Pontiac Solstice Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The most recent Autoweek (or was it MotorTrend) had some negative comments about the Solstice test mule steering. Obviously, it is very early yet, so probably no real cause for alarm. However, the new Autoweek (the one with the Corvette on the cover, yet no real C6 info inside), also had massive complaints about the steering in the new Chevy Malibu. Apparently, the Malibu uses variable electronic power steering, and Autoweek states it feels unnaturally light when moving slowly, and VERY heavy when on the highway. This is the same complaint that has been levelled against the new BMW 5-series.

Does anyone recall if the Solstice will be also using this variable assist power steering setup, the same as the Malibu?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,153 Posts
I can't recall exactly where I read it, but I know I read that the solstice will NOT have electronic power-assist, but rather a conventional hydraulic power steering system. Personally, I'd rather have it with no power steering at all!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
2KWK4U said:
Personally, I'd rather have it with no power steering at all!
Having driven a car with no power steering for the last 9 years, let me tell you, it gets to be a drag. Everything is fine except parking. I live in an urban environment and it becomes an issue. I've given in, my next car will be with power steering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,153 Posts
My reasoning is based on experience with Miatas and autocross. Mine had power steering, but my buddy's did not. We swapped cars for fun runs a few times. The steering in his was so much more "there" than in mine. I can't really put the difference into words. Seems like there was better feedback. That, in turn made it seem more responsive.

You're right about parallel parking, though. Too bad we can't have it all. Theorhetically an electric-assist for low speed steering would be nice, if it were completely disconnected from the works at speeds over 5 MPH. But I'm sure that would be way more complicated to impliment than it sounds. My VUE has electric power steering, and I would NOT want the same setup in a sportscar.

My GTP had "Magnasteer," which is basically variable-assist power steering... but not really. It has a conventional hydraulic power steering rack and pump. But somewhere in the linkage (steering column, if I'm not mistaken) is a funky electromagnetic device that basically adds resistance back into the mix to simulate road feel. It was better than the VUE's setup, and actually a little better than my Miata for road feel (the GTP had every suspension mod available at the time I owned it, the Miata was stock). But it wasn't as sweet as the steering in my friend's Miata with no power assist.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
There's a general guideline and an unwritten upper weight limit for practical manual steering.

Much heavier than 625 lbs. per front tire, and manual steering is almost all but impractical for a normal sized steering wheel, or you get sluggish steering if you bump up the ratio.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
In the bad old daze of 400+ cid V-8s stuffed in the nose, the great advantage of the GM "variable rate" steering (intoed in Cadillacs in the '60s) was that you got an under 3 turns lock to lock ratio instead of the 5 with a manual box.

Of course it was 1970 before they figured it out well enough that you didn't "beat" the power, and 1978 before the WS-6 steering box came out (actually an H-body box swapped into a F-body - the extra wheight in the nose added "feel").

My Fiero has manual steering and got lighter when the 7" Beretta wheels had about 3mm less offset than stock. Everything else has power.

Where you lose feel is in the column which has a torque fitting in the gearbox to sense the need for boost rather than a solid one but the feel is still there, you just need to train your fingertips to recognize it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
padgett said:
...

Where you lose feel is in the column which has a torque fitting in the gearbox to sense the need for boost rather than a solid one but the feel is still there, you just need to train your fingertips to recognize it...
Huh? :confused

Not for any rack and pinion i've ever seen, and I seen a lot...


I posted this on the "Car and Driver June 2004" thread, it's probably more relevant here:

solsticeman said:
Relative to rack and pinion systems:

Honda S2000 has electric power steering, but the assist is provided on the rack. Steering feel should be close to normal hydraulic steering.

The BMWZ4, the ION and the Malibu have electric assist but the assist is provided on the column. The assist provided on the column means the steering boost plus your steering effort has to work completely through the universal joints connecting the column and the steering gear. This means possibly less overall "feeling of being connected" to the road.

The MR2 uses "electro-hydraulic", which means a motor runs a pump which provides the assist hydraulically. Steering feel should be nearly indistinguishable from a normal hydraulic system. This is also what the Acura NSX runs, as does the Lotus Esprit (which incidentally used basically the same system that never made it into production for the 1988 power steering fiero). The Opel Astra also uses a similar setup.

Most everyone else uses a normal, engine or camshaft driven pump, hydraulic steering system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,153 Posts
Looking at the pictures in the C&D article, I spy what appear to be steel lines on the steering rack. To me, this looks like power steering, just as they said. Electric over hydraulic would senseless. Keep in mind that all the cars you mention with electric over hydraulic are mid or rear engine.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
2KWK4U said:
...Keep in mind that all the cars you mention with electric over hydraulic are mid or rear engine.

