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Old 02-17-2004, 08:56 PM   #1
Carnot
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Default STi steering rack swap

I've done some searching and I still can't find conclusive evidence that this is possible. I was in a little accident and my steering rack will need to be replaced. I did a little checking and an STi rack costs the exact same as a WRX rack (!). So, the only question that remains is, is this a workable option? The only possible problems I can see are possible power steering differences, and the fact that I have a wagon. Has anyone out there successfully put an '04 STi steering rack into a bugeye wagon with positive results?

-Bryce
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Old 02-17-2004, 09:16 PM   #2
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I'm guessing it would work, only thing is the wagons have a slightly narrower track than the sedans. something like 1.3" less I believe. Becuase of this, you may need to swap tie rods if possible. I think you should give it a try. Just don't yell at me if it doesn't work.
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Old 02-18-2004, 02:08 AM   #3
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i second that keep us wagon guys posted
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Old 02-18-2004, 05:35 PM   #4
Carnot
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Has anybody even heard of anyone doing this? I'm going to have to make a decision soon and I'd really like to try this, but I'm hardly going to drop $700 on something without some assurance that it will work.

At this point even vague rumor and wild speculation are better than nothing.

-Bryce
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Old 02-18-2004, 08:55 PM   #5
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maybe see if the rack from a sedan is the same part number as the wagon, if they are the same then check the numbers for inner AND outer tie rods, then just compare all that to see what you need to get.

I would love to have the STI rack in my sedan, so for me it's just the rack itself? For about $700?? no too bad.

Justin C
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Old 02-19-2004, 04:11 AM   #6
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The tie rods can be adjusted to fit either the sedan or wagon. I'm pretty sure they might even be the same part/length (just adjusted differently) I had a Rev-Lab rack (on a sedan) I sold/traded for/to someone with a stock wagon rack. We took measurements and adjusted them accordingly. Worked like a charm. Hope this helps.
-Leland
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Old 02-19-2004, 02:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by wlelandj
The tie rods can be adjusted to fit either the sedan or wagon. I'm pretty sure they might even be the same part/length (just adjusted differently) I had a Rev-Lab rack (on a sedan) I sold/traded for/to someone with a stock wagon rack. We took measurements and adjusted them accordingly. Worked like a charm. Hope this helps.
-Leland
that's GREAT news.
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Old 02-19-2004, 02:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zack
I'm guessing it would work, only thing is the wagons have a slightly narrower track than the sedans. something like 1.3" less I believe. Becuase of this, you may need to swap tie rods if possible. I think you should give it a try. Just don't yell at me if it doesn't work.
FWIW, The front track width difference is only 20mm (~.8")

subaruparts.com sells the WRX rack for 661.71. Tempting, I wonder if there's a supply of STI racks available? Maybe I'll wait for a wrecked one to come along :-) I haven't heard of anyone doing this swap even on a sedan though.
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Old 02-19-2004, 04:26 PM   #9
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Well, I spoke with the shop today. They said they made a call to Subaru and got their blessing on the thing so they went ahead and ordered the part. I'll try to keep everyone posted on any new developments. I hope it turns out well. Thanks for the reassurance.

-Bryce
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Old 02-19-2004, 04:35 PM   #10
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awesome! i look forward to hearing how it turns out bryce!
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Old 03-18-2004, 10:04 PM   #11
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Finally, an update. After FIVE weeks without my car, I finally got it back yesterday (happy St. Patty's). The STi steering rack is installed along with an entirely new stock front right suspension and new wheels and tires.

Before I go into my impressions, let me preface by reminding you that I haven't driven the car in over a month. Instead I have been driving the wife's Cavalier [cav-all-YAY] with a poorly tuned 2.2l mated to the slushiest of slush-boxes. After that, anything feels fast and nimble. Also, my car is almost completely stock except for a sedan rear sway bar. I'm not sure how a more refined suspension would react to the new rack.

With that said, I really like the way my car feels. Although it was hard to notice any difference in the steering rack when I was trying to notice a difference, there were several instances when I was pleasantly surprised. The first such case was backing the car out of the parking space. I hit the lock rather abruptly because I wasn't expecting it to happen so soon.

I haven't pushed it very much just yet, but after taking a few turns around town, it definitely feels much more nimble. I'm sure this has a lot to do with the lack of RE-92s. I also felt no noticeable difference in steering effort, even at parking speeds. I felt no difference in stability at highway speeds.

To summarize, if for some reason you find yourself needing to replace you steering rack, I can't think of a reason not to. So far the sedan/wagon difference has been inconsequential. Of course I can't make any claims as to long term durability of the setup, I've only been driving it for two days now. It is reassuring, however, that SOA said it would work, as they tend to be pretty conservative.

Well, that's about it. Let me know if you have any specific questions. I'll try to answer the best I can and provide pictures if needed.

-Bryce
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Old 03-18-2004, 10:43 PM   #12
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Bryce: Glad to know it worked for you and that you have your wagon back. You're going to be at the Dragon again this year right?
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Old 03-19-2004, 12:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Carnot
Finally, an update. After FIVE weeks without my car, I finally got it back yesterday (happy St. Patty's). The STi steering rack is installed along with an entirely new stock front right suspension and new wheels and tires.

Before I go into my impressions, let me preface by reminding you that I haven't driven the car in over a month. Instead I have been driving the wife's Cavalier [cav-all-YAY] with a poorly tuned 2.2l mated to the slushiest of slush-boxes. After that, anything feels fast and nimble. Also, my car is almost completely stock except for a sedan rear sway bar. I'm not sure how a more refined suspension would react to the new rack.

