Lets get this out of the way first. I am not recommending that anyone performs the following procedures. I am simply explaining what I did to fine tune my Act Labs Force RS pedals. If you try this yourself and damage your wheel, yourself, your computer or your warranty, I am not responsible.
The idea behind this set of How-To articles is to show a way to enhance a good product without creating new parts and present it in a way that a person of average skills can complete the project. Also, the enhancement has to be truly worth the effort. The Act Labs Force RS wheel is an excellent product, but the pedals are a little stiff and the throw too short for some driving sims like Grand Prix Legends or Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2, where pedal feel is very important. Fortunately, there are 3 different modifications that can be done that produce excellent results. The 'simple' modification can be done without additional parts, except for wire ties and grease. The result is a set of pedals with a little extra play, but a lot more feel, and faster, more consistent laps in GPL. The other modifications require some drilling and cutting or making a simple lever, but the pedals are smooth, not floppy, and have a longer throw. I'll be writing this article in 3 parts. If you do the modification in Part1, you can still do Parts 2 and 3 later. Before you start, understand that Part1, the simple modification, will work best if you wear something on your feet with a little grip. The other 2 modifications, Part 2 and Part 3, will change the pedal travel to a more forward throw, rather than vertical as in the stock pedal configuration and requires wearing something more slippery on your feet. I recently took a survey on rec.autos.simulators newsgroup, and a full 96% of sim racers wore socks only, and 2% wore real racing shoes, wrestling shoes or moccasins (no soles) while racing to allow the pedals to slide under their feet. Also, the modified pedals will work best positioned so that your legs are stretched while driving.
Taking It Apart:
To take the cover off the pedals, youll need an X-Acto knife, a #2 Phillips screwdriver, a long, large, flat screwdriver, a 10mm socket and pliers. The first thing to do is remove the pedals from the levers so you can take the plastic top off the base. Remove the gas pedal first using the flat blade screwdriver and the 10mm socket. Dont forget to keep your parts in a safe place.
Once the gas pedal is removed, its easier to get at the screw in the brake pedal. Now flip the pedals upside down to partially peel off the rubber feet so you can get at the screws underneath. The rubber feet are glued on strong, so youll need to use a knife or X-Acto knife (hobby knife) to separate them from the metal base. Dont take them all the way off! You only need to separate them a little more than half way. Just enough to reach the screws when you peel the rubber back. That way you wont have to glue them back on again. Once the four screws are removed from under the rubber feet, finish removing the other five screws that hold the cover on.
A Simple Modification:
There are 2 screws holding the upper lever in place and riding in the slot in the bracket. The top screw hits the top of the slot and limits the pedal throw. Using pliers or a socket and a #2 Phillips screwdriver, remove the nuts and lock washer from the top screw. When you remove the screw, youll also have to remove the brass spacer (some units have a nylon/plastic spacer).
If yours has the brass spacer (sleeve), you'll need to cut the plastic double washer that bridges the top and bottom screws, or get a new, single washer.
When you've finished removing the top screw, take the nuts off the bottom screw, replace the washer or cut the double washer and put the nuts back on. Tighten them slightly. Push the upper lever up and down, and loosen the nuts until the lever moves smoothly, without binding. It may have to be quite loose. If you have the brass spacer, make sure it isn't so loose that it pulls out of the hole in the lower bracket. If you have the plastic spacer, don't worry about it, it won't pull through.
Adjusting the Spring Tension (Optional):
There are 2 wire ties around the spring and lower lever. Remove them and put a new wire tie around the assembly but do not snug it up tight. Now pull the end of the spring out from under the pin that holds it in place and let the new wire tie hold it. The adjustment of this new wire tie, how much you tighten it, will determine how much tension the pedal will have. The brake spring may be stiffer than the gas, so you may want to leave the wire tie looser. Before you put everything back together, hook up the wheel and get into Windows controller panel and check 'operate pedals separately'. You'll want the pedals to reach maximum (full on) in the controller panel at the same time that they are fully depressed. If they don't, remover the gear from the pot (potentiometer) with your fingertips. Turn the pot so it just reaches full on (fills the square with red in the controller panel), push the lever all the way down, and put the gear back on. If there is any dead travel in the pedals (travel that doesn't show in the controller panel), you always want it at the beginning of the pedal throw (trust me).
The pictures above show that I cut the hole in the lower lever, extending through the end of the lever. This gives a little more travel, though some of it is dead travel. I personally like a very small amount of dead travel at the beginning of the pedal throw. Before you put it back together, grease everything good with white lithium grease, including the upper lever. The upper levers will be floppy, so it's easier to put it back together by holding the pedals upside down and letting the levers fall into the slots in the cover.
This modification will make your pedals very useable, even in games like Grand Prix Legends. The levers are a little floppy, but when your feet are on them, you will hardly notice it. But, you will notice how much smoother they operate.
Part II A Better Modification:
Mar 22, 2000