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Thread: Anyone here running a ZHP rack?

  1. #1
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    Anyone here running a ZHP rack?

    I am doing a full steering rebuild and am looking at a new rack.

    I have two options:

    1) Get a new M3 rack from rack doctor. The pros are that it will be totally rebuilt and essentially new. The potential con is the ratio.
    2) Get a yellow tag ZHP rack. The potential pro here is the ratio, and the con is that it won't be rebuilt. The Z3 racks are an option too but they are harder to find.

    I have no experience with an E36 that has a different rack than the OE M3 rack. Is the different ratio an improvement on the track? I know they are considered to be better for autocross, but I'm not really concerned with that. How does the steering feel at high speed?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    which 'oe M3' rack do you have? 95 was different than 96-99...

    I have a 95, swapped in a nonM z3 and the results were noticeable and quite good.

    No experience with ZHP but have read good things as well.
    BMW CCA Illini Chapter Vice President
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cohny View Post
    I am doing a full steering rebuild and am looking at a new rack.

    I have two options:

    1) Get a new M3 rack from rack doctor. The pros are that it will be totally rebuilt and essentially new. The potential con is the ratio.
    2) Get a yellow tag ZHP rack. The potential pro here is the ratio, and the con is that it won't be rebuilt. The Z3 racks are an option too but they are harder to find.

    I have no experience with an E36 that has a different rack than the OE M3 rack. Is the different ratio an improvement on the track? I know they are considered to be better for autocross, but I'm not really concerned with that. How does the steering feel at high speed?

    Thanks
    I have the Z3 in both of my cars, so for what it's worth, I'd call around to a dismantler. I snagged mine for $150 shipped 5 years ago and it's been great. It was not rebuilt but....it's been fine.

    The quicker rack is very noticeable on track. It feels great, inputs are faster and you need to be correspondingly more precise, but your steering is quicker and it feels way more immediate. I haven't regretted the mod whatsoever. The ZHP rack I believe is just a smidge less quick ratio so it'll be very nice too.

    Also yes, the Z3 is great at autocross. The steering change is not mindblowing though. It's nice, but you'll forget about it within an hour. E36->Z3/ZHP is a mild improvement, not like going from E30 bus steering to Z3 quick steering.
    "Fear disturbs your concentration" -Sabine Schmit

    1995 BMW M3/2/5-- S54 + Mk60 DSC, California Smog Legal (Build Thread)
    1998 BMW M3/4/5 Alpine/Modena, Z3 Rack, otherwise stock-- DD without burbles
    2017 Chevy SS, Orange Blast Metallic, 6MT -- DD with burbles

  4. #4
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    I can't comment on the z3, or ZHP racks, but if you have a 96-99, I would at least get a 95 rack. I had a 95 M3 for a couple years, and never thought about the steering because I didn't notice it. I mean that in a good way. Recently when I got my second, a 98, I noticed immediately that some of the same corners required significantly more steering wheel rotation to steer around.

    My internet opinion, and what I plan to do when I get to that point with my current car is find a z3 rack. I may even get a roll center correction/angle kit to increase the steering quickness even more.
    95 cosmoschwartz M3/2/5 : 2012-1/1/2014 (worn rtab's and bald rear tires in the rain)

    98 cosmoschwartz M3/4/5 : 2016-3/10/2017 (understeering SUV)

    99 Estoril M3/2/5: 6/16/2017-current

  5. #5
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    I have a 97 so I have the slow rack. I am concerned that because the Z# or ZHP racks are faster I wouldn't be as precise with my corrections on the track. I don't want to lose control because I had to go and change my rack. Is it twitchy? I notice that, yes, I need a lot of angle on some corners and it's annoying but I don't want to make the car harder to control either.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cohny View Post
    I have a 97 so I have the slow rack. I am concerned that because the Z# or ZHP racks are faster I wouldn't be as precise with my corrections on the track. I don't want to lose control because I had to go and change my rack. Is it twitchy? I notice that, yes, I need a lot of angle on some corners and it's annoying but I don't want to make the car harder to control either.
    Definitely not ... worth the upgrade for track for sure.
    Check out the 8legs Racing page: https://www.facebook.com/8legsRacing/


  7. #7
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    I installed a yellow tag ZHP rack before this past season. From what i gather, its the shortest ratio rack there is. (there's a huge thread on all the rack options somewhere, find that). It's absolutely a noticeable improvement. It transformed the car from a school bus to something actually sporty feeling. I've also noticed that its easier to catch slides with the shorter ratio, less movement needed. I'd recommend getting a rebuilt rack from rackdoctor.net. He'll take your M3 rack as a core, but of course pay you much less for it.

  8. #8
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    I just did this swap two weeks ago.

    I don't usually don't notice the difference around town much, but when I need to react quickly or when the road gets twisty it is a very noticeable positive improvement. The longer I drive with it the more often I notice the improvement (more response for less effort). But I'll echo what others have said, it's not super dramatic and you'll get "used" to it fairly quickly.

