How steering columns relate to ergonomics:

How steering columns relate to ergonomics:

Making hot rods a pleasure to live with. By Ben Mozart: If you aspire to own or build a great hot rod, especially a street rod, never take the positioning of a steering column for granted. Variations in cockpit and seat dimensions, particularly seat height, as well as steering wheel design and human proportions play an important role. However enticing the photographs of a machine may be, it is almost impossible to discover if it qualifies on all these counts unless you sit in the vehicle and test it for yourself. Exact steering column location is indispensable. Dave Cattalini of Roy Brizio Street Rods, a company based in South San Francisco that has built 300-plus street rods, reveals their formula. In the trade, they often speak of “drop”, which means the distance between the dash and the steering column. “Where will the seat be mounted?” asks Cattalini. “What is your height—are you 5 feet or are you 6 feet? Do you have short or long arms? Are you using a flat or a dished steering wheel? How much reach do you prefer—you don’t want the wheel to be placed too close or too far away, do you?” To answer these questions Cattalini urges the following: “Get a wooden dowel like a closet pole and to simulate the steering wheel, attach a pie plate to its upper end. Move the mock steering assembly about until you achieve the optimum layout. Then use a piece of 3/4in tape to hold it in place.” While the tape acts as your temporary drop link you can measure your column length, remembering to add...
Remedy for Jeep’s steering ailments:

Remedy for Jeep’s steering ailments:

Solutions all hot rodders should know. By Archie Bosman: Many consider type CJ Jeeps, those in production from 1976 to ’86 susceptible to internal steering column ailments, particularly the open-top models where the column could be exposed to rain, snow, dirt and dust which hastens wear. The wear is not reflected in the steering column’s ability to turn the wheels—instead it’s conspicuous by looseness in up-and-down movement and also back-and-forth within the steering column. Many Jeeps from this era feature a steering tilt mechanism. The significance of efficient steering tilt was brought to prominence by Michigan steering specialists ididit whose history began in the mid-nineteen-eighties. At that time Street Rods were the foundation of their customer base and their multi-angle steering tilt was born of necessity. The chief annoyance among hot rodders was the awkward positioning of the steering column that was installed at a near vertical angle and never conducive to comfortable driving. This inconvenience spawned a succession of multi-angle steering tilt arrangements that increased the angle of articulation of the steering wheel and corrected the impediment. But for Jeep CJ owners, over time the tilt shaft assembly, which was offered originally as an option, became sloppy at the head of the column. The arrangement incorporates two aluminum castings and two shafts, an upper and a lower, both with forked ends. The ends are positioned 90-degrees apart and the assembly is completed with a grooved metal ball that is manufactured in two halves. Of course, the advantage of having access to a replacement steering column with efficient tilt mechanism not only rectifies potential wear troubles but also allows...
First power steering tester reveals more than you might wish to know

First power steering tester reveals more than you might wish to know

By Titus Bloom It’s common knowledge that the entry of one foreign particle in the power steering system can damage the pump. Even if the pump survives the ordeal the refuse will momentarily zap engine power each time it passes through the rotor housing easily consuming 10hp, according to KRC’s new and unique steering pump tester. “This custom-made machine records horsepower, flow and pressure and checks the data every 1,000rpm from 1,000 to 10,000rpm,” says KRC chief Ken Roper. “It even produces graphs and retrieves information we didn’t request! But perhaps its most valuable attribute is that it reveals information we never knew before, like power consumption under load, and it validates everything.” Though the average Sportsman race team may not be too concerned if a steering pump consumes 3hp or 6hp, others like NASCAR teams cannot afford any power-robbing deficiencies and would eagerly welcome even a ½ hp advantage. What caused recent power steering system failures? Recently new short track oval race chassis have suffered a spate of power steering failures. The troubles were traced to the pressure relief valve (spool valve) in the power steering pump. Apparently, galling had caused it to jam in the bore. “For years,” says Roper, “production road car pumps have been modified and offered for use on new race car chassis. As you’d expect, they are inexpensive and most of the time they perform adequately. But they have always been a marginal proposition for race cars as most of their internals are uncoated. Without exception, any friction in the pressure relief valve area slows steering response.” To maintain the valve’s proper function...
How a clever pump design saves 4 to 6hp

