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Z3 1.9 Steering rack conversion

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  • #76
    I'm about to do this conversion on my track car. When I did my street car the motor was out which made it a breeze.

    Looking at my track car it appears that the rack won't come out of the subframe ears without either lowering the subframe or raising the motor. I'm not even sure the motor can be raised high enough. I'd rather not get into lowering the subframe if it cam be avoided.

    Can anyone recommend the best route to go? Or maybe it will slide out from the sides? I have a DTM oil pan if that makes a difference.


    • #77
      I'll be honest, when I did my Z4 rack I looked at it and ended up putting the rack in a box and waiting until the next time I had the engine out of the car.
      Lots of guys seem to be able to do the rack swap on R3V on regular E30s but I dont know the oil pan situation relative to the steering rack on M20s or the M/SX 4 valve engines.
      The S14 sump really has the rack boxed in there.
      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


      • #78
        I had to lift the engine last time I was messing with mine. Obviously goes in fine without the motor, but you're right, there's not quite enough room. I think I got mine in and out with just raising the motor- with disconnecting the motor mounts for sure.
        76 M2


        • #79
          I tried lifting the motor but there's no way to get it hight enough to clear my DTM oil pan because of the location of the drain plug. My only options are to remove the pan, the motor, or the subframe. Dropping the oil pan is probably the least annoying. I did read one post where someone said that they bent the tabs down to get it to clear but I couldn't bring myself to do that.

          I decided to put it back together and wait until the next time the motor is out of the car. Or maybe at next oil change I'll be motivated enough to drop the pan.

          Last edited by Mick; 07-28-2021, 12:01 AM.


          • #80
            Hello group.
            I'm converting My E30 M3 from a manual rack (unknown part number currently) with what looks like BMW DTM steering column in a non airbag chassis. I have bought a Z1.9 rack used, and I'm looking to put in a proper steering column section.

            It looks to me like an "easy button" would be Vorshlog E30 collapsable steering column. Currently $425 MSRP (Brings up the question about solid 3/4 DD rod, cheap vs collapsible DD rod 1 inch to 3/4)
            BUT.... other online resources and Vorshlag would indicated that BOTH ends are 17mm 54 spline. Jimmy here put up part # for 3/4-48 spline on one end. Is that meant for the rack or the column coming out of the firewall?

            It is unclear if we need two 17mm-54 spline swivels (regardless of DD choice, solid or collapsible) or one that is 3/4-48 as copied over and over in this thread, and the other 17mm-54?

            I'm trying hard to see if Borgeson actually makes a 17mm-54 splined swivel. If so, way cheaper than anything else.

            For the moment, today in 2022:
            FR 1963, and 1964 are Chrome Moly 3/4 and 1 inch DD to 17-54 each $150
            FR 2563 and 2564 are Stainless Steel 3/4 and 1 inch to 17-54 each $127
            Jegs has 3/4 to 1 inch collapsible DD of 26 inches for $77

            the cost for the swivels has virtually doubled in past 10 years or so. Amazing.

            Can someone please discuss 17mm-54 vs 48 ? Which end is 48?

            91 Z1, 94 M-Technic S54, 95 M3 LTW S54 almost in, E39 540 6 MT (32K new engine)


            • #81
              Ive done this conversion twice, the shafts are definitely 2 different sizes. I don't remember which end is which but it should be very easy to tell. Are you not able to measure the ends of your column and rack?

              To clarify, I'm talking about the Z4 rack. The parts listed in this post are correct.

              Sounds like you're asking about a different rack?
              Last edited by Mick; 11-13-2022, 10:12 AM.


              • Alex Lipowich
                Alex Lipowich commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes, I have a typo in my post, it is an E36 Z3 rack from the 1.9 liter car, as the thread is also titled. No mention of Z4 in my post or OP.

                Perhaps the Z4 rack is 3/4 inch, 48 spline, and the E36 is 17mm 54 spline. At least one reference I'm finding suggests that is the case.

                That might explain the difference.

                I was hoping to buy all the parts I need in advance so that when I take the car apart, and disable it from moving, I can reassemble it with parts at hand, not measure, order parts, and have the car stranded for unknown amount of time. Also, I don't want to order the wrong parts and have to return them.