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Encyclopedia Hooniatica: Four Wheel Steering…

Jim Brennan August 27, 2010 Encyclopedia Hoonatica 68 Comments

Four wheel steering was one of those promised improvements that made handling better, with different settings for low speed and high speed situations. The rear wheels turned into the opposite direction as the front wheels for low speed maneuverability, and in the same direction when at normal highway speeds to improve directional stability. There were a few cars that offered this option, but can you guess how many?

The Japanese car makers were an early advocate of this “new” technology, with the Honda Prelude as a great example. The four-wheel steering system (4WS) was a major piece of engineering for the third generation Prelude, and was the first production car to feature it, thought is was an all mechanical setup. The less expensive two-wheel-steering version has been criticized for severe understeer.

In 2002, GM introduced a Four Wheel Steering setup called Quadrasteer for their top spec Chevrolet and GMC 2500 pickup trucks and Suburbans. It was a very expensive option when introduced to the tune of $5,600, but was later reduced to $2,000 and then $1,000 to boost demand, but by this time it was fruitless.

Read through the comments first, and avoid duplicating examples that have already been named. Use standard HTML to embed images and remember, include width=”500″ on larger images!

Image Source: Wikipedia

  • Sivart_R1

    Finally, I get to bring up an RX-7 in the EH.
    The 2nd gen RX-7 used a bushing in the rear that when pushed to over ~.7G, the toe changed, giving a minor amount of 4ws.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b2/S5FCRX7.jpg/689px-S5FCRX7.jpg&quot; alt="FC 4WS" width=500 />

    • Feds_II

      Damnit, that's what I came here to post… DTSS w/TAFH FTW.

  • Eurylokhos

    The last generation 300ZX had it as well. That RX7 above is gorgeous.

    <img src="http://www.nissan-carz.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2011-Nissan-300zx-pictures.jpg"&gt;

  • dwegmull

    The Mitsubishi 3000 VR4 had four wheel steer. The attached video shows the system somewhat in action.[youtube 9c9dxEnYh3Y http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c9dxEnYh3Y youtube]

  • Syrax

    Couldn't find pics but the MX6 had 4WS.
    <img src="http://www.caralius.net/auto/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/mazda-mx-6.jpg"/&gt;

    • Festiva_Movemnt

      I thought that in the States, we could only get the 626 with the 4WS…

      And also pretty sure that if it was available on the MX-6, it was only available on the OG 88-92 model.

      • AteUpWithMotor

        It was available on both the 626GT and MX-6 in the 1988-1992 generation. The vintage pictured didn't have it, at least not here.

      • Syrax

        We had the european model here and it had the 4WS available.

        • Festiva_Movemnt

          Then that really makes me wonder why it was never offered on the Ford Probe. That kind of tech could have really made it stand out in the 'domestic' crowd… Although also adding a couple of hundred leebs in the transaction. And as Colin Chapman best put it, “Leebs suck” or something along those lines… Sent from my iPhone

    • austinminiman

      God that's a pretty car….

  • dwegmull
    • ptschett

      Yeah it's pretty common in construction equipment. Here's some North Dakota-made examples of 4WS…

      Bobcat A300 loader
      <img src="http://cdn-9.psndealer.com/e2/dealersite/images/bobcatofmadison/A300_AWS_K_removing_debris%5B1%5D.JPG&quot; width="500">
      Bobcat Toolcat
      <img src="http://www.bobcat.com/publicadmin/getImage.do?id=33752&quot; width="500">
      Case IH Steiger 9240 & 9260 (instead of articulating like the usual 4WD tractor, the wheels steer)
      <img src="http://www.tractorhouse.com/images/Tractor/fullsize/82744767.jpg&quot; width="500">

    • P161911

      [youtube TYPjodRZD1E http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYPjodRZD1E youtube]

      This is the JCB you want, the HMEE 60mph road speed, 4 wheel independent suspension, 4 wheel steering, 4 wheel drive, fully active suspension.

