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Discussion Starter #61
I may now have the only 4c with electric power steering.
I had been thinking about how the steering column could be modified to add the motor. Since I had time now with the stay at home order, I decided to go for it. I bought a salvage 4c steering column to cut up, so that I could save my stock one to reinstall if this did not work out. I bought a 2007 Toyota Yaris steering column and the eps control unit out of a Prius. The Toyota eps works fine in the safe mode with only 3 wires (60 amp hot, ground and key on hot). I shortened the 4c column as much as possible, but still attach to the stock bolts. I removed the Yaris steering gearbox and motor and cut down the length of the splined shaft. I welded a splined female sleeve onto to the 4c column and fitted the eps shaft into it. Then I fabricated a light sheet metal bracket to support the gearbox that bolted to the car. I also tack welded a few points to the steel section of the 4c bracket assembly. At this point everything fit fine up under the dash, but the universal joint for the column extension (to the steering rack), was not aligned correctly with the tunnel provided in the CF tub. So I had to re-drill the 4 attachment holes to allow the assembly to rotate about a half inch. Then I fabricated the new column extension by welding the Yaris u joint onto a shortened length of the 4c column end and attached it to the rack. After completing the wiring, I started the car and it all works perfectly. The effort to turn the wheel is just right, not to easy and not too hard. It is just a pleasure to drive now and will be a lot faster to autocross and less tiring doing track days. It has not dulled the steering feel at all. I still feel every bump and groove in the road. The biggest benefit is easily driving to a parking spot in a crowded lot or a hard right turn at a stop sign.
It is not an easy mod to do, but worth the effort. It took me almost 2 weeks and about half of that time, I was laying on my back with my head up under the dash.
Pics or it didnt happen!
 

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Really ambitious project! Not sure I would like the electric steering if it looses the "feel" and is a bit numb but it sounds like you are happy with how it worked out and the feel. Does it maintain the same number of turns lock to lock as stock or close to it? How does it do for self centering after a turn....some electric steering I have tried needs to have the wheel turned back straight as it won't "unwind" and center by itself.
 

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Really ambitious project! Not sure I would like the electric steering if it looses the "feel" and is a bit numb but it sounds like you are happy with how it worked out and the feel. Does it maintain the same number of turns lock to lock as stock or close to it? How does it do for self centering after a turn....some electric steering I have tried needs to have the wheel turned back straight as it won't "unwind" and center by itself.
It feels great and is exactly the same ratio as before. It centers after a turn and drives without any unusual feedback.
 

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This is a photo about halfway through the project. It is upside down from the way it installs under the dash. I may be able to take a picture of it in the car, but all of the original trim and and the leg space airbag is covering a lot of it.
 

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That's a good use of some downtime, kudos!

People do EPS conversions on engine swapped Miata with some regularity, fortunately there is a plug and play solution

 

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Discussion Starter #69
That is an area under my house, which does look a little like Mars.
It is hard to take picture of the EPS unit in the car, but you can see how tight it fits. Everything will unbolt and come out if I ever want to reinstall the stock manual steering column.

View attachment 107647
It's almost as if the carbon tub form was designed for a worm/assisting motor! I always wondered why the tub had those bumps and alleys when under the hood it doesn't make sense.
More evidence that AR bungled their original design and got "lost" along the way
 

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That looks great. I don't have your fabrication and welding skills, so I would need to work with a pre-made kit. @jamiealfa ?
 

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It's almost as if the carbon tub form was designed for a worm/assisting motor! I always wondered why the tub had those bumps and alleys when under the hood it doesn't make sense.
More evidence that AR bungled their original design and got "lost" along the way
What bungle? Are you sure you joined the right Forum? I’ve got mine working pretty well on rough roads at rude speeds without blocks and power steering. The ride handling compromise on standard suspension is close to brilliant given its simplicity.
 

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What bungle? Are you sure you joined the right Forum? I’ve got mine working pretty well on rough roads at rude speeds without blocks and power steering. The ride handling compromise on standard suspension is close to brilliant given its simplicity.
I agree, for the life of me I don't know what kind of cars some of the drivers learned to drive on but the 4C in stock form is how a car should feel. The operative word is "feel", because it's what you do when driving one. You are the one driving, not the car. If you don't like to make corrections and feel the experience take a taxi. Here in Canada I was taught by my father in an old rear wheel drive 63 Mercury/tank with inadequate drum brakes and summer tires on snow covered roads to feel the car. The rear end drifted and you had to allow for braking or crash. The idea was learn not to crash.
 

