Flat Out for Moab – Power Steering Hoses Part 1

Something like installing power steering hoses on your old Jeep really should not require a part 1 and part 2. But there it is, right in the title. The clue that things didn’t go all that well.

I’m still not panicked, even though I really only have 3 weekends left that I can work on the Flattie to get it ready for this cross-country trip and week of four wheeling. I’m not sure if that’s ignorant bliss or just plain denial, but I’m running with it for now.

I had followed the advice of John Cappa and purchased remanufactured power steering box from NAPA. The box did indeed have the proper Pitman arm shaft diameter and spline count to match my ancient custom Pitman arm, and the correct input shaft for my Flaming River steering joint. I thought I’d follow the theme of using readily available replacement part instead of tricky-dicky race car parts that I’m more fond of. I picked up power steering hoses at my local Auto Zone for a 1976 Chevy truck, which should be long enough to reach between the box and pump, and will have the same thread as my box, which is for a 1974 Camaro. The 1965-1979 GM/Saginaw steering boxes use standard inverted flare fittings (11/16-inch on the high-pressure side and 5/8-inch on the low side). What I forgot was that the power steering box that I bolted to the engine two years ago was one of those tricky-dicky race car parts, and uses the later, O-ring style hose fittings. And, it already had a -6 AN flow control valve installed.

After the swearing subsided, I did reviewed my options. Go get an old-style replacement power steering pump with the old fittings. With this option, I’d spend a little money and have to disassemble about half of the aftermarket engine accessory brackets and pulleys. I’d also have to press the pulley on and off the pump, and getting this lined up perfectly the first time took some effort. I wasn’t thrilled about this option. The next idea was to build a set of AN fittings. I did this for my hot rods, and I prefer AN hose and fittings over compression fitted hoses. Of course, the drawback is that you can’t run into NAPA or AutoZone as you drive across country for replacements if something fails. I decided this was the route for me. I found KRC steel steering box fittings that will connect with -6 AN hose. I also ordered 6 feet of Russel PowerFlex hose that is rated for use in power steering systems, three 90-degree hose ends completed the order for everything at jegs.com…$110 delivered. Not bad.

So now I wait for the parts to arrive, and maybe slightly warmer weather for me to wrench out in the shop.

Follow along on Facebook and here on BanHammer4x4.com for the adventures, both in the garage before the trip and along the highway in this Flat Out for Moab series.