Vauxhall (Opel) Corsa C electric power steering conversion - The Saab Link Forums

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Old 03-09-2018, 08:30 PM   #1
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Vauxhall (Opel) Corsa C electric power steering conversion

I can't take credit for this idea. I saw it on a uk saab forum many years ago and said, yes, I need that. I did put my own spin on the execution.

Our story starts back in May, 2012 when I got this road speed sensor simulator from a company called RLP Engineering in the UK.

Quote:
I was reading through some project car build threads to get ideas for
electric power steering setups, and someone highly recommended the
vauxhall corsa column assist eps, paired with your corsa rally eps
controller kit. I found the kit on ebay and looked at a handful of
different cars that had gone this route, and it all sounds like
exactly what I'm looking for.

I'm in the US though, and as such I know nothing about the vauxhall
corsa. Would you be willing to supply the entire column along with
your controller as a complete kit? If so, how much would you charge?
Quote:
Hi there

Yes i can do a complete kit you would be looking around 90 for the column,
40 for the controller and 50ish for shipping i would have to confirm if
you were interested

Yours

Rus
I was really just window shopping, but wow! What a deal! So I bought it.





Thankfully, I recognized that I didn't know what I was doing enough to attempt the project at the time. These parts sat under my desk at work for a few years, and then on a shelf at my shop, waiting for their day.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:37 PM   #2
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I got the boxes down and tested out the electronics to make sure the power assistance actually works.





It works.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:47 PM   #3
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Through a combination of measurement, counting splines, and googling for common patterns, I determine the right MOMO steering wheel hub. I kept these findings over in another thread titled "Aftermarket steering wheel hub/boss application guide for saabs".

vauxhall corsa C:
Momo MA6610R



Fits like a buttered glove.
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:02 PM   #4
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Lots of trying to identify diameters and splines. The gray part is Vauxhall, the black part is Saab. These coupling shafts have 4 non-interchangeable ends. I need to connect the vauxhall column to the saab rack. It turns out that there are no splined shaft measurement tools, at least none that I could find. Notice the different ways they designed adjustment / collapsibility in. The vauxhall (opel) part is a splined slip fit, while the saab part is a much less overbuilt hexagonal shaft with a pinch bolt. Interesting.





















What I learned from this is that there are only a handful of standard splined shaft profiles, and that even European cars use some American English customary unit sizes. Or maybe this is an artifact of the mashup between English Vauxhall, German Opel, and American GM showing through. I'm not sure how much of the English product comes from which parts bin... In any case, my attempt to cast these as millimeters was barking up the wrong tree.

In order to measure splines correctly, I ended up just buying one of each common size splined coupler and tried them all. Dumb, but now I have the "measurement tools".
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:07 PM   #5
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Took a bunch of pictures of parts on the car in case I had to put things back like I found them. Not going to upload everything, but here are some highlights.





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Old 03-09-2018, 09:18 PM   #6
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Old Saab column out of the car.



The original saab intermediate shaft was 9/16 inch 36 spline on the column end, 3/4 inch 48 spline on the rack end.



Custom made intermediate shaft from Flaming River. The Corsa column end is 17.5 mm 54 spline, the Saab rack end is 3/4 inch 48 spline.







Saab and custom intermediate shafts side by side.



Notice the flaming river column has yet a different kind of collapsing / adjusting mechanism with a thicker splined shaft and a captive spring. This part is incredibly overbuilt compared to either stock part, it's beautifully made and much stronger.
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:21 PM   #7
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Begin installing the new parts.





Before I could always turn back. But because of the roll cage I had to saw the stock dash beam to get it out. Really crossed the Rubicon at this point.



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Old 03-09-2018, 09:24 PM   #8
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WTF Opel? The bolt that holds the steering wheel to the hub is an M15 1.5 mm, which is complete unobtanium. I eventually found a kit meant to repair damaged M14 drain plug threads with a larger bolt, which would just barely work. Thank you, Internet.





I lold at Supercrazy.
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:28 PM   #9
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Making some templates for where the new dash beam will bolt to the unibody.



Outside view.



Inside again.



Holes cut.

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Old 03-09-2018, 09:45 PM   #10
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I'm ready to bring the car inside and start fabricating in ernest. But wait, how do I move a car in with no steering column?



This was total clown college. My friend Eric and I tried to push it around by the wheels first. Then we put these furniture dollies under the wheels, but they dug into the pavement from being badly overloaded. We managed to get the car stuck on the slight incline before the door and couldn't finish getting it into the shop or put it back in the parking spot. Plus our neighbor had double parked a car that we had to work around.



We ended up hooking up a tow rope from my skidplate to Eric's Pathfinder, and he slowly towed the Saab forward while I steered it around obstacles by shoving it as hard as I could. Drifto.

Once it was perpendicular to the shop entrance, it was easier to push, and we could pivot the nose in while pushing from the back. My girlfriend showed up just in time to provide a third pair of hands with this last part.
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:49 PM   #11
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I come back after dinner. Select hardware to mount the plates for the new dash bar and impact them into place. Guestimate angle using rafter square and assorted other tools, measure, cut, and grind dash bar square tube. Level the car side to side with a jack. Level the dash bar. Fiddle with fitment. Decide I need more magnets to do this right and call it a night.







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Old 03-09-2018, 09:51 PM   #12
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Pull dash beam back out. Grind all the zinc off the ends so I don't get poisoned. The sticker on this bar says weldable mild steel, but I'm 90% sure based on the surface color/texture that it's galvanized and therefore mislabeled.

Brush the adapter plates. Wash down with contact cleaner and shop towel. Wait to dry.

