THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business - July '15

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36 n Performance & Hotrod Business n July 2015 HOTROD mance driving, or if the customer is look- ing for modern handling in an older vehi- cle, rack and pinion conversions should be considered. Rack and pinion provides the modern steering characteristics that today's drivers seek. Old steering systems suffer from a woeful lack of control and perfor- mance. A rack-and-pinion conversion will solve these issues. The installation itself should also be considered. Some systems require cutting (even of some major components); some require drilling and welding; and some are bolt-on. Steeroids systems are completely bolt- on, utilizing OE attachment points, and designed for minimal disturbance of other vehicle components. The advantage to shops is that a bolt-on installation requires less labor, allowing more budget for addi- tional services. This can be a great selling point, because a very large part of the final cost often comes as installation labor. The less labor- intensive the install, the more affordable the project. Plus, if the customer decides to take the car back to stock, Steeroids can be removed and the OE system reinstalled, with no trace it was ever there. Fitment and clearances also need to be considered. Things like aftermarket head- ers can halt or very drastically change an installation. SpeedDirect maintains a com- prehensive list of header fitments for its Steeroids system. PHB: When is it a better idea to replace the original front end and steering with a complete modern front suspension and steering system? Older vehicles were not built to today's performance standards. Many customers today are looking for the steering response they have grown accustomed to in their daily drivers. This cannot be achieved with an OE system on many older vehicles. Customers who want to autocross, or do performance driving need rack and pinion. Also, as customers age, it can be difficult to maneuver their vehicle. A rack and pinion conversion can keep someone driving their prized possession longer and more often than they would have with original steering. PHB: Please share any additional advice about the selection and instal- lation of new systems. When selecting a system, it is most important to consider the vehicle's planned use. Buy based on a solid company, with a history of good customer service that stands behind its product. As with any product, you can prob- ably find a super-cheap version out there someplace. But you will regret that deci- sion when you have fitment issues and are left with a very expensive decorative doorstop. Or worse, a product of less-than- stellar quality, which is now carrying your customer and his family around town. Steering at its most basic is a safety item, and can be extremely unsafe if it is a problem system. Mike RutH Heidts Automotive Group, Lake Zurich, Illinois www.heidts.com PHB: Describe your company's recent product offerings and features. Heidts is now offering a complete bolt-in IFS front suspension system for 1967-'87 Chevy C10s and '65-'72 Ford F-100s. These are completely redesigned specifically for trucks and are extremely heavy-duty. We have increased the material size in the crossmembers and have fitted it with the largest upper and lower control arms in the industry. They come standard with power steering rack and pinions, adjustable aluminum coilover shocks and Wilwood four-piston calipers. We built them heavy- duty because they are going into trucks and we made them bolt-in so the aver- age do-it-yourselfer can install them easily with basic hand tools. Basically, you cut off the old suspen- sion, drill a couple of holes and bolt in the new system. It's really that easy. We recommend swapping out the old steering column for an ididit unit and work with them to develop a shaft kit to mate the column to the rack. PHB: Describe some options for cus- tomers with limited budgets. If you are on a limited budget, we offer bolt-on replacement upper and lower con- trol arms for most popular vehicles. The Heidts units are tubular and are much stronger than OEM stamped arms. They are made to use a coilover shock and coni- cal spring that fits into the stock frame. We have also designed them with a much improved caster/camber curve for those who like to burn corners. PHB: What advice can you give to a shop about selecting a steering system for one of its customers? Find a reputable company and stick with them and buy everything they offer in one system instead of trying to save a dollar here and a dollar there. Make sure the system you're buying is complete and replacement parts are avail- able, because they use consumable parts. Nothing annoys a customer more than, 10,000 miles down the road, three years from now, he needs new control arm bush- ings and they don't make them anymore. The big thing is to sit down and have a thorough conversation with your cus- tomer, the end user. Find out exactly what it is he's planning on doing. Nothing irri- tates a guy more than in his mind he wants to drive this thing all over the place and in your mind you're going to build him the coolest, lowest-riding car out there to Steeroids rack & pinion conversion kit for the C1 Corvette. (Photo courtesy SpeedDirect) Steeroids rack & pinion conversion kit for the 1964-'70 Mustang. (Photo courtesy SpeedDirect)

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