Power steering:  Three common shortcomings, two helpful tips

Power steering: Three common shortcomings, two helpful tips

By Freddie Heaney –   Photography by Moore Good Ink: In the early 1990’s, before power steering became prevalent in F1 racing cars, Michael Schumacher, statistically the greatest driver the sport has seen, remarked, “You have to carefully judge the amount of steering angle required as you turn into a high-speed corner, as it is very difficult to correct if your assessment is wrong.” His comment came as a result of increased steering caster angles, functioning at 9-12 degrees that made the steering heavy. The problem was further exacerbated by increasingly high aerodynamic down forces. Over twenty years later, power steering still has its abiding problems: slow response; unnecessary parasitic losses; and premature pulley failures are three of the most common. But first, commit to memory these two valuable tips. 1) Should a power steering pump fail, ensure the lines are subsequently flushed clean. If not, the new replacement pump will be immediately sabotaged by shrapnel remaining in the system from the original failure. 2) Power steering hoses, in common with all high pressure hoses, are typically made from layers of rubber, steel braiding and cloth. If you use an abrasive cut-off wheel on power steering hoses, it will cause the rubber to melt. To complicate matters further, sand particles from the abrasive wheel together with metal particles from the braided steel will adhere to the melted rubber. Later, when the system is assembled and operating at normal temperature, the globules of rubber with sand and metal particles glued to the inside of the hose will melt. Soon after, they’ll be delivered to the pump, which they’ll destroy, usually in...