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AGR Rock Ram

By Mike "TXJEEPER" Cohn

and Jake Koetting

Let the games begin
I got a large, heavy box soon afterward and headed down to XTV Engineering in Birmingham, Alabama. David Baker at XTV is not afraid to try anything and is always willing to help out when I come down with non-bolt-on goodies. David is one of those guys that would much rather get down and dirty with a welder than use a bunch of wrenches.

Replacing the power steering gear box and pump were simple, but time-intensive tasks. The boxes are direct replacements for the OEM parts, so this was no big dea, other than the actual task of doing the jobl. Mounting the Rock Ram itself wasn't so easy, however.

The Project TJ's front end has been modified and no longer uses anything that resembles the original tie rod or drag link. We've eliminated the stock "Y" setup and have converted our tie rod ends to heim joints. The knuckles have been bored out and the drag link now mounts over top of the passenger side knuckle. In addition, when we did this, we had to modify the sway bar link bracket. The bracket now sits higher than originally and we have a different size sway bar disconnect on this side than on the driver side. Using JKS's adjustable quick disconnects has made this possible.

This presented a problem. None of the mounting hardware sent out by AGR was going to work. We'd have to have to fabricate everything. Not surprised, I sat down with David and we began the head-scratching. Days passed as we tried various different mounting bracket configurations.

The main problem was not so much how to hook up the Rock Ram at the knuckle end, but where was it going to attach on the other end? The TJ's steering is so tightly packed that real estate was at a serious premium. It seemed like no matter where or how we mounted the Rock Ram, it would invariably hit something.

After several days of failed attempts, we finally came up with the solution. We would run the Rock Ram behind the drag link and mount it toward the Pitman arm. But how would we attach it? We didn't want to weld a bracket on because we would not be able to rotate the drag link to center the steering wheel. One night Dave called and told me he had figured it out.

The solution was to make a sleeve section of tubing that would go over the drag link. The sleeve would also contain a bracket to attach the Rock Ram to. The sleeve would be held on by 3 grade 8 bolts which would drive into the drag link. After some trial and error, the solution seemed to work. Time will tell how well it will continue to work out. For now, I check it often to make sure the bolts are staying tight.

AGR Rock Ram
The first thing you have to do when working on the conversion is to drain the steering fluid. Make sure to dispose of it properly!

AGR Rock Ram
David Baker removes the old steering stabilizer.

AGR Rock Ram
We attempted to use the stabilizer mount with the Rock Ram but it just wouldn't hold up to the force.


A Few Notes on the Tear Down
AGR Rock Ram
Now was a good time to replace our tie rod. Though the one up top was practically new, it did have a very slight bend to it. The bottom one, made by XTV Engineering is 1 1/2" around.
AGR Rock Ram
Removing the Pitman arm can be quite a job. You'll need a puller, of course, to do it. Even then, after a couple years on a rig, the Pitman arm usually doesn't want to come off very easily.
AGR Rock Ram
Removing the pump out of a TJ with a 4.0L motor is also a good bit of work. With a/c, there is very little room to work under the hood.
AGR Rock Ram
The new pump (right) is the same size, externally, as the original pump (left). The reservoir is stock, however, you add an extension to the filler.
AGR Rock Ram
Removal of the gear box takes a bit of preparedness. When it's ready to come out, look out! It's going to come down fast and heavy!
AGR Rock Ram
Dave holds the old gear box after removing the heavy, rusty beast. At this point, everything is out and we were ready to get to work.

 

So How's It Working Out? --->>>

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