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I was thinking similarly on my drive into work this morning. I learned to drive in 1977 - 1978, in an old mini - tiny wheels, skinny tyres and no PAS. Great fun, and very connected to the road. I am getting a similar feeling in the 4c, with the fun element turned up to 11. Now that it has the steering mods and new tyres it's got all the right feedback.
I didn't have to come into the office today but I wanted an excuse to drive :whistle:
 

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Discussion Starter #74
I agree, for the life of me I don't know what kind of cars some of the drivers learned to drive on but the 4C in stock form is how a car should feel. The operative word is "feel", because it's what you do when driving one. You are the one driving, not the car. If you don't like to make corrections and feel the experience take a taxi. Here in Canada I was taught by my father in an old rear wheel drive 63 Mercury/tank with inadequate drum brakes and summer tires on snow covered roads to feel the car. The rear end drifted and you had to allow for braking or crash. The idea was learn not to crash.
A. I track my car, fast. It needs rear end help.
B. My previous car was a 2012 Jeep JK 2-door... Yes assisted steering but STUPID MORE in common with your 63 mercury than a 4c.
C. I learned on e4# BMW'S, all manual, naturally aspirated. They are planted at 150mph where the 4c is not.

Both you and @Alfanut misunderstood what I'm talking about: the shape of the carbon tub (idk where you got the word "bungle" from?) has a void in an empty shape that @conedodger67 has used to "conveniently" fit the worm gear. Why make that shape, when on the other side, the underhood side, doesn't need any of that shape? One easy, logical explanation is that AR, while designing and sending out the production tub shape, made room specific to components that assist steering. I will never add steering assistance to the 4c because I love it the way it is in that department, but to say that the 4c is some "genius perfection" of driving, please see Von Saruma's very disappointed Nurburgring time notes. Maybe you should try a 911, largely considered a great drive, and then the stock 4c, and then repeat but at over 100mph or chasing betting yourself at a track. It's no stretch to say that AR didn't nail their mission of "the greatest sports car ever made", since, well, it simply isn't (from factory).
I do plan to make it my personal greatest sports car, though...:cool:
 

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A. I track my car, fast. It needs rear end help.
B. My previous car was a 2012 Jeep JK 2-door... Yes assisted steering but STUPID MORE in common with your 63 mercury than a 4c.
C. I learned on e4# BMW'S, all manual, naturally aspirated. They are planted at 150mph where the 4c is not.

Both you and @Alfanut misunderstood what I'm talking about: the shape of the carbon tub (idk where you got the word "bungle" from?) has a void in an empty shape that @conedodger67 has used to "conveniently" fit the worm gear. Why make that shape, when on the other side, the underhood side, doesn't need any of that shape? One easy, logical explanation is that AR, while designing and sending out the production tub shape, made room specific to components that assist steering. I will never add steering assistance to the 4c because I love it the way it is in that department, but to say that the 4c is some "genius perfection" of driving, please see Von Saruma's very disappointed Nurburgring time notes. Maybe you should try a 911, largely considered a great drive, and then the stock 4c, and then repeat but at over 100mph or chasing betting yourself at a track. It's no stretch to say that AR didn't nail their mission of "the greatest sports car ever made", since, well, it simply isn't (from factory).
I do plan to make it my personal greatest sports car, though...:cool:
All valid points and I don't disagree, but like all cars and bikes or anything there can be improvements at a cost. In 1972 I bought a brand new 250 Kawasaki enduro and it was fast but deemed heavy with the competition at that time. However, I learned to drive it fast. I then progressed to motocross and traded it in for a 1970 250 Kawasaki F4 which was a little lighter and somewhat slower but won everything in my class by learning to go fast. My other cars included a 1966 Porsche 911, 1957 Porsche Speedster replica (very quick and great handling) and a 2005 Honda S2000 (which was described by many as the sports car an F1 engineer would build). The 4C in stock form out performs all of those easily. I agree modifying it would make it even better but it is still special as is and can compete with cars twice it's price if driven properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #76
All valid points and I don't disagree, but like all cars and bikes or anything there can be improvements at a cost. In 1972 I bought a brand new 250 Kawasaki enduro and it was fast but deemed heavy with the competition at that time. However, I learned to drive it fast. I then progressed to motocross and traded it in for a 1970 250 Kawasaki F4 which was a little lighter and somewhat slower but won everything in my class by learning to go fast. My other cars included a 1966 Porsche 911, 1957 Porsche Speedster replica (very quick and great handling) and a 2005 Honda S2000 (which was described by many as the sports car an F1 engineer would build). The 4C in stock form out performs all of those easily. I agree modifying it would make it even better but it is still special as is and can compete with cars twice it's price if driven properly.
Truth be told.
I had an 07 s2000 while i had the jeep, and man was that an excellent car... Cheap where it could afford it, highly wrought where it needed it. Still, it felt "teenager" wjere the 4c feels "adult"... Maybe its the heritage/badge but just my opinion.
My times in the 4c just this past week passed my jeep times (i am a beast apparently with open diffs and solid axles... But that jeep was modded to the nines, as they say, and I even beat a certain pro race driver's miata time with that Suv), and my 4c is still stock (except the TarOX brakes kit from Alfa9) as I learn what I need done (suspension is next alongside a custom straight pipe exhaust with custom headers because sound is life haha). No doubt, with enough money, the 4c will prove the darkest horse in any class. Kinda how a shelby cobra can still post competitive times with the latest GT cars/Porsches/etc, the 4c with updated drivetrains will conquer with ease.
 

