It’s all about valve placement. If that valve isn’t in the correct location, it can interfere with other components like engine mounts and other pieces. – John Jennings, Flaming River
In the scope of this article, we take a closer look at and install the company’s power assisted steering rack assembly for the ’79-’93 Fox body Mustang (PN FR40037) on a reader’s 1992 Fox Mustang. The goal of this is to introduce a proper power steering assembly after years of having a manual rack accompany this Mustang, as we continue to transform the car into a street-driven powerhouse.
Follow along as we show you how easy it is to install one of these systems in a day for any enthusiast.
Rather than give you what’s in the brochure, we’ll let John Jennings, electronic media coordinator for Flaming River, tell you what this system is all about.
'79-'93 Fox Body Mustang Power Rack And Pinion
- All new components – including valve, piston, seals, bearings and bushings, and pinion and rack gears
- Robotically-welded design for strength & durability
- Same line position as original ’79-’93 Mustang
- Stainless steel braided hoses
- Full turning radius and 6.00-inches of travel
- 12:1 Ratio / 2.5 turns lock to lock
- Lifetime serviceability
- Made in the USA
- PN FR40037
“With that valve housing being adjustable, the end-user can loosen the mounting hardware, rotate the valve housing, and gain clearance for the lines to install around the engine mounts and other components.”
The company explained that they are pretty aggressive with its valving and the travel they have available on its steering racks. Though with that said, Jennings informed us that these racks can be used for any driving scenario imaginable; from drag racing to daily driving. And for all of you drift guys out there, you can also use this rack on a drift car because of the available travel built in to the rack.
Flaming River has built-in up to six inches of travel into its steering racks, which allows for almost a full inch of extra travel over the factory steering rack. “There’s quite a few different options available there,” Jennings explained. “The torsion bar that we use in the valve is the same size that’s used in the SVT Mustang Cobra R, so it’s pretty aggressive for the performance guys.”
Testing, Testing, Testing
“First thing we do is examine all of the different variations of the factory steering rack,” Jennings said. “We look at the different years and body styles of the vehicle, and we also compare the different tire dimensions, and so on. We look at the differences between the generations, because different model cars will have different size front tires, and even have spacers from the factory for greater steering rack travel. This eliminates the tires rubbing on the subframe, wheel well, etc.”
“We run them, test them, confirm they can clear the factory crossmember, confirm all of the driveline components fit correctly, and all of the associated hoses and lines,” Jennings said.
“When we begin the production process, we put every rack that leaves on a test bench,” he continued. “We can actually duplicate a road trip or a curve for the rack for endurance testing as well. Basically anything you can name, we can test for that scenario.” The rack is then hooked up on the test bench for a few lengthy testing procedures to put it through some extra paces.
Flaming River said every rack that’s manufactured is tested to ensure it has the correct amount of travel and retains the right amount of pressure they expect out of it. “We try to do a lot of extensive testing on these units.” Jennings said.
Converting To Power Steering
Installation took about a day to complete when all was said and done. As one would assume, most of that time was spent connecting all of the components which enable our new steering rack to be power assisted.
We began the installation by lifting the car on our always trusty Bendpak XP10-ACX in-house lift, followed up by disconnecting the passenger side and driver’s side outer tie-rods.
We then proceeded to remove the current manual steering rack from our Maximum Motorsports K-member, removing the two bolts located on each side of the offset bushings. Removing the rack was as simple as that.
Next, we removed the worn splined shaft and universal joints assembly in preparation for the new assembly included from Flaming River.
It’s important to note that during the assembly of the new power steering rack, we were unable to use the included bushings because of our non-factory K-member in place. Due to this, we reused the offset/adjustable bushings that were installed on the previous manual steering rack, as the new power steering rack needed to be adjusted to install properly. Normally, this wouldn’t be the case, and the included bushings would work properly with no issues.
We secured the new rack and shaft in place, then proceeded to install all of the components which make up the power steering assembly.
We then installed the included OE line kit from Flaming River, as well as the junkyard hardlines and the serpentine belt. We were looking to be in good shape after that!
After years of hard racing at the strip, it was time this 1992 Fox Mustang saw some well-deserved street action. What better way to commemorate its new life for the time being than with a modern, power steering upgrade for the street?
While this reader’s Fox Mustang is still under construction during the transition from racecar to road car, we weren’t able to properly fill and bleed the power steering system just yet, so it’s important to keep that in mind for your power steering conversion.
Rest assured, we have confidence in this system when the time comes for that procedure, as Jennings explained. “The biggest thing to do is properly bleed the system,” he said.
“We find that contamination causes steering rack failures a lot of the time. Making sure the fluid stays clean is very important; and the more you can limit the introduction of debris or contamination into the fluid and the system, the better. It really helps to extend the power steering life, and it’s also important to make sure that the shafts are dimpled when installing the U-joints.”
Stick with us as we continue to bring you updates on this Fox Mustang project car in the future. We’ll be following up with another segment where we get this Fox body back on the road with its new-and-improved rack-and-pinion steering system and provide some driver feedback from its owner, so stay tuned.