Although I would love to be able to make stuff from scratch, it’s just not realistic or sensible when there are so many good options to choose from. Most of the aftermarket options for steering columns are primarily for race cars and so don’t necessarily offer the features or flexibility that we want for a road car project. So with that said I set about deciding what I thought was important and then deciding what vehicle I could find to use as a donor.
I wanted the column to be height (tilt) and reach (telescope) adjustable. Secondly I wanted to keep things such as indicators and wipers on the column so I needed to ideally choose a model that didn’t have things like cruise control or radio controls etc on it. Thirdly I wanted to have a power steering pump and control system that didn’t need to be attached to the engine. The Mercedes engine we have does have that option, but I wanted to keep the power steering separate so that meant an electro-hydraulic option.
With all that in mind it turned out that a reasonably easy option to source was the Toyota SW20 MR2 so after a few months of hunting for something suitable (read cheap) we finally sourced one that was still road legal, but was close to the end of its life.
It was reasonably easy to dismantle the MR2 and remove the whole steering column with the indicator stalks etc as well as the wiring loom. We obviously plan to check it over and recondition it before installing it into the FZ12, but luckily there’s not much to the column so I can’t see many issues coming up.
So the next part of the puzzle is the steering rack. Because we’re using the Corvette C5 front and rear suspension that also means that we need a steering rack that steers the hubs from the front of hub, not the rear which is more common. The MR2 does have a “front steer rack”, however I didn’t feel like it was really up to the job considering the larger tires we’re running and the extra load we expect to see. Luckily for me the guys from M2 Motorsport were kind enough to lend me a spare steering rack from their V8 Supertourer to try on for size and it fit perfectly and will cope with what we will need and is easily serviced if needed later on.
And the final part of the steering setup is the all important steering wheel. Since we’re not going to have a gearstick at all (see Part 3 – Cogbox to find out why) we only need to have the paddles behind the wheel to allow us to shift up and down. This is a combination of a Momo Quark and Works Bell Paddle shift system. We’re going to have to make a cover for the centre to make it look a bit more “OEM” but that should be reasonably straight forward.
There’s a newer entry in this story, please click here – FZ12 – Part 7
If you’ve missed the last part of our story then click here FZ12 – Part 5
or if you want to go right to the beginning then click here FZ12 – Part 1