About The Steering Rack & What It Does
Many people do not know that when your steering wheel is straight there is no power assist and only your manual steering is at play. But when you decide to rotate the wheel is when it applies a load to the steering rack. This load will twist a small torsion bar that is located in the rack, which rotates a valve which turns on the power assist.
Why The SN95 Steering Racks Are Better
Starting in 1994 is when Ford made a huge adjustment to the steering rack which included making the torsion bar stiffer and added a two-stage transition to the valve which activates the assist. With these changes, they made for a smoother shift from no assist to power-assisted. Also please note that this resulted in a little more effort due to their being less total assist.
Also, be aware that not all SN95 steering racks are the same. From 1999-04 the racks were improved from the 1994-98 racks with the addition of reduced-friction internal bushings. The different effort ratings on the SN95 steering racks are as follows:
- Cobra models steering racks have a higher effort than GT models.
- GT models have a higher effort than V6 models.
- Please note that some special model Mustangs have some unique steering racks with changes to increase effort and feel. The 1999-04 Cobra and 2000 Cobra R are these special models.
Key Mechanical Changes To SN95 Racks
- Input shaft being changed from a round shape with splines to a triangular shaft which matches to the lower steering shaft connection.
- Inner tie rods are longer so they match the longer SN95 front control arms.
- The threads that attach the outer and inner tie rod ends are changed from standard SAE to metric.
What Is Needed To Make The Switch To An SN95 Steering Rack?
- Maximum Motorsport’s Hybrid Steering Shaft Assembly is a must-have because it has the correct lower U-joints to connect to the triangular shaft of the SN95 steering racks. Also with this rack, it also features a splined joint to correct steering wheel orientation. Without this feature, the steering wheel would have to be rotated nearly 90 degrees from the center.
- Also required are fox chassis inner tie-rods to retain the Fox chassis front control arms. Having the correct length Fox Body inner tie-rods can easily be swapped onto an SN95 steering rack due to the inner threaded connection.
Should You Use A Rebuilt Steering Rack?
When looking for a cheaper alternative steering rack option be extremely careful when looking at large rebuilders. Most rebuilders work on steering racks in huge quantities and pay no attention to keeping the insides of the rack matching the housing. So attention to detail is often non-existent. There are some used or salvage options that we feel are of higher quality such as:
- Lower mileage steering rack from a used or salvaged car that wasn’t directly damaged in the accident.
- Rebuilt steering rack from a Ford dealer.
- Rebuilt rack from a local rebuilder with good reviews.
To wrap everything up, we believe that upgrading your Fox Body Mustang’s steering rack to a newer SN95 option is a great upgrade that can not only create a better driving experience, but also keep you safer. As always, for all things, Fox Body and SN95 Mustang keep it right here at LMR.com.