The new low pressure power steering lines were routed to clear the radiator.
The normal hose barb was replaced with two 90 degree pipe fittings to ease installation.
Large, heavy tires and equally large rocks can really take their toll on steering components. Crossover steering with larger than stock tie rod ends and thick walled tubing are often used to provide additional strength on the trail. Hydraulic assist systems that provide increased leverage and reduce steering effort are also becoming more popular in order to turn sticky tires aired down to single digit pressures. Little attention is given however to the steering box and pump that are the heart of any steering system. On Toyota pickups and 4Runners, the steering system utilizes automatic transmission fluid (ATF). Just like in transmissions, if this fluid gets too hot it becomes acidic and quickly loses its ability to lubricate.
In order to combat this heat and add additional fluid capacity to our steering system, I recently installed an aluminum Afco inline cooler from RPMnet.com on the hydraulic assist steering system on my Dana 44 front axle. The Afco cooler is intended for transmissions but perfectly sized for steering needs and is advertised to reduce temperatures by up to 30 degrees. I chose to mount the cooler on the front frame crossmember behind the front bumper. While this location will somewhat limit airflow, it ensured that the cooler is well protected from any menacing rocks.
The cooler had to be clearanced in order to fit the new fittings.
The completed installation is clean and tucked up out of the way.
I started by removing the front bumper from the vehicle. My truck already had the front bumper removed, easing installation. The radiator was also removed from my particular vehicle, but that should not have been necessary in order to mount the power steering cooler. It was, however, necessary to loosen the cab mounts and raise the cab off the frame a couple of inches in order to drill the two holes required for the ¼" mounting hardware. The hardware slides in a recessed track in the bottom of the cooler, so precise spacing of the mounting holes was not necessary. Once the cooler was securely in place all that is left to do was to plumb it in to the low pressure side of the steering system. The line that ran from the steering fluid reservoir to the steering box was replaced with 5 feet of 5/16" power steering hose. Note that regular vacuum hose will not work, it is crucial to get hose that is rated for petroleum based liquids and will not break down from heat.
For a cleaner installation, the straight barb fitting on one end of the cooler was replaced with a ¼" NPT male to female elbow connected to a 90 degree ¼" NPT male to 3/8" hose barb. In order to use these fittings and run the hose right next to the cooler it was necessary to clearance the aluminum fins on one end of the cooler. This was done with a die grinder and a rotary rasp. With the cooler mounted and plumbed, all that was left to do was reinstall the bumper and fill up the power steering reservoir with quality ATF.
P.O. Box 608
Boonville, IN 47601
Telephone: (800) 417-7441
This site and all original materials contained herein are Copyright 1999 - 2013 by OutdoorWire, Inc. -- All Rights Reserved.
You may link freely to this site, but no further use is allowed without the express written permission of the owner of this material.
All corporate trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
This publication and OutdoorWire, Inc. assume no liability for your use of the material contained within this site.
OutdoorWire, 4x4Wire, SUVWire, JeepWire, MUIRNet-News, and 4x4Voice are all trademarks and publications of OutdoorWire, Inc.