Spray Copper Weld weldable primer on all the surfaces to be welded. Wait 20 minutes for full dry as per instructions on can.

Put the bar back in. Tack. First tack doesn't hold. Crank up voltage and try again. Better.

Unbolt and remove the whole new assembly. Unlike the factory piece, this one clears the roll cage. Finish welding it up. Those big ugly tacks make it harder to do a good job at this, but it ends up good enough I think.

Let it all cool, and bolt it back into the car again. This will form the basis of whatever needs to be done to support the Corsa column.

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Old 03-09-2018, 09:54 PM   #13
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2017-11-09
Had to stay at work late, didn't do anything to do the Saab. Stopped by for a beer before going home, helped Eric thread a tricky bolt back into the driver's side dash beam support on his Z.


2017-11-10
Cut 1.5" widths of angle steel for the mounts. Mark and drill for M10 bolts. Re-used old Saab flywheel bolts for this purpose.



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Old 03-09-2018, 09:55 PM   #14
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A little Cardboard Aided Design to mock up the next parts to cut.









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Old 03-09-2018, 09:57 PM   #15
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Weld in place.


Finished welds in stages.

Repeat for the right side, which also needed its own custom shape bracket.











And there it is, (manual) steering is restored.

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Old 03-09-2018, 10:03 PM   #16
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More brackets.





Tested corsa column / controller. Works. Smooth.





Built brackets for gauge cluster.



And then the dash (hm, didn't take pictures of that mockup process).
Finished bracket came out for final welds / bracing, and drilling out a few more of the marked points.



Then degrease and paint.



Tomorrow it goes back in the car for the final check on the 4 bolts that hold the corsa column in.
If all goes well there, everything will get bolted together and I can start putting the wiring back together.
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Old 03-09-2018, 10:08 PM   #17
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Saw that I'd missed some important welds on the dash beam, had to grind them off (awkward places where the grinder was hard to reach), weld, and repaint. This is why you don't work too tired.

Fitment for the last time revealed a few things that needed enlarging or trimming with the dremel carbide bit. Spent some time on that but it all fit pretty well. Column bolted up, dash went on, plugged all my wires back in.



Before starting, I pulled the plugs out and sprayed some kroil down the wells and cranked it over with no ecu, since it sat for a while. The starter in this car sounds tired but it has for many years. Weirdest thing was the plug boots were stuck down in the wells and took a lot of struggle to get out. Next time I'll grease everything extra.



Put the plugs and DI cassette back on, connected the ECU, and after maybe 10 seconds of priming fuel and cranking it fired up! No missing wires, I think.

It's got some new loud lifter tick I don't remember it having before, but that's pretty par for the course with cars that sit. Hydraulic lifters get frozen up if they don't get exercised. I'll throw in some sea foam, heat cycle it a couple times, and change the oil when this project is done.

All of this has only brought me back where I started, since the rack isn't permanently powered yet. I still have to tie up all the loose ends, like powering the column, making a new permanent home for the column controller and the T5 ECU (since the old home is gone now), and rerouting some wires in light of the new dash structure.

There are some pretty important things left to figure out on the fabrication front some other day, like a mount for the adjustable top half of the column (currently held down with a big zip tie), and then a bracket to hook up the turn signal and wiper stalks where they belong.

Then some lesser things like re-doing the plastic left hand panel that holds the light switch and hazard button and some relays. There's some interference now that things have changed places.
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Old 03-09-2018, 10:10 PM   #18
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ECU remounted.

Put away all the tools and cleaned up most of the mess in the shop. Vacuumed out all the metal shavings from the car.

Clamped in this temporary wiring to make it easy to move the car. The power steering is so nice. It will be even nicer once it's not so fragile with wiring guts lying around.



Needs:
- ignition switched relay (big fancy solid state one on order)
- 50 amp fuse (going to use a self-resetting breaker like the blue car panel)
- 5 amp fuse for controller

Back outside for now, will pick up another day once the parts arrive.

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Old 03-09-2018, 10:13 PM   #19
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December 7, 2017
Parts finally arrive.

December 9, 2017
50 amp self-resetting breaker and 70 amp bosch/tyco solid state relay installed and wired to positive.

The relay will be triggered by ignition like most of the power-hungry systems in the car, so I had to open up the fuse box and extend signal and ground wires from their respective terminal blocks. Fortunately saab's design made it easy to add ignition-switched stuff with just spade terminals.

Ran these new wires into the car but didn't hook them up yet. Doing this right will involve opening up a bunch of split loom, tucking the new wires inside, and buttoning it back up. That's a task for another day.

Didn't even get to test this again because I ran out of suitable gauge black wire to run the EPS ground. Went to the hardware store, they didn't have what I need either, so ordered it on amazon instead and back to waiting. Wish I'd thought of this during the month I'd already waited.

Shifted over to the black viggen. Did both upper strut mounts in under 3 hours end to end including getting the car on the lift and all. That may be my new record for a front suspension job on these cars.

Finished early and with energy left to spare, I put the better exhaust back on. I'd been running with the respectful one for a while back when I was driving it more often.

Still felt like up for more. Redid my bumper quick releases to the "version 2" design, sandwiching plastic support ribbing boxes, like the silver viggen. This involved drilling more holes and leaving the old ones obvious. The silver car had some smaller extra holes due to bad measurements that I covered with little JE Pistons decals, so I covered these with larger decals from the same set.

The way this had been before, dangling and janky huge panel gap, had been bothering me for ages. Came out looking decent!

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Old 03-09-2018, 10:16 PM   #20
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December 30, 2017
Mocking up how I want to put the stalks back on.

Yeah, some things are crooked, whatever.

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