Hypothetical: Power Steering Loss [Archive] - Pontiac G6 Forum

: Hypothetical: Power Steering Loss


ragingfish
10-28-2005, 01:14 AM
So I've seen this discussed on here, and on GMInsideNews, and it seems like no one knows the answer. Let's see if we can't find the solution and put this issue to rest.

So, as the title says, hypothetically, let's say the power steering system craps out. Since it's NOT power-assist steering (unless you have the GTP), and it's fully-electric power steering, WHAT does one do if that electric motor craps out and the wheel does freeze up? Obviously, it's not like traditional power steering where you can still steer, just with significantly more effort. We all know the G6 has no formal steering wheel lock. When you power off the car, the electric motor shuts down, becoming the wheel lock. So if the motor fails, you CANNOT turn the wheel.

Does anyone know the real answer? What is the emergency procedure to help you control the car and get off the road safely in the event of a total loss of power steering? Is there a fuse you can pull or some way to allow the motor to "unlock" the wheel enough so you can get off the road, or are you truly SOL and you have to PRAY you don't hit a curve or in any way become stuck in a situation where your life - or another driver's - is in danger?

anth_97
10-28-2005, 07:36 AM
Electric power steering still has a mechanical connection to the wheels.

http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/application.jsp?nodeId=02Wcbf07jS1504

that link shows how the setup is similar to a pump type steering. Instead of a pump it uses an electric motor. believe it or not the simplicity of the design should make it more relaible than pump power steering which has many more components that can fail... pump, hoses, fluid etc...

If the motor dies you will still be able to steer but (the same as it would with a pump) it will be harder to turn.

ragingfish
10-28-2005, 01:10 PM
But if you ever noticed, when you kill the engine, the wheel locks up. This is something I've only experienced with an electric power steering car. If that's any indication of how the wheel feels when the system fails, I can't imagine it being steerable on the road...

anth_97
10-28-2005, 03:03 PM
Ok I see your point... However, how did you kill the engine? If u turned the key to off there might be a lock of some sort.

So basically if your driving down the road and lets say you alternator goes and your engine dies. Your telling me the person driving has no ability to steer the car? I don;t know much but I find it hard to belive that any car company will design a car like that.

e2helper
10-28-2005, 04:49 PM
Although this applies to 2004 Malibu it has same steering system. You might want to read this document regarding results of NHTSA investigation

http://199.79.180.162/prepos/files/Artemis/Public/Pursuits/2004/EA/INCR-EA04018-20177.pdf

Smockonallama
10-28-2005, 06:00 PM
I would be willing to bet that the crashes were caused by someone who didn't have the strength to turn the wheel with no power steering. A similar result would be seen if a power steering pump suddenly seized up as well.

bigbengt67
10-28-2005, 06:35 PM
This is a retarded thread. Your wheel will NOT lock up, won't happen, the steering feel without assist (electric or hydraulic) is exactly the same if you suffer a power loss. EPS is just as "steerable" in the event of a power loss as any non-EPS car. Our cars do not have a steering lock when the car is shut off. Even if it did have a lock the trigger to engage the lock occurs when the transmission is put into park. Try this: go out on a deserted road, shut the engine off and try to make a turn. The car will respond to you just with much more effort than it would with assist. I think you may be getting EPS confused with what we engineers call "Steer by Wire"- in steer by wire there is no mechanical link between the wheel and steering rack. Steer by wire uses sensors to determine the degree that the wheel is turned and then process that signal to turn a motor connected to the rack to make the car turn. EPS just has a motor attached to the steering column to help turn the conventional column- just like a hydraulic system. Anth_97's link shows typical placements of the motor.

e2helper
10-28-2005, 07:18 PM
Thank you, bigbengt67 :)

G6Action
10-28-2005, 08:00 PM
...and yes, it is only my 'theory' as i have nothing to base this on but the comments from different members.

