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I'll add to @JFHughes8088 comment on DIY. It's a MUCH easier job if 2 people are doing it. There's alot of placing and manipulating of the rack position on installation and it helps a lot to have someone in the car and someone in the wheel well while doing it.
No argument from me about having the helper. If you don't have a helper:
Before removing the existing rack, I cut two 14-18" pieces of 3/4 ply that I had laying around so that I could insert them under the old rack, then a piece to fit behind the rack in the box section holding the rack. That held the rack upright so the bolts could be put in. At that point, the rack was supported in two axis. It turned out that that small forethought made installing the replacement rack easier. I also loosened the fixings under the dash so the that column was loose. I didn't need to do that to remove the rack, but I had to do that to get the column connected to the rack on reassembly.
 

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Acme Super Moderator ** The Enforcer **
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Not sure how I missed this thread. Good information. I had a quick-ratio rack in another vehicle and you get used to it almost immediately. Steering feel was improved as well.

San
 

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craigyirush
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1,536 Posts
Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
Thanks, all, for the feedback.

Going to upgrade with a quick rack as it doesn't appear to have any downside.

I'm leaning towards the Elise Parts one which is made by Titan (according to EP).

But what about this Hurricane rack from Elise Shop? I've read all the steering rack threads on here and haven't seen any discussion of it. It's the standard ratio but is also cheaper than the other aftermarket ones and OEM.

http://www.elise-shop.com/hurricane-steering-rack-elise-exige-340r-speedster-p-377.html?zenid=5b9ee11ad9cb2f3a1ba3ba9055b127d9
 

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craigyirush
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Discussion Starter #26
According to an e-mail I got from Elise Shop, "the US/Federal cars were equipped with Sona racks as far as I'm aware. That's a half aluminium half steel rack which is made in India."

Elise Parts said that rack in my car was likely "made in South Africa as Titan stopped dealing with Lotus around 2004. You can tell the difference if the outer casing is a mixture of black painted steel and aluminium."

Both Elise Shop's Hurricane racks and the Elise Part's standard ratio and Tuning (quick) racks are made by Titan.
 

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Jeff
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I put in the EliseParts "EP Tuning Quickrack" last year and it sure looks like the TitanQR. Here's a shot of it next to the original rack:



I put it in solo; jamming something underneath it to get it to the correct height helps, as does knocking off the one rivnut that's right in the way.

The bad news: I took it to a race shop to be aligned and didn't tell them to undo the clamps on the gaiters. The result is not pretty:



I was installing SS lines and decided I better try to straight those out while I was in there. They make creaky noises when turning near the limits and surely the stretch can't be good for them.

I carefully clipped the zipties on the outside and attempted to twist 'em straight. They were not having it. I even put a little grease under the edge - I can spin the very outside of them but they do not want to go straight. I can't believe they got that twisted; I think I had the alignment very close to right when taking it there.

Anyone have any tips for straightening these out? Worst case, I can probably take the ones off the old rack, but I'd really rather not remove them entirely unless I find clear evidence of rips, which I haven't yet.
 

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When we say 'quick ratio' rack. It doesn't seem much quicker to me, the Hurricane one for example claims 2.36 turns lock to lock as opposed to 2.7 oem. Does it feel like more of a difference than the numbers suggest?
 

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Less is Better
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When we say 'quick ratio' rack. It doesn't seem much quicker to me, the Hurricane one for example claims 2.36 turns lock to lock as opposed to 2.7 oem. Does it feel like more of a difference than the numbers suggest?
12% less steering wheel motion for a given road wheel angle is clearly noticeable.
 

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Jeff
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The problem with taking it back is that it was done nearly a full year ago, and my own distractions with brake issues and other non-Elise things means that I let it go much longer than I should have. I did contact the shop in the past week and they are willing to try to fix it, but geez, it seems like something I should be able to easily correct on my own. I put the stupid rack in completely solo; how bad should untwisting some gaiters be? Seems like it ought to be a five-minute job.

Well, apparently it is fairly bad since they sure don't want to untwist for me.

My main question is, shouldn't I be able to easily untwist them? They are incredibly tight on the rack and I'm not sure that the shop that did the alignment has some magic touch to be able to untwist them safely.
 

