Africa 2020 Buggy - Steering
Updated: Mar 5, 2020
So for the steering rack, I decided to use a center mount rack and pinion unit instead of the standard steering box. The main reason to move away from the box was due to the length of the tie rods. With a standard box, are two tie rods (one long and one short). Because of this, the longer rod can be more prone to bending. As the front beam, I am using is 6 inches wider than stock, the likelihood of bending the longer tie rod increases. The clearance of a longer tie rod over the frame head was also a concern; however, based on what was required to fit the rack, the concern was not warranted.
Fitting the Steering Rack
Fitting the steering rack to the chassis required a bit more thought. The rack, predominately used on Sandrails where the rack is attached to the front suspension. Adjusting the frame head was required in our case as we were fixing it to a VW Chassis. Therefore we needed to put a notch into the frame head. With the notch cut in a metal plate was shaped to fit the notch. The plate also had to shaped to ensure the removal of the gear shift rod was still possible. A mounting bracket included with the rack was welded into place allowing the rack to be mounted centrally.
The tie rods that were purchased were heavy-duty rods that came oversized for the wider front beam. This oversizing meant we needed to cut them down to fit correctly. Cutting the tie rods to fit was not a problem. Unfortunately by cutting the tie rods to the correct size, we would not have enough thread left to be able to fit the tie rod ends. To resolve this, we needed to get a tap to cut more thread into the tie rod. Usually, this isn't an issue. However, the thread size was somewhat unique in the UK of 11/16th -18. So we had to source the tap.
After trying a few steering columns we finally settled for one from a mark 4 golf. The Steering support bar that comes with the Doon kit was then adapted to support the column allowing it to be removed easily if required.