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Vanagon power steering alternative
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Gizmoman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:37 am    Post subject: Vanagon power steering alternative Reply with quote

As my van has become my daily driver, the biggest issue I have with it is the manual steering when parking. It's probably a sign that I'm older than I think.
I've considered adding the stock power steering but didn't want to lose the great turning radius or hassle with the custom pump mount, hoses, tank, rack and other bits.

After some research, I found a Saturn View Electronic Power Steering unit may be just the ticket. Fed-x says it will arrive this Wednesday and I will post the install - that is if it fits Wink
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Ebay has many units for sale and I selected one that was the complete column in the event I needed anything for my install.
The unit also requires a controller (sold separately) and there are quite a few listed on ebay as well. Many of the controllers include a dash-pot/knob affair that the driver must adjust. The thought of having to adjust the power manually seemed a bit much and even scary as freeway driving with the max setting could be a puckering experience.
The controller I ordered is one that is "automatic" and apparently adjusts the power assist based on how far the wheel is moved. The seller of the controller assured me that it does not need a speed signal - just 12 volts from a switched source. He said the motor responds to steering input in degrees of rotation - small inputs do not engage the drive, large inputs (such as parallel parking) will take the unit to max assistance - sounds good to me.

Hopefully I can get it to mount under the dash without too much protrusion into everything else and will take plenty of pics of the process.

I still need to replace the tranny soon with the 5 speed box I have (in a box) but this is a much needed improvement and should take only a day or two to complete.
I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has done this already. There are several UK vans with similar installations but they are RH drive and have different space limitations.
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82 Vanagon Westy - AAZ 1.9 TD, HE200 Holset, WAIC, 27.75 dia tires, Electric power steering, 5-speed AAP w/.078 5th
Oversize spare carrier - stock location (no longer for sale).


Last edited by Gizmoman on Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:45 am    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

That's pretty cool. So does it replace your steering box (no rack)?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:11 am    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

Awesome find. I'll keep an eye on this. This could be a good upgrade for air cooled vans too.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:16 am    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

Yes. I have installed them. There are now a few manufacturers offering generic kits. I paid $2500 for the last one , so sourcing Ebay parts for a light duty vehicle will be much less. The off the shelf kits usually come in 3 different sizes depending on the weight of the rig and your intended use. One evening after work to run the harness and a Saturday for removal, cutting, fabbing and install. With the rheostat knob you can adjust the feel to your desired likeness or resistance. They really work well.

Edit:
My installs were in a Pinzgauer and an older FJ Cruiser not a Vanagon
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:44 am    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

V6 Saturn Vue is over 4,000 lbs. Maybe the Vue has more weight being a front-engine vehicle. Seems like this is a pretty good match for a Vanagon. My van is 5,000 lbs.
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ragnarhairybreeks
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:45 am    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

I had the chance to look at a local guys install in his aircooled vanagon (no stock PS).

I think the same set uo as the original poster talks about. It was installed locally, and pretty well the hardest part was making the bracket to hold the servo unit, and that wasn't that difficult.

The owner bought the servo used from wreckers, bought an external control box from eBay. This box takes the place of the speed sensor control unit that originally provided variable effort in relation to car speed.

He pretty well sets the effort to what he likes and leaves it there. I only was able to feel the PS action while the van was parked.

I think some might complain that it lacks the feel of regular PS but I would seriously consider installing one if my PS pump and or rack failed. Get rid of the engine mounted pump and the lines.

Alistair
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Gizmoman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
That's pretty cool. So does it replace your steering box (no rack)?

Stock rack (and turning radius)

I don't think the weight is much of an issue and I agree, the Saturn Vue would be much heavier at the front than a van.

I'm in about 260 so far. The local pick and pulls here in San Diego are a real PITA and for a few extra bucks I won't waste time finding and removing one. Besides, the ebay seller guarantees its in working order. Pretty excited about it and believe it will make the van much easier to drive around town.

I'll document the install as well as I can and provide some feedback on how it goes.
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82 Vanagon Westy - AAZ 1.9 TD, HE200 Holset, WAIC, 27.75 dia tires, Electric power steering, 5-speed AAP w/.078 5th
Oversize spare carrier - stock location (no longer for sale).
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iulian
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:48 am    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

I upgraded to EPAS two years ago, same reasoning as you Gizmoman.
I went for Litesteer from UK, it's a well engineered system and provides assistance up to 30mph. Comes complete with ready made steering column incl uj, control unit, speedo cable with an inline speed sender and wiring. It's fully automatic, no driver input needed and is active only when the engine is running. I remember paying aprox 900 euros

However, because the system is design based on RHD models, I had to do few adaptation during installation but no major issues:
- 8mm spacers for the 4 bolts holding the steering column in order to prevent squeezing the vacuum hose, brake pipes, wiring, etc.. with the el. motor - not needed on a RHD
- had to shave few mm from the left rearmost corner of the heaterbox to make room for the motor

Below few pics with the spacers and heater box mod.
Few more things: I preferred to keep my speedo cable and use a hall type speed sender fitted on the tacho instead of the inline provided in the kit. The control unit fits well behind the center cover panel, but I had to extend few wires. Litesteeer recommends fitting it on the steering column, tight space there, couldn't find a suitable position.
One concern was power consumption as the fuse is rated 40A but didn't have any problems. I have a big alternator 120A, probably this helped

First, from Litesteer site a picture with a RHD install
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Spacers
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


My install, lousy picture...arrows pointing at spacers
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Heater box mod and motor position
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Control unit, fitted with self adhesive velcro
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The system works very well since, no difference in feel comparing to a classic PS system. I wouldn't go back, especially now with bigger tires.

