DIY - JK Ram Assist - Hydro-assist - PSC ~$300 - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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DIY - JK Ram Assist - Hydro-assist - PSC ~$300

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:

https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=75143

This is another vital thread to read…all of it:

https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27692


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.

Parts



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.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...C/IMG_4726.jpg

Ram

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.

Fittings/Hoses

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
http://www.pscmotorsports.com/motors...of-6-hose.html

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.

Cooler

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.


http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...C/IMG_4832.jpg

Filter

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.:



4/6/13 Update
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.*

Side port
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...C/IMG_6248.jpg

Image 2 link, max'd out images shown in this post
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...C/IMG_6251.jpg




Note this image was taking prior to final drilling. The final location ended up being ~3/16"-1/4" LOWER than what is shown. See red dot.




http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...IMG_6250-1.jpg



Image 2 link, max'd out images shown in this post
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...C/IMG_6247.jpg




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.
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post #2 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Ram Mounting - Axle

This is a tedious task where several variables need to be accounted for.

First off you need a strong mount. Whatever it is, it needs to withstand a serious load. I have a gusseted ¼” plate Artec full replacement track bar mount. Brandon is using a reinforced Rough Country track bar mount. These were not included in the budget, due to they are a dual purpose and likely you already have a drag link flip and raised front track bar mount.

PSC has a nice section for various topics for hose routing, reservoir mounting, ram mounting, etc. Read them!

http://www.pscmotorsports.com/Tech-Info

When you decide you have a good location for the ram, turn the steering all the way passenger. The tie rod sweeps “up”, does it still clear? Now turn it full passenger, the drag link now will come close to it. Does it still clear? What about when the driver’s side compresses off road? Passenger's side?

Measure, check, measure your tabs before final welding. I got mine as close as I could to working, I’ll find out what hits when I take it on the trail, but I did the best I could to keep it out of harms way. There are lots of components moving around down there.

Ram Mounting – Tie Rod

I have the Rock Krawler stabilizer mount on my RK tie rod. It seems stout enough, but I’m not sure it will get the job done under severe conditions. There is only one way to find out however! [UPDATE, it's not strong enough. Buy a six-bolt Poly tie rod clamp]

Brandon will be using Poly Performance’s tie rod clamp, for the correct O.D of your tie rod and you weld the tabs to it. Should be plenty stout, I may have to go this route myself.

Bleeding the system

This is covered in countless thread, Doc touched on it in his, a search will bring an endless supply of threads to read. For us, it went very well. We jacked up the front axle so the tires were off the ground, cracked the lines at the ram and kept cycling the steering. Eventually we got some fluid. After a few startups (keeping the reservoir full) it was running okay. However the ram was not operating with the tires jacked up. It appeared that in order for it to push the air out, it needed a load. So we hooked it up to the tie rod and let the jack out…the air was pushed out and the ram operated well.


So far that’s all I have, if I missed something. Post up!

Other pics

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post #3 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 09:53 AM
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Good stuff man! Thanks for the photos and write-up.

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post #4 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Good stuff man! Thanks for the photos and write-up.
If you want to check anything out, I'm not too far from you. Bought my fairlead from you

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post #5 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 10:09 AM
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Nice write up man. Still not sure I have the guts to tap my own box but when the time comes I think you went the right route with sourcing your own ram, fittings, and hoses.

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post #6 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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Nice write up man. Still not sure I have the guts to tap my own box but when the time comes I think you went the right route with sourcing your own ram, fittings, and hoses.
It's intimidating but not too bad. The side port you really can't screw up, it's a giant void. (well I guess you could). The forward port could just be 1mm lower than it is, but you just tap into a chamber that's behind that.

It's doable, if you are pretty mechanically inclined, fab stuff, etc...you'll be fine.

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post #7 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 10:23 AM
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Great Write up! I have been wanting to do a Hydro set up for awhile but couldn't decide which direction I wanted to go with it. I'm pretty sure now I will go this route. Sorry if you mentioned it already but how long have you been running it? I need some something like this to help turn my 132lb wheels my power steering hasn't been happy for some time.

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post #8 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry if you mentioned it already but how long have you been running it?
Since midnight this morning.

I've had a few people mention they were waiting on info, so I got up as much as I could once it worked.

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post #9 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 01:48 PM
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You got a hell of a deal on the ram, the only one in the scratch and dent in $196 which is the regular price

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You got a hell of a deal on the ram, the only one in the scratch and dent in $196 which is the regular price
Also consider that probably includes the hardware kit, that was another $46 over what I paid for the ram. So $60 difference and mine is refurb. That kit has rod ends, tabs and bolts.



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post #11 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 04:39 PM
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Your welcome.

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Your welcome.
Thank you for the pics

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post #13 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 05:14 PM
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Excellent write up!


