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Old 11-06-2015, 09:58 AM   #126 (permalink)
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This is a great tech thread, on a subject that doesn't come up nearly often enough . So thank you guys for bringin it up! I've been silently following along because I haven't ever researched the hydraulic action of power steering boxes in depth, though I'm extremely interested and the pieces are starting to fall together.

The system you guys have created looks like it works out pretty awesome, and using aftermarket components gives you more tuneability versus OEM. But I'm still curious if the weak points of the power steering box could be improved to a point where this might not be necessary in some cases. Fluid flow restrictions seem to be the big problem, due to that 1/8" return channel from the piston that doesn't have much material left to be opened up larger. Earlier someone asked if you could route an external line for that port similar to drilling and tapping for hydro assist. Well I did some searching, and it *seems* (I'm not holding one of these boxes, so I'm not claiming to know for sure) that there is potential to add an external line for that port. PSC has this awesome picture on their website showing what I interpreted to be the channel in question, horizontally cut into the box at the bottom of the pic.



On some (most?) boxes, seems completely external. Notice the rib running along the cylinder near the mounting bolt holes, that is the passage I'm thinking



PSC also mentions they drill out the ports in the piston to a larger diameter for fluid flow, I wonder how far that can be taken before negative consequences. (stock hole size on left piston, oversized on right)



There very well might be other restrictions in the box, I still have a lot to learn about this stuff . Definitely a good one though.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:00 AM   #127 (permalink)
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I'm a 4600 class driver. My rig does not even have hydraulic assist. Axle stops bump well before the steering gear.

I have broken multiple (new) boxes going straight.

That's what we are saying. It is critical that your steering box stops at the same time as your axle.

Your axle stops, but your steering box still has room to travel. The gap between the piston and the housing tells your pump to hydraulically try and force the steering box to keep turning. But the steering box can't keep turning because the axle is maxed out. So the pump is putting maximum PSI trying to force it. Something has to give. It's usually the steering box ripping off the frame or the sector shaft breaking.

It's a simple fix to the problem. If everything stops at the same time then none of the parts will try to over rotate and break components.

you could go out to your rig right now and go to full lock and lean on the steering wheel. You will witness the steering box try to move. That is because the box is telling the pump to force it to keep trying to turn it. But it can't travel any farther so it is binding itself. With the stops internally on the piston set up correctly so the piston truly touches the casting, it will tell your pump to bypass and not allow it to try and force it to keep turning.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:21 AM   #128 (permalink)
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That's what we are saying. It is critical that your steering box stops at the same time as your axle.

Your axle stops, but your steering box still has room to travel. The gap between the piston and the housing tells your pump to hydraulically try and force the steering box to keep turning. But the steering box can't keep turning because the axle is maxed out. So the pump is putting maximum PSI trying to force it. Something has to give. It's usually the steering box ripping off the frame or the sector shaft breaking.

It's a simple fix to the problem. If everything stops at the same time then none of the parts will try to over rotate and break components.

you could go out to your rig right now and go to full lock and lean on the steering wheel. You will witness the steering box try to move. That is because the box is telling the pump to force it to keep trying to turn it. But it can't travel any farther so it is binding itself. With the stops internally on the piston set up correctly so the piston truly touches the casting, it will tell your pump to bypass and not allow it to try and force it to keep turning.
This makes sense, but jr4x said that even with his box set to stop at the same time as everything else in the system it still breaks. He even goes on to say that it seems to break when the tire is lodged against an obstacle. Why is it that everything you're saying, he has contradicted with real world experiences? I know you've been doing this a long time, but they seem to have issues that Howe hasn't been able to fix without throwing more and more money at. 15k in 4 years on steering seems a bit steep to me. I like the system that jr4x came up with. It takes the steering requirements of the 4500 class and one ups it. You can keep the mechanical link, and essentially have full hydro steering with mechanical link feeling and feed back. Sounds like a winner for big street trucks as well.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:32 AM   #129 (permalink)
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I'm a 4600 class driver. My rig does not even have hydraulic assist. Axle stops bump well before the steering gear.

I have broken multiple (new) boxes going straight.
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This makes sense, but jr4x said that even with his box set to stop at the same time as everything else in the system it still breaks. He even goes on to say that it seems to break when the tire is lodged against an obstacle. Why is it that everything you're saying, he has contradicted with real world experiences? I know you've been doing this a long time, but they seem to have issues that Howe hasn't been able to fix without throwing more and more money at. 15k in 4 years on steering seems a bit steep to me. I like the system that jr4x came up with. It takes the steering requirements of the 4500 class and one ups it. You can keep the mechanical link, and essentially have full hydro steering with mechanical link feeling and feed back. Sounds like a winner for big street trucks as well.

