Once the hoses are built, install them on both the ram and steering box, in the proper orientation. What’s that? Well, if your tie rod is behind the axle like mine, connect the rear port of the box to the passenger side port of the ram and vice-versa for a tie rod in front of the axle. This will allow the steering box direct pressurized fluid to the correct end of the ram, depending on which way you’re turning the steering wheel. Position the hose fittings for proper clearance of the hose, and tighten ‘em down.
Remember to fill the system with the power steering fluid of your choice. I filled the reservoir and let gravity bleed the system a couple of times, and then started up the engine, adding fluid almost immediately. Then, I cycled the steering wheel back and forth slowly a few times, rechecked and topped off the fluid as necessary.
My first opportunity to test my work was at the Texas Spur Jeep Jamboree, help on the historic Inks Ranch, just south of Llano, Texas. I’ve been a Trail Guide at this and the YO Ranch Jeep Jamboree for years, and always look forward to running with my fellow San Antonio Jeep Exclusive (SAJE) members who help make this event one of the most successful of the Jeep Jamborees. Check out this and other Jeep Jamborees held across the nation at www.jeepjamboreeusa.com.
While not particularly difficult Jeepin’, this was a good place for a shake down of all the new modifications, specifically my new PSC Hydraulic Assist setup! The PSC system worked great…my installation didn’t. If you look very closely at the next photo, you may see why. Because the ram was mounted at such an angle, and because the tie rod mount was offset from the center of the tie rod, and because I used heim joints instead of tie rod ends, the tie rod was able to unlock the heim joint jam nuts. This allowed the entire assembly to rotate in both directions, depending on the way the wheels were turned. This would allow the tie rod to contact the ram rod, causing a clunk from time to time. No amount of tightening or Lock-Tite could keep the nuts from loosening up, as there was just too much turning force because of the angle of the ram.
Fortunately, this happened on the last day of the Jamboree, and because I took it easy, no damage resulted. Soon after I got home, I removed the hydraulic ram and began the task of properly mounting the ram.
Installation - Revisited
Using two more weld-on tabs that put the ram between them instead of along the side, I repositioned the ram in the opposite direction, mounting the fixed end to the top of the differential, and the working end in an almost parallel position to the tie rod. Obviously, I should have done this in the first place! Oh well, live and learn, right?
After preheating the cast iron differential housing for a few minutes with the torch, I cranked up my Hobart Handler 175 all the way to setting #4, and welded to new mounts on. I then welded on the tie rods tabs, later grinding off the old prototype mount. Regarding the prototype, it would probably have worked fine after proper mounting of the ram, but I wanted to do everything I could to reduce the ability of the tie rod to twist, so I felt mounting the ram heim joint between two tabs would be better.
Testing – Phase 2
The ultimate test was conducted in Farmington, NM and Cortez, CO. Without a doubt, the PSC Hydraulic Assist System passed with flying colors! This “phase” of testing included various extreme trails and obstacles around Farmington, and trails on BLM and private land around Cortez. Check out the accompanying photos. I think they speak for themselves!
For years, after a day of rockcrawling and man-handling my 38” Swampers around, I was worn out! My PSC system has changed all that! I should’ve done this a long time ago! No longer do I have to fight to keep my tires on the line I want. What a difference! This has to be one of the most significant upgrades I’ve made to my Jeep! I can’t wait to get bigger tires…
PSC has a hydraulic assist kit for just about every rig out there. Go to www.4X4Rockshop.com or directly to www.PSCMotorsports.com and get yours ordered today!
Brinks is an avid four wheeler and contributor here
at ROCKCRAWLER.com. Jack resides in Texas and frequents many events throughout the Southwest.
Jack at email@example.com