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Z3 1.9 Steering rack conversion

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  • #31
    Originally posted by JZM3 View Post
    Noro any photos by chance?
    Sorry bud no photos, but let me expand a bit. I ended up reusing the stock plate that mounts to the firewall. If you see the post above showing the ground stock plate, mine looked like that but ended up taking the bottom thin leftover part out all together. Then I went to home depot and bought one of those rubber office kick panels that you see mounted on the bottom of the wall where it meets with the floor. I cut a hole in that rubber and added a properly sized gromet that fits sort of snug onto the steering column. This rubber gromet assembly is then sandwiched between the firewall and the plate. It may not be the best approach but I think it does the trick.



    - Tire is the other control arm bushing.

    zhpregistry.net

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    • #32
      This is what mine looks like.

      Click image for larger version

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      • #33
        Originally posted by jimmy p. View Post
        Have any of you tried this Z3 rack with no PS assist?
        I use a stock M3 rack drained and run manual.
        I have no intention of going back to power steering,,, but if the Z3 rack is as awesome as everyone says it might be worth a try if its not too little mechanical advantage to run manual..
        i run the stcok M3 rack plugged and run manual too. Dedicated race car. It's great on track, not so much in tight paddock maneuvering. I don;t feel a need to go to a Z3 manual rack for the track over this.
        sigpic
        2010 BMW Club Racing E30 M3 Touring Car Champion
        2011, 2013 SCCA Runoffs Super Touring Under 3.0L Bronze Medalist
        2011 SCCA Jim Fitzgerald Rookie of the Year
        2012 SCCA Northeast Divisional STU Champion
        2015 SCCA Runoffs STU Polesitter

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        • #34
          Noro appreciate the response.

          Handblt thank you for the photo!
          @slowprogress

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          • #35
            Originally posted by HANDBLT View Post
            So was it confirmed that all we have to do is get a non airbag column for and airbag car to not have to modify the firewall with the Z3 1.9 rack?

            T
            Yes, it is now confirmed.
            I just had a Z3 steering rack installed in my '91 airbag M3 today.
            Like many people on this forum, I did not like the idea of trimming my firewall.
            So I swapped in a non-airbag steering column first, and since not much information could be found, I was just hoping it will work.
            Surprisingly the non-airbag lower steering column cover fits the airbag under dash panel with just a bit trimming, and the trim line cannot be seen when things are put back together.
            The non-airbag column also barely clears the foam on the under dash brace.
            This was a pleasant surprise as I like the late model under dash panel better.
            The pedal box did not need to be changed either.
            The sheer bolts attached to the steering column were all changed to hex bolts so taking the column off can be done a lot quicker now.
            Then the rest is just like the swap for non-airbag cars.
            I used Dungeon Motorsport kit for the swap, and there is so much information on the Internet on this swap, so I will not get into the details.

            Initial impression, I think the Z3 rack is not "too quick" for street use as some people claim to be.
            In fact, I think E30 M3 should come in stock form like this.
            The steering effort is nice too, kind of on the firm side of the scale and feels tight.
            But I do not remember if it's heavier or lighter than stock since my rack was leaky for a while.
            Overall, this mod is worth every penny.
            Definitely do it if your stock rack needs to be replaced.

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            • #36
              Some comments on the airbag column:
              I would recommend to use the matching pedal box as there is an additional fixation bolt placed there, which adds to the ridgidity of the steering wheel location.
              Don't forget you loose the stability of the stock column with it's 3rd location point at the firewall.

              When changing to the airbag column one can think of altering the steering wheel position/angle and thus get a much more "modern" steering wheel position with the steering wheel mounted high up and with a steeper angle, while still beiing able to see the complete speedo.
              That requires modifications to the airbag column main box.
              Click image for larger version

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              What I did is shortening the height of the carrying structure. See red line in pic, cut it there and moved the locating parts on the side downwards.
              By doing so, I could mount it maximum high.
              Then some parts of the holding structure needed removing for maximum mounting height:

              Click image for larger version

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              And the rear of the box needed a new connection to the upfront mentionned rear location bolt.
              The tilt of the column can now be adjusted with washers at this point.

              Click image for larger version

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              Lot's of fiddling, testmounting etc, but in the end worth the effort, as I now have my perfect steering position.

              Thomas
              sigpic

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              • #37
                I keep reading all these posts...in this thread and others....about swapping in quicker steering racks. Lot of fiddling always seems involved, and I keep concluding maybe the stock ratio rack is not so bad after all.....LOL.

                I think part of my hesitation is I always hate projects in "under-dash-firewall-around-brake-booster" area.....just because access is such a hassle. This would definitely check all those boxes....

