Here in our little slice of the blogosphere, we aim to push the boundaries of car tuning, especially in our choice of project cars. You don’t see a 1998 Hyundai Elantra like our very own Project Elantra race car every so often. The uniqueness of the project forces us to think beyond the box, outside popular “tuning menus” available for owners of vehicles more supported by the Philippine aftermarket. With this car as our opus, we have to be a little bit creative.
Sometimes, we get a little too creative for our own good. We wanted to come up with something advantageous for the slalom races. We thought that if we can figure out a way to modify our car to tackle the turns better, we thought we could dominate. Sure, we have coilovers with custom spring rates, a bigger sway bar, and ultimate chassis rigidity with a overkill rollcage. But so do a lot of other slalom racers.
And so we got ourselves a unique speed part, that surely no one has even thought of putting in their Civic. We’re so gonna win, we thought. How foolish of us.
Many moons ago we stumbled on a nifty little thing called a steering quickener. This promised a sort of multiplying effect on the steering wheel. The one we settled on, the Howe Racing Stealth HD steering quickener, converts one wheel rotation to two, or, having a 2:1 steering ratio.
A typical car steering wheel can turn three times from lock-to-lock. To put it another way, you have to rotate the steering wheel three times in order to steer the wheels from max left to max right. Install a steering quickener with a 2:1 ratio means that you can instead do the same thing by turning the wheel one and a half times. The envisioned advantage with this is that we could just turn the wheels less in order to take a corner, without having to shuffle the wheel around. In short, win.
Unfortunately, the side effect with this device is that while you reduce the steering movement by a factor of two, you also increase the steering effort by the same factor. Our smugness for having this thing on our race car was dashed when not one of the people who tried driving it liked the intense effort required to steer.
We already upgraded our power steering pump to a bigger unit from a Toyota Prado. That lightened the effort just a tad. But still the car was difficult to drive. Considering the lack of air-conditioning and other concessions to comfort in Project Elantra, this car was going to be a pig to drive to racing venues and back. And the imagined benefit could be negated by learning how to properly operate a steering wheel, picked up from the AAP Motorsport Development Program.
So, in preparation for an upcoming race, we reverted the setup back to stock. As you can see from the photo, there was a lot of fabrication needed to mount the steering quickener in-line with the steering column. We remain proud of the custom work entailed, especially since everything can be reverted back to standard.
We were instantly rewarded with very light steering effort, even without the engine running. While pleased with the result, a tinge of sadness we feel for the effort we expended oh so many moons ago, all to naught. We’ll find some use for this widget for a future project with a lighter front end.
This recent thrash marks the very first job done in our new workshop! Kuhol Garage is officially on its soft-opening period. Our full-service workshop plans to focus on motorsports-related services. In this regard, we hope to cater to motorsports enthusiasts who are needing a dependable shop to support their racing career via handling their vehicle’s modification, maintenance and in-race support. This is achieved by offering a full-service workshop, staffed by knowledgeable and enthusiastic technicians, equipped with basic and specialized tools and equipment, and partnered with our trusted vendors and brands that we are proud to have been associated with for many years. Kuhol Garage is located in Sucat, Paranaque.
Kuhol Garage will be handling future updates on Project Elantra. We’ll keep you posted as we continue to develop the vehicle further.