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Submitted By: gmule
Date: November 16, 2008, 11:48:15 PM
Views: 15061

How To Add Hydraulic Ram Assisted Steering To Your Dodge Truck - gmule

Hydraulic ram assisted steering is nothing new. There are several companies that offer complete bolt on kits for your vehicle. This how to is intended to help you build your own system and save a lot of money at the same time.

To complete this project you will need the following tools:
Screw drivers
Drill motor
Drill bits up to 7/16"
¼ inch NPT tap.
Vacuum cleaner of some sort.
Welding will be required.

You will also need to purchase a hydraulic ram, hydraulic lines and various hydraulic line fittings

The hydraulic parts can be purchased from

The part numbers are:

9008408 Chief Double ported 2500 psi hydraulic ram qty 1

50ARC004 ¼" NPSM hydraulic fitting qty 2

50ARC046 ¼"x 3/8" NPSM hydraulic fitting qty 2

50036 ¼" hydraulic lines qty 2

4 quarts of synthetic power steering fluid available at any auto parts store.

8"-10" of 1 1/2" radiator hose to use a fluid reservoir.

Teflon tape

The first thing you will need to do is remove the power steering gearbox from the vehicle. Once the gearbox is out of the vehicle you will need to drill and tap into the hydraulic ports that control the fluid movement inside the steering gear box.

Clamp the gearbox securely into a vice.

You will need a 2 ¾ inch socket or a crescent wrench large enough to remove the cap off of the end of the gearbox.

Remove the end cap.

Once you have removed the end cap you will be able to see the top of the orbital valve that controls the fluid movement when you turn the steering wheel.

Grab the input shaft with your fingers and pull the orbital valve out of the gearbox. This is the only part of the gear box that will need to be disassembled

Note: Do not rotate the input shaft when removing the orbital valve. Rotating the input shaft will cause the worm gear to back out of the block and cause the ball bearings to fall out.

Stuff the bore that the valve came out of with lots of paper towels to keep metal shavings from falling into the gearbox when drilling the port.

Measure 2 ½" from the end of the gearbox where the end cap threads into the gearbox

Then measure 1" down from the casting line. This is where you want to drill your first hole.

Drill a pilot hole using a 1/8" drill bit to start with. The body of the gearbox is approximately ¼" thick so take your time. The final hole size will be 7/16". Take the ¼" NPT tap and thread the first hole. Once the hole has been tapped use a shop vacuum to suck up any metal particles that are on the paper towel through the hole that has been tapped. Remove the paper towels position the gearbox on it side over a bucket and spray the bore with brake cleaner to remove any particles that my have fallen into the bore. Then use compressed air to dry the bore and blow out any metal shavings that may remain.

One note of caution: Be careful while handling gearbox because if the worm gear falls out you will have a fun time putting all of the little ball bearings back in. Also do not try to rotate the worm gear. That will also cause the balls bearings to fall out of place.

Once you are sure you have all of the metal shavings out of the bore you can reinstall the orbital valve.

On the orbital valve there is a notch that fits onto the worm gear line the notch up with the valve and the worm gear and press into the bore using hand pressure.

Do not rotate the input shaft without the end cap off it will cause the worm gear to back out and all of the ball bearings will fall out of place.

Once you have the orbital valve seated into the bore replace the end cap and tighten.

To location for the next hole is on the lower end of the housing below the first hole. look at the back of the housing and locate the plug that is installed after the original machining of the housing is completed. Measure about ¾" down the casting this is where you want to drill. Drill a pilot hole on the center of the ridge using a 1/8" drill bit.

Note: Do not drill through both sides of the passage. It is only necessary pierce the passage with the pilot hole

While drilling use the vacuum to trap the metal shavings during drilling. Once the hole is tapped vacuum out the hole and swab with a Q-tip to remove any remaining metal shavings. Once you are sure the metal shavings are cleaned out you are ready to screw in the hydraulic line fittings.

The steering gearbox is now ready to be re-installed onto the vehicle.

To mount the ram you will need to either make or purchase mounts to weld onto the axle tube and the tie rod. I made my mounts with ¼" plate steel and some DOM tubing.

To mount the hydraulic ram start by tack welding one of the mounts to the drivers side of the axle tube. Install the fixed end of the ram onto that mount. With the ram all the way retracted turn the wheels all the way to the left. Assemble the mount to the piston end of the ram and tack weld that mount to the tie rod. With the wheels turned all the way to the left. Then turn the wheels all the way to the right. Check to see if there is any contact between the ram, and the spring perches etc. if everything clears go ahead and permanently weld the mounting tabs.

Once the ram is installed run the lines from the steering gearbox to the ram. Once the hoses are connected it is time to fill the system with fluid. Once the system is full of fluid turn the wheels back and forth. If you feel any binding the hoses are not connected to the right ports. Switching the hoses should eliminate the problem.

When the ram is turned all the way to the left the fluid that fills up the cylinder pushes back up the lines to the pump reservoir the factory pump reservoir is not large enough to accommodate the extra fluid that is in the ram. Use a piece of radiator hose clamped to the top the pump to allow for the expansion of the fluid. I also cut the top of an old pump and inserted it into the top of the hose to cap it off with.

It may also be necessary to boost fluid flow to speed up the ram. There are instructions at on how to increase fluid flow and line pressure.

Using the ram assist with cross over steering is a definite improvement over the stock steering system Before I added the ram assist there were many times that I could not turn the wheels on my vehicle no matter how hard I turned the steering wheel. My steering now has the power to move chair sized boulders as if I was turning into a parking space at the grocery store. If you have over sized tires and travel in extreme terrain this may be a modification that you want to make.
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