Increasing steering responsiveness - Ford Mustang Forums : Corral.net Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 04-12-2019, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Increasing steering responsiveness

Just installed all new suspension components on my car and loving the way it rides and handles, but the steering could use some work. It just doesnt seem to have quick turn-in. On my DD's, if i give the wheel a quick flick of the wrist, i can get the car to dart left or right such as when avoiding a pothole at the last minute. On my foxbody, this action seems a lot slower. It's almost like a delay from the wheel turning to when the car actually responds.

The front end mods consists of mostly MM suspension parts all brand spanking new

SPR-ZM 03/04 Cobra steering rack with MM hybrid steering shaft
MM bumpsteer tie rod ends
MM coil overs w/ 250# springs
MM caster/camber plates
MM STB
MM Street-valved Bilstiens
Urethane steering rack bushings

EDIT: Tires are BFG Comp-2 T/As. 245 up front 255 out back

Back end has complimentary MM parts as well. Conventional H&R springs, Bilstiens, MM arms, Eibach rear sway bar, etc.


There is no slop from the steering wheel to the wheels on the pavement. If i move the wheel, i can see the front wheels respond instantly. No slop or play in the rack. Everything is tight and new. Steering feel is heavy, but in a way I desire. I can still drive the car with one hand without issue so it's not excessive

Alignment was DIY and to the following specs for mostly street driving
Toe-in 1/16"
Camber -1*
Caster: - Full back to max adjustment on the C/C plates

Again, car handles and rides to my liking which is mostly just spirited street cruising. Just wanting to make the steering a little more responsive. My gut tells me the caster is probably a bit too much, but looking to get some feedback before i adjust it back a bit which is easy enough to do.


Mike
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post #2 of 25 Old 04-12-2019, 10:37 AM
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its the internal ratio of the rack. not sure of any bolt in replacements.

nothing else you can do except change it.

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post #3 of 25 Old 04-12-2019, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkornf View Post
its the internal ratio of the rack. not sure of any bolt in replacements.

nothing else you can do except change it.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
I agree. But this feels different. My old 2003 GT had much better steering response. I would assume it should at least be the same with a 2003-2004 Cobra rack.

If i could get my fox's steering to feel exactly like my old 2003 GT did, I would be happy.

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post #4 of 25 Old 04-12-2019, 11:43 AM
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my front end set-up is very similar to yours except I've got a 99

mine feels The same as you described. no where near the quickness of turn in compared to my daily driver focus.

it doesn't bother me but I do have a question for you. does your car Auto steer back to straight after turning? I have maxed out caster also and it barely Auto steers.

thanks

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post #5 of 25 Old 04-12-2019, 12:17 PM
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Which tires? Size? Tall and squishy tire will respond slower to turn of steering wheel.

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post #6 of 25 Old 04-12-2019, 12:46 PM
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The Fox unibody torsional stiffness is crap. They twist like pretzels. That's got to play a role. Many ears ago in the late 90's a friend of mine put a roll bar in an Escort (he was dabbling in rally cross/TSD rallies) and after the bar was in the car it was transformative. The slightest steering input resulted in immediate response. It also rode, handled and stopped better. I suspect a large part, maybe not all, of the issue is the chassis.
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post #7 of 25 Old 04-12-2019, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castine917 View Post
Which tires? Size? Tall and squishy tire will respond slower to turn of steering wheel.
245/45/17 BFG Comp-2 T/A

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post #8 of 25 Old 04-12-2019, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkornf View Post
no where near the quickness of turn in compared to my daily driver focus.
My daily driver is a '14 Taurus with the 19" wheels and it's very quick to turn in even if the steering feel is rather numb. But i can flick my wrist and get a nice sharp response.


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Originally Posted by wkornf View Post
it doesn't bother me but I do have a question for you. does your car Auto steer back to straight after turning? I have maxed out caster also and it barely Auto steers.
Yes. It does self-center after a turn. In fact on roads that the car used to wander on it also tracks very well going straight ahead. One of the reasons why i maxed out the caster although from what i read, it also can slow down steering response or make the steering feel heavier

Mike
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post #9 of 25 Old 04-12-2019, 11:35 PM
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If the car in question is a 1988 Mustang and it has stock spindles, that is part of the problem. SN95 spindles have the end of the steering arm moved outwards 0.54". This greatly increases the amount of Ackermann effect in the steering. That will help turn in some.

