[associates] Re: Back up steering systems

  • From: John Anschutz <johnanschutz@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: associates@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 21:06:57 -0400

What a great topic. I am not sure I know the answer. I sometimes wonder if the backup pump is a backup for a problem that could be prevented. I have a van with zero effort steering. It suffers from stress due to over-heating of the steering fluid. I think the original problem stemmed from two sources. 1. If the engine is running and the Van is parked or at idle for an extended time with the wheels turned it will overheat the steering fluid. 2. Sometimes with new drivers or in an eval our evaluators want to really check out the client's turning abilities before ever going on the road. Let me tell you that the rate of change in wheel direction with a Zero Effort (sorry I am old school - Maximum reduced effort) steering is far greater than what is typical in traditional steering. It really heats up the oil. Overheats. The problem is that if the oil gets too hot seals can fail and you can have a lot of damage and you may have need for a back up system. Would a more modern approach be something like installing a steering fluid cooler like they do in some dirt track racing cars where they put great demands on steering? I think DSI uses a cooler in their system. Also, if we had a temperature monitor on the fluid then a dangerous or damaging situation could most likely be avoided all together. If you can really do that then would you still need a backup pump? Seems like the consumer would appreciate the ability to avoid major repair. This is kind of like seeing that your car is overheating and you stop before you ruin the engine. In this case the complicating factor is that steering is so much more important for safety to the consumer. It would be nice if the consumer can avoid a problem and a failure of any kind. Once you have a need for the backup you are back to oil squirting somewhere and you could have a fire situation that you mentioned.

Thanks again & I look forward to seeing other thoughts.
John Anschutz
Please don't anyone change there practices based on our discussion. We are just brainstorming.

Please don't go out and change your practices based on these comments.
On Apr 30, 2009, at 6:51 PM, cbckj@xxxxxxx wrote:

Thanks for a forum to discuss our issues. It is really appreciated. I am an inspector and have the unique opportunity to poke my head into, and around a lot of converted vehicles. I am hoping to solicit opinions and guidance from this learned group of professionals, and to have some input into the general NMEDA community. Please understand, I just want to stimulate some dialogue, not propose policy...case in point: During inspections I have found that back up steering pumps are mounted in areas that are subject to damage even from minor impacts. My concern is that these systems could rupture and leak with high pressure flammable fluids spraying into the engine compartment. The pumps are frequently mounted in the front bumper. Back up steering systems have not changed in basic design for over 25 years. One of my discussion points, (besides location change and design) is the actual need for these systems. I have seen more problems with back up steering systems than I have heard reports that they serve their intended purpose. The maintenance and installation issues are numerous. Is the intended safety of this device worth the problems? I'm looking forward to your comments.
C. Kerry Jones
"The Space Between"

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