For those of you who have some sort of locking mechanism in your front axle, surely you have felt that locker bind while you were trying to turn the wheel…so what did you do? Turned harder, of course.
Well, this binding of the locker and turning of the wheel is not good for your power steering. It heats up the fluid beyond normal operating temperature.
For the past few months, I watched the return line (low-pressure line) on my power steering setup slowly leak fluid. I finally got the chance to replace the line and figured that I would install a small in-line transmission cooler to help cool the power steering fluid to counteract the effects from the locker.
To start the project, I picked up the following parts from my local auto store:
Tools & Equipment
- 7/16″ Socket
- #25 Torx
- Hayden Transmission Cooler (part # 401); Length =12.75”; Height = 5”; Included in this was the necessary length (~3ft) of 3/8” hose, necessary hose clamps, and mounting hardware.
- 1 Qt. Power Steering Fluid
- 3ft Section of 3/8” hose (necessary for me since mine was shot, you might be able to reuse your current return hose)
- Remove the fan shroud from the radiator using a 7/16” socket and #25 Torx. I just allowed the shroud to hang back as all it needed to be removed for was to provide room when mounting the cooler.
- Attach the two hoses to the cooler and tighten down the hose clamps. After they are tightened, place the cooler and hoses behind the grill, just in front of the radiator, with the hoses pointed toward the driver’s side. Then run the hoses around the radiator up toward the engine.
- Pull the return hose (low-pressure line) off of the steel tube that connects to the steering box and allow the fluid to drain into a bucket below (this is where I noticed that the fluid coming out was quite dark…new power steering fluid is almost clear).
- Remove the hose that was shot.
- While the fluid is draining, began mounting the cooler in front of the radiator. First, stick the four rods through the back of the radiator so that they protrude through the radiator and the cooler close to its corners. The kit came with four adhesive pads (that each has a hole in the center) so peel the sticker off the back and feed the pad onto the rod and push it up against the front of the radiator.
- Push the cooler onto the rods and install the locking buttons on the rods. Snip off any excess part of the rod.
- Remount the fan shroud to the radiator.
- Run the hose connected to the lower fitting to the tubing coming from the steering box and cut it to length and tighten the hose clamp. Make sure that before you cut the hose there are not any extreme bends in the hose and that it is clear of any sharp edges. This hose can be seen in the picture below. It is in the upper central portion of the picture. The high-pressure line is just to the right.
- Run the hose connected to the upper fitting to the bottom of the fluid reservoir and cut the hose to the proper length. Then fit the hose and tighten the clamp. This can be seen in picture #4. The return hose is on the left in this picture.
- You should be done installing the cooler and running the hoses.
- Fill the reservoir. You will need to start your jeep and turn the wheels a few times to force the fluid through the lines and into the cooler. More fluid will need to be added after this is done.
This should keep the fluid in your steering box a little cooler and help prolong the life of your steering box.