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post #1 of 30 Old 01-21-2019, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quality Steering Box?

Talk about planned obsolescence! I went to lunch today. Left my driveway with 35,999 miles on my 2016 JKUR. At 36,009 miles, as I pull into the restaurant, my steering box suffers from catastrophic failure. So, I reached out to the dealer to see if there well be any chance of a "good will" repair possibility, but I am not holding my breath.

Since I am going to have to drop some coin on my steering, do any of you have any recommendations on a quality steering box? Its a daily driver, but I would like to go a bit more stout than stock if I am paying out of pocket. I would like to get a more durable steering box that is not too unruly to continue to daily drive.

I am looking at a mild upgrade to a PSC Motorsports Big Bore XD steering box.

Any other mods that make since to do while I am tearing it apart? Drag link, tie rod, etc.? I am considering the Metalcloak HD Steering System.

I have very mild mods. Metalcloak 3.5" RockSport Edition Game-Changer lift kit and 35" tires (KM2's), an aftermarket front drive shaft and steering stabilizer.

Thanks,
Spaz


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post #2 of 30 Old 01-21-2019, 03:49 PM
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PSC Big Bore all day, everyday if you are running oversize tires.

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post #3 of 30 Old 01-21-2019, 07:32 PM
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Get a second-hand chinese box from some other forum member who wheeled the piss out of it.
It's a good way to get free pizza.
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post #4 of 30 Old 01-21-2019, 08:00 PM
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I'm curious, what exactly was the catastrophic damage? They are known to wear out pretty fast when used off-road but I've actually never heard of one catastrophically failing (outside breaking the sector shaft off-road).
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post #5 of 30 Old 01-21-2019, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure what the internals look like, as far as gear alignment, what the bearings look like, etc... but the gears felt like their were not touching anymore and there was a lot of banging noise when I tried to move the steering wheel.

I hopped out of the truck and had my son wiggle the wheel while I checked it out. The banging was coming from inside the box, but it looked like the back of the box, where the steering column connects, is starting to snap off the back of the box. Where it is bolted to the frame, there is no movement. My guess is that the actual body of the box is broken/cracked and starting to wiggle apart.

It's in the teens with single digit windchill. Between being disable and not use to the cold, it will be a few days before I start a tear-down. When I pull it out (maybe next week), I'll know a bit more.


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post #6 of 30 Old 01-23-2019, 07:43 AM
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I have a couple questions on this topic.
Ive looked into the PSC gearbox as well, and would like to do the upgrade soon. Im fairly certain that this is the gearbox that Id like to run but Id like to get the ducks lined up before I pull the trigger.

PSC states that there may be some clearance issues with some of the aftermarket track bars.
Im running MetalCloak track bar, does anyone know if this is one of the bars that has clearance issues?
Short of changing TB is there a simple work around?
Ill probably install the MC steering kit at the same time, any issues with that?
Ive also seen that they highly recommend a higher pressure pump, is the pump they offer the best option, or is there a better bang for the buck option?

What if anything are guys doing for cooling the system?

Not meaning to derail this thread but didnt see the need for a separate one.

Thanks for any input/advice.
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post #7 of 30 Old 01-23-2019, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pmedic920 View Post
What if anything are guys doing for cooling the system?
I run the inline cooler from Howe. They have 2 sizes. The big boy is the size of a Pringle can (I have the small one ).


