Thread: Full Hydraulic Steering (single ended ram)

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  1. #1 Full Hydraulic Steering (single ended ram) 
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    First off thanks to Eddie, CJ and Donny of Poor Boys 4WD Club in Fredericksburg, VA for helping me out.

    The list of ingredients to install onto my 1993 Jeep ZJ (Grand Cherokee) I-6:

    • P-pump retrofit kit for Jeep (from PSC): $429
    • Small M16 X 1.5 fitting (for P-pump output to AN fitting from PSC): $10.50
    • 6.6 ci. Parker orbital valve (non-rear steer model from WMS): $350
    • 4" steering column (3/4 X 30 spline from PSC): $90
    • custom 2X8 ram with single heim (from WMS): $169
    • clevis mount for ram (from WMS): $25
    • All stainless steel braided hoses (aeroquip teflon lined for hi pressure and regular for low pressure), high and low pressure swivel fittings (aeroquip) and various adapter fittings (see list below): roughly $290
      • #6 hose pre-cut 6 feet (X1) (Jegs part #0023FCA0606)
      • #10 hose pre-cut 3 feet (X1) (Jegs part #0023FCA1003)
      • #6 Teflon hose pre-cut 10 feet (X2) (Jegs part #0023FCC0610)
      • #10 straight hose end (X1) (Jegs part #0023FCM1014)
      • #6 90-degree hose end (X2) (Jegs part #0023FCM4032)
      • #10 90-degree hose end (X1) (Jegs part #0023FCM4034)
      • -6 90 TFE elbow fitting (x6) (lefthanderchassis item #0131122)
      • Various NPT to AN-6 fittings at local hydraulic place for 4 orbital fittings and 2 ram fittings
    • Extra bolts to make the PSC p-pump conversion kit install properly (two 5/16X4” and one 5/16X1.5”): $2
    • One custom built bracket to mount the orbital valve to the ZJ: $FREE
    • Longer than stock serpentine belt (Dayco Poly Cog part #5061055 w/1yr. replacement but any 5061055 will do): $34
    • 2 quarts of Valvoline Synpower power steering fluid: $9
    • Better heim for ram than what WMS provided (obtained via www.bajaconcepts.com – HRSMX10T; this is Teflon lined and shouldered unlike the WMS one): $43
    • Black spray paint to paint orbital bracket: $1


    The total installation took approx 6 hours time with good tools and experienced installers

    The pre-installation began when I decided to remove the stock I-6 intake air box. I installed a K&N conical air filter and a K&N breather filter (model #62-2480 cost: $18 from summitracing) onto the crankcase breather fitting. The stock air box is removed by unscrewing the bolts located on the bottom of the inside of the air box. You have to disconnect the crankcase breather tube by pulling it apart from the stock air box. Disconnect the air intake tube using a screwdriver to loosen up the compression fitting and then pull the tube from the air box. The K&N conical air filter will fit inside of the intake tube and you can use the compression fitting to clamp down on the air intake tube to hold the filter in place. The K&N crankcase breather filter installs overtop of the crankcase breather 90 degree fitting after you unplug the stock tubing. CAUTION: you’ll probably want to remove the crankcase breather 90 degree fitting from the crankcase before you try to disconnect the stock tubing from it. Remove the stock fitting by turning it counter-clockwise until you feel the pressure release. The fitting is NOT a screw threaded connection, instead it is an “ear” style compression connection (for lack of a better description). I caution you on this because I have heard of people breaking the plastic fitting’s “ears” while messing with the crankcase breather fitting. If this happens you have to fish out the broken plastic parts from the crankcase – not a fun thing to do. I relocated my stock vacuum reservoir to underneath the lower windshield cowling (where the windshield wiper motors and blower intake are located). Simply unscrew the cowling, move the vacuum reservoir and the rubber vacuum line up there and re-install the cowling.

    The full hydraulic installation begins with us removing the existing steering components. Shown here is the removal of the power steering gear box including the disconnection of the steering column. Don’t forget to remove your drag link too:






    Shown here is the removal of the TC style power steering pump (after cutting off the existing serpentine belt). The power steering pump bracket on the I-6 is used to tension the serpentine belt. Make sure that when you remove the pump you keep the bracket in tact and re-install it properly so that you can adjust your new serpentine belt once it’s installed:



    This is a picture of the power steering pump bracket:



    Now that everything is out, we begin by partially installing the new P-pump. We did this to get a feel for how well the P-pump conversion lines up with the serpentine belt and the bolts on the power steering pump bracket. PSC did a great job aligning everything and we thank them for making it so easy. We did notice though that the bolts provided by PSC were not long enough to install the P-pump. We went out and bought two 5/16X4” bolts and one 5/16X1.5” bolt (plus nuts, washers and lock washers). Another thing that we noticed is that for our particular application, we will only use two of the aluminum spacers provided with the P-pump conversion kit, not all three that are provided. Looking from the front of the vehicle, we used the aluminum spacers on the lower bolt and the upper right bolt. We used the 5.16X4” bolts we purchased through the aluminum spacers. The 5/16X1.5” bolt we purchased is used to mount the P-pump directly to the bracket through the upper left hole. Here is the picture of the P-pump installation and the perfect serpentine belt alignment:



