No More Wimpy Steering
If you do a lot of off-roading with a stock steering system, you're bound to wear the factory stuff out quickly and require some upgrades. Our '93 Bronco, The Juice, finally let go after sliding down an impossibly steep face of slickrock while in Moab, Utah, last year, with all four tires locked up in a full brake. The front passenger tire hit level ground first, and the entire vehicle bounced as the full force of the impact was absorbed by the front end of the Bronco. Everyone was OK, but the steering gear was hurt. We drove trails the rest of the week without the help of power steering. We needed some help in order to get the Bronco turning again, so we called the experts at PSC for advice
Our solution came in the form of the PSC kit based on a Ford Super Duty steering system. We never thought that we'd describe steering components as "beautiful," but they sure looked pretty when we opened the box and saw the shiny new pump, gearbox, reservoir, and cooler. The components we got weren't part of a packaged kit provided by PSC, but rather chosen individually for our particular application. Tom Allen, who runs the show over at PSC, told us these Super Duty steering components have become popular with those who own prerunners or race trucks, and that these parts would do us well in a high-speed vehicle.
The gang over at Off-Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, was happy to help us get everything together. Interestingly, our biggest problem during the install had nothing to do with the parts PSC sent us-everything went on as it should have. However, we had neglected to realize that the larger sector shaft on the steering box would require a pitman arm with a larger splined hole.
It only seemed fitting that we have a nice new steering wheel to turn the PSC components, and we immediately called Grant Products to order one up. We like their diamond grip wheels, and chose the 13.5-inch diameter Club Sport 452. This is a smaller diameter than the stock wheel that came with our Bronco, and we liked the sporty feel that it provided.
We quickly realized that the steering wheel is the driver's primary interface with a vehicle, and as such it should not be overlooked when other performance mods have been made. The added comfort and grip of the Grant wheel enhanced our driving experience
We took the Bronco up to Moab again this year, shortly after it was ready to run, and really railed the thing on the sandy roads north of town. Unfortunately, we finally blew the 140,000-mile-old transmission, so it's back to the shop for now. But we were pleased with the feel of the steering, which was noticeably smoother and exhibited much less play than the stock setup. There was still a healthy tension as we turned the wheel, which gave the steering a stout, in-control feel. And we loved gripping our hands around the Grant wheel. We predict that we won't need to deal with the steering guts again for quite some time.