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post #8 of 30 Old 01-23-2019, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ALASHA View Post
I run the inline cooler from Howe. They have 2 sizes. The big boy is the size of a Pringle can (I have the small one ).
I'm running the Pringle Can sized one from Howe , mounted below the radiator behind a skid .
I have the entire Howe system , pump , ram , cooler , and steering box so I don't know if the extra capacity would be of benefit , but I don't think it could hurt .
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post #9 of 30 Old 01-23-2019, 01:22 PM
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I have the entire big bore kit that PSC sells, so I have their pump, cooler and steering box. I can recommend it. It has not been in a super long time, enough for a couple of trips to Sand Hollow and a trip to Moab, plus my local wanderings. I do like that it is fairly easy to steer fully locked. I still can't steer if I am up against a rock, but if the way is clear, everything else just moves the way it is upposed to. I have the Metal Cloak Game Changer, so I have their track bar, and there are no clearance issues. I also have the steer Smarts drag and TieRod without a problem with the steering box.
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post #10 of 30 Old 01-23-2019, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Az Scooter View Post
I have the entire big bore kit that PSC sells, so I have their pump, cooler and steering box. I can recommend it. It has not been in a super long time, enough for a couple of trips to Sand Hollow and a trip to Moab, plus my local wanderings. I do like that it is fairly easy to steer fully locked. I still can't steer if I am up against a rock, but if the way is clear, everything else just moves the way it is upposed to. I have the Metal Cloak Game Changer, so I have their track bar, and there are no clearance issues. I also have the steer Smarts drag and TieRod without a problem with the steering box.


Outstanding!!! Thank you for letting us know. I think that is the way I am going to go.


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post #11 of 30 Old 01-24-2019, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Az Scooter View Post
I have the entire big bore kit that PSC sells, so I have their pump, cooler and steering box. I can recommend it. It has not been in a super long time, enough for a couple of trips to Sand Hollow and a trip to Moab, plus my local wanderings. I do like that it is fairly easy to steer fully locked. I still can't steer if I am up against a rock, but if the way is clear, everything else just moves the way it is upposed to. I have the Metal Cloak Game Changer, so I have their track bar, and there are no clearance issues. I also have the steer Smarts drag and TieRod without a problem with the steering box.


Great info, thanks.
Did you install that system yourself, if so how would you rate the difficulty?
Did you encounter anything unexpected?

Im a decent parts changer but dont weld or have torches/plasma cutter.
Id like to do it myself.
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post #12 of 30 Old 01-24-2019, 02:27 PM
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I am lazy, and can afford to be, so I had someone else put it in. I looked and there is now welding or metal cutting involved. My guess is if you can do a lift, you can do a box.
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post #13 of 30 Old 01-24-2019, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Az Scooter View Post
I am lazy, and can afford to be, so I had someone else put it in. I looked and there is now welding or metal cutting involved. My guess is if you can do a lift, you can do a box.


I assumed as much but you never know.

Thanks
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post #14 of 30 Old 01-24-2019, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pmedic920 View Post
I have a couple questions on this topic.
Ive looked into the PSC gearbox as well, and would like to do the upgrade soon. Im fairly certain that this is the gearbox that Id like to run but Id like to get the ducks lined up before I pull the trigger.
<snip>
Thanks for any input/advice.

What's the thought process behind upgrading the steering box when you run stock axles and 35" tires?
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post #15 of 30 Old 01-24-2019, 06:08 PM
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What's the thought process behind upgrading the steering box when you run stock axles and 35" tires?
It depends on how you wheel. If your a rock crawler it's a good ideal for the PSC box. If your not a big wheeler no need to worry about it.

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post #16 of 30 Old 01-24-2019, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
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What's the thought process behind upgrading the steering box when you run stock axles and 35" tires?


Not trying to be a Smart Ass but.....

Did you read the OP here?

I dont wheel real hard but I do wheel, and I wheel a long way from home. Usually there are people around but Im solo.
I drive my rig to the trails.

Im running 35s but may try a set of 37s when they wear out.

Id say that a steering gearbox is a fairly important component, and not going to be easy to purchase local for a trail fix.

I see this as something similar to upgrading drive shafts or axles.

Surely you understand the though and process of that?
Maybe youre just pushing buttons?

Ive held off with some Mods simply because it makes financial sense to do them as parts wear out but a gearbox can fail without warning as happened to our OP. Im not in a huge hurry for this but its on my list, this seemed like a good time to discuss the topic.

YMMV
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post #17 of 30 Old 01-24-2019, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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What's the thought process behind upgrading the steering box when you run stock axles and 35" tires?
My stock steering box broke after only a year of having the 35's on it. There is zero chance of me going out of pocket for about $800 to put a stock unit back in.

The Dana 44 is pretty stout. I have had zero issues there.

