Air in hydro-boosted power steering. - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-27-2019, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Air in hydro-boosted power steering.

So, as my sig says, I have a WTOR hydro-boosted steering setup. Works great, but seems it routinely gets air in the system. I can tell because the power steering pump starts to howl. I can bleed the system. it burbs out some bubbles and is fine until the next trail run, where it seems to get air in again. Running the stock pump & reservoir, with a Derale dual-pass cooler. No leaks anywhere. Stumped. Ideas?

'09 JKRU. 4" Teraflex long arm, Teraflex R44 housing, Teraflex / Fox Resis, Poly Performance skids, Nemesis Billy Rockers, Nemesis flares, 37" ATZ P3s on 17" 5x5.5" Trailready HDs, Spyntec hubs, Teraflex BBK, Mopar BBK master/booster, Superior front & Alloy USA rear axle shafts, CTMs, Reids, Synergy drag link & tie rod, WTOR hydro-boosted steering, 5.38s, TF Dual Rate front bar, TF bumpers, Warn Powerplant, Tom Woods shafts, AA xfer case cable, Kilby canister relo, RH4x4 cage.
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-27-2019, 06:17 PM
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Your pulling air in somehow.

Found a video on you tube that shows a way to check when you dont have an obvious leak.






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post #3 of 16 Old 03-27-2019, 07:27 PM
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Pretty sure you can only really pull air in between the reservoir and the pump inlet. Everything else in the system is at positive pressure and would leak fluid out, not let air in. The inlet is under vacuum so it'd suck air in rather than push fluid out.
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-28-2019, 10:25 AM
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^^^This right here^^^^^

From your description of when it happens, offroad, whatever angles you're getting the Jeep at is uncovering the feed for the pump. Or sloshing in the reservoir is letting bubbles get sucked in.

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post #5 of 16 Old 03-28-2019, 04:12 PM
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Is your Res mounted above the pump? How about hose routing?

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post #6 of 16 Old 03-28-2019, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoK66 View Post
WTOR hydro-boosted steering setup.
routinely gets air in the system.
I can bleed the system . . . fine until the next trail run,
Running the stock pump & reservoir, with a Derale dual-pass cooler.
No leaks anywhere. Stumped. Ideas?
Quote:
Originally Posted by christensent View Post
you can only really pull air in between the reservoir and the pump inlet.
Everything else in the system is at positive pressure
Quote:
Originally Posted by gt1guy View Post
^^^This right here^^^^^

From your description of when it happens, offroad, whatever angles you're getting the Jeep at is uncovering the feed for the pump. Or sloshing in the reservoir is letting bubbles get sucked in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
Is your Res mounted above the pump? How about hose routing?
^^^ Reader's Digest version ^^^

I'd add a larger reservoir with a filter and elevate it as much as possible.

For me, that was this close to the underside of the hood (wax check for clearance):



A bit more fluid volume, held higher, and I'm betting the bubble drama goes away for good.
You have a cooler but filtration + greater reservoir volume also make hydraulic pumps sooper-dooper happy.


EDIT:
Air in your system can destroy your pump or pit your ram via cavitation - do not want.
If your pump is in good condition and you have cooler + filter, it should last ~forever.

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post #7 of 16 Old 03-29-2019, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gt1guy View Post
^^^This right here^^^^^

From your description of when it happens, offroad, whatever angles you're getting the Jeep at is uncovering the feed for the pump. Or sloshing in the reservoir is letting bubbles get sucked in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
Is your Res mounted above the pump? How about hose routing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExWrench View Post
^^^ Reader's Digest version ^^^

I'd add a larger reservoir with a filter and elevate it as much as possible.

For me, that was this close to the underside of the hood (wax check for clearance):



A bit more fluid volume, held higher, and I'm betting the bubble drama goes away for good.
You have a cooler but filtration + greater reservoir volume also make hydraulic pumps sooper-dooper happy.


