Gearhead News

August 5, 2021
Toyota Prius Power Steering Works in Almost Any Project Car

Power steering! Depending on the state of your forearms and your car’s precise suspension geometry, it’s either completely unnecessary or an absolute must-have in any given build. If your project car falls into the latter category, you might be stressing about how you’ll get it installed. The old-fashioned way involves a belt-driven hydraulic pump running off the engine, which supplies fluid under pressure to a power-assisted rack. These days, however, things are much simpler, as YouTuber SuperfastMatt explains.

The magical part to have is the electric power steering motor from a modern Toyota Prius. In this application, the electric assist motor is fitted to the steering column. It’s the perfect part to use for a power steering install in a project car, due to the simplicity of its operation. While it’s designed to accept CAN bus signals from a car’s ECU to vary the assistance with speed, it can also operate in a standalone failsafe mode. Simply hook the assist motor up to 12 volts, bolt it into your steering setup, and it will provide steering assist as if you’re always driving at 43 mph. 

YouTube/SuperfastMatt
Stripped down, the Prius power steering column can easily be installed in a wide range of cars.

It’s for this very reason that SuperfastMatt chose the Prius column for his own Tesla-swapped Jaguar Mark V build. The original car never had power steering, relying instead on a huge steering wheel and a low steering ratio to make turning easier. With a Tesla swap on the cards, adding a bunch of messy hydraulic components with no idling engine to run them isn’t exactly desirable. Thus, the simple Prius solution is more appealing.

YouTube/SuperfastMatt
The Jaguar Mark V in question. Note the Prius electric column parts installed next to the brake booster.

For the Mark V application, SuperfastMatt shows how easy it is to use the Prius powered column. It’s as simple as whipping up a lasercut adapter to hold the brake booster and powered column to the firewall. From there, it’s as simple as hooking it up to 12 volts and it’s good to go. There’s still some fabrication to do to hook the powered column up to the rack in the Mark V, but overall the video shows just how easy it is to install such a system.

The easy-to-use Prius column has fast become the darling of hotrodders and restomodders who want their builds to be a little easier to steer. If you’re not sure which way you’d like to go with your own build, be sure to check out our very own Power Steering 101 article.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com