One big benefit I am seeing as I do research is, if you go with a bigger box (especially if you include hydro-assist), not only will it last longer, but it drastically reduces level of effort to steer with the lockers on. Especially while crawling through some rocks. I have had plenty of times when I was locked and I couldn't get the wheel to budge, even while pointing almost straight. A bigger box and hydro-assist eliminate that.

It looks like I am going to be out of pocket about $2,200-$2,500... but It's going to pay off dividends.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Pmedic920 View Post
Not trying to be a Smart Ass but.....

Did you read the OP here?

I dont wheel real hard but I do wheel, and I wheel a long way from home. Usually there are people around but Im solo.
I drive my rig to the trails.

Im running 35s but may try a set of 37s when they wear out.

Id say that a steering gearbox is a fairly important component, and not going to be easy to purchase local for a trail fix.

I see this as something similar to upgrading drive shafts or axles.

Surely you understand the though and process of that?
Maybe youre just pushing buttons?

Ive held off with some Mods simply because it makes financial sense to do them as parts wear out but a gearbox can fail without warning as happened to our OP. Im not in a huge hurry for this but its on my list, this seemed like a good time to discuss the topic.

YMMV
:{)
You make some good points. I wheel at Rausch Creek and in the Blue Ridge Mountains pretty regularly. I hate mud. Its mostly crawling.

I think if you're going to run the bigger tires, unless its a mall crawler, this should be considered a must.


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post #18 of 30 Old 01-24-2019, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pmedic920 View Post
Not trying to be a Smart Ass but.....

Did you read the OP here?

I dont wheel real hard but I do wheel, and I wheel a long way from home. Usually there are people around but Im solo.
I drive my rig to the trails.

Im running 35s but may try a set of 37s when they wear out.

Id say that a steering gearbox is a fairly important component, and not going to be easy to purchase local for a trail fix.

I see this as something similar to upgrading drive shafts or axles.

Surely you understand the though and process of that?
Maybe youre just pushing buttons?

Ive held off with some Mods simply because it makes financial sense to do them as parts wear out but a gearbox can fail without warning as happened to our OP. Im not in a huge hurry for this but its on my list, this seemed like a good time to discuss the topic.

YMMV
:{)
Not trying to be a Smart Ass but.....
I quoted and replied to you, not the OP, so stick that plus a couple of my juiciest farts in your pipe and smoke it.

If I were in a position where I mentally masturbated over a steering box failure in BFE, I would carry another box among the crew / convicts / fairy princesses I wheeled with. I wouldn't want to wrestle with the fitment issues and expense of swapping a larger box.

The advice I've gleaned from people here is if you beef up the box, you move collateral damage to interesting places. Some here aren't even fans of a sector shaft brace. If your hydro causes drama, you can limit collateral damage downstream.

Far be it from me to provide advice, so I will tell you that for me, I went with a ported stock box and RR to solve an issue I had with getting wedgied by the bullies in gym class.

I also have a spare that has been ritualistically teabagged by a forum oracle's wisdom-nards which really is just an ancient totem that spiritually prevents the box from failing in the JC Penney parking lot.

P.S. To paraphrase my hero ChuckTheRipper "don't be a dildo and just go with hydro"

P.P.S. Chuck didn't really say that but it totally sounds like something he would say.

P.P.P.S. Make sure you get the nickel plated model so everyone can see it.
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post #19 of 30 Old 01-25-2019, 04:05 AM
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OP @marcspaz & @Pmedic920 are contending w/ the near inevitable with OEM steering gearboxes being used for any wheels + tires larger than stock or maybe 33" .

Lots of accurate & familiar ( + helpful , all of them particularly @snout PSes, lol - yeah, that sounds like Chuck ) opinions,huh ?

Almost more confusing than before you guys asked ? I'll offer my experiences from breaking two Mopar steering gears in 2years & my decision I made back when this occurred in 2015 I think it was . Ultimately , I bought my third & present steering gear after some less than brilliant decisions...

I broke oem steering gear by 35" STTs + ESC/tcu kill switch + donuts in old snowy Tennessee Titan's practice field by where I lived . I've never told anyone but my JKU was literally and actually AT A MALL CRAWLING ( well , a deserted mall w/ said field on property) doing hoonish crap when one donut was over enthusiastic & I slapped an unseen speed bump buried beneath the icy snow & cracked sector shaft . Non repairable since it was an '11 gear box .

