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Old 05-14-2015, 01:15 PM   #1
blads99
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Steering rack upgrade

So after doing extensive research on which racks would be suitable upgrade for the m42. As I know some require more spacers/ washers/ hardware. Than others. I would appreciate m42 experience owner input.
Too many different opinions and threads On different forums got me confused. I want a smaller ratio.
Any experience out there.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-14-2015, 01:28 PM   #2
Vanilla Gorilla
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Don't lie... You didn't do extensive research lol because if you did, you would have come across this thread from Wh33lhop

http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=172261

I've seen a lot of misinformation about E36 racks, mainly the ratios, differences and the age-old '95 M3 vs. Z3 rack dilemma. I'd like to set a few things straight. If you have differing info from FIRST-HAND measurements, feel free to correct me, but in 95% of the threads there is just some moron spouting off lock-to-lock numbers off the top of their head, and they're typically wrong about that as well.

Firstly, all E36 steering racks excluding the '95 M3 rack, and additionally all Z3-M racks are IDENTICAL, save for the '96-99 M3's rack being limited just a bit to allow for the M3's additional caster without affecting tire clearance. The '96-99 M3 racks have about .2 turns less lock-to-lock than the standard E36 rack (3.2 turns LTL instead of 3.4). All of these racks are progressive, meaning that it is slower in the middle of the rack (slower when you're going straight) than towards lock. This was mainly to make the car more relaxed and comfortable at sustained autobahn speeds. The regular E30 rack is about 4 turns lock to lock and the E30 M3 rack is 3.5 turns lock to lock; I am not sure of the total travel distance or overall ratio of either of these, but I can definitely attest to the regular E36 rack being a good improvement in every way over the stock E30 rack.

Secondly, the '95 M3 rack is SLOWER in the center of the rack and has LESS overall travel than the regular E36 rack. This is mainly because of the different steering geometry of the '95 M3, as you recall they have a different spindle/control arm/CAB setup than the rest of E36 cars. Yes, it's 3 turns flat lock-to-lock but it's still progressive, and the overall degree-to-travel ratio is slower as there is less overall travel. Basically, on any given chassis this rack is inferior to the regular E36 rack despite the lower lock-to-lock number. I know you've read otherwise on E30 sites, and I have too. But, say it with me: screw the '95 M3 rack.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the Z3 non-M rack, contrary to popular belief, has the SAME overall travel as the run-of-the-mill E36 rack (146mm). However, it's the only rack in the discussion which is linear rate, which means that it's significantly quicker in the center than the other racks, verified by measurement. This is the steering rack to have: 2.7 turns lock to lock, linear, same travel as the regular E36 rack.

According to RealOEM, all Z3 non-M racks are identical (http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partxref.do?part=32131095575). However, it has been reported first-hand that more than one 1.9 rack has been tried out to have been 3.2 turns lock-to-lock, so try before you buy as RealOEM is not perfect.

I'm basing this off of a few discussions I've read on E36 forums; the Z3 rack is a common upgrade for E36 M3s and most of them seem to like it. But additionally, if you want cold hard numbers and good info, don't just take my word for it, do some reading for yourself. I'd suggest E36 guys though as they live with different E36 and Z3 racks, as opposed to just going from an abysmal E30 rack to an E36 rack of their choosing and noting a difference, then engaging in a pissing contest when something is questioned. Here are a few pertinent threads:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...=steering+rack (gold mine)

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...hlight=z3+rack

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1413989

Cliffs: Z3 rack > regular E36 rack > '95 M3 rack. Do it.

Airbag car= notch firewall but leave knuckle alone

non-airbag car=modify knuckle but leave firewall alone.
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Old 05-14-2015, 02:24 PM   #3
blads99
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[QUOTE=Vanilla Gorilla;4409391]Don't lie... You didn't do extensive research lol because if you did, you would have come across this thread from Wh33lhop


i just finished reading your quoted link and the bf links inside of that one. Conclusion is that z3 non /M is the best bet. Even from what e30 owners tend to upgrade to; The e36 /M rack.


I made up my mind which rack to go with the non /M Z rack

With everyone arguing about mm and then ratios which I really can't say much about yet is what covers most of those links.

What I want to know now... Since the vehicle I will be performing this upgrade to is my daily with no other option to get around with....
I want to know what are the parts needed'. .....

Any input HIGHLY APPRECIATED
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:51 PM   #4
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You have made the right decision. As far as purchasing the rack it can be a bit expensive at first because there is a core charge involved. Unless you already have a z3 rack you have to pay the core charge out of pocket. I would check out car-part.com and see if you can find a decent rack at a pick n pull near you. If you can get a decent rack cheap through that method it's your best bet. Even if it last for a couple years, you will at least have a core now to trade towards a new rebuilt rack that will last years and years.