With that said, I really like the way my car feels. Although it was hard to notice any difference in the steering rack when I was trying to notice a difference, there were several instances when I was pleasantly surprised. The first such case was backing the car out of the parking space. I hit the lock rather abruptly because I wasn't expecting it to happen so soon.

I haven't pushed it very much just yet, but after taking a few turns around town, it definitely feels much more nimble. I'm sure this has a lot to do with the lack of RE-92s. I also felt no noticeable difference in steering effort, even at parking speeds. I felt no difference in stability at highway speeds.

To summarize, if for some reason you find yourself needing to replace you steering rack, I can't think of a reason not to. So far the sedan/wagon difference has been inconsequential. Of course I can't make any claims as to long term durability of the setup, I've only been driving it for two days now. It is reassuring, however, that SOA said it would work, as they tend to be pretty conservative.

Well, that's about it. Let me know if you have any specific questions. I'll try to answer the best I can and provide pictures if needed.

-Bryce
Good to know!
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Old 03-19-2004, 03:54 AM   #14
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Anyone know availability of Spec c racks? Even quicker than STi
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Old 03-19-2004, 04:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by silver arrow
Anyone know availability of Spec c racks? Even quicker than STi
they are available in RHD! (which is totally useless to USDM LHD car owners)
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Old 03-19-2004, 05:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Carnot
Finally, an update. After FIVE weeks without my car, I finally got it back yesterday (happy St. Patty's). The STi steering rack is installed along with an entirely new stock front right suspension and new wheels and tires.

-Bryce
Bryce,

How many turns is it lock to lock?

- Paulie
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Old 03-19-2004, 07:13 AM   #17
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I am running wlelandj's Rev-Labs rack we took out of his sedan- god I am in love with this thing!!!!!!!! Just to clarify, for the record, whatever- sedan and wagon racks are of equal length... the tie rods make up the track difference. So, with this knowledge in hand, you can use any rack for either car, be it from an STi, etc. I went to a JDM V8 STi power steering pump though- a faster rack needs a higher volume pump to keep up. The stock pump works fine, but the increased load due to a decreased ratio means the ps pump is working harder to get fluid back into the rack.

Glad ya got the rack in man! Hope you enjoy it!
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Old 03-19-2004, 12:06 PM   #18
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I was wondering about the pump keeping up. Where did you source the jdm pump? Also, any thoughts on whether the power steering pulley could be changed to a slightly larger diamater. That would slow down the pump. Would just need to get proper belt length if stock belt couldn't be adj. enough. Thoughts?
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:02 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by neverendingmods
I was wondering about the pump keeping up. Where did you source the jdm pump? Also, any thoughts on whether the power steering pulley could be changed to a slightly larger diamater. That would slow down the pump. Would just need to get proper belt length if stock belt couldn't be adj. enough. Thoughts?
I got my pump from IA Performance. What I did note was that the pump outlet is different, so you'll need the JDM hose. The pulley appears to be lighter and the pump was actually heavier than my stock unit, so I am thinking it is certainly a higher volume pump. On the pulley size, not much larger- I am at about 90% tension adjustment. I also used the "stock" belt; I went to a Goodyear Gatorback belt, which I find is awful quiet and works great. Hope this offers some insight.
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Old 03-20-2004, 04:40 PM   #20
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is the USDM STi rack even quicker than the USDM WRX rack?

What are the ratios?
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Old 03-20-2004, 04:46 PM   #21
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2004 WRX rack - variable assist, speed sensitive rack-and-pinion.
Ratio: 16.5:1


2004 USDM STi rack - Engine-speed controlled variable power assist, load sensing valve and variable capacity power steering pump
Ratio: 15.0:1 Rack and Pinion,
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Old 03-20-2004, 08:57 PM   #22
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Well here's another update. I have discovered an interesting thing that has me a little concerned. I was checking to see how many turns I had lock-to-lock. So, I went all the way to the right, 1 1/2 turns. Back to center, then all the way to the left, slightly less than 1 1/4 turns (1 3/16ish). I guess that is partly why I noticed that I hit the lock so much sooner when I first drove it.

I got the car up in the air to take a look underneath and here is my theory, tell me if it's valid. It looks like the steering shaft coming from the cabin connects to the rack itself via a splined interface. Like this:

From what I can tell, it is not keyed or anything to force the two to mate up in any particular orientation.

Here is what the tie rods look like.
Right (passenger) side:


Left (driver) side:


As you can see, there are quite a few more exposed threads on the right side. This would seem to indicate that when the steering wheel is centered, the rack is already shifted slightly to the left. As a result, The rack would be able to move much farther to the right than to the left.

So basically, it looks like some pretty shoddy work on the part of the dealership.

And to answer a couple of previous questions, I guess it is 2 3/4 turns lock-to-lock and yes, I am planning on going to the Dragon (work permitting).

-Bryce
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Old 03-20-2004, 09:03 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by nhluhr
they are available in RHD! (which is totally useless to USDM LHD car owners)
That's right only RHD, I forgot.
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:23 PM   #24
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Bryce,

The discrepency in the threads is probably due to alignment. You can use those to adjust toe if I am not mistaken. Basically they did that and then the steering wheel is off a hair. You could straighten that and change the steering wheel orientation, etc etc but really I say you're fine as it is.

If that's your biggest complaint after a notable collision and that many parts replacments having to do with suspension and tire alignment you're not so bad off.
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Old 03-20-2004, 11:12 PM   #25
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I do agree that it's a pretty picky thing to be worried about. But is is a very noticable difference in the turning radius. It is quite obvious that I cannot turn as far to the left as I can to the right. Although this would rarely if ever make any difference on the road, it does become quite irritating when parking. I just believe in doing a job right I guess. "Good enough" usually isn't good enough for me.

-Bryce
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