Best Way to Setup Your Steering Gearbox For Hydo Assist
Recently we were asked about the steering box end caps and why we don't offer a tapped one for hydro-assist. Since this is an often asked question we figured the answer could help a few others out as well!
"I'm planning a hydro assist conversion using the part below (tapped end cap for steering gearbox), tapping the other hole for the system in the aluminum cap on the top of the steering box (there's a link in his description to a video on youtube where a guy does this on a jeep). If you made a part like that, I'd buy it from you. Is there a specific reason that you don't make that, or wouldn't recommend it?"
On the hydro assist, the problem with the end cap kits is that they don’t tap into high flow areas of the steering box so steering response is really slow when you add the ram. There’s a small diameter, long length passage connecting the valve in the head of the box to the end cap and trying to send and return ALL of the fluid through it just can’t happen fast enough. This is why the higher end systems tap the box where they do, they’re pulling fluid off right at the valve so they have a large diameter fitting and hose heading to the ram PLUS the original passage going to the piston. You’ll read the common complaint with an end cap kit is that they have plenty of power but you just can’t steer fast. This is an issue often enough with a properly ported box and a good pump that I see a stock pump and end cap kit as an open invite to smack a tree or spin out on something slick because you can’t steer fast enough. This can be mitigated a little bit with a small diameter cylinder but then you lose steering power and still don’t fix the problem.
Another thing we’re running into more and more now is the reason PSC quit rebuilding steering boxes: they’re all wearing out. It’s harder and harder to build a good box and internal leakage robs power making all the problems worse. I hate the fact that the price of hydro assist has gone up so much over the last few years but in the end there’s a good reason: it’s worth it. When you get to start with all brand new components you have a good chance of a troubleshooting free install and a long service life. Realistically, service life is beyond what most people will ever see from a truck but we all like to dream of really being able to use our stuff a lot so it’s nice to have. The other side of it is that losing hydro assist doesn’t make a truck undriveable but it can cause some other problems and make a potentially really valuable vacation a lot less fun. A lot of people don’t consider that aspect but when a “big trip out west” can be a lot of vacation time and a once in a lifetime thing, taking a vacation toy that you’re not 100% happy with is a problem. Especially if you’re driving it there and back.
Hope this helps