Project V8 RX-7: Part 10 – Power Steering

Project V8 RX-7: Part 10 – Power Steering

by Jeff Naeyaert

We want power steering!  Even though our RX-7 is pretty light at 2,843 pounds with 3/4 of a tank of gas (to be exact), doing 3 point turns in the neighborhood or negotiating parking lots sucks.  That suckness is compounded by the smaller 330mm Sparco steering wheel we're using.  Some argue you get better steering feel at higher speeds without power steering, but the best argument for NOT having power steering in your V8 converted RX-7 is that it’s a buttload easier to just plumb a bypass line on your power steering rack and ditch the power steering altogether.  The fact is by the time you get around to thinking about the power steering, the engine is usually already in, everything is pretty much hooked up and ready to go… when everything else is checked off on your To Do list and the final thing left is Power Steering the last thing you want to do is go out and buy a bunch of expensive fittings, high pressure lines and adaptors.  In the RX-7’s case, the power steering pumps that come on most LS engines flow at a rate and pressure too great for the RX-7’s stock power steering rack—so at a minimum you end up with an over-assisted rack and floaty steering.  Such is also the case with the power steering pump we received in the CTS-V accessory drive kit we’re using. 

We installed out E-ROD LS3 with the power steering pump that came with the CTS-V front end accessory drive kit before we learned it would be incompatible with our rack.  We also discovered we'd need another half inch of clearance to close the hood over the reservoir mounted to the pump, but it could be relocated fairly easily if necessary.

There are a couple of relatively inexpensive options for getting power steering back.  The first would be to use the power steering pump from an LS2 equipped Pontiac GTO which is rumored to have close to the same flow of the stock Mazda rack—you can expect to pay $150 to $200 at a junkyard, if you can find one! 

I don't really do much junkyarding personally (unlike Martin who turned me onto this website) but I was kinda surprised I hadn't heard of Car-Part.com and their vast database of junkyard parts!

We didn't end up going this route but note, there MAY be an issue with fit if you've got an old LS1 and want to use a LS2 pump as there are Y-body (Corvette) accessory offsets and F-body (Camaro/Firebird) offsets.  The GTO pump has the Y-body offset accessories.

 

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