    Check the mileage on the car its coming from and don't worry about it. They leak from the hoses, so either get new hoses or have a hydraulic place replace the hoses for you and then you can replace them easily in the future.

    My rack was clicking and whining badly a couple years ago, and I flushed the system several times (around 170k miles). It stopped whining, the clicking got better, and eventually went away. I doubt it had EVER been flushed up to that point. I think our racks are pretty robust - I wouldn't worry about buying a used one.

    My car has 221k on it now, and the rack input shaft seal started leaking about a year ago (after I lost one of my hoses and drove it 17 miles dry).

    So I did the swap because I needed to replace my inner and outer tie rods anyway, so I found a new rack cheap and bought new hardware for it.

    I've had it for about two weeks now and not a drip.

    I posted the following notes about the install up on the E36M3 SIG on Facebook - so you may have seen this there already.

    Also, a used one will be very dirty and will take you longer than you think. Oh, and did I mention it will be dirty? It is seriously the dirtiest job I've done on the car.

    Anyway, my tips.

    ...

    There were a couple interesting things I found when doing this, some of which I haven't seen noted by others who have written DIYs.

    First, check those steering guibos! Mine was as soft as neoprene - I can literally compress the rubber with my fingers - no bueno! I decided to go with an E34 u-joint, which is also an option if you either don't want to do it ever again or want a little less buffer than the guibo provides. I noticed zero increase in NVH, and the E34 joint was cheaper, so it's a no brainer for me. [The more I've driven with this installed the more I feel like this is a great thing - responsible for a large portion of the improvement I feel].

    Second, and I already knew this, but BMW loves to reuse parts. Obviously, we can switch racks from E30 though at least E90 [Well, at least E85 Z4, and E90 with a bit more work]. But more specifically, in this application, that also means the inner tie rods are the same from E36 to E46. With the rack itself an identical fit, BMW makes up for the extra width of the E46 with the outer tie rods. I suppose if you're reusing parts it's no big deal, but important to know if your original parts are toast and you're ordering brand new hardware. [Also, get new boots if you find one at a salvage yard].

    Third, the ZHP rack has a plastic guide in place to align the rack input spindle. Both racks have a short boot on the input shaft that aligns with a mark on the rack to center it, but the one on the E46 includes a plastic vane that slots into the tightening gap on the guibo - so the guibo only goes into the rack input shaft one way. Which should have made things easy, but resulted in a steering wheel turned exactly 45 and required A) removing it and repositioning it, B) cutting it off, or C) repositioning the joint on the steering rod (I went with B - when am I ever going to remove this again?). Would be the same for either the original Guibo or the E34 joint.

    Finally, I found that finding one from a pick and pull was easy and cheap - and no core charge. I put the salvage car's VIN in one of those VIN decoders and made sure it was coming from a ZHP, and also made sure I used new hardware. It was $130 + shipping (about $20). The VIN check should show the performance package and black cube trim.

    -Josh
    1998 M3/4/5 with most of the easy stuff, some of the hard stuff.

  9. #9
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    nice notes!! ^ I had not heard about the E34 joint or else I would've done that when I did it (I replaced it with oem rubber).
    BMW CCA Illini Chapter Vice President
    1995 M3
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moron95M3 View Post
    nice notes!! ^ I had not heard about the E34 joint or else I would've done that when I did it (I replaced it with oem rubber).
    I hadn't either - I saw it on this "Treats on the Streets" YouTube channel. He's kind of cheesy but I hadn't seen this before.

    I've since read threads here about it, but people were split on it. Just fresh rubber is so much firmer than old stuff, there's probably not a lot of difference - at least not for a couple years until the rubber gets soft again.

    -Josh
    1998 M3/4/5 with most of the easy stuff, some of the hard stuff.

  11. #11
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    I believe you can get the yellow tag E46 ZHP rack from rackdoctor:

    http://shop.rackdoctor.net/2002-2005...892-712ZHP.htm

    It's cheaper than the Z3 rack, but functionally about the same. 7852974712 is the part number you want. If you don't care about it being rebuilt, you can probably find one in a junk yard.

    This is absolutely on my list to do, probably this winter when I tear everything else off the bottom of my car. If you don't track your car it probably isn't worth it though. It's mainly nice for quicker/snappier turn-in on the track, but hopefully you'll never be going fast enough on the street for that to really matter.
    1999 M3/2/5 - Titanium Silver
    Ground Control Street/Track Suspension 440#/550# --- 3.46 3 clutch LSD --- Apex ARC-8 17x9 wheels --- Borla Exhaust --- PFC V3 Floating Rotors --- AFE Intake --- Shark/Conforti Software --- MM Underpanel --- TMS Pulleys

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TostitoBandito View Post
    I believe you can get the yellow tag E46 ZHP rack from rackdoctor:

    http://shop.rackdoctor.net/2002-2005...892-712ZHP.htm

    It's cheaper than the Z3 rack, but functionally about the same. 7852974712 is the part number you want. If you don't care about it being rebuilt, you can probably find one in a junk yard.

