lowering steering

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lowering steering

Post by bertvorgon » 20 Sep 2012 17:51

CMAC asked me about lowering the steering wheel/column.

I took some aluminum plate, cut out some squares, drilled holes in them, and dropped my steering about 1". There is enough " latitude in the steering column to allow that. See picture. as we put smaller wheels on, and LOWER the seat, we don't want to block the main gauge cluster, so lowering to top of the wheel helps that perspective.

Sometime when we build our cars, we overlook the very important set up of our driving space, the ergonomics if you will. I am a short person, 5"7" ( and shrinking). So, to keep my leverage good on the steering wheel I dropped it. I then set my seat height, and distance. distance is hopefully with your arms slightly bent at the elbows..NO STRAIGHT ARM...with your hands at the 9'ish and 3'ish...which is why most wheels have the spoke at 9 and 3, with the newer ones a bit of a thumb grove. You want a wheel that is not too thick for your hands grip, to avoid strain. Diameter is important with our old manual steering boxes, and possibly a LOT of castor. I run 5.5 degrees right now, and when I turn the steering at rest, that LIFTS one side of the car up. If you don't think that takes some leverage.....I went with as large a sport wheel as possible, to help with leverage at the slaloms/racing. You want your seat height to both give you the best leverage on the wheel, almost full mid-chest height, and, to get to the pedals ok. This becomes a bit of a balancing act. I also tilt my seat front UP, to hold the leg well under my knees. I fine tuned it with a custom piece of higher density foam on my seat. Be careful of seats with high side bolster's, as they can impeded the swing of your elbows under combat situations. I modified mine when I re-upholstered my seat. I have never had the low ride seat look, I like to have good depth of field over the hood, so I could see where the corner of the car was, for proper placement in slalom situations ( and not hit too many cones). When setting seat distance, make sure your brakes are set up, and clutch. You must have enough "stroke" in your leg, with the knee still bent, to apply maximum leverage to the brake, and NOT become straight legged. I put a 2" extension in my brake pedal arm, and moved it over slightly, so I can heel and toe very easily, and, have VERY good modulation on the brake pedal.

The shifter is another issue, we don't want a huge reach to go to 5th, nor, do we want to drag it down to second, that makes our arm start to work against what is comfortable. Really take the time to bend that ole' shifter to whatever works best, and, figure out what BEST layout works for you. If you only see 5th on the odd highway trip, make the best for the 2-3 or 3-4 shift, whatever works for you.

Shoes, this may sound silly, but, the thickness of your shoes will affect the feel of things, and the stroke. I have a pair of runners that I just wear with the 510, and, they are as thick as my race shoes, so when I drive either way, it always feels the same.

Part of being really fast in your 510, or any car for that matter, is the level of comfort, and I don't mean the comfy ride like Grama's Buick, but, the feel you have for the controls and feed back that is constant through the seat, wheel, and pedals.

I have the back of my seat at a slight angle, and, due to its design, I can rest my head against it very comfortably, yet still wear a helmet that does not push my head forward. A 500 mile day makes this a nice treat.

So, bottom line, take the time to set things up.... :)
dash & shifter layout.JPG
You can see the pedal extension and kick over, to be close to the gas pedal, and, I can keep my heels truly on the floor.
dash & shifter layout.JPG (147.02 KiB) Viewed 3133 times
IMG_2745.JPG (132.55 KiB) Viewed 3133 times
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Re: lowering steering

Post by okayfine » 20 Sep 2012 18:12

FWIW, the historical perspective:
Interior - Roll Cage and Dash Construction.jpg
Interior - Roll Cage and Dash Construction.jpg (173.35 KiB) Viewed 3125 times
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Dave Patten
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Re: lowering steering

Post by Dave Patten » 21 Sep 2012 05:33

I lowered the steering column in my first 510 racecar by using stacks of washers to space down the column. The trick in making the install easier is to temporarily put the washer stack on a bolt, nut the stack tight and wind electrical tape around the outside of the washers to hold them together, making it a one piece shim.

It was a bitch trying to put 8-10 washers on each bolt the first time I did it.
Dave Patten
Dunbarton, NH

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Re: lowering steering

Post by Cedric » 21 Mar 2013 06:13

hmm good work.. but why you need to lower that steering.. because I am also using that on default position.. Anyhow share a picture after installation of wheel.. Then I can guess that how it looks. Thanks for sharing.

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