At some point after the car was mostly reassembled I decided that it did not make sense to leave the stock steering box in this car. With everything else about as nice as it could be, rack and pinion steering was conspicuous by its absence. I decided to convert to rack and pinion steering. This was a big job. However I am really glad I did it. I used a racing steering rack that has very little friction and provides adjustable ratios. I started with a pretty quick ratio since it's a light car. The actual steering rack is square in section so it can't rock in the housing like round ones can. It has almost zero drag. And it is much lighter than the original steering box.
The first step was to remove the old steering system. Then I welded a bracket to the front crossmember and had the cross member powder coated (again).
Here you can see the steering rack bracket,
which is welded to the front crossmember.
Freshly installed steering rack
Aluminum steering U-joint
Installed steering rack
Steering column support
I wanted a way to
adjust the bump steer on the front suspension, which generally requires spacers between
the steering knuckle and the tie rod. So to replace the stock tapered design with straight
bolts, I have assembled some tubular gold anodized aluminum steering rods with aluminum
rod ends and aluminum jam nuts. The entire assembly weighs only 12 ounces each!
Making the steering arms was complicated. I wanted to make sure the ackerman steering geometry was correct. I modeled the steering geometry on the computer and double-checked the positioning using a 1/4 scale model. I made the final pieces by cutting and welding a pair of 280ZX steering knuckles. It was further complicated to determine how to make just one cut on each steering arm at the proper angle so that the pieces could then be welded back together to position the connector at the proper location in all three axes plus the correct angle for the rod end.
Modified steering box components (before installing rack)