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Discussion Starter #1
While some go on gnashing teeth over the trunk, let's talk something REALLY important. Something (unlike the trunk) you will use every time you fire up the Ecotec in your Solstice or Sky...

Steering!

One very important thing to me that makes a car feel like a sport car is fast ratio steering. I am praying the Solstice is designed with no more than 2.7 turns lock-to-lock.

The German cars are too relaxed. The Z4, Boxster and SLK all have 3.0 turns lock-to-lock. The Miata and S2000 both have great steering at is 2.7 turns lock-to-lock. FWIW, the MazdaSpeed Miata, has a razor fast 2.3 turns lock-to-lock. Probalby feels like cart racing when compared against a Boxster or Z4.

So will the Solstice and Sky come with a fast ratio steering, or something lazy and unsatisfying? Bob wouldn't let us down, would he? :brentil:

While I would like something a hair faster, I'm guessing they will match the 2005 Corvette with 2.8 turns lock-to-lock.

So soes anybody know? :grouphug
 

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jimbo said:
the MazdaSpeed Miata, has a razor fast 2.3 turns lock-to-lock. Probalby feels like cart racing when compared against a Boxster or Z4.
Do you happen to know if the base miata has the same number as the MSM?

RODEO
 

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Reports indicate that the Sol will be a great auto-x car, so I would assume that in part would indicate it will have a quick, athletic steering feel.

GM is using a regular hydraulic power assist system on the car to aid in steering feel, instead of their electro-hydraulic system which has been criticized for numb feel. The 18 inch wheels should also help with steering response.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
RODEO said:
Do you happen to know if the base miata has the same number as the MSM?

RODEO
It does not. The base Miata is a quick 2.7 turns lock-to-lock, but nothing like the fighter jet quick 2.3 of the MSM. Most of my stats were taken from the internet, so I could be wrong but nothing I found had a steering ratio as fast as the MSM. The 2.3 value came from my "Road & Track" magazine, "Sports & GT Cars". That MSM is a go cart. It is almost designed for auto-cross.
 

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jimbo said:
It does not. The base Miata is a quick 2.7 turns lock-to-lock, but nothing like the fighter jet quick 2.3 of the MSM. Most of my stats were taken from the internet, so I could be wrong but nothing I found had a steering ratio as fast as the MSM. The 2.3 value came from my "Road & Track" magazine, "Sports & GT Cars". That MSM is a go cart. It is almost designed for auto-cross.
Love that info, thanks jimbo! I'm off to go go carting in the hold-me-over:D

And Jimbo, when the time comes we get actual numbers on the Sol, resurect this thread and post the number, it will be very interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Fformula88,

Thanks for the reassurance. I can't emphasize enough the importance of quick steering to me. It could have been enough to swear me off the car into a Miata or S2000 if it had a lazy steering ratio. Guys, heck with the trunk, the steering is a game breaker for me. It HAS to be there or I walk. :banghead

So thanks for the reassurance. Hey guys! :party

Now I'm all warm & fuzzy. Awwwwwww, geeeeeeeeee. :crazy
 

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jimbo, your numbers are going right on my page, thanks! :D

RODEO
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Your welcome and good, they belong there. Steering is crucial in a sports car.
 

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You are correct jimbo, and I hadn't thought about that particular aspect since I was a teenager I remember on the the late Nissan Z's had a real tight lock to lock, and it was awesome.

The MSM does handle/steer great, and I'm still learning! I'm also doing pretty good avoiding tickets, nock on wood :D

the numbers are on my page, if you find more on this, keep us posted!
 

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As long as it's better then my Porsche 924's manual steering with 4 turns from lock-to-lock I'll be exceptionally happy. :D

The 924 is already a great FR auto-cross car for learning in, but I'm hoping the Solstice will defintely outperform this 27 year old car.
 

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J'bo

Careful about counting Turns-lock-to-lock. One trick to getting this number low is to limit the max turn diameter (and it's not that difficult). Many cars that are only 2.4 TLTL have a large turn diameter (over 11 meters!!!). The old saturn s-series was notorious for this.

What you want is a car with low (say less than 10.75 m or 35 feet ) turn diameter AND low turns lock-to-lock (3 or less).

In the end, this will likely create a car with high steering sensitivity - which sounds like what you're really after: turn the wheel a little and get more lateral acceleration (think pickup truck vs. corvette for an extreme example).

You can actually calculate this "sensitivity" for any given speed if you know just three things: 1) the steering ratio, 2) the wheelbase, and 3) the UNDERSTEER, which is the most difficult parameter for someone to measure or know.

Good steering balances out all these things, while considering and balancing the amount of effort the steering wheel feeds back for the lateral acceleration produced when steering - if it sounds complicated, it prolly is because it really can be complicated. It takes a lot of work to create a properly balanced, good feeling steering system.

IMVHO, I think the Z4 is not BMW's best effort (no pun intended). The Honda is pretty nice but numb at times. I find the normal miata pretty good, and the MSM a bit light and difficult (again MVHO!, HOLD YOUR ARROWS) to drive due to it's responsiveness.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
brentil said:
As long as it's better then my Porsche 924's manual steering with 4 turns from lock-to-lock I'll be exceptionally happy. :D
Ouch! If my sportscar had 4.0 turns lock to lock, I would be ====> :eek..... :cryin..... :cuss
 

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solsticeman said:
I find the normal miata pretty good, and the MSM a bit light and difficult (again MVHO!, HOLD YOUR ARROWS) to drive due to it's responsiveness.
thanks for the engineering perspective SM......