    The next step in the installation process is to find a place to mount the orbital valve. We made a custom bracket for the installation. Shown in this picture are two of the stock air box bolt holes we decided to reuse. We drilled the third hole:



    Now that we have figured out what holes we’ll be using to mount the bracket, we need to actually make the bracket. (Thanks to the mad skills of my friends) We started by using some sheet metal to draw and cut a bracket template. Shown here is the template without the piece that the orbital will mount through:



    Shown here are several pictures of the bracket with and without the orbital valve attached. The holes were punched using the Scotchman ironworker except for the large hole where the orbital valve’s steering column goes through and that was “hole sawed”. The brackets were cut out with a plasma cutter, mig welded and cleaned up with an angle grinder:









    Here is a picture of the orbital valve installed using the custom bracket. This is a picture from below. We decided to route the hydraulic lines from the bottom; you can see the yellow plastic of the port filler screws in the picture:



    Here are two pictures of the orbital valve bracket from the top. You can see the good amount of clearance we had to work with between the orbital valve bracket and the P-pump. You can also see that the stock steering column is now connected to the hydraulic orbital valve steering column:




    Next we started plumbing. The easiest line to run was the largest bore line running from the P-Pump to the fluid reservoir. We used one low pressure steel AN-10 90 degree fitting to attach the stainless steel braided line to the pump and one low pressure steel AN-10 straight fitting to attach the line to the reservoir:




    The next line we ran was the high pressure line from the P-pump to the orbital valve. We used two high pressure AN-6 90 degree fittings; one coming out of the P-pump and one going into the orbital. To attach the AN-6 fitting to the orbital valve, we had to use an AN-6 to NPT adapter since the orbital valve only accepts NPT fittings. You can see in this picture that we routed the line underneath the large bore line that runs to the reservoir. This helps to keep the installation looking clean.



    Here’s two pictures of the orbital valve from the bottom. You can see the three high pressure lines (with AN-6 to NPT fittings and AN-6 high pressure 90 degree fittings) and the one low pressure line (with an AN-6 to NPT fitting and an AN-6 low pressure colored 90 degree fitting). The low pressure line returns the fluid back to the bottom of the reservoir using stainless steel braided line and terminates with an AN-6 90 degree low pressure fitting. The second picture is meant to show the stock steering column to orbital steering column connection:


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  2. #2 Re: Full Hydraulic Steering (single ended ram) 
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    The next step was to mount the single ended ram. We installed the ram as horizontally as possible remembering that we needed a solid mounting point for the end of the ram on the axle. When we installed the ram, we pulled the ram out ½ of the total travel distance (4” in this case since it’s an 8” ram) and decided on a mounting point given that overall length. We debated on installing the heim end of the ram to the stock knuckle location or onto the high clearance steering arm. For the sake of keeping the ram up and out of the way of rocks as much as possible, we decided to mount the ram to the high steering arm using the same hole that the drag link mounted to. We drilled out the drag link hole to ¾” and used a ¾” to 5/8” insert to get us the proper diameter for the bolt. We had to drill the hole larger than 5/8” and then use the insert because of the tapering of the old drag link hole. Once we had the high clearance arm drilled out and the ram in place, we tacked the ram’s clevis mount. After careful review, we decided everything was a go and finished the welding of the clevis mount to the axle tube. To give the bolt through the heim end a little more safety, we cut, bent and welded a piece of steel to the stock knuckle to give us double shear on the ram’s heim end bolt. With the ram mounted, it was time to finish plumbing the lines to the ram. We pulled the stainless steel lines down the track bar to the ram and finished the installation. We installed two 90 degree high pressure fittings connected to two AN-6 to NPT conversion fittings on the ram. Here are the pictures of the ram installation and the finished hydraulic lines running to the ram:







    This picture shows the final shot of the engine bay with the K&N conical air filter attached and in place:



    The final stage was to add some power steering fluid to the reservoir. We put in enough to get the level about ¾ of the way full. We then bumped the ignition to move some of the fluid (without actually starting the engine). We then checked the fluid level again and added as necessary. We continued to do this until we felt comfortable that there was enough fluid in the system to fully start the engine. We let the fluid sit a few minutes in between some of the bumps starts so that the air bubbles can escape out of the fluid. Once we fully started the engine, we cycled the steering lock to lock while inspecting the knuckles and steering stops. I didn’t have to adjust my steering stops but you may need to adjust your steering stops as necessary. Watch for anything binding that may cause damage to your axle/steering setup. Finally, we turned the steering full lock to the left (so that the hydraulic ram was fully retracted) and we checked the power steering fluid level a final time. We topped off as necessary. NOTE: Always check the power steering fluid level when the ram is fully retracted. That way the reservoir is at its fullest, otherwise you might overfill your system and cause spillage the next time you cycle your steering ram back to the fully retracted position. It’s also smart to leave a little room in the reservoir for fluid expansion when the fluid gets warm.

    I decided on skipping the installation of a power steering cooler. I had initially planned on installing an auxiliary transmission cooler to act as a power steering cooler. After discussing this with the fellow wheeling buddies we decided that it probably isn’t necessary. I’ll follow up to this article if I find that it’s really necessary. From what I’ve been told, a good indicator is whether or not you can touch and keep your hand on the orbital valve. If you cannot then you should add a cooler.
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