Project Samurai, Part 7: Steering Upgrades with Howe Performance

Oct. 10, 2012 By By Rick Sieman and Wes Holmes/Fabricator

Project Samurai, Part 7

Most people think that power steering works off of pressure. Although pressure is a part of it, volume is what's most important. Howe’s pumps put out so much volume that you’re able to run hydro-boost, brakes, the front steering box and the rear steer all from one pump.  Jeff at Howe Performance has a ton of tricks that he does to accomplish these things. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to put the wrong style of fittings throughout the whole steering system. For example, people use a high-pressure crimp connector on the return side. This will starve your pump of oil. Proper hoses and fittings are crucial to the success of your steering system. We got ours at Parker, The Hose Advantage Store in Phoenix, AZ.

These are the fittings and hoses you should use on the return side. Be sure to check the website for the high-pressure tips.

After all your plumbing is complete be sure not to make one of the biggest mistakes made, and that is DO NOT USE TRANSMISSION FLUID!

It does not have the lubricating qualities needed for an off-road vehicle. An off-road vehicle is constantly spiking the pump. The pressures are constantly going up and down due to the terrain. Jeff highly recommends using GM power-steering fluid.
We also have Howe reservoirs in line with our system to protect our high-volume pumps and steering components. These reservoirs have bypass spin-on canister filters on them. This is a very important asset.

In-line filters are what most competitors use. An in-line filter is similar to an in-line fuel filter. It's made of paper and collects all the black trash that we've all seen in reservoirs. This quickly plugs up the filter. And because it has no by-pass, the hydraulic pressure overpowers the clogged-up paper, tearing it loose from the canister, washing the filter and its trash throughout the whole system.
Reservoir with canister filter.

Do not use this style of in-line filter.
Some will ask, "Why didn't we use full hydraulic steering?" Every rig I've ever ridden in that had hydraulic steering didn't handle well at all. There was no feel in the steering wheel and the steering never returned to center, making for poor conditions at higher speeds.
Howe Performance has the new technology to put the feel in hydraulic steering and also enables it to return to center, thus giving the feel of a steering box as if it had manual linkage. Howe also has a tip for putting your ram back together so that you don't cut your seal. By simply taking an Allen wrench the size of the port and gently sticking it into the port, you can push back the seal as you gently push the ram in, thus eliminating damage to the seal.

This is a trick to prevent damage to seal when installing ram.  
Making an internal stop for the steering box.
Welding stop to the internals of the steering box.

Howe Performance bench tests all their power steering pumps and boxes.
Howe Performance
12476 Julian Ave
Lakeside, CA 92040
Office Phone: (619) 561-7764
Email: [email protected]


Previous Project Samurai Stories
Part 6 - Exhaust, Driveshafts and Lighting

Part 5 - Instruments, Hoses and More

Part 4 - Engine and Fabrication Work

Part 3 - Roll Cage and Suspension Work

Part 2 - Fabricating the Suzuki Off-Roader

Part 1 - Project Samurai Begins Newsletter
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