EDIT:
Air in your system can destroy your pump or pit your ram via cavitation - do not want.
If your pump is in good condition and you have cooler + filter, it should last ~forever.
Thanks for the responses all. It's the stock reservoir and supply hose for the pump. I'm gussing what happens is exactly as suggested, when I get on steep climbs and descents or rough terrain it's somehow allowing the suction side to gulp a bit of foamed up fluid. I've tried the vaccum bleed technique and it really doesn't do anything. I'm guessing the only real fix is the larger reservoir, etc.

'09 JKRU. 4" Teraflex long arm, Teraflex R44 housing, Teraflex / Fox Resis, Poly Performance skids, Nemesis Billy Rockers, Nemesis flares, 37" ATZ P3s on 17" 5x5.5" Trailready HDs, Spyntec hubs, Teraflex BBK, Mopar BBK master/booster, Superior front & Alloy USA rear axle shafts, CTMs, Reids, Synergy drag link & tie rod, WTOR hydro-boosted steering, 5.38s, TF Dual Rate front bar, TF bumpers, Warn Powerplant, Tom Woods shafts, AA xfer case cable, Kilby canister relo, RH4x4 cage.
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-29-2019, 09:27 AM
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Thats the problem with WTO assist. It's an incomplete system but people crow about it because of cost. Its like buying a 4" lift kit that only contains coils and shocks. It works but much more is needed for a proper reliable set up. The PSC is priced too high imo but is a complete solution that just works.

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post #9 of 16 Old 03-29-2019, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
Thats the problem with WTO assist. It's an incomplete system but people crow about it because of cost. Its like buying a 4" lift kit that only contains coils and shocks. It works but much more is needed for a proper reliable set up. The PSC is priced too high imo but is a complete solution that just works.
Agreed, the PSC stuff is pricey but, like you said, it flat-out does the job.

First go-'round I bought a PSC 1.75" x 6.75" ram, ported my box, made hoses, burned on Synergy brackets, and plumbed a cooler and filter into the return line (pump and reservoir were stock).

The filter housing (Mr Gasket or similar remote housing for a common spin-on filter) leaked slightly through a porous die casting that wasn't resin impregnated, and the factory pump didn't quite have enough pressure for my hydro assist or hydraulic winch.

Those problems pissed me off enough to open my wallet and add a PSC pump and reservoir / filter. So I ended up with PSC ram, pump, and filter/reservoir. 20/20 hindsight would lead me just take the hit and start with those components next time.

Now that the sting of price has faded, I have no regrets - everything just continues to work with no drama. Aftermarket parts that don't cost me time or worry are worth whatever I paid (especially since it's been years and I don't remember how much I paid )



EDIT: Pump specs. need to be matched to steering ram diameter (apologies if you already knew that)

I believe the WTOR ram is 1.5" which works great with the factory pump's pressure / flow rate. The PSC pump I have matches well with a 1.75" diameter ram, but would make for twitchy / scary steering on-road with a 1.5" ram. I think you're just looking to play around with reservoir location, but I wanted to call out that potential problem if you were considering a different pump.

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post #10 of 16 Old 03-31-2019, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExWrench View Post
I believe the WTOR ram is 1.5" which works great with the factory pump's pressure / flow rate. The PSC pump I have matches well with a 1.75" diameter ram, but would make for twitchy / scary steering on-road with a 1.5" ram. I think you're just looking to play around with reservoir location, but I wanted to call out that potential problem if you were considering a different pump.
I hear this all the time, and used to tell it to people too, but then I actually upgraded my pump from stock to high-flow PSC on a 1.5" ram and noticed absolutely zero difference on the street. Obviously it has high turning speed which is the greatest thing ever off-road but on-road handling was unchanged. In my personal experience of having tried both, this is just an internet rumor.
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post #11 of 16 Old 04-01-2019, 12:02 PM
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I was bleeding my system yesterday and it was like one mess after another. I kept getting air in there and, 4 hours later, I found that it was one of the cylinder fittings had worked its way loose. Every time I cranked to the right it would suck in a small amount of air through the left hose fitting. So, what kind of lines do you have, field serviceable or crimped? Just a guess here but when you turn while flexed, if it is pulling the hoses taut, you may be allowing a small amount of air to be sucked in as the fluid is pumped through the opposite hose/fitting. This would make it work perfectly fine during daily driving but not-so when wheeling.