You can achieve this same thing with a steering box and double ended ram. The steering box is your servo. Same thing, easier to mount. with The steering box you will still essentially have full hydro steering with mechanical link and feeling and feedback. You dont have to cut you steering shaft, add two u-joints for the servo and then do all the work to the box.

All I'm saying is the servo in front of the steering box is essentially the same thing as just running a steering box.

$15,000 is ALOT of money to spend on steering components to have them constantly fail. Give us a call if anyone wants to talk more into detail on this. Howe Performance had 8 of the top 10 finishers last year at King of the Hammers.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:23 AM   #130 (permalink)
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I have not verified this for myself and tried it out, but it is my plan. Woodward steering also makes a servo. To me, it looks better configured for hose routing than the Howe modified Sweet servo and the ports are large. The look to be almost the same size as a -6 line. I assume the comparison photo is the Sweet barrel valve. They have just about any size torsion bar you could want to run. In terms of quality, I have Woodward U joints in my steering shaft currently and they work very well. No issues for me. Top notch parts. I would assume the servo to be the same. I have contacted them about how much it flows, but they didn't give me a straight answer. Here is the info on it. The servo us offroad guys would be after is part VA955.

http://woodwardsteering.com/PDF/5.%2...em%20Parts.pdf

Edit: As a bonus, theirs is about a Benjamin cheaper than Howe's.

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Old 11-06-2015, 11:38 AM   #131 (permalink)
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When the vehicle is at ride height and you have all stops set at the same time alls well. At full stuff or full droop the stops will be greatly different in the box. Trac bar/three link suspension is all but impossible to get the same travel therefore the stops only all line up in one ride height. Try it turn all one way then jack the rig up and see what happens.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:39 AM   #132 (permalink)
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Guys, first things first, I have read this entire post. I have listened to your concerns and questions when you call. Please don't say we don't care. If we didn't care, I certainly wouldn't have created an account to post on here.
I didn't say you don't care, I said you don't listen when I talk. After 3 years now, I still feel that way and it sounds like I'm not alone. Don't take it personally though. I get the same thing from another place I deal with. They just haven't started an account to come here and try to refute my claims.

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JR4X, I would like to see your system that you can put a brand new steering box on and it instantly breaks going down a straight road.
Think of a trophy truck going 100mph plus over 3 foot tall whoops. That is a serious strain on the system.
Jeff has looked at the rig, 3 years ago on the lake bed. His solution was to limit everything at the same time, so it was done on the rig. We aren't breaking boxes going down a dirt road or in the whoops. To win you have to be able to roll through rock section at 10 to 15 mph. There is a straight line through here




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I get that you guys are bypassing the steering box and only using it as your "Mechanical Linkage" in hopes to use less flow and reduce heat.
The valve is what creates heat. There is no port on the steering box that restricts flow. We machine all of our housings to flow fluid properly. They are far from stock.
Like I said, the exact same internal parts that a Sweet Control valve has, are the exact same parts that a steering box has.
No it doesn't, the valve creates nothing. It has 1 inlet port and 3 out, all it does is decide which of 3 directions the fluid is supposed go. If we were to take the belt off the PS pump and drove around, how long would it take for the control valve to heat up the fluid?



In the very bottom of this picture, how are you porting the long thin line? You have told me it cant be done???

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For a racing application, We don't recommend running a TC pump. And the reason is, why have the steering slow you down? Personally I would want the fastest steering I possibly could have when racing. In order to have fast steering you need a lot of flow from the pump.
The reason why we try to stray away from this system is because there is a much better option. And the price when it comes down to it really isn't that big of difference. The better option would be to run the small piston steering box with our TT pump and double ended ram. Put your best foot possible forward before you get on that lake bed for KOH.
That's funny, it was Jeff that talked me into switching to a TC pump from the P-pump we were running before. You came in here to talk people out of this system as if its slow or not ideal, while we have 5 1st place trophy's from this season to go with our tech.


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You can achieve this same thing with a steering box and double ended ram. The steering box is your servo. Same thing, easier to mount. with The steering box you will still essentially have full hydro steering with mechanical link and feeling and feedback. You dont have to cut you steering shaft, add two u-joints for the servo and then do all the work to the box.

All I'm saying is the servo in front of the steering box is essentially the same thing as just running a steering box.
That's what I have been saying the whole time. This is still a ram assist setup, but now the hydraulic pump is only operating 1 ram, the one the axle. We have removed 100% of the steering force from the frame & box connection. I don't want the ram inside the box anymore AT ALL.

