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Ditched my Power Steering....NOTES

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  • Ditched my Power Steering....NOTES

    Some of you have seen my M...it's *much* lighter than stock up up front as I have a composite bumper (which is now repainted, LOL) and hood, no AC, CF intake, no AFM, 4 pound alloy calipers over drilled rotors, 14 pound wheels and so forth. You could steer it with your little finger on the roll...so why do I need the power steering? This aint no luxury car!! BTW the car has much improved turn-in from the greatly reduced porkage.

    My M started developing a fluid leak. I cut the PS belt to see what it would be like with manual steering. On the roll, the effort was not bad at all. Maybe two fingers at 30 MPH! The only time it was pretty bad was at high steering angles when parking at 1-2 MPH. No fun at all for parallel parking - stay away city dwellers. But doable nonetheless.

    I decided not to get a new belt and to ditch the rest of the PS stuff. No more pump, bracket, lines or ugly, brown reservoir. You can see the alloy sump very well now, so I cleaned that up. A bit more space for oil filter swaps. Perhaps 10 more pounds off the front of the car, and another drop in parasitic drag. Maybe I gained a pony or two. No more leaks as the hydraulic pressure is gone. No rebuilt rack dollars or R&R time either! Cool!

    I cut the two black lines going to the steering rack and ran the thing to either extreme to get the oil out of it. Then (for now) I sealed the openings with dense cloth retianed by zipties. The effort went down noticeably - less fluid to move through the system? A nice bonus. You can connect the two lines to each other with a splice coupling accomodating the different inside diameters. Some folks say to do something down low with the other lines but I didn't do that and nothing bad seems to be happening.

    I hear that you can stop where I did or get the lighter but slower Euro E30 manual rack and steering column bits. I see no need to do this in my case as the extra weight is down so low and I get to enjoy a slightly faster ratio than the Euro 318i factory manual setup.

    One thing you notice right away is increased steering feel. Especially when cornering hard - there is more information getting to you through the steering wheel. Yes!!! Something I really cherish. At normal driving speeds there is ZERO excess effort nuisance factor. I was concerned that the effort would prove too high and the mod too hard car even for me. The SIG has some comments about guys not wanting to race for a long time with no PS. Which worried me. That seema to be a complete and total nonissue in my case. I'm running Gforce KD tires BTW. I'm not sure how well this would work on a stock weight car - it would likely be too extreme a mod.

    As Colin Chapman (Lotus) used to say..."Simplify, and add lightness". Or "I want pounds out of the car". To which the designers would ask "Do you mean money or weight?" "Both!" Chapman would reply. Because I cut weight up front, I can now cut more weight and cut engine drag since the need for power steering evaporated as the pounds melted away. And the unibody structure acts like it's stronger since it has less to do for a given cornering load. The springs also act stiffer with reduced chassis weight.

    If you have to change out your belts, I'd suggest cutting the PS belt first and then driving the car to experience the change in feel.

    Stan
    Last edited by Stan; 05-05-2003, 04:30 PM.

  • #2
    great to know!

    I would love to do this, but until i lose weight from the car or hear from someone with stock weight that it is doable I will have to wait.

    about how much lighter do you think your car is? up front and all together.

    BTW, thanks for the help with my dizzy rotor. If I find a digital camera I will take a picture of it. Its really bizarre, the end of the rotor is just missing. Its surprising the spark could jump that far.

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    • #3
      >>>about how much lighter do you think your car is? up front and all together.<<<

      At my last weigh-in at the town dump, it was 2660 # with a 50 # M5 sized battery, stock heavy front calipers and discs, stock mirrors and a 1/4 tank of go juice.

      I have a 13 pound battery and plan to get lighter seats and a CF sunroof panel (minus another 32 pounds..and up high!!) I just installed the CF DTM mirrors which cut a few more pounds and leave you blind. I'm having custom spherical glass cut for the passenger side as the stock glass is useless for seeing anything. Maybe, I'll do the same on the driver's side but for now I'm using one of those round wide angle stickie discs to help out. It looks like the battery can live happily under the passenger seat, which allows a big drop in battery cable length and weight. I think that Ireland has a hollow front sway bar kit...my ST bars are crowbar heavy.

      My goal is to get to about 2550 with a slight rear bias. Maybe 48/49 % up front. Try to do THAT with an S50/S52!! Those usually hit 54% front weight I hear. Stock is around 52% front I think. A nice thing about cutting weight is that it helps cornering, braking and accelerating at the same time not too mention response, feel and mechanical durability.

