Our Project TJ has benefited from the use of an AGR Performance steering system for some time now; however, after years of abuse on the trail, and even one particular driver-induced mishap that led to the ultimate failure of our first cylinder-assist setup, the well-worn TJ steering system was in dire need of a pick-me-up.
AGR Rock Ram steering systems are available for a variety of applications, as are the company's SB1 and SB2 Series Super Box steering gears and TC Super Pump power steering pumps. The popular P-pump is also offered as part of the Super Pump line for vehicles that use this type of pump. Super Pumps are designed to produce the maximum degree of fluid flow and pressure to the steering box, and in our case, the Rock Ram cylinder. The SB1 Series steering gear uses the largest piston available and also employs a unique spool valve for increased turning force. This box works well for fullsize and extreme rockcrawling rigs where maximum steering force is required. Nearly identical in design and durability is the company's SB2 Series steering gear. This box is ideal for daily driving as it offers firmer valving and a 16-13:1 steering ratio for positive on-road handling.
In addition to the new steering gear and power steering pump, we'll also install an AGR Rock Ram cylinder-assist steering system. The Rock Ram cylinder uses dynamic hydraulic pressure from the steering gear to turn the tires from side to side, greatly reducing effort at the steering wheel, particularly in difficult trail-crawling situations.
To carry out the installation of the AGR Performance components on our Project TJ, we looked to Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California. Shop owner Mel Wade and partner Mike McGroarty have been in business since 2004 and specialize in all things four-wheel-drive. Custom fabrication is the shop's forte, yet it also caters to those in need of installations and repairs involving, but not limited to, drivetrain, engine, suspension, or basic maintenance. Off Road Evolution also offers a Trail Recovery service to all of its customers, and is ready to travel within a 500-mile radius of the shop at any time, day or night, to get you off the trail and back home. An hourly and per-mile charge applies to all trail recoveries, but if you're in a pinch it sure is nice to know that you can have very capable help on the way at the drop of a hat.
With all of the parts in hand, we headed to Off Road Evolution for the installation. We had the components in place in about a day's time, but we took some extra time building the Rock Ram axle mount and also had to wait on a new serpentine belt from the local parts house.
Once the install was completed, we were more than impressed with the increased steering force that made turning the hefty 37-inch Nitto Mud Grapplers a breeze. Smooth and more consistent steering with less effort is another benefit of this system. See the photos and captions for more details.