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$15,000 is ALOT of money to spend on steering components to have them constantly fail. Give us a call if anyone wants to talk more into detail on this. Howe Performance had 8 of the top 10 finishers last year at King of the Hammers.
I am not trying to talk people out of running your setup. Most the top finishers you are referring to crossed the line with the same servo we put on our rig. Its just that we have a mechanical box instead of a mechanical rack. At this point I seriously doubt you could talk my dad into taking this off the rig. Its not slow, its not sluggish, its way better than any incarnation of ram assist that either rig had before. In 14 the guys podium'd 7 of 11 races. All four DNF's were due to broken steering. In 15, not one failed steering component or lost race from failed steering. Look at my other thread too Justin, I give you guys a lot of shoutouts. I don't know what you would have to be upset about here. Either way people are buying parts from Howe. The reason I started this thread is because I have a PM inbox a year long full of requests of how we made this work. Also been accused of cheating and having full hydro. I thought it pretty important to show how its not full hydro.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:58 AM   #133 (permalink)
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As far as being slow or sluggish at anytime while setting on flat ground you can steer the jeep without the steering wheel just by turning the shaft by hand. It's quicker and easier than with assist.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:16 PM   #134 (permalink)
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Isn't the rack seen on most TT's this basic same concept just combined? A sweet valve putting fluid to a DE cylinder that happens to be mounted to the most basic form of a manual rack? This isn't reinventing the wheel. It's just applying it a little differently in an effort to solve packaging within the contraints of a solid axle and 3 link suspension right?




If a man wanted to sell a product that helped make this easier, I'd think it would look like a manual gear box with an external valve attached and sold with a matching DE cylinder that you mounted to the axle in lou of your tierod.. I'm sure hard core trail Jeepers would eat that up over full hydro if the steering feel is there.





I've wanted to replace the tierod with a DE ram on assist systems for years, just never got around to doing it. Good to see someone fine tune the idea.

So what if a man wanted to retain a nice 4 link without additional bell cranks and complexity at the chassis side? Thinking more on whats happening in this system and whats going on in the TT rack, couldn't you seperate out that TT racks ideas and set this up with a simple manual rack mounted on the frame to push/pull vs a steering box... (if you can find a decently strong one) Of corse you'll still need a bell crank on the axle or a chevy style steering arm on one knuckle.

I'm just thinking out loud here as we take this idea and push it into what will be the next generation of racing steering for solid axles..

-Tim
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:38 PM   #135 (permalink)
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To mix the 2 different ideas in this thread; couldn't one use a steering box as suggested by Howe, and drill & tap the box just as you would for std hydro assist. Then take the piston and make it free flow, along with blocking the ports allowing flow from the steering servo to the piston. If the box is truly the same servo as Howe states, it should work exactly like the system MUDDNUT has had success with.






On a side note, with a plate that bolted to the box where you plugged the hydro ports & a coupler to accept both box input splines and servo output splines, you could bolt the servo to the front of your steering box. But packing it all might mean remote is easier.

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Old 11-06-2015, 03:55 PM   #136 (permalink)
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The Sweet valve modified by Howe has a flow / pressure drop rating and max pressure rating.
If a servo of the same ratings can be put in a box and the ports are made available for external use only by a hydraulic ram and the box piston is disabled and sees no oil flow or pressure you have a simplified version. The box piston would not be able to hydraulically lock and overload the mechanical system.
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:14 PM   #137 (permalink)
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So what if a man wanted to retain a nice 4 link without additional bell cranks and complexity at the chassis side? Thinking more on whats happening in this system and whats going on in the TT rack, couldn't you seperate out that TT racks ideas and set this up with a simple manual rack mounted on the frame to push/pull vs a steering box... (if you can find a decently strong one) Of corse you'll still need a bell crank on the axle or a chevy style steering arm on one knuckle.

I'm just thinking out loud here as we take this idea and push it into what will be the next generation of racing steering for solid axles..

-Tim
If Im understanding you right, the setup your describing is already being tested and used by the #65 Kirby racing guys at KOH last year. Its def a cool concept and once the kinks are worked out it should be pretty sweet.

link to a thread that discusses some of there ideas (they are super secret about everything though ) https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/gener...y-koh-car.html
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:20 PM   #138 (permalink)
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When the vehicle is at ride height and you have all stops set at the same time alls well. At full stuff or full droop the stops will be greatly different in the box. Trac bar/three link suspension is all but impossible to get the same travel therefore the stops only all line up in one ride height. Try it turn all one way then jack the rig up and see what happens.
I was thinking the same thing. I know with everything set up properly you can keep bump steer to a minimum, and where it's not even noticeable to the driver. But I doubt it possible for the box stops, knuckle stops, and cylinder stops to stay 100% timed or synced up throughout suspension travel
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:55 PM   #139 (permalink)
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Why couldn't you use a single ended ram? Volume of fluid being different one way than the other? Could you use a double ended ram attached to swingers on each end and then go from those to your knuckles?
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This whole setup really seems right up your alley. I can't think of any reason it wouldn't work for you, and wouldn't work better than assist. The way the servo works it takes the volume of fluid it needs - single ended is fine. There was some discussion of that further up.
Packaging mostly. This is the largest ram I can fit, and the steering box needs to be where it is.