Since you have an airbag car, you won't need to modify the knuckle but you will need to notch the firewall slightly.

You are going to need a set of rack spacers as well. They can be had from ECS tuning for $9.99 I believe

You need 4 new copper crush washers. One goes on each side of the banjo fitting that attached to the rack. They are 2 different sizes so make sure you grab 2 of each size.

You can use your existing fluid reservoir and lines, but you may need to put a slight bend in the HS hose to make things fit nicely.

If you don't mind spending a bit more money, you can order the correct reservoir/lines for the rack you are installing.

Some people order new nuts/bolts/washers to bolt the rack into the car but again that is only necessary if the old hardware is thrashed or you like shiny thing.

If I think of anything else, I'll throw it up
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:41 AM   #5
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Thanks a lot. Will definitely follow your advice. I will post the process, to help and inspire others.
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:47 AM   #6
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No problem dude. I hope it goes smoothly! It's a great upgrade!
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Old 05-15-2015, 02:06 PM   #7
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses.
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Old 05-15-2015, 05:29 PM   #8
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Not trying to throw you a bone here, but the E46 rack fits as well. Here's a link to get you going. From what I understand its not as twitchy as the Z3 rack, and its cheaper as well.

http://www.e30tech.com/forum/showthread.php?t=115686

This page has some info too as well regarding most things rack conversion related:

http://www.e30zone.net/e30zonewiki/i...ck_Conversions
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:34 PM   #9
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Z3 1.9 Rack

You made the right choice in racks as stated. “Twitchy” is a personal thing, I think it feels great and is better described as very precise and responsive.
If you ever drive an E30 with the E36 Z3 2.7 rack you won’t want to go back to the old E30 rack..night and day difference and reason I am doing this mod.
I have the E36 Z3 1.9 rack going in my E30 318is as we speak. Possible feeling called “Twitchiness” of the rack by some is helped by the use of E30 M3 offset FCABs. Right now it is temporarily fabbed up to check fit. and install Lemforder inner and outer tie rods. Name:  Z3_Steeringrack_In_E30_Spacer.jpg
Views: 737
Size:  11.0 KB

Name:  Rebuilt Z3 1.9 steeringrack.jpg
Views: 792
Size:  82.2 KB

Name:  New rack temp installed to install Lemforder tie rods.jpg
Views: 848
Size:  88.6 KB

You need the spacers mentioned (I mounted mine under the rack to space the rack up like the original) and the copper crush washers for the PS lines.
I used all new lines and reservoir from a E36? I sourced the washers and new mounting hardware from Bel-metric. I have a Red46 sump armor skid plate installed also, so I went with M10X100 bolts and used a thin nut to mount the rack. That leaves a small threaded portion to mount the skid plate to so I don’t have to remove the rack bolts to remove the skid plate in the future. Looks like I only have to grind away about 5mm of firewall for steering shaft clearance.
Thanks,
Stan
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Originally Posted by blunt:
"Put some miles on it and you wont want to pull the m42"

Last edited by The White Guy; 05-16-2015 at 09:20 PM. Reason: Add text
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:12 PM   #10
blads99
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That's awesome thanks for the input
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Old 05-18-2015, 03:11 AM   #11
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Nice install except the spacers should be above the rack to correct bump steer issues.
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Old 05-18-2015, 03:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benz-tech View Post
Nice install except the spacers should be above the rack to correct bump steer issues.
I think it all depends, some say above most say below. (maybe on whether you use E36 tie rods or E30 tie rods) I used E30 tie rods.
We shall see upon road test.
My original E30 Rack was set to the same height (Tie rod plane) in the subframe as my E36 rack with the spacers on the bottom.

Thanks,
Stan
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Originally Posted by blunt:
"Put some miles on it and you wont want to pull the m42"

Last edited by The White Guy; 05-18-2015 at 04:23 PM. Reason: Add text
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:13 AM   #13
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E46 purple rack, if nobody else has mentioned it, is also very very good. I have one in mine and wouldn't swap it for anything aside from possibly a Z3, though Z3 racks here are very expensive.
Whereas I got mine for $150 and that is a middle of the road price on them.

Install is basically the same as E36/Z3 anyway
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Old 05-21-2015, 04:27 PM   #14
blads99
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whats the part number for the z3 rack?
Or what year do I get ?



Any thoughts ?
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Old 05-21-2015, 05:56 PM   #15
TimeMachinE30
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Most I see buy them refurbished from the RackDoctor.


These just needs certain TRE right?
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