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  1. #1

    Default Steering Rack Upgrade ?

    I was thinking of doing the 99-04 steering rack upgrade on my 80 cobra and might consider doing my sons car as well. I am sure this has been done by some members. Seems like mostly positive reviews on the upgrade with better designs all around from the fox rack.

    Lots of information on the web. The racks seem to be fairly plentiful in the junkyards and although used, some are probably in decent condition for the most part. Probably won't find any cobra racks or anything like that but lots of V6 and some V8 cars from time to time.

    Curious if anyone has upgraded and if they were happy with the results ?

    The main drawback appears to be the expensive hybrid steering shaft required. Other than that used racks and tie rods are quite reasonable and should bolt in from what I've read.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    FEP Senior Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    I’d also be interested in this as a future upgrade to my 84 rack.
    Mustangs
    84.5 Gt T-top
    85 Gt

  3. #3

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    I put an OE '04 Mach1 (SPR-ZK code) rack in my car. I decided to swap as I had a stock-replacement reman rack and was suspect of it's quality. A friend offered me the '04 rack to use. I can't say there was a HUGE difference in feel, but some. Keep in mind though that the ZK rack is the standard V8 rack and not the ZM-code Cobra rack. It may have a more noticeable change in feel, I just haven't wanted to spring for one yet as they're getting pricey for an original unit.

    I'm not sure what mods you have already done to your car, but I'd say what WILL make a noticeable difference is getting rid of all the slop by replacing the stock steering shaft (I'd recommend the MM one). If you are still running the stock one, I'd start with it. On that note, however, if you're going to spend the money on a new steering shaft to fit the stock rack, do you spend a bit more for the conversion shaft and go down the rabbit hole anyway?

    Also, if you have not already done so, add a set of caster/camber plates and dialing in a more performance-oriented setting should help a lot with steering feel.

    Is your rack needing replaced or is this a "just because" upgrade? [<-most of mine are these] Either way, I say do it! Nothing to lose, well, except for lightening your wallet and you'd at least then have bragging rights of having the upgrade.

    SN rack in my car (not that there's visually much any difference from the stock one):
    Thomas

    1985 Mustang GT - Build Thread
    347 (Stock Block, Scat Crank & Rods, Probe Pistons, 11:1 CR, AFR 185's, PP Crosswind Intake, Custom-ground Comp Hyd Roller Cam, Scorpion 1.6 Roller Rockers, Holley 3310-4), T-5, 8.8 w/3.55's, MM SFC's, T/A, PHB, LCA's, Strut Tower Brace, K-Member Brace, Bilstein HD Struts/Shocks, MM/H&R Springs, SN95 5-Lug, Cobra Brakes, '04 Mach 1 Steering Rack

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the info!!

    I find it helpful to get opinions from people who have done it rather than believe all the hype you read on the vendors websites lol.

    My 80 cobra is still completely stock steering with the rag joint. It has had all new tie rod ends etc. Steering isn't horrible but I have nothing really to compare to mustang wise etc. I already have the MM caster camber plate upgrade which allows much more alignment adjustment and I think somewhat helps the ride.

    Good point about the steering shaft. That is the money item and from what I gather is possibly the greatest improvement in response and feel ($$ of course). Like you say if your going to commit to the shaft upgrade then why not do the SN95 rack as they are plentiful it appears (especially the V6) and can be added on for relatively cheap if you find a reasonable one.

    MM website says all the SN95 racks are much improved over fox racks so there is probably something to it.

    Also curious what PS pump did you use ? Fox pump or an SN95 pump ? The SN95 V6 pumps look exactly like the fox pumps but have a slightly larger pulley and the pressure fitting is different. The SN95 V8 cars with 4.6L used a completely different style of pump (possibly the same specs not sure)

  5. #5

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    I'm running a reman stock pump and pulley, works fine. Though I am looking into other options as I've been through several reman pumps and they've all been what I consider to be overly noisy.

    A few users here have recommended the larger diameter SN95 V6 pulley to reduce flow/pressure and steering assist. The pumps may look the same, but the output relief valves are all slightly different resulting in specific flow and pressure ratings for different vehicles. They are otherwise compatible, it would just have a different level of assist due to the different flow/pressure. Yes, the pumps used on the mod motor cars are completely different.

    I'd say if you're pump is in decent shape and not overly noisy, leave it be.
    Thomas

    1985 Mustang GT - Build Thread
    347 (Stock Block, Scat Crank & Rods, Probe Pistons, 11:1 CR, AFR 185's, PP Crosswind Intake, Custom-ground Comp Hyd Roller Cam, Scorpion 1.6 Roller Rockers, Holley 3310-4), T-5, 8.8 w/3.55's, MM SFC's, T/A, PHB, LCA's, Strut Tower Brace, K-Member Brace, Bilstein HD Struts/Shocks, MM/H&R Springs, SN95 5-Lug, Cobra Brakes, '04 Mach 1 Steering Rack

  6. #6
    FEP Senior Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Just a quick question. I know MM is high quality stuff ( I have multiple MM upgrades) but is the MM worth the extra 200+ extra say over the Borgeson shaft? Also is a new steering shaft a good upgrade even if your not replacing or upgrading the Rack? Sorry to high jack your thread At the Junkyard lol
    Last edited by Sask84gt; 10-24-2023 at 09:43 PM.
    Mustangs
    84.5 Gt T-top
    85 Gt

  7. #7

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    Wow! Been awhile since I've looked at the MM shafts, they're $320 now! Think I paid $240 for my SN-swap shaft several year ago. Borgeson shafts start at $190 and the Flaming River shafts start at $290.

