hd digital steer assist

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FIVE ADVANTAGES OF THE SIERRA HD’S DIGITAL STEERING ASSIST SYSTEM

FIVE ADVANTAGES OF THE SIERRA HD’S DIGITAL STEERING ASSIST SYSTEM

Advanced technology results in steering that’s light and easy in the parking lot, confident-inspiring on the open road, and simple to use.

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Working hard doesn’t have to feel hard – in fact, the GMC Sierra HD’s available Digital Steering Assist system makes driving and maneuvering a heavy-duty pickup easier.

The new variable-effort hydraulic power steering system, standard on most Sierra HD double and crew cab models equipped with SLE, SLT, All Terrain, or Sierra HD Denali trim levels, proactively adjusts power steering assist levels in order to increase confidence while on the open road.

“Modern electric power steering systems offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to changing the steering weight and effort,” says Christopher Bither, vehicle performance/ dynamics engineer for the Sierra heavy-duty pickup truck. “Digital Steering Assist is unique as it allows us to offer a similar range of tuning possibilities in the Sierra HD, yet retain the robust durability of a conventional heavy-duty hydraulic system.”

Here are five advantages you will feel when you take the wheel of a Sierra HD pickup truck equipped with Digital Steering Assist:

Speed-Adaptive: Power steering assist is often tuned to provide enough assist to make low-speed maneuverability – in parking lots, for example – where resistance is greater. While a light steering weight is great in that situation, it can feel too light once a vehicle is up to speed, and might require constant correction.

Digital Steering Assist delivers the best of both worlds. A controller connected directly to the steering gear actively measures vehicle speed, steering wheel position, and steering gear pressure and can adjust the amount of effort a driver needs to input depending on the situation. At low speeds, steering effort is 20% lighter than a comparable 2015 Sierra HD, while at higher speeds, the steering system provides a heavier feel, which provides better stability and consistency.

Tailored for Tow/Haul: A truck loaded with cargo or pulling a large, heavy trailer handles much differently than an empty truck because of the added weight. A steering wheel that normally feels light and easy to turn may require greater effort once the truck is laden. Sierra’s Digital Steering Assist solves that: When the driver pushes the Tow/Haul switch – which also adjusts transmission tuning – Digital Steering Assist responds by increasing low-speed assist and reducing static steering effort another 10%.

Return to Center: Traditional heavy-duty steering systems often required a fair amount of driver input to bring the steering wheel back to center, even with power assist. Because Digital Steering Assist can actively adjust assist levels, it can greatly reduce the amount of effort required to center the steering wheel, which can be beneficial when maneuvering in small parking lots or other tight quarters.

Counteracts Road Pull: Roads with significant crowning can prove tiresome, as even a vehicle with perfectly-aligned suspension will inevitably pull to one side. Instead of forcing the driver to constantly dial in steering to counteract for this pull, Digital Steering Assist can recognize the situation and proactively assist.

“Digital Steering Assist will recognize when the driver is applying a certain amount of pressure offset over an extended period of time and then keep the pressure value there,” says Bither. “Instead of the driver constantly holding the truck in a straight line, the steering gear does it for you.”

Variable Flow Pump: In addition to varying the weight and effort of the steering system, Sierra’s Digital Steering Assist system goes a step further by utilizing a variable-output hydraulic power steering pump. When the system is under a light load – like on a long, straight stretch of highway, for example – the pump’s output can be scaled back, reducing engine load and improving efficiency.

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