck, I will need to align when done, does anyone have the caster, camber and toe specs for street applications? The car will never be on the track, just need to make a good driver out of it.

  15. #15


    Jack, I've looked up the MM conversion kit to the SN95 rack and the new steering shaft appears to be flexible and already designed for the exact issue that I fear (shaft rubs on the headers, we had to insert a steering knuckle). It looks to me that we should have no clearance issues at all... if I'm viewing the MM steering shaft correctly and it's designed for this problem. Can you confirm?

  16. #16


    In your post above, I'm not sure what you mean by "We've already had to use a steering knuckle to route around the new headers, which were rubbing against the original shaft." Can you clarify?

    THe OEM Mustang steering shaft has a rag joint which is very large in diameter in the location of what would be the lower u-joint. See photos below.

    The MM steering shaft has lots more clearance in this location. The diameter of both MM u-joints is 1.63". This is slightly larger than the diameter of the stock upper u-joint. In addition, the MM u-joint is longer, so in some cases there can still be clearance issues at the top u-joint, however......Since the MM steering shaft is collapsible and the stock steering column tube can be slid up into the column, when installing the steering shaft if there are clearance issues with the top u-joint and the headers, you can tap the steering column tube into the firewall some and the upper u-joint will end up above the header tube. ONLY do this after you have carefully checked how things fit together. Once the tube has been slid up into the steering column, it can be very difficult to slide it back down if it has gone too far.
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  17. #17
    FEP Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Sprague River, OR


    Quote Originally Posted by mb757 View Post
    ...does anyone have the caster, camber and toe specs for street applications?
    I have mine set at:
    toe: 1/8" inboard
    camber: -.75 degrees
    caster: +6 degrees

    I have some that say to run even toe (+/-0") with upwards of -3 degrees of camber. This setting makes mine easy to drive, but it does tend to wander a bit with the tires catching the grooves / ruts in the pavement. Otherwise I feel it's a good set-up for mine.

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