Make sense? From my findings the steering gear, and ultimately the cylinder, work in push-pull with the fluid. Turning left is pushing/pulling fluid through the right side and vice-versa. As that air pushes past a tiny leak it creates a small amount of vacuum that sucks in air. If I am wrong I am open to explanation. I tightened my fitting and the problem went away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by christensent View Post
I hear this all the time, and used to tell it to people too, but then I actually upgraded my pump from stock to high-flow PSC on a 1.5" ram and noticed absolutely zero difference on the street. Obviously it has high turning speed which is the greatest thing ever off-road but on-road handling was unchanged. In my personal experience of having tried both, this is just an internet rumor.
I've never understood why some think it would make it twitchy. There are calculators out there to prove or disprove this but I would think that the stock pump isn't likely the bottleneck, nor is the 1.5" ram. Increasing the pressure in the system likely won't change much except maybe decrease (increase?) the MTBF of the pump. The bottleneck is quite possibly the size of the ports drilled into the steering gear for the cylinder hoses.

Increasing volume though... that's a different story. That is going to allow the system to run cooler and having a stronger pump will help to keep that fluid moving.

I have all of the PSC components aside from the steering gear (drilled my OEM box.) I just added the Derale cooler, the larger pressure lines, and larger return line yesterday because I cooked my fluid more than once. Hopefully that helps my issues.
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post #12 of 16 Old 04-01-2019, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christensent View Post
I hear this all the time, and used to tell it to people too, but then I actually upgraded my pump from stock to high-flow PSC on a 1.5" ram and noticed absolutely zero difference on the street. Obviously it has high turning speed which is the greatest thing ever off-road but on-road handling was unchanged. In my personal experience of having tried both, this is just an internet rumor.
Good to know!

My experience is limited to a 1.75" ram - I should've mentioned that while adding the "warning"

Thanks for calling 'bullshit" on my bullshit

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post #13 of 16 Old 04-01-2019, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by obajoba View Post
So, what kind of lines do you have, field serviceable or crimped? Just a guess here but when you turn while flexed, if it is pulling the hoses taut, you may be allowing a small amount of air to be sucked in as the fluid is pumped through the opposite hose/fitting. This would make it work perfectly fine during daily driving but not-so when wheeling.

Make sense? From my findings the steering gear, and ultimately the cylinder, work in push-pull with the fluid. Turning left is pushing/pulling fluid through the right side and vice-versa. As that air pushes past a tiny leak it creates a small amount of vacuum that sucks in air. If I am wrong I am open to explanation. I tightened my fitting and the problem went away.
I have a field serviceable on one end of the cylinder that is pretty well always straight and doesn't bend at the cylinder. The other is crimped, and that one has a fairly extreme bend that even gets pulled somewhat tightly at full droop (nowhere near acting as a limit strap, just really tugs on the radius of the 180 degree bend). I've never had any leak or air issues.

I'm really quite surprised it's possible for air to get sucked in. When you turn right, the left side is pressurized, and the right side is connected to the return line to the reservoir. That is still at positive pressure because it is pushing fluid from the cylinder back to the reservoir, it can't possibly be at vacuum.

If it fixed the problem, surely that was the problem, but I just can't wrap my head around how there's ever vacuum at either end of the cylinder. The steering box has two ports, and they're at all times above atmospheric pressure no matter what you're doing steering.

