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Old 04-28-2009, 09:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Toyota Echo power steering delete mod?

I drive 2001 Toyota Echo, the engine has two serpentine belts.
One that serves water pump, alternator and A/C and another one which serves just power steering pump. I was thinking of taking that belt off.

1) My question is does anyone drive a car set up with power steering without the power steering pump running.

2) What would be the possible damage to the steering system.

3) And finally what could I save in power by unloading the engine from that accesory?

Please lets leave the safety aspects of that mod out of this discussion.

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Old 04-28-2009, 12:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I did this in my 1992 civic and the steering was heavier while turning in through a gate for example. At speed it was fine. My tires were at 55psi so that helped a LOT!!
No ill effects were noticed. All i can think of would be the steering column experiencing extra forces with potential long term problems with the universal joint in it or the spline on the shaft maybe loosening over time. I dunno, it's just a thought and maybe something to look at.


ps: i gained 4 or 5 mpg by doing this!
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have read somewhere that you can disconnect the hoses from the pump, and set up a loop on the steering, presumably to reduce effort of forcing fluid through the pump when it's not turning.

Of course, the steering ratio is different with power assist than without, so you're probably aware it's not the same as having "stock" manual steering.

I drove a 1st gen Acura Integra 2-door with the power steering belt removed, and the steering effort was significantly higher than a manual-steering Civic (similar weight/platform).

The owner did it to gauge whether he'd be OK with it for fuel savings, but he decided immediately to put the belt back on.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think vtec-e was right, you'd get somewhere from 3-5 mpg depending on how much turning you do. . .(if you drive a straight line the system doesn't have to work very hard). If you are going to go ahead and do this you may want to consider looping the belt from the other side off the AC. You'll save about as much in a full AC delete, but removing the belt gets you almost all the way to a full delete's savings.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There is extra effort. Kinda depends on how good your upper body strength is. A good way to give it a try is to simply shut off the engine and do a coast in neutral at low speed. Find a "test" course which has some tight low speed turns. I myself find the effort fine on my Echo, but my wife couldn't handle the extra effort, so I don't delete the belt. Like vtec-e said, high tire pressures help a great deal.
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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MetroMPG hit the nail on the head, the key here is the fact that a power rack will have a different steering ratio than a manual rack, which means that all things being equal (in other words, ignoring the resistance generated by the plumbing) a power rack with no power will be harder to turn than a manual rack. I have tried engine off coasting in my car at speed and found the steering effort to be much too high, I don't think I could make an emergency avoidance maneuver without power assist. Yes, I know you don't want to discuss safety concerns, just trying to give an honest assessment of the feasibility of doing this. Granted I did not unhook the lines from the pump and loop them when I tried this.

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Old 04-28-2009, 08:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I used to drive my mazda protege with the ps belt removed. It isn't really that hard to turn once you are moving over 3 mph.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You also have to drain the fluid, that's all. If you don't, you'll be fighting that as well. The ratio will be quicker than a comparable manual rack (less turns lock-lock, requiring greater effort that the power makes up for), but with a lightweight car with skinny tires like the Echo, it should be quite fine. I did this in my Subaru Legacy with a smaller diameter steering wheel and wider tires and it only got a little annoying in parking lot battles. Leaving the fluid in the system made it highly impractical to drive at low speeds.
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Last night I changed the water pump belt on my Echo, it was time to change it because small cracks were forming on the ridges of the belt.

I also removed my power steering belt and was surprised to see how easily I could spin the power steering pully by hand, it would actually free spin for three or four rotations after I let it go.

I test drove the car this morning to see what impact lack of power steering would have on the driving characteristics and I felt very little difference while rolling. Only wide turns at slow speed were little harder to turn.

Then I had my friend turn the steering wheel while I spun the pully by hand, and I noticed no difference in spining resistance.

I was little disapointed that the power steering pump has so little resistance because disconnesting power steering would have very little impact on milage.

I decided to connect power steering system back, some mods don't make sense and I realized that this is one of them, at least on my car.
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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2003 Echo Power steering pump

I was also curious, so I bought and inspected a used 2003 Echo Power steering pump. The torque required to turn the pump was so small I needed to use an Inch lbs torque wrench. However I still want to make an aluminum Power steering Pulley if I can get the current one off.

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