Four-Wheel Steering System by swenthomasovelil

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									Seminar Report ’05                                      Four-Wheel Steering System

                           1. INTRODUCTION

                 Four-wheel steering, 4WS, also called rear-wheel steering or
all-wheel steering, provides a means to actively steer the rear wheels during
turning maneuvers. It should not be confused with four-wheel drive in which
all four wheels of a vehicle are powered. It improves handling and help the
vehicle make tighter turns.

                Production-built cars tend to understeer or, in few instances,
oversteer.      If   a   car   could   automatically     compensate      for   an
understeer/oversteer problem, the driver would enjoy nearly neutral steering
under varying conditions. 4WS is a serious effort on the part of automotive
design engineers to provide near-neutral steering.

                The front wheels do most of the steering. Rear wheel turning is
generally limited to 50-60 during an opposite direction turn. During a same
direction turn, rear wheel steering is limited to about 1 0-1.50.

                When both the front and rear wheels steer toward the same
direction, they are said to be in-phase and this produces a kind of sideways
movement of the car at low speeds. When the front and rear wheels are
steered in opposite direction, this is called anti-phase, counter-phase or
opposite-phase and it produces a sharper, tighter turn.

Dept. of M.E.                           1                     MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                    Four-Wheel Steering System


                To understand the advantages of four-wheel steering, it is
wise to review the dynamics of typical steering maneuvers with a
conventional front -steered vehicle. The tires are subject to the forces of grip,
momentum, and steering input when making a movement other than
straight-ahead driving. These forces compete with each other during steering
maneuvers. With a front-steered vehicle, the rear end is always trying to
catch up to the directional changes of the front wheels. This causes the
vehicle to sway. As a normal part of operating a vehicle, the driver learns to
adjust to these forces without thinking about them.

                When turning, the driver is putting into motion a complex
series of forces. Each of these must be balanced against the others. The tires
are subjected to road grip and slip angle. Grip holds the car's wheels to the
road, and momentum moves the car straight ahead. Steering input causes the
front wheels to turn. The car momentarily resists the turning motion, causing
a tire slip angle to form. Once the vehicle begins to respond to the steering
input, cornering forces are generated. The vehicle sways as the rear wheels
attempt to keep up with the cornering forces already generated by the front
tires. This is referred to as rear-end lag, because there is a time delay
between steering input and vehicle reaction. When the front wheels are
turned back to a straight -ahead position, the vehicle must again try to adjust
by reversing the same forces developed by the turn. As the steering is turned,
the vehicle body sways as the rear wheels again try to keep up with the

Dept. of M.E.                          2                    MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                     Four-Wheel Steering System
cornering forces generated by the front wheels.

                The idea behind four-wheel steering is that a vehicle requires
less driver input for any steering maneuver if all four wheels are steering the
vehicle. As with two-wheel steer vehicles, tire grip holds the four wheels on
the road. However, when the driver turns the wheel slightly, all four wheels
react to the steering input, causing slip angles to form at all four wheels. The
entire vehicle moves in one direction rather than the rear half attempting to
catch up to the front. There is also less sway when the wheels are turned
back to a straight-ahead position. The vehicle responds more quickly to
steering input because rear wheel lag is eliminated.

Dept. of M.E.                          3                    MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                    Four-Wheel Steering System

                          3. TYPES OF 4WS

                There are three types of production of four-wheel steering

   3.1 Mechanical 4WS
   3.2 Hydraulic 4WS
   3.3Electro-hydraulic 4WS

   3.1     Mechanical 4WS

                           Figure 1. Mechanical 4WS

Dept. of M.E.                         4                    MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                    Four-Wheel Steering System
                In a straight-mechanical type of 4WS, two steering gears are
used-one for the front and the other for the rear wheels. A steel shaft
connects the two steering gearboxes and terminates at an eccentric shaft that
is fitted with an offset pin. This pin engages a second offset pin that fits into
a planetary gear.