I wonder if there's some fairly complex fluid dynamics going on where the flow of fluid through the fitting restriction is creating a venturi effect that makes a localized pocket of low pressure that could possibly drop below atmospheric pressure on the lower-pressure side of the ram when steering.
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post #14 of 16 Old 04-02-2019, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obajoba View Post
I was bleeding my system yesterday and it was like one mess after another. I kept getting air in there and, 4 hours later, I found that it was one of the cylinder fittings had worked its way loose. Every time I cranked to the right it would suck in a small amount of air through the left hose fitting. So, what kind of lines do you have, field serviceable or crimped? Just a guess here but when you turn while flexed, if it is pulling the hoses taut, you may be allowing a small amount of air to be sucked in as the fluid is pumped through the opposite hose/fitting. This would make it work perfectly fine during daily driving but not-so when wheeling.
My hoses are custom made crimped. Pretty certain there aren't any leaks in the system. Most likely it's just getting sucked in on the supply side from the reservoir.

A tip when bleding. Put an oil change funnel in the neck of the reservoir and tape it in place. Fluid will flow up into the funnel, rather than overflow and spill all over the place. If the engine's not running and providing pressure on the other side of the ram, the pressure side will push a great deal of fluid through the retun hose into the reservoir, more than it can accomodate. The funnel will catch it and drop it back into the reservoir. Learned this the hard way.

'09 JKRU. 4" Teraflex long arm, Teraflex R44 housing, Teraflex / Fox Resis, Poly Performance skids, Nemesis Billy Rockers, Nemesis flares, 37" ATZ P3s on 17" 5x5.5" Trailready HDs, Spyntec hubs, Teraflex BBK, Mopar BBK master/booster, Superior front & Alloy USA rear axle shafts, CTMs, Reids, Synergy drag link & tie rod, WTOR hydro-boosted steering, 5.38s, TF Dual Rate front bar, TF bumpers, Warn Powerplant, Tom Woods shafts, AA xfer case cable, Kilby canister relo, RH4x4 cage.
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post #15 of 16 Old 04-02-2019, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by SoK66 View Post
My hoses are custom made crimped. Pretty certain there aren't any leaks in the system. Most likely it's just getting sucked in on the supply side from the reservoir.
My pressure hoses to the cylinder are also custom made, crimped, from the Parker Store but the leak was that the fitting itself wasn't tight enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoK66 View Post
A tip when bleding. Put an oil change funnel in the neck of the reservoir and tape it in place. Fluid will flow up into the funnel, rather than overflow and spill all over the place. If the engine's not running and providing pressure on the other side of the ram, the pressure side will push a great deal of fluid through the retun hose into the reservoir, more than it can accomodate. The funnel will catch it and drop it back into the reservoir. Learned this the hard way.
Now this is a good idea. I spent 2+ hours trying to bleed it by myself and kept overflowing. This time though it at least helped me get more of the burned up fluid out. Finally had to get someone to come help me. Still not sure it's 100% but the level is at least consistent after waiting 10 minutes and checking the reservoir. If I fill it more than a hair above the filter in the PSC reservoir though it is almost guaranteed to overflow.
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post #16 of 16 Old 04-02-2019, 08:47 AM
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I wonder if there's some fairly complex fluid dynamics going on where the flow of fluid through the fitting restriction is creating a venturi effect that makes a localized pocket of low pressure that could possibly drop below atmospheric pressure on the lower-pressure side of the ram when steering.
This was my guess. Fluid dynamics are well beyond my scope of knowledge, understanding just enough to baffle me occasionally. I had, of all things, a copper pipe to my sprinklers in my last house, and this was happening at one of the 90 degree elbows. It wasn't leaking enough water to be noticeable but it was allowing air to get in and collect there while the sprinklers were running, causing some horrendous water hammer. Talked to multiple plumbers that told me to use a different elbow so I did as they said and the problem went away. Something about a ridge in the direction of flow that causes turbulence, only happens when the fluid is moving past it? It worked and that was all I cared about.
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