Second Mopar steering gear installed WITH stronger draglink and tierod and king stabilizer + trackbar bracket all from Synergy. I was more cautious of it but ....4 months later at AOP I accidentally took the buggy route instead of the bypass for an obstacle which turned out to be an 5'-7' hole , after the crest & unseeable , just on the other side of a throttle heavy Hill climb . This dropped my passenger 35" tire down into it at about 20mph . The back wall of the hole was a solid granite slab . No bueno. I steered 120 miles home w "Jeep" at 90 sngkevon steering wheel . My wife was very very pissed.

I won't go into how hard diagnosing a rather rare orbital bend to
a sector shaft is but I knew I didn't ever want to install another steering gear again.

I couldn't afford the whole PSC kit at time , didn't have ability to downtime the Jeep - at time my DD - to go with thr WTO RR . I had to get a box in it asap so after much help from some of these same guys , I opted for the much costlier PSC steering gear that included their 'snout' that is the hydraulic ports for assisted setups .
I couldn't afford the whole kit so it , an additional Synergy Mfg sectorshaft brace and a Fox ATS were bought , telling myself that could hold me for a year. I capped the ports off until I got 37s . Ran for a year and a half like that and beat hard upon it.

At this point , 2 months after installing and buying all of that , PSC announced the BigBox for JKs.

Ultimately, I finally had saved the $ to buy the rest of the hydraulic assist PSC setup last year . I could no longer deal with spotters instructing me to ' cut harder pssgr!' or ' I said turn wheel once you start to crawl that thing ' nor ,the paranoia of possible damage to a now $1100 gearbox.

It was a challenge getting the fit perfect with out a raised front Trackbar. I also run a non flipped draglink on only 2.5" to 2.75" of lift . It was tight . But once I got it sorted out it's one of the top 3 changes to the rig that has made most significant improvement . I can turn the 37" G003s w/ one finger when a tire is wedged . It was really what I should have done b4 box 2.

I hear many guys really like the BigBore . I am glad I went w what I did . I don't want a larger size box now that I've felt what adding hydraulic ram input to the steering but it is not cheap from PSC or Howell. Redneck Ram would be awesome had I had time to fine tune and get things refined after installing but it was worth the added cost to have really nice PSC stuff and it's precise fit to accompany & simplify installing the steering system.

Itbis just my opinion but I'd say that , if you wheel moderate to intermediate trails ,DD it and are not planning on any larger than 37" tires the BigBox would be viable.
If you are steering amongst rocks that exceed the tires size at times & understand that hydraulic assist can be just a teeny different on road ( if you DD or drive long distances to trailheads ) although easy to acclimate to as-well-as you can forseee 37s or larger in the future, it seems only logical to plan appropriately for running an assisted setup.

I think the PSC BigBox is now also optionable with porting but I am not sure of that.
In defense of the bigbore , Mel from EvoMfg ran 40s on that ultra4 EMC jku buggy build he races & loved it . He is pretty experience so ....
I know Ken ( @kjeeper10 ) is very pleased w his bigbore .

Sorry so lengthy but making decisions w/out really thinking them thru effectively re: my steering caused me to spend an additional 750-850 bucks that I didn't have to if I hadn't been stupid.
I just aim to help you guys avoid anything similar to that fiasco.

JJ


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post #20 of 30 Old 01-26-2019, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snout View Post
Not trying to be a Smart Ass but.....

I quoted and replied to you, not the OP, so stick that plus a couple of my juiciest farts in your pipe and smoke it.



If I were in a position where I mentally masturbated over a steering box failure in BFE, I would carry another box among the crew / convicts / fairy princesses I wheeled with. I wouldn't want to wrestle with the fitment issues and expense of swapping a larger box.



The advice I've gleaned from people here is if you beef up the box, you move collateral damage to interesting places. Some here aren't even fans of a sector shaft brace. If your hydro causes drama, you can limit collateral damage downstream.



