Even when we had 33" tires on the
Project TJ, steering wasn't always an easy task. (click)
The Rock Ram system is a complete conversion,
including a new pump and gear box.
Oh! The whining!
The bump steer! The lack of power! These are just a few of the common
cries of four-wheelers everywhere. As we all know, making even minor
changes to our rigs seems to cause a chain reaction. One of the
most common things we do, of course, is throw on big ol' tires.
Naturally, the reaction to this is that we typically re-gear our
rigs so our drivetrains can handle the extra beef. Problem solved!
Or is it?
One of the most
overlooked upgrades that can be done is improving your steering
components. You've got those big wheels turnin' forward, but what
about side to side? OEM steering components are designed to work
with stock-size or slightly larger wheels. In a TJ, for example,
the largest tire size offered by Jeep is a 30-incher. It would be
safe to say that it should not have a problem with a 31" tire,
but what happens when you put on 35's? OK, now what about 38's?
you start putting those larger tires on your rig and your steering
components are going to let you know how unhappy they are. They'll
begin working overtime, and just like you do, they'll get hot. If
they start getting too hot, they'll start whining (again, just like
you). Once they're over the edge, they'll start puking their fluids
out and it's game-over.
Not long ago,
I was taking the Project TJ up "Hell Hill" on one of our
local trails. It's a long crevice that climbs a couple hundred feet
up a hill. In most rigs, it is impossible to ride the V, so you
spend almost the entire trip up the hill practically on your side
while you seesaw the wheel from one crevice wall to the other. Talk
about a workout for your steering system! The power steering pump
doesn't get a break the whole way up. On this last occasion the
whining of the pump began about halfway up and there was no going
back. I had to continue, hoping the pump wouldn't give out on me.
Upon reaching the top, I bullied the Jeep to level ground and popped
the hood. Sure enough, about half of my steering fluid was gone.
What to do?
What to do?
For the last couple years, I figured that when my steering finally
pooped out, I'd call AGR Steering, of Fort Worth, Texas. I I had
met Matt Burkett from AGR a few years ago and both my conversations
with him and AGR's reputation convinced me it was worth looking
into when it was time. And it was now time.
my steering problems, which also included too much play on the road
and bump steer, AGR's Jeff Allen told me that AGR was working on
a new Rock Ram setup for TJ's and that they could use some help
prototyping it. Always interested in being a guinea pig, I was curious
to know the scoop. Basically, the setup is a compete power steering
package, which includes a new power steering pump, steering gear
box, and AGR's new Rock Ram.
The system they
wanted me to help out with is their new TJ setup, which uses their
standard replacement-sized steering gear box and pump and their
new Rock Ram. What AGR was trying to figure out, was how to get
the Rock Ram itself to mount up on a TJ and whether or not this
system would work. In addition, this particular setup would not
use their larger steering components. They wanted to know if using
the stock-sized setup would do the trick.
the Games Begin! --->>>