2006 LLY Hydro Assist Info

Snoobly

New member
May 17, 2021
5
0
1
Denver, CO
Good morning folks,
I have been reading for the past couple of weeks about hydraulic assist, so yes, i have searched this site and many others regarding the topic and cannot confirm what I am looking for. Only saying this in hopes that the first reply I get won't be "search!" 🍻 I try to do most of my own upfront research.

Quick history: I had installed a redhead gear coming up on 2 years ago now and it was great! Tightened up the sloppy mess i had in the steering wheel and loved it. We do take this truck into the rocky mountains and pull our camper with it frequently. When i say we take it into the Rockies, I mean we actually off-road with it to get to our camping spots. So needless to say, my steering system sees a decent amount of stress.
I have been having trouble steering at low speeds again and I can hear noises when the system is warm. I have replaced pump and hydro-boost thinking there is no way the Redhead gear is bad already. Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that the Redhead must have seen too much stress.

The Plan: So I want to help keep the stress on the gear lower this go around with a Hydraulic assist ram.
I have ordered a Blue Top steering gear with the tapped ports for hydro assist - Should be here tomorrow.
I have install a new 07+ power steering pump, which from my understanding contains more veins - my research led me to believe this would help with the added load of an assist ram.
I am looking at buying a PSC ram with 8" of stroke, but i want to be sure this isn't too little or too much stroke.

The Question: Can anyone who has installed an assist Ram chime in on what size they purchased for their setup?
Link to the PSC Hydro cylinder I am looking at: LINK
Can anyone advise me if going to the local hydraulic shop and picking up a ram that is similarly sized will get me pretty much the same results?
Are there any other pieces of advice others could offer regarding the power steering system? Or anything else for that matter.


Maybe this isn't as complicated as I am making it out to be, but want to be sure I am getting everything right. I will try to take photos and can do a small write up since i can't really find much in depth information out there on the topic. Maybe I am using the wrong keywords! 🤷‍♂️

Getting ready to be away from home for an extended period, so hammering out all the maintenance on this thing. EG the rockers were getting pretty bad, so cut them out yesterday and getting ready to tack the new ones in this week. Oil change, fluid check, stainless brake lines, etc! Also looking to put a power steering cooler on it since the whole system is torn apart anyway.Truck.JPG Picture of the rig as of a couple months ago when we were getting ready for a week out in MOAB. I know the pic says four days, but we enjoyed it so much we extended our trip to 7 haha!
Thanks in advance for any constructive input that others can provide!🍻
 
Last edited:

clrussell

pro-procrastinator
Sep 23, 2013
5,688
195
63
Watching.

although I can’t see why you’re killing upgrades stock boxes on more or less stock size tires. Outside the fact the boxes don’t last like they used to.
 

Snoobly

New member
May 17, 2021
5
0
1
Denver, CO
Watching.

although I can’t see why you’re killing upgrades stock boxes on more or less stock size tires. Outside the fact the boxes don’t last like they used to.
Potentially upgrade to a small lift and bigger tires in the future.
Also to help the gearbox last longer. I understand they are the weak point, so I would like to alleviate some of the stress on the gearbox. I don’t particularly enjoying replacing gearboxes every two years either, so hope this would help reduce the amount of time I spend replacing gearboxes. 😁
 

clrussell

pro-procrastinator
Sep 23, 2013
5,688
195
63
Potentially upgrade to a small lift and bigger tires in the future.
Also to help the gearbox last longer. I understand they are the weak point, so I would like to alleviate some of the stress on the gearbox. I don’t particularly enjoying replacing gearboxes every two years either, so hope this would help reduce the amount of time I spend replacing gearboxes. 😁

I get that.. that’s the reason I haven’t put a new one on my truck yet, it needs it but I know all the parts are shit anymore and I’m just starting a cycle of replacing them. Lol.

although I’m on a 4” and 35s, but my truck turns great as is even sitting still.
 

