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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This DIY is dedicated to everyone on NASIOC who wonders WHY WHY WHY anyone would ever want to get rid of God's Own power steering.

THE WHAT:

Get rid of the power steering pump, re-route the lines and replace the belt from the crank to the alternator.

THE WHY:

Power steering sucks. Those of us with older Ls probably have run into the problem with the horribly designed early Impreza PS reservoir leaking ATF all over the block and headers so there's a ton of white smoke constantly pouring out of the hood and vents. Looks classy. You can either do the 2.5RS PS reservoir modification or, better yet, you can get rid of the whole thing. Weight savings, about 12 pounds wet you don't need off the nose. Don't laugh, that's a pretty good weight savings because the PS pump lives on top of your engine block. Not only does the PS pump rob AT LEAST 1 or 2 HP from the motor (;)), but the power steering makes the wheel feel rubbery and unresponsive. This way, you can get real feedback from your front tires instead of it feeling like vague mush filtered through a few hundred mL of ATF and a janky pump. Also, if you want to run a larger radiator, like a Koyo, the PS lines can get in the way. Makes for a cleaner look in the engine bay, too, less clutter and better access to the important stuff, like injectors, coils and plugs.

Pros: All that steering response plus a whopping 1 or 2 HP gain. MOAR POWARZ!! Weight reduction.

Cons: Some people complain about it being difficult to move the wheel at speeds under 10 MPH and parallel park without power steering. Whatever, your arms will get yoked without PS. Man up.

THE TOOLS:

10mm socket

12mm socket

14mm socket

15mm wrench

17mm wrench

Hacksaw

1" diameter hose clamps

A short length of coolant hose with about a 1 cm opening

Your mom's good turkey baster

Napa timing belt part #25-050275 (~$12)

THE HOW:

Remove any intake or other things that are in the way. Open the PS reservoir and draw out all of the PS fluid (ATF) you can from the reservoir with the baster. Then, basically start unbolting everything you see on the pump. The reservoir will come off first, it sits on a plate on top of the pump. Once the reservoir is off, take your 17mm wrench and loosen the two lines that connect to the pump. The lines going back to the steering rack are connected by small brackets to the block. Remove the brackets and push the lines off to the side. Keep unbolting the pump. It's attached to a heavy bracket coming off the block. Once it's loose, remove the belt and the pulley. Take a screwdriver and wedge it in between the spokes of the pulley so it holds it in place while you loosen the pulley's nut. Pull everything out once you're done. It's a heavy piece of dead weight, isn't it?

Take the two PS lines and trace them back to the steering rack. It's a very tight squeeze. It might help to jack up the front end of the car and look at the rack from underneath the car to see what you're removing. While you're down there, loosen the flexible linkage from steering column to the rack. Push the linkage to one side. The two PS lines connect to the steering rack with one 17mm fitting and one 15mm fitting. Attack them with your wrenches until they're loose. Pull the two lines out of the engine bay and take them to your bench.

What you have to do is loop the openings on the steering rack back onto themselves, so the steering rack doesn't squirt any leftover ATF in the rack when you turn the wheel and to make sure mud or debris doesn't get into the rack. Take a look at the two lines. Since there is one 17mm to 17mm line and one 15mm to 17mm line, we can use the second line to make a loop. Discard the 17mm to 17mm line. Take your hacksaw and cut off the hardline about 2" from either end, so you have two very short hardlines with the 17mm and 15mm fittings. One end will have a sharp 90 degree turn right after the fitting. Cut about 1 1/2" after the 90 degree turn.

Take the two short hardlines back to the rack and finger tighten them onto the steering rack. Position the 90 degree elbow so you can get a sense of how much heater hose you'll need to hook it up to the other cut hardline. Shouldn't be more than a few inches. Loosen the fittings and take the hardlines back to your bench. Take your length of heater hose and hose clamps and fit them onto the cut off hardlines. Clamp the hose down tight. Take this new shorter line back to the steering rack and tighten down the fittings. There's almost no space to work with so use gloves. When you're done, reconnect the steering linkage. Steer the wheel lock to lock a few times and check for any leaks coming from the loop.

Cool? Now take your timing belt and put it on the crank and alternator pulleys. Loosen and add tension with the tensioner to the left side of the alt (10mm bolt, IIRC). Make sure it's nice and snug but not too tight or else you'll fry your alt.

That's it. Now go experience what bump steer and roll steer actually feel like. It's nice to be able to tell what your tires are doing simply by feel.

 

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2015 STI Crystal White Pearl
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1,931 Posts
my power steering is already disabled by swapping to a smaller belt, the pump and lines are still connected though. i just happened to come across this write up and it seems pretty cool. however, in the long run, will it fuck up the steering rack? i get comments from friends saying that going manual on a power rack will get you in some serious problems like locking up and what not. anyone else had their ps disabled for a long time and not run into any problems?

joe
 

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acadia green 97 brighton coupe
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397 Posts
my power steering is already disabled by swapping to a smaller belt, the pump and lines are still connected though. i just happened to come across this write up and it seems pretty cool. however, in the long run, will it fuck up the steering rack? i get comments from friends saying that going manual on a power rack will get you in some serious problems like locking up and what not. anyone else had their ps disabled for a long time and not run into any problems?

joe
i've heard this too..updates?
 

