1988 Lincoln Continental Variable-Assist Power Steering System
Conventional power steering systems can be “tailored” to provide light steering efforts for parking and low speed, or high steering efforts for stability and “road feel” at high speed. In either case, the customer's preferred steering efforts are not provided at all times. Compromises are required. The need for a speed-sensitive steering effort system has prompted the introduction of several innovative variable-assist steering systems in the past few years, which are currently used in some European and Japanese vehicles. This paper describes a Ford-patented variable-assist system used on the 1988 Lincoln Continental, the first application of vehicle speed-sensitive steering to an American-designed and manufactured vehicle. The Ford Variable-Assist Power Steering System is a “rotary steering valve” system. It uses a modification of the current rotary valve to provide low steering efforts (low torsion bar twist) at low speed and higher efforts (more twist) as vehicle speed increases.