Good luck with your install,
iulian
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

Does the stock power steering change the turning radius? I haven't noticed that my '91 w/ PS does not turn as tightly as my '83 or '84 w/out PS.

I believe the stock AAZ PS bracket and pump are plug and play aside from changing the oil filler tube. Of course that would require running the PS rack and the hoses to the front and back. I have no opinion on whether or not that would be a better choice than the electric version.
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vwfreek61
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

I installed Vue EPS in my Westy. The only difficult part was cutting and welding the shaft so I could use the VW steering wheel instead of the Saturn wheel. I also had to make a custom bracket. A combination VW Golf/Toyota Sienna lower steering joint will match the splines of the Vue and Vanagon. Here are a couple pictures I have of the mock-up. I'll try to find better pictures of the actual bracket.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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vwfreek61
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

More recent pictures:


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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narendra.vw
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

A complete write up on E Power steering. It's a RHD.

Link:- http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5...p;start=40

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I hope this might be useful to you.
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Gizmoman
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

Wow, these are some really clean installs! Thanks for all the photos as well.
I started into my project this morning and have been at it all day.

First, to answer libby, I don't know for sure about the turing radius of a stock PS van VS a manual steering van. I did hear that it's less on a PS van but have never owned one. I was doing some research several years ago about adding the VW PS and read that it did change it which made me not want to go that route. Apparently there is no difference as you stated.

My install is going nicely but I can't seem to get the gearbox and control module tucked in as far as I'd like. It seems to be hitting the brake booster a bit but I may be able to do some clearancing of the lip at the bottom of the dash and get some more room. This has caused the angle of the steering column to be slightly steeper. I sort of like the new angle as I have a Jetta wheel and while it feels more comfortable than the huge stock wheel, I couldn't see the turn signal blinker lights or much of the speedo either. The new angle provides a nice view of everything and feels more like a truck - I like it.

I'm going to work on it some more tomorrow and see about getting the column angle back to stock as I'd rather not have to hack on the upper plastic cover. However, I may leave the current angle and carefully trim the cover if I feel brave. The lower cover will take some serious chopping for obvious reasons and I may have to cut the heater cover a tad to clear the end of the drive motor.

Thanks everyone for the great feedback.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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82 Vanagon Westy - AAZ 1.9 TD, HE200 Holset, WAIC, 27.75 dia tires, Electric power steering, 5-speed AAP w/.078 5th
Oversize spare carrier - stock location (no longer for sale).
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Gizmoman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:12 am    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

I received the e-bay "automatic" controller yesterday afternoon. The seller/manufacturer is in Portugal and it took ten days to arrive - not too bad.
Included in the small package are two pages of simple wiring instructions with color photos. The instructions also state that the ECU can be mounted remotely and the seller will provide details on request.
I have requested those instructions because the ECU is hitting the brake booster and is also keeping me from rotating the drive motor to a perfect horizontal position which bugs me a bit.

BTW, I did some searching on the turning radius of the manual VS a PS vanagon and came across this. . .

Quoted from Robw_z
Quote:
Power steering has a turning circle of 35.8 ft vs 34.5 ft for a manual rack. So manual is about 1 foot 4 inches tighter. Per the Vanagon.com model year summary page.

-Rob

Both are awesome but the manual wins by a hair Wink
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82 Vanagon Westy - AAZ 1.9 TD, HE200 Holset, WAIC, 27.75 dia tires, Electric power steering, 5-speed AAP w/.078 5th
Oversize spare carrier - stock location (no longer for sale).
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:45 am    Post subject: Re: Electronic Power Steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

Interesting concept!

I must admit that I misread the title and was expecting a fully electronic steering system retro fit.

Electronics saves engine HP and results in better MPG's though one wonders if any increased Alternator drag minimizes that savings?

It is fascinating to an old fart like me the role that electronics play in cars today.

My Daily Driver, a Prius (yeah, I know the stereotype, I'm just an average guy seeking above average MPG's) hasn't any engine belt driven accessories at all! Just a big built in generator.

Create a good "how to" as you install this system! Pause often, takes lots of photos!
Show us your failures as well as successes. It helps those who follow the same path later.

Dave
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Gizmoman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:01 am    Post subject: Re: Electric power assisted steering - 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

Thanks Dave,
I'm taking plenty of photos and will keep this post running till I have success.
The title should probably be changed to "electric power assisted steering" and I have done that.

