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Anyone ever do the cheaper alternative to the 2k kit from ezsteer using the saturn vue or corsa b electric power steering assist assembly? I have seen plenty of people reporting that it is an easy install and that it is much cheaper to do since there is a ECU available on ebay for $65 that allows you to control the Power steering assist motor but no write ups on how to do it specifically, particularly on the p1800. I love the tight feel of the steering wheel with out power steering but parking and dealing with tight spaces and limited movement gets tiring after a while. Living in New York City will do that to ya! Thanks in advance for the help!
 

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I have not done it but a word of warning. I worked for a company that made test stands for GM to test their electronic power steering units from that era of car. GM had serious problems with those units, not from reliability but from the fact that they were probably the worst steering units ever made. The steering could not have felt more numb if you hooked up an IV of Novocaine to your hands. Our company car at that time had the same electronic steering unit, I can attest that it was a miserable driving car.

You get what you pay for. In return for saving a few dollars you will transform a fun little car to one that feels like a low end rental. You might be able to lighten your steering with some alignment or steering geometry changes. What wheels/tires are you running? What are your alignment specs?

Playing around with my Amazon I found that low speed steering effort could be reduced with a simple 8mm wheel spacer that you can pick up at any parts store. Increases the scrub radius, tire rolls more instead of the rubber twisting/scrubbing around the contact patch.
 

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I had done a little investigation a couple of years ago looking at electric retrofits for my 142. It is definitely something that remains on the back burner. By Corsa B I assume you mean the Vauxhall? I had found a number of discussions of Vauxhall based conversions on the web (unfortunately not Volvo related) and they do seem to be the go-to for a retrofit in Europe and GB. Unfortunately, they are a GB (and Europe?) vehicle, so finding salvage parts in North America to experiment with is a problem. I have seen the assemblies for sale on Ebay; however, the shipping costs quoted by the vendors were mind buggering. Definitely takes it out of the 'experiment with and dispose of if it doesn't work out' category. Also, the Corsa conversions that I have seen seem to be based upon a wholesale transplant of the steering column rather than just modifying the existing column to fit the drive unit as per EZsteer. I recall that Swedespeed user Rixt from the Netherlands was chasing the use of the Corsa steering for his 142 so he might be able to provide more details.

I was unaware that the Saturn had electric power steering. Being a GM offshoot like the Vauxhall, is it based on or similar to the Corsa steering?

In line with carbonmike's comments, I would 'steer away' from the flakey retrofit controllers that I have seen on Ebay, the units with the adjustable assist potentiometer. You do need to incorporate a vehicle speed signal which can be a bit of a hassle on our older cars with no ABS/traction control and mechanical speedometers. The Corsa controller also incorporates an engine speed signal; but, I am unsure of the reason for that. However, engine speed is relatively easy to provide. I think with a suitable speed based reduction in assist that tapers off very quickly, you would address any loss of feel issues.

Edit:

Just a note from my old explorations on this subject, some of the power assist units have very high current draws, in the 40 - 80 amp range. You will need to make provision for an isolated supply through a relay directly from the battery so that your headlights don't go dim whenever you turn a corner. However, perhaps the least of your issues considering the other modifications that you will need to do.
 

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It almost seems like a lockout in all but 1st gear would be appropriate, as these cars really don't need the assist once you're rolling. I'm going to explore it once I get my car done and realigned, and as I get older and wimpier.
 

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Hi,

I have done it with a corsa unit on my P1800. My car is now much more easy to drive at low speed. At high speed it is not servo assisted (my choice). To get the car more fun to drive you have to change to a rack and pinion with less turns from side to side.
I don't remmener but isn't it near to 4turns side to side? My goal is to get 2.5 turns.

The conversion works perfect and the torque is adjustable with a trim potentiometer. It is welded together with original steering shaft and is solid from steering wheel to steering box (sorry my bad english). I have tried rack and pinion earlier, then from a volvo
240 with 3 turns side to side (servo assisted ) it was so much more fun compared...the back side was all the angels and bump steer was way off.

I would say go for it if you just want the steering more easy and keep the rest like volvo made it. The feeling at higher speed with the corsa unit is exactly like volvo made it.

