Many don’t know that back in the early 2000s you could buy a Chevy or GMC pickup with four-wheel steering. Called “Quadrasteer” it was a $5,600 option that vastly aided maneuverability. The GM Quadrasteer system cut the turning radius down from 47-feet to 37-feet. That’s the turning radius of a Honda Accord. For a 20-foot-long truck.
Quadrasteer was a steer-by-wire rear axle developed by Delphi Automotive. It electronically controlled the rear wheels to respond in different ways based on speed and loads. Two microprocessors controlled the axle.
With speeds up to 40-45 mph, Quadrasteer turns the wheels in the opposite direction of the front wheels up to 15 degrees. At or around 45 mph the rear wheels will track straight. Over 45 mph the wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels for stability and increased control.
From 2002 to 2005 Quadrasteer could be ordered on certain Chevy and GMC trucks and Suburbans. Externally, the only way you could tell was the slight bulge in the bedsides to accommodate the extra five-inches of the rear track. Auxiliary lighting on the roof and tailgate also was an indication, as is required by the Feds for vehicles over 80-inches in width.
The basis for the axle was a Dana 60 with unique ends to accommodate large spindles that turn via a rack-and-pinion steering assembly. Axles were assembled by Dana but were installed at the truck assembly plants.
Quadrasteer: The $5,600 GM Option
With continued availability, the option started at $5,600 as stated earlier. But by 2003 it had dropped to $2,000, and then around $1,000 as it became evident the option was not popular. Price had to have played a role in the lack of interest in Quadrasteer.
Besides the added expense, the Quadrasteer system added an extra 285 lbs to the truck. But it also added an extra 2,300 lbs towing capacity, and better stability. Controls on the dash can manually change the three steering modes. Conventional two-wheel steering, four-wheel steering, or four-wheel tow steering are the three.
Owners Love Quadrasteer
In forums, it is clear that the Quadrasteer system was popular with those who purchased it. It also appears that service issues were minimal. The main scheduled service for some owners is replacing the synthetic fluid every 15,000 miles.
One of the very few issues with Quadrasteer is the availability of parts. Once the initial supply of steering modules was sold GM didn’t make replacements. Position sensors seem to be another component that occasionally will go bad.
However, there are some companies getting into repro parts for Quadrasteer trucks. There are also Quadrasteer units popping up at wrecking yards. So while parts will be an issue into the future from how owners rave about them it might be worth the hassle.