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Discussion Starter #1
I know this has probably been covered before, but I couldn't find anything in my search. I'd like to replace my original steering wheel with a smaller one, only because it's so big it interferes with my line of sight while driving. I'm only 5'1", so I'm quite short. How small can I go, and how does it affect the actual steering? Thanks!
 

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You can go as small as you can muscle around.

The steering wheel is in many ways like a big round lever. The wider the wheel, the longer the lever. If you go to a smaller wheel, the steering effort goes up proportionately. A wheel half the size would require twice the steering force (over half the distance, of course) for the same input to the steering box.

You can definitely go smaller, but parallel parking may be much more effort (assuming manual steer car).
 

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If your car has power steering, going with a smaller wheel will not affect steering effort at all. If you have manual steering, going to a smaller wheel will make the wheel harder to turn at slow speeds. Size wise, a 14 inch wheel is pretty much perfect in my opinion (I have a 13 inch right now and it looks like a toy). I like the Lecarra Mark 4 Lecarra
 

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If you have power, no problem. If it is manual steering, it is harder in tight, slow things like parking. Normal driving is ok. Most don't go much below a 13" diameter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Soooooo, is it a big deal to go from manual, which I have, to power steering?
 

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Not a big deal, but a bit pricey maybe. Pump, hoses, pulley, belt, power steering unit, tie rod ends, center link, frame mounting bracket. Not sure if that is all, but there are some good members here who deal in the parts you would need, but their names escape me at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I see. Ok. Well, that may have to wait a bit then as I need to clear up a carburetor issue. I guess I'll add it to the list. :) Which keeps getting longer. ;)
 

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I'd keep the manual steer, get a slightly smaller wheel and unless you parallel the car for a living, you'll probably be fine. If you just need a little help, there's a roller idler arm that OpenTracker sells, but I just wanted to highlight that the steering gets stiffer as the wheel gets smaller, so don't go too small.
 

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Looks like you have big wheels and real wide tires. That will, obviously magnify the effort a smaller wheel would require, making it even tougher at slow speeds.
 

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This is the wheel I have. I love it. I have manual steering and it works really well. I hear that the GT manual steering box is easier to turn than a standard gear box. I couldn't say because I have never driven anything but my gt.
http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/38/l_84d2240b48854fdd87d535d3b26d9ddc.jpg
 

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Put a piece of blue tape on all three of your steering spokes at the size of wheel you're thinking about.

In situations where it's safe to do so, drive the car by using your hands on the tape marks. See if it's too hard for you to do, given your strength, tires, susp setup, and driving conditions. In particular, check out low speed, high angle situations like parking.

That'll tell you pretty much what you need to know, for the cost of one foot of masking tape and a little time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, guys, for all the info. Sorry I didn't reply sooner, but I had to leave town unexpectedly and just got back. You guys answered my question. I was most concerned because I do have those low profile tires and I didn't know how that would affect the steering. I'm still not sure if I will keep those wheels because they do decrease the turning radius, but for right now, they are here to stay. I think I'll try to get a slightly smaller steering wheel and wait until I decide what to do about the wheels before converting to power steering. Thanks again!
 
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