steering system safety issue

thundershorts

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The electromechanical steering system is indeed wonderful, however, VW neglected to address a serious safety issue. If the engine is not running, the steering assist is nonfunctional, and is extremely difficult to steer the car. Its not like steering a hydraulic assisted system. If the engine quits, as it did with me, while climbing a slight grade on a heavily traveled two lane road with no shoulders, My choice was to either leave the car in the lane and get out of the car in 7f temp or roal backward and back into a little traveled lane, a 90 degree turn. I'm pretty strong and I was barely able to turn the wheel at slow 2-3 mph.I managed to make it but only with a long sweeping turn. What was unavoidable, was a concrete portion of the drain running under the llane wiping out a sensor on the bottom of my def tank.No emergency steering activation. I was lucky, it could have been a much worse, like middle of buy intersection or in middle lane of turnpike, etc. Vw must believe their cars don't quit running?Anyone have any comment before I fill out a NHTSA incident report?
 

Keli_OR

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Wow! That is super scary-
And what if you need to maneuver a dead car so the tow truck can get to it?
Sounds like a shortsighted flaw in the design.
 

tdidieselbobny

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Is this a VW only problem or is this the way with all manufacturers that use this type of steering?
 

manyVAGs

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Even a Hydraulic system will be very tough to steer at low speeds if the engine dies. I would think that electric would be better, it actually seems odd that the steering power would go out when the engine dies, there is still electric power from the battery. I have a new Audi A4 with the engine start/stop system and when the engine stops the power to the steering also goes out. If you turn the wheel the engine will start and the power steering will return but you have to pull rather hard on the wheel. I don’t understand why the power steering does not continue to work.
 

thundershorts

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If I am understanding what you are saying, the A4 will restart if you exert a certain amount of force on the steering wheel and the steering returns to normal assist. The golf s has a key and did not attempt to restart, not that it would have anyway because of no pressure from the lift pump. I will try my 2015 passat sel tdi to see if that feature works on it. It would appear that Audi did indeed anticipate the safety issue, however if the engine were not to start, steering would not activate.
 

thundershorts

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Forgot to ask, do you need to depress brake pedal for the steering wheel restart?
 

manyVAGs

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Forgot to ask, do you need to depress brake pedal for the steering wheel restart?
Remember this is with the start stop system activated and the engine will not shut off without your foot on the brake. So by definition, the brakes are on. As soon as I lift my foot from the brake the engine starts. The engine will also shut down if you put the car in park but in that case the brakes are not relevant. What I don’t know is what would happen if the car stalls.
 

740GLE

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The electromechanical steering system is indeed wonderful, however, VW neglected to address a serious safety issue. If the engine is not running, the steering assist is nonfunctional, and is extremely difficult to steer the car. Its not like steering a hydraulic assisted system. If the engine quits, as it did with me, while climbing a slight grade on a heavily traveled two lane road with no shoulders, My choice was to either leave the car in the lane and get out of the car in 7f temp or roal backward and back into a little traveled lane, a 90 degree turn. I'm pretty strong and I was barely able to turn the wheel at slow 2-3 mph.I managed to make it but only with a long sweeping turn. What was unavoidable, was a concrete portion of the drain running under the llane wiping out a sensor on the bottom of my def tank.No emergency steering activation. I was lucky, it could have been a much worse, like middle of buy intersection or in middle lane of turnpike, etc. Vw must believe their cars don't quit running?Anyone have any comment before I fill out a NHTSA incident report?
On my 2010 CJAA which was also a electrohydraulic, the electric pump worked until speeds dropped to 10mph, it was pretty common for my to coast to a parking spot in the empty lot in the morning. I noticed a huge change in resistance soon as it drops bellow 10MPH, anything above that, pump and steering worked as normal.

I also has a couple stalls when throwing in the the clutch when coming to a stop and the DPF was being regened, (RPMs just kept dropping and ECU couldn't keep up) again steering was perfectly normal.

This doesn't really apply to the OP but it shows that VW did address the safty of steering and it's acutally better than an standard pump system.

What the OP is stating sounds more like a "dead car being moved issue" which is prob the same for >90% of the other cars on the road.
 
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20IndigoBlue02

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I had my engine go out after a faulty install job of the subframe mount for the dogbone bushing... I was able to steer the car into the shoulder. It reminded me of a car without power steering?

Anyone remember the days when power steering was a "luxury item"
 

manyVAGs

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I tested my A4 this morning. I put the car in park which stops the engine. With the car in park and the engine stopped I tried turning the steering wheel and the engine immediately restarted allowing me to turn the wheel.
 

manyVAGs

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Anyone remember the days when power steering was a "luxury item"
My Austin Healey and my Jaguar E-type did not have power steering. I never missed it except when you hit a pothole in the Jag, it really kicked back - now that was road feel. Note that the Jag also had a large steering wheel for good leverage.
 

compu_85

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Hmm, not sure what you're talking about the steering not working with the engine off compared to an old hydro system... with no boost in either case the car will be hard to turn, but the steering wheel is still connected to the steering rack.

In fact, if you're above some low speed threshold and there's enough battery voltage the electric power steering system will provide some assist with the engine off, something the old system can't do.

-J
 

thundershorts

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There is no assist at all unless engine is running. without being powered the electro/mec steering system has a gear drive driven by a servo motor. to steer, you must overcome all that mechanism.
 

compu_85

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That's not true, at least on the older cars. Above some speed (I think it's 10 mph) the steering system will provide some assistance with the engine off.

