While power steering systems on cars have been around since the 1950s, the technology behind the systems is seeing a gradual shift. In recent years, there has been a switch from the original hydraulic systems to electric power steering (EPS), owing to the vehicle manufacturer’s necessity to achieve better fuel consumption and reduce exhaust emissions.
Using the technical knowledge and experience of its engineers, Shaftec has been able to identify the general issues that can occur within the steering system and some specific areas that can be problematic.
This information can be found on a leaflet inside the box, designed to highlight these faults and cut garage labour times. The importance of thoroughly flushing the whole steering system through is also emphasised as this can be the cause of premature failure.
Whilst there are many reasons why a steering rack, pump, column or box can fail, the most common culprits are:
- fluid contamination by metallic and rubber particles, causing the seals to blow or creating a blockage that results in either pressure build-up or fluid starvation
- water getting into the rack bar area through poor design or damaged gaiter, causing the bar to rust
- water finding its way into electrical circuit boards or components causing a short circuit
- moving components wear and tear or damaged gaiters, allowing grease to escape and letting in salt, dirt and grit, so speeding up the wear process
Shaftec ensures simplified fitment as all electric steering racks, columns and electro-hydraulic pumps work on a simple ‘plug and play’ basis. As long as the fault codes are cleared before using the correct diagnostics, they will not require any further programming to make them operational and will work immediately when they are fitted. This makes it essential for installers to invest in the latest diagnostic equipment and keep it up to date.
Shaftec’s ability to adapt products to new market trends positions it as an important aftermarket supplier of remanufactured products. The change from hydraulic to electric power steering has been done by:
- Replacing a hydraulic pump powered directly by the engine that can drain up to 10hp under load with an electric motor attached directly to either the steering rack or electric steering column (ESC). It offers the added benefit of reducing noise levels caused by the operating pump.
- Changing the design of steering pumps from the traditional hydraulic pumps to electro-hydraulic power steering (EHPS) pumps that operate independently from the engine, operating only when steering assistance is required, giving it the ability to have light steering at manoeuvring speeds and a firmer feel at motorway speeds.
Shaftec also offers advice on applications to fitment issues, via its technical helpline (0844 257 1818), addressing queries from both motor factors and technicians.
Quality is at the top of everyone’s list, especially on safety-critical components. Remanufactured parts shouldn’t be a poorer substitute for new; rather they should be as good as new and perform that way too. With more than 35 years of experience in remanufacturing, Shaftec has invested heavily in equipment and procedures at its own facilities in Birmingham where the entire remanufactured range is produced.
The team of skilled engineers methodically use a step-by-step process to ensure that the highest quality is achieved:
Step 1: A thorough inspection of the original core unit, checking its suitability for remanufacture, followed by a number of processes, including stripping the rack or pump right back to its bare casting and cleaning up and re-inspecting to confirm there were no hidden defects.
Step 2: The part is then refurbished by hand to original specification using OE quality replacement parts and re-assembled.
Step 3: Each individual unit is extensively tested for smooth and efficient operation as well as noise levels on a state-of-the-art electronic test rig which simulates real conditions when fitted to a vehicle and produces the test results.
The passing of this test proves it is ‘fit for purpose’ and good enough to go into a Shaftec box. For added peace of mind, Shaftec includes the test pass certificate and provides a 1-year/12,000-mile warranty.
The steering portfolio comprises of 2,500+ OE quality parts, both new and remanufactured. The range consists of:
- 1,400+ Electric and Power Pumps
- 1,000 manual, Power and Electric Racks
- 100 Steering Boxes
- 40+ Electric Columns
Since it may not be practical for factors to stock such a diverse assortment of steering racks and pumps, FPS has made a significant investment into this range. Many of the parts within the Shaftec portfolio are available on a same-day basis, allowing motor factors nationwide access to the OE quality remanufactured products.