How a clever pump design saves 4 to 6hp

Tumultuous change? Maybe not but KRC has uncovered significant power losses with unique new test equipment By Freddie Heaney, August 1, 2014, Photography Moore Good Ink Kennesaw, GA: Recently, Chant, the engineering authority in electronic-hydraulic control systems, delivered new testing equipment to KRC, the engine pulley and power steering specialists. Strikingly, the tester, the first of its kind, has uncovered power steering system secrets reminiscent of aerodynamic revelations found in a wind tunnel. A sophisticated one-off machine, it reveals that as engine speed increases in 1,000rpm increments one power steering pump can consume twice the power of another. [See Consumption tables at end of article.] The news, a defining moment for some, could contribute a decisive edge to not only NASCAR race teams who cherish every part of a horsepower gain but also to road race teams and short track oval racers. Surprisingly, the tester further confirms that a small 5.9cc pump is capable of developing as much flow as a bigger pump while consuming half the horsepower. During recent tests with several GM-style power steering pumps modified for competition, the tester demonstrated they absorb around 3.6hp at 8,000rpm engine speed. By comparison KRC’s Pro Series 5.9cc pump used on Aston Martin’s victorious Le Mans sportscars absorbs 1.9hp. All pumps were tested with 125psi of load applied, which is the average pressure generated in a power steering system when operating in the straight ahead position. Using data acquisition and a GoPro camera to identify power loses Beyond this the tester not only measures pressure and flow and calculates power consumption but also duplicates the data acquired on a racing...
Some racers don’t know about better steering feel!

Some racers don’t know about better steering feel!

By Archie Bosman In all probability, over 90% of racers don’t know they can acquire better steering feel Kennesaw, GA: Electric steering in mass-produced road cars is now widespread. It is a little like ethanol in our fuel: you’ll be hard pressed to find an enthusiast who favors it yet we are stuck with it. But actually we aren’t. Hydraulic power steering systems that provide superior feel are still readily available to the racer. However, it is not widely known that steering pumps can be tuned for more feel or alternatively for more assistance. Optimizing feel to the racer’s steering is a bewildering task for most of us. But KRC Power Steering accomplished it by introducing a range of replaceable flow control valves for their hydraulic steering pumps. The flow control valves, nine in number, perform a function similar to that of jets in a carburetor. In varying their flow from 4 to 12 liters per minute, approximately one to three gallons, the largest orifice provides maximum steering assistance while the smallest provides maximum steering feel. Though the standard KRC pump flows 8 liters per minute, by using flow control valves with larger orifices, those marked B, C, D, or E, the flow rate can be increased to 12 liters per minute (3.17gals) in one-liter increments. The higher letter indicates greater hydraulic assistance, although less feel. In contrast, flow valves marked with numbers 4, 5, 6, and 7 provide less assistance; the lower the number, the greater the feel but the less assistance. Momentary loss of power or “pump catch” So how do you achieve optimum steering feel? According to...
Three reasons why power steering systems fail

Three reasons why power steering systems fail

By Archie Bosman, Photography by Moore Good Ink: You might be surprised to learn that one of the three principal reasons for power steering pump failures is forgetfulness. To run a hydraulic power steering pump safely during a dyno run, simply form an oiling loop. Connect the power steering reservoir to the pump’s inlet port and the pump’s outlet port back to the reservoir’s return port. Then fill the reservoir with fluid, about 1in above the return port. “With the best will in the world though,” says Ken Roper, head of KRC Power Steering, “it’s easier to remember to put oil in the engine than it is in the power steering reservoir, and the consequences of the oversight can be severe.” As most power steering pumps rotate at engine speeds, the internals of one without oil will soon turn blue and invariably weld themselves together. The same transgression is common when breaking-in a new camshaft or similar. Although break-in speeds are usually significantly lower, often around 2,500 to 3,000rpm, a dry power-steering pump may survive the torture, though it usually suffers some adverse consequences. The second reason for power steering pump failure occurs when the oil hoses have not been thoroughly cleaned in the aftermath of a previous pump wreckage. Avoid this demoralizing calamity by ensuring all related hydraulic hoses are flushed clean. If not, the new replacement pump will be soon sabotaged by shrapnel from the previous failure. The third condition that causes power steering pump failure is improper bleeding or worse, disregarding the bleeding procedure completely. In common with a dry-sump lubrication system, expelling air bubbles from...
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