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Z3/ZHP steering rack swap-worth it?

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  • Z3/ZHP steering rack swap-worth it?

    Just wondering what everyone’s thoughts were on running either of these racks. My car’s a 95 m3 that’s mostly just used for running around on backroads. It might see some track time in the future if my work schedule ever allows it.

    The current rack works fine, but I’ve read that the 95 m3 specifically has the worst/slowest rack of all e36’s. It’d be nice to have something quicker, but if the results are barely noticeable, or worse, the steering becomes too twitchy, I’ll pass.

    thanks!

  • #2
    If it's the same as the EU M3 3.0 racks (not 95 specific) then yes these are considered to be the worst, although not the slowest. Well, yes and no. These racks have a variable ratio and are the fastest, but only at the very end just before full lock.

    So any other rack will be an improvement, just for being liniair alone.

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    • #3
      I’m unsure if ZHP in the US is what we call a purple tag in the UK? But I just fitted a purple tag E46 to my 97 M3 along with a solid steering bush and it is so much better.

      For me the stock steering rack was way too slow, and made the car feel a lot bigger and lethargic than it actually is. The faster rack transformed the car and it’s so much more enjoyable to drive now.

      It’s a must do IMO.

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      • #4
        It is a noticeable upgrade, definitely worth it.

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        • #5
          I installed a ZHP rack from the Rack Doctor. I'm happy with it. Not quite as aggressive as the Z3 rack. To me it has a nice balance. I also rebuild the power steering pump at the same time and replaced all the hoses and cooler lines.
          Joe's 1998 M3 Journal

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          • #6

            If you're planning to use a Yellow 712 or Purple tag E46 rack on an E36 you will need to use E46 inner tie rods with outer E36 ends. Alternatively you can slot the E36 inner E36 threads to mimic the E46. This rack vents through the tie rods and the E36 does not. You'll also remove the washer locks. Everything else is PnP.



            When doing this job. Replace both tie rods (buy the inner/outer kits), boots, clamps, and steering giubo.

            MSportParts | Braymond141

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            • #7
              Rack Doctor will install the necessary E46 -> E36 tie rod conversion. That's what I had him do. But his racks are not the lowest price you can find. I did not trade in my stock rack but sold it to local forum member that I knew. Good point about steering giubo. I replaced mine and forgot to mention.
              Joe's 1998 M3 Journal

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              • #8
                Yeah E46 inners, super cheap.

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                • #9
                  Awesome! Thanks for all of the info. Guess it’s time to start gathering parts!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I’m bringing this thread back because I’ve finally sourced all of the parts (I think). My PS hoses and reservoir were weeping so I figured I’d do it all at the same time.

                    So far I’ve got
                    -New OE/OEM reservoir, suction, and return lines
                    -New OEM steering giubo
                    -Yellow tag 712 rack. Found it in a junkyard. Unknown condition but it was cheap and didn’t have any obvious leaks.
                    -E46 inner tie rods
                    -Lemforder e36 outer tie rods

                    Anything else I should do while I’m in there? I’m still considering a solid steering coupler and the chase bays or bimmerworld reservoir/line kit.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pappas928 View Post
                      I’m bringing this thread back because I’ve finally sourced all of the parts (I think). My PS hoses and reservoir were weeping so I figured I’d do it all at the same time.

                      So far I’ve got
                      -New OE/OEM reservoir, suction, and return lines
                      -New OEM steering giubo
                      -Yellow tag 712 rack. Found it in a junkyard. Unknown condition but it was cheap and didn’t have any obvious leaks.
                      -E46 inner tie rods
                      -Lemforder e36 outer tie rods

                      Anything else I should do while I’m in there? I’m still considering a solid steering coupler and the chase bays or bimmerworld reservoir/line kit.
                      E34 steering joint fits the E36.
                      Be warned, you will need to massage it onto the steering shaft. You have two options, either use a dremel and notch a slit, or use a drill and ever so slightly shave down some of the splines on the steering shaft. It is MUCH easier than it sounds. It's maybe 15 minutes of extra work once you figure out what you need to do.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pappas928 View Post
                        I’m bringing this thread back because I’ve finally sourced all of the parts (I think). My PS hoses and reservoir were weeping so I figured I’d do it all at the same time.

                        So far I’ve got
                        -New OE/OEM reservoir, suction, and return lines
                        -New OEM steering giubo
                        -Yellow tag 712 rack. Found it in a junkyard. Unknown condition but it was cheap and didn’t have any obvious leaks.
                        -E46 inner tie rods
                        -Lemforder e36 outer tie rods

                        Anything else I should do while I’m in there? I’m still considering a solid steering coupler and the chase bays or bimmerworld reservoir/line kit.
                        I did the Chase Bays reservoir kit and PS cooler. Probably would not again. The braided lines are nice but a bit of a PITA to get installed correctly as those lines are unforgiving in placement. The reservoir looks nice but does not add much benefit. It may be slightly larger than stock. I think they should have added a proper overflow drain line to the reservoir.
                        Joe's 1998 M3 Journal

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OP, looking forward to your impressions as i also drive the back roads. I don't recall every feeling like the steering was too slow but with nothing to compare ignorance is bliss. So, please post your impressions once the mod is done.
                          You may want to replace the ferrule on the return hose as they are known to leak. Here is a tutorial: https://gvc-bmwcca.org/_download/E36...eeringHose.pdf

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I went from stock (3.2) -> E46 (Purple) -> Z3 (non-M) and would never go back, in fact when I jump in a stock M3 now (or any E36 really) I'm just "yuck". It's so much better it transforms the vehicle.

                            Originally posted by pappas928 View Post
                            I’m bringing this thread back because I’ve finally sourced all of the parts (I think). My PS hoses and reservoir were weeping so I figured I’d do it all at the same time.

                            So far I’ve got
                            -New OE/OEM reservoir, suction, and return lines
                            -New OEM steering giubo
                            -Yellow tag 712 rack. Found it in a junkyard. Unknown condition but it was cheap and didn’t have any obvious leaks.
                            -E46 inner tie rods
                            -Lemforder e36 outer tie rods

                            Anything else I should do while I’m in there? I’m still considering a solid steering coupler and the chase bays or bimmerworld reservoir/line kit.
                            Sounds like you're on to it, you might as well add new boots. Also do the return line mod (chop it off at the end of the cooling tube and re-clamp it, lots of DIY's out there.

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