# Thread: Drive Shaft (and Steering Column) Angle and Phasing

1. ## Drive Shaft (and Steering Column) Angle and Phasing

In his Facebook page FSAE Advice and Support, Pat Clarke has posted an interesting video (Thank you Pat!) of the issue of equal - or no equal, that is often the problem - rotational speed between input (differential left or right hub) speed and output (wheel) speed depending the angle between the different parts of the drive shaft.

You can see it also at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idk3BVDVHq4

The issue is similar with the steering column angle between the 3 different parts of the steering column: are the steering wheel speed and the steering rack pinion speed in phase? I have seen to many of such problems on Formula Student cars for example with teams designing a steering column with only one U joint. You need equal opposite angles.

Interesting video. Worth to watch it and learn a bit from it

I have attached a few (useful, I think) additional pictures.

2. That's a great illustration, thanks for sharing!

3. Originally Posted by Claude Rouelle

The issue is similar with the steering column angle between the 3 different parts of the steering column: are the steering wheel speed and the steering rack pinion speed in phase? I have seen to many of such problems on Formula Student cars for example with teams designing a steering column with only one U joint. You need equal opposite angles.
For driveshafts...absolutely, otherwise vibration is guaranteed and failure is more likely.

However, why is this considered a problem that steering is not absolutely linear?

5. Could the use of out-of-phase joints be beneficial if the team desired non-linear steering...

6. Originally Posted by NickFavazzo
Could the use of out-of-phase joints be beneficial if the team desired non-linear steering...
The point I'm looking for.
It's been done with several production vehicles and it is not uncommon for industrial vehicles to phase the steering shaft to lower the on-center steering effort.

7. Ahh yes, the industrial vehicle with prodigious and intentional on-center steering "slop!" I have driven many of those.

8. Originally Posted by Drew Price
Ahh yes, the industrial vehicle with prodigious and intentional on-center steering "slop!" I have driven many of those.
Yep, those ones. Usually the slop is from the recirculating ball box or loose U joints.

9. Nick, Why would you want a nonlinear steering? Claude

A couple of thoughts on this subject, but may be a repeat of a previous post somewhere in a thread far, far away.

Steering shafts out of sync, out of phase or out of plane can have a profound affect on anybody's vehicle dynamics for several reasons:

1) If you miss a shift and drop the clutch, a mistake by your powertrain artist can send you into the weeds.

2) If hot-glue is your version of 3D print welding, the out of plane steering forces and moments in your intermediate shaft will cause a failure mode to arise.

3) Frequency response transfer functions which describe yaw velocity and side-slip angle transient responses contain contain TWO numerator terms. Knowledgeable students and professionals ought to know that the complex zero order term describes the effects of steer angle or moment, and the 1st order
complex frequency term describes the effects of steer velocity or steer torque. That being said, a harmonic steer ratio (lumpy steering) can induce several useful as well as un-useful handling characteristics.

A) A nonlinear steering gain can be produced if designed and developed for the specific chassis in which the numerical ratio is 'fast' on-center (3:1) and slows down as you steer (8:1) and vice versa. Since steering wheel rim force is the inverse of this numerically (heavy on-center) the process makes a high tierod load car easier to drive (less work).
This is for the Displacement type driver. A Feeling driver won't like it because the feeling falls off.

B) The impact of steering velocity on car control is probably not in any books because its a Controls Theory lesson, not a bicycle model
demonstration or a Ouija Board paranormal manifestation. To study it seriously requires a transient response simulation not a shim study tool use by the team mechanics.
Then you would see that a lumpy ratio with steer angle increasing but steer velocity decreasing as can happen in a slalom for example)
can cause some very troubling and often mistaken conclusions. Lash or slop being words used to criticise the feelings about the car.
But worry not, you can't make a car go left by turning right, but it will feel like somebody is stealing your inputs. BTW, the parameters
that make up the transfer function numerator terms will tell you what vehicle parameters are the big players in this game.

C) Probably the worst condition that can arise is the placement of the lump(s) off to one 'side' of the steering realm. Driver reactions can
be 'lead' (steer correction) or 'pull' (moment correction). And it feels different left to right.

D) Calculation of total vehicle understeer requires the calculation of the reference steer gain ( based on steering wheel inputs).
So what exactly are the road wheel inputs (angles or moments) when the ratio is not constant? You have to integrate the nonlinear ratio
to get the correct values. BTW: If you ever test a vehicle to get steer versus Ayg data and it looks very asymmetric, the vehicle may
be perfectly symmetric but the steer commands to the vehicle may be the cause of the problem. Same for the response time plots (not so easily fixed).

E) In my professional career, it was possible to teach and train the Vehicle Development engineers to sense the traits of lumpy steering to the extent that a ratio test was not needed for them to detect and
correct it.

F) There have been a few vehicle manufacturers who have designed carlines with intentionally nonlinear steering ratios (either from a
nonlinear gear or special Cardan joint geometries. But, after testing ratios of thousands of cars in my career, the big surprises are that
some take special care to produce a flat and well behaved ratio (careful steering part placement and design for manufacturability), while several others (and these
makers are the ones that naive students, magazine writers, and car snobs drool over) are absolute crap when it comes to attention to details.

G) Given a chassis and tire combo, an engineering design process ought to produce an effective, intentional, buildable, analytic, repeatable
and driveable steering mechanism. You can study the effects with a (transient) simulation, watch in disbelief as the process reveals the
often puzzling frequency response dynamics and have an "Aha" moment.

H) Here's an example of how I have implemented this characteristic into one of several simulations I use. By setting just a few
parameters, you can pretty much describe all the good, bad, and ugly conditions that the Global Feel Good Car Guys have been able to
produce. I tuned in the kind of providence that a FSAE car might have... A little Midnight Oil, some Simulink and a brewsky or two could make a wonderful thesis paper.
lumpy example.JPG