Thanks Greg. The extra room I have with this shop sure is nice. I had the Ammco 10k pound lift in my last shop for the past 6 years now, just brought it with me when we moved. Makes work sooooo much nicer under vehicles.
Here are a few pictures from mine and my wife's trip to Capitol Reef NP last week.
Campground was a little more overgrown than expected and the sites were much narrower than we were told when we made the reservations but the two campgrounds we usually stay at were already booked and this was the last option on such short notice.
One of the days we took a drive over to Goblin Valley and did some hiking among the hoodoos.
On another day we drove over to Boulder on the scenic Hwy 12 and took the Burr Trail back to Torrey and saw these mountain sheep relaxing in the crevices of the canyon walls.
On Friday the wife and I took off on the Great Western Trail out of Torrey and took in some more off-roading.
All in all a great little getaway with the wife for a few days of relaxation.
As for the sandrail, yep she's owned by someone else now. About four years ago now we sold the sand quads and sandrail as we were having so much fun with the Jeep. Both my son and my wife had commented about enjoying Jeeping more so I figured it was a waste of money having the sand toys sit there and collect dust. There are times I miss that rush of blasting around a bowl at Mach 1 in the rail or down the 300' dragstrip with it but I sure don't miss the high maintenance of a race car.
I almost forgot about this thread so I figured I had better do a little updating.
I decided do a little upgrading to my steering system and seeing that I am only running 35” tires and seriously doubt I will ever step up to 37’s, I wanted something that mainly addressed the weak sector shaft but if I can get a bit better steering performance at the same time it’s a bonus. For my situation I feel this PSC upgraded gearbox will be the best bang for the buck and give me exactly what I am looking for.
To compare spec’s, the difference between an OEM Jeep JK/JKU steering gearbox and the PSC are as follows; the OEM has a 70mm piston and the PSC has an 80mm piston. The OEM sector shaft is a scant 35mm in diameter vs the PSC’s 45mm sector shaft, that is 30% larger. Basically the PSC gearbox closely resembles the Dodge 2500/3500 steering gearbox.
So there is the “why” behind my upgrade now let’s get to the actual upgrade. One more upgrade I thought I would do while I have the system open and fluid drained is to add a power steering cooler to the return line. I purchased a Derale 12” oil cooler a few years ago for a different project but never used it. I will be looking for a place to mount that while I’m under the Jeep.
Here is the PSC Big Bore XD that will reside under my 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
Before spinning any wrenches, I used my oil evacuation tank and pulled as much fluid out of the reservoir that I could. I figured this would be less “potential” fluid that would end up on my floor.
I removed my JKS steering gearbox support system then removed the steering column connection (where I’m pointing) then I can focus on removing the actual gearbox.
Here are the two power steering lines that need to be removed. The one I am pointing to is the pressure line.
I have collected a pretty good assortment of plastic caps and plugs over the years for situations like this. These are o-ring fittings so I capped each one after removing from the gearbox to minimize the mess and oil running down the frame.
OEM gearbox out and on the bench next to the new PSC unit ready to go under the Jeep.
Before closing up the shop for the night I cut the mounting block off of the frame from my JKS gearbox support as well as a tab from beefed up trac bar bracket. I blended the ground weld and sprayed some Eastwood Extreme chassis paint on the area to allow it to dry overnight.
I sold our first gen Roadmaster Sterling towbar a few months ago and I recently purchased Roadmaster's new Night Hawk towbar. I figured I had better get it setup and ready to go for the RVing season.
Jeep pulled into the shop behind my truck for mockup.
Upon attempting the first connection the first thing that I noticed was that the end connectors are approx. .025” wider than the ones on my old Sterling so I used the mill to remove that .025” off of one side of each block.
Removed from milling vise and deburred.
This towbar came equipped with a 7-pole plug at the RV side and a 6-pole round at the toad end. I have my Jeep equipped with a 4-pole round electrical connector so I swapped the 6-pole on the toad end with a 4-pole. This towbar has strip LED’s along the arms that illuminate when the running lights are turned on. Seeing as how we travel at night on many occasions I view this as a safety feature.
Connected, electrical complete and all ready for many miles of flat-towing the Jeep behind our coach.
I finished up my PSC Big Bore XDII power steering gearbox and steering cooler last night. I test drove it and I am very pleased with the results after only a short 16-18 mile drive. Tomorrow our Jeep club is going on our monthly club run so I’ll see how it does. The run won’t be technical but I should get a decent feel for it being aired down.
Oil cooler is fastened in place, that’s not going anywhere.
I reinstalled the engine coolant reservoir back into place and here you can see the gearbox nestled down between the engine coolant reservoir and windshield washer fluid reservoir.
Another shot of the oil cooler fastened to the crossmember.
Shot of my Jeep after the road test and cleaning up mess/putting tools away.
The video of the installation is uploaded to my YouTube channel for anyone who wants to check it out.
While I had the Jeep in the shop on the lift I thought I would address one “potential” issue. On an RV site a while back there was a thread where a guy had his Jeep JK come loose from his coach due to a towbar connection point failure.
On the underside of the Jeep JK frame is a sub-frame box welded perpendicular to the frame rail at the front. This box is constructed of 10-gauge steel and where the manufacturer mounted a plastic skid. This sub-frame is what I connected my tow bar crossmember to that I fabricated about 7 years ago. When I fabricated my front winch bumper I tied it directly into the frame rails where the winch would pull as well as my recovery points. At that time I also welded a couple of tabs connecting those sub-frame boxes to the frame rails. I routinely inspect my Jeep’s tow bar connection points, crossmember, safety chain connection points as well as hitch on the coach to ensure safety and I have especially been keeping an eye on it since seeing the failure on the internet. If memory serves he was running a Blue Ox towbar mount.
While I was looking things over with the Jeep on the lift last week I came up with a plan to tie my tow bar crossmember directly to the frame just to ensure I never have a similar issue.
Cutting a couple pieces of 1/4” plate.
Doing layout on materials.
I had to put a slight bend in the plate to allow enough room for the fasteners to clear.
I then had to get a bit creative and clamp the pieces to an angle plate while tack welding the pieces together.
Mocked the components up for fitment.
While mocking up the parts I realized I needed to remove a very small amount for clearance. Rather than grinding the small amount off I opted to run the edge through the vertical bandsaw. I love this Birmingham vertical bandsaw and how easily it is to control and remove such small amounts.
Here I removed a sliver of .015”.
I’ve mentioned this before but I subscribe to the theory of the 7 P’s; Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. When I built my shop I made sure to put several 50-amp receptacles around the shop so I could merely roll my welders around and plug it to different areas without having to run extension cords, so glad I did. I moved my welder over to the other side of the shop and plugged in so I could tack the brackets together while bolted in place on the Jeep frame.
I then moved back to the fabrication table and finished welding the brackets together.
I beadblasted and painted the brackets before final installation.
One thing I did during mock up was to insert some .045” shims under the brackets at the front frame points so upon final assembly with the shims removed and tightened the brackets would preload a small amount tying the towbar crossmember to the frame.