Lost Power Steering - Semis

What happens when a semi-truck loses power steering?

Other than flying off a bridge and inevitable paralysis or death, of course.

Is it humanly possible to control a semi without power steering :dubious:?

Why would you fly off a bridge?
Once you are rolling the steering effort really isn’t that high.
It would be a bitch to back into a loading dock but driving would not really be that hard.

It is not the end of the world.
Obviously there will be increased steering effort. But it is unlikely to cause an instant wreck. On the highway you may not even notice immediately.

It would be most taxing to maneuver through tight areas or back up to docks at slow speeds as more effort is required.

Use to be that most trucks had manual steering and all was well. Of course those had a more favorable steering gear ratio to reduce effort.

A lot of the older semi-tractors had what drivers cynically called ''armstrong" power steering…which applied however much force the driver’s arms could produce. I once owned a 1969 Mack COE like that. One advantage was that after wrestling with the wheel for a few weeks one developed an impressive set of pecs and biceps.

Before power steering was in widespread use, International Harvester Co. Developed something called “centerpoint steering” which used the weight of the truck somehow to assist with steering. I never quite understood how it worked, but drove a few trucks with the feature and while it wasn’t quite as nice as full power steering, itwas a definite improvement. By about 1975-80 nearly all heavy trucks were equipped with PS.

ETA; Yay! 900 posts!

In any vehicle power steering is really only noticed at very slow to stopped speeds. Any forward momentum will transfer to a turning tire making it easy to steer. Also semis still all have very large steering wheels, most likely because that’s the way they were before p/s and even once it started being available it was unnecessary, unsafe, and unpopular to make the steering wheel smaller.

However, passenger car & light truck steering wheels did get noticeably smaller with the advent of reliable power steering.

A couple of pictures may help.
Centerpoint steering
Not centerpoint steering

I have a crew-cab (4 door) F-350 pickup truck. It weighs 9,000 lbs. My power steering went out a few years ago, and I haven’t bothered to fix it. It’s no effort to steer it while I’m moving, but I need to use two hands and a lot of effort to park it. I figure it’s good exercise. The only time I really missed having the power steering was last week, when it was 110°+ out, and I had to back it into a loading dock. Since I have to grip the steering wheel really firmly to guide it, and the steering wheel was a zillion degrees from sitting in the sun, I actually burned my hands enough to get blisters.

keep a pair of oven mitts in the vehicle.

Thank you. Ignorance fought:)