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post #14 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 06:09 PM
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Sweet write up. I got a buddy who's going to be doing this himself. And I got two rigs of ours that will be getting this soon.

A few questions.

1. From start to finish, after receiving all the parts, how long did it take you to complete this?

2. How long did it take you to "remove the steering box. "?

3. Are you a mechanic?

Beautiful pictures!

And Goody, thanks for taking your time to do this. And thanks for the beautiful pictures!


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post #15 of 647 Old 08-23-2012, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent write up!

Thanks! I hope it helps someone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pluke the 2 View Post
Sweet write up. I got a buddy who's going to be doing this himself. And I got two rigs of ours that will be getting this soon.

A few questions.
1. From start to finish, after receiving all the parts, how long did it take you to complete this?

Less than one month

2. How long did it take you to "remove the steering box. "?

15 minutes, maybe. Lock the steering wheel down, 13mm for the intermediate shaft, four 18mm holding the box, two 18mm hardlines and remove the drag link from the Pitman arm.


3. Are you a mechanic?

Not for a living anymore, but I do wrench a lot. I am a ASE Master tech and was a BMW Master tech.


Beautiful pictures!

And Goody, thanks for taking your time to do this. And thanks for the beautiful pictures!

Thanks! Love my SLR

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post #16 of 647 Old 08-24-2012, 10:21 AM
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Really nice write-up and good info! I grew impatient after spending weeks researching and getting my head to wrap around hydraulics. I ended up just goint with a PSC kit to avoid future frustration and fixes, which would have lead to bleeding multiple times and I do not want to do that

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post #17 of 647 Old 08-24-2012, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, that is a lot of what I found in my research when looking into this. People started threads asking about the box, but ended up just buying a kit from somewhere. Which is a great option! There wasn't much JK specific information when it comes to the box, with the help of a few fellow members Brandon and I were able to scrape the info together to get it all to work.

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post #18 of 647 Old 08-24-2012, 02:29 PM
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Slightly off topic, but I'm told that pre-2009 boxes are rebuildable, but 2009-on are not. Supposedly 2009-on come painted black and pre-2009 are unpainted.


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Slightly off topic, but I'm told that pre-2009 boxes are rebuildable, but 2009-on are not. Supposedly 2009-on come painted black and pre-2009 are unpainted.
This is the same information we found. Brandon had the Delphi "rebuildable" box. I used to have one but it was exchanged under warranty [leaking] for the black non-rebuildable one. I believe it's not rebuildable due to a lack of service parts.

Both boxes have almost identical port locations.

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post #20 of 647 Old 08-25-2012, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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Just to update this a little bit. Since I've put a few miles on this system it has been driving very well for me. Perhaps it worked out a little air and I am also getting more used to the difference in feel. Driving it is a little different, corrections need to be pretty minor, but it's nice to have zero feedback from bumps, curbs, ruts, whatever. Just testing things out I hit a curb at about a 45* angle @ 10mph and the steering wheel didn't move!

I'm diggin' it

I'm sure it's not as strong as the full blown kits, but it's also very cheap and gives a definite increase in steering force. Can't wait to try it out on the trail.

The steering firmness is lighter than without the ram, but not "pinky" steering like I've read claimed. I bet I could steer it with my pinky, but it wouldn't be comfortable . It's could be compared to how it steers with the front tires jacked up off the ground and the engine running.

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post #21 of 647 Old 08-25-2012, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Finished up Bthomas' setup today. So far so good. We went out and checked clearances and how it felt on the rocks. Both rigs responded well to situations where the stock steering would be bound up. Turning on sticky rock with 37s and fully stuffed wasn't very different than turning on pavement.


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post #22 of 647 Old 08-25-2012, 04:25 PM
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Great write up! I might have to drive down to Texas and have you put one together for me How does it handle on the road/highway?

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post #23 of 647 Old 08-25-2012, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thisguyhasadd42 View Post
How does it handle on the road/highway?
Different, but very good manners.

SOLD - '09 2dr Rubicon - 1.0Gal | 6spd | 37s | 4.88s |
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post #24 of 647 Old 08-25-2012, 08:04 PM
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This is a really good write up man! This is on my short list. How do you feel about the stock pump being up to the task? I'd like to hear how this does in the rocks. Good job!

-Jeff
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post #25 of 647 Old 08-26-2012, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenleaf View Post
This is a really good write up man! This is on my short list. How do you feel about the stock pump being up to the task? I'd like to hear how this does in the rocks. Good job!
If I recall correctly, Co4Lo is running a stock pump with 44s.

I don't think it has the power as a full blown $1500 system, but for the money it's a vast improvement. We went out and played on a few rocks, where the stock steering would be a bear to turn, the ram was just about as hard to turn as turning on pavement...works for me.

SOLD - '09 2dr Rubicon - 1.0Gal | 6spd | 37s | 4.88s |
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