STEER YOU RIGHT
Four Wheeler|January 2021
A PSC Motorsports Big Bore XD steering box solved our Jeep’s steering woes
Harry Wagner

These days, 40-inch tires seem like the norm, and it isn’t uncommon for people to install hydraulic-assist steering on their street-driven 4x4s (or full hydraulic on trail-only-buggies). Our ’06 LJ has 37-inch tires and the factory steering system definitely didn’t like to turn them when they were aired down on the trail. We assumed that we needed hydraulic-assist steering, but after talking to Tom Allen at PSC Motorsports he explained that might not be the case. PSC Motorsports offers a whole host of options for ’87-current Jeep Wranglers.

Given our tire size and the amount of road miles we drive, Allen recommended the company’s Big Bore XD replacement steering box. The Big Bore box is a bolt-on upgrade for ’03-’06 Wranglers that replaces the factory ZF steering box. A German steering box on a Jeep? You may recall that in 2003, Mercedes-Benz purchased Chrysler, and at that time they switched steering box suppliers from Delphi to ZF. “These are the same basic boxes that Mercedes put on passenger cars in the ’80s,” Allen revealed. So, PSC offers an all-new 8200 Series box with a larger-diameter piston to increase torque output and a ported internal valve skirt and custom-machined torsion bar.

We had initially suggested that we could perhaps use a fish scale to measure the steering effort necessary to turn the factory box and the new Big Bore XD box. “I can make you a box that is super easy to turn, but I don’t think you will like it on the road,” Allen cautioned. “That is a function of the torsion bar in the steering box, it changes the steering effort, but has zero effect on the output torque.” Just like in a suspension system, the thickness of the torsion bar in your steering box affects its resistance to twisting. The torsion bar in the steering box slides inside the input shaft and is twisted when the steering wheel is turned. PSC sent us two Big Bore XD steering boxes with different torsion bar thickness so we could test them for ourselves. And like Allen warned, the lighter steering effort seemed great at first blush in the parking lot, but at higher speeds the lack of road feel had us making constant corrections.

We also learned that “steering system” is an important term during our conversations with Allen. “There are a number of factors that will affect steering effort and strength,” he explained. “Yes, you can just add a big hydraulic ram, but that could also result in slow steering and cavitation if you just slap it on to your current steering system.” We added a CBR-style steering pump from PSC after installing the new Big Bore XD box to complete our steering system. The new pump is considerably quieter than our stock steering pump was when turning aired-down 37-inch tires in the rocks. Our new steering system works just as well on the street, too, and we love that it is scalable should we decide to add a hydraulic-assist ram in the future.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FOUR WHEELERView All

OVERLAND ADVENTURE 2020: PART 2

Exploring the Gold King Mine and more of Arizona’s historic backcountry

5 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2021

FULLSIZE BRONCO SAS

I’ve been looking into solid axle swapping my fullsize ’92 Bronco for a while now. The TTB frontend is wearing out my tires in weird pattens and they aren’t lasting very long.

7 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2021

How do you trailside camp?

Fact: For most of us, camping and wheeling go together. It’s a safe bet that where there’s folks gathered to wheel for more than a day there’s probably camping involved.

2 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2021

THE 2020 ULTIMATE ADVENTURE LONG RANGE JEEP

Part 5: Fuel, exhaust, bumpstops, cooling, and more

7 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2021

Quadratec's YJ

Don’t let the square headlights fool you too much, this is a JL with some crafty throwbacks to the ’87-’95 Jeep Wrangler. It all started when Quadratec, a shining star in the Jeep aftermarket world, turned 30 years old.

1 min read
Four Wheeler
May 2021

If your garage could talk, what story could it tell?

I found a photo of my garage from several years ago and posted it on my @christianhazelofficial Instagram page with the question, “If your garage could talk, would it have much to say?” For gearheads, the garage is hands down the most important room in the house and the activity center for waking hours.

2 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2021

2020 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED RUBICON ECODIESEL

First report: Diving right in with camping and crawling

3 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2021

DIESEL-POWERED ADVENTURE TRUCK

It’s more than a K20 with patina

3 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2021

2021 SUV OF THE YEAR

Enter the battleground

10+ mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2021

2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited

Second Report: Into the dirt and towing trailers

3 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2021
RELATED STORIES

MERCEDES ROLLS OUT LUXURY ELECTRIC CAR IN DUEL WITH TESLA

Daimler AG unveiled a battery-powered counterpart to its top Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan as German carmakers ramp up their challenge to electric upstart Tesla.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #495 *Special Edition

National Cycle VStream Sport Windscreen for Honda Africa Twin

There are many ways to improve motorcycle rider comfort, covering everything from bar risers to footpegs. Having done almost all of them, I decided to switch out my stock windscreen to see if it made a difference, especially on long trips.

1 min read
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)
March - April 2021

WIDE RECEIVERS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS

Allen Robinson II, Bears 6-2 • 220 pounds • 27 years old Coming off a 102-catch season, Robinson is a big, physical receiver who can go up and get the rock. He excels at climbing the ladder to high-point the ball. Imagine what he can do with an elite QB after playing in Jacksonville and Chicago. Though he has been in the league since 2014, he’s still only 27.

2 mins read
Bills Digest
March 29, 2021

WIDE RECEIVERS

WIDE RECEIVERS

3 mins read
Warpath
March 2021

Counting down the top stories of 2020

The 2020 season was unlike any other year for the Miami Dolphins and every other team around the NFL because of all the challenges and obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

4 mins read
Dolphin Digest
February 2021

Suddenly, the possibilities seem endless

After Josh Allen sprinted into the end zone for the second time, Vic Fangio had his made-for-TV moment.

4 mins read
Bills Digest
January 4, 2021

Five hot topics Bills fans are talking about

Bills Digest editor Mark Ludwiczak and editor-at-large Chris Brown weigh in on a handful of the hottest subjects Bills fans have been sounding off about in e-mails to our offices, radio call-in shows and Internet message boards. Have an opinion? Feel free to send an email to Chris (AskChris@bills.nfl.net) or Mark (Mark@asmpublishing.com).

5 mins read
Bills Digest
January 4, 2021

Benchmark

MERCEDES RE-ESTABLISHES THE THREE-POINTED STAR AS THE SYMBOL OF THE LUXURY SEDAN

10 mins read
Motor Trend
January 2021

FORWARD PROGRESS

Bills control AFC East at season's halfway point

9 mins read
Bills Digest
November 15, 2020

All That Jazz

Fender’s beloved Jazz Bass hits 60 years old this year. We meet Allen Abbassi, Senior Product Development Manager, for a look back—and forward—on the subject of the mighty J...

6 mins read
Bass Player
December 2020