It is a "loss of control thing". At one time it was called "Georgia
overdrive" back when automatics were not the norm and it applied to both
automatic transmissions and manual (obviously). There is the loss of engine
braking, vacuum (when that was important to lots of things like brakes and
windshield wipers). Even today, what happens if the transmission is in
neutral and power is suddenly needed in an emergency? SOL unless the driver
is quick enough to shift back into Drive. In my 45 years of driving, there
have been times when I've been able to "power" my way out of trouble. Had I
been in neutral ... well, I wasn't and I'm glad of it. This is especially
true of FWD cars but any good driver can steer with the accelerator. Damn
hard to do if the transmission is in neutral.
Let's start over again. Here is the scenario....I'm cruising down
the road, I move the transmission lever from the Drive position
to the Neutral position. Nobody said anything about shutting the
engine off. Now you tell me what is dangerous about that, what
loss of control there possibly can be, and what you are talking
about when you mention that there will be loss of engine braking,
(very little if any with most automatic transmissions), and loss of
vacuum (engine is still running, at idle with closed throttle, lots of
Off topic....nobody is talking about coasting around in neutral all
day long. My question again.....what loss of control will there be
if you shift into neutral? There is none, other then a bunch of
"what if" scenarios that people quickly bring up.
Ian is correct. With automatics very little engine braking is done
via coasting. It only occurs when you either manually down shift, or are
driving a truck with a tow/haul mode (which will down shift early to off
Very few FWD car owners use engine braking, heck very few light duty
truck owners do.
Were not talking a medium duty truck here, were talking about a car.
If you can not stop your car with the engine off, or steer it, you should
just park it.
Power steering won't matter until your at low speeds (under 5MPH) any
ways. Not to mention the power booster has a vacuum reserve for one stop.
If your brakes "go to the floor" their is a park brake peddle
(something Hollywood ignores). Now if the steering fails, engine running or
not becomes a moot point.
Just try steering a car whose power steering failed and get back to
My Alero had a power steering pump shaft broken and it took both arms
to manage to steer only very slowly. It's got nothing to do with the
car speed, as the demultiplication in cars with power steering is
about twice as direct as in those without it.
I've done this in a few cars, an 80 something Monte Carlo and in a 99
Blazer. The Monte wasn't running, but it was going really slow, that thing
was still steerable to me, an 8 year old at the time. The Blazer I just put
into neutral and ran it down a hill without the engine on and that was still
easily steerable. What do you think they did in the days before power
Being a real old guy, I kinda remember - sorta :)
The steering wheel itself was much larger...
And the steering gear ratio was different...
more turns of the steering wheel to go lock to
lock on the wheels.
They used manual steering gear boxes of course!
They were geared slower and took more turns to get the vehicle around the
bend. That's why they were not that hard to use. A power steering box is
geared higher to move the wheels faster.
It can be done. I once drove a 67 Cadillac a month without power steering.
It was a bit hard to park but wasn't bad at highway speeds. Only problem
would have been a tire blowout because I would not have been able to control
it (did fix the pump though).
I have done it for years. When I was 17 the power steering pump on my
72 Chevelle broke at the lower bolt. So I hopped out with a pocket knife and
cut the belt. When I stopped driving the car when I was 25 I still had not
repaired the pump, or put another belt on for the power steering.
I also Drove my 87 Astro Van for 3 hours with no power steering. The
pump shaft was snapped inside of the pump. When I removed the pulley, the
shaft came out with it. Astor Vans have a higher boost rate, and lower
geared steering boxes.
I have drove all sorts of vehicles over the years where the power
steering is In-Op. Including the Jeep CJ-7 I just drove yesterday & today
while off roading. 31x10.50x15 Heavy Lug tires at 15 PSI. Didn't have
problem one, and I was dodging tree's on a trail just wide enough for Suzuki
Now that we have seen I sure as hell can. How about some learning for
The faster you go, the less steering boost is needed.This is the
principal behind variable boost power assist steering systems. At 55 to 60
MPH they basically let the pump free wheel. At 20 MPH and below they
increase boost levels.
When you are at low speeds (20 MPH or less) that is when power steering
is a help. Especially when trying to turn a sharp angle (such as a parking
space). At High Speeds having no power steering requires less effort to
turn the wheels (55MPH & UP).
Actually the rack and pinion steering system is over 30 years old. Look
at the Vega & the Pinto. Steering Rack design does not differ much in
operation from them.
Actually your Olds with dead power steering requires less effort then
that 72 Chevelle with a tight Lee Remanufactured quick ratio steering box.
But the principals you ignore are the same. Power Steering systems
are hydraulic over manual systems. Except for some late 70's early 80's
Fords. Where they had a 100% power rack. Where if the engine was not
running, thus no hydraulic pressure, the wheels could not be turned.
In the last 30 years they have improved pump designs, especially
impeller design. They have designed better racks and gear boxes. They have
reduced turning effort with no hydraulic boost. They have even gone to
remote reservoirs on some cars.
Yet if you look at something like a pump from a 1995 Park Ave, then
look a pump from a 1969 Camaro, you will see the newer pump is just a
I work on Newer Vehicles (mostly 1999 and older), I also work on
older vehicles. The majority of both come in dead. So I have a lot of
practice steering both at low speeds. Either way coming in to my shop you
have to turn sharp.
If you want to feel some steering effort. Get in a car that is being
picked up from the back so the front bumper is just 1/4 inch from
grinding. Then try to steer it totally dead. Heck even with the engine
running, and fully operational power steering, the turning effort is
We do this around my shop when moving some totally dead vehicles. More
often then not I'm the one steering them.
No matter what, no matter the facts, you will think your right. So take
your Olds, and go drive off some where. Maybe someday you will find some
one who is gullible enough to think your an expert.
There is Numerically Higher (a low ratio) and Numerically Lower (a
high ratio). There is no such thing as a longer gear. Steering gear
ratio's change by body line, and some times option packages.
Your olds had two different rack options:
36-16515 RPO NV7 Variable boost
36-16514 With Out Variable boost.
Either way the racks were 1999 to 2003 Alero & Grand Am only.
Which means they have Numerically Lower Gears then something heavier
like a same year Park Ave. So the turning effort was very little.
Regardless of ratio. It is still a hydraulic over manual system. Else
wise if you lost hydraulic boost from the pump you could not turn the wheels
via the steering wheel. Can you understand this simple principal?
Well that's just spiffy. In that case find a short, yet tall cliff and
got for a long walk.
Nye, the Moron is you.
First you go of your way to argue with people who know how systems
function. You argue that a 1999 Olds does not have a brake, or steering
system that is evolved from older designs. You argue that automatic
transmissions operate differently in your cars then they do any where
else in the universe.
You have repeatedly shown you are a Automotive Idiot. You have no
business owning tools, let alone giving advice about cars. Hell I doubt you
should even have a drivers license.
Here is a list of things you know nothing about:
1.How engines make Vacuum.
2.When the most Vacuum is produced.
3.How power brake boosters work.
4.That power brake boosters have a vacuum reserve.
5. How automatic transmissions operate.
6. The meaning of no rear pump
7. How torque converters work.
8. How any sort of hydraulic system works.
9. How Power Steering is a Hydraulic system.
10. That a power steering system is a Hydraulic over manual system.
11. How gear ratio work.
12. How engineers evolve designs from past designs
13. How cars are designed.
14. That cars are all relative.
When people present you with facts, you come back with bullshit. You
have nothing to support your bullshit either. I'm done with you, most
of the knowledgeable people on this news group probably are as well.
Automotive Professional in more then one Automotive trade.
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