                The planetary gear meshes with the matching teeth of an
internal gear that is secured in a fixed position to the gearbox housing. This
means that the planetary gear can rotate but the internal gear cannot. The
eccentric pin of the planetary gear fits into a hole in a slider for the steering

                A 120-degree turn of the steering wheel rotates the planetary
gear to move the slider in the same direction that the front wheels are headed.
Proportionately, the rear wheels turn the steering wheel about 1.5 to 10
degrees. Further rotation of the steering wheel, past the 120degree point,
causes the rear wheels to start straightening out due to the double-crank
action (two eccentric pins) and rotation of the planetary gear. Turning the
steering wheel to a greater angle, about 230 degrees, finds the rear wheels in
a neutral position regarding the front wheels. Further rotation of the steering
wheel results in the rear wheels going counter phase with regard to the front
wheels. About 5.3 degrees maximum counter phase rear steering is possible.

                Mechanical 4WS is steering angle sensitive. It is not sensitive
to vehicle road speed.

Dept. of M.E.                           5                   MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                     Four-Wheel Steering System

   3.2    Hydraulic 4WS

                             Figure 2. Hydraulic 4WS

                The hydraulically operated four-wheel-steering system is a
simple design, both in components and operation. The rear wheels turn only
in the same direction as the front wheels. They also turn no more than 11/2
degrees. The system only activates at speeds above 30 mph (50 km/h) and
does not operate when the vehicle moves in reverse.

                A two-way hydraulic cylinder mounted on the rear stub frame

Dept. of M.E.                          6                    MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                    Four-Wheel Steering System
turn the wheels. Fluid for this cylinder is supplied by a rear steering pump
that is driven by the differential. The pump only operates when the front
wheels are turning. A tank in the engine compartment supplies the rear
steering pump with fluid.

                When the steering wheel is turned, the front steering pump
sends fluid under pressure to the rotary valve in the front rack and pinion
unit. This forces fluid into the front power cylinder, and the front wheels
turn in the direction steered. The fluid pressure varies with the turning of the
steering wheel. The faster and farther the steering wheel is turned, the
greater the fluid pressure.

                The fluid is also fed under the same pressure to the control
valve where it opens a spool valve in the control valve housing. As the spool
valve moves, it allows fluid from the rear steering pump to move through
and operate the rear power cylinder. The higher the pressure on the spool,
the farther it moves. The farther it moves, the more fluid it allows through to
move the rear wheels. As mentioned earlier, this system limits rear wheel
movement to 11/2 degrees in either the left or right direction.

Dept. of M.E.                          7                    MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                    Four-Wheel Steering System

   3.3    Electro-hydraulic 4WS

                        Figure 3. Electro-hydraulic 4WS

                Several 4WS systems combine computer electronic controls
with hydraulics to make the system sensitive to both steering angle and road
speeds. In this design, a speed sensor and steering wheel angle sensor feed
information to the electronic control unit (ECU). By processing the
information received, the ECU commands the hydraulic system steer the rear
wheels. At low road speed, the rear wheels of this system are not considered
a dynamic factor in the steering process.

Dept. of M.E.                          8                   MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                   Four-Wheel Steering System
                At moderate road speeds, the rear wheels are steered
momentarily counter phase, through neutral, then in phase with the front
wheels. At high road speeds, the rear wheels turns only in phase with the
front wheels. The ECU must know not only road speed, but also how much
and quickly the steering wheel is turned. These three factors - road speed,
amount of steering wheel turn, and the quickness of the steering wheel turn -
are interpreted by the ECU to maintain continuous and desired steer angle of
the rear wheels.

                The basic working elements of the design of an electro-
hydraulic 4WS are control unit, a stepper motor, a swing arm, a set of
beveled gears, a control rod, and a control valve with an output rod. Two
electronic sensors tell the ECU how fast the car is going.

                The yoke is a major mechanical component of this electro-
hydraulic design. The position of the control yoke varies with vehicle road
speed. For example, at speeds below 33 mph (53 km/h), the yoke is in its
downward position, which results in the rear wheels steering in the counter
phase (opposite front wheels) direction. As road speeds approach and exceed
33 mph (53 km/h), the control yoke swings up through a neutral (horizontal)
position to an up position. In the neutral position, the rear wheels steer in
phase with the front wheels.