    The thing that sold me on the MM shaft is that they are of welded construction. The Borgeson and Flaming River shafts use setscrews to hold the components together. On a dedicated racecar that is constantly being inspected and worked on setscrews may be fine, but on my car that I'm driving on the street I wanted the peace of mind of not having to worry about them working loose. Look up the different shafts, compare product features and decide what's right for you.

    Yes, it is definitely a worthwhile upgrade whether with a stock or SN rack. It will remove the majority of any play in your steering.
    Thomas

    1985 Mustang GT - Build Thread
    347 (Stock Block, Scat Crank & Rods, Probe Pistons, 11:1 CR, AFR 185's, PP Crosswind Intake, Custom-ground Comp Hyd Roller Cam, Scorpion 1.6 Roller Rockers, Holley 3310-4), T-5, 8.8 w/3.55's, MM SFC's, T/A, PHB, LCA's, Strut Tower Brace, K-Member Brace, Bilstein HD Struts/Shocks, MM/H&R Springs, SN95 5-Lug, Cobra Brakes, '04 Mach 1 Steering Rack

  8. #8
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    I'll echo everything Thomas has said. I have a SN95 rack in my '85 with the MM conversion shaft, reman/OE style PS pump/pulley and I think it's well worth the cost. The one I got was used but I can't remember if it was a Cobra or Mach 1 application part. My car also has MM CC plates and it's been set up/aligned with a MM bumpsteer kit.

    Off topic but not, the entire suspension on my car has been gone through and has MM HD lower arms in the rear, low mile take out '95 GT uppers, OE bushings in the diff housing ears, FMS a arms up front, Tokico Blues with matching Tokico springs front and rear, urethane isolators on the front springs, MM full length subframe connectors and Stifflers rocker reinforcements/jacking rails. Those last two items made a huge difference. It rides on 17x8.5 '93 Cobra repops. I think it also sits just right.

    I did all those mods at just about the same time so I can't say what doing just the rack would have felt like. In the end I'm pretty happy. It rides on the firm side but it's far from knock you fillings out and I think the steering feel is way better than the stock rack.
    '85 GT

  9. #9

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    Yes I think it makes sense to get a matching SN95 rack and pump if possible etc. This weekend I am going to do some hunting at the junkyard. Good thing is the racks are quite easy to pull.

    I agree the MM shaft is a bit of a hit on the pocketbook. Like you say it looks well constructed and comes with glowing reviews all around. The fox shaft end looks to be splined for easy centering of the wheel/rack. From what I understand the steering shaft needs to be clocked about 90 degrees for this conversion to line up the SN95 rack connection and the fox steering shaft etc. (Thus the "hybrid" shaft moniker).

    The more I keep talking the more I am convincing myself so probably good chance of it happening now and to boot I noticed a bit of a seal leak on my current rack while I was looking at it so now have another reason LOL

  10. #10

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    If you're going to do it, I'd aim for finding a 99-04 GT/Mach1 rack. I wouldn't waste time on the V6 rack. Your call, though. Google "mustang steering rack SPR codes" for examples to know what you're getting.

    The MM SN hybrid shaft is splined on the column end ensuring you're able to clock your steering wheel correctly. I made use of the feature to align my steering wheel during my installation.
    Thomas

    1985 Mustang GT - Build Thread
    347 (Stock Block, Scat Crank & Rods, Probe Pistons, 11:1 CR, AFR 185's, PP Crosswind Intake, Custom-ground Comp Hyd Roller Cam, Scorpion 1.6 Roller Rockers, Holley 3310-4), T-5, 8.8 w/3.55's, MM SFC's, T/A, PHB, LCA's, Strut Tower Brace, K-Member Brace, Bilstein HD Struts/Shocks, MM/H&R Springs, SN95 5-Lug, Cobra Brakes, '04 Mach 1 Steering Rack

  11. #11

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    Being inspired by this thread, I decided to start gathering info for a possible future steering rack upgrade.

    I researched the 2004 GT racks on RockAuto. Basically the choices were a remanufactured Motorcraft STG103RM rack($365 incl. core chrg.), or a brand new Lares 24307 rack($282) or a brand new Edelmann 2133 rack($405), both of which I've never heard of. I like the idea of a Motorcraft part, but a rack with 100% new parts has appeal too. So they both have plusses and minuses imo. Which would be a better selection? Anyone have any experience or knowledge with any of these parts?
    Last edited by 85GTGuy; 10-25-2023 at 08:14 PM.
    1985 Mustang GT (Mothballed...Desired restomod parts acquired...Top of my project list for my 2024 retirement!)

