A few months back, our Super Duty took quite a scary turn for the worst when the sector shaft snapped completely in half, leaving our truck with absolutely no steering input from the driver. We count our lucky stars that this happened at very low speeds and in the dirt, but it could have just as easily happened somewhere and sometime much worse. The sector shaft showed signs of rust at least halfway through the core of the shaft-meaning that the sector shaft had been cracked and ready to snap for some time. With 40-inch tires and a giant crew cab body and frame, our truck's steering box couldn't just be replaced; we had to upgrade or we'd just be looking at the same problems down the road. Off Road Unlimited had our solution in the form of a ram-assist steering kit for our Super Duty truck. Hydraulic ram-assisted steering uses steering pump-pressurized fluid to move the ram's shaft either in or out (turning the wheels left or right) in conjunction with the steering box. Not only does this system give much more power to turn heavy tires (with wide contact patches) at a dead standstill, it also significantly decreases the amount of leverage placed on the steering box's sector shaft. We headed down to McComas Auto Body in San Jacinto, California, to install our box in under a day. You might remember Mike McComas as the mastermind behind the Bob's Big Boy Ramcharger featured in our May 2010 issue. Mike and his crew were kind enough to help us install the Off Road Unlimited hydraulic ram steering assist kit to our downed truck. Once the steering assist kit was on, not only was our steering system much stronger and safer, it was amazing how easily we were able to turn our tires at a dead standstill. 1. The Off Road Unlimited (ORU) hydraulic ram-assist steering kit comes with a new steering box, the hydraulic lines and fittings, and the ram and brackets to install it.1. The Off Road Unlimited (ORU) hydraulic ram-assist steering kit comes with a new steerin 2. Though our old box wasn't internally worn out, the whole broken-in-half sector shaft deal sort of necessitated a new power steering box. Even with the broken shaft, this still counts to get the $450 steering box core charge reimbursed.2. Though our old box wasn't internally worn out, the whole broken-in-half sector shaft de 3. The provided power steering box is already ported and ready to accept the high-pressure hydraulic lines that are pre-cut and assembled for you.3. The provided power steering box is already ported and ready to accept the high-pressure 4. The hydraulic lines are provided in the ORU package. It is very important to specify which diesel engine you have, or if you have a gas engine in your Super Duty. The 6.0L engine-equipped trucks require 90-degree fittings at the steering box, whereas the 7.3L uses 45-degree fittings.4. The hydraulic lines are provided in the ORU package. It is very important to specify wh 5. McComas and his crew got the steering box up into place for fitment to make sure the lines would clear and everything was kosher. Mocking up every install is always a great idea because things don't always fit like directions say they're supposed to, due to modified parts or wrong applications. Luckily, our steering box and high-pressure hoses fit with just millimeters to spare. It's no wonder that the 6.0L trucks require the 90-degree fitting instead of the 45-degree fittings.5. McComas and his crew got the steering box up into place for fitment to make sure the li 6. ORU provides a very nice bracket that bolts on top of the differential cover and provides a solid mounting point for the hydraulic ram. It bolts directly onto stock differential covers or ORU aluminum covers.6. ORU provides a very nice bracket that bolts on top of the differential cover and provid 7. Unfortunately, we didn't have a stock cover or an ORU cover, so we had to do some modifying to get the bracket to fit. Remember what we mentioned about mocking things up first? Luckily, we found this out early in the morning and McComas Auto Body had the right connections. McComas ran over to his friend's shop and used a mill to get our hydraulic ram bracket to fit onto our existing differential cover. Its little things like this kind gesture that makes the difference between good shops and great shops for us.7. Unfortunately, we didn't have a stock cover or an ORU cover, so we had to do some modif 8. Once the diff cover was milled, the ram's bracket fit on with no troubles. 9. We got weld-on tabs to attach our hydraulic ram to the steering tie rod. ORU also has universal tab kits available that use U-bolts to fix the tabs to the tie rod. If you don't have access to welding gear, the U-bolt-and-tab kit is a great way to go since this kit is otherwise completely bolt-on.9. We got weld-on tabs to attach our hydraulic ram to the steering tie rod. ORU also has u 10. It can be a hassle just trying to tighten the jam nuts in place to keep the ram from turning on the rod ends.10. It can be a hassle just trying to tighten the jam nuts in place to keep the ram from t Also make sure to only tack the ram's tabs onto the tie rod if welding (once you think you found the correct position), and test out everything again before finishing the welds.Also make sure to only tack the ram's tabs onto the tie rod if welding (once you think you 11. Once the steering box was in, the bracket was mounted to the differential, and the high-pressure lines were plumbed to the ram, McComas turned the tires back and forth to see how much throw the ram had (compared to the tie rod). We're glad he did because we found that our particular setup allowed the ram to travel past what the steering box and linkage allowed, meaning that the hydraulic ram would stress the steering components at full steering lock (still wanting to travel further). McComas's crew simply cut this small spacer for our ram and inserted it onto the shaft.11. Once the steering box was in, the bracket was mounted to the differential, and the hig 12. They then reassembled the hydraulic ram, installed the shaft's rod end, and tested once more before finishing the welds onto the tabs.12. They then reassembled the hydraulic ram, installed the shaft's rod end, and tested onc 13. As a final touch of class to show what type of work McComas Auto Body does, they drilled the head of each steering box bolt and safety wire tied them, just in case.13. As a final touch of class to show what type of work McComas Auto Body does, they drill Sources McComas Auto Body Inc. 1535 S. Buena Vista St. San Jacinto CA 92583 951-654-7293 www.mccomasautobody.com Off Road Unlimited (Burbank) 300 N. Victory Boulevard Burbank CA 92504 818-848-2020 www.offroadunlimited.com By Jerrod Jones Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!