Hydraulic Power Steering
Hydraulic power steering is one of the types of power steering. Thanks to this system a small steering wheel can turn a relatively big vehicle. It helps to keep the vehicle moving straight and also enables easy control and safe maneuverability. Components of hydraulic power system include a pump, hoses, hydraulic fluid, pulley and drive belt.
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How it works
Hydraulic power steering system uses a hydraulic system. It multiplies the force applied on the vehicle steering wheel to road wheels. Typically the hydraulic pressure stems from engine driven rotor vane pump. Steering gear uses force from the hydraulic cylinder to steer the road wheels. The steering wheel controls fluid flow to the cylinder using valves. The valves allow more fluid to flow to the cylinder as the driver applies more torque on the steering wheels.
As the steering wheel rotates, so does the steering column and torsion bar. A sensor located the end of the torque column measures the amount of torque applied on the steering wheel. The bar twist is proportion to the torque applied. The difference in position between the torsion bars controls the valves. The valves regulate fluid flow to the cylinder and hence aiding steering. More twisting produces more force.
The flow rate if the hydraulic pump is proportional to the engine speed. Therefore steering will be faster at high engine speed. Power steering systems require enough flow at a suitable pressure for it to turn steering wheels.
An important component in the system is a hydraulic piston. It is connected to the vehicles steering gear. The piston uses pressurized fluid to turn the wheel. As the driver turns the steering the path opens allowing hydraulic flow. The fluid then flows to the cylinder or actuators which change the direction of the wheels. When the wheel is turned either clockwise, or anticlockwise the fluid flows to opposing actuators, left or left. Road conditions and driver input determine power steering rate by using piston which regulates pressure on cylinders.
Hydraulic Power in the Steering System
Hydraulic power originates from the steering pump which is attached to the engine. The pumps pressurize steering fluid which then flows from the pump to the rotary valve through pressure line. The rotary valve is connected to the steering wheel. It opens up when the driver turns the steering wheel allowing fluid to flow to the hydraulic chamber. A hydraulic piston divides the hydraulic chamber into two. Increase in a fluid in one chamber creates a difference in pressure inside the chamber — this pressure difference is what produces power. The hydraulic fluid pushes the piston to the side with lesser steering fluid. The car wheels move to the same direction as steering rack.
Common problems which face hydraulic power steering wheels include slack and leaks. The bearing can also get wears and tears hence causing a lot of noise. It is therefore imperative to have your car system checked regularly.
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