Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Steering Stabilizers

My '08 MB came new with a steering stabilizer, a "shock absorber", bolted into the front steering system.

I looked at Steer Safe at one point, not because I felt my rig was unstable, but more as a consideration in case of blowout. The Steer Safe is a series of bars and springs that go on each side at the wheels and act to resist turning of the wheels. This means that, when driving, small corrections as on a highway are almost unaffected while turning the steering wheel will get progressively harder the farther the wheel is turned. In the case of a blowout, those springs would resist somewhat the tendency of the steering wheel to turn toward the bad tire, thus helping with stability. The rig will still pull toward the blowout, and the Steer Safe only helps with larger deflections.

Now, the failure modes - Any failure mode that I could anticipate - a failed spring, debris in the mechanism, a shifted arm, a bent arm - all result in a fairly strong pull on the steering linkage away from straight line.

I weighed the pluses and minuses. There seemed to be a possible small benefit in one circumstance, no benefit most of the time, a definite minor detriment all the time (harder steering wheel turn), and multiple possible serious detriments with any failure. I do not have a Steer Safe.

As to a shock absorber based stabilization system, I have one, stock, that seems to be working and I see no need to supplement or replace the heavily tested factory system with a generic aftermarket item.

Sway bars clearly let one tune their ride. Stiffer means less sway when cornering, but more sway with uneven road surfaces, and vice versa. So far, I feel no need to make a change.

Ken F