WHAT IF; the problem is NOT in the steering as we may think, but in the "Ignition Switch'? here's my thinking. a few members have mentioned that their G6's have done 'strange things' while trying to start. for instance, mine has only done this twice in the time span that i have owned it, but when turning the key to the 'start' position to crank the engine, it STAYS IN THAT POSITION for a second or two after the engine has started and finally returns to the 'run' position. now, this is my theory, if the Ignition Switch is failing in one direction, why not in the other? that is, what is to keep it from 'backing up' and going to a 'partially off' position while driving, causing the steering column to lock as if the car was shut off? this would explain why it seems to only happen for a second or two, just as i have expenienced it happening for a second or two sticking in the opposite direction causing the starter to engage after the engine had started.

again, just a thought....... :confused:

e2helper
10-28-2005, 08:43 PM
Steering column doesn't lock with ignition switch being turned off on a G6

G6Action
10-28-2005, 09:45 PM
Steering column doesn't lock with ignition switch being turned off on a G6

HUMMMM apparently i have a 'flaw' in my theory, huh? just went out to the garage to 'test' the fact that the steering wheel does NOT lock when the car is parked....guess what, IT DOESN'T!!!! i thought ALL steering wheels locked when the ignition switch was turned off.

guess my problem was 'I WAS THINKING!!!!'

(thanks for the correction and therefore, :o nevermind....)

G6Action
10-28-2005, 09:49 PM
HEY, just what kind of 'theft deterent' is it that allows someone to get into your car and let them push your car onto a trailer or something? you say, well they still have to get it in neutral, right? what about the 6sp's???? i mean, can't you just 'pop' it out of gear, when parked, and push the car anywhere you want?

something just doesn't sound right here......

e2helper
10-29-2005, 04:51 AM
(thanks for the correction and therefore, :o nevermind....)NP, you will find same condition on previous Grand Am (1999-2004 model year). Reason for this is the ignition switch mounted on the instrument panel makes it more complicated to lock the steering column. The thing that locks when ignition key is turned off on the G6 is the gear shifter position. On auto trans with ignition OFF you can't pull shifter out of PARK position. On a manual transmission you can't pull the shifter out of reverse. And you need to put the shifter in those positions to remove the ignition key.

This answers question from last poster as well.

deadman
10-30-2005, 07:55 PM
as stated in the manual. if the engine stalls u would be able to steer so u could stop safely. if the whole system goes then u would need extra effort to steer

G6Action
10-30-2005, 09:23 PM
as stated in the manual. if the engine stalls u would be able to steer so u could stop safely. if the whole system goes then u would need extra effort to steer

i think we understand that....the problem is not the 'extra effort' that would be required, its the fact that even with all the 'extra effort' of a 6'2", 275lb man behind the wheel, IT WOULD NOT MOVE, EITHER DIRECTION, PERIOD!!! i CAN however, move my steering wheel with reallly only a little 'extra effort' with the car parked and NO KEY in the ignition. this would be the same as a vehicle without any power assist, of any kind, and i have no problem moving the wheel then,

i wonder....maybe i can ask my dealer to 'disconnect' my electronic power assist and i will just drive it with 'Manual Steering'. hummmmmm???????? :confused:

i guess until it happens to you, one can't fully understand the situation. for your sake, i hope you never have the opportunity to fully understand.......

S8ER99
10-31-2005, 10:31 AM
i guess until it happens to you, one can't fully understand the situation. for your sake, i hope you never have the opportunity to fully understand.......

I guess we just wait until someone gets killed in a serious wreck then MAYBE someone will believe us.

I don't care what you people 'BELIEVE' the damn wheel LOCKS up. It happens... so until you can prove otherwise your comments mean nothing.

The only option you have if this happens is to shut the car off.. Put it in nuetral and turn the key. Then restart. This is what another G6 owner did to get steering back while driving on the freeway. Do NOT just hit the brakes..you will only cause yourself to wreck if the wheels are not perfectly straight. My problem happened during the winter months last time...and a few mishaps during the rest of the year early in the morning (cooler temps). With snow a few weeks away now Im not really thrilled.

