calculations for a rack and pinion steering system used in BAJA

If you are using Ackermann steering geometry

1. Turning circle, link lengths & inclinations

Source: STEERING MECHANISMS | Kinematics of Machines Tutorials – Engineering Tutorials

Here’s an illustrative calculation…

The Ackermann Principle as Applied to Steering (Automobile)

2. Providing for required wheel turning angles in the steering linkage & wheel envelopes.

Source: Steering Systems (Automobile)
3. Steering ratio calculations

Source: ThyssenKrupp InCar®plus
4. Sizing of links and joints as per steering & road loads

Source: Steering Rack And Pinion Calculation Step-by-Step Plans

If it is not necessarily Ackerman geometry and you are undecided, have a look at this comparison……

Ackerman percentage, IBJ and OBJ center distance – Steering Explained

Question asked – 
We are intended to use nano steering. We were having problems regarding Ackerman percentage, IBJ and OBJ center distance. Kindly explain
obj- outer ball joint

ibj – inner ball joint.

steering has two ball joints……and in most of the Baja vehicle are used centralized steering so its ibj and obj for both left and right is same but for nano car it will be different for left and right. mainly ibj change obj remains constant because of selective assembly principle

Attached here are the two PDF whitepaper which will give you in-depth insight.



Steering & Wheel Alignment

Steering Wheel for BAJA SAE

If you are looking for Steering wheel that fits into your BAJA Buggy. It is best advisable to make your own.
Try making it from Balsa Wood or Carbon Fibre, these are significantly lighter too.

There are many different ways of making it, but if this is going to be your first experience with composites, we would recommend you start with something easier. Flat panels for skidplates or number panels are the easiest to learn on, and most forgiving. Complicated geometry with complex loadings like a steering wheel should be reserved for when you are comfortable working with the materials and have a good idea about what is good and bad for it structurally.

Here is a short video of Formula SAE(FSAE) – Carbon fiber steering wheel fabrication :

How To Make Your Own Carbon Fiber (Fibre) Parts. –

To go with the pre-made aluminum Steering wheel –


Since our main focus is towards their use in an ATV, this article deals with the pros and cons of both the joints in an ATV. For those who have no idea about these two joints, the pictures below shall feed their brains.

Ball Joint
Helm Joint







Ball joints are strong up and down but have limited angular movement. The ball and socket joint in human body that connects our leg bone to your hipbone, so goes the ball and socket joint that holds the front suspension of your vehicle together.  Your leg can move up and down, and side to side, the automotive ball joint enables the wheel and suspension to move together in the same manner. If you try to increase the angular movement, it may result it in weakening the joints to pull-out force since the cup doesn’t cover the ball’s neck area much. These require very less maintenance. They last longer and are cheaper than their counterpart. Most often well sealed Tie rod ends are used as ball joints. They have high serviceability but the Z-axis force is still less. These may also have springs under the cup to take up wear. This makes them good to use for tie rod ends but poor for ball joints.

Heim joints are known to be a little weaker, but with the correct offset spacers, they can reach much farther angles than ball joint. Camber/caster adjustments are relatively easier. Using it may be a boon/ curse as it depends on the accuracy of the suspension design. But perpendicular to the shafts (Z axis) they are comparatively weak. With boots, Heim are reliable. But without it, grits get into them and wears out easily.

To summarize, the heim joints shall be used where end to end use, serviceability is preferred and the

Ball joints shall be used where strength, low maintenance and life is given the first preference.

Ref- Replacing Ball JointBall joint maintenanceBall JointHistory of Heim JointHeim Joint