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Discussion Starter #1
This is for the traditionalists and the hard-core milleage freaks.
By removing the fuse of the electric assist power steering you will conserve battery power that would otherwise be used every time you turn the wheel. It also gives you better feel of what is going on between the road and the tires at higher speeds.

This is a very simple, quick and easy mod you can do in 20 seconds just before you drive to work tomorrow to feel it for yourself.

Open the hood.
Look for 40A power steering fuse as shown on fuse box decal.
Remove the 40A power steering fuse and store in your cup holder.
Drive the car and feel the real effort it takes to drive without power steering. :shock:

It's not that bad really, it feels firm during normal driving.
I first tried it an auto-x and it felt like I was wrestling a bear when turning fast at low speeds. But at higher speeds I had a better feel what the tires where doing. On the highway I drove home and it feel firm but nice.
I'll try it on and off a few times and decide what I prefer after a few days.

Tell me what you think after you try it.
 

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I have been curious about this myself. I have sticky 195/50 tires on my CRX and I've never really thought it turned that bad with no PS at all. I was curious why honda even put power steering on an 1800 lb car w/ those skinny tires. My best guess is that they were trying to downplay the notion that an ultra high mileage car had to be some sort of a stripped down, gutted tin can of a car.

Good tip. Just out of curiosity...anyone have an amp probe big enough that you could patch in place of the fuse to see what kind of current the steering is drawing and when? I would be curious if it cuts off at some speed or if it is always giving some assist.
 

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How bad is turning without the elec PS? Several years ago I had a Ford Aspire which weighed in about the same as the Insight and it didnt come with PS of any kind. Steering was a breeze in that simply due to weight. You're very correct about feeling the road though.
 
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Hi Ext1jdh:

___There is a significant difference between “with” and “without” assist. To see for yourself, turn the Insight off at speed and feel the difference as you coast down to 0 mph without assist. As soon as she is shut down, you can feel the steering get heavy … like right now and even at speed without a steering correction. I use this method all the time when coasting into parking places at work from ~ 20 - 22 mph down to < 5 mph before applying the mechanicals in my parking spot of choice.

___Guillermo, I am interested as even under highway cruise, there are always corrections being made and it does have a draw. James question in regards to how much current is what I really want to know?

___Thanks for the tip as I might have to try this out.

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:2i46k7uv][email protected][/email:2i46k7uv]
 

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Wayne, I'm sure that you would see a difference. After all at 40 amps this is one of the biggest fuses in the car. (40A X 13.6V = 544 watts) OK, I know it doesn't draw that continuously but evenn 100 Watts would make a difference to lean burn.
 

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Allnighte said:
would this have any other effect on the car? (codes? extra wear? etc)
I can't think of any reason why it would.

Hey, my first car was a '64 Fairlane 500. 3-speed manual, no power assist brakes, and NO power steering. It had a steering wheel that looked like it came from a bus, but I could turn it. It wasn't too much fun in parking lots, but gave a good workout.

I have also wondered the reasoning behind power assist steering in this little car. I guess the steering ratio might not be as quick, if it were to be easily usable for everyone.
 
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Hi Holicow:

___In my experience, the Insight’s steering input while shutdown is lighter then any other that I have coasted in after shutdown but it (the Insight) has much heavier steering when shutdown then any other vehicle I have ever driven when the ICE is powering the PS pump. It is not for the weak at heart (I meant arms/shoulders/back ;)) in an emergency situation at slower speeds imho. I am still very interested in the setup however and might just try it on Thursday afternoon for my next commute. I can feel (see on the FCD) the draw of hidden charging from many Autostop’s or key shutdowns and restarts and especially when taking off in the morning when I am down 2 bars from full on the SOC instead of just 1 like normal. Unfortunately these 2 scenarios probably have little to do with EPS draw given my 95% highway commute but more then likely warming up of the pack via SW instruction even in 60 + degree morning temperatures possibly? If there is a draw on the pack and light hidden charging has to bring you back to a target value, EPS is most certainly not helping our fuel economy by any means. This is just one of the reasons I would love an Insight with the entire list of Hybrid tech removed as in many situations, it is more of a hindrance then a help. Except for that quasi balance shaft trick and autostop itself that is ;)

___Guillermo or anyone else, are you sure there are no other possible wear issues with this experiment? Allnighte has a good question lying before us and I just want to make sure is all …

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:tmmpgjhk][email protected][/email:tmmpgjhk]
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No worries, just try it for yourself.
When the fuse is removed the light "EPS" goes on.
When the fuse is put back in everything goes back to normal and the "EPS" light turns off.

The reason Honda went to EPS instead of hydraulic is because it only draws power when you are turning. hydraulic system needs to stay pressurized so it's constantly using power even when driving in a straight line.