G6Action
10-31-2005, 10:46 AM
I guess we just wait until someone gets killed in a serious wreck then MAYBE someone will believe us.

i called the service advisor at my dealership this morning to see if he had any other complaints about this. of course he said; :"this is the first i have heard about it". anyway, dropping my car off with them tomorrow to see if they can find anything. this should be interesting.

as back up, i'm taking with me the comments from several members of the club to show the concern of others as well. i also found on www.mycarstats.com
2 complaints on the steering locking up on G6's as well.

please, if you read this, answer my survey regarding the problem so that i can have more info to give to my dealer and for them to pass on to GM.

just remember, if this happens to you again, the most important this is to NOT PANIC....i know, easier said that done. seems in most cases this only lasts for a few seconds (1-3 sec).

good luck and keep in touch with your experiences.......

kevin

G6Action
10-31-2005, 06:06 PM
This is a retarded thread. Your wheel will NOT lock up, won't happen, the steering feel without assist (electric or hydraulic) is exactly the same if you suffer a power loss. EPS is just as "steerable" in the event of a power loss as any non-EPS car. Our cars do not have a steering lock when the car is shut off. Even if it did have a lock the trigger to engage the lock occurs when the transmission is put into park. Try this: go out on a deserted road, shut the engine off and try to make a turn. The car will respond to you just with much more effort than it would with assist. I think you may be getting EPS confused with what we engineers call "Steer by Wire"- in steer by wire there is no mechanical link between the wheel and steering rack. Steer by wire uses sensors to determine the degree that the wheel is turned and then process that signal to turn a motor connected to the rack to make the car turn. EPS just has a motor attached to the steering column to help turn the conventional column- just like a hydraulic system. Anth_97's link shows typical placements of the motor.


WRONG!!! actually everything you said is correct EXCEPT saying that your wheel will NOT lock up!! maybe 'lock' is the wrong word....lets use SEIZE!!!
at 6'2" and 275lbs, i think i have enough strength to turn the wheel WITHOUT any kind of assist, electric or otherwise. if i sit in my car, without it running and without the key in the ignition, i can turn the wheel back and forth with no problem, just as it would be if i were to loose my power assist. what i have experienced is NOT THIS!!! the wheel turned a quarter turn and "Seized Up" and could not be turned further either way for about 2-3 seconds, then business as usual. first time for me was saturday while on a trip down to Kentucky. sunday, when moving my car in and out of the driveway and garage, it did it again....same senario. luckily i have not been 'at speed' when this happened, but i am very cautious now when i AM driving just in case it happens again, WITHOUT WARNING!

trust me, you can't really understand the situation unless you have experienced it for yourself.

ragingfish
10-31-2005, 06:54 PM
The only option you have if this happens is to shut the car off.. Put it in nuetral and turn the key. Then restart. This is what another G6 owner did to get steering back while driving on the freeway.


This is an interesting "fix..."

Makes me wonder...could the power asissted motor maybe be turning the WRONG way? Perhaps, if you slightly turn the wheel left, it gets a distorted signal, and tries to assist it to the right? I don't know, just a theory...but the fact that a restart of the car fixes the problem makes me suspect it isn't a mechanical problem such as a control arm or ball joint...

G6Action
10-31-2005, 09:27 PM
This is an interesting "fix..."

Makes me wonder...could the power asissted motor maybe be turning the WRONG way? Perhaps, if you slightly turn the wheel left, it gets a distorted signal, and tries to assist it to the right? I don't know, just a theory...but the fact that a restart of the car fixes the problem makes me suspect it isn't a mechanical problem such as a control arm or ball joint...

interesting theory, you may have something here. after checking several sites tonight to 'arm' myself with ammo for the trip to the dealer in the morning, i have become more 'enlightened' and therefore more confused as well. i guess the motor for this particular vehicle is column mounted. like you said, maybe the motor is getting a "distorted" signal from the Torque Sensor. or, maybe the motor is intermittantly failing and when the motor 'seizes' it causes the column to 'seize' also. with the ignition off, you can turn the wheel with only minimal increased effort and i would guess that you are also turning the motor. but if the motor were to 'seize' or 'lock up', would that not cause the column to do the same?

anyway, got lots of 'stuff' off the net to take with me. INCLUDING the story of the G6 owner who had the accident where the wheel 'locked up' and caused the car to roll several times. it appears that it was a true story after all!!

i'll post an update tomorrow.......