                The stepper motor moves the control yoke. A swing arm is
attached to the control yoke. The position of the yoke determines the arc of
the swing rod. The arc of the swing arm is transmitted through a control arm
that passes through a large bevel gear. Stepper motor action eventually
Dept. of M.E.                         9                      MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                   Four-Wheel Steering System
causes a push-or-pull movement of its output shaft to steer the rear wheels
up to a maximum of 5 degrees in either direction.

                The electronically controlled, 4WS system regulates the angle
and direction of the rear wheels in response to speed and driver's steering.
This speed-sensing system optimizes the vehicle's dynamic characteristics at
any speed, thereby producing enhanced stability and, within certain
parameters, agility.

Dept. of M.E.                         10                  MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                     Four-Wheel Steering System

                            4. ACTUAL 4WS

                The actual 4WS system consists of a rack and pinion front
steering that is hydraulically powered by a main twin-tandem pump. The
system also has a rear-steering mechanism, hydraulically powered by the
main pump. The rear-steering shaft extends from the rack bar of the front-
steering assembly to the rear-steering-phase control unit.

                The rear steering is comprised of the input end of the rear-
steering shaft, vehicle speed sensors, and steering-phase control unit
(deciding direction and degree), a power cylinder, and an output rod. A cen-
tering lock spring is incorporated that locks the rear system in a neutral
(straight-ahead) position in the event of hydraulic failure. Additionally, a
solenoid valve that disengages the hydraulic boost (thereby activating the
centering lock spring in case of an electrical failure) is included.

Dept. of M.E.                          11                    MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                    Four-Wheel Steering System

                     5. FAIL-SAFE MEASURES

                All 4WS systems have fail-safe measures. For example, with
the electro-hydraulic setup, the system automatically counteracts possible
causes of failure: both electronic and hydraulic, and converts the entire
steering system to a conventional two-wheel steering type. Specifically, if a
hydraulic defect should reduce pressure level (by a movement malfunction
or a broken driving belt), the rear-wheel-steering mechanism is
automatically locked in a neutral position, activating a low-level warning

                In the event of an electrical failure, it would be detected by a
self-diagnostic circuit integrated in the four wheel-steering control unit. The
control unit stimulates a solenoid valve, which neutralizes hydraulic pressure,
thereby alternating the system to two-wheel steering. The failure would be
indicated by the system's warning light in the main instrument display.

                On any 4WS system, there must be near-perfect compliance
between the position of the steering wheel, the position of the front wheels,
and the position of the rear wheels. It is usually recommended that the car be
driven about 20 feet (6 meters) in a dead-straight line. Then, the position of
the front/rear wheels is checked with respect to steering wheel position. The
base reference point is a strip of masking tape on the steering wheel hub and
the steering column. When the wheel is positioned dead center, draw a line
down the tape. Run the car a short distance straight ahead to see if the

Dept. of M.E.                          12                   MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                   Four-Wheel Steering System
reference line holds. If not, corrections are needed, such as repositioning the
steering wheel.

                Even severe imbalance of a rear wheel on a speed sensitive
4WS system can cause problems and make basic troubleshooting a bit

Dept. of M.E.                         13                   MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                     Four-Wheel Steering System

                     6. ADVANTAGES OF 4WS

                The vehicle's cornering behavior becomes more stable and
controllable at high speeds as well as on wet or slippery road surfaces.

                The vehicle's response to steering input becomes quicker and
more precise throughout the vehicle's entire speed range.

                The vehicle's straight-line stability at high speeds is improved.
Negative effects of road irregularities and crosswinds on the vehicle's
stability are minimized.

                Stability in lane changing at high speeds is improved. The
vehicle is less likely to go into a spin even in situations in which the driver
must make a sudden and relatively large change of direction.

                By steering the rear wheels in the direction opposite the front
wheels at low speeds, the vehicle's turning circle is greatly reduced.
Therefore, vehicle maneuvering on narrow roads and during parking
becomes easier.