    This is absolutely on my list to do, probably this winter when I tear everything else off the bottom of my car. If you don't track your car it probably isn't worth it though. It's mainly nice for quicker/snappier turn-in on the track, but hopefully you'll never be going fast enough on the street for that to really matter.
    There are some pretty good options out there with some pretty low mileage.

    https://www.autopartsearch.com/catal...#lg=1&slide=94



    This one [WBAEV53445KM41531] looks like it's a ZHP (has the right options codes).

    S716A Aerodynamics package
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    Last edited by blckstrm; 10-12-2017 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Found a ZHP!

    -Josh
    1998 M3/4/5 with most of the easy stuff, some of the hard stuff.

  13. #13
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    I bought my E46 ZHP rack from the rack doctor, very happy with the purchase. I haven't had time to track the car yet but just around town it's a great difference. It feels natural and I've had zero issues with less accuracy in steering. I can do 90 degree turns in neighborhoods without taking both hands off the steering wheel, i.e. crossing your arms

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by M52 POWER! View Post
    I bought my E46 ZHP rack from the rack doctor, very happy with the purchase. I haven't had time to track the car yet but just around town it's a great difference. It feels natural and I've had zero issues with less accuracy in steering. I can do 90 degree turns in neighborhoods without taking both hands off the steering wheel, i.e. crossing your arms
    I assume you just ate the core charge? What did you do with your M3 rack?
    1999 M3/2/5 - Titanium Silver
    Ground Control Street/Track Suspension 440#/550# --- 3.46 3 clutch LSD --- Apex ARC-8 17x9 wheels --- Borla Exhaust --- PFC V3 Floating Rotors --- AFE Intake --- Shark/Conforti Software --- MM Underpanel --- TMS Pulleys

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TostitoBandito View Post
    I assume you just ate the core charge? What did you do with your M3 rack?
    I spoke with the owner of rack doctor via email, he gave me a credit for my old M3 rack, like $80 I think? Not bad.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by M52 POWER! View Post
    I spoke with the owner of rack doctor via email, he gave me a credit for my old M3 rack, like $80 I think? Not bad.
    Same here.

  17. #17
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    I bought a ZHP rack from the rack doctor but opt'ed to keep my old M3 rack.
    It was a smooth transaction and Rich (the Rack Doctor) was very helpful.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the input everyone, I'm going to go with the ZHP rack.

  19. #19
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    Some food for thought for those contemplating the z3 rack:

    Z3 1.9 steering rack from Detroit Axle:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019VFJIEI

    243.50 shipped, no core required

    See highly trusted Rackdoctor's site for z3 non-m:

    http://shop.rackdoctor.net/199...ept...5995-25460.htm

    Says at bottom: "Item #: 25460"

    See Detroit Axle's number match this:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019VFJIEI

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/151076806130

    Says at bottom: "Manufacturer Part Number - 25460"

    Of the two Z3 racks that Detriot Axle sell, it is the more expensive one which also follows Rackdoctor's pricing scheme (desirable non-m more expensive than m).

    The interchange number (listed on ebay link) is 26-1829, which reflects that it is a desirable non-m rack (you can search a bunch of websites that reflect this is a non-m rack).

    All non-m z3 racks are the desirable quick ratio.

    I checked and they sent me the incorrect 786 Rack instead of the correct 25460 Rack the first time. I called, and they made it right and shipped out the correct one.

    Just make sure you get shipped the correct one.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    99 M3

  20. #20
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    I have the yellow tag 330 rack. That with a new steering guibo was a HUGE improvement. Money well spent.
    CBlock


  21. #21
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    At some point I want to do this. Maybe this winter....
    '98 M3 track whore
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  22. #22
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    I just ordered a used one. I already have new inner and outer tie rods for it that I bought last year and never installed. Very exciting, sounds like it's going to be awesome.

  23. #23
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    I doubt the difference between a Z3 and a ZHP rack are enough for anyone to distinguish between the two.

    If you go the rack Dr route the only big factor will likely be the cost difference.

    Used is a bit different, since ZHP racks will be 5-10 years newer. I found cost was similar but actually a bit less for the 330 / ZHP rack.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by cohny View Post
    I just ordered a used one. I already have new inner and outer tie rods for it that I bought last year and never installed. Very exciting, sounds like it's going to be awesome.
    Did you get that one I posted up above?

    -Josh
    1998 M3/4/5 with most of the easy stuff, some of the hard stuff.

  24. #24
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    There's actually some good info on the ZHP from rack doctor having having differences which make for a "heavier" feel if you're into that.

    See this thread for details: https://forum.e46fanatics.com/#/topics/954523
    Last edited by M52 POWER!; 10-14-2017 at 09:10 PM.

  25. #25
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    This is on my project list.

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