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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 10-1.50. 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.

and momentum moves the car straight ahead. With a front-steered vehicle. Steering input causes the front wheels to turn. As a normal part of operating a vehicle. the vehicle body sways as the rear wheels again try to keep up with . the rear end is always trying to catch up to the directional changes of the front wheels. The tires are subjected to road grip and slip angle. The car momentarily resists the turning motion. Once the vehicle begins to respond to the steering input.2. The tires are subject to the forces of grip. Each of these must be balanced against the others. the vehicle must again try to adjust by reversing the same forces developed by the turn. This causes the vehicle to sway. This is referred to as rear-end lag. cornering forces are generated. the driver is putting into motion a complex series of forces. WHY FOUR-WHEEL STEERING SYSTEM? To understand the advantages of four-wheel steering. momentum. When turning. it is wise to review the dynamics of typical steering maneuvers with a conventional front -steered vehicle. When the front wheels are turned back to a straight -ahead position. As the steering is turned. These forces compete with each other during steering maneuvers. and steering input when making a movement other than straight-ahead driving. Grip holds the car's wheels to the road. because there is a time delay between steering input and vehicle reaction. the driver learns to adjust to these forces without thinking about them. The vehicle sways as the rear wheels attempt to keep up with the cornering forces already generated by the front tires. causing a tire slip angle to form.

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

2 Hydraulic 4WS 3. TYPES OF 4WS There are three types of production of four-wheel steering systems: 3.1 Mechanical 4WS 3.1 Mechanical 4WS Figure 1. Mechanical 4WS .3Electro-hydraulic 4WS 3.3.

. past the 120degree point. Proportionately. The eccentric pin of the planetary gear fits into a hole in a slider for the steering gear. A steel shaft connects the two steering gearboxes and terminates at an eccentric shaft that is fitted with an offset pin. Turning the steering wheel to a greater angle. Further rotation of the steering wheel results in the rear wheels going counter phase with regard to the front wheels. Further rotation of the steering wheel.5 to 10 degrees. It is not sensitive to vehicle road speed. This means that the planetary gear can rotate but the internal gear cannot.3 degrees maximum counter phase rear steering is possible. The planetary gear meshes with the matching teeth of an internal gear that is secured in a fixed position to the gearbox housing. 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. Mechanical 4WS is steering angle sensitive. causes the rear wheels to start straightening out due to the double-crank action (two eccentric pins) and rotation of the planetary gear. two steering gears are used-one for the front and the other for the rear wheels. finds the rear wheels in a neutral position regarding the front wheels. the rear wheels turn the steering wheel about 1. This pin engages a second offset pin that fits into a planetary gear. About 5.In a straight-mechanical type of 4WS. about 230 degrees.

They also turn no more than 11/2 degrees. A two-way hydraulic cylinder mounted on the rear stub frame . both in components and operation. The rear wheels turn only in the same direction as the front wheels.3.2 Hydraulic 4WS Figure 2. The system only activates at speeds above 30 mph (50 km/h) and does not operate when the vehicle moves in reverse. Hydraulic 4WS The hydraulically operated four-wheel-steering system is a simple design.

Fluid for this cylinder is supplied by a rear steering pump that is driven by the differential. The higher the pressure on the spool. the more fluid it allows through to move the rear wheels. the front steering pump sends fluid under pressure to the rotary valve in the front rack and pinion unit.turn the wheels. This forces fluid into the front power cylinder. When the steering wheel is turned. The pump only operates when the front wheels are turning. the farther it moves. As mentioned earlier. . the greater the fluid pressure. and the front wheels turn in the direction steered. As the spool valve moves. this system limits rear wheel movement to 11/2 degrees in either the left or right direction. The fluid is also fed under the same pressure to the control valve where it opens a spool valve in the control valve housing. it allows fluid from the rear steering pump to move through and operate the rear power cylinder. A tank in the engine compartment supplies the rear steering pump with fluid. The faster and farther the steering wheel is turned. The fluid pressure varies with the turning of the steering wheel. The farther it moves.

the rear wheels are steered . the ECU commands the hydraulic system steer the rear wheels. At moderate road speeds. the rear wheels of this system are not considered a dynamic factor in the steering process. a speed sensor and steering wheel angle sensor feed information to the electronic control unit (ECU).3. In this design.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. By processing the information received. At low road speed.