Dept. of M.E.                           14                   MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                   Four-Wheel Steering System

                     7. APPLICATIONS OF 4WS

                Some of the vehicles in which the 4WS is applied are:

   7.1    Chevrolet Suburban 2500:

                The purely electronic system works so that, at low speed, the
rear wheels turn the opposite direction of the front wheels, thus shortening
the turning circle. At higher speeds all four wheels turn in the same direction
for better stability in lane change maneuvers. The system works
spectacularly well with the Suburban and the turning circle diameter drops
down from 44.5 feet to 35.2 feet. There is a switch to turn the system off and
the Suburban drives like a regular two-wheel steering machine and, in
contrast, it feels quite ponderous.

                Unfortunately the four-wheel steering system also pushes the
width of the Sub out past 80 inches. But the very worst thing about the four-
wheel steering system is its $4495 option cost. Hopefully as the four-wheel
steering system becomes more ubiquitous across the GM range of products
the cost of the system will drop.

   7.2    GM Concept Truck:

                QUADRASTEERTM (four-wheel steering system) by Delphi is
featured on General Motor Corp.'s GMC Terradyne concept vehicle.
QUADRASTEERTM by Delphi is an electronic four-wheel steering system

Dept. of M.E.                          15                  MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                       Four-Wheel Steering System
that enables vehicles to significantly improve handling and maneuverability
in full-size vehicles. Based on tests with full-size SUVs and pickup trucks,
QUADRASTEER by Delphi reduces the minimum turning circle diameter
by an average of 19 percent. In fact, one full-size pickup's turning radius
was reduced from 46.2 feet to 37.4 feet, making it comparable to a Nissan
Ultima at 37.4 feet and a Saturn Coupe at 37.1 feet.

                QUADRASTEERTM by Delphi combines conventional front-
wheel steering with an electrically powered rear-wheel steering system. The
system has four main components - a front-wheel position sensor, steerable
solid hypoid rear axle, electric motor-driven actuator, and control unit.
Hand wheel position and vehicle speed sensors continuously report data to
the control unit, which in turn determines the appropriate angle of the rear
wheels.    Algorithms are then used to determine the correct phase of
operation. The QUADRASTEERTM by Delphi Systems also provides a
controlled return to regular two-wheel steering if the four-wheel steering
system is damaged.

   7.3    Jeep Hurricane:

                The Jeep Hurricane, a radical off-road machine with two 5.7
litre V8 engines features a turn radius of absolutely zero, using skid steer
capability and toe steer: the ability to turn both front and rear tires inward. In
addition, the vehicle features two modes of automated four-wheel steering.

                The first is traditional with the rear tires turning in the opposite
direction of the front to reduce the turning circle. The second mode is an

Dept. of M.E.                            16                    MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                  Four-Wheel Steering System
innovation targeted to off-road drivers: the vehicle can turn all four wheels
in the same direction for nimble crab steering. This allows the vehicle to
move sideways without changing the direction the vehicle is pointing. The
multi-mode four-wheel steering system offers killer performance and

                       Figure 4. Jeep Hurricane

                     Figure 5. Ford Suburban 2500

Dept. of M.E.                        17                  MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                                  Four-Wheel Steering System

                          8. CONCLUSION

                Thus the four-wheel steering system has got cornering
capability, steering response, straight-line stability, lane changing and low-
speed maneuverability. Even though it is advantageous over the
conventional two-wheel steering system, 4WS is complex and expensive.
Currently the cost of a vehicle with four wheel steering is more than that for
a vehicle with the conventional two wheel steering. Four wheel steering is
growing in popularity and it is likely to come in more and more new
vehicles. As the systems become more commonplace the cost of four wheel
steering will drop.

Dept. of M.E.                        18                   MESCE, Kuttippuram
Seminar Report ’05                               Four-Wheel Steering System


   1. “Automotive Technology-A Systems Approach”, Jack Erjavec.
   2. “Automotive Suspension and Steering Systems”, Thomas W Birch.
   3. “Automotive Service-Inspection, Maintenance, Repair”, Tim Gilles.
   4. http:\\
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Dept. of M.E.                      19                 MESCE, Kuttippuram

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