      • dwegmull

        This is my new favorite post-apocalyptic vehicle.

      • Hörñéy

        I give you this in response:

        [youtube i8LTdqv2qLA&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8LTdqv2qLA&feature=related youtube]

        That video has the old A1 variant (I drive the A2 variant). 4 or 8 wheel drive, 8 wheel independent suspension, 4 wheel steering, amphibious, book says it'll do 62.2 MPH, but they'll do more like 80…or 100 if your mech knows what he's doing… (not bad for a 16 ton vehicle, eh?), it also has a 25 MM chain gun and two 7.62 machine guns and four to six scouts that can pop up and shoot off anything they're carrying with them (SMAWs, LAWs, 40mm grenades, 5.56 machine guns, etc.) or jump out and lay waste to whatever we need them to. Or you can set 'em up with TOW missiles, mortars, or, my personal favorite, two stingers and a 25 MM gatling gun (although that one isn't used right now). Or, if I don't feel like using any of that on you, I can use my laser range finder, GPS and north finding module that's limited only by the curvature of the earth to call in an airstrike, or IDF attack on you within one meter of your position (a 10 digit grid). We pretty much lay waste to anything we need to.

        • P161911

          Very cool, but if you are going to get something that big, might as well get a full on tank like an M-1.

          • Hörñéy

            Nah… The Abrams is too slow, heavy and fuel-sucking They get gallons to the mile where we get miles to the gallon-we actually get better fuel mileage than an HMMWV-about 400 miles on a 71 gallon tank of gas versus about 300 on 85 for the Hummer. We have the exact same sight systems as them except we can zoom in further with our thermals. They can shoot a little bit farther with a bigger round, yeah, but they can't fire nearly as fast as we can (we have a friggin' chain gun!). Besides, with the current war we're fighting, Abrams aren't even allowed to fire their main gun (we are though). They also aren't as maneuverable as we are. It's about the same size as that JCB HMEE thingy. I can drive down any city street in that thing quite comfortably (they are fully street legal) and I can go through just about anything without getting it stuck. Abrams get stuck pretty easily in comparison. They're also not amphibious and don't have four riflemen in the back you can punch out to go and do things that armored vehicles can't.

  • Not a production vehicle, but Jeep's Hurricane concept truck deserves a mention here.
    <img src="http://www.diseno-art.com/images/jeep_hurricane_round.jpg"&gt;

    • zaddikim

      I'm having trouble seeing a practical application for this. Kudos galore if the engineering is more than up to the task, both physical and software.

  • Syrax

    Nissan's HICAS – High Capacity Actively Controlled Suspension – was used in Skylines, Cefiros, Silvias and Infinitis Q, G37, M. Although it was made to improve handling rather than assist in parking the elimination/lock of the system in Skylines is very popular.
    <img src="http://www.japspeed.co.uk/uploads/images_extra_large/302-hicas_bar_installed.jpg"/&gt;

    • PFG

      I remember attending a Solo 2 in the early '90s in which a 240SX SE with HICAS showed up. The guy just devastated the field (which included a bunch of National-level competitors) on the index, and I can't help but think the 4ws had a lot to do with that.

  • SSurfer321
  • I didn't look it up, but aren't some current BMWs equipped with 4WS?

    • Festiva_Movemnt

      the new 7 has it. Dunno about any of the others. Possibly the 5, as they share panties?

  • P161911

    Does this count?
    <img src="http://px6.streetfire.net/0001/56/84/1446548_600.jpg&quot; width="600/">

    • Per Steve Machett on a long ago episode of Formula 1 Decade, Benetton tested the B193 with four-wheel steering, but never used it in competition.
      <img src="http://a.imageshack.us/img57/2407/monacoa.jpg&quot; width="500" />

    • dmilligan

      Yes, it counts! The P34 was one of the coolest F1 cars ever made. I wish the people behind it had tried a bit harder to make it work properly.