Yes, I've got plenty of room to incorporate the servo midway in the steering shaft, so technically I could implement everything as described here, but I don't know if this ram (1.5" x 6") has enough piston area on its own.

I do plan on running a mounted bearing to double-shear the sector shaft, and eventually I'm probably going to get an Evo TRE to replace the heim on the bottom of the pitman arm to gain more clearance there. I have one rec trip to Rausch on the 21st and then a local tough-truck race Dec. 5th, so we'll see what happens. So far it's been great.

edit: the bigger problem for me is the 'efficiency' of the steering linkage. Same as a standard drag link; once it's past horizontal, more and more of your steering force starts going lateral to the linkage rather than axial. I have half an idea on how to use two small single-ended rams behind the beams to high-steer knuckles and use the existing linkage just to 'time' the steering and activate the servo...we'll see.
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:25 PM   #140 (permalink)
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Packaging mostly. This is the largest ram I can fit, and the steering box needs to be where it is.



Yes, I've got plenty of room to incorporate the servo midway in the steering shaft, so technically I could implement everything as described here, but I don't know if this ram (1.5" x 6") has enough piston area on its own.

I do plan on running a mounted bearing to double-shear the sector shaft, and eventually I'm probably going to get an Evo TRE to replace the heim on the bottom of the pitman arm to gain more clearance there. I have one rec trip to Rausch on the 21st and then a local tough-truck race Dec. 5th, so we'll see what happens. So far it's been great.

edit: the bigger problem for me is the 'efficiency' of the steering linkage. Same as a standard drag link; once it's past horizontal, more and more of your steering force starts going lateral to the linkage rather than axial. I have half an idea on how to use two small single-ended rams behind the beams to high-steer knuckles and use the existing linkage just to 'time' the steering and activate the servo...we'll see.
I would put 2 single cylinders on each beam that are tied together vs trying a swing set. Should be similar to a double ended.
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:41 PM   #141 (permalink)
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edit: the bigger problem for me is the 'efficiency' of the steering linkage. Same as a standard drag link; once it's past horizontal, more and more of your steering force starts going lateral to the linkage rather than axial. I have half an idea on how to use two small single-ended rams behind the beams to high-steer knuckles and use the existing linkage just to 'time' the steering and activate the servo...we'll see.
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I would put 2 single cylinders on each beam that are tied together vs trying a swing set. Should be similar to a double ended.
For sure. 2) 1.5"x8" or so.......
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:00 PM   #142 (permalink)
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Very........Awesome..........Thread!!!!


From what i read, Justin was arguing an important issue with a very poorly setup steering system. All of the stops being set at the same time is a bit funny on a flexy rig.

Justin hasn't really acknowledged the fact that the biggest failure of the box is the mechanical parts fighting with the fluid parts while running in the center of the travel of the box. The ports aren't big enough to keep the fluid from hydro locking and causing mechanical failure.

With this setup the mechanical part of the box is separated from the fluid portion, so there can't be a hydro lock failure.

I'm sure with all the box failures, the valve portion wasn't damaged at all, just the mechanical portion of the box.

The jr4x system just took all the operations of the box and added needed volume to keep it from hydro locking. Basically keeping all the same systems, just moving the assist piston from the steering box to the ram on the axle. moving the control valve to the input shaft for an increase in volume for large impact issues. Also by removing resistance in the steering box, the piston can freely move without breaking teeth or popping pre load caps.

Since all of that is probably totally wrong, i'll add that using a light grease like dielectric to hold the balls in place while reassembling the box works pretty well. The grease is clear and light weight, so it doesn't interfere with movement when all together.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:52 PM   #143 (permalink)
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If all you have is a hammer...

Howe is missing the point that the goal is to move the heavy lifting closer to the action with the DE ram taking the abuse vs trying to fight specific failure modes through box mods. I don't see anything to gain in modifying OEM pattern boxes when there's a commercial option already there in the external servo that's been proven to be tunable/affordable/practical. TT's are cool and all, but how are solid axle mechanical steering TTs doing lately?