Far be it from me to provide advice, so I will tell you that for me, I went with a ported stock box and RR to solve an issue I had with getting wedgied by the bullies in gym class.



I also have a spare that has been ritualistically teabagged by a forum oracle's wisdom-nards which really is just an ancient totem that spiritually prevents the box from failing in the JC Penney parking lot.



P.S. To paraphrase my hero ChuckTheRipper "don't be a dildo and just go with hydro"



P.P.S. Chuck didn't really say that but it totally sounds like something he would say.



P.P.P.S. Make sure you get the nickel plated model so everyone can see it.


Lmaooooo.
Nailed it on the head.
Hydro assist will save your brain from self-destructing.
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post #21 of 30 Old 01-29-2019, 08:04 PM
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Not hijacking - but hopefully adding to the question...

90k on my 08 Rubi with 4 BDS lift on 35s for the last 40k. Had serious death wobble and replaced ball joints, drag-link, stabilizer and couple other doo-dads to squelch the wobble. Mostly Synergy stuff. did not need to replace tie rod as that was done couple years earlier with Synergy and it was still good. I was relatively happy with the results...until hitting the freeway. Toad has some interesting thoughts on the freeway and wanders all over the place. At night speeds it has under AND oversteer. A few thousand miles later, Im noticing it on surface streets now. Checked all connections weighted and on lift and all still seems very tight.

Could it be the OEM steering box? If so, same questions - what box? Normally driven to the trails. Not DD, but not trailer queen.

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post #22 of 30 Old 01-29-2019, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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@toadontheroad , in my experience, wandering either with or without under steer/over steer is typically an alignment issue. Mostly in the toe.

Do you have adjustable control arms?


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post #23 of 30 Old 01-29-2019, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by toadontheroad View Post
Not hijacking - but hopefully adding to the question...



90k on my 08 Rubi with 4 BDS lift on 35s for the last 40k. Had serious death wobble and replaced ball joints, drag-link, stabilizer and couple other doo-dads to squelch the wobble. Mostly Synergy stuff. did not need to replace tie rod as that was done couple years earlier with Synergy and it was still good. I was relatively happy with the results...until hitting the freeway. Toad has some interesting thoughts on the freeway and wanders all over the place. At night speeds it has under AND oversteer. A few thousand miles later, Im noticing it on surface streets now. Checked all connections weighted and on lift and all still seems very tight.



Could it be the OEM steering box? If so, same questions - what box? Normally driven to the trails. Not DD, but not trailer queen.
Try checking your steering gear input shaft preload. My '08 box was loose and low out of spec, I think I had like 1-2 lb-in difference between the over-center and preload rotating torque; spec is 4-7 lb-in. FSM has the correct procedure for tightening the adjuster. You don't want to just wing it and go by feel, or simply add a quarter turn without checking, unless you like the possibility of the gear failing at some random point on the highway lol. For the preload check, I used a 0-80 lb-in beam style torque wrench and the Miller 8343 tool. There are better torque wrenches for this job but they are $$$.

Also FWIW, my reservoir filter had bits of Teflon in it from one of the steering gear internal parts (110k miles, 40k on 35s and mild wheeling). I'll be going with probably the WTO rebuild/port and RR in the near future; the preload adjustment will hopefully allow me to get my recent front-end changes sorted out and run in for good measurements to send to WTO.

Hope that helps. Good luck!
One more thing : typo on torque spec sheet. Box-to-frame bolts are 70 lb-ft not 870
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post #24 of 30 Old 01-30-2019, 05:08 AM
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just adding to @rockystock details on his discovering Teflon within fluid for steering is due to the internal lining used on the
oem ps hose from the pump to the pressure port of the steering gearbox which can deteriorate from extended & high heat over time. Can sometimes result in it contaminating the system & contribute to failures.
Only an issue on '12s & up , iirc



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post #25 of 30 Old 01-30-2019, 05:26 AM
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I looked into the PSC Big Bore box and couldn't do it because it won't fit with my LS3 conversion. I also heard from a couple of very reputable sources that you can easily turn your steering drag link into a pretzel with that box because of the increased torque. I recommend hydro assist and I prefer Redneck Ram over PSC.

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