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Manual to power steering modification?

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by knahra1, May 23, 2015.

  1. knahra1

    knahra1 New Member

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    Roadster owners,
    Have any of you ever considered getting power steering installed? I'm about to buy a 2.5 sport (with 8k miles) and I'm wondering about manual vs power steering. I still need to investigate into whether it's feasible in the first place, and if so how much it would cost. Do you think it would take away from the driving experience?

    Cheers,
    - Tesla Enthusiast
     
  2. Timothy

    Timothy Driving on Sunshine

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    Well, for me personally, I love the manual steering and the feel of the road and wouldn't change it even if I could! I also have a couple of Alfa Romeos--one had manual steering and one power steering. I greatly prefer the manual steering! YMMV though.
     
  3. Stefan T

    Stefan T Member

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    Buy new tyrers
    that will make steereing much easier to handel
     
  4. jimmyz80

    jimmyz80 Member

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    You're buying the wrong car if you want power steering. It would be a major endeavor if at all possible, and it would seriously reduce the resale value of the car.
     
  5. Alan

    Alan Member

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    Tesla in the UK have a Roadster with electric power steering. I think it was done by the same person who designed the double din dash for the head unit. The story I heard was that he was told by Tesla in the USA that it was not possible so he wanted to prove them wrong.
     
  6. spaceballs

    spaceballs Member

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    Electric power steering might be possible with modifications using this --> http://www.dcelectronics.co.uk/Products/EPAS/
     
  7. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    #7 ecarfan, May 24, 2015
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
    If done properly I do not think it would detract from the driving experience. But it sounds like a very difficult thing to do properly, and to implement SAFELY (high degree of reliability, minuscule failure rate). Sure, the power steering unit itself would be highly reliable (that's an off-the-shelf item) but it needs to be integrated into the car in a way that is essentially fail safe, and the car was not originally designed to accommodate it.

    The Roadster takes considerable effort to turn the wheel sharply at speeds below about 4 mph, and is especially shocking to people who are used to modern power steering. However, you get used to it. Until two years ago I owned a 1959 Porsche 356 which of course had no power steering. It was actually easier to steer at low speeds than the Roadster because the steering wheel diameter was significantly greater. The two cars weigh about the same but the Roadster's tiny wheel makes it hard to steer at very low speeds. Above 5 mph I find it easy to steer.

    I would recommend against modifying a Roadster to incorporate a power steering unit, since steering is a safety-critical aspect of a car. You could respond (I am not saying this is your thinking, but it could be) with "It's my car and my life" but if your steering fails you are endangering the lives of others on the road with you.
     
  8. Mark77a

    Mark77a Member

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    Increasing tyre pressures to about 35psi lightens the steering (plus improves rolling resistance and turn-in, but not ride).
     
  9. DeedWest

    DeedWest 2011 Roadster 2.5 Sport #1438

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    My question to you would be: have you test driven a Roadster before? I too found myself brainstorming that idea in my years of Roadster shopping, until I test drove one. It made me fall in love completely, and now I wouldn't even opt for power steering if I could!

    Sure, it's a slight pain when stopped, but the moment the car gets moving, it's highly manageable. Either way, congratulations on your potential 2.5 Sport purchase!
     
  10. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Quite true, but it makes a harsh ride even harsher.

    I think most people pretty quickly adapt to the effort it takes to turn a Roadster at very low speeds. Initially you are surprised by it, then you just accept it. Besides, the sheer joy of driving a Roadster at speed makes you forget about the other niggling details.
     
  11. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I don't think I'm adding anything new, but just another voice chiming in that one of the main things I like about the Roadster is the steering feel; I would be disappointed to see it changed.

    It is hard to turn at very low speeds, but as mentioned above you don't have to go very fast at all to make it reasonable. I think it is something you will get used to.

    I could see looking in to this for somebody with, say, polymyalgia or lupus or something else that makes it painful to turn the wheel; though even there as noted above perhaps the Roadster is not the right car. If it doesn't hurt to steer it, I agree it's best to leave the steering as-is. Perhaps if it has an adjustable suspension you could set the suspension soft (to alleviate the ride issue) and then increase tire pressure to ease the turning a bit.
     
  12. smac

    smac Active Member

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    I'm pretty sure it would be nearly impossible. I've just bought a V6 Lotus Exige (so lots of commonality) and these now come with 205/45r17 PZero Corsa's. The steering effort is now borderline ridiculous at slow speeds, to the point even Lotus looked into adding PAS from the Evora. They basically ruled it out on the current Elise platform, primarily due to engineering challenges of fitting the necessary stuff in the really cramped space.

    Even if it were possible with an electric PAS, I'm with the camp of I wouldn't bother. You will very likely rob the steering of feel, and this is THE single best feature of the Elise platform.

    The most practical solution is to go for eco / skinnier tyres up front. It makes a marked difference to steering effort, but you lose out with it being more prone to understeer and poorer braking performance (in my experience of going the other way round and swapping out 175s for 195s on my last Elise). I guess theoretically someone might be able to do something funky with the suspension setup, but who knows what else that would impact.
     
  13. bart513

    bart513 Member

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    My biggest problem isn't the power steering issue. It's the turning radius that needs improvement. I want to be able to make the wheels turn at a sharper angle making it easier to get in and out of parking spots regardless of having power steering... I love the feel it's just the radius:)
     
  14. gregd

    gregd Member

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    Bingo!
     
  15. knahra1

    knahra1 New Member

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    Thanks SO much for all the great input. There is a lot of great input that could only come from the experience of having driven & owned the car.

    I'm not planning on making any snap judgments until I've had the chance to drive the car (esp in a little Chicago snow). I wouldn't call myself a purist per se, but I can definitely appreciate that manual steering is an entirely different driving experience and the pros might outweigh the cons, which are many. I'll likely leave the steering as is.

    I cant tell you how excited I am to be an owner in the next couple weeks.
     
  16. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    @knahra1

    I can tell you that I tested the Roadster with manual steering and it was ok for me. In fact I fell in love for the Roadster. :love:

    Hope to get a Roadster one day.
     
  17. samcarney

    samcarney Sam C

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    The Roadster will feel like it has power steering in the snow. However unless you have M+S tires the front wheels act more like skis than wheels.
    Been there.
     
  18. MileHighMotoring

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    After driving the Roadster for a week I searched for "Power Steering" on the forum and read lots of threads on the subject last night. The tiny steering wheel really amplifies the effort required. I drove the car this morning with renewed love for the car and while I do miss the ease of turning at low speeds, I know that this is a pure experience and I really am relishing it. I think ecarfan put it exactly right:

     
  19. supersnoop

    supersnoop Tesla Roadster #334

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    What tires do you have on the front? When I had the 195 width A048's up front, the wheel was very difficult to turn at low speeds, but with the 175 width AD07's, it's easy.
     

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