The self study program mentions it, and I've used the feature on our '12 Passat.

-J
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
Unless they changed something, the electric racks DO assist with the engine not running at speeds over a certain amount. I know this because when we push the dead cars in the shop, if you get them rolling fast enough the steering will start working. A brisk walk/jog speed.

Of course, hydraulic systems do not work AT ALL no matter how fast you roll the car without the engine running, plus they are harder to steer as you have to work against the fluid in the system, which also is what causes them to push fluid out the vent cap if you have to turn them hard and more than a few times.

It is a machine, they cannot make it perfect 100% of the time. If you cannot turn the steering on a small car with no assist in an emergency to roll to the side of the road, then you maybe should consider not driving.

This is pretty standard for all the electric steering cars. We have to push lots of dead Priuses in too, as well as all the other cars that have this (Focus, Cobalt, G6, F150, Elantra, you name it, LOTS of vehicles have electric assisted steering now). Volkswagens is probably one of the least troublesome there is, too.
 
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thundershorts

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In my instance, it was only a slight incline so speed was a slow walking speed. My b5.5 can be steered far easier at that speed engine off. It's interesting that the audi a3 as reported by an owner responds to steering input and activates without engine running. Brian, you could be right, maybe I've just become too old and decrepit to drive.
 

compu_85

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It probably has to do more with the steering geometry. Try driving an old W126 Mercedes with the engine off... the 12* of caster makes the wheel very very hard to turn!
 

thundershorts

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A b5.5 isn't nearly as light as a golf for sure. Were all 2015 a3 tdi's start-stop tech? Sounded like they activate steering assist with tug on steering wheel even with engine off just as the golf should. Doesn,t sound like it would be insurmountable to program the golf that way.
 

Ol'Rattler

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Hmm, not sure what you're talking about the steering not working with the engine off compared to an old hydro system... with no boost in either case the car will be hard to turn, but the steering wheel is still connected to the steering rack.

In fact, if you're above some low speed threshold and there's enough battery voltage the electric power steering system will provide some assist with the engine off, something the old system can't do.

-J
Something I found out about my 2006 is if the engine is not running the steering controller and lighting controller do not shut off the steering and head lights until you go under about 3 MPH.

I found this out by turning the key off a few blocks before turning into my driveway and as I described above happened. The steering controller will not turn the steering back on once it is commanded off until the engine is started.

Until the steering is commanded off, you will have completely normal steering. If you have come to a complete stop with the engine not running and the key on, the only steering you will have is the old Armstrong method.
 
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740GLE

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There is no assist at all unless engine is running. without being powered the electro/mec steering system has a gear drive driven by a servo motor. to steer, you must overcome all that mechanism.

Wrong, if you stall the engine, with ignition on or off (key was still in the ignition, steering wheel wasn't locked, dome lights weren't on) and the car is moving greater than 10mph the electro-motor for the steering is working.

Granted this becomes more tricky a maneuver if the system is keysse
 

Mike in Anchorage

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Man, this is a confusing thread with all the references to other systems. Any clarification as to what actually occurred in the MkVII and what, if any, is the remedy?
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
The OP was complaining about a condition in which the power assisted steering quit working when the engine died, same as pretty much any other car. Brake assist will drop off too. Nature of the beast, you really cannot make something that is 100% foolproof 100% of the time.

I do not know why his engine stalled. Since THAT is not something that *should* happen, it would be really difficult and unrealistic to have some back up system for everything. These are cars, not spacecraft.
 

Mike in Anchorage

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Summarial thanks.

The OP was complaining about a condition in which the power assisted steering quit working when the engine died, same as pretty much any other car. Brake assist will drop off too. Nature of the beast, you really cannot make something that is 100% foolproof 100% of the time.
I do not know why his engine stalled. Since THAT is not something that *should* happen, it would be really difficult and unrealistic to have some back up system for everything. These are cars, not spacecraft.
Danke. :)
 

thundershorts

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After replacing the lift pump with the new part number pump, starts are instantaneous and no more lift pump screech on cold mornings.
 

thundershorts

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In my instance I was rolling backwards so the question would be how fast must it roll backwards for assist to work, and I think the answer is it doesn't work rolling backwards. Logicly it would make no sense for it to have a threshold of 5-10 mph backwards?
 

Ol'Rattler

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I think it uses the VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor) which on many cars and trucks doesn't care about the vehicle's travel direction. My old GMC Sonoma would show show ground speed when reversing . 10 MPH reversing or going fwd would show the same 10 MPH on the speedometer.

So if you got to the same speed in reverse that going forward turns the steering controller back on, you would have steering in reverse.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
The newer cars have no VSS... semantics, but just thought I'd point that out. The ABS module distills the average of the four wheel speeds into a vehicle speed signal, and then broadcasts that information across the CAN bus to whatever modules would like to know how fast the car is going. Engine, transmission, cluster, airbags, navigation, headlamp control, radio, steering, climate, etc.

As far as assist with no engine running while rolling backwards.... that would be a really strange "what if", and if you are going to qualify that as a condition in which some backup system is needed, well.... I got nothing for you. :(
 

volmaniac

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I had my engine go out after a faulty install job of the subframe mount for the dogbone bushing... I was able to steer the car into the shoulder. It reminded me of a car without power steering?

Anyone remember the days when power steering was a "luxury item"
Boy the way Glen Miller played,
Songs that made the hit parade,
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days
 

thundershorts

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I don't see dead engine, rolling backwards as an obscure situation. Imagine what fun it would be on an up ramp in a parking garage as an example
 
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