Measuring the steering travel of your 4x4 vehicle or Jeep Wrangler is a crucial step before adding an aftermarket hydraulic steering assist system. This measurement ensures that you choose the right hydraulic ram to get the steering assistance that you need. But, don't worry, measuring steering travel is a straightforward process and requires only basic tools.
To measure your vehicle's steering travel, first, park your ride on a flat surface and turn off the engine. Ensure that the wheels are pointed straight ahead and the steering wheel is centered. Then, locate the axle and the tie rod, which is the component that connects the steering gearbox to the wheels.
Next, clamp a steel square to the axle as close to the tie rod as possible. It is essential to make sure that the steel square is perpendicular to the axle and parallel to the ground. This guarantees accurate measurements.
Now, it's time to turn the steering wheel to the extreme left and mark the tie rod's location with a permanent marker or paint marker. Then, turn the steering wheel to the extreme right and mark the tie rod's location again. Ensure that the steel square remains stationary while turning the steering wheel to get an accurate measurement.
After making two marks, use a tape measure or ruler to measure the distance between them. Measure the distance between the steel square side of each mark, rather than the centers or outside edges, for the most accurate measurement of your steering travel.
The distance between the two marks determines your vehicle's total steering travel. This measurement is crucial in selecting the right hydraulic ram for your aftermarket hydraulic steering assist system. You need to choose a hydraulic ram that can provide sufficient assistance to handle your vehicle's steering travel without putting too much strain on the system.
When choosing a hydraulic ram, you need to consider your vehicle's weight, tire size, and the terrain you will be driving on. Heavy tires or rocky terrain may require a larger diameter hydraulic ram to assist turning. For this JK Wrangler we measured 151mm (just under 6") of steering travel and decided on a 1.5" bore hydraulic ram assist kit.
Before adding an aftermarket hydraulic steering assist system, you also need to ensure that your steering system is in good condition. Check your tie rods, steering box, and steering pump for any signs of wear or damage. Replace any worn or damaged components before adding a hydraulic steering assist system.
In conclusion, measuring the steering travel of your 4x4 vehicle or Jeep Wrangler is easy and requires only basic tools. Clamping a steel square to the axle and marking the tie rod at the extreme left and right positions helps determine your steering travel and choose the right hydraulic ram for your aftermarket hydraulic steering assist system. Before adding an aftermarket hydraulic steering assist system, ensure that your steering system is in good condition. With the right tools and a little bit of know-how, you can get your 4x4 vehicle or Jeep Wrangler ready for any off-road adventure!