Saturday, June 27, 2020

Jeep JK DIY Hydro Assist Steering

I've been running 37" tires on my 2010 Jeep Wrangle JK for several years now. Steering was pretty much fine on the road at anything over 5mph, but slow speed turning was difficult. On the trails with the lockers on steering becomes very difficult. It feels like it's going to break something to force the wheel so I ended up either taking a less than ideal route, backing up and going forward again, or turning the front locker on and off all day. I've fixed this with a DIY hydro assist steering. It's not as complicated as it sounds. You need to drill two holes in your steering box, add a hydraulic ram to your tie rod and track bar mount, and route two hydraulic lines between the two. Researching the Jeep forums was very helpful for the precise location to drill and tap the box, and West Texas Offroad was very helpful in supplying the initial hydraulic hoses / fittings, and recommending the 1.5" ram size for my application. 

Here is the final result:

Here is a video of my steering easily pushing this old wood anchored down in my yard to the side with the ram. 

I ended up having custom hoses made based on the hoses I got from West Texas Offroad, because I wasn't happy with the routing with the WTO hoses. The hose connecting to the lower hole on the steering box is 2'1" end to end. The hose connected to the upper hole on the steering box is 2' 8". I got the lengths by drooping the axles to the lower limit from my limit straps, measuring the distance from the ram to the box ports, and adding 2". I made the drivers side connection on the ram a straight fitting because it can pretty much go straight up to the box. Both hoses use a 90 degree turn on the box that I took off the WTO hoses, and this is required so they don't hit the radiator fluid reservoir.

This was the original setup with hoses from West Texas Offroad. I had too much hose and had to loop it around to use up the extra. I was concerned about rubbing with other moving things so decided to get shorter hoses and remove the 90 degree curve on the drivers side ram hose. 

I'm using a 1.5" x 8" psc ram, with an internal UHWB plastic limiter to reduce the stroke to 6.5", which is my original steering travel lock to lock. Here is a link to the UHWB plastic

These pictures are how I disassembled the ram. 

This is the tool you need to remove the ram cap. I had to drill the holes in the aluminum cap slightly larger to work with the tool.

The box ports are shown below. The tap size is 1/4" -18 NPT. I drilled the holes with the box at an angle in my vice so most of the shavings would fall out. I then manually removed the rest with a small magnet. Also coated the tap with grease to catch the tap shavings. The tap has to go all the way in in order to get the ports screwed in. These came from West Texas Offroad. 

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