Chevy1925

don't know sh!t about IFS
Staff member
Oct 21, 2009
19,156
1,636
113
Phoenix Az
i would call PSC or power steering specialties. you will need a different pump as the stock pump wont supply enough volume. Either one of them will know what stroke ram to supply you (may even have a kit) but you can figure it out pretty easy. turn full lock to one side with someone inside holding it fully locked. find a point on the frame and the centerlink to measure from and take a measurement. now have the person in the driver seat turn the wheel to full lock the other direction and measure to the same points you measured before on the centerlink and frame. that should get you very close to the ram stroke you need.

one thing to remember and you probably wont even notice with the size tires you are running BUT on a single ended ram, one direction of it will have more power to it than the other. this is due to the shaft taking up room on one side of the piston vs the other side having nothing. if you go bigger tires and try using 4wd on slick rock in moab with 10psi in the tires, you might feel the difference... but thats a big "might".
 

Snoobly

New member
May 17, 2021
5
0
1
Denver, CO
i would call PSC or power steering specialties. you will need a different pump as the stock pump wont supply enough volume. Either one of them will know what stroke ram to supply you (may even have a kit) but you can figure it out pretty easy. turn full lock to one side with someone inside holding it fully locked. find a point on the frame and the centerlink to measure from and take a measurement. now have the person in the driver seat turn the wheel to full lock the other direction and measure to the same points you measured before on the centerlink and frame. that should get you very close to the ram stroke you need.

one thing to remember and you probably wont even notice with the size tires you are running BUT on a single ended ram, one direction of it will have more power to it than the other. this is due to the shaft taking up room on one side of the piston vs the other side having nothing. if you go bigger tires and try using 4wd on slick rock in moab with 10psi in the tires, you might feel the difference... but thats a big "might".

Thanks for the input!
I will give a call to those companies and see what they have to say.
I actually crawled under the truck last night and did exactly that. My finding are as follows for those that may follow this thread in the future. Please note the measurements are approximate.

Full Steer Left - Stabilizer fully retracted: ~13.5 - 14 inches
Full Steer Right - Stabilizer fully extended: ~19.5 inches
Stabilizer rod stroke: ~7 inches
These measurements were taken from center bolt to center bolt.

I haven't contacted PSC yet, but right now i am planning on a pretty small assist cylinder. I only want to assist the gear box, not completely take over. Plus it seems if you go larger bore, it's tough to get a short enough retracted length to not lose the lock to lock functionality.

1" Bore x 8" Stroke.
.625 Dia. Rod.
Fully Retracted is 14".
Fully Extended is 22".
Link to what I plan to purchase at this point (may change after talking to PSC): HERE
My thoughts right now are that i may need to relocate the stationary bracket on the frame ever so slightly to not lose lock to lock functionality.
Photos attached of connection points. You can visually see where one would cut the "stationary bracket" on the frame and move it ever so slightly towards the driver's side (left). Probably wouldn't hurt to weld a slightly thicker/reinforced bracket as well.

As for the pump, research says that at idle, it should be doing somewhere between 1.25-2 gpm. Quite the range. I will keep looking for more definite information.
I plugged my planned ram size and flow in and I am thinking we should be okay with the stock pump. PDF attached of calcs.

I have reached out to PSC. We will see what their input is and if I am all screwed up! Will post back my findings.
 

Attachments

  • Hydraulic Cylinder Calculator.pdf
    462.8 KB · Views: 2
  • Mobile Connection Point.jpg
    Mobile Connection Point.jpg
    307.5 KB · Views: 21
  • Stationary Bracket.jpg
    Stationary Bracket.jpg
    338.1 KB · Views: 21

Snoobly

New member
May 17, 2021
5
0
1
Denver, CO
Following up on this for others that may be considering doing a Hydro Assist.

Ended up doing a full renew on the system as i do not want problem for awhile.
Installed:
Reman Hydroboost unit from O'Reilly
Reman AC Delco 07+ 12 Vane Power Steering Pump
New Blue Top Steering gear with the ports for the hydro assist
1" Bore x 8" stroke, .625 Rod Diameter, Hydraulic Cylinder with swivel eyes from Surplus Center. (PART #:9-12228-8 LINK)
New Power Steering Cooler

Research has told me that this pump at idle should pump about 1.25 gallons on the low side, closer to 2 gallons on the high side.
Watching some videos and scanning forums, the pressure should be somewhere between 1250 and 1500 PSI from the pump.
There are several different websites you can use to calculate the pressure, I used PRESSURE CALCULATOR.
Results below, I used the low end of everything. I also used ANOTHER PRESSURE CALCULