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My Mach 1

Rack and Pinion Opinions

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Hi All, so I'm looking to replace my factory steering components in favor of a R&P in my 69 Mach. I've heard that the final turning radius in a lot of them is higher than stock.For me that's not an issue because I have FPA headers and had to use a drop bracket for the steering ram which cuts my turning radius somewhat anyways. So what I'm looking for is your opinions on the R&Ps out there that you guys are using on your cars - how was the fit and function? Was it a direct fit? I looked at and talked to Randall's Racks. I looked on line at TCP.....pricey. What do you guys think. Thanks.

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Just so you know the lost turning radius is significantly more than the drop bracket does with stock P/S. My opinion on this subject is the following:

 

If the stock system could have a better ratio gear box, that is how I would have done mine (even in hindsight). I have a Borgeson 16:1 and its ok, but a design flaw creates bind between the center link and idler arm at the center of steering. This makes the car not return to center well and creates numbness in terms of steering feel which I hate. I have other posts you can read with more details if you're interested. I have heard the newer 14:1 boxes are a different design but to me that has not been seen/verified. My stock leaky system had better feel and way better return than my Borgeson does. Caster band aids this issue but doesn't fix it contrary to what some say.

 

For a rack, IMHO its not worth it unless you really spend a lot for something top end like the TCP setup, the RRS setup (my personal favorite) or the like. They all have their drawbacks, either with install, fitment, design etc. 

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Hmmmm - interesting Lanky.i wouldn't be opposed to doing that. I'm looking to tighten up my steering and thought that a rack would be a good upgrade. Maybe a complete new system ... Steering box, ram, control unit etc would do the trick? I looked at the Borgeson set up but I'm not satisfied based on the reviews I've read. I have Street or Track adjustable strut rods I have to put on which will give me the ability to add more Caster (up to 5 deg)... Anyone else have any thoughts?

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I've installed a Borgeson 14:1 ratio box on mine.  I've been doing other work as well so I haven't driven it yet.  In my case the original P/S wouldn't fit because of how the drivers side exhaust has to be routed to connect to the JBA short headers.  A drop bracket for the P/S ram wouldn't resolve that issue.  I'll say the Borgeson kit was a little more difficult with the stock clutch linkage Z-bar that needed to be modified.  But the end result is much cleaner than the original system.  I certainly didn't see any bind in the center link.  The steering linkage geometry looks the same as before.  But it is a completely new designed box as opposed to the older 16:1  ratio boxes.  In my opinion, any reduced return-to-center feel is caused by the increased center steer and worm bearing pinion preload adjustments on the Borgeson box.  The stock steering boxes have very little preload on those adjustments.  Particularly the center steer preload which has a large effect on return-to-center.

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I went with the Unisteer set up on mine and have 0 regrets.  Has great feel and quite honestly I can turn the car better now because of PS.  I know a lot of guys talk about the decreased turning radius, but mine is better since I could not even turn the wheel without moving the car.  Big Block and big tires and no power steering didn't help much.  

Car feels much better now.  Personally I would not go back to a steering box setup.

 

Lots of options out there, good luck.
Scott 

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My Mach:

I just realized that I may not have posted everything on this forum yet oops... Let me know if you want me to PM you some links but I'll summarize here. I am running 6.7 degrees of caster. They based the 16:1 boxes from some Isuzu or Toyota or something and I am sure they weren't setup with more than 7 degrees of caster. There is terrible on-center numbness caused by this bind, which is what causes the car to wander like you have read from other peoples experiences. The bind I speak of is because of the following for those people interested.

The borgeson, although in line with the steering column like it should be, puts the center link in a lower position than the factory box does. This is because of the box being longer so they mounted it so that it would bolt on which it does. This wouldn't be a problem if the idler arm had a joint at the connection with the center link but its just a pivot point. The hole in the center link for the idler to go through is at a different angle than the idler is set up for from the factory. It works, but the junction is such that smooth movement is only happening with the wheel turned more than about 1/2 turn or so. Once the wheel is turned this much the angle of the idler arm better matches the center link and the steering feel is there/fine. 

 

1969 Mach: I would love pictures of the new box, as many as possible please! I am wondering if they started with an entirely new case etc. If the problem I speak of above was fixed via design that would sure make a huge difference for how the car drives. I have fantasized some way of creating or modifying an idler arm with some kind of ball joint type thing or just one with correct geometry with a Borgeson...