The ECU must know not only road speed. then in phase with the front wheels. For example. At high road speeds. the rear wheels steer in phase with the front wheels. a stepper motor. which results in the rear wheels steering in the counter phase (opposite front wheels) direction. a control rod. a set of beveled gears. the control yoke swings up through a neutral (horizontal) position to an up position.momentarily counter phase. and a control valve with an output rod. a swing arm. The basic working elements of the design of an electrohydraulic 4WS are control unit. A swing arm is attached to the control yoke. Two electronic sensors tell the ECU how fast the car is going. the yoke is in its downward position. and the quickness of the steering wheel turn are interpreted by the ECU to maintain continuous and desired steer angle of the rear wheels. amount of steering wheel turn. through neutral. Stepper motor action eventually causes a push-or-pull movement of its output shaft to steer the rear wheels . These three factors . The stepper motor moves the control yoke. The position of the yoke determines the arc of the swing rod. The yoke is a major mechanical component of this electrohydraulic design. The position of the control yoke varies with vehicle road speed. The arc of the swing arm is transmitted through a control arm that passes through a large bevel gear. but also how much and quickly the steering wheel is turned. In the neutral position. As road speeds approach and exceed 33 mph (53 km/h).road speed. the rear wheels turns only in phase with the front wheels. at speeds below 33 mph (53 km/h).

This speed-sensing system optimizes the vehicle's dynamic characteristics at any speed. The electronically controlled. . agility. within certain parameters. 4WS system regulates the angle and direction of the rear wheels in response to speed and driver's steering. thereby producing enhanced stability and.up to a maximum of 5 degrees in either direction.

Additionally. The system also has a rear-steering mechanism. A centering lock spring is incorporated that locks the rear system in a neutral (straight-ahead) position in the event of hydraulic failure. The rear-steering shaft extends from the rack bar of the frontsteering assembly to the rear-steering-phase control unit.4. hydraulically powered by the main pump. The rear steering is comprised of the input end of the rearsteering shaft. . and an output rod. a solenoid valve that disengages the hydraulic boost (thereby activating the centering lock spring in case of an electrical failure) is included. a power cylinder. ACTUAL 4WS The actual 4WS system consists of a rack and pinion front steering that is hydraulically powered by a main twin-tandem pump. and steering-phase control unit (deciding direction and degree). vehicle speed sensors.

The failure would be indicated by the system's warning light in the main instrument display. the system automatically counteracts possible causes of failure: both electronic and hydraulic. Then. activating a low-level warning light. For example.5. It is usually recommended that the car be driven about 20 feet (6 meters) in a dead-straight line. thereby alternating the system to two-wheel steering. The control unit stimulates a solenoid valve. When the wheel is positioned dead center. it would be detected by a self-diagnostic circuit integrated in the four wheel-steering control unit. there must be near-perfect compliance between the position of the steering wheel. In the event of an electrical failure. the position of the front/rear wheels is checked with respect to steering wheel position. the position of the front wheels. Specifically. and converts the entire steering system to a conventional two-wheel steering type. if a hydraulic defect should reduce pressure level (by a movement malfunction or a broken driving belt). and the position of the rear wheels. The base reference point is a strip of masking tape on the steering wheel hub and the steering column. with the electro-hydraulic setup. draw a line . which neutralizes hydraulic pressure. On any 4WS system. FAIL-SAFE MEASURES All 4WS systems have fail-safe measures. the rear-wheel-steering mechanism is automatically locked in a neutral position.

If not. Run the car a short distance straight ahead to see if the reference line holds. such as repositioning the steering wheel.down the tape. corrections are needed. . Even severe imbalance of a rear wheel on a speed sensitive 4WS system can cause problems and make basic troubleshooting a bit frustrating.

