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Old 01-13-2008, 07:45 PM   #1
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Power Steering - hydraulic or electronic steering?

I didn't really see a thread for this specific topic, so I thought I'd be safe in starting one. My question is, does anyone have a preference between hydraulic or electric steering in the Camaro? I only ask because, as I read reviews of some GM cars, I'm finding an abundance of electrically-powered steering systems. They haven't been totally negative, but it seems testers prefer the hydraulic setups. What are your thoughts on this? Personally, all I've ever really driven is my Jeep, so I have no basis for comparison between the two.
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:28 PM   #2
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Hydraulic is more natural in feel, but electric conserves more energy and increases fuel efficiency. I'd expect the Camaro to have whatever steering setup can be found in the Commodore/G8 (etc.).
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:17 PM   #3
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I'd like to see EPS on V6 models, hydraulic assist on V8 models. Maybe it could even be an upgrade for the V6 in an RS package. It is a simple trade-off between steering feel and economy.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:50 PM   #4
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This is what my Cobalt has, as per Chevy.com:

Quote:
Speed-Sensitive Electric Power Steering (EPS)

Electronic sensors and computer controls in the speed-sensitive EPS measure and react to thousands of inputs each second, adjusting steering assistance to help provide precise control and responsiveness. The system is tuned to match the performance level of the suspension in each model.
Basically, as I understand it, the pump is an electric motor, NOT belt driven
by the engine. When you're stopped, or going slow, you have vast amounts of power steering assist, I can literally turn from 100% left, to 100% right with my pinky finger and a small amount of force.

Out on the road, it becomes slightly harder to turn as the electric motor lets off a bit. This helps aid stability.

This is NOT the most road-sensitive steering. but I feel like it's 'cleaner'. Does that make sense? It's sharper, and by no means do you not feel the road at all, it's just more distant. The fact that it can be tuned to different suspensions gives me hope that, because I have the bottom of the barrel car, it can be altered to be more sensitive to the road in cars like Camaro.

Now, the fact that it frees horsepower is almost a moot point on a V8, because it's already so powerful, that any loss to te power steering pump is negligable IMO. On I4's it's a different story.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:34 AM   #5
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Guess I'd have to take the EPS over hydro...just kind makes sense.
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Old 01-22-2008, 05:28 AM   #6
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Does EPS go with Electronic Stability control? I know it monitors where the steering wheel is turned to help control oversteer/understeer, but don't know if it uses EPS to do that or some other type of sensor.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:36 AM   #7
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Mazda has EPS and my old sport truck (97 1/2 ton) had Hyd. The truck was dropped with low profile tires etc. I would say that the EPS is definitely cleaner and crisper when manipulating the wheel. But the Hyd gave much better feedback from the road. Which made me more comfortable at higher speeds. I like the EPS for lower speed carving. But I feel the road much better with the hydraulic.

Example. In a high G turn (slow or fast) it is harder for me to tell when the tires are going to break loose with EPS than it is with Hyd. But, the steering wheel feels more "locked in" or "slotted" with EPS.

Note: Mazda is FWD so that my blow my logic out the window.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:05 AM   #8
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I'd really prefer hydraulic over electric assisted. If you don't get electric assisted right it could be a disaster in steering feel. The new BMW Z4 had that exact problem and really hurt sales IMO. Would also prefer non-drive-by-wire throttle. Ever drive a 350z? The pedal feel is completely fake it's like driving a video game car.

Basically I just hope that steering and throttle aren't overly assisted in the Camaro. Too bad it seems like most manufacturers are going this way though :(
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:15 AM   #9
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My wife has it on her 2.5 Jetta and I like the feel. She likes how tight it is at faster speeds and at low speed the effort is pretty minimal. If it's simpler than hydraulic, I'm down.
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by radz282003 View Post
My wife has it on her 2.5 Jetta and I like the feel. She likes how tight it is at faster speeds and at low speed the effort is pretty minimal. If it's simpler than hydraulic, I'm down.
I'm not sure it's simpler. My understanding is the Electric assist is in addition to the hydraulic. So now you have two systems working together. But I think EPS is a proven system. I really think it comes down to if you like how it feels.