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1969 Mach: I would love pictures of the new box, as many as possible please! I am wondering if they started with an entirely new case etc. If the problem I speak of above was fixed via design that would sure make a huge difference for how the car drives. I have fantasized some way of creating or modifying an idler arm with some kind of ball joint type thing or just one with correct geometry with a Borgeson...

Next time I have to get under the car I'll take a few pictures.  I will say, I was pleasantly surprised when I got it to find out it is an entirely new steering box, including the case.  I was expecting the old style case pictured on Borgeson's web site with a mounting plate welded to it that adapts it to Mustangs.  That was not what I found.  The 14:1 ratio steering box is entirely new. 

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I also went with the Unisteer.  I can't say enough about how much it improved my car.  As mentioned the turning radius may be a little larger but since my daily driver is a F150 my mustang still turns tight by comparison and I'm good with it.  

 

I am now making plans for the same upgrade on an old Ranchero.   

 

Kyle T.

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Not sure if this helps but I was just looking at the Unisteer site and it looks like they've updated the rack.  Looking at the small block w/AC page it says it now does 2.5 - 2.75 lock to lock that seems down right modern.

 

https://www.unisteer.com/1965-1970-mustang/late-67-70-power-mustang-small-block-w-factory-air.html

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I would appreciate an update of your impressions when you drive it, and if any tweaks were required. Thanks

Finally started the engine on Sunday after much more work in addition to the Borgeson steering box.  Haven't had an opportunity to drive it.  But I was surprised that sitting on the garage floor, at idle, the steering wheel can be turned with one finger.  I won't be able to drive it until maybe next Sunday.  I'll post some updates after that.

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I have the Randalls Rack system, installed it probably 12 years ago.  Easy to install and works with long tube headers.  The turning ratio is only an issue sometimes when parking, in general it is easy to live with.   The return to center is ok, could be better, but I have factory alignment.  It is based on the General Motors J body cards from the 1990s.  I accidentally cut one of the boot ends a few years back, and Randall sent me a new one free, 10 years after my purchase.

 

The feel driving is immense, a huge improvement over the factory power setup.  Back when I bought my RP system, there were no other options to improve the steering.  Now there are. If I had it to do over again, I would look real hard at the Unisteer system. If it is based on a newer system, it could be a lot better than Randalls.

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I did a lot of reading and researching on the forums before buying the unisteer power rack. To me, it was the best rack at that price range. It looks like a quality part in person, very well packaged. Plans changed and now I have a mustang 2 style suspension. I sold the rack soon after. My brother has a Unisteer manual rack in his 65 and he likes it. I would definitely buy the Unisteer rack again if I had to.

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@1969 Mach 1: I am very curious now! I only wish I had a length measurement too so I can compare with my 16:1 box. BTW the saginaw pumps (if thats what you're using) work great at idle, but for me when cruising or going fast the steering is way too light. There are valve kits offered to tune the assist down and eventually I will get to that.

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Hmmmm, I'm still not sure on weather to go with a R&P or Borgeson unit. I called them today and they said with their updated 14:1 steering gear it's a nice system.I would just need to add a manual drag link to it. I would get the whole pkg including their ps pump. As far as a rack goes - it's either Unisteer or Randall's......I have the money and want to pull the trigger but I'm just not certain enough which way to go....Decisions,decisions.

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lanky, can you physically see something out of whack in the steering geometry with the older 16:1 steering box?  Did you install the manual steering center link, idler and steering arm setup or use that power steering eliminator center link adapter?  I don't know if that does anything different.  But, I installed the manual steering center link, idler and steering arm setup.  My steering geometry looks the same as original.  I have to make a small clutch adjustment on mine.  I'll take a few pictures when I do so you can compare the setup to yours.

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I also converted over to the manual link setup. And yes I could visually tell that the box was longer by comparing it to the frame rail in that area. Apparently a little is a lot w/respect to this. 

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im going to bump this thread up. There is a good amount of people here who seem to have the unisteer rack. for those who have it, can you please post info on your engine and header setups? I need to see if it will work with my 351w and dougs try-Y headers.

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I have been using a Randall's rack in my 69 fastback for 6 years without any issues.  Including mine, we have installed 5 Randall's racks in friends, family and customer cars over the years. We installed one Unisteer about 5 years ago.  The Randall's was a much easier install. The Unisteer didn't go in as easy. I wouldn't hesitate to use either one. I plan to install a rack on my next project as IMHO it is a great improvement over the stock steering. 

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