BMW Minis also have electric steering.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I suspect the electric assist is 40A because it uses the 12V system.
The motor assist fuse is 100A but that's at 144V.
I don't think it takes 1/2 the driving power to steer the car.
 

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Hmmmm, how about a "switch" that gives you the ability to turn the EPS off and on???? Like the regen switch.

On for low speed, off for high speed. Is this silly?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ideally we could hack into the ECU computer and change all these variables with a Palm Pilot computer.
I've read that it takes $10,000 in labour to hack into a car's ECU and figure out how to change variables like that.

On second thought a switch could be a good idea.
Specially if it was activated by a speed sensor so you always have electric assist when the speed drops below 40 mph for collision avoidance safety and comfort.

Has anyone pulled the electric assist steering fuse and driven around at low and high speeds yet?
 
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Hi Guillermo:

___I did but I won’t be driving her until Thursday … Did you notice that the Power Window fuse is the same size? This is not a very big draw imho? I have a fairly detailed segment mpg of my last 8 commutes (95.1, 104.1, 105.1, 105.1, 105.5, 107.5, 108.1, and 109.5 mpg for this tank so far) so we shall see if this adds anything vs. the extra effort needed to control her out on the highway …

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:1q4tw42w][email protected][/email:1q4tw42w]
 
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Hi James:

___It is not insurmountable in the least but it does require a lot more steering effort then I would be comfortable with in any other automobile. I coast down my drive before lighting the Insight off in second gear and usually hit the turn at ~ 11 – 12 mph. The transition of steering effort from un-powered to powered is dramatic. You can feel it for yourself on your next drive. Just shut off the key while coasting to a stop in a parking lot from lets say 15 mph + all the way down to stopped in your parking spot of choice. Not autostop but turn the key “off” so that there is no EPS available.

___That Pontiac must have been one SOB when your speeds slowed? Did you have arms that look something akin to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s after that drive :shock:

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:2boc2ap6][email protected][/email:2boc2ap6]
 

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EPS wear

Hi Guillermo,
Good Idea, please let us know what type
of mileage numbers you get. About six months
ago I tried it for a few weeks but didn't notice
an appreciable difference. BUT, this was also
the during the time I was experiencing frequent
recal's ( sometimes 1 or 2 a day ). The engine
and tranny ground mod's cured that ( basicly
removed paint from all contact surfaces, what
a relief! ).
For the few weeks without the EPS I drove in
all conditions. Aside from the recal's ( which had
nothing to do with the EPS ) the car drove just
fine.
Wear. The EPS will have some gear reduction
for the DC stepper. This may cause some wear.
Still, from driving a few weeks with the fuse out
it didn't feel like I was having to use any undue
force to steer the car. Good call! Please let us
know how it works out. If good I'm ready to
pull that fuse again.
Jack
 

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Guillermo said:
I suspect the electric assist is 40A because it uses the 12V system.
The motor assist fuse is 100A but that's at 144V.
I don't think it takes 1/2 the driving power to steer the car.
Well, 40 amps at 12 volts is 480 watts.
100 amps at 144 volts is 14,400 watts.
So it's not quite half. ;)

Guillermo said:
Ideally we could hack into the ECU computer and change all these variables with a Palm Pilot computer.
I've read that it takes $10,000 in labour to hack into a car's ECU and figure out how to change variables like that.
What would be better (in my opinion) instead of hacking into the ECU and changing it, would be to make a replacement computer. It would probrably cost about the same as a replacement ECU for the hardware, though you would need to write a program for it, which would be the time consuming, (but probrably entertaining) part.

Depending on how many pins there are on the ECUs harness, that might complicate matters slightly. But I do think it would be a better system to have your own programmable ECU instead of just a "hacked" one. Then you could change the system's logic and stuff too.

And it would probrably be cheaper. I wish I could get paid $10,000 to write a (relatively) simple program. ;) I'm planning to do something like this eventually, once the warranty runs out.
 

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I tried removing the fuse today. I forgot about it untill after I got back. No big deal if you are used to driving a CRX. The steering does feel heavier. Remember you are now spinning a dead stick stepper motor as well as steering the car*. The car might actually track straighter without the electric steering because you now have a smooth relationship between the force on the wheel and the direction of the car. The electric steering turns in distinct steps. This requires constant small corective movements of the steering. I don't even notice it anymore but some may have incorrectly blamed it on the tires.

I would probably hook up a relay to disable the power steering whenever the car was in 5th gear (and perhaps 4th). Primitive but the assumption being that one would not drive below 15 MPH in 5th and that one would always select 5th for highway cruising. This way the cars electric steering would not pop on and off unexpectedly.

* This might not be a bad thing as some motor bikes and some 4WD vehicles come with steering dampers.
 
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