Hydro-Assist Steering Page
As of right now... hydraulic-assist steering are only on the drawing board. No parts have been purchased. purchased and ready to install.

I have been thoroughly searching the internet for prices on hydraulic cylinders suitable for hydro assist steer and I just thought I would share my findings.

"Robselina" on IFSJA.org used a 2" bore 8" stroke cylinder from Northern tool. He states that the only problem is that the response is slow and perhaps the 1.5" cylinder, while dropping the pushing force, will fill faster than the 2" bore cylinder. He also states that he can park next to a wall and the steering will push his truck off the wall! YEAH, That is the power I want!

SPEED:

So I calculated it out that the 1.5" cylinder fills 77% faster than the 2" bore cylinder. In addition there is a 1.75" bore cylinder out there that fills 31% faster than the 2" bore. So I guess it is personal preference what you want. IIRC Steve (Viscasha) runs a 1.5" cylinder and he was really happy with the performance with 37 x 12.50 (or 10.50) MTR's.

COST:

I found the cylinder that West Texas Offroad uses and it is a Prince (company) Wizard cylinder (made in USA!!!). The 1.5" cylinder is part number F150080 and the 1.75" cylinder is part number F175080. The cost that I found in the Prince catalog is ever so slightly higher than west texas' price for the same cylinder. Both cylinders are offered by west texas for $160 (compared to the 2" on northern tool at $75). I also found that west texas 5/8" heims ($22/pair) are cheaper than Prince and on par with Mcmaster Carr.

My gameplan for hydro assist steering is this:

  • West Texas 1.75" Rockstomper 1.5" bore 8" stroke as a good compromise... speed and power.
  • West Texas Rockstomper 5/8" heims
  • I will have the hoses made locally since my ram will be directly below the PS unit. Rockstomper prefabbed lines
  • I will buy the fittings locally Rockstomper provided all fittings needed
  • I will tap the steering box myself
  • I will fabricate all mounts for cylinder myself Rockstomper provided all needed tabs
9/16/06 UPDATE: I actually found a local shop that sells hydro assist steering kits for a moderatly cheaper cost and I can bypass shipping because they were 20 minutes from my house. RockStomper.com

THEORY OF OPERATION:

Hydraulic-assist steering allows a stock power steering system to remain street legal with additional turning power for much larger tires than ever intended with the stock setup alone. Power steering fluid lines are added to NEW drilled ports in the stock power steering housing to power a hydraulic ram in addition to the steering drag linkage. I have been told by JC Jones that the biggest problem he had when he lifted his J10 and had 36" TSL's is that there is so much stress in pushing big tires around that the power steering unit will break the welds of the stock front crossmember. He told me that the only way he fixed this was to add a front bumper that tied the front crossmember to the frame through the bumper. I still don't have a front bumper designed for Brutus and having hydro-assist steering will greatly reduce the stress on the front crossmember so that I don't need one right away.

Another feature that is nice about this is that it eliminates the need for a steering damper. Therefore the cost is almost even between both setups.

RESOURCES:

Robselena Tech thread on IFSJA.org
Redneck Ram - sells complete systems or individual parts.
'81 Wagoneer Wiki
Billa Vista Article on Pirate4x4.
Rockstomper.com

Layout:

Here is a picture of my front end where the red box represents the area that the ram will inhabit.

Much like this layout I found on Pirate 4x4