· needs more cowbell
95L, 07 2.5i, R6
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12,639 Posts
I've had mine disabled for over a year now with no problems. There probably isn't any fluid in it by now because of the leaks. I didn't do anything but swap the belt to disable it. I plan on swapping in an 06 legacy rack because mine was leakiing from the seals. Just haven't had the chance to mod my column wiring to work with the RS column I bought. Its not a big deal when driving in a straight line, but going to auto-x for example, sucks without the power steering. I think the ratio for cars without power steering is easier, but has more turns.
 

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408 Posts
I'm going on a year without PS and I'll tell you one thing right now... and I'm serious..

The best advantage is the way people who ride with you look at your car. I like having the image that my car is raw and rooted to racing. Not having PS, AC, and not having many amenities makes my passengers usually talk about how I must be serious without PS or AC. That and my coilovers make a lot of noise :p

But I love not having PS. The feeling is great.

Kevin
 

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1999 ver7 coupe
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506 Posts
I ran without PS for a while after the swap cos I was waiting on some parts. Yes, it's better on the track and when moving quickly, but generally driving around town, parking, and doing things like autocross are pretty unpleasant.

Removing the power part of the power steering is not exactly the same as having a proper manual rack with a good ratio for it. I've driven a couple other cars with factory manual steering like an MR2 and they were totally usable around town.
 

· 13 Years of RS
2005 Toyota Corolla :(
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6,004 Posts
Removing the PS pump isn't the same as having manual steering. In fact, a power steering setup with the pump disabled is harder to steer than real manual steering. If you can figure out a way to remove the entire PS system and swap in a rack-and-pinion manual setup, then get back to us. Otherwise, this just doesn't seem like it would be worth it. And, yes, I driven a couple cars with manual (armstrong) steering.
 

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2015 STI Crystal White Pearl
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1,931 Posts
Removing the PS pump isn't the same as having manual steering. In fact, a power steering setup with the pump disabled is harder to steer than real manual steering.
i'd have to agree with you on that. after reading and following this write up, I tried removing the ps belt just to see how it felt. it did feel worse than a manual racked car. so I put it back on. I don't think subaru ever made a manual rack, they're all powered.
 

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3,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Removing the PS pump isn't the same as having manual steering. In fact, a power steering setup with the pump disabled is harder to steer than real manual steering. If you can figure out a way to remove the entire PS system and swap in a rack-and-pinion manual setup, then get back to us. Otherwise, this just doesn't seem like it would be worth it. And, yes, I driven a couple cars with manual (armstrong) steering.
Respectfully disagree, I loved the feeling of no PS with the same rack, there's really no comparison for me. Just being able to feel countersteer over potholes is pretty amazing after steering through slop for so long. Personal preference. Meh. :shrug:
 

· needs more cowbell
95L, 07 2.5i, R6
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12,639 Posts
Respectfully disagree, I loved the feeling of no PS with the same rack, there's really no comparison for me. Just being able to feel countersteer over potholes is pretty amazing after steering through slop for so long. Personal preference. Meh. :shrug:
I like the feel too, just a pita in parking. Mine was leaking really badly so it needed to be disabled.
 

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'02 TS swapped EJ205 wagon
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94 Posts
Thanks for posting the how-to oldhat. I took a little different approach based on this: http://www.flyinmiata.com/tech/depower.php?x=1 I dropped the rack, removed all the lines and filled the threaded ends with permatex liquid metal except for one on the passenger side to let it breath. The reason for that is that I am often challenged for lack of tools and didn't have anything to get the inner tie rod ends off. Since the seal on that side was already shot, I figured it didn't need to be removed like the Miata method. Getting the pinion out to grease it was no problem and I used a tube of CV grease to lube up the passenger side cavity. No issues to report except that driving my WRX wagon (with PS) is now most unpleasant, I think I'll have to convert it too !!
 

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99 RS coupe
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1,181 Posts
I tried removing the ps belt just to see how it felt. it did feel worse than a manual racked car. so I put it back on.
did you drain the fluid? if not then of course its going to be a bitch to turn because you have the fluid working against you.

Im not sure about subarus, but for some the fluid is also a lube for the steering box and having no fluid will take its wear over time.
 

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1993 Impreza L
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199 Posts
have anyone ever pondered how this would feel with a q-rack + quick steering column together? or 1 or the other w/o PS? I've done this mod before both on my L and my sti, sti is way too heavy for this mod, feels like a tank. If something were ever to jump out infront of me or some stupid driver making the wrong move in my way, no way would i be able to fully turn my steering wheel if I needed to get out of there way. especially in the mountains. But the L was more pleasant, seems like if I had a q rack OR quick steering column or even both it would be very fun to drive without PS. any thought?
 
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