Q. I see very few winches powered by hydraulics. The question I have is, why couldn't you tap off of the power-steering pump to run a hydraulic winch? There are also beltdriven pumps with clutches. It just seems like a better (endless supply) source of power. Granted, with your vehicle on its side with the engine dead, it won't cut it, but if the battery is dead when you get squared around, what's the difference? Is there enough gph/psi in a stock power-steering pump to power the same-hp hydraulic motor as an electric motor for a winch? I realize that you would have to increase your oil reservoir but the rest is very similar.
A. A lot of tow trucks use hydraulic-powered winches. They are driven off a separate PTO pump, and the control valve arrangement usually allows them to control the line speed. Most heavy equipment such as log skidders use hydraulic winches.
Some 30 years ago, a Jeep shop owner by the name of Jim Hicks mounted a power take-off winch in his Jeep and instead of snaking a driveshaft up to the winch used a hydraulic motor he obtained via military surplus and mounted it directly to the winch's gearbox. Yep, ran it off the power-steering pump. He ran hoses up to it and had a manual inline valve to control the fluid flow to either the power-steering box or the winch motor. The bad thing about it was that if he was doing a self-extraction, he lost his power steering and he had to always have ready access to the control valve.
Some years after that, MileMarker (www.mile marker.com) came out with its version of the hydraulic winch, which also uses the power-steering pump along with an electrical solenoid valve to control the flow direction. Now all that is needed is a small electrical switch, like an electric winch uses, to control movement of the winch drum. I believe a small amount of fluid still goes to the power-steering box so you retain some steering ability.
They seem to work pretty good-good enough that the military is using some of them on Hummers. They have a two-speed drive motor, with a high speed for respooling the cable and a much lower speed for pulling a load. The biggest drawback of the winch is that the cable speed is quite slow when pulling. It's really easy to over-drive the winch cable when doing self-extraction. You also have to have the motor running for the winch to work. However, if you're doing any serious pulling with an electric winch, you also need the motor running to keep the battery charged.
Q. I have an '84 S-10 Blazer that's been converted to a Dana 44 solid front axle with 35-inch tires. I want to run hydraulic-assist steering. I need to know if I would have to get an aftermarket steering box if one is available for my Blazer, or could I just tap into the factory one? If so, where would I tap into it at?
A. A lot of this depends on just what steering box your Blazer is using. I don't have a clue what steering box the '84 S-10 uses, and my guess is that it was swapped out for a fullsize passenger-car steering box commonly know as a Saginaw 800-series (which is also the same series that Jeep used for lots of years). If this is so, then you have a couple of choices. You can, if so mechanically inclined, drill and tap the 800-series box for the proper fittings.
I highly recommend that the steering box be completely disassembled to make this modification as it only takes the smallest pieces of metal to destroy either the steering box or the pump. If you don't want to attempt this yourself, then you might want to take a look at PSC Motorsports (www.pscmotorsports.com), West Texas Off Road (www.westtexasoffroad.com), or Howe Performance (www.howeperformance.com), as these companies sell the boxes already drilled and tapped, along with the proper-length ram and mounting brackets and hoses.
Q. Have you guys ever done an article or project to put Ford Super Duty axles into a Jeep? I have an '00 TJ that the motor is in the machine shop being stroked to 4.7L. I picked up a matched set of axles from an Excursion and need ideas for the suspension build. If you have any info I would be forever grateful to Four Wheeler to get it. I have searched the Web endlessly and haven't found any info or projects involving these great axles.
A. Well, this would make kind of an interesting combination. I've been trying to picture just how much offset the front differential has and if there is sufficient room for the coils to mount, being that the Jeep frame is considerably narrower than the Ford truck frame. I would think that you could carefully cut off all the brackets that mount the coil springs and the control arms from your present front and rear axles, and relocate them onto the Super Duty axlehousing. When you cut off brackets like these, you always remove a bit of material, but this should work out just fine due to the larger diameter of the Super Duty axlehousing. Because the upper link mount for the TJ front suspension is a cast part of the housing, you will have to fabricate a mount. This should not be too hard to do.
I would think that you would want to go to a crossover-style steering system, and you want to be sure that the track bar is on the same plane as the steering drag link. It's also very important that the mounting point on the axle be quite stout as quite a bit of load can be placed on it when the suspension articulates. You might also look into Rubicon Express (www.rubiconexpress.com) as they offer these brackets. You do realize that the tires will stick out a considerable amount of distance past the fenders due to the much wider width of the Super Duty axles? Part of this could be eliminated by going to some wheels with a considerable amount of backspacing.
Q. Concerning Willie's Workbench ("The Dreaded Death Wobble," June '08): I had a terrible wobble in my '50 CJ-3A. It's running a small-block Chevy and a Chevy power-steering box. After checking just about everything you mentioned in your article, I checked the sector-shaft adjusting screw. It took nearly three complete turns to get in proper adjustment. Problem solved. The Jeep now goes straight as an arrow with no hint of a wobble. I hope this helps other readers.
