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Manual vs power steering


Lackluster
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I'm curious what others are running.  We are putting together a 1st gen Neon and the car currently has a manual rack in it.  I'm thinking that's the right way to go.  There is a thought in the back of mine and a teammates mind that we may regret this.  The car will be run on either 195/14 or 205/15 tires.  How punishing will this be for an endurance race?  My street car had the p/s fluid boiling after 5 or 6 consecutive laps of the east portion of NCM last year so with that in mind... simpler seems better but let me know if my thinking is flawed.

 

Thanks

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3 hours ago, Lackluster said:

I'm curious what others are running.  We are putting together a 1st gen Neon and the car currently has a manual rack in it.  I'm thinking that's the right way to go.  There is a thought in the back of mine and a teammates mind that we may regret this.  The car will be run on either 195/14 or 205/15 tires.  How punishing will this be for an endurance race?  My street car had the p/s fluid boiling after 5 or 6 consecutive laps of the east portion of NCM last year so with that in mind... simpler seems better but let me know if my thinking is flawed.

 

Thanks

we run a depowered power rack in our 1st gen neon, 225 tires, not fun in the paddock but on track is fine.  Never ran with it powered so not sure how much less fatiguing it would be.

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1100 lbs on the front of a Fiero with 225 tires. Changing from the stock manual rack to the WS6 power steering rack is probably the most significant change in how the car drives. Great feedback with fingertip effort. Like dancing with a ballerina; she knows the moves and makes you look better than you are. :)

 

1350 lbs on the front of a Civic with 245 tires. Stock manual rack. Decent feedback but the effort is getting high. Like dancing with a female wrestler; can be done but you'll know it the next day. ;) 

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Manual racks tend to have a higher count of turns lock to lock than a powered rack, to give you a bit more mechanical advantage.  The downside of this is the amount of input needed to make corrections.  This is one reason some people will simply de-power their powered rack.  A bigger steering wheel can help with the fatigue too, as can some castor adjustment.

 

FWIW, Miata with depowered rack, small steering wheel is not impossible for 2 hours. 

 

I also think you may have trouble finding 14" tires, but that's another topic.

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I would not not not not use that neon manual rack. We tried this on our neon and ratio is way too high to make up for it not being power assisted. We used a R/T rack which was 14:1 or 16:1. The true manual rack is 22:1. A turn that would take about 45 degreed steering input took almost 90 degree input on the manual. Yes, you would save a little weight but you would hate life on the track.

 

A lower ratio rack de-powered would be better. Or power it but use a bigger pulley and power steering cooler if the effort is too much over two hours. Which it really isn’t.

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1 hour ago, tyler_j said:

Manual is fine,  if you want less effort just throw one of these bad boys in there. Great sensitivity and low effort.

Plenty of locations to throw on a trucker knob too.

Mack B Model Restoration - Exterior, Cab, Accessories and Detailing -  BigMackTrucks.com

Is that the one with the 300 turns lock to lock and the vacuum wipers?

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On 3/14/2021 at 9:22 AM, Mopar 4 Life said:

I would not not not not use that neon manual rack. We tried this on our neon and ratio is way too high to make up for it not being power assisted. We used a R/T rack which was 14:1 or 16:1. The true manual rack is 22:1. A turn that would take about 45 degreed steering input took almost 90 degree input on the manual. Yes, you would save a little weight but you would hate life on the track.

 

A lower ratio rack de-powered would be better. Or power it but use a bigger pulley and power steering cooler if the effort is too much over two hours. Which it really isn’t.

Well that changes things.  Looks like I need to hunt for a rack.  The yards around me have plenty of 2nd gen cars and PT's but no 1st gen's.

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I don't think any of the neon's currently run in the series use power steering, and all of the ones I have seen up close use depowered racks (because the manual rack is so many turns lock to lock). You can look up on the neons.org site how to depower the rack properly, or there are still vendors in that community that will depower one for you. I have driven properly depowered cars, and power steering racks with just the hoses looped together and some fluid in them for lube. Properly depowering gives slightly better feel, but in pinch both are driveable. 

 

The mopar4life guys ran the car successfully and are a great resource. Myself, tneker, "rooster racing" all campaign these  cars and can give you pointers on keeping them running. They make reliable starter cars but do face an uphill battle in fuel to weight, and lack the generous swap weight other cars get. The can do well if you chop everything out of them, use some vpi points for power mods on a 2.4 and stick to 7 hour races (or low fuel burn 8 hour tracks) with relatively low speed. 

 

Good luck and let us know if we can help

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We run two cars. One with power steering; FWD, 2600lbs dry, & 285 front tires.  One with manual steering; FWD 1900lbs dry, & 245 front tires. 

 

The larger car we tested without power steering and it is drivable for a sprint race; 20 minutes. It was hard work but doable for large guys. The biggest issue was that if you lost the car in a slide it was unrecoverable. The wheel would tear out of your hands regardless of driver size. For an endurance race it was out of the questions. 

 

If you plan to run a manual, test it from a recoverability perspective. High effort is probably ok. Unrecoverable is not.  

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