That's an interesting MSM comment..."due to it's responsiveness, it's difficult to drive"....seems an odd statement....care to expand? Is it over responsive, is that what you were going after?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
solsticeman said:
Careful about counting Turns-lock-to-lock.
In the end, this will likely create a car with high steering sensitivity - which sounds like what you're really after: turn the wheel a little and get more lateral acceleration (think pickup truck vs. corvette for an extreme example).
Of course you are right and as you stated above, that is what I am hoping for. A bit of a go-cart feel to the steering without being unstable or overly sensitive.
 

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RODEO said:
thanks for the engineering perspective SM......

That's an interesting MSM comment..."due to it's responsiveness, it's difficult to drive"....seems an odd statement....care to expand? Is it over responsive, is that what you were going after?
Steering, remember, can be a dose of "what's YOUR favorite flavor of Ice Cream?!?".

I might put this another way - I'd like a bit more effort in the steering (based on the 3 hours I spent in a couple of different MSMs). It's ok to increase the responsiveness, but to balance it out you need to increase the steering effort too.

If not, then just driving for a long time in one lane with the normal types of input can be a chore - constantly correcting, more sneeze sensitive - this is what I found in the MSM vs the normal NB. There's a definite difference in response between the two (i.e. the MSM had more immediate lateral movement of the car with a few degrees of steering wheel movement). I just think the effort could be higher, to make highway cruising driving a bit easier - the end result being a better overall balance of feel and ease of driving.

Does that explain any better?
 

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Thanks SM!

I agree it's a "to each his own" preference.

You also have a lot more to compare it to in your experiences, that might have something to do with it.

Since I have little to compare it to in personal experience, except old memories of the fiat and mgbs, I can't say too much more.

I wonder though, maybe a relative newbie to roadsters like myself experiences something different than would a veteran like yourelf. Kinda like someone who just learned to surf, versus a seasoned pro?

I like the way the MSM steers, but then again, I'm used to 4x4's. Now days, my 4x4 feels like an excursion hauling a 16' trailer if you know what I mean.

I have absolutely no complaints on the MSM steering, I've been throwing out the back end under acceleration and cornering (in controlled areas) and have had no difficulty. On the freeway, no complaints! It does feel rough roads especially well, but not enough to upset me!

Thanks SM
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
solsticeman said:
If not, then just driving for a long time in one lane with the normal types of input can be a chore...
:agree

You speak the truth. I do want fast steering but I don't want it to steer like a race car. You are right in that Pontiac needs to maintain that delicate balance of go-cart steering against instability. Here's to hoping they have. Every tiny bit of this "halo" car is going to be scrutinized and not just by the magazines but by you and I. I cherish the fine looks, but if I were to find that the new Miata was a far better driver's car -- well looks are only skin deep. The Solstice has my vote hands down but only if it can deliver the goods of acceptable poise, balance and handling.

I am encouraged by Fformua88's comment that the Solstice should be a good car for auto-cross. It that is true, I'll be more than happy! :party

Trunk. Top. No consequence. The steering is a matter of life and death. Or perhaps I should have said, "the handling." But I think you know what I mean. When I hit an apex and accelerate through the far side of a curve, it should be an extension of my thought. A visceral reaction. Not a battle.
 

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In fact, steering is very important. Many of what people call "good" or "bad" handling is really, in fact, steering.

Max Lat and cornering isn't all there is to a car - it really matters on how it "feels". There's BMW's out there that have only moderate handling "numbers" but great "handling". I think a good chunk of this is very good tuning on steering.

The numbers for the Cobalt/ION are actually pretty good, but most folks think of the car as a "so-so or acceptably-good" "handling" car. I think they may actually be talking about the steering, as I've been in VW's, Neons, Foci, Hondas, and the ION. True handling, the ION corners flat, rides remarkably well - the early ones kinda had ho-hum steering. I'm not sure the normal customer separates these issues, but I am pretty sure of this:

"Good steering can cover for mediochre handling, providing an acceptable result. The best "handling" car can be ruined by mediochre steering."

Here's to hoping the Solstice folks come thru! :cheers
 

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A very informative thread :cheers
 

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A bit from the Motor Trend from last year: http://motortrend.com/roadtests/coupe/112_0406_convpontiac/index.html
We asked for it and we got it: a good-handling Solstice. Well, actually we got a drive in some engineering test mules. But by all indications, the production versions of this new-for-2006 Pontiac roadster will feel appropriately lithe and entertaining to drive. Just what we were after.

Case in point, and a hugely important one: steering feel. Basic componentry of the system, from the steering wheel to the tire footprints, has been settled. But there's a lot of tuning going on still, which can involve rigidity of mounts and bushing hardness, geometry, and especially power-assist characteristics.

The Solstice mules had a taut, almost hydraulic sense on center, and the car responded sweetly and cleanly to major and minor inputs from the driver. However, there was little buildup of effort in the wheel as cornering loads increased. Consciously or not, a driver depends on that force feedback to judge what's happening at the tire contact patches. You want the perceived load at the steering wheel to build as the front tires work harder.

Then when front-tire slip angles exceed the ideal maximum and grip begins to fall off in an incipient slide, the perceived weight in the wheel will start to drop as well. The alternative is that nasty artificial feel of video-game controllers, lacking tactile feedback. You can steer a vehicle that way, but it doesn't arouse much passion.

With start of Solstice production still a year away, that vagueness in the steering wheel matters less than the Solstice team's awareness of it. We discussed it with Steve Padilla, chief development engineer, and he acknowledged they're playing with the power assist to get force buildup where they want it. So that issue seems well in hand, and we'll assume that the Solstice steering will be better overall than it is now. And it doesn't need much to be great.
This almost answers your concerns, that at least GM's aware of what's needed and were working on it last winter. But it doesn't say how many turns lock to lock but if it had been too high, I don't think Motor Trend would have been so favorably impressed. :smile
 
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