Petroworks Power Steering Kit
The first thing you'll wonder after you get this kit installed is why you waited so long to do it.
A Samurai's road manners are OK, but it's never been a vehicle to just let you kinda kick back and drive down the highway. On the trail, the Samurai can sometimes be downright cranky in the steering department. It takes lots of effort to turn when running aired-down big rubber, and it's likely to attempt to wrench your shoulders off in response to one wheel or the other meeting an obstacle. Petroworks' power steering kit greatly improves the Samurai's steering performance both on- and off-road.
The Petroworks kit consists of the necessary drag link, brackets, bolts, nuts, belts and pulleys to allow you to install readily available Toyota power steering components (which you provide) in place of the stock Suzuki manual steering components. You'll also have to provide your own power steering fluid and a short length of standard hose (for the low pressure return line). All the Petroworks fabricated metal parts are of welded steel construction. Fit was perfect, welds are excellent (something I've come to expect to see in Petroworks products), and the finish is good.
The reservoir bracket attaches to the driver's side of the block, as does the pump bracket. The Toyota power steering gear box attaches--also to the left side of the block--via the included frame bracket in place of your existing Suzuki steering gear box. Engine coupling is accomplished by replacing the stock single crank pulley with a flywheel-type dual v-belt pulley. Petroworks also includes a replacement Z-type drop drag link (that provides the correct end to fit the tie-rod-end-type Toyota Pitman arm) as well as two hoses sized and shaped to fit while still clearing the obstacles in the engine compartment.
The Toyota components Petroworks chose to design their kit around are beefier than are needed to accomplish the job. This results in steering that is darn near effortless on the highway and should hold up well under typical trail use.
Gone is the arm-wrenching, potentially finger-breaking behavior of the manual steering system on the trail. Power steering "decouples" the direct linkage present in manual steering between the wheels and the steering wheel, so hitting that big rock on the left isn't gonna suddenly try and yank your arms outta the sockets. Turning those big meats to follow the right line is no longer an exercise in body building, accompanied by grunting, straining and foul language. Instead, it's simply a response to the driver's choice for a particular direction of travel.
On the highway the Samurai handles like a dream, without wandering or significant over- or under-steer. My impression was that the steering ratio is essentially unchanged from stock. The ease with which the vehicle steers on the highway allows you to undertake long periods of driving with significantly less fatigue.
While not a "casual" kit (meaning you won't install this in an hour and hit the trail) the instructions provided are clear, assembly is straight-forward and any person with general mechanical skills should be able to accomplish it in a day. As always with any kit that modifies steering or suspension, significant care should be taken in installation, as your life may well depend on your work. Petroworks has taken pains to make sure that your installation should be both easy and correct.
The results are well worth every dime spent. I wish I'd had it installed before I did the Rubicon last year; I would have spent a lot less time fighting the truck through the trail, and a lot more time enjoying the scenery.
One caveat: those of you with factory air are going to have to make a tough decision, as the current kit does not fit Samurais with factory air conditioning installed.