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. Negative effects of road irregularities and crosswinds on the vehicle's stability are minimized. Therefore. The vehicle's straight-line stability at high speeds is improved. Stability in lane changing at high speeds is improved. By steering the rear wheels in the direction opposite the front wheels at low speeds. . 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. vehicle maneuvering on narrow roads and during parking becomes easier.6. the vehicle's turning circle is greatly reduced.

There is a switch to turn the system off and the Suburban drives like a regular two-wheel steering machine and. thus shortening the turning circle.7. The system works spectacularly well with the Suburban and the turning circle diameter drops down from 44. at low speed.'s GMC Terradyne concept vehicle. the rear wheels turn the opposite direction of the front wheels. QUADRASTEERTM by Delphi is an electronic four-wheel steering system .5 feet to 35.2 feet. Unfortunately the four-wheel steering system also pushes the width of the Sub out past 80 inches. in contrast. 7.2 GM Concept Truck: QUADRASTEER TM (four-wheel steering system) by Delphi is featured on General Motor Corp. it feels quite ponderous. Hopefully as the four-wheel steering system becomes more ubiquitous across the GM range of products the cost of the system will drop. At higher speeds all four wheels turn in the same direction for better stability in lane change maneuvers.1 Chevrolet Suburban 2500: The purely electronic system works so that. APPLICATIONS OF 4WS Some of the vehicles in which the 4WS is applied are: 7. But the very worst thing about the fourwheel steering system is its $4495 option cost.

Algorithms are then used to determine the correct phase of operation. Based on tests with full-size SUVs and pickup trucks. 7. making it comparable to a Nissan Ultima at 37. The first is traditional with the rear tires turning in the opposite direction of the front to reduce the turning circle. steerable solid hypoid rear axle. using skid steer capability and toe steer: the ability to turn both front and rear tires inward. QUADRASTEER by Delphi reduces the minimum turning circle diameter by an average of 19 percent. one full-size pickup's turning radius was reduced from 46. Hand wheel position and vehicle speed sensors continuously report data to the control unit. In fact.4 feet.that enables vehicles to significantly improve handling and maneuverability in full-size vehicles. which in turn determines the appropriate angle of the rear wheels. The QUADRASTEERTM by Delphi Systems also provides a controlled return to regular two-wheel steering if the four-wheel steering system is damaged.4 feet and a Saturn Coupe at 37. and control unit. In addition.2 feet to 37.a front-wheel position sensor.3 Jeep Hurricane: The Jeep Hurricane. a radical off-road machine with two 5. QUADRASTEER TM by Delphi combines conventional frontwheel steering with an electrically powered rear-wheel steering system. electric motor-driven actuator. the vehicle features two modes of automated four-wheel steering.7 litre V8 engines features a turn radius of absolutely zero. The system has four main components .1 feet. The second mode is an .

This allows the vehicle to move sideways without changing the direction the vehicle is pointing. Jeep Hurricane Figure 5. The multi-mode four-wheel steering system offers killer performance and maneuverability. Figure 4.innovation targeted to off-road drivers: the vehicle can turn all four wheels in the same direction for nimble crab steering. Ford Suburban 2500 .

As the systems become more commonplace the cost of four wheel steering will drop. lane changing and lowspeed maneuverability. 4WS is complex and expensive. . straight-line stability. Four wheel steering is growing in popularity and it is likely to come in more and more new vehicles. Even though it is advantageous over the conventional two-wheel steering system.8. CONCLUSION Thus the four-wheel steering system has got cornering capability. Currently the cost of a vehicle with four wheel steering is more than that for a vehicle with the conventional two wheel steering. steering response.

Repair”.com 8. 2. Maintenance.howstuffworks. Jack 5. Tim Gilles. http:\\ .com 7. http:\\www.delphiauto. http:\\www. Thomas W Birch. http:\\www. 3.REFERENCES 1. “Automotive 6. 4. http:\\www. “Automotive Suspension and Steering Systems”. “Automotive Technology-A Systems Approach”.