S8ER99
11-01-2005, 09:51 AM
This is an interesting "fix..."

Makes me wonder...could the power asissted motor maybe be turning the WRONG way? Perhaps, if you slightly turn the wheel left, it gets a distorted signal, and tries to assist it to the right? I don't know, just a theory...but the fact that a restart of the car fixes the problem makes me suspect it isn't a mechanical problem such as a control arm or ball joint...
That might actually be what its doing... Good thought.

SBMG6GT
11-01-2005, 07:21 PM
WHOA...can't say that i'm not a little worried about this...hasn't happened to me yet but I'm not looking forward to the possible eventuality.

There's not only ourselves to worry about but others on the road around us.

If anyone in this club actually finds a resolution then lets be sure to post it. We need to get this resolved...If you read the report for the Malibu looks like they got GM on the go and the issue was resolved.

Happy Travels all! be safe.

SBM

G6Action
11-03-2005, 05:45 PM
.....today i received a call from the Service Manager at my local dealership to tell me that he spoke with Tech Assistance himself and was told that while they have had a few complaints of the same nature as mine, GM has not yet been able to duplicate this in tests of their own. i asked about the claim of duplicating the situation by turning the wheel 'lock-to-lock' several times (maybe as many as 20) and it locks up. he told me that if that were the case, that it really wouldn't help diagnois the problem as this is not 'normal driving conditions'.

my service manager continued by telling me that the "EPS" (electronic power steering) System is comprised of several components; B.C.M. (body control module), P.S.C.M. (power steering control module), Torque Sensor, Wheel Position Sensor, Electric Motor and Steering Column. the Steering Column assembly includes the Torque and Wheel Position Sensors and currently they are not available separately. in some of the cases GM has had, the system has set codes which the techs have been able to retrieve. and, in some like mine, no codes were found. in the ones that DID have codes, they were instructed to replace the Steering Column assembly. in those vehicles, they have NOT had any further complaints about the same issue.

therefore, he offered the following; 'As Service Manager, i can authorize the replacement of the steering column in the interest of Customer Satisfaction since it IS a safety issue, however in doing so i cannot guarantee that this will correct the problem since we have not been able to retrieve any codes from your vehicle or actually duplicate it ourselves.'

again, i suggested that we 'wait and see' as i would rather be sure that a repair is the correct one than only find out later that 'ITS STILL THERE!!!'

just thought i would share that with everyone........so i suggest that if you would feel better about the situation, ask your SERVICE MANAGER, not service advisor, but the MANAGER, to authorize the replacement of the Steering Column assembly in the interest of Customer Satisfaction and especially since it is a SAFETY ISSUE.

with any luck, after GM receives a few more 'possibly defective' steering columns on which to perform an 'autopsy', they will be able to determine what is failing and notify all affected G6 Owners to have the proper repairs made.

kevin

S8ER99
11-03-2005, 05:50 PM
Thank you Kevin. I will be speaking to my service manager when I go in tomorrow for my "seat falling apart" paperwork.

G6Action
11-03-2005, 08:45 PM
Thank you Kevin. I will be speaking to my service manager when I go in tomorrow for my "seat falling apart" paperwork.

maybe the seat just can't withstand the G's you are subjecting it to from all that 'aggressive driving'.....ha ha

S8ER99
11-03-2005, 10:03 PM
Doubt it. maybe half a G? LOL I dont really understand why the thread is pulling apart..I haven't kept my wallet in my back pocket in 6 years (when I bought the Z).. and I am carefull not to 'slide' in and out of the car.