Power steering rack upgrade for a VW bus

Custom power steering rack upgrade

Well, once again the guys at Resto Classics have come up with a brilliant solution for the custom-powered steering rack for my vintage VW bus! Their collective knowledge and experience have produced an awesome result, so a big shout out to Nathan for bringing it all together and making it happen for me! 🙂

T3/T25 steering bevel box used in custom power assisted steering rack conversion
T3/T25 steering bevel box used in custom power-assisted steering rack conversion

The heart of the system was the Opel Astra-powered steering rack that I had imported from Germany on Resto Classics advice. After more research, measuring and working through various options, this was connected up via a T3/T25 steering bevel box with a system of universal joints and modified track rods.

custom power assisted steering rack tucked behind front beam
custom power-assisted steering rack tucked behind the front beam

Power-assisted steering

The simple brilliance of the solution is that it all fits nicely behind the original front beam and utilises the vacant space that lies underneath the front seat well. The whole installation seems so logical, almost as if it was a factory install!

custom power assisted steering rack conversion so neat it looks like factory spec
custom power-assisted steering rack conversion is so neat it looks like factory spec

The reservoir for the power-assisted hydraulic system also fits snugly underneath the front seat well. For ease of access topping up the hydraulic fluid and maintenance, a discreet access hole was made in the tool chest storage area under the front seats.

custom power assisted steering hydraulic reservoir fits neatly under front seat well
custom power-assisted steering hydraulic reservoir fits neatly under the front seat well

Billet fittings

Along with custom hydraulic hoses, a neat custom billet spacer with rose jointed (‘Heim’ join in the US?) fixings to the track rods was used to give the correct spacing and clearance for brake pipe Flexi pipes etc. whilst allowing for any play.

all in the detail – custom billet spacer and rose joint fixings
all in the detail – custom billet spacer and rose joint fixings

Upgraded steering and disc brakes

So, the moment of truth, what does it all drive like? Well, it was my first chance to take the bus for a brief test run after having spent ages getting up close and personal with the Epoxy Mastic 121 paint. Looking forward to testing out the new power steering rack system, and of course, the Fellows Speed Shop disc kit with Billet hubs, Porsche 944 discs and Willwood 4 pot callipers. They looked so good it was a shame to cover them up! Even though the discs are still bedding in, the difference is very noticeable! Don’t think I’ll be needing a servo, after all, they are that good – happy days indeed 🙂

seems a shame to hide the Fellows Speed Shop Billet hubs
It seems a shame to hide the Fellows Speed Shop Billet hubs

To say I’m pleased with the result is an understatement of biblical proportion! It has utterly transformed the driving experience from my brief test run! 🙂 It’s hard to believe or even begin to explain the difference. I had a good original steering box before and had grown used to the ‘keep fit’ use of the steering wheel. The new power steering rack was a whole new different experience. I had to remember that the steering was still connected to big heavy 15″ steel wheels with big R15/195/80 tyres!

good condition LHD original VW split screen steering box
good condition LHD original VW split screen steering box

Apart from the sheer ease of use of the power steering rack (honestly, you cannot begin to believe how good the transformation is until you have driven the bus! 🙂 ), it also has the added benefit of increasing the bus ground clearance as the lower position of the original steering box has now been removed. Along with ongoing easy maintenance, it also has the added benefit of giving the bus a better turning circle than the original steering box. So basically, what’s not to like?

Time to transform your driving experience!

**** January 2024 update ****

OK, so the steering box conversion on my bus has proved to be, without a doubt, the most popular page on the vdubxs.com site! I have received so many enquiries about it over the years since it was done. Mine was a bespoke one-off, but everybody wanted a kit they could buy and fit themselves, or possibly get someone to fit them. Well, great news for anybody interested in transforming the driving experience of their VW Bus. At last, such a kit is now available to buy and fit!

Rustys steeringbox – the most comprehensive retrofit steering box kit on earth
Rustys steering box – the most comprehensive retrofit steering box kit on earth

Rustys is now producing the most comprehensive retrofit steering box kit on Earth – makes your bus steering right, light and tight like never before! A bus buddy friend is going to be transforming his ride shortly, so hopefully I’ll be able to post further details of the installation for those interested in due course.

Rustys RST1 steering box kit fitted
Rustys RST1 steering box kit fitted

The steering box kit you’ve been waiting for…

So if you want to grab one of Rustys kits yourself, then speak with Arnold at Rustys to get a steering box kit for your bus – tell Arnold that vdubxs sent you!

 

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8 thoughts on “Power steering rack upgrade for a VW bus”

    • I didn’t know there was an such issue?

      Certainly nothing I’ve ever had or experienced with this setup, and I’ve been driving it everywhere since 2016 without any kind of problem? 😎

      Reply

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