The Abbott Racing steering rack clamp and brace – replaced

I thought it might be interesting for some people to see the steering rack clamp and brace installed and the parts that were replaced. It’s only a small part, but it’s proof (for those needing it) that size doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it 🙂

Abbott Racing Steering Rack ClampHere’s the image I showed the other day of the kit as per the Abbott Racing website. It looks reasonably big in this picture, but the actual parts would fit quite easily into one hand. One thing you notice when you do pick them up in your hand is that they’re solid. There’s some weight there, which is confidence inspiring.

Here’s a picture of it installed. Please forgive the shoddy labelling. Click to enlarge.

Abbott Clamp

As mentioned, it’s a pretty solid unit, which you can really feel when you drive. Nothing I write here will describe it properly, you need to feel the before and after for yourself.

But one thing that might go some way to showing the difference is to show you all the part this replaced.

Old Saab OEM clamp

As you can see, it’s a rubber unit and it sits inside that U-shaped bit behind, which lends it some solidity.

Note: this is IT. It’s the whole thing. As you can see by the way I’m separating it with my fingers, it’s a comparatively flimsy rubber unit vs a solid metal clamp in the new kit, and there was no brace in the original setup at all. With all of the stress the steering rack is generally under, it’s no wonder the car feels a a little sloppy with the OEM setup.

It definitely feels so much tighter now and gives a much better driving experience because of it.

I love it when you spend money and things actually improve.

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4 Comments

  1. Looks good, but I wonder about its design and long-term effects on the car.

    The solid brace no doubt reduces lateral movement of the rack, but it doesn’t change the energy that’s naturally generated through the steering and suspension. What it does is directs the stresses elsewhere, potentially across the firewall area to which it’s bolted. Without the rubber insulation of the OE part, the increase in stress across the area would be far greater than before. Given that the 9-3’s are already prone to cracking (particularly the higher output vesrions), I’d like to know if Abbott has tested the brace for long-term use and factored this into the design of the part.

    Just my 0.02c.

    Drew B

  2. I always wonder (as with all mods) what the trade-off is. The guys in my SAAB club all tell me there are no trade-offs.

    If that’s the case, why didn’t SAAB design the stuff like this in the first place? There’s got to be a reason. Even with the simplest things: why didn’t SAAB tune the ECU themselves to get the maximum output from the engine? Why do I have to raise the boost pressure and reprogram the ECU to get the most out of the car? Is the trade-off fuel economy? I’m told no.

    I think someone once told me that the trade-off is longevity as Drew B alludes to above. All the heavy SAAB modders (that is to say that they mod heavily, not that they themselves are “heavy”…) I have known of have had to replace at least one failed transmission. I’ve got to think that the transmission can’t handle that kind of power. It wasn’t designed for it.

    I’m glad you seem more than happy with the steering rack brace, Swade. I’m not implying that it’s going to have a trade-off, I just don’t get why SAAB requires one to buy the aftermarket “Viggen Rescue Kit” to resolve some issues with the car.

    Drew B: I understand that firewall cracking problem is only on RHD Viggens… oh, right. 😛

  3. Swade, you mentioned earlier that you felt that the Vigg had even more power feel after the brace kit was fitted. This is in fact a true feel simply on the basis that the kit increases adherence to the ground by reducing all the sagging that reduces adherence. No rocket science here all F1 cars maximize adherence to ensure maximum use of power. As for all the potential downfalls and the “why did Saab not do it” etc etc, one of the main reasons that suppliers clamp on power in particular Saab is for marketing reasons as this allows the model range they deliver. The average buyer will not going to go to Abbott, John form Elkparts, PFS etc etc as they do not look for perfection as we do. They simply go to the dealers and ‘do as they’re told’. To me this is one of the most satisfying part that you can add all these mods for relatively low $$ and get a fantastic result. Lets be real here, everyone does this, just look at the various high end Jap cars, Audi, BMW and even in the US with the Corvette, Vipers etc etc. There is a huge aftermarket industry to tune up and enhance all kinds of vehicles. Luckily for us, Saab has some of the best options out there. As for the damage that this may or may not do in the long term, this will really depend on how everyone drives and pushes their cars. One thing is for sure, service your car regularly and consistently in particular change Oil & Filter at 7.5 to 10K intervals maximum. If you do not do this weather you have Maptune, BSR, Abbotts etc etc you will kill your car anyway. These are my 2 cts !!!

  4. DB,

    I’m hoping that the addition of the brace spreads the stress between the two surfaces, Previously everything was sent through that one rubber unit. Now it’s held in place by not one, but two units. That’s the theory I’m using.

    The firewall problem is inherent in the design and could happen anyway. I’ve not yet heard of an Abbott related complaint.

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