  12. #12

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    From the feedback I have read you kind of take your chances with the remanufactured units with quality and ensuring you get the right specs (as advertised) etc. You would think the Motocraft brand reman would be decent though.

    Apparently the biggest difference in the racks is the valving and torsion bars which gives the different feel between the SPR codes. Not sure how much the reman companies pay attention to this when they get cores to rebuild.

    Maybe that is why MM recommends getting a good used unit with the original SPR code that hasn't been messed with, and then getting someone to put new seals in if it does have leaks etc.

  13. #13

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    Keep in mind the information indicates the SN95 rack upgrade also requires you to swap the inner tie rod ends to the fox length and thread (if your running the fox control arms and outer tie rods etc). Of course those racks will have the SN95 tie rods.

  14. #14

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    The rack on my 83 was bad so I found a ZK rack which I sent to " Turn One" to have a quality rebuild done on it.. Bought a MM hybrid steering shaft and it was fairly easy to install.... It got fairly expensive pretty quick.... I ;purchased most of my parts 2 to 3 years ago as I saw what was happening with Bidenomics and some of the prices I see now are double and triple what I paid.... Go Brandon
    I can't say how well it works yet as the car is not on the road..... There have been articles on how the different spr racks are just not that big of a difference, they are all nice according to what I have read lately...

  15. #15

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    Well there were several SN95's in the yard. I found a SPR-SJ rack off a 1999 Mustang GT. It has the thicker red rack limiters. I also grabbed a PS pump and hoses from a 2001 V6 that look to be in great condition. Price was right at less than $100 for all. Happened to be a 40% off steering parts at the junkyard

    However now I need to figure out the shaft situation. The MM shaft is a $500 (canuck bucks) decision but the way I see it the $100 I already spent will be wasted if I don't get the good shaft LOL.

    Besides I already removed my 80 rack and it was leaking more than I thought. I believe it is the TRW 2 piece but still has the 2.5 lock to lock ratio as my car originally came with the TRX package. Doing some research it appears these racks are tough to get exact replacements. Looking at them side by side the later model rack looks a lot more robust (bigger cylinder) and is significantly lighter.

  16. #16

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    Update:

    I was able to get the new 99 rack installed with the new MM shaft (nice unit). Got out for a drive before the weather here turns ugly. Fit perfect and the steering is nice and tight and responsive. Feels good I would say a definite improvement. No leaks as far as I can tell so that is good.


    I did find a bit of slop where the steering shaft (intermediate) meets the rack connection (with the pinch bolt). I was actually able to pull/hammer this intermediate shaft out via the engine compartment. (Never thought it would but it did !!) After I had it out I was able to press the end a bit so that it fit nice and tight on the stab. That was probably a contributor to my steering play from original but not all I'm sure.

    Found out that the 80 power steering hose fittings are not compatible with the newer racks. All good though I was able to use the hoses from the newer rack and also the 2001 V6 pump (had to once I swapped hoses). I did swap to the smaller fox pulley on the pump since the large pulley would have required a different belt. It is nice and quiet and works

    The MM shaft has splines on the upper fitting by the pinch bolt that make it quite easy to clock your wheel and center the rack. Takes a bit of playing around. Also the 79-82 steering wheels have splines where they attach so technically you can also adjust by pulling the wheel and centering etc. I don't think this could be done with the newer wheels with the flat.

  17. #17
    FEP Supporter
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    Glad your install went well.

    I'm still running the '85 style pump and have thought about swapping to the SN type. Wonder how much of a difference it would really make.
    '85 GT

  18. #18

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    Yeah the 2001 V6 pump looks pretty much identical to the fox pumps. From the reading I did there are only slight differences, one being the pressure fitting, and I think maybe slight change in the valving ? There is also a mod out there to cut down the pressure spring (effectively lower the max pressure) of the pump for increased effort if that is desired.

    If my junkyard special craters I would probably just get a replacement 2001 V6 pump. My thinking if there are slight differences the later model V6 pump is a closer match for the 99 steering rack than the fox pumps. However in the end it may be negligible.

    For now the one I got seems to work well and is quiet...so far it is better than my old one which groaned at times.

  19. #19
    FEP Supporter
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    Good info! Thanks!
    '85 GT

  20. #20

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    Went for a longer drive yesterday.

    I must say steering does feel a lot better when cornering and when going through the gears Not really sure how to describe it but it's firmer and less skittish but at the same time more responsive. Overall I would recommend the upgrade. The only downside in my opinion was the expensive hybrid shaft, but it is a quality piece.

    I still need to fine tune the outer tie rod alignment a bit more though, it wants to wander a bit left. No biggie just takes some trial and error on the road to get it dialed in.

    The good thing is our northern weather has been very nice so far...usually mustang season is long over for us by now lol

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