Steering/Handling - Suspension and Brake Forum

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Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 8:01 AM
Okay so I have pretty much every suspension upgrade I could, minus trailing arm bushings or IRS. I am still very dissapointed in the car's responce. The steering is sloppy and relatively unresponsive. Sure, it's better than a truck and still feels like a small car, etc... But it's terrible compareds to our Evo9. I like my ride better (it's stiffer) but the steering on that thing is on rails. I understand the Evo will always be better... But is there anything we can do to tighten up the steering? My car is 12 years old, but only has 70k miles on it, so the steering equipment shouldn't be overly worn out. Am I being too critical, are they all this bad? Is there anything we can do to tighten it up and make it more responsive?




Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 8:17 AM
He's just a stupid thing you could check.. The locking bolts on the intermediate steering shaft tend to back themselves off a little a need run back in with some thread locker. Really, the whole thing probably needs replaced if you've never done it. There was actually a service bulletin distributed about it not being greased properly from the factory and wearing it out prematurely.

Anyway, that's just a dumb thing to try that probably still won't give you what you're looking for. You sound like a prime candidate for a manual steering rack. That will likely give you more of the response and road feel you're looking for. I forget, are you running the GA control arms?



"In Oldskool we trust"
Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 8:50 AM
Trailing arm bushings may help, I know on my car, if you push the side of the car when its parked, there is a fair bit of play in the rear, you can sometimes feel it wander back and forth on uneven roads. Some of this play is in the side walls on my 16" tires, your running 17s so your sidewall's are probably a little stiffer. New tie rods and ball joints might help a little, the old ones may not be worn out or anything but over time, they may have a little bit of play in them.
Like said above to, it may be some simple like the steering shaft.
I'm not sure what other rack options there is but that may be something to look at too?


2000 Cavalier Z24 5spd - Intake, Dynomax muffler, Hawk Pads, Powerslot rotors, Sportlines/Koni reds, Neon Coil, MSD 8.5 Wires - **SOLD**
2014 Kia Forte Koup SX 6spd - 1.6L Turbo - My new car
2015 Kia Sorento EX V6 AWD - Wifes Car

Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 9:20 AM
Was it mark who made the radius rod tie rods? I'm sure those wouldn't be too hard to source the parts for yourself.



"In Oldskool we trust"
Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 9:26 AM
Mrs Jazer wrote:

Okay so I have pretty much every suspension upgrade I could, minus trailing arm bushings or IRS. I am still very dissapointed in the car's responce. The steering is sloppy and relatively unresponsive. Sure, it's better than a truck and still feels like a small car, etc... But it's terrible compareds to our Evo9. I like my ride better (it's stiffer) but the steering on that thing is on rails. I understand the Evo will always be better... But is there anything we can do to tighten up the steering? My car is 12 years old, but only has 70k miles on it, so the steering equipment shouldn't be overly worn out. Am I being too critical, are they all this bad? Is there anything we can do to tighten it up and make it more responsive?


Are you sure your alignment is off? Bad alignment will do this. Also if you do not have the FE2 suspension package you do not have the tighter steering rack.




On the inside my car looks like a fighter jet.
Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 10:36 AM
I'd definitely be looking at the steering rack. I know there is a bolt-in quicker ratio rack from another car, but I can't remember what it comes from.

Also, do you have front a subframe connector or rear tie bar?





Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 10:54 AM
I have alum GA control arms with poly bushings & new ball joints.

My car did not come with factory front sway bar so I'm guessing it does not have the upgraded steering you speak of... It is an 02 LS (fully loaded electronically and came with the LN2).

This is not alignment related as It was noticeable after a fresh alignment. I DO feel like it wanders toe sometimes.. but It also may just be more sensitive to road pitch now with all the upgrades, or just be the slop im talking about. I'm having trouble figuring out if what I'm feeling is a weak point in the Cavalier steering design (It became very noticeable after all the suspension goodies were installed) or if maybe there is something that is a little off/worn/etc..

I am being critical because I drive the Evo and everything is TIGHT and responsive, then I get in my car and it feels sloppy... Despite all my focus being put into handling when I did a bit of a rebuild on the car last year.

