Chevrolet Sonic Repair Manual: Power Steering System Description and Operation
The power steering system reduces the amount of effort needed to steer the vehicle. The system uses the powertrain control module (PCM), body control module (BCM), power steering control module (PSCM), discrete battery voltage supply circuit, steering shaft torque sensor, steering wheel position sensor, power steering motor and the serial data circuit to perform the system functions. The PSCM and the power steering motor are serviced with the steering column assembly. The steering shaft torque sensor and the steering wheel position sensor are not serviced separately from each other or from the steering column assembly.Steering Shaft Torque Sensor
The power steering control module (PSCM) uses the steering shaft torque sensor as it's main input for determining steering direction and the amount of assists needed. The steering column has an input shaft, from the steering wheel to the torque sensor, and an output shaft, from the torque sensor to the steering shaft coupler. The input and output shafts are separated by a section of torsion bar, where the torque sensor is located. The sensor is a 5-volt dual analog inverse signal device with a valid signal voltage range of 0.25–4.75 volts. When applying torque to the steering column shaft during a right turn, the sensor's signal 1 voltage increases, while the signal 2 voltage decreases within the valid signal voltage range. When applying torque to the steering column shaft during a left turn, the signal 1 voltage decreases, wile the signal 2 voltage increases within the valid signal voltage range. The PSCM recognizes this change in signal voltage as steering direction and steering column shaft torque.Steering Wheel Position Sensor
The power steering control module (PSCM) uses the steering position sensor to determine the steering system on center position. Since the power steering motor provides a slight amount of return to center assist, the PSCM will command the power steering motor to the steering system center position and not beyond. The sensor is a 5-volt dual analog triangle signal device with a valid signal voltage range of 0–5 volts. The sensors signal 1 and signal 2 voltage values will increase and decrease within the valid voltage range, and stay within 2.5–2.8 volts of each other as the steering wheel is turned.Power Steering Motor
The power steering motor is a 12-volt brushless DC reversible motor with a 65-amp rating. The motor assists steering through a worm gear and reduction gear located in the steering column housing.Power Steering Control Module (PSCM)
The power steering control module (PSCM) uses a combination of steering shaft torque sensor input, vehicle speed, calculated system temperature and steering tuning to determine the amount of steering assist. When the steering wheel is turned, the PSCM uses signal voltage from the steering shaft torque sensor to detect the amount of torque and steering direction being applied to the steering column shaft and then command the proper amount of current to the power steering motor. The PSCM receives a vehicle speed message from the powertrain control module (PCM) via the serial data circuit. At low speeds more assist is provided for easy turning during parking maneuvers. At high speeds, less assist is provided for improved road feel and directional stability. The PSCM nor the power steering motor are designed to handle 65 amps continuously. If the power steering system is exposed to excessive amounts of static steering conditions, the PSCM will go into a protection mode to avoid thermal damage to the power steering components. In this mode the PSCM will limit the amount of current commanded to the power steering motor which reduces system temperature and steering assist levels. The PSCM must also be setup with the correct steering tuning which are different in relation to the vehicles powertrain configuration, sedan, coupe, tire and wheel size etc. The PSCM has the ability to detect malfunctions within the power steering system. Any malfunction detected will cause the driver information center (DIC) to turn ON a warning indicator.
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