Lotus Elan

Steering upgrade for Spyder +2 Zetec cars

PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:03 pm

I had a visit to Spyder yesterday and whilst there I had a go in Sean Reeves +2 zetec which has recently received a steering upgrade to improve the turning lock.

The Spyder +2 zetec conversion involves using an original Mini (non BMW) steering rack mated to the Sierra uprights and Sierra control arms, this rack is quite nice in that it has 2.8 turns from lock to lock, is cheap and is readily available. The downside is that the Mini rack is designed for shorter throw control arms and that the turning lock on a converted car is about 75% of the original system leading to embarrasment when 3 point turns become 5 or 6 point and pulling out from narrow side roads becomes downright dangerous as you need to use the full width of the road. The steering is also a little slow because of the longer control arms making some people choose to use a Mini quick rack with 2.2 turns from lock to lock.

Sean has only recently been the owner of a +2 zetec as he has been too busy selling them to actually own one (his words) and now uses his car as a daily driver which is a good thing for us +2 zetec owners as he can see for himself some of the areas where this otherwise excellent conversion could do with a little improvement.

Andy Widnall has devised a solution that involves shortening the control arms by re-siting them on the uprights, the result I perceived in my test drive is that there is a slight increase required in steering effort but the turning circle has been reduced dramatically allowing easy 3 point turns and almost unheard of U turns on normal roads. Pulling out of side turnings is a normal event that no longer requires planning ahead.

I am getting my own car upgraded soon and will report back on issues such as bump steer and feedback through the steering wheel, but I spent 20 minutes driving fast and slow on the notoriusly bumpy and twisty Fenland roads with no issues.
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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