      Stan
      Last edited by Stan; 05-05-2003, 05:08 PM.

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      • #4
        s52? you dont have the s14? with that weight the car must be crazy fast!! if i could have lightness and weight distribution like that i would consider a swap when this motor dies.

        I know a guy that is putting an s52 into a 2500-2600lb 325 chassis. I suspect the weight bias will be thrown way off and it will be silly handling. having straight line quickness and m3 handling would be incredible.

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        • #5
          >>>s52? you dont have the s14? with that weight the car must be crazy fast!! if i could have lightness and weight distribution like that i would consider a swap when this motor dies.<<<

          Nah, I was unclear. This is "S14 dot Net" after all. I have a 2.3 litre S14 that runs great. Just like BMW M intended for our cars.

          Stan

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          • #6
            Stan, send some pics of the freshly painted car, I'd like to see those mirrors installed, where did you get them?

            Rich

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            • #7
              At my last weigh-in at the town dump, it was 2660 # with a 50 # M5 sized battery, stock heavy front calipers and discs, stock mirrors and a 1/4 tank of go juice.
              My local dump must be off. Last week I weighed in at 2840 with half tank fuel, 50lbs per corner Motorsport 235/40 17's, and me in the car 6' 175lbs (*DING*). What is a more accurate way of weighing the car?

              T

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              • #8
                I've been told that eliminating power steering from a power steering rack isn't *the best* idea in the world as far as wear on the rack goes. At one point there were definitely manual M3 racks from Germany that are designed to be non-power and are easier to use at low-speeds.. but that costs money and i'm not sure- they might be NLA. There were two manual racks in the Grp A manual though.. Stan, you need to get her on a scale!
                Alex McHenry

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                • #9
                  >>>I've been told that eliminating power steering from a power steering rack isn't *the best* idea in the world as far as wear on the rack goes.<<<

                  My rack is already a leaker so I'm actually getting more life out of it. Borrowed time? I have corresponded with folks who have done what I did and run the cars for 2-4 years without issue. I suspect it will be just fine.

                  >>At one point there were definitely manual M3 racks from Germany that are designed to be non-power and are easier to use at low-speeds.. but that costs money and i'm not sure- they might be NLA. <<<

                  E30 manual steering was used on Euro 318s I hear. (No street M3s came with manual steering.) They are supposed to be a bit slower than a stock E30 M3 rack, which is already on the slow side. To use them you need the rack which mounts on the more forward of the two sets of mounting holes on the subframe. (M3s use the rearmost holes) You also need some bits from the steering column area. Supposedly there are still some new ones in Germany. They are all aluminum and lighter than the PS rack.

                  >>There were two manual racks in the Grp A manual though.. Stan, you need to get her on a scale!<<

                  Those racing racks were for Popeye armed dudes! They were fast ratioed though.

                  What do you mean about scales? Supposedly my dump's scales are within about 10 pounds of true. I have corner weighting scales but those are in storage at the moment.

                  Stan

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                  • #10
                    Colin Champman was a very very clever man. Way ahead of his time, the guy was a motor racing genius. Respect!:cool:
                    "It's not the mountain we conquer but ourselves"

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                    • #11
                      some people in germany use an electric power steering pump
                      from MB as an alternative.

                      John

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                      • #12
                        hemm stan is the glass for the oem dtm mirrors? if so i might be very intrested in one also

                        Shes sold now :(

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                        • #13
                          >>some people in germany use an electric power steering pump from MB as an alternative.<<<

                          Interesting.

                          I've heard about electric AC compressors too...MR2s are supposed to have a good unit.

                          Stan

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                          • #14
                            >>>hemm stan is the glass for the oem dtm mirrors? if so i might be very intrested in one also<<<

                            Yes it's for the DTM mirrors. The stock flat glass for them is not very useful, especially on the passenger side. That's because they are so tiny.

                            I'm using spherical glass from an SUV add-on mirror. Cuz it has a much larger radius than the round discs. I have some round discs on the car now and they get the wide angle view which is great... but a car about a length or so behind you looks like it's about a 1/4 mile back = no good.

                            If the glass guy can do it properly I'll have a useable wide angle set up with the entire glass surface being used. If so, I'll have a bunch of them made.

                            Stan

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                            • #15
                              sounds good, ill def be up for one if they come out good, not being able to use my mirror sucks

                              Shes sold now :(

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