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Old 07-07-2008, 01:45 PM   #1
tjd83
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1999 SC2
Default Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

I've been thinking of pulling the power steering pump and rack from my 99 SC2, and putting in a manual rack. As an alternative to replacing the rack, I remember reading somewhere on the net about how to remove the seals from a power rack, so that it works manually, without the back-pressure caused by just connecting the racks input and output lines. Any opinions on that idea?

Anyway, is it worth the effort? I'm a reasonably big guy, so I'm not afraid of the extra steering effort, but I'm curious how bad it will be. My last car was a Plymouth Raliant with a bad PS pump, and I got so used to driving it that when I finally fixed the pump, I felt like there was no steering feedback at all. Will I see any real difference in power? Fuel economy? Handling? Are all S-series manual racks the same, and will they simply bolt into my car, or will I need a steering column as well?

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Old 07-07-2008, 02:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

S-series racks are swappable, but not all the same. SL/SW & SCs have different ratios, as do the manual racks. Autox guys have seemed to decide against manual rack swaps generally, because of the ratio being such that it takes a lot more turning of the wheel to turn the car (a ratio that helps with leverage to make the manual steering easier, but makes quick steering harder). The one guy I know of, Adam Kob on 6S, that tried to remove the seals from the power rack to make it manual, gave up. He ended up just looping the lines.

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Old 07-07-2008, 02:27 PM   #3
hein
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

I ran a hose from one side of the rack cylinder to the other with a T in the middle so I could fill it with oil. I just pushed 3/8 (I think) hose over the threaded bungs and then put a hose clamp on. I capped the fill T with vacuum cap. I figured it was an easier path for oil to flow than forcing it through the valve and those little lines. I looped the pump side of the valve to itself and the rack side also to itself to keep the valve from getting dirty should I want to put the pump back on. Filled that circuit with some oil too.

The driving effort isn't that much more and I only really notice it when I am negotiating around the driveway parking or trying to crank the car into a tight turn. Thought I had a picture but I guess not. Could try to take one if you want to see it.

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Old 07-07-2008, 02:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

my question is where are you gonna get a new belt from. You can "drop" the powersteering and the A/c compressor. you might as well get rid of both in order to get the best fuel economy. I don't know how much of a difference it would make but it may be worth it.

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Old 07-07-2008, 03:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

To get a belt, if the no-PS, no-AC SL doesn't work, just take a tape measure meant for fabric and figure out the belt length that way. You may want to subtract an inch or two so that the belt tensioner still functions.

You may also need the ribbed idler pulley so the belt stays on with the new belt routing.

...
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

hes right...

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Old 07-07-2008, 03:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

I used K050551 when I removed the A/C and PS. You will need the ribbed idler pulley. I ended up putting the old idler pulley which I took off the timing chain cover on the tensioner. The 55 1/2" belt was a little long and the idler wasn't doing much with the smaller pulley that was on it. I'd go with a 55" belt if I did it again.

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Old 07-07-2008, 03:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurdueGuy View Post
Autox guys have seemed to decide against manual rack swaps generally, because of the ratio being such that it takes a lot more turning of the wheel to turn the car (a ratio that helps with leverage to make the manual steering easier, but makes quick steering harder).
I actually prefer slower ratios for autocross. I didn't notice the difference between my 1995 SW2 (18.3:1) and my 1995 SC2 (16.3:1), and the 14.3:1 ratio on my 1993 Geo Storm GSi certainly isn't benefitial.

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Old 07-07-2008, 04:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

getting a belt takes little effort.
i have a DOHC WITH AC and NO PS. ya the belt took some looking for but once you get it, cave the box and thatís it.

"worth it"....?

MPG probably none
power probably not noticeable
handling ya. you can "feel" the road more. the wheel bites back over bumps and hard corners. but thatís just me

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Old 07-07-2008, 04:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjd83 View Post
Anyway, is it worth the effort?
no. no, it's not...


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Old 07-07-2008, 08:45 PM   #11
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

i don't have p/s in my car and irun auto-x everyonce in a while with not a lot of problems. the steering wheel will turn 2 full turns both ways (4 in total), so yeah, a lot of turning. the only time it is difficult to steer is when i'm going under 5mph, other than that, it's a piece of cake. plus not having p/s saves gas and hp

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Old 07-07-2008, 09:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajs_saturn View Post
i don't have p/s in my car and irun auto-x everyonce in a while with not a lot of problems. the steering wheel will turn 2 full turns both ways (4 in total), so yeah, a lot of turning. the only time it is difficult to steer is when i'm going under 5mph, other than that, it's a piece of cake. plus not having p/s saves gas and hp
i don't think there's anything wrong with no power steering. i just think it's not worth it to remove ps from your car. cars that come with no ps are still fine...


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Old 07-07-2008, 09:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

Mine came with PS as a free option, in July 1997.

I wouldn't have paid extra for it, because I am used to non-PS cars.
If I start having trouble with the PS, I would probably install a good used manual rack instead of dropping $$$$ into hoses, etc.

Yes, it will steer slower, that's OK.
Yes, there are belts for it, because PS was an option after all.

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Old 07-07-2008, 10:35 PM   #14
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

Did it, found

No power gain.
No mpg gain.
Lousy for daily driving.

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Old 07-08-2008, 12:59 AM   #15
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

tjd83 -

You probably already read it, but here is my thread on the subject :

Converting Power Steering to Manual Steering?
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=101288

It's on my to-do list to do the "easy-reversible mod" that leaves the pump on the belt.

I have always liked the "feel" of manual steering, so that's one of the reasons I was thinking of doing it.

CarloSW2

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Old 07-09-2008, 09:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

It's a 54" belt on a '93 DOHC with no A/C and no P/S.
Don't think it was worth it but I'm not going to bother putting it back in unless I find a SC2. It's rather annoying having to turn the wheel almost 1/2 turn more then I'm used to doing to get the same "turn."

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Old 07-09-2008, 10:57 PM   #17
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

I did this swap the other way. Manual to power. I had to change the part that the steering column connects to on the rack, and the idler pulley or tensioner pulley will have to be changed. Can't remember which one. You shouldn't have a problem finding a belt. My car had A/C but no PS so there must be a belt for it.

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Old 07-22-2008, 07:19 PM   #18
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Default Re: Power to manual steering swap - is it worth it?

Mine came with the PS, but personally I prefer the feel of manual steering on a small car. Plus it's just another thing to worry about having to fix as well as adding drag on the crank.

On a car the size of an S-series or Ion, PS is completely unnecessary except for those very elderly or arthric. One of my grandmothers first started driving after becoming widowed in her mid-50's and had no problems at all steering a '69 VW Bug.

I wouldn't go through the trouble of removing my PS, but if it was crappingout, I'd definitely look for an alternative if it couldn't be fixed for under $200.

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