A Closer Look at Flaming River’s Electric Power Assisted Steering

Have you considered converting your manual steering to a power assisted system? If so, has the thought of searching for suitable used or remanufactured factory power steering components and brackets caused you to shy away from attempting such a task? You could install a complete aftermarket system, but what other systems in the engine bay will have to be modified to fit the power steering (K-frame, accessory belt system, hydraulic hose routing, etc.)?

Flaming River may have the answer to your power steering concerns. They have recently offered the all-new Microsteer (part no. FR40200), which is a universal electric power assisted steering (EPAS) system. The Microsteer can be easily fitted to nearly any vehicle’s manual steering system without the need to change the manual steering box or rack and pinion. Because of the electric assist of the Microsteer, there is no need for hydraulic lines or a power steering pump.

The Microsteer is comprised of the motor gearbox unit (MGU), an electronic control unit (ECU), a tuning box, the wiring harness, and input/output shafts. To fit the MGU, the factory steering column needs to be modified to locate the MGU in series between the steering wheel and the steering box (or rack and pinion). The MGU can be mounted in multiple positions to fit as necessary on the vehicle.

Above left: The motor gearbox unit (MGU) is the heart of an electric power assist system that is located in the steering column between the steering wheel and the manual steering box or rack and pinion. The MGU can be mounted in multiple positions to meet the installation needs of the vehicle. The unit is powered by two heavy-gauge 12-volt wires. The maximum draw of the MGU is 30 amps, but it usually operates at about 2 amps. Above center: The tuning box has a rotary potentiometer on its housing that can be adjusted by the operator. By rotating the potentiometer knob, the position can be monitored by the ECU, and the power assist is increased or reduced as desired. A speed sensitive system can be used instead of the potentiometer input. The switch on the tuning box allows the operator the choice of inputs between manual or vehicle speed. Above right: The Flaming River Microsteer layout is void of complexity. The MGU must be placed in series between the steering wheel and gear box. It is powered by 12-volts and receives input and provides output to the ECU. The ECU monitors inputs from the MGU and the tuning box set in either manual power assist or vehicle speed-controlled assist. 

The tuning box can be operator controlled, and it provides the amount of assist by dialing in a rotary potentiometer. If desired, rather than a manual input, the ECU can monitor a speed sensitive system that provides power assist based upon a factory vehicle speed sensor (VSS). If the vehicle is not equipped with a VSS, an optional (not part of the EPAS kit) Microsteer speed sensor, (part no. FR40200S) can be installed on the prop shaft or a disc brake assembly.

The mode selection on the tuning box allows the operator the selection of manual or speed adjustment. If something should go amiss with the Microsteer, the harness near the ECU is equipped with a fault LED that will flash a code. The code can be analyzed and ultimately resolved with the assistance of the supplying dealer.

The Microsteer requires four electrical connections (two heavy-gauge wires for the MGU and two lighter-gauge wires for the ECU). Once powered, there are three communication harness multiplug connectors that must attach the MGU, ECU, and tuning box together. The Microsteer requires a constant 13.8-volts (DC) or greater. The maximum draw of the Microsteer is 30 amps, but the average current draw of the MGU is approximately two amps. Depending upon your Mopar’s charging system, there may be a need to update it to handle the additional amperage demands of the Microsteer.

If you desire an upgrade to a power steering system, maybe Flaming River’s Microsteer EPAS is what you need. For more information about the Microsteer, contact the reps at Flaming River or check them out online.

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Chris Holley

Technical Contributor Chris has been a college professor for 25 years; at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA. for the last 20 years. Chris instructs automotive classes in HVAC, electrical/electronics, and high-performance, including using a chassis dyno, flow benches, and various machining equipment. Recently, he added a vintage vehicle upholstery class to his teaching assignments. Chris owns a '67 Dart, a '75 Dart, a '06 Charger, and a '12 Cummins turbo diesel Ram, and he is a multi-time track champion (drag racing) with his '69 340 Dart, which he has owned for 34 years.

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