Quick - are you taking the K frame brace? No I do not have anything aftermarket supporting the subframe.





Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 10:59 AM
Also no rear tie bar... I have heard mixed things about those.



Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:05 AM
K brace might help you but I still think the bulk of the problem is in that intermediate shaft and the rack. You most likely don't have the tighter rack so that could be beneficial to you too. Though, since it's not your dd anymore I vote manual rack. That's why I also mention radius rod tie rods. Tighten up that entire system in one sweep.



"In Oldskool we trust"
Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:16 AM
Rob Dotterer wrote:



Are you sure your alignment is off? Bad alignment will do this. Also if you do not have the FE2 suspension package you do not have the tighter steering rack.


Mrs Jazer wrote:

I have alum GA control arms with poly bushings & new ball joints.

My car did not come with factory front sway bar so I'm guessing it does not have the upgraded steering you speak of... It is an 02 LS (fully loaded electronically and came with the LN2).

This is not alignment related as It was noticeable after a fresh alignment. I DO feel like it wanders toe sometimes.. but It also may just be more sensitive to road pitch now with all the upgrades, or just be the slop im talking about. I'm having trouble figuring out if what I'm feeling is a weak point in the Cavalier steering design (It became very noticeable after all the suspension goodies were installed) or if maybe there is something that is a little off/worn/etc..

I am being critical because I drive the Evo and everything is TIGHT and responsive, then I get in my car and it feels sloppy... Despite all my focus being put into handling when I did a bit of a rebuild on the car last year.

Quick - are you taking the K frame brace? No I do not have anything aftermarket supporting the subframe.


It may be worth it to get the alignment looked at again? I don't think that's the problem but if this was noticeable after? Also, what kind of cond were your tires in before the alignment? Maybe the alignment was off before and the tires have uneven wear, now that alignment is good, they are not making a full contact patch with the uneven wear? This is just an idea, I still think Y3llowcav is right, something to do with intermediate shaft and the rack.




2000 Cavalier Z24 5spd - Intake, Dynomax muffler, Hawk Pads, Powerslot rotors, Sportlines/Koni reds, Neon Coil, MSD 8.5 Wires - **SOLD**
2014 Kia Forte Koup SX 6spd - 1.6L Turbo - My new car
2015 Kia Sorento EX V6 AWD - Wifes Car

Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:14 PM
The car IS my DD for awhile longer actually, as much as I wish it wasn't, lol.

This is not a bad alignment issue. Basically when all the susp goodies were installed, everything else felt tight and responsive which highlighted the terrible steering slop.. Made it more noticeable I guess.

I don't think manual steering is an option for me, I'd really struggle with it, lol!

What is the difference between the options available in the Cavaliers?




Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 1:29 PM
Steering ratio difference?

Here's some info, not sure how much it helps. Sounds like your car would have the faster 14.7 rack.
I don't find the steering that bad on my car anyways but do notice the wandering which I think could be fixed with more suspension mods but don't want to dump that much money into this car. It is a fun car to drive but sometimes its not as comfortable. On long road trips, the wifes Mazda 3 is nice/comfortable to drive but it is gutless. It has decent handling but nothing like my car. I do notice the steering and that is tighter on her car. At the end it just may be the actual build quality of the jbody, even after dumping 1000s into every suspension part, its still just a cheaply made platform. It could even be play where the steering wheel bolts in or something. For example, how much play does your shifter have? You can shorten the shifter, buy new shift cables, etc but it still is sloppy. I think someone on here made a full metal shifter. you would probably have to go to that extent to fix the steering problems.





2000 Cavalier Z24 5spd - Intake, Dynomax muffler, Hawk Pads, Powerslot rotors, Sportlines/Koni reds, Neon Coil, MSD 8.5 Wires - **SOLD**
2014 Kia Forte Koup SX 6spd - 1.6L Turbo - My new car
2015 Kia Sorento EX V6 AWD - Wifes Car

Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 5:04 PM
Does your car have a tilt column? Mine developed some slop after playing with the tilt. If I remember correctly there is an issue with something in the column coming loose (might be what yellowcav is talking about)

The evo probably has a quicker steering ratio which will make the car feel more responsive. I would skip swapping racks for the quicker jbody rack personally. The difference between the two isn't that great. If I was looking for a quicker ratio I'd be looking at a steering quickener which will provide a 1.5 or 2:1 ratio and make a noticeable difference.



Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 5:10 PM
I do have the tilt column but I never change it, so it's not like it is getting used all the time.. I have never noticed any physical play in the wheel.

That's what I wanted to know, if the Jbody switch was even worth it.... any direction into the steering quickener? This area is new territory for me.



Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 5:23 PM
Your steering shaft would need modified to make it work.

Here's a link to an install on a Honda to give you an idea of what's involved...
http://m.honda-tech.com/showthread.php?t=2530083&styleid=14



Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 6:30 PM
I noticed a big difference between the two racks. My brother has a base model and it screws me up when I drive his car since the steering isn't as fast. HIs is a 97 base mine is a 00 z24. It's very noticeable.




On the inside my car looks like a fighter jet.
Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 9:41 PM
Do third gens have a rag joint? Getting rid of it and using a full on universal joint cleaned up my response quite a bit.



Re: Steering/Handling
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 9:42 PM
I didnt read everything but did you try shaking down the front end? Make sure everything is tight and has no play? How about the control arm bushings?
Re: Steering/Handling
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 12:05 AM
stock front sway bar

I think that's why the car still feels sloppy

I have had addco fronts on two different coupes and both were razor sharp response wise when lowered.





Re: Steering/Handling
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 6:31 AM
Rob Dotterer wrote:

I noticed a big difference between the two racks. My brother has a base model and it screws me up when I drive his car since the steering isn't as fast. HIs is a 97 base mine is a 00 z24. It's very noticeable.



I believe the racks are the same if this post from the link I posted above is true. All 95-97 jbody's and 98 and up Z24 had 15.7 rack, 98 and up base had 14.7 rack(faster) Maybe suspension differences between the two cars affected the handling? Maybe the bushings on 97 were more worn out causing more slop?




Mr.Goodwrench-G.T. wrote:

Cadillacin wrote:

Something I've never noticed before was that there are 2 different steering ratios available for our cars stock(at least the sunfire i know does)

15.7:1 for the GTs and 1SC PEG package(03+)
14.7:1 for the SE/sedans and 1SA/1SV & 1SB PEG(03+)

Resulting in an end to end steering of 2.83 turns for the 15.7:1 and and 2.66 turns for the 14.7:1

What does this actually mean?
Is the steering tigher on the 14.7:1 since you only need 2.66 turns to go lock to lock(less)? Or does it just have less of a turning radius because of different parts that lowers that number? I would think that the tighter steering would be on the GTs and 1SC package.

What is the actual difference in terms of which one will turn your tire the most, with the least rotations of the steering wheel?
Is it the rack that makes the difference?

If its even possible, what would happen if you put a 14.7:1(whatever parts necessary) on a GT with the 205 width tires, rather than the 195 tires(I only ask because stock they would've never been mated together)? Does the tires or tire width even matter?

Ive never really messed with steering components other than direct in and out parts that are exact stock replacements.


Interesting topic.
For staters, going by my old GM records the 1995-1997 Js all had the the slower reacting 15.7:1 .
This is a quote from 1997 Cavalier...
Quote:

Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering (15.7:1 ratio) is standard on all Cavalier models. Rack-and-pinion steering provides precise control under demanding driving conditions. The steering rack is mounted on the front suspension cradle to provide a solid feel while improving isolation from road disturbances.


1995-1997 Specs were:
Quote:

Type Power Rack-and-Pinion
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ratio (overall) 15.7:1
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Turns stop-to-stop 2.88
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Turning diameter curb-to-curb (ft.) 35.6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Turning diameter wall-to-wall (ft.) 37.2


It wasn't until 1998 GM decided to put the faster 14.7:1 on their base model all the way to 2005. Also the specs in general changed overall too.
Quote:

Steering
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Type Power Rack-and-Pinion
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ratio (overall) 14.7:1, 15.7:1 (uplevel)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Turns stop-to-stop 2.6, 2.8 (uplevel)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Turning diameter curb-to-curb (ft.) 35.6