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The problem with taking it back is that it was done nearly a full year ago, and my own distractions with brake issues and other non-Elise things means that I let it go much longer than I should have. I did contact the shop in the past week and they are willing to try to fix it, but geez, it seems like something I should be able to easily correct on my own. I put the stupid rack in completely solo; how bad should untwisting some gaiters be? Seems like it ought to be a five-minute job.

Well, apparently it is fairly bad since they sure don't want to untwist for me.

My main question is, shouldn't I be able to easily untwist them? They are incredibly tight on the rack and I'm not sure that the shop that did the alignment has some magic touch to be able to untwist them safely.
When I do a major adjustment, I disconnect the tie rod ends. The boot doesn't twist at all when doing that.

I suppose that you could do the same thing here.
Mark the locknut/tie rod end interface with a paint pen
Disconnect the tie rod end from the steering arm
Count precisely the number of unwinds you make on the arm to get the boot where you want it.
Loosen the locknut
Spin the tie rod end opposite the unwind turns so that you rewind it properly
Tighten the locknut so that it hits the original mark you made
reconnect the tie rod end to the steering arm

At least the shop would not need to turn the inner rods as much after doing this.

If the original reason that the inner tie rods were spun so much is that you didn't center the rack to begin with, you might consider fixing that issue first. I don't recall if the lotus rack uses splines or a D shaped connector. The rack needs to be in the center of it's travel when you install it and the wheel needs to be centered before connecting the two.
 

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craigyirush
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1,536 Posts
Discussion Starter #34
I always like it when these kinds of threads are wrapped up properly, so here's how my saga ended.

After taking one of the front wheels off and listening in the well as the steering wheel was turned, I was pretty sure that the knock I was hearing was from the rack and not the suspension.

So I ordered Elise Part's Quick Tuning Rack, which arrived very quickly (less than a week from England to California).

Harry at A1 installed it and voila no more knock. Gave it a 700 mile shakedown by driving to Monterey and back for car week.

My only complaint is that the steering is very light and almost twitchy just off center and then gets much heavier at around a 1/4 turn either way. The increase in steering effort also feels non-linear (not progressive). I'm used to driving non-assisted cars (daily drove an '86 911 for ten years) so I'm surprised that I find the new rack too heavy.

Will get the car aligned again and see if that makes a difference.
 

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Less is Better
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I always like it when these kinds of threads are wrapped up properly, so here's how my saga ended.

After taking one of the front wheels off and listening in the well as the steering wheel was turned, I was pretty sure that the knock I was hearing was from the rack and not the suspension.

So I ordered Elise Part's Quick Tuning Rack, which arrived very quickly (less than a week from England to California).

Harry at A1 installed it and voila no more knock. Gave it a 700 mile shakedown by driving to Monterey and back for car week.

My only complaint is that the steering is very light and almost twitchy just off center and then gets much heavier at around a 1/4 turn either way. The increase in steering effort also feels non-linear (not progressive). I'm used to driving non-assisted cars (daily drove an '86 911 for ten years) so I'm surprised that I find the new rack too heavy.

Will get the car aligned again and see if that makes a difference.
Did you get by without any duty on the steering rack? It seems hit or miss when getting parts from the UK.

I don't notice the inconsistency that you're describing with the Titan rack. I'd bet that this is a constant rate rack so it's probably related to alignment or your tires. One thing that I definitely noticed was a reduction in bump steer with the new rack.
 

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Any car with significant castor gets increasing effort. I find the Exige with sticky tires at the heavy end of ok in parking, so a slight increase could push me to grumble.

My rack has not made noise but it seems to be a maintenance item, I would like a stock ratio rack myself if I replace it
 

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A numbers of posts here have mentioned the new rack's helping dumpster; curious if the mount geometry is different, and if not, how a bumpsteer improvement is accomplished with the new rack's?
 

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Less is Better
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A numbers of posts here have mentioned the new rack's helping dumpster; curious if the mount geometry is different, and if not, how a bumpsteer improvement is accomplished with the new rack's?
I didn't do any measurement but my guess is that the the length of the track rods in relation to the length of the rack itself is different. I didn't notice a difference in the position that the mounting features locate the rack relative to the chassis, but maybe it does.
 
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