I haven't seen the word orbital come up in a while, but anybody that took apart an R/C servo as a kid figured out the basics of how servo feedback works. Most of the attraction to this setup for me is *not* worrying about finicky timing of stops through travel curves and wandering full-hydro valves. That it's setting the bar for 4500 is even better.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:35 PM   #144 (permalink)
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I would put 2 single cylinders on each beam that are tied together vs trying a swing set. Should be similar to a double ended.
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For sure. 2) 1.5"x8" or so.......
Yes...but the trick is, I'd still need the swingset to act as my 'tie rod', and I can't have the cylinders attached to that. Unless you get the geometry dead-nuts perfect for the entire range of travel, a fixed ram on either tie rod connected to the beam will fight the system. I don't want my suspension being limited because the steering is hydraulically binding.

Just seems tough to do without putting a lot of internal stress into the system. Probably why I've never seen it done before. For now it's working well and the feedback through the wheel is awesome, so I'll test it through the end of this season and see what the weak points are. Perhaps I'll change it over the winter.
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:02 AM   #145 (permalink)
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Yes...but the trick is, I'd still need the swingset to act as my 'tie rod', and I can't have the cylinders attached to that. Unless you get the geometry dead-nuts perfect for the entire range of travel, a fixed ram on either tie rod connected to the beam will fight the system. I don't want my suspension being limited because the steering is hydraulically binding.

Just seems tough to do without putting a lot of internal stress into the system. Probably why I've never seen it done before. For now it's working well and the feedback through the wheel is awesome, so I'll test it through the end of this season and see what the weak points are. Perhaps I'll change it over the winter.

If you Tee the left and right output hoses to each side so they would equal out and not fight each other. I do think that leaving your steering the way it is best. With the mods shown here....
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:51 AM   #146 (permalink)
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I've read this thread several times over and I have a couple of question that have been bugging me.

Theoretically you could you run an unmodified sweet servo with a 1.5" double ended ram? What valve would be ideal on the sweet servo? Sweets site shows valves available from 185 to 320. What does this value even mean? torsion spring size?
https://sweetmfg.biz/home.php?cat=36

It seems a lot of guys are only running 1.5" single ended cylinders for tradition hydro assist so why wouldn't a 1.5" double ended cylinder work for this set up? Just not enough power?

Howe's ram was originally mentioned as being ideal because of the smaller shaft size. How do i figure out which shaft size would be ideal for a 1.5" double ended ram? Surplus center seems to have a couple options for 1.5" double ended rams
1.5X6X1 DA HYD CYL SWIVEL EYES
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:33 AM   #147 (permalink)
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The 1.5 ram with small shaft is ideal for a hyd assist. That is not what is needed fro racing or hard hits. The system is an assist to the steering box that is hydraulically ran like stock. When you take the steering box hyd out of the system (like described in this thread) you need a bigger ram to handle the demand of strength and speed. Plus running a double ended ram allows you to have equal steering left to right. And the bigger shaft is stronger.

I do believe that it is possible to do what is said without buying the sweet valve. As doing all the mods to the box, but I do not think its worth it. It would take lots of porting and welding and even then might not be the same as a sweet system.

After reading this myself a bunch of times I finally have a complete grasp on what's happening. I cannot wait to apply this design into a build of my own. thanks a log guys!! And see you at the races.


BTW: Can one stand up the piston end up and just drill a few large holes thought the piston? So fluid transfers?

Shit if we open it enough we can probably runt he return through the box to lubricate it?
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:51 AM   #148 (permalink)
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You could drill holes through the piston. You just have to be careful of their placement so you don't drill through the grooves for the balls or into the lower depths of the teeth. I suppose you could run your return through the box but I don't think it would gain enough to justify all the extra hose connections. It gets pretty crowded with hoses under the hood when you run this system.
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Old 11-10-2015, 05:51 AM   #149 (permalink)
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According to PSC they have installed 8 of their kits in the last month alone. Anyone on here have any feedback? I have searched and can not find any threads, facebook post, or google search results. If they have been installing all these I can not believe everyone is keeping it a secret. I want to know if their system works before I shell out the cash to find out it is not as good as what I have now.
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:26 AM   #150 (permalink)
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According to PSC they have installed 8 of their kits in the last month alone. Anyone on here have any feedback? I have searched and can not find any threads, facebook post, or google search results. If they have been installing all these I can not believe everyone is keeping it a secret. I want to know if their system works before I shell out the cash to find out it is not as good as what I have now.
The only system that is proven is what Rants has run. The last thing I'd be doing is swapping in a system right before KOH that has not been proven.
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