Now why would GM decided to put the slower steering on the FE2 cars? Well it's GM!
Seriously, although on paper it does look better to have faster 14.7:1, BUT when it comes to real world. The side to side transitions as the car settles will be more linear rather than abrupt, in other words, less slop. I say this because on the these cars, body roll is VERY apparent even with the FE2 suspension. So with the quicker steering... body roll will be even more noticeable as the steering reacts like a "knee-jerk" to your input. In a "performance oriented" car (Z24, GT, LS Sport) you do not want that at all. Now if GM really wanted to do it right and tie in the quick 14.7:1 ratio steering with stiffer shocks and at least a 26mm Front stabilizer bar with 25mm rear. Now the side to side transition or any transition is quelled with beefier tuning done by what I just mentioned.

Now, I used to have the SE and still the GT Sunfires, and I did notice immediately that the SE had heftier steering effort and it was tad quicker in response. But I remember reading back in the day that the GTs had a "variable effort" unit while the SE had a conventional power steering unit. What that means at parking lot speeds it is giving more assist, while on the road, it gives less assist stiffening up the steering. I've searched everywhere for that bit of info and I could not find it. It maybe in my old brochures.

You have to look at the bright side, if your power steering fails, you will be putting less effort at parking speeds. And your power steering pump doesn't have to work as hard either. lol



2000 Cavalier Z24 5spd - Intake, Dynomax muffler, Hawk Pads, Powerslot rotors, Sportlines/Koni reds, Neon Coil, MSD 8.5 Wires - **SOLD**
2014 Kia Forte Koup SX 6spd - 1.6L Turbo - My new car
2015 Kia Sorento EX V6 AWD - Wifes Car

Re: Steering/Handling
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 6:37 AM
The addco and the Eibach are the same size right? Would I see an improvement going from my FE3 bar to my Eibach? Only 1mm difference... Are they softer or something? I figured Id just go with the Fe3 and sell of my Eibach. It's not selling so maybe I should put it on, lol.




Re: Steering/Handling
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 6:44 AM
Schnupper wrote:

I didnt read everything but did you try shaking down the front end? Make sure everything is tight and has no play? How about the control arm bushings?


I did last year after the Eco swap.. I had some bolts that needed tightening after they settled or something... but Im going to do that again once it warms up.

I need to replace my TOB and I want to replace my rear main while im down there... Sounds like i should be dropping the subframe too, to change out my sway bar.. And go over the steering rack.

I also don't want my car to be down that long, im a mom now and its hard to dedicate much time to working on the car, lol. Nap times is about it, haha. Who wants to come help?



Re: Steering/Handling
Thursday, January 30, 2014 7:25 PM
Do you have upgraded bushings on your stock front bar or have you upgraded?



Re: Steering/Handling
Thursday, January 30, 2014 8:09 PM
I did the sway bar calculations earlier. Stock 24mm you take 24x24x24x24 and get 331,776 then take 26mm eibach, 26x26x26x26 and get 456,976. 331,776/456,976 and you get 28.4% stiffer swaybar. 1mm makes a huge difference but I believe the eibach is 26 not 25.




On the inside my car looks like a fighter jet.
Re: Steering/Handling
Thursday, January 30, 2014 9:42 PM
Rob Dotterer wrote:

I did the sway bar calculations earlier. Stock 24mm you take 24x24x24x24 and get 331,776 then take 26mm eibach, 26x26x26x26 and get 456,976. 331,776/456,976 and you get 28.4% stiffer swaybar. 1mm makes a huge difference but I believe the eibach is 26 not 25.



Just wondering why you times it by itself 4 times?
And you are right it does look like 26mm, I just read 25.4mm on a JBO thread. But googled it and looks like places are saying its 26mm.


2000 Cavalier Z24 5spd - Intake, Dynomax muffler, Hawk Pads, Powerslot rotors, Sportlines/Koni reds, Neon Coil, MSD 8.5 Wires - **SOLD**
2014 Kia Forte Koup SX 6spd - 1.6L Turbo - My new car
2015 Kia Sorento EX V6 AWD - Wifes Car

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