Technical I hate Power steering

Currently reading:
Technical I hate Power steering


New member
Mar 11, 2006
I was driving on the motorway at about 70 m/h and I accidentally nudged the steering wheel while changing a radio station, the car almost lost control and bounced left and right while I corrected the wheel, I am now tempted to remove that PAS belt to regain the feel of the road :(
All my previous cars didn't have PAS and I am finding it difficult to adjust.
in addition to the feel of the road, the physical exercise is also a good thing as it helps one retain strong biceps.
Bravicssimo i agree totally with you the steering on bravos is way too light. removing the belt isn't a good idea it will be very hard to turn at all, what you need to do is adjust the relief valve on the power steering pump. the relief valve regulates pressure in the power steering system. the idea is that at tickover you should have the same assistance as at full revs, and at full revs the pump wont burst anything. this valve works with a simple spring, if you 'modify' the spring so that it is weaker then your steering will be heavier.

i have also experimented with adjustable in line valves placed after the pump in the system, this works well because you have constantly adjustable steering. finding a valve that works well is difficult, i recommended the tap style valves that are used on the back of washing machines, you have 180degrees worth of adjustment to play with ranging from 0 - 100% assistance. chopping the old pipe and placing the valve or tap in the line is easy enough.

one thing i will say, reducing the assistance is the only way to get control of this car, doing high speeds on B roads is very dangerous with the standard steering assistance, its very dificult to feel the road, its like driving numb, you cant feel the wheels losing grip, you cant judge the road surface, its just horrible, i dont know how its legal, it shows that the car is designed for parking in asda carpark and not designed for racing on country lanes, even motorway driving feels a bit scary at 110+.

the easier option is to get a smaller diameter steering wheel, this reduces the leaverage you have so there is more resistance in the steering system, but you need to take a couple of inches off the steering wheel diameter to get a good improvement.

i'd recommend a valve modification to the pump hose, its great having the adjustment to play with, and its an easy job really, you chop the hose and stick the valve in
i dont like power steering on small cars, i think it is needed on wagons and other big stuff to help lighten the steering but i feel its a waste of space on small cars like my cinq.
Well a Bravo is a pretty big car - especially with the JTD or 2.0 20v in the front.

How does PAS affect how a car handles when aquaplaning? I hit a BIG puddle doing 60 in the Marea in the dark going around a reasonably tight right hander... Woah it squirmed like a worm! :eek:
Last edited:
aquaplaning is a prime example of the difference power steering makes, without the power assistance you can judge the loss of grip and compensate your steering, but with power assistance you have to grit your teeth and hope the front end goes in the right direction. the power assistance makes no difference to grip or handling, it simple reduces the feedback you get through the steering wheel. this feedback is what you use to judge the amount of grip you have on each wheel. if the wheel feels as though you get a pull to the left you know the right wheel has less grip so you steer to the right slightly. if you do a track day training course you will quickly learn how important steering wheel feedback is. going fast around corners is more dangerous with power steering because you cant feel the tyres starting to slip, usually the wheel would feel easier to turn with les grip, or you would feel the wheel turn in slightly by itself, the wheel is just as easy to turn with any amount of grip when you have power steering. i hate it
my girlfriend has a 2001 punto sporting with the city steering button, compared to her car my bravo feels like its constantly in city steering mode, wish i had a button to reduce the assistance, that was a great idea by fiat. i looked into making a similar button for the bravo but the steering assistance control is completely different, bravo's have traditional mechanically controlled assistance, new puntos have electrically controlled assistance. shame coz i'd love a button on my dash that said 'race mode' or something like that. lol
yep the pump creates assistance, but electrical systems can alter the assistance, thats the main difference between the mechanical and electric systems. new puntos change the amount of assistance based on an electrical voltage which is supplied by the city mode switch. some new systems on other cars actually change the assistance based on road speed, rate of rotation on steering wheel or even the amount of grip at the front wheels. very clever, but i'm fearful of the day we all 'drive by wire'. in the future there will be no steering column attached to the steering wheel, the steering will be purely electrical, that means your car wont turn if the electrcis fail, which wouldn't be too bad on a vw, but on a fiat, OH MY GOD!! just imagine the possibilities
as for fitting earlier pumps, it looks as though any bravo, brava, marea pump could be fitted to any model judging by the mounting points. the only likely difference is the size of the pulley and the relief valve strength, the TD engined models would require more assistance because of the extra weight, they have a smaller pulley and stiffer relief valve, if you have a TD and want less assistance i guess a pump from a petrol model may be a bit better. cant say for definate because i havent actually tried it with fiats but the same principle has applied to other cars in the past. i once fitted a petrol power steering pump from a 1.4 escort to a turbo diesel orion and the owner said his steering felt stiffer after the change.

i doubt you would be able to convert a bravo to electrcial assistance as seen on newer puntos, but it would be an interesting project.
First let me say to Heltz and Sammiboo that I am a very careful and experienced driver, in all my driving years I’ve only had one minor car park accident (a minor scratch actually) , I also can say that pushing a preset button on the radio isn’t really an irresponsible thing to do because the effort of changing gears is in my opinion much more difficult thing to do….. anyway! What I am trying to say is “if my brava didn’t have PAS this incident would have never happened and I am sure of that because it has never happened to me before.
Those of your who have always driven cars with power steering wouldn’t understand my concerns but for me there is a real safety issue here.
As Jug explained earlier what is missing is the “feel of the road”, this is an important issue because PAS gives me the impression that I am playing a good driving video game and not being really in control of the car’s steering.

Thank you Jug for your Ideas on how to try and adjust the PAS, I particularly like the one with the valve because I feel there is something solid about a valve, its also something simple to understand :)

I thought I was old fashioned when I posted this thread… I am glad I found some of you share my concerns :)

Thanks to you all
I didn't say it was irresponsible to change the station - I said it was irresponsible to drive with both hands off the wheel (or one hand loosely holding the wheel) at 70mph. If your right hand was firmly clutching the wheel at the 2pm position and you punched it very hard with your left hand then I apologise :)

As for lightness of steering, to be honest it's heavier than the Cinq/ Pug 106/ Rover 100 with no PAS (except when parking) and feels a LOT safer and I defy anyone to tell me I can't race round B roads at speed, indeed I appear to have a reputation for it :D
LOL Speeding on B roads huh ?..... now that's what I call irresponsible :D
personally I would be scared that I sneeze on the steering wheel and end up in a ditch :)
Ahh well I guess its a matter of choice then .... personally I feel safer without PAS
Now I thought the Brava had speed variable power assisted steering, because ive defiantly felt mines feel heavier after slowing down from a higher speed for a short time after a motorway section