Power Steering

I have a 2002 Gem 4 seat-er and find the steering very hard . Has anyone found a way to improve it.

The high steering effort is partly because we have grown accustomed to vehicles with power steering. GEMs made prior to 2005 have a shorter steering ratio than later models. This means that later models have more turns of the wheel from lock to lock, which means more leverage and less effort. The easiest way to deal with this is to lift weights and get stronger. Another idea is to use thinner tires, which require less effort to turn. We use a 5.3X12 tire made by Carlisle. The part number can be found here:
http://www.electricforum.com/cars/neighborhood-electric-vehicles-hev/2626-lists-alternative-superseded-parts.html
There are several advantages to using these tires. They have a two ply rating, which makes them stronger than the one ply factory tires. They have a higher load rating, are easier to find, and are less expensive. The last and most complex idea is to use the steering rack from a 2005 or later GEM. I am not sure if the complete assembly will interchange, but the sector gear and rack rod are the same size. Being machined as sets, they must exchanged as a set. These parts are not available from GEM and would have to come from a used rack and pinion. I am told the 2009 and newer GEM has an even easier ratio. Also, be sure the movement of the steering system is not impaired by friction. Check this by jacking up the GEM and turning the wheels. The action should be smooth and even from lock to lock.

Daniel

The high steering effort is partly because we have grown accustomed to vehicles with power steering. GEMs made prior to 2005 have a shorter steering ratio than later models. This means that later models have more turns of the wheel from lock to lock, which means more leverage and less effort. The easiest way to deal with this is to lift weights and get stronger. Another idea is to use thinner tires, which require less effort to turn. We use a 5.3X12 tire made by Carlisle. The part number can be found here:
http://www.electricforum.com/cars/neighborhood-electric-vehicles-hev/2626-lists-alternative-superseded-parts.html
There are several advantages to using these tires. They have a two ply rating, which makes them stronger than the one ply factory tires. They have a higher load rating, are easier to find, and are less expensive. The last and most complex idea is to use the steering rack from a 2005 or later GEM. I am not sure if the complete assembly will interchange, but the sector gear and rack rod are the same size. Being machined as sets, they must exchanged as a set. These parts are not available from GEM and would have to come from a used rack and pinion. I am told the 2009 and newer GEM has an even easier ratio. Also, be sure the movement of the steering system is not impaired by friction. Check this by jacking up the GEM and turning the wheels. The action should be smooth and even from lock to lock.

Daniel