Well of course our Spiders don't have power steering. Our '84 is hard to steer at anything below a creep. But I certainly don't have to get up to highway speeds to feel the steering become easy.
Have you tried jacking up the front end to see if it still feels 'heavy'? (It shouldn't.) When I first got our Spider on the road (I bought it as a basket case that had sat unused for a year or two), the idler box (opposite the steering box) was nearly siezed. That made the steering too stiff. Replacing that plus a good front end alignment made all the difference.
thanks for the reply. I've owned my spider for only 2 years, as a result I'm not that familiar with the characteristics of the car. I realize manual steering is heavier. I'm going to check the adjustment on the steering box and also jack up the front end and check out the steering joints, tire inflation and the front end alignment. My car is low mileage and hasn't been used very much over its 19 year life span.... maybe its joints are dried out??
I put the front on jacks and the steering is free and easy with no binding or other strange sensations. the fluid was very low in the box and I filled it to the specified amount... I checked the steering rod joints and all were lubed and in good condition.
Road tested and the steering is a bit easier.... it really helps to have fluid in the box.
A set of low mileage "like new" of Continental 195 R15 tires were on the car when I bought it. I don't do any spirited driving, so they'll do until it's time for new ones. tire pressure was checked and is good.
I know 15's came on several 80's cars, but what width and profile is stock? (you might have wider tires than what you realize)
I know with my (puny) 185/70-14's anything above, say, 10-15mph is one hand driving (not that I ever drive with one hand mind you, but I could if I wanted to at those speeds ) 30 and up is more like two fingers rather than two hands and highway speeds are practially thought control easy.