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Z3 1.9 Steering rack conversion

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  • Mick
    replied
    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.

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  • irdave
    replied
    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.

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  • jimmy p.
    replied
    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.

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  • Mick
    replied
    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.

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  • Mick
    replied
    Finished this up today. I forgot that the locking bracket is removable from the tie rod. Once that's out of the way it the Z3 boot fits fine.

    One rack stop kit probably would have been fine but \_(ツ)_/ I was in there and 24mm was the exact amount I needed, so I cut the second kit for a total of about 1.33 stops.

    The bore on the passenger side (white) stops were a bit too small @ 25.4mm so I had to rasp them out to be closer to 26mm




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  • Mick
    replied
    I was on the fence about getting 1 or 2 but noticed the Z4 rack has about 20mm more throw than the M3 rack. I figured if I needed stops before I might want 1.5 stops now.

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  • jimmy p.
    replied
    Originally posted by Mick View Post
    You rock, thanks. I'll order 2 of the turner kits.
    Well with standard E30 LCA you may not need two kits.

    The only reason I needed two kits is because of the Gruppe A suspension. Its designed to clear 17" rims and I run 15".
    The thrust rods run diagonally through where the stock LCA are curved away from the inner barrel of the wheel.

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  • Mick
    replied
    You rock, thanks. I'll order 2 of the turner kits.

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  • jimmy p.
    replied
    Lo and behold I actually photo-documented something and didnt even mean to (I suck at taking pictures of my projects).

    Picture here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BfCKqrtB..._web_copy_link

    The Turner spacers are specifically color coded black to one side white to the other.
    You can see in that picture I used my original E30M3 spacers taken off my E30M3 rack, now on the same sides of the Z4 rack as they were on my E30M3 rack.
    Then I cut down one of the new "white side" stops to make up the additional spacer.

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  • jimmy p.
    replied
    Originally posted by Mick View Post

    Jimmy, what did you end up doing for a rack stop?
    By my measurements it seems like the E30M3 stop kit should have worked. My E30M3 rack measures 26mm on the passenger side and 26.4mm on the drivers, where the Z4 rack is 26mm on both ends.
    Fuck Mick, now you are testing my memory.
    I know I used Turner my existing rack stops on the Z4 rack, I also know I bought at least one more kit because with the added range of the Z4 rack I needed more reduction in range.
    What I cannot remember is how I did it. If I had the car on the lift I could easily look, but its buried in a storage position.

    Using 15 x 8" wheels I needed about 1.5 Turner spacers per side so the Gruppe A thrust rods did not hit the inner barrel of the wheels at full lock, so I cut down spacers from a 2nd kit and added them to what I had. I could swear I just used the same ones but math is math and if the Z4 rack is 26mm each side, I honestly cant remember what I did.
    I dont think I bought two kits and only used the 26mm side(s). Let me look in my receipts and pictures.
    Standby.

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  • Mick
    replied
    Originally posted by jimmy p. View Post
    Well, I did it. My OCD got the better of me.
    I found a 2004 Z4 rack out of a 60K mile car in a semi local wrecking yard for $125 so I bought it.
    I dont "plan" on implementing this winter,,, but I know its now inevitable,,, that I will proceed.
    I'll let you know how I get on.

    The only downside so far is that I use a double set of Turner rack stops in my current E30M3 rack. Using the DTM92 front suspension with 15" wheels allows you to turn the wheel far enough that the inside of the wheel can contact the thrust rods so I have run the limiters to prevent that contact.

    According to Turner Motorsport they do not offer a rack limiter for a Z4.
    The sales guy I spoke to said the Z4 rack is somehow unique and not the same as an E46 rack as one might think.
    I'll start investigating that to see if it is, or if I can fabricate something similar.
    Jimmy, what did you end up doing for a rack stop?
    By my measurements it seems like the E30M3 stop kit should have worked. My E30M3 rack measures 26mm on the passenger side and 26.4mm on the drivers, where the Z4 rack is 26mm on both ends.

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  • Mick
    replied
    I did that for the intermediate shaft. What concerned me about the columnn is that because the u-joint is such a precision fit, even the slightest distortion in the splines will be a problem. I didn't think I could drill it, especially with it in the car, without boogering it up.

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  • PRustan
    replied
    The directions I found for the Flaming River parts was to mark where the set screw sits on the splines and then to drill a shallow indent there. That should save the surrounding splines and allow the part to be pulled off at a later date if needed. Might not be that easy to drill the end of the column shaft in the car but I’m going to give it a shot when I get to that point.

    Peter

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  • Mick
    replied
    I ended up taking a middle ground approach - lightly snugged it and locked it in with the jam nut. If they find my mangled car and body in the woods you'll know why.

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  • irdave
    replied
    I used the z4 boots.

    I tried hard to get the rod cut to the right length so that the screws would line up with the grooves, and then tightened everything with blue loctite to whatever the torque spec was. While the FR joints fit really tight, I've had the pinch bolt loose on a stock e46 and could feel it. So tight for me.

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