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Ironhead View Post
                  I think part of my hesitation is I always hate projects in "under-dash-firewall-around-brake-booster" area.....just because access is such a hassle. This would definitely check all those boxes....
                  Agree, it's a PITA to work there...
                  What I did is make lot's use of mirrors or digital cameras to clarify things and thus minimizing the neck-hurting working position.
                  In the end, depends what you want...you need to do it to change it...except if you can affort to pay someone else to do it...
                  sigpic

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by TR-Spider View Post

                    Agree, it's a PITA to work there...
                    What I did is make lot's use of mirrors or digital cameras to clarify things and thus minimizing the neck-hurting working position.
                    In the end, depends what you want...you need to do it to change it...except if you can affort to pay someone else to do it...
                    No chance I would pay someone to do it. It would be me or not at all.

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                    • #40
                      JP, did you ever get the z4 non M rack in the car? I've been getting serious about the z3 1.9 rack, and with some reading, was reminding of how good the rack is in the z4mc. That was actually my main gripe when I went from a z4mc to an e46m3- the steering sucked by comparison. A manual rack is an interesting option. Thanks.
                      Dave.
                      76 M2

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by irdave View Post
                        JP, did you ever get the z4 non M rack in the car? I've been getting serious about the z3 1.9 rack, and with some reading, was reminding of how good the rack is in the z4mc. That was actually my main gripe when I went from a z4mc to an e46m3- the steering sucked by comparison. A manual rack is an interesting option. Thanks.
                        Yep its been in there all 2019 race season. I like it alot. feels about perfect to me. I was never super picky about the seering rack though, heck I was fine with the stock E30M3 rack for 20 years, but I was running a hydro rack drained and manual, the Z4 rack was already manual, a quicker ratio and lighter so why not give it a try.
                        I installed it over last winter and raced on it this year and I have to admit it was an improvement. Just less steering input was really quite nice. It wasnt expensive to implement and it feels great. Total win in my book.
                        Hope that helps some.
                        Jimmy
                        jimmy p.
                        87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
                        88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
                        88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
                        92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
                        98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
                        04 Ford F350 - V10

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by jimmy p. View Post

                          Yep its been in there all 2019 race season. I like it alot. feels about perfect to me. I was never super picky about the seering rack though, heck I was fine with the stock E30M3 rack for 20 years, but I was running a hydro rack drained and manual, the Z4 rack was already manual, a quicker ratio and lighter so why not give it a try.
                          I installed it over last winter and raced on it this year and I have to admit it was an improvement. Just less steering input was really quite nice. It wasnt expensive to implement and it feels great. Total win in my book.
                          Hope that helps some.
                          Jimmy

                          It does a lot, thanks. Follow up, did you move it to the forward set of holes on the subframe? And your Z4 rack is the earlier, non M, spec'd for the electric assist, right? Thanks again.
                          Dave.
                          76 M2

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by irdave View Post
                            It does a lot, thanks. Follow up, did you move it to the forward set of holes on the subframe? And your Z4 rack is the earlier, non M, spec'd for the electric assist, right? Thanks again.
                            I'll be honest, I cant remember which set of holes I used, I'm on the road and wont be home for a while so when I do I'll look and let you know.
                            Also I have a Gruppe A front subframe in my silver race car, the more I think about it, it may only have one set of holes...

                            As for the rack, yes non-M Z4 intended for electric assist. I didnt weight it but itt is noticeably lighter than the stock E30M3 rack.
                            Z4 rack: 32 11 6 777 506
                            I bought a set of spacers from one of the small forum E30 vendors that sell Z3 rack install kits (cant remember who) but if I had it to do over again I would have made my own.
                            The "kit" ones you have to space the rack down, because if you try to space it up which is the better way, put the rack body touching the S14 oil pan.
                            If I were to do it over I would have made the appropriate spacers above and below to get it as high as possible, but safe distance the oil pan.
                            Last edited by jimmy p.; 11-02-2019, 01:00 PM.
                            jimmy p.
                            87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
                            88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
                            88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
                            92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
                            98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
                            04 Ford F350 - V10

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by jimmy p. View Post

                              I'll be honest, I cant remember which set of holes I used, I'm on the road and wont be home for a while so when I do I'll look and let you know.
                              Also I have a Gruppe A front subframe in my silver race car, the more I think about it, it may only have one set of holes...

                              As for the rack, yes non-M Z4 intended for electric assist. I didnt weight it but itt is noticeably lighter than the stock E30M3 rack.
                              Z4 rack: 32 11 6 777 506
                              I bought a set of spacers from one of the small forum E30 vendors that sell Z3 rack install kits (cant remember who) but if I had it to do over again I would have made my own.
                              The "kit" ones you have to space the rack down, because if you try to space it up which is the better way, put the rack body touching the S14 oil pan.
                              If I were to do it over I would have made the appropriate spacers above and below to get it as high as possible, but safe distance the oil pan.

                              Thank you.
                              Dave.
                              76 M2

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                              • #45
                                Ordered my z4 rack from fleabay to try- figuring I can use it as a core if I need to. Need to put together the order for the Flaming River bits mentioned on the first page.
                                Dave.
                                76 M2

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