I'd just assume the Camaro be more of a traditional hydraulic PS car.
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtahvit View Post
I'm not sure it's simpler. My understanding is the Electric assist is in addition to the hydraulic. So now you have two systems working together.
My Cobalt has EPS (Electric Power Steering). There's no power-steering pump accesory driven by the engine. So, primarily - it frees up some power. It's an electric motor as opposed to a belt-driven one. Only one 'system'.
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:47 PM   #12
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I've never had a vehicle with electronic steering, doesn't that mess with your feel of the road?
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:57 PM   #13
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I've never had a vehicle with electronic steering, doesn't that mess with your feel of the road?
I also have a Cobalt like Dragoneye and you don't loose any feel of the road. But the Camaro is a heavier car and will probably need the hydraulic power steering.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:22 PM   #14
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Actually EPS does lose a lot of road and steering feel over hydraulic systems. Its fine on cars like the Cobalt because no one buys those with steering and road feel a high priority anyway, but on the Camaro stuff like that can be a problem.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:31 PM   #15
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My civic SI had electronic steering and to my undestanding the manufacturer can fine tune the system to give diffrent types of feedback. I liked it on the Honda so if it was on Camaro I would not complain.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:44 PM   #16
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i dont know, id still stick with the hyd assist...or a manual rack.

the electric motor, just doesnt sound up to par for me. im just imagining somepoint where my wheel is blocked or something and the electric motor doesnt have the guts to turn the wheel,
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:37 PM   #17
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Is EPS a motorized mechanical system, like conventional rack and pinion or is it an electric pump for regular power steering?

Also, for the reduced feel of the road, is it that things are too effortless? or that you can't tell whats going on at the wheels?
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamaroSpike23 View Post
the electric motor, just doesnt sound up to par for me. im just imagining somepoint where my wheel is blocked or something and the electric motor doesnt have the guts to turn the wheel,
See below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DGthe3 View Post
Is EPS a motorized mechanical system, like conventional rack and pinion or is it an electric pump for regular power steering?

Also, for the reduced feel of the road, is it that things are too effortless? or that you can't tell whats going on at the wheels?
An electric motor takes the place of the power steering pump that would normally be found driven by an accessory belt. So, the electric motor Does Not actually turn the wheels, but pumps fluid to do it for you, just like your normal hydraulic system. So there aren't any instances where the motor would fail where a conventional power steering pump wouldn't as well. (i.e. pretty much never)

Personally, I can tell what's going on with my wheels when I'm driving. I feel very connected to the road in that aspect. Torque steer, pot-holes, I feel them all, exactly like a conventional system

Where it is soft, is like DGthe3 said - things are too effortless. I'll explain this point a little more:

The whole system is speed sensitive (what being driven by an electric motor, and all. So the computer can control how fast the motor turns (much like in a conventional setup - you get more steering assist the higher your revs, right?) except that it does not rely on the engine. So when you're sitting in a parking lot, or your driveway - I can turn the wheel from side to side with my pinky finger on dry pavement. There is virtually NO effort needed, because the motor offers a lot of assist. But when you get faster - say the highway, the system enhances your stability by requiring a little more effort on your part to turn the wheels - so you don't go flying all over the place. (I've never been able to drive perfectly straight for so far - without my hands - like this car allows me to)

I really like it. I think the overall feel is softer than a conventional setup, but not enough to bother me, imo. And it IS tuneable for cars with different 'personalities'. I think there was a review of the new Malibu - where the author mentioned that GM tuned the EPS so well that it was the best system he had ever driven, and he normally doesn't like EPS systems. I don't know if I can find it......
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:44 PM   #19
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Ok. thats what I was thinking. It should be very easy to tune the amount of assist in a setup like that, just like they can do with a conventional hydraulic setup, unlike with an electric rack and pinion. Thus eliminating the problems that people have with them. As was mentioned earlier, the softness likely comes from the design intent for the car. I'm sure that you would have to do a little bit of work to move the wheels Camaro if EPS were used, its not supposed to be easy after all. It will also make a little more power availible too, not much but a little.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:12 PM   #20
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The steering effort on the Cobalt is very nice. It ramps up and down at pretty logical rates. However, the feedback I get just seems artificial. I just don't get the same mechanical connection that I get through a good hydraulic setup. It is great in every day driving, but when I autocrossed it I could really tell that something was lacking.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by gtahvit View Post
Mazda has EPS and my old sport truck (97 1/2 ton) had Hyd. The truck was dropped with low profile tires etc. I would say that the EPS is definitely cleaner and crisper when manipulating the wheel. But the Hyd gave much better feedback from the road. Which made me more comfortable at higher speeds. I like the EPS for lower speed carving. But I feel the road much better with the hydraulic.

Example. In a high G turn (slow or fast) it is harder for me to tell when the tires are going to break loose with EPS than it is with Hyd. But, the steering wheel feels more "locked in" or "slotted" with EPS.

Note: Mazda is FWD so that my blow my logic out the window.
Exactly, Since i'm not doing much street racing these days, it is a practical convenience.
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