A. Thanks for the suggestion. Wow, that is a lot to turn a steering-box adjustment screw. You must have had a lot of play in the steering. I usually don't like to tell people to play with the steering-box adjustment-especially on power steering-because improper adjustment can lead to a binding problem and excessive wear to the gears. Factory service manuals show that special tools are required to do this adjustment instead of just a wrench and a screwdriver. Lots of people like you just do it anyway and have no problem.
I would suggest to anyone trying to adjust their steering box this way to jack the wheels off the ground, and make the adjustment by loosening the nut on top of the box, turning the adjusting screw, say, half a turn at a time, until the play is taken up and then perhaps even backing the screw up a bit. Now be sure that you can turn the steering wheel to full left and right lock without any binding. You will want to do this with the engine not running.
Busted Bolts: How to remove them, and how to avoid 'em I was helping a buddy install a suspension lift on his YJ when I heard him mumble a swear word. A quick glance in his direction revealed that a bolt that held the front brake-line clip to the frame had twisted off. The break was almost flush with the framerail.
Before I go into how to get the bolt's shank out, let's talk over how the break could have been prevented. Number one rule: Lots of penetrating oil, and be sure to give it time to do its job. Rule number two: multiple applications over days are better than just an hour before attempting to remove the bolt. Heating the bolt up with a propane torch to the point of just being too hot to touch, and then spraying it with whatever magic lube you choose to use, also helps. This way, you're also using thermal shock to help loosen the corrosion.
Grab the appropriate tool and try removing the bolt. If it only comes loose a bit and then gets to the point you feel it's going to break, give it another hit with the penetrating lube and turn it back in. You may have to do this cycle a bunch of times, with each cycle the bolt coming out further. Hey, this takes a lot less time than what you have to go through if that bolt breaks off.
Here is another trick my engine-builder father-in-law taught me that seems to work great on cast iron, such as engine blocks. Heat the bolt and the area around it just enough to allow canning paraffin or candle wax to melt and follow the threads. I am not sure why or how it works but it does.
Now, let's go back to that broken bolt. If there is no stub sticking out, we have to improvise. Take the thickest flat washer you can locate with a center hole slightly smaller than the broken bolt's diameter. Place this over the bolt and carefully weld it to the bolt's shank. This is where a MIG-welder (i.e., "wire feed") comes in handy. (With a "stick" welder, it's a bit more difficult, but not impossible.) For obvious reasons, you want to be careful and not weld the washer to the material the bolt is screwed into. Now on top of the washer, weld on a nut. Let the weld cool a bit, and then put an ice cube on top of the washer/nut you welded on. We're trying to accomplish two things here: (1) We've got a place to grab onto with a wrench, and (2) we're applying a bit more thermal shock. Again, heat the part, apply a lubricant, and give it a try.
Once, on a large bolt that I knew was really going to be nearly impossible to remove, I sacrificed an impact socket and welded it directly to the washer. However, the welder may not solve every problem. Welding is a bit scary in some locations, and you may not have a welder handy. Or the part may not be accessible to a welder, or is broken off totally flush.
Our choice now is to drill a hole in the direct center of the bolt and use a properly-sized "easy out." This is a square-shanked pin that you drive into the hole and then turn, which hopefully will remove the bolt. Don't use an ordinary drill bit. Get yourself a left-turn bit from an industrial supply house, the reason being that its rotation direction is the same as the removal direction. Naturally, you also have to have a reversible driver. I've seen broken bolts come right out by just the drilling action. No such luck? Then insert the "easy out," and again, with some heat and penetrating oil, attempt to remove the bolt. Don't be a "gorilla" and break off the "easy out," as they're harder than any drill bit known to mankind.
That bolt still won't come out? Then it's back to the industrial supply house for another left-hand drill bit, slightly smaller than the bolt's diameter. Hopefully your first hole was dead center in the bolt, because now you're going to attempt to drill out everything but the threads. After the hole has been drilled, you may be able to pick out any remaining pieces with a sharp, pointed tool. Most likely, though, your hole wasn't dead center, and you damaged some of the threads. Hopefully, they'll clean up with a tap. If things are a bit on the loose side when reinstalling the bolt, you might want to use a chemical locking compound.
If you really screw up the threads during removal, then: (1) If you have room, you can drill and tap the hole to the next over size; (2) Drill it over size and install a thread insert. There are fairly inexpensive kits available to do this now; (3) Use some Loctite Form-A-Thread. What you do is fill the cleaned hole with the mixed material, put a release agent on a new bolt, and screw it in place. After 30 minutes, remove the bolt and let the material continue to cure for another 90 minutes. Then retorque the bolt in place. While it's not up to super torque loads, I've used it with success.
Plan on breaking off lots of bolts? There are some really trick bolt-removing specialty tools available from most tool supply houses, the tool trucks, and even Sears has a neat tool. Myself, I would rather take a bit of time and use lots of penetrating lube and say a little prayer to the bolt gods before I loosen a bolt.
Oh, and my buddy with the YJ offered this bit of advice. Whenever you remove a bolt that is subject to corrosion of any kind, use lots of antiseize. Sure it's messy to start with, but in the long run if you have to remove that bolt again, you're free and clear.
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