Many of the units sold on e-bay are the motor and gearbox only. I chose one with the column and two u-joints so I could make a flexible connection without too much hassle. The unit also came with the upper column which included the female spline shaft which I welded to the stock VW shaft (shortened 11-1/4")

My first mistake was to make the u-joint assembly connect to the rubber flex affair near the floor - the one that connects to the VW steering box.
This put the u-joint too close to the tight radius tubing bend coming out of the clutch master cylinder.
I have since removed that rubber flex joint entirely and extended the splined u-joint assembly for a direct connection to the steering gear - much better!
Hopefully, the stock rubber boot will cover the lower u-joint without too much hassle. I may have to fab up an extended boot connection plate but oddly, I really like doing this stuff.

One of my biggest concerns is getting the plastic covers to fit well. The lower cover will need to be shortened and sadly, the process will remove the metal tube clip stand-off. I'll need to provide another stand-off up higher inside the casing. I'll make a new one out of aluminum and use a single screw through the clip.

I won't be providing many dimensions or details on what to cut or where but hopefully the photos will be of use to the adventurous. I was hoping to not modify the Saturn unit's splined shafts in case it ever needed replacing but I did end up shortening the input shaft by 1-3/8" to allow room for the cut VW steering shaft (wheel end) and steering lock slots.

The Saturn input shaft has a bare area without splines near the tip and cutting in this area keeps you from messing up the snug fitting splines.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I have learned that cutting through splines makes for some serious fiddling with a sharp file before you can get them to work again.

I am lucky enough to have a lathe, a mill and a welder and doubt I would tackle something like this without these tools.
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82 Vanagon Westy - AAZ 1.9 TD, HE200 Holset, WAIC, 27.75 dia tires, Electric power steering, 5-speed AAP w/.078 5th
Oversize spare carrier - stock location (no longer for sale).
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Gizmoman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:40 am    Post subject: Re: Electric power assisted steering 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

Waiting for the sun to come up and hopefully the drizzling rain to stop - figured I'd add a bit more info while I wait.
Here is a shot of the unit I purchased on e-bay for 200 bucks
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Another showing the connection between the VW steering column tube (shortened by 4-5/8") and the shortened 3 bolt flange tube that came with the unit. This I cut at the end of the outer column tube of the Saturn unit.
One fits inside the other 1/4" thanks to the lathe and I am using a band clamp to hold it in position for now.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The plan is to weld it once I have the rotation of the gear-motor where I want it.

And here is the female spline end which was cut from the Saturn column shaft just below the bulged area of it's locking slot, turned for a press fit into the end of the shortened VW shaft, bored to receive it, and welded.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I believe this weldment needs to be axially true as there are two bearings involved - one at the worm gear of the Saturn unit, and the other at the top of the VW collum.

In my opinion, the EPAS system is a reasonable alternative over fitting the stock VW hydraulics as it costs less, requires no hoses, pump, belts, pump brackets, re-alignment, steering rack, and other bits. Plus it only requires power when needed (bound to save some energy/HP). That said, it's another odd bit in the character of this "grossly defiled" vanagon Wink
I like this vehicle's versatility, it size, its turning radius, its overall character. Power steering will bring it close to ideal. Power windows, a 5 speed (waiting for rebuild time), power door locks and mirrors, and a bit more sound deadening will be the ultimate - oh and a truck fridge and interior re-do as well. The last time I was bored I was 6.
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82 Vanagon Westy - AAZ 1.9 TD, HE200 Holset, WAIC, 27.75 dia tires, Electric power steering, 5-speed AAP w/.078 5th
Oversize spare carrier - stock location (no longer for sale).
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:40 am    Post subject: Re: Electric power assisted steering 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

6 years old? That would be the 1950's.......
Good times! I lived in the last house on a dead end dirt road. Behind us was a forest with a river and swampland, to the left was a small creek that bubbled from a fresh water Spring, across the "street" was a commercial blueberry farm (I still love blueberries but miss the never ending quantity) and we had a neighbor to the right....... a young boys paradise!

Never bored!

Yes, this was in NJ too......

Dave
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Gizmoman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Electric power assisted steering 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

Actually it was 1960 Smile

Project is going slow but very promising. I removed the ECU and am in the process of carefully soldering about 18" of wire to the four that connect to the torque sensor so I can remote mount it.

Without the ECU box the motor tucks in nicely and is now parallel with the dash. I can even get the top plastic cover on - woo-hoo!
The angle of the column is now close to stock but tilted just enough to allow a clear view of the dash between the spokes of the Jetta wheel.

Also, the rubber boot at the floor fit over the u-joint assembly just right. All I had to do was punch a slightly larger hole in the rubber.

Pics to follow
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82 Vanagon Westy - AAZ 1.9 TD, HE200 Holset, WAIC, 27.75 dia tires, Electric power steering, 5-speed AAP w/.078 5th
Oversize spare carrier - stock location (no longer for sale).
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Electric power assisted steering 82 AAZ diesel Reply with quote

Looks like you're making some good progress. I was surprised at the improvement in steering feel and response by ditching the rag joints for u-joints.

If you're interested in the CAD file for the bracket I made, let me know.
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1964 Bug with Saxomat
1976 VW/Harley Trike Autostick
1987 Vanagon Westy w/2.0 ABA
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