Sirion – ditching power-assisted steering

Now I love it again, the Sirion has been receiving a lot of attention. To start with, I returned to the graphic removal plan, after several months of inactivity. The teeth remain (and will continue to do so) but the Sirion is looking better than ever I reckon.

Sirion improvements

Sirion improvements continue. Teeth remain

The ridiculous bird on the roof is gone. It took hours to remove it! Other graphics have also been removed, though another session with white spirit is in order to eradicate them completely. Permanent marker can be, perhaps unsurprisingly, quite permanent.

My thoughts then turned to other matters. The power assisted steering is way over the top. I’m not against PAS, but I’m really not a fan when it is far too light. Like a 1970s Jaguar, the Sirion’s was so light that sneezing behind the wheel is quite terrifying. Feedback is entirely ruled out, making it feel quite twitchy as you attempt to find the right angle for the bends. It detracts from what is otherwise hugely entertaining! It’s like trying to get the feel of a classic Mini via a Playstation.

At this point I shall insert a disclaimer. What follows is an experiment and I cannot be held responsible if you decide it sounds like a good idea. Proceed at your own risk!

What I did was simply remove the power steering belt. With no power going to the pump, there is now no assistance. I don’t think this will generate any issues, though fitting a non-assisted rack is probably the ultimate way to go. Removing the belt was a lot easier.

Power steering belt removed

Power steering belt removed. Good idea or folly?

The result? The car feels much more pleasant to drive. Most of the time, you can’t even feel any difference, but the steering now weighs up nicely once you start cornering. It feels much more natural, though having all the assistance gubbins still fitted is likely to still be reducing feedback. I can’t say I’ve yet tried cornering hard enough to see whether feedback is really improved – I’m not one for pushing the limits of grip on public roads. Around town, it is harder work, but not onerously so. It just means I can’t steer with my little finger anymore, which is probably a good thing.

It’ll be interesting to see whether any issues develop longer term, and also whether there are any economy benefits now the engine is no longer having to turn the PAS pump. On the basis of 30 miles of driving so far though, all it seems to have done is make a fun car even more entertaining.

What are your thoughts? Do share them!

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