Super-Easy Super Duty Steering
Do you have a fullsize truck that has giant tires, and steers like crap? So did we, until we in-stalled a Rock Ram from AGR. Our magazine's rig, the Ultimate Super Duty (see the buildup Aug. through Nov. '02), was a bit unusual because its giant tires were indeed giant 46-inch Michelins. The USD was really a handful when equipped with just the stock power steering, worse than driving a heard of turtles over greased linoleum to be exact. The response from steering wheel to tire was downright scary and made weaving in and out of traffic more like pinball than anything else. In fact, the word Jeff Nasi--our advertising director--used to describe the stock steering with the big tires while off road in Moab is not even PG-rated. The stock power-steering system is fine for a stock truck, but once you go big and actually use the vehicle on crazy off-road trails that make well-built rigs cringe, then you have problems, and broken sector shafts are big problems (read about that in Nov. '02).
Now you might have noticed that in the Super Duty buildup we didn't have time to install the AGR kit before the Ultimate Adventure, but since then we finally got it done. To get our kit set up we went to the shop of legendary off-road racer Curt Leduc. He does not usually just install Rock Ram's since the majority of his time is spent building high-end prerunners and race trucks, but he does use the product on the rigs he builds. We also agreed to mention the amazing trophy collection he has amassed if he would put the kit on our giant Ford. The install went easily and except for a slight leak issue that was easily remedied, it made the USD a luxury to drive. We can cruise street and trail and easily spin the wheel with one hand. The hydraulic ram assist makes pushing the big meats around comfortable and safe, not to mention the quicker response time.
Little Things Count
When you install the high-pressure line on the back of the pump be sure to replace the white Teflon ring with the new one included in the kit. This simple step was overlooked and ended up causing major problems. When the joint leaked initially we thought it was just loose, so we cranked down the fitting harder. This, however, did not seem to tighten the hose and was exactly opposite of what the new instructions say to do. The leak subsided a bit, but we believe the damage was already done as the pump was not working quite right. The pump was soon not giving enough pressure and leaking again. We finally got one of the current pumps instead of the prototype we started with, replaced the Teflon ring and the entire hose for safe measure, and now we have real power steering again. Don't forget the little things.