Except for the transverse engine/transmission, FWD Opel Astra :smile
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
Hokay folks. Was talking about how a power steering determines when to add power and which way. In the aunchient saginaw power steering (four bolts on top) gearbox there is a torsion bar and rotary valve assembly to determine how much "power" to add and in which direction. Where the steering column connects to a rack and pinion as in the Bonneville you may note that this is where the p/s pipes connect because, guess what ? Inside there is a torsion tube and a rotary valve (when the general finds something that works, it does not change often).

That flex in the torsion bar that is necessary for the p/s to determine how much assist to add is what causes the loss of a lot of the "feel" and the boost itself removes more.

Now as I said, it is a matter of learning a new set of stimuli. The feedback is still there, it just is different and less.

Will say you should be glad we have power steering these days, one of the real perils of racing an XK Jag was the amount of feedback you could get from the steering wheel and many bruised and even broken fingers resulted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,153 Posts
solsticeman said:
Except for the transverse engine/transmission, FWD Opel Astra :smile
D'OH! :leaving
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
padgett said:
Now as I said, it is a matter of learning a new set of stimuli. The feedback is still there, it just is different and less.

Will say you should be glad we have power steering these days, one of the real perils of racing an XK Jag was the amount of feedback you could get from the steering wheel and many bruised and even broken fingers resulted.
:agree Power steering is a blessing. Just get used to the feel. :cheers
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
I read a quote from a GM exec someplace where the exec basically said that they were aware that the GM electronic assist steering system was not well suited for sporty car applications, and therefore they would continue using hydraulic power assist in their performance oriented cars. I want to believe it was a C6 writeup. Since the Solstice is a ground up design to be nothing but a performance car, I am sure they will use hydraulic.

Manual is nice at times, but for 99% of the people out there, its not too practical. Maybe they could offer a power steering delete option for autoXers and such, but they definately need power steering on it. The lack of power steering was one of the biggest complaints with the Fiero (although I love mine just the same).

Padget, my Fiero's steering became a lot easier at lower speeds by using different offest wheels too, even though I went to wider tires. It was a welcome surprise as I was expecting just the opposite!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
I am from Saginaw, Michigan where all steering components for GM have been made since buick started 100 years ago. My father works on the power steering pump line and he heard it through the grape vince that the solstice will have a hydraulic power steering pump.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
And now, the defining moment:

Take a look at the chassis picture, of the front end engine compartment area:

http://www.gminsidenews.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=3230

On the right (passenger side) of the engine, in front of the engine, is very clearly a HYDRAULIC POWER STEERING RESERVOIR.

Those are used for hydraulic power steering, and could not find any pictures of lower in the compartment. The pump must be belt driven off the lower right side (below the reservior) of the engine.

So, there's your answer - good old, engine-mounted, belt driven hydraulic power rack-and-pinion steering.

For those who are into chassis and vehicle dynamics, it is obvious (from the pictures) that it is a front steer, meaning the steering rack is forward of the wheel. This is typical for a longitudinal mounted engine with an SLA front suspension, so it's no big deal, but interesting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
I give power steering the thumbs down for a sports car. Weight has a lot to do with power steering. If you have a really light car, you dont need power steering. Hence the elise - it has no power steering and is often said to have the best feedback and most responsive steering of any car. The solstice clocks in at about a thousand lbs heavier though. Taken into consideration - the solstice could probably benefit from a minimal amount of power steering, but i could be wrong.

I know that the 350z's steering is extremely tight and gives hardly any feedback. The RX-8's steering is quite light and nimble, but it also lacks feedback. Funny that my montero sport has better feedback through the wheel than either of these cars.

I assume that GM could tweak the power steering sensitivity to its maximum potential - HOWEVER this car is like frankenstiens monster to a degree. Random GM parts are thrown together to create a cheap yet nice sports car. I expect the same to be true with the power steering column.

-Whit
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
Think I glossed over it a bit earlier, but Pontiac's famed T/A WS-6 power steering also used in the Monte Carlo SS was just a regular OTS Saginaw power steering box valved for an H-body (Sunbird). The vauge feeling with lots of boost catered to the sans coulottes in an economy car but when placed in a 1,000 pound heavier vehicle became highly desirable (and yard pickers searching for the elusive steering gear passed over hoards of junked economy cars. Just look for the box with four bolts on top instead of the circlip).

You can make a power steering have as much feel as you want by adjusting the valving and torsion bar. In fact if you use a strain gauge instead of a torsion bar, it could be fed through the PCM and you could make the "feel"/boost adjustable (at slight additional cost...). Whadayawant ?
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top