While they serve as a great platform for all types of racing and street performance, '79-'04 Mustangs are notorious for a meandering sense of direction. Blame their nose-heavy balance, crude suspension, and economy-car roots. Because of this, the words Mustang and precise steering haven't been used together since … ever.
The OEM rubber steering rack bushings and the OEM steering shaft's rag joint were designed to absorb unwanted vibrations from the steering wheel, but in reality they prevent feedback of what the front tires are doing from reaching the driver's hands. The result: numb and ambiguous steering.
Maximum Motorsports aims to change that. The company's steering shaft assembly and solid steering rack bushings allegedly improve feedback and response, by eliminating the rubber components from the Mustang's steering system.
To sharpen our Cobra’s steering response, we chose Maximum Motorsports’ steering shaft ass
As with most products from Maximum Motorsports, its steering shaft assembly and solid steering rack bushings are unique solutions based upon years of experience refining our beloved Pony car. The steering shaft utilizes welded construction and telescoping joints rather than a trim-to-fit installation with set screws. We found this is a welcome feature because steering shaft set screws often drag on header tubes and have a nasty habit of loosening, even when secured with lock nuts and thread-locking compound.
The latest evolution of Maximum rack bushings features spherical washers that accommodate the irregular mounting surface of the OEM K-member. If the rack is mounted with conventional solid bushings, the irregular surface can slightly bend and twist the rack housing, causing the steering rack to bind in the housing and chatter when steering. Maximum Motorsports' spherical washer design solidly mounts the steering rack without twisting the housing.
To see if Maximum Motorsports' parts succeed in improving steering feel, we tested them on an '03 Cobra. Rather than relying simply on subjective analysis, we hatched a plan to measure the steering response before and after installation by way of an angle finder, laser pointer, and trigonometry.
Installation was straightforward and without issue. Both the steering shaft and rack bushings could easily be installed in an hour or two. More importantly, the results were noticeable. On our test drive, the steering felt more connected to the road. Slight steering inputs became commands rather than mere suggestions. We felt little nibbles and tugs on the wheel that we never felt before.
Not only did the Cobra's steering feel more accurate and precise, but we also measured a significant improvement in on-center response from the steering wheel to the tires.