      • BlackIce_GTS

        I know they never could get the front two axles to share the load properly, but I thought Goodyear got it banned because they didn't want to have to make those tiny special tyres for just one team.

  • P161911
  • P161911

    How about a hook and ladder truck?
    <img src="http://www.gcvfd.com/apparatus/apparatus_images/5211.jpg"width=500&gt;

  • red green did it first!… hah

    [youtube c-Lnfpulwjc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-Lnfpulwjc youtube]

  • smalleyxb122
  • If we're including Passive rear steer, there are many thousands more possibilities.

    <img src="http://forum.avtoindex.com/foto/data/media/37/Ford_Mondeo_1993-96_30.jpg&quot; width="550">

    The entire Mondeo, Contour, Mystique, Cougar clan and descendents. One of the reasons that the handling was universally praised on launch in '93.

    • And of course:

      <img src="http://bringatrailer.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/1978_Porsche_928_Brown_Coupe_For_Sale_Front_1.jpg&quot; width="550">

      Thanks to the "Weissach" rear axle. (a fact I had, lodged in my brain somewhere, I still had to google to check the spelling)

    • Han_Solex

      Did they use a different suspension on Federal Constiuqegars? Because I drove an inherited '96 Contour for a while, and it handled like a half-deflated blimp.

      • They may well have done, I know the US stuff was quite heavily decontented over the Euromobiles. World cars my arse!

    • The 1988 CRX had passive rear steering as well, but it made the car uncomfortably twitchy. They designed out most of the toe change for the following years.

    • zaddikim

      Normally I'm totally down with strange cars, but my [deity] that thing is horrifying.

  • AteUpWithMotor

    I had a '91 Prelude Si 4WS, and in normal driving, I wouldn't say it understeered any less than the regular Si. I never ran it at a track or in really hoonish conditions, but in reasonably rational circumstances, its predominant characteristic was still fairly pronounced understeer. Maybe at the limits of adhesion the rear-steer made it more neutral, but its basic balance was not substantially different. Other than its exaggerated parallel-parking response and small turning radius, the 4WS was not usually perceptible on the street.

  • OA5599

    Sierra Denali pickups (like the one in the picture) came standard with Quadrasteer during the years that system was available. I believe that package was a 1500, not a 2500 series, although normally you would indeed need a 2500 for Quadrasteer availability.

    • I don't think they put the rear-steer on the 10 bolt rearend.

      The 1500 you're thinking about was likely the 1500HD, which was a 3/4 ton frame and drivetrain (8 lug) with lighter-duty springs.

      • 'Twas. The 2500 Suburban/Yukon XL also offered it, as my dad and I test drove one at GM's "Auto Show in Motion" back in the day and came away impressed. Had they offered a C2500 Yukon XL with Quadrasteer and the Duramax…oh baby…

        • Phil

          Check out 'Duraburb' on youtube. Their business is converting gas Suburbans and Yukon XLs to Duramax Diesel with the Allison 6 speed shiftable transmission (many with Quadrasteer and 5-step performance programmers). WOW —- what a ride!

      • OA5599

        It looks like the 1500HD became eligible for Quadrasteer on the 2003 models (see p. 5). http://www.denalitrucks.com/documents/The%20mothe

        Sierra Denali wasn't HD, though. They had six-lug wheels.

  • straight6

    BMW 850 had active 4WS.<img src="http://richardlewis.org/pictures/cars/large/bmw850_1024.jpg&quot; width="600">

    • zaddikim

      My guitar players friend has the 840, and loves it. Hell, I love it – but no-one drives it but him.

      Can't say as I blame him.

      Damn sexy car.

