[associates] Re: Back up steering systems

  • From: "Jacques Bolduc" <jacques@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <associates@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 10:00:52 -0400

This type of problem is typical in an aftermarket modification that taps
into someone else's system. There does exist a steering system (and backup
system) test that has never been used by any reduced effort steering
manufacturer (SAE J2672). To my knowledge, the State of Ohio is requiring
that reduced effort steering systems meet this SAE test as of August 1 2009.
There are a couple of glitches with Ohio's requirement - first, the cost of
the test is not justified considering the business opportunity for the
manufacturer. Second, the test has never been undertaken and nobody knows if
it is realistic, feasible or adequate to demonstrate the reliability and
safety of the reduced effort steering. Lastly, the test centers are not
equipped to conduct the test and the first company to test will bear the
brunt of setup costs. I do not know of a supplier of reduced effort steering
systems that can afford to test unless all manufacturers test and the cost
of these systems is adjusted in relation to the expense - but who wants to
talk about increasing prices, or policing who has tested and who is simply
stating that they have tested?

Not much help, I'm sorry. Some options may include NMEDA requiring that
these systems meet more specific requirements, that States require some kind
of demonstration of reliability, etc.


Jacques Bolduc,

SRD Bolduc - Tampa

cel 813-410-4884


From: associates-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:associates-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John Anschutz
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 9:07 PM
To: associates@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [associates] Re: Back up steering systems


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

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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