FUNCTION AND PRINCIPLE
The purpose of the steering system is to allow the driver to control the direction of the vehicle by turning the front wheels. This is done by means
of steering wheel, a steering column which transmits the rotation of the steering wheel to the steering gears, the steering gears which increase the rotational force of the steering wheel in order to transmit greater torque to the steering linkage, and the steering linkage which transmits the steering gear movement to the front wheels. The steering system configuration depends on vehicle design (the drive train and suspension system used, whether it is a passenger car or a commercial vehicle, etc.). At present, the rack-and-pinion type and the recirculation-ball types are in use
Requirements of steering system
The steering system plays, together with the suspension system, an important role in ensuring easy, comfortable driving all the way from the low speed range to the high speed ranges. The drive train transmits the power from the engine to the driving wheels to move the car forward; the steering system steers the car in the desired direction; and the brake system ensures positive, stable slowing and stopping.
1.Excellent maneuverability. When the car is cornering on narrow, twisting road, the steering system must be able to turn the front wheels sharply yet easily and smoothly.
2.Proper steering effort. If nothing is done to prevent it, steering effort will be greater when the car is stopped and will decrease as the speed of the car increases. Therefore, in order to obtain easier steering and better feel of the road, the steering should be made lighter at low speeds and heavier at high speeds.
3.Smooth recovery. While the car is turning, the driver must hold the steering wheel firmly. After the turn is completed, however, recovery that is the return of the wheels to the straight-ahead position should occur smoothly as the driver relaxes the force with which he is turning the steering wheel.
4.Minimum transmission of shock from road surface. Loss of steering wheel control and transmission of kickback due to road surface roughen must not occur.
The relative motion between the wheels of a vehicle at the road surface should be of a pure rolling type so that wear of the tires is minimum and uniform. When the vehicle is moving on a curved path, the steering gear must be so designed that the paths of the points of contact of each wheel with the ground are concentric circular ares. For proper steering the axis of rotation of all the wheels should meet at G i.e. the instantaneous centre of rotation of the vehicle.
There are two types of steering gear mechanisms:
1. Davis steering gear.
2. Ackermann steering gear.
The main difference between the two steering gear mechanisms is that the Davis steering gear has sliding pairs, whereas the Ackermann steering gear has only turning pairs. The sliding pair has more friction than the turning pair, therefore, the Davis steering gear will wear out earlier and become inaccurate after certain time. Although, the Ackermann steering gear is not mathematically accurate except in the positions, contrary to the Davis steering gear which is mathematically correct in all positions. However, the Ackermann steering gear is preferred to the Davis steering gear.