DIY: Hydraulic Ram Assist

 

 

Links:

Pirate4x4: Tapping a power steering box for Hydro Assist: http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/HydroAssistTap/index.html

 

Ram Assist Steering Kits:

Rock logic Ram Assist Kit: $220, (Single ended ram) 1.5in bore, 8in stroke, 3/4in shafts, Tabs, hoses, and rod ends. look for it in the pirate vendor showcase to get it for only $200)

http://www.rocklogic4x4.com/products/ramassist/

 

West texas offroad, the redneck ram, $240 total. (1.5" RAM - $150.00, 5/8" HARDWARE KIT(BOLTS, WASHERS, WELD TABS, AND LOCK NUTS), $25.00
5/8" HEIM ENDS $20.00, SET OF HOSES $45.00)

http://westtexasoffroad.homestead.com/hydrosteering.html

            West Texas off road, steering ram kit product review, Pirate:
            http://www.pirate4x4.com/productreviews/redneckram/

            West Texas off road steering ram review, mounted on dana 60 behind the axle. looks like   the 2.5in bore 8in stroke ram the "lion 2500" RAM.
            http://www.bc4x4.com/pr/2002/ram/

 

 

Rockstomper, $225 (Ram, hydro lines, heims, nuts, tabs.)

http://www.rockstomper.com/catalog/steering/ramassist.htm

 

Performance Steering, “Station” on Pirate, double ended ram: "STATIONS stuff"

http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/PR-Hydro_Steering/index3.html

 

 

Hydraulic lines:

West Texas Off Road had the best deal on Hydraulic lines. For $45 you can get two 3ft or two 4.5ft lines. The Lines are rated for 4000PSI and have 3/8in NPT and (-6AN) fitting.

 

Saginaw rebuild kit:

West Texas Off Road also had a great deal on the Jeep Saginaw power steering box rebuild kits. Only $48 with new seals and bearings.

SEE TECH ARTICLE ON DIY: SAGINAW BOX REBUILD.

 

 

Hydraulic Ram Suppliers if you want to create your own steering kit:

 

Surpluscenter, www.surpluscenter.com has a good selection of affordable rams. These rams         are some good options:

            Surplus Center, $83 (ram only 1.5in bore, 8in stroke, 3/4in shaft) I used this ram.

            http://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?UID=2004020214051972&item=9-4410-     08&catname=hydraulic

            Surplus Center $109 double ended ram, 2.25 bore, 10.25in stroke, 1.5in shaft, would          require a new pump for more volume to move this bigger bore fast enough.

            http://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?UID=2004020322190510&item=9- 5587&catname=hydraulic

            This ram installed:http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=200085

 

Bailey’s, www.Baileynet.com has some good quality rams at a slightly higher cost then the            surplus center.   The "Lion 2500" Ram used in one of the West texas off road kits is $60        from Baileynet   2.5in bore, 8in stroke, 1.125 in shaft

            http://www.baileynet.com/baileynet/productBrowse.asp?sku=219529

 

            Bailey 250: 1.5in bore, 8in stroke, 3/4in rod $125:

            http://www.baileynet.com/baileynet/productBrowse.asp?sku=216253

 

 

I have an 88 jeep Cherokee; I used the stock 3in bore Saginaw power steering box. The J20 Jeep truck boxes are a nice junkyard pull upgrade because they have a 3.5in Bore Saginaw box (more power). I just rebuilt my stock box, but if your box is badly worn and loose you may want to find a low mile J20 box and add Ram assist to that. The stock PS pump will work with the j20 box but you will need some adaptor fittings at the box. You will also want additional support like a steering box brace, and/or Inner and outer plates to beef up the frame mount.

I chose the 1.5in bore 8in stroke 3/4in shaft ram from www.surpluss center.com  $84.

http://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?UID=2004020214051972&item=9-4410-08&catname=hydraulic


I bought my hydraulic lines and Saginaw rebuild kit from www.westtexasoffroad.com $45 & $48

It is recommended that you do not exceed a 6-8in bend diameter on these hoses when mounting them.

 

I needed two 90 degree Male 3/8in NPT to Female 3/8inNPT fittings, at the ram, I will replace my brass ones with the steel ones. $2 each:

http://www.fittingsandadapters.com/90malpipstre.html

 

I needed two 45 degree male 1/4in NPT to male -6an, for the box end, about $3 each:

http://www.fittingsandadapters.com/45maljictoma.html

 


Before drilling the holes for the Hydraulic lines you will need to fully disassemble the power steering box. That’s one reason to do a full rebuild with new seals and bearings at this time

SEE TECH ARTICLE ON DIY: SAGINAW BOX REBUILD Steps 1-9.

 

10. Now you can drill the holes for the ram. The top hole will drill all the way through. I used a 1/8in bit for pilot holes to keep it centered. The bottom hole only drills half way into the box till it hits a hydraulic line hidden inside the casting. Both holes will be drilled to 7/16in (look at the pics for locations)
11. Tap the new holes with a 1/4in NPT tap. The top hole is easy, but the bottom hole will only go till the tap bottoms out. I then cut about 3/16in off the tip of the tap, then continued with the bottom hole till it bottomed out again. The tap was like $6 at Home depot.
12. Clean the inside and outside of the box with a solvent (paint thinner) to get all the grit and oil out. I used wire brush then did final rinse with water, and used an air sprayer to get all the metal shavings and liquid out. Paint it and stuff. Then put the 3/8in to -6aN fittings on the box using pipe tape.
13. Put new seals on the pistons. kinda tedious. (see pics)
14. Re assemble.
15. Decide how to mount your ram.

 

Pictures of Drilling and tapping the Saginaw Power Steering box:

 

This is the 1/4in NPT tap after cutting it shorter:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top hole is centered to the seam in the casting. The bottom hole will be inline with the internal hydraulic line. The top port on the box will be high pressure for left turn.
The Bottom Port pushes will be high pressure for right turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the hydraulic line target for the lower hole very well in this side shot:

 

The NPT to -6AN fittings will only go about half way into the box:

 

 

This pic shows the overall setup, with hydraulic lines and ram:



I put some 90 degree 3/8in to 3/8in NPT fittings on the ram end so the lines would not hit my oil sump on the engine. I also could have used some 45 degree 1/4in NPT to -6AN fittings at the box to help keep the line further from the flywheel. I used Zip ties and a spring to pull the lines away from the fly wheel (not as pictured).

 

 

The Ram mounted to my reinforced Diff cover. The cover is plated with 1/4in plate bent on a press. The Ram tabs are 1/4in thick and have 3/4in holes pre drilled in them. I found the taps at home depot for $00.80 each and they saved some fab time.

 

This Is the tie rod end of the ram mount. I used 1.5in 120 wall tube to slide over my 1.25inOD DOM tierod. The 1.5in tube was cut to have a slit full length acting like a big clamp.

 

I welded mounting tabs on the 1.5in tube and welded some little bolt tabs to tighten the clamp.

 

 

 

I would not recommend trying to tap your box this way. Both caps are aluminum and prone to cracking, a pipe thread could easily break the caps. I think this method would be best if you could tig weld fittings onto the caps to help reinforce the cap. This method does not require taking the whole box apart, but would require tig welding to do right IMO. I prefer the “normal” method I did.