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

the cornering forces generated by the front 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 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. However. The vehicle responds more quickly to steering input because rear wheel lag is eliminated. when the driver turns the wheel slightly. As with two-wheel steer vehicles. all four wheels react to the steering input. tire grip holds the four wheels on the road. causing slip angles to form at all four wheels. .

2 Hydraulic 4WS 3. TYPES OF 4WS There are three types of production of four-wheel steering systems: 3.1 Mechanical 4WS 3.3Electro-hydraulic 4WS 3. Mechanical 4WS .1 Mechanical 4WS Figure 1.3.

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

both in components and operation. 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.2 Hydraulic 4WS Figure 2. A two-way hydraulic cylinder mounted on the rear stub frame .3. Hydraulic 4WS The hydraulically operated four-wheel-steering system is a simple design. The rear wheels turn only in the same direction as the front wheels.

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

Electro-hydraulic 4WS Several 4WS systems combine computer electronic controls with hydraulics to make the system sensitive to both steering angle and road speeds.3. the rear wheels are steered . the rear wheels of this system are not considered a dynamic factor in the steering process. At low road speed. the ECU commands the hydraulic system steer the rear wheels.3 Electro-hydraulic 4WS Figure 3. In this design. a speed sensor and steering wheel angle sensor feed information to the electronic control unit (ECU). By processing the information received. At moderate road speeds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The system works spectacularly well with the Suburban and the turning circle diameter drops down from 44. at low speed. At higher speeds all four wheels turn in the same direction for better stability in lane change maneuvers.'s GMC Terradyne concept vehicle. There is a switch to turn the system off and the Suburban drives like a regular two-wheel steering machine and. 7. But the very worst thing about the fourwheel steering system is its $4495 option cost. thus shortening the turning circle. in contrast. the rear wheels turn the opposite direction of the front wheels. it feels quite ponderous.2 GM Concept Truck: QUADRASTEER TM (four-wheel steering system) by Delphi is featured on General Motor Corp.2 feet.1 Chevrolet Suburban 2500: The purely electronic system works so that.7.5 feet to 35. QUADRASTEERTM by Delphi is an electronic four-wheel steering system . APPLICATIONS OF 4WS Some of the vehicles in which the 4WS is applied are: 7. Hopefully as the four-wheel steering system becomes more ubiquitous across the GM range of products the cost of the system will drop. Unfortunately the four-wheel steering system also pushes the width of the Sub out past 80 inches.

making it comparable to a Nissan Ultima at 37. The system has four main components . the vehicle features two modes of automated four-wheel steering. steerable solid hypoid rear axle. and control unit. Based on tests with full-size SUVs and pickup trucks. electric motor-driven actuator. using skid steer capability and toe steer: the ability to turn both front and rear tires inward. The first is traditional with the rear tires turning in the opposite direction of the front to reduce the turning circle. Hand wheel position and vehicle speed sensors continuously report data to the control unit. a radical off-road machine with two 5. QUADRASTEER by Delphi reduces the minimum turning circle diameter by an average of 19 percent. Algorithms are then used to determine the correct phase of operation. In fact.4 feet and a Saturn Coupe at 37.4 feet. In addition.3 Jeep Hurricane: The Jeep Hurricane.2 feet to 37. The QUADRASTEERTM by Delphi Systems also provides a controlled return to regular two-wheel steering if the four-wheel steering system is damaged. 7.a front-wheel position sensor.that enables vehicles to significantly improve handling and maneuverability in full-size vehicles. QUADRASTEER TM by Delphi combines conventional frontwheel steering with an electrically powered rear-wheel steering system. The second mode is an . which in turn determines the appropriate angle of the rear wheels. one full-size pickup's turning radius was reduced from 46.7 litre V8 engines features a turn radius of absolutely zero.1 feet.

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

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

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

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