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Thread: Rack & Pinion Conversion using a VW Polo 86C Rack

  1. #1
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    Rack & Pinion Conversion using a VW Polo 86C Rack

    Well, by (ahem) popular demand, some info about the Rack & Pinion install I am using on my build.
    I will preface it by saying I have covered 0 (zero) miles with this config as the car is still at the chassis build stage.

    I bought a bracket from a guy on this forum:
    http://cal-look.no/lounge/index.php/topic,16738.0.html
    for €145, the bracket allows a VW Polo 86C Steering rack to be bolted to the stock VW front beam that we know and love.

    If you purchase, be sure to request a RHD (UK) bracket. It can be made to suit Left or Right hand vehicles.
    The VW Polo rack is centre-pull, meaning the tie rods attach in the middle, and are therefore kept long to reduce bump steer, the tie rods are threaded to M14x1.5 - same as the Beetle.

    The bracket is solid & well made, it bolts onto the top tube tube using the bolts & clamp from your stock VW steering box on one side and onto the steering damper mount on the other. A steering damper isn't used.
    Overall, I like this R&P set-up, going this route was one of my better decisions ;-)

    There are downsides of course:
    RHD, New old stock Polo racks can be difficult to find.
    The U-Clamps that mount the Polo Rack to the bracket aren't available new, so you'll need to refurb some used ones.
    You will have to get some tie-rods made to length (you can use stock tie-rod ends however).
    On my build the new set-up doesn't foul the Nova body, however my body is mounted 30mm higher than a stock build, on a on a stock build the Rack and tie-rods will run pretty close to the body.
    There are no adjustable end-stops on the Polo Rack (to prevent the wheels turning too far and fouling the arches), I believe end-stops will be needed on a Nova, the fix isn't too bad - but another welding job on the list.

    Left hand Drive bracket:







    Last edited by steve; 03-03-2019 at 01:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Steve,

    I have a question looking at your photo from the front. If you have height adjustable coil overs for the front end why do you need torsion bar height adjusters also? Your system doesn’t use the Red 9 rotating bars?

  3. #3
    Senior Member BlueNova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve View Post
    Well, by (ahem) popular demand, some info about the Rack & Pinion install I am using on my build.
    ..........
    Thanks for such a clear and comprehensive description Steve.

    That's the same bracket I saw online. Looks like an excellent conversion!

    Cheers, Alistair
    Last edited by BlueNova; 03-03-2019 at 10:40 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BlueNova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by islandman View Post
    Steve,

    I have a question looking at your photo from the front. If you have height adjustable coil overs for the front end why do you need torsion bar height adjusters also? Your system doesn’t use the Red 9 rotating bars?
    David, I highjacked Steve's build thread a while back on the issue of front suspension ... he's using through bars from Red9 with Spax coilovers, and he knows he doesn't need the adjusters on the front beam.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Gents, The front beam is from Limebug, and it had the torsion bar adjusters pre-fitted when purchased, they aren't used for height adjustment, but they do serve to lock the through-rods (centrally) in place. So the coil-overs support the full weight of the front-end and height adjustment is by winding up the springs on either side.
    One thing I didn't mention above is that I'm hoping that going R&P will resulting in lighter steering, we'll see.

    The through-rods were also from Limebug, not Red9.

    Where did you see the Bracket for sale online Alistair?

  6. #6
    Senior Member BlueNova's Avatar
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    Steve,

    It was on TheSamba.com forum ... a guy called Alex77 from Finland posted some photos. He produces lasercut parts and has items for sale on The Cal-look Lounge at ...

    http://cal-look.no/lounge/index.php/topic,16738.0.html

    where quite far down the list of parts it states ...

    "Rack and pinion bracket kit for BJ beetle for use with VW polo 86C rack, includes rivetnuts, 115€ / welded 135€

    Shipping varies to europe at 1-8kg amount of parts between 15-40 euros
    "

    It's a LHD version, but I'm sure he'd be able to produce RHD versions too.

    Alistair

  7. #7
    Reading with interest the conversion to VW Polo rack with long track rods. Nice job.
    I have looked and whilst there is one currently available on eBay for 55 quid, there sees to be a shortage of them but,,,, it is not beyond the realms of possibility to convert any rack to that system by making a fitting for ONE end of a standard rack and using long rods because at the end of the day that is all the VW Polo one is. Also used many years ago, Chavelle, Camero,
    A nicer system I found is where a frame is fitted to either end of a standard rack and the rods fitted onto that, and they could in theory be fitted anywhere along the bar.
    I think I will stick to my Citroen/Talbot one.


    hot rod rack.jpg
    Last edited by Peter; 03-03-2019 at 02:18 PM.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member BlueNova's Avatar
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    Steve,

    Something I meant to say earlier today when I was looking at the photos of your chassis ... don't forget to fit a cover plate to the front face of your frame head. When I lifted my body from the chassis it was clear that I didn't have one fitted ... hence all the rust on the frame head bottom plate!!

    Alistair
    Last edited by BlueNova; 03-03-2019 at 09:36 PM.

  9. #9
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    Learning from other peoples 'experiences' is what this forum is about ;-)
    (the other thing in-shot it the gasket, I need to get some bolts for this also)


  10. #10
    Senior Member BlueNova's Avatar
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    Good man Steve! I've got a new cover plate and bolts for mine but still need to order a gasket.
    Cheers, Alistair

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