When building a car to drift, you’re constantly looking for ways to push the boundaries. And seeing as getting sideways with big angle is the whole point of the sport, steering lock is something that all drift cars need upgraded at some point as the driver gets more confident behind the wheel.
Most circuit race cars actually reduce the amount of steering lock they can obtain, due to the large brake ducting and tyre sizes that they run. This makes components for gaining steering lock a very niche market, in that only drifters are going to purchase them! I found out pretty quickly that there were next to no off-the-shelf products for my FC RX7 that would allow me the steering angles I was used to in my old Silvia. Luckily there are people here in New Zealand with the skills to help, and can produce quality products for anyone wanting to get their cars handling on lock.
C’s Garage (Billspeer) make these factory replacement steering knuckles that not only give you quicker steering and more lock, but reduce bump steer and ackerman by altering the height/length/angle of the tierod pickup point.
Znoelli Limited is a local Auckland engineering company who have an invested interest in motorsport, as owner operator Leon also runs his own race cars. He knows how to make quality products that will take the abuse of motorsport. I worked closely with him on getting the most possible out of my steering setup, ultimately designing the above steering rack spacers. Where most slip-on spacers will reduce thread engagement, and only give you a minimal amount of extra steering lock, these steel items utilise the full travel of the steering rack and ensure 100% strength is retained in the steering components. They are looking to have these available in the near future for public sale for both Nissan and Mazda.
Znoelli has also designed my lower arm ball joint extensions. The items on my car at present are a one-off set, designed for extra wheel track without adding to the already widened scrub radius. This helps with ensuring the wheel has plenty of clearance at full lock.
The wheel spacers are also a Znoelli item. Made in Auckland, New Zealand, the Maxtrak brand is made from 6061 billet aluminum and are hub centric to your wheel/car combination. This is an area where you don’t want to cheap out, as your whole cars’ weight is riding on them. Znoelli can custom make any spacer, bolt-on or slip-on, to your specification.
Because of the increased steering lock wheel clearance becomes a huge issue when dealing with factory bodywork and suspension components. The ball joint extensions and wheel spacers supplied by Znoelli help with clearance by moving the entire wheel assembly further out. Znoelli also stocked their NZ made and fully legal stainless braided brake lines, replacing my old perished 1988 rubber lines. Keg at DKM Fabrication cut out the factory inner guards and reinforced them with rollcage tubing. The fibreglass fenders are a factory replacement part that has then been modified by the good guys at Alfa Panelbeaters, widening them a further 40mm and spraying the whole lot gloss black. I’ve also opted to remove the swaybar as it was fouling, and the car feels fine without it so I simply haven’t worried about trying to make another item fit!
The main thing to remember is that all of these components need to be a safety item first, before being a performance item. If you are not confident with what you are doing, ask companies that specialise in these modifications such as the ones I’ve mentioned. There are plenty of quality parts being made here in New Zealand, so keep them in mind when modifying your own vehicle. Then it’s time to have fun with the new-found lock!
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