MR2 Spyder Power Steering Removal (Part 4: Summary and Final Install)

M

Related Links

Part 1: Summary

Introduction
This is the final iteration of the MR2 Spyder power steering removal series. In this part I want to cover a lot of ground, tie everything together and show the final version of the surge box that I installed on my car. I also want to discuss several topics that led to the conclusion that the current setup is indeed the best.

How Power Steering Works

As shown in the image below, pressurized power steering fluid enters the rack where the rack and steering column join. In this compartment, there is a rotating valve assembly (arrow in picture) that directs the pressurized fluid to the rack through one of two lines or back to the fluid reservoir through the return line. The valve sends fluid to one side of the rack when the wheel is turned. This moves a piston in the rack and in turn assists in moving the wheels. The side of the rack not receiving the pressure has fluid forced back into the valve compartment and ultimately to the return as the piston moves. In this manner, the fluid is recirculated to the pump. (Check out this article for a more detailed explanation: How Car Steering Works)

Image from the how stuff works page of a basic power steering system.

Hose Choices

I have found a lot of false information regarding the use of fuel line for the non pressurized power steering fluid. In my tests, fuel line works just fine, does not swell and does not burst. I believe people using heater hose for return lines are the ones that spread this fallacy assuming that since the heater hose doesn’t hold, anything not labeled for P/S use will fail also. So you can use hose designed for fuel, oil or steering without issue. Just avoid vacuum and heater hose variants.

Hard Lines

Some of you may have noticed the previous guide labeled part 4 for the power steering removal which demonstrated the use of modified brake lines for the steering fluid path. This guide has been moved to an appendix as the brake lines proved more of a hassle than necessary.

Vent Box (Reservoir)

Although I began these guides using a modified oil catch can as the vent box, over time, the cans I used would become leaky due to the fill level indicator. As such, this final install includes the construction of a custom, leak proof vent/surge reservoir that will offer years of service.

Part 2: Final Install

Background
Based on the description in part 1, I am left to the task of creating a custom vent/surge reservoir that utilizes flexible fluid lines. And through the many iterations of the power steering delete system, I have determined that a system where all four of the original pressurized lines, running independently to the vent box, yields the lightest and most consistent steering feel. Finally, since the main (3/8″) in and out lines in the stock system are not the highest points, they become redundant and will be plugged to reduce complexity.

Building the Reservoir (Supplies / Tools)

Home Depot

  • 1 x 1/4″ steel plate, large enough to cut 2 x 2 1/4″ circles out of
  • 4 x 1/4″ female steel air compressor fittings.
  • 1 x 1/2″ – 3/8″ adapter from the air compressor fittings
  • 1 x 3/8″ hose barb fitting (brass or steel)

(Note: The air compressor fittings you want will be attracted to a magnet (steel))

Autozone

  • 1 x 5″ length of 2 1/4″ aluminized or galvanized exhaust steel
  • 1 x small air filter (the ones used on NA valve covers)
  • 4 – 5 feet of 1/4″ high grade fuel line and appropriate hose clamps

Tools

  • MIG welder
  • plasma cutter
  • chop saw with metal cut-off wheel
  • grinder
  • drill press
  • powder coater
  • brake line pipe cutter

If you don’t have access to the aforementioned tools, you can always change the materials and supplies to items you can comfortably work with. However, this guide details the way I built and installed my final system using joined metals to create a permanent solution.

Building the Reservoir (Cutting the Metal)

First, with the chop saw, I cut a 5″ length piece of the 2 1/4″ exhaust pipe.

Measuring the exhaust tube before cutting.

The 5

Then, using the diameter of the pipe as a guide, I cut two round pieces out of the 1/4″ steel plate with the plasma cutter.

Place the end of the pipe on the steel plate,

The plasma cutter will travel around the outside of the pipe's diameter to cut the circle.

The first circle cut out of the plate.

After cutting the pipe and the circles, you will need to grind down all of the left over jagged edges on the pieces. The circles where then shaped with the grinder to fit just inside of the pipe’s diameter. Note that all surfaces of the circles were ground to reveal fresh metal surfaces.

The pipe will have jagged edges after cutting.

Smooth the edges with the grinder.

Grind all surfaces of the two circles to expose fresh metal.

The edge of the circles are also shaped with the grinder to slide right inside the pipe to for the top and bottom.

Take the bottom circle and drill 4 small concentric pilot holes.  Then enlarge the holes until the narrow half of the 4 x 1/4″ female adapters fit through them.

Drill three small concentric pilot holes into the bottom circle.

Enlarge the holes until they can accept the 4 x 1/4

The 4 x 1/4

Flipping the circle over shows the flush fit the adapters form.

Once the adapters are in place, weld the 4 tapered portions to the back of the circle.  Then cut off the excess above the welds.

Weld the four adapters as shown to seal them with the circle.

The protruding portion of the adapters is then cut off right above the weld.

Grind the welds so that the surface is flat and clean.  (Note:  If you look closely, you can see that ground a little too much material off near my welds which may result in leaks down the road.  To fix this I added 4 small circular welds (shown below) and then refinished the surface.)

The surface is then ground flat.  However, if you look close enough you can see that I may hove gone to far which may result in leaks once everything is installed.

To remedy the over grinding, a small weld is placed around all 4 adapters to ensure proper seals.

The new welds are ground down one more time, making sure not to remove too much this time.

Flip the piece over and notice that the circle now has 4 1/4″ female ports securely attached.

Flipping the piece over, you can see that there are now 4 secured 1/4

Slide the finished circle into the pipe and weld the pieces together as shown to create the bottom of the reservoir.  Clean things up by grinding the excess from the welds.

The finished circle is then thread to through the pipe and weld in place to serve as the bottom of the vent / surge reservoir.

Grind the excess weld off to create a cleaner finish.

Cut a 1″ x 4 1/2″ plate from the 1/4″ steel to be used as a mounting bracket.  Grind and clean all of the bracket’s edges and then weld the plate to the reservoir.  To finish the plate, drill two small holes in the plate to be used for mounting points.

Cut a 1

(Note:  I forgot to record the process for attaching the larger fitting to the top plate.  Needless to say, the steps are almost identical to the bottom.  Grind and fit the top circle and then weld the 1/2″ to 3/8″ adapter to the top.  Once in place, drill a hole to create a breather and fill hole through plate (through the center of the adapter) and then weld the top circle to the top of the pipe.  I will add pics as I build more of these.)

Weld the new bracket to the side of the reservoir.

Drill 2 holes in the attached bracket.  These will serve as mounting points for the reservoir.

Optional:  Powder coat the piece if desired.

After a through cleaning and sanding, I decided to powdercoat the reservoir.  This image shows the coat media sprayed on.

The piece is then baked at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 10 minutes to set the powdercoat.

The finished product with 4 x 1/4″ barb fittings thread into the female ports.

The finished product with 4 x 1/4

Installing the Reservoir

coming soon …

Related Links

admin By admin

Chris Simmons is a race car driver, instructor, business owner and all around gearhead. His passion for motorsport started in the drifting community over 10 years ago and progressed into wheel to wheel racing of all kinds. When off track Chris can be found training and working on a myriad of projects. After a hiatus from writing, he is back to share his passion, knowledge and experience in regard to motorsports on and off the track.

Follow Me

Instagram