Alrighty, I suppose it’s time for another one of my write-ups. Fellow member Bthomas and I have both added PSC rams to our JK for right around $300. This is a very new modification that does not have much time on it, I am doing the write-up on the process…the end result after some testing/trail runs may vary.
My initial thread started here:
This is another vital thread to read…all of it:
DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible if you tear up your stuff! Mod with caution!
I suppose I’ll start off with the background on why you’d be interested in doing this. The concern for more powerful steering seems to start around the 37” tire size. Aired down, locked, rock crawling, those 37s will manhandle the stock steering. Leaving you with having to rock the vehicle to try and get the line you want, and also increases the potential for damage of the steering box. Reason #1 for this mod, is rock crawling.
Another benefit to a hydraulic ram is it’s ability to reduce the strain on the steering box. Since the load is now primarily through the tie rod and axle housing, I feel common preventative products such as sector shaft braces are no longer required. This typically runs about $150 and seems to be a hit or miss with the track bar you currently have…that $150 would have funded half of this project.
The downfalls, what I consider, of adding a ram is the different driving experience and more maintenance. It is something else to leak, something else to watch for hose chaffing, etc. Driving with this setup seems to be different, but not over-powered “twitchy” as some would claim with their setups. You do have to drive differently than you have and are basically holding a hydraulic valve. If you think of it that way, it seems to make a little more sense. That ram is not going to move unless that valve tells it to, that steering wheel. So if you are used to hearing hard wind and “countering the wind” with a steering input…you will turn, not counter the wind. If you see a rut in the road and expect to counter that, you will turn..the vehicle is not going to just do what it wants anymore.
Finding the right parts is probably what will take you the most time. Figuring out what hoses you want to go with, what fittings, where to get them, what tabs to use, tie rod clamp, etc, etc. There are tons of options here. If you think you’d get frustrated at that, drop the several hundred dollars, send your box to RedNeck Ram and get the kit. You’ll still have to mess with some components, but it is much easier. I went this route because it’s fun, I like the “hunt” for making things work…and we did it on a very low budget.
We sourced are rams refurbished/stratch/dented from PSC for $90ea. They are 1.5” bore x 6.75” stroke rams. This stroke is what is used with PSCs “JK” kit, and the bore seems to be the only other common option besides the 1.75” on a JK. They were on clearance, we bought them. You may find a larger bore gives you a different feel or what you may want, that’s up to you! It will affect rock performance as well as highway characteristics.
All of our fittings and hoses were sourced locally. We ended up with one 42” hose that had a straight 3/8” JIC end and a 90* 3/8” JIC. The other hose is 36” with two 90* 3/8” JIC fittings on it. Another good source for a DIY hose kit is through PSC. It comes with 6’ of hose, and I wouldn’t have any concern with the two 36” hoses. You should have plenty of hose to work with.
PSC: HK2020 $85
The fittings were sourced from the local NAPA, Northern Tool, and Lowes.
Box & Pump
Stock box, drilled and tapped. Stock pump, unmodified. We tapped both of the Delphi (rusty) and Chinese factory steering boxes (black painted). Both had very similar designs and the port locations work for both styles. Just so happened that each of us had one or the other.
You need one. People do run without coolers, but I have no idea why besides just being cheap and lazy. The life of a hydraulic system is it’s fluid, it needs to be kept clean and at a reasonable temperature. We are using two x-race truck 20.5” Derale heat sink coolers on our setups. People use tube and fin, stacked plate and heat sink style coolers. All have their pros/cons, but you need something!
These coolers go on the low side of the system, from what I understand is that is about 15psi or so…someone may confirm/correct that. So hose clamps and barbed fittings are sufficient here. They are NOT sufficient for high side hoses! [to the ram]. Also, use hydraulic hose. Not fuel line, not cooling system line, not line from your air compressor reel…hydraulic hose.
This is completely optional. I did the filter for two reasons, first being it adds volume to the system. The more fluid, the cooler it can run, the longer it can run and it’s CLEAN. Clean hydraulic fluid is best, there is no disputing that. You can run without this and many many rigs do.
First things first, the most complicated part. It’s not very difficult, but intimidating and potentially a $300+ mistake. So pay attention! However you’re still responsible.
First thing you have to do is remove the steering box. Doc went over this in his videos located in the link I provided in the top of this post. That should be pretty straight forward. It’s a cumbersome hunk of cast steel, so be careful with it.
The locations for the two ports I will show in the following pictures. Final installation with the ram on the passenger’s side shows that the REAR-most fitting [on the side of the cylindrical part of the box] on the box goes to the DRIVERS side port of the ram
. However I do recommend not tying the ram to any two points upon initial startup until it’s direction is confirmed to be correct.
The following pictures show the ports, the bit size for the ¼” NPT fittings is a 7/16”. Take your time. During this process we made a huge mess but we pushed air (slowly) through the box using the factory port locations. This helped force the chips out of the box, rather than falling down in it. That seemed to work very well for us.:
This has been added to the original post.
Trying to update the porting process with a few rough estimates for port location for a Delphi box.*
Hopefully that helps someone.
End Update 4/6/13
Aaaand that’s it! Your box is tapped!
Reinstall the box. You may want to source some 3/8” JIC plugs like shown, they may already be on your ram but this allows you to reinstall the box and plug those ports off. If you have a hose failure, parts don’t work, forgot something, or just don’t have the time to complete the install, you can drive it with those plugged off.