F350 Hydraulic Assist Steering by EMF Rod Ends & Steering Components
This project was just a hydro assist on a 2006 ford F-350. It belongs to the Sunshine ski hill in Alberta, Canada. It spends it's life running up and down the ski out on a set of Matt Tracks loaded with kegs of beer and people to transport to and from the lodge. If you're at the hill the unit is called "Bonnie" .
Goal for the project:
To take some pressure off the steering system . With the hydro assist brakes and the strain of turning the tracks (on top of an already piss poor design) the pump is constantly wearing out. So with all of our problem shooting we decided it must have something to do with putting to much strain on the box. Ford has the worst wheel scrub out any truck in it's class, as well the power stroke sits so far forward, the amount of weight put on the front tires makes a bad situation even worse. If you own a ford you'll notice dry steering on pavement is almost impossible. Then when driving down the road they veer side to side.
By adding the assist we hope to relieve some of the force the box sees. Hydro assist doesn't assist until the steering hits a point of resistance (this is why you can't use a steering box as an orbital valve) Where we feel the most damage is happening is at this point. We're hoping that the ram engaging at this point will help prevent the sector shaft from sideloading so bad creating drag and a huge amount of heat. Thus causing early pump failure.
We started by making our EMF Small Hydro-Assist Ram and taking some measurements from the existing steering system
We ended up using the stock Tie Rod Ends that came with the vehicle, so we make some links to fit the threads
Once we made the design & measured up with EMF Ball Sockets, Links and the Ram we were good to start fabricating the mounts.
In the end what we wound up with was a double ended ram replacing the "tie rod". This way it's balanced and the driver won't experience the hydro assist "drag" when turning side to side. On a normal system the drag comes from the side of the ram that doesn't have the cylinder rod inside of it. I've always felt that this set up was completly retarded for street or high speed applications. This balanced set up has been something I've wanted to do for years. I have to say you can't even tell it exists when driving the vehicle. Their is no hydro feel at all . As fast as you can crank the wheel it steers. At speeds of up to 150 km in a test run it never created a problem. Part of the success of this set up was the volume of the ram not exceeding the stock pump out put and our ball sockets allowing us to tie the rod ends to the ram in a fashion the allows 0 movement. Something a clevis and rod end can't achieve.