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Fuel-Efficient and Low-Noise Steering Systems in Large and Heavy Vehicles using Variable Displacement Pump Technology

Article of Honda R&D Technical Review Vol.22 No.2


A variable displacement pump (VDP) is a fuel-efficient and cost-effective technology that has been applied to steering systems in small- and medium-sized vehicles. However, it is a challenge to apply this technology to large and heavy vehicles due to marketability concerns. This study tested VDP technology in a large light truck and strived to achieve a well-balanced and high-performance steering system with regard to noise, fuel economy, and dynamic performance. Steering noise was analyzed in terms of both the source noise characteristics of the VDP and the noise attenuation characteristics of the steering system. Significant noise reduction was achieved by redesigning the VDP in its number of vanes, structure stiffness, internal component clearances, and rotor position with improved flow ripple characteristics; and by optimizing the steering system's attenuation characteristics using a design of hose-tuning cable devices with optimal pulsation transmission loss characteristics. To ensure gains in fuel economy, a new design specification was developed to control the pump's power consumption by limiting the input torque at various pump speeds. Steering dynamic performance and feel were improved by enhancing the pump's design to provide an adequate flow rate under high pressures while maintaining flow rate and torque characteristics under low pressures. As a result of the study, VDP technology was successfully applied to 2011 model year Odyssey.


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