  • TurboBrick

    The monstrosity James May built in Top Gear limo challenge:

    <img src="http://a.imageshack.us/img441/4302/alfa1642dx6.jpg&quot; WIDTH="500">

    • BlackIce_GTS

      It's got NACA ducts, too. Bonus points!
      Their website claims the car's V8 is exactly 4200cc, which I thought was interesting because I am a huge dork engine sizes expressed in ccs are very rarely nice round numbers. When installed in an Audi S4, the same engine's displacement is 4163cc. I wouldn't bet they actually changed anything, but going to the trouble of adding 37cc just to make a nice even number would really help me believe they have that extra axle properly sorted out.

      • zaddikim

        Seeing that car reminds me of a .gif I saw of an Asian girl with an extra set of eyes PS'ed in. Farking creepy. I can't look at it for more than a second without getting woozy.

  • K_Dub

    The JDM Subaru SVX, Version L had active 4WS at speeds above ~45mph. Two have made it over here for "show and display", and apparently coupled with the tighter steering ratio on Japanese SVXi it makes for a zippy car on the freeway. I'd love to get behind the wheel and find out for myself.

  • Alff

    My Spider had 4WS for a while but it was far from a handling improvement. Then I replaced the trailing arm bushes.

  • Texan_Idiot25

    [youtube pnT1REHS7j4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnT1REHS7j4 youtube]

  • Charles_Barrett

    Well, I'm pretty sure this had at least 4-wheel steering, if not 6-wheel… Lady Penelope would have insisted that Parker had the best handling Rolls available in which to chauffeur her…!
    <img src="http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs373.snc4/45625_1471083870525_1636488070_1132611_6424570_n.jpg"&gt;

  • Møbius


    Cheating, I know, but I'm not knowledgeable enough.

    To add, though, I know the Citroen ZX has passive rear steer.

  • BlackIce_GTS

    There's a bunch of extra-heavy load trucks that have dual front axles. I know Western Star makes one, and I think Mack does too. Usually seen equipped with cement mixers. I always thought it'd be funny to cut the chassis off behind the cab and run around on just the front two. These are more interesting:
    Oshkosh HEMTT (and HARV)
    <img src="http://graphics2.jsonline.com/graphics/bym/img/feb05/oshkosh022205.jpg&quot; width="500">
    Tatra T815 8×8
    <img src="http://www.rc-trucker.com/photos/T815-7/tatrat81722060501.jpg&quot; width="500">
    Rosenbauer Panther. (It's actually a MAN chassis with the firetruck bit coachbuilt onto it, but I'm going with the cooler name)
    <img src="http://www.transportmanagement.be/imgresize.php?s=upload/sx%20chassis20070308_150308.jpg&w=450&quot; width="500">
    Alvis Stalwart (and Saracen)
    <img src="http://www.amphibiousvehicle.net/amphi/A/AlvisStalwart.jpeg&quot; width="500">

    • zaddikim

      I used to work at a Western Star dealer years ago, and we frequently had dual-steering axle trucks in the shop for delivery set-up or general maintenance.

      There was a day-cab similar to the 4900 FA that was made for Whistler Mountain Municipal district as a salt-spreader and snowplow delivered one day, and a good portion of the staff used it as a great excuse to screw the pooch outside while the crane lifted it off of the piggy-back cradle. That thing was massive, and short of balls-out military gear, was the most imposing truck I'd ever seen.

    • zaddikim

      Also, that Rosenbauer Panther is the bomb – Perfect as one of the Top 5 Zombie Apocalypse vehicles. Just replace the water cannon with a modest mini-gun or flame-thrower, and you'd be set.

  • zaddikim

    For scrub endurance, maybe. Just imagining that thing trying to make a right-hand turn in any city makes me cringe.

  • Matt

    The Mazda MX-6 has already been mentioned here as a 4WS car, but in North America, that was only in 1989, and the previous generation to the car in the picture.

  • EA11R

    Since every other Nissan has been mentioned, I'll complete the set: Altima.

    And yes, it was far from a handling improvement. Stiffer bushings made it both safer and more responsive on an essentially stock vehicle.