How to Install an Electric Power Steering Unit
The all-terrain vehicle has always been a work in progress in terms of design and function. It seems every year a new innovation springs forth from somewhere in the industry. Electric power steering on an ATV (or UTV for that matter) has been played with for a few years from various manufacturers but isn’t something that comes standard in all models. The good news is that you can install an aftermarket electric power steering solution to give you the desired effect. Let’s take a look at how to install an electric power steering unit in your ATV or UTV.
Why Install It?
Before diving in on how to install an electric power steering unit, let’s look at why you need it. An ATV or UTV rides over pretty rough terrain, sometimes at considerable speeds, and the need for proper steering is obvious to any rider. The point of power steering is that it will make it easier to turn and control the vehicle overall. It should make steering feel light and easy like you are hardly doing the work. This is great for vehicle types like ATVs where you end up using a considerable amount of upper body force to steer.
Things to Know
Before you jump on board with the idea of installing a steering system designed to make riding easier than ever, there are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, you need to make sure the electrical specs of the power steering unit are compatible with the specs of your machine. If you overload your machine with a steering solution that pulls too much power from the battery, you will end up pretty unhappy. You also need to check that the unit will even work with the specifics of your model in terms of where it will fit and sizing. Since power steering solutions are aftermarket solutions, there is no guarantee they will work with every single model of ATV or UTV so you need to carefully consider the options when looking at adding one to your ride.
Another matter to keep in mind with this add-on is that there are different levels of assist out there with power steering. For example, some units only offer the wonders of power steering when the vehicle is going under 10mph but then reduce at higher speeds. If you use your ATV or UTV more for getting around your property than riding for fun, this fact could be of little significance to you, but it will definitely matter if you prefer to ride fast. This is something to investigate further to help you get the right one for your needs and riding preferences.
Once you narrow down which electronic power steering system is right for you, you will need to actually install it in your ride. The good news is that these units come in kits which include everything you need to install it, such as electronic steering-assist motor, a steering stem, wiring loom, mounting bracket, necessary hardware as in nuts and bolts, and an electronic control box. These kits make it easy to install the unit in your ride, but keep in mind that this is still a lengthy endeavor since you will most likely need to remove part of the frame in order to access the steering area. You should consult your owner’s manual on the best way to remove the frame to reach this area for your individual model.
You will need the kit, a few basic tools to remove and then tighten nuts and bolts, a wire splicer, and adequate lighting. It is worth noting that this is a tiny space you will be working in so if you have a buddy with small hands, you can ask for an assist from them.
The install itself is rather simple once you are able to access the area. Simply follow these steps:
Remove the old stock steering stem and replace it with the new steering stem. The new steering stem will have an electric motor typically bolted in the middle which will help you with where to place it. Tighten the bolts and move on to the next step.
Next, you will use the mounting bracket to hold the motor in place by bolting it to the frame just below the shift lever. The electronic box itself should also be mounted to the empty space in the frame directly below the front shock, usually on the right side.
Finally, once you have all these parts bolted in place and secure, you will need to splice one wire to attach a positive and a negative wire to the battery to power the system up.
The final step is to take it for a test drive and see how it handles. If you find it doesn’t make enough of a difference to you in how it handles, you may need to try a different kit or simply switch it back to the stock unit and make the best of it. This is why it is so important to do adequate research before you buy to make sure the power steering system will meet your needs. The good news is that if you chose the wrong one, it is a simple matter of switching it all out with a different kit.