Reproduction Outrun Steering Gear

We have a couple of Outrun machines waiting to go in to Ground Kontrol but both have the *extremely* common problem of the nylon steering wheel gears splitting...

So, back in summer of 2005 I pulled out the digital calipers, took a bunch of measurements, and did some drawings using eMachine Shop intending to have a replacement made...

As luck would have it, I wound up talking to a friend in the auto industry that had a lot more experience with such things than do I, so I sent him my drawings for a "once over".  Being a clever sort, he recognized my (imperial) numbers and immediately identified the gear as a standard metric gear tooth spacing-- something that can be readily made from existing gear stock!  (This falls into the "duh" category in hindsight-- Japanese arcade machines virtually always use metric parts!)

Getting another piece of luck, he volunteered to have a couple made for me at a machine shop he uses regularly free of charge.  Free is a very good price.  The resulting part turned out great!

(The metal part on the left is the replacement.)

Although it doesn't have the smooth "band" that the nylon part did, the machine costs for producing these would be much, much more affordable-- boring the center hole, cutting the keyway, and drilling and tapping the two set screw are the only operations required other than cutting to the correct length.  The part installs and fits perfectly:

I do have one concern however-- the metal gear meshing with the nylon one is bound to have some wear issues.  After installing and working the steering a few times by hand there was some obvious nylon fibers on the metal gear teeth.

Perhaps judicious application of grease would help reduce this effect, but the longer term impact will have to be tested further.  Luckily the arcade does a really good job of 'testing to failure', so I figure it it'll last in there for a year it'll last a lifetime for a home collector.  Worst case, the other nylon gear would have to be reproduced in similar metal.


Updated: 3/29/2007

2007, Clayton Cowgill