Electric Power Steering + Steering Column for different automobiles
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Your Electric Power Steering + Steering Column worn out? » Read more about common malfunctions • Repair • Replacement manual
Precise cornering thanks to the steering shaft
The steering shaft is part of the connection between the steering wheel and steering gear. It transmits the turning of the steering wheel and allows for precise steering of the front wheels. The steering started out as a rigid steering column, but today it is a complex system with many components. This includes the steering shaft
Part of the steering column
Until the 1950s, the steering column was a simple tube. It was connected to the steering wheel on one end, and to a gear that moves a steering rack at the steering gear on the other end. Demand for increased comfort and more safety led to a more complex steering rod design beginning around 1955.
It has been shown that the rigid tube of the steering rod behaves like a lance in the event of a rear-end collision, which inevitably caused fatal injuring of the driver. Therefore, the continuous tubes were replaced by telescopic mesh sliding constructions. Elimination of this source of danger had a sudden impact and the number of fatal accidents significantly decreased.
A welcome side-effect of the telescope design was that the steering column's distance could now be adjusted. The addition of a cardan joint or universal joint also allowed for height-adjustment of the steering. Nowadays, these features are found in every modern steering. This cardan joint in the steering column is known as the "steering shaft".
With the emergence of control electronics, the steering column was equipped with many additional features. Today, the power steering or steering angle sensors must also be controllable by modern steering columns. Position of the steering shaft On most vehicles, the universal joint can be accessed from the foot area. It is located under the bottom cover of the steering column, usually near the pedals. This position allows for a maximum deflection angle for the height adjustment of the steering wheel. Steering shaft defects The steering shaft is a device with many moving parts. Over time, their fit can suffer. Therefore, the most common symptom of a defective steering is 'slackness'. If movements are no longer transferred directly from the steering wheel to the wheels, but instead appear delayed, a defective cardan joint may be the cause. The interlocking and turning bearing attachment points are worn out and can no longer ensure direct transfer of the rotary motion. Other defects of the cardan joint can cause creaking, cracking or grinding noises. A repair of the cardan joint is usually not possible and not recommended. Replacement with a new part is always the safer option. Buying used cardan joints? A steering system repair can be very expensive. On some vehicles, the steering column must be completely removed to allow for replacement of the cardan joint. The dismantling of a steering wheel with an airbag alone is a complex task requiring a high level of expertise. Thus, on older vehicles, the temptation to save costs by installing a used steering shaft is great. Nonetheless, this is not recommended.
Considering the effort involved in replacement, this work should only be performed once during the lifetime of a car, if possible. The only way to ensure this is the use of new parts. Opting for brand quality products further helps prevent premature wear of this component. Fortunately, the steering shaft is one of the cheapest components in the steering system. In most small and medium-sized cars, the replacing the cardan joint is actually quite simple. It is exposed by removing the covers and released from the steering column at the connection point to the engine compartment. This usually involves pulling off a splint and loosening a bolt connection. Once the universal joint is disconnected from the steering rod, the steering column can be pulled into the foot area. There, the universal joint is simply unscrewed and the replacement part installed. When reassembling, make sure to tighten the connecting bolt with the correct torque. In most cases, a steering shaft is installed in about 30 minutes.