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Truth be told.
I had an 07 s2000 while i had the jeep, and man was that an excellent car... Cheap where it could afford it, highly wrought where it needed it. Still, it felt "teenager" wjere the 4c feels "adult"... Maybe its the heritage/badge but just my opinion.
My times in the 4c just this past week passed my jeep times (i am a beast apparently with open diffs and solid axles... But that jeep was modded to the nines, as they say, and I even beat a certain pro race driver's miata time with that Suv), and my 4c is still stock (except the TarOX brakes kit from Alfa9) as I learn what I need done (suspension is next alongside a custom straight pipe exhaust with custom headers because sound is life haha). No doubt, with enough money, the 4c will prove the darkest horse in any class. Kinda how a shelby cobra can still post competitive times with the latest GT cars/Porsches/etc, the 4c with updated drivetrains will conquer with ease.
Yeah, the 4C and the S2000 are a strange comparison. The 4C is obviously a quicker car, and feels and looks far more special, but the S2000 is so well engineered and just easy to drive fast. It is tough for me to say which one I like better because they are so different, yet ultimately both so appealing.
 

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One of the things I love about my 4C is the mechanical steering. I wouldn’t even think about changing that. Mind you, I’m used to driving my Lotus Elise SC which also has manual steering.
 

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A. I track my car, fast. It needs rear end help.
B. My previous car was a 2012 Jeep JK 2-door... Yes assisted steering but STUPID MORE in common with your 63 mercury than a 4c.
C. I learned on e4# BMW'S, all manual, naturally aspirated. They are planted at 150mph where the 4c is not.

(idk where you got the word "bungle" from?) has a void in an
‘Bungled’, post #69, 4th line, 5th word.

I couldn’t do 150mph legally anywhere. Even my local track has me at around 130 by the end of the straight. Cipsony, I think has the right idea by investigating the behaviour of air under the car and leaving it in order to make it more planted. Once I’ve recovered financially from Covid and some other unexpected bills, his mods will be in the shopping cart. The 4C is no 1.5+ton, nose heavy truck and its mass distribution (C.G.) makes it inherently less stable than front engined machines. But it’s a road car and road manners were what I was referring to.

My Suds’ steering is just as heavy when parking and it weights only 860kg empty. Just never turn the wheel when stationary. Poor technique to do otherwise. No complaints from me about it.

Isn’t the feel of the steering loading up mid-corner part of the experience?

What I do know is that I’ve had more fun driving my 4C in the last 4 years than I’ve had in a motoring lifetime.
 

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Discussion Starter #80
‘Bungled’, post #69, 4th line, 5th word.

I couldn’t do 150mph legally anywhere. Even my local track has me at around 130 by the end of the straight. Cipsony, I think has the right idea by investigating the behaviour of air under the car and leaving it in order to make it more planted. Once I’ve recovered financially from Covid and some other unexpected bills, his mods will be in the shopping cart. The 4C is no 1.5+ton, nose heavy truck and its mass distribution (C.G.) makes it inherently less stable than front engined machines. But it’s a road car and road manners were what I was referring to.

My Suds’ steering is just as heavy when parking and it weights only 860kg empty. Just never turn the wheel when stationary. Poor technique to do otherwise. No complaints from me about it.

Isn’t the feel of the steering loading up mid-corner part of the experience?

What I do know is that I’ve had more fun driving my 4C in the last 4 years than I’ve had in a motoring lifetime.
Anticipating @cipsony's aero experience, as well as Piccini and the other race teams! It's a shame AR didn't go through with the spec-4c events, also low sales, as I bet the engineers amongst us would've endowed us a nice menu of downforce and suspension had the 4c went the way of the Elise, or even as great as the Miata. Apart from a few friends at FCA that are too busy and completely disinterested missile engineers in the family that prefer planes, I'm at the mercy of the more educated enthusiasts and vendors and the products they can figure out.
 
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