Merry Christmas from Sweden
 

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Hi,

The conversion works perfect and the torque is adjustable with a trim potentiometer. It is welded together with original steering shaft and is solid from steering wheel to steering box (sorry my bad english). I have tried rack and pinion earlier, then from a volvo
Solid - as in you removed the collapsible section of the Volvo steering column (or it was an early model with no collapsible feature)?

Your English is infinitely better than my Swedish!

Did you keep all of the Corsa parts including the steering hub at the top end of the steering column and just attach it to the lower part of the Volvo steering mechanism or did you somehow remove the Corsa drive motor and attach it to the Volvo steering column (as in you retained most of the original Volvo steering column)? If you used the Corsa parts at the top end I assume that you are using the Corsa signal light switch, steering wheel ....?

I briefly looked at fitting a 240 series rack assembly to my 142. I did not put a lot of effort into this because my recollection was that the only place that I could fit the rack where it would have reasonable alignment with the steering column left me with some very bad attachments to the steering knuckle.
 

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It almost seems like a lockout in all but 1st gear would be appropriate, as these cars really don't need the assist once you're rolling. I'm going to explore it once I get my car done and realigned, and as I get older and wimpier.
Not quite that easy. From the information that I have been able to find, I think the controllers need a pulse signal in order to generate any assist. Normally that pulsed signal would arrive over the CAN bus connection. I think the add-on 'ECU' with the rheostat probably provide a variable pulse frequency to simulate the pulse signal coming over the CAN bus. I speculate that they could be using something as simple as a 555 timer operating in astable multivibrator mode using the rheostat to vary the time in the 0 state, thus simulating the varying pulse rate from a wheel speed sensor. If you had a first gear interlock of some kind, you could use it to switch resistors in and out on the 555 timer to give you a more assist / little or no assist solution. Adding a first gear interlock would not be trivial. I think it might be easier to hook up one of those electronic speedometer adapters to the speedo cable to give you some pulse outputs which you could easily condition to give you the required pulse output for the controller.

To me, the bigger issue is finding a steering unit that will fit easily in place under the dash and allows for a safe / reliable installation. Cobbled installations don't do anything for me. If I could fit the total top end of a Corsa unit (or one of the North American GM units) under my 142's steering cover with a simple adaptor to match up to the Volvo stuff at the bottom end that might be an option, although I see dealing with the steering wheel, signal light and ignition switch / column lock as potential issues.

Access to the Corsa units at a reasonable cost (a cost low enough to allow for throw away if it doesn't work out) is a problem. Saturns and some other GMs use electric column power assist. I also think some Toyotas might have column style power assist. Saturns some times show up in the local pick and pull and 10+ year old Toyotas are common visitors. One of those might yield a low cost candidate for experimentation. Unfortunately, the temperatures here have finally dropped down to normal (cold) so I likely won't be cruising the pick and pull looking for candidates until spring.
 

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Solid - as in you removed the collapsible section of the Volvo steering column (or it was an early model with no collapsible feature)?

Your English is infinitely better than my Swedish!

Did you keep all of the Corsa parts including the steering hub at the top end of the steering column and just attach it to the lower part of the Volvo steering mechanism or did you somehow remove the Corsa drive motor and attach it to the Volvo steering column (as in you retained most of the original Volvo steering column)? If you used the Corsa parts at the top end I assume that you are using the Corsa signal light switch, steering wheel ....?

I briefly looked at fitting a 240 series rack assembly to my 142. I did not put a lot of effort into this because my recollection was that the only place that I could fit the rack where it would have reasonable alignment with the steering column left me with some very bad attachments to the steering knuckle.
Hi,

Yes, it was an early model with no collapsible feature, sadly. I might change that...

I used the corsa version that is adjustable so the lower part of the volvo mechanism was welded on, and the upper part from the volvo outer mechanism (the tube) was "bolted" or cramped on to the corsa unit. steering shaft (inner) was welded on to a
short piece of the corsa shaft with splines in the end.

No i did not use the Corsa top parts i wanted it to be volvo as much as possible. The steering wheel is one of its soul I think =) Should be one inch smaller diameter to look and feel right, I am looking for a easy fix on that.

Yes, the 240 steering column was a bad idea but I had to try, I think that it`s doable with some reconstructions on the lower A-arm(hope thats a word)
 

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