The amount of toe in the alignment has a very large affect. Even a small error in different toe settings between two cars will result in very different turn in responses.

If the car has the front tires in the stock location, it doesn't have very much positive caster. Moving the front tires forward also increases the amount of Ackermann in the steering.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ackerm...ering_geometry
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post #10 of 25 Old 04-13-2019, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Jack

Car has SN95 spindles up front, and (for now) stock k member and a arms


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post #11 of 25 Old 04-13-2019, 08:38 AM
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I suggest getting a proper alignment from a shop with the right equipment and with road racing experience. That way you get measurement of your caster. Also, as mentioned earlier, toe really affects turn-in response. Specifically, toe-in at the front slows it down but also make the car less likely to wander on the street. I would try zero toe on the street, and maybe 1/16 toe out on track.
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post #12 of 25 Old 04-13-2019, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang5L5 View Post
245/45/17 BFG Comp-2 T/A
Those should be responsive.

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post #13 of 25 Old 04-15-2019, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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After driving the car all weekend, i'm starting to think it's just what another poster suggested and just the limitations of the rack. There's no slop, but i guess I was hoping for more travel in the rack vs degrees of steering wheel location. I may try setting the toe to zero and see if that improves response slightly.

But other than that, loving how the car is driving on the new suspension parts.
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post #14 of 25 Old 04-18-2019, 01:15 PM
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Your steering response issue could also be due to a few weak links in your setup. If your stock A-arms have stock rubber bushings, they can look fine, but be bad. Tubular A-arms will also make a big difference. A lower chassis brace that ties the K-member to the frame can also help. Id also suggest using MM Aluminum Steering Rack Bushings; they are much better than urethane and made a noticeable difference in the steering feel on my autocross car.

A 245/45/17 tire has a lot of sidewall. Sidewall can impact steering feel, especially turn-in, during performance driving. You might want to consider a tire with less sidewall.

I made a video that showcases and reviews the parts I used to get better turn-in on my 2000 GT autocross car; heres a link:


I hope it helps.
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post #15 of 25 Old 04-19-2019, 02:35 PM
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On my 01 Cobra, I noticed a bit of on-center "numbness" for lack of a better description. Visually, everything moved when the wheel moved but on the road and especially say at an A/X event, steering inputs did not seem to result in steering movements until the wheel was just off-center. It was very subtle. Once off center, inputs were more precise. This occurred even after the rack was replaced with a new Ford piece following an accident (also a Cobra rack according to the imprinted code).
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post #16 of 25 Old 04-22-2019, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Your steering response issue could also be due to a few weak links in your setup. If your stock A-arms have stock rubber bushings, they can look fine, but be bad. Tubular A-arms will also make a big difference. A lower chassis brace that ties the K-member to the frame can also help. Id also suggest using MM Aluminum Steering Rack Bushings; they are much better than urethane and made a noticeable difference in the steering feel on my autocross car.

A 245/45/17 tire has a lot of sidewall. Sidewall can impact steering feel, especially turn-in, during performance driving. You might want to consider a tire with less sidewall.
A new MM K-member and tubular A-arms is on the agenda this coming winter. So really i am going to pull the entire front end apart again in a few months for the final time. I can also change the rack bushings at the same time as well. At that time i'll pay someone to align and corner-weight the car.

The current A-arms are Ford M-3075-A arms with maybe 1K miles on them.

Car is primarily a street driven car with emphasis on handling, so i understand there are things i can do to improve the feel, but there are some compromises i want to make to retain street manners. Right now, i am completely happy with the cars braking and handling aspects....I just wish the steering felt a little more "go-kartish" I might try bumping the toe to zero toe in/out and see how it feels. Tire wear is not that critical to me since @200 miles per year, the tires will probably dry rot before they get worn down enough.

Mike
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post #17 of 25 Old 04-22-2019, 09:56 AM
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I'm there with you Mike, you've done things I've had in mind for years to do.

I like the AGR steering rack, but it's way stiffer compared to OEM Fox racks. I don't recall the one 03 Cobra I drove being anywhere near that stiff. So the Cardone rack I have for my other Mark VII I expect to be similar to other SN95 units.

I plan to do the k-member eventually, but I'm not sure if I have to when I remove the air springs, or can do later.

I gather the Cobra rotors are not easily upgraded(thicker or two piece). So those may be the only good choice if I can't see a good option to fabricate a caliper bracket(have to have a feasible rotor choice to work with it).

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post #18 of 25 Old 05-01-2019, 12:57 PM
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take a look at these. I am a drifting convert from these sections. I have my own version of these on my fox and on my sn, tho both are more aggressive than this.
this will allow you to have quicker steering and will increase the amount of steering angle you have. I think its exactly what youre looking for.
https://duncanperformance.com/index....&product_id=52
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post #19 of 25 Old 05-17-2019, 10:07 AM
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start increasing toe, you will make turn in real quick

but be careful, things can get 'darty'

start at zero

I run zero toe for the street, with non compliant bushings

it turns quick as i need to on the street

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post #20 of 25 Old 05-18-2019, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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I did set to zero toe but haven't put that many miles on the car lately to feel it out.

I'll be installing an MM k-member and a arms this fall, do not going to chase this too much right now to only drive 100 miles or so before I take it all apart.

SOMe excellent info was offererd that I'll keep in mind moving forward

Mike
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post #21 of 25 Old 05-20-2019, 08:00 AM
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I installed a complete MM front suspension with cobra rack a couple years ago. Afterwards, I noticed the steering responsiveness wasn't all that I hoped for.

Then last summer I installed their panhard rod, and afterwards I was shocked how much better the steering response was. Especially noticeable at low speed when jerking the wheel back and forth, the car actually did what I told it to. Apparently prior there was too much slop in the rear that the front couldn't compensate.

I did the MM mods in reverse order and now I know why they recommend fixing the rear first.

What do you have for your rear suspension?
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post #22 of 25 Old 05-20-2019, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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What do you have for your rear suspension?
It's inthe first post, but not as detailed. I consulted MM on my entire setup. Rear H& springs, Bilstien HD's. MM adjustable control arms w/new Ford OE uppers, Eibach rear sway bar.

I do have the PHB, but not installed yet. Was waiting for this coming fall to install it along with the K-member. Lots of changes going to happen to the car then, which is why i wanted to ask the question now, get some ideas and then apply them this coming fall/winter (Also doing motor work). I may also do the torque arm this coming off-season as well.

Next season, i have a shop that can do a alignment and corner-weight for me when my suspension is final. I just didn't want to pay for that now, drive 100-150 miles and then rip it all apart this fall

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post #23 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomV View Post
I installed a complete MM front suspension with cobra rack a couple years ago. Afterwards, I noticed the steering responsiveness wasn't all that I hoped for.

Then last summer I installed their panhard rod, and afterwards I was shocked how much better the steering response was. Especially noticeable at low speed when jerking the wheel back and forth, the car actually did what I told it to. Apparently prior there was too much slop in the rear that the front couldn't compensate.

I did the MM mods in reverse order and now I know why they recommend fixing the rear first.

What do you have for your rear suspension?
+1 I was amazed how much more precise my steering inputs were after MM PHB.

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post #24 of 25 Old 05-23-2019, 12:39 PM
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time for us to get rid of the stock steering column and go one solid rod with a splined end... especially guys like me with a tilt wheel
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post #25 of 25 Old Today, 06:18 PM
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How wide are the wheels that those 245's and 255's mounted on? Widths out at or near max-recommended for the tire provide crisper turn-in response than widths at or narrower than "measuring".

What about front control arm bushings? I'm guessing that they're still the OE rubber and plenty old.


Hope this post turns out to be better late than never for you.


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