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BMW’s are historically known as well handling cars with superior steering feel, however, over time some steering components inevitably wear out over time. Rubber steering couplers are known to deteriorate and wear over time, causing unwanted play which is very unappealing for the driver, not to mention a safety issue.
Solutions to these problems which are growing in popularity are Condor Speed Shop’s steering shaft conversion kits. These effectively eliminate all wearable components, replacing them with a solid stainless steel shaft coupled with a pair of universal joints. This upgrade greatly improves the vehicle’s steering performance and accuracy.
In this article we will explain the benefits of this upgrade as well as the finer points of what to consider when purchasing these items for your classic BMW.
Condor Speed Shop’s Steering Shaft Conversion Kits are sold as a race-only product that should be installed by a professional. These components should be checked regularly before each event. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you would want to consider this upgrade.
Better steering performance - It is undeniable that these kits will perform better than OEM setups based on the direct input of the solid shaft and two well-built, chromoly universal joints. They will also fit any potential steering rack upgrade, accommodating E30, E36, Z3, and E46 racks.
Clearance Issues - The compact size of these components will help allow additional clearance needed for larger engine swaps, particularly V8’s. Exhaust headers/manifolds will gain more clearance with these steering shaft kits applied.
With some basic points covered, we can move onto their applications across the classic 3 series platforms beginning with the E30 chassis.
Due to their age, E30’s are the biggest culprit for steering play. While you can consider just replacing the rubber coupler with a solid aluminum piece from Condor, a more advanced and suitable performance upgrade would be a full conversion kit. They are also a legal modification allowed for the Spec E30 race series.
The E30 came equipped both with and without airbags over the course of its lifespan. For this reason, it is important to verify your vehicle’s VIN number before purchasing to confirm which one you will need. Note: there were in between years in which airbags were an option and not standard equipment. There is also some variation based on what country the car was originally sold. Additionally, some airbag cars may have swapped out steering wheels at some point in their life but would still require the airbag kit due to the difference in shaft length. Lastly, right hand drive cars from different countries are also accommodated for. For example, the Australian RHD version of the steering shaft kit will be slightly different from other RHD and LHD examples.
Though the E36’s are a bit younger in age, their growing status as both a drift and road racing platform make them a perfect candidate for steering shaft conversions. In addition to the standard 3 piece kit similar to the E30, Condor also offers a two piece steering shaft conversion designed for V8 swapped cars that require even MORE header clearance. This kit is not always necessary, and will help create additional clearance for larger exhaust components. As a third option for E36, a collapsible steering shaft is also available.
For the E46 chassis, similar style U-Joints are sold as bolt-on replacements for worn stock rubber couplers. This will restore the steering feel and help prep any E46 for performance driving of any kind.
These steering shaft conversions are yet another item within Condor’s catalog suitable for high performance driving applications, designed to preserve and enhance the driveability of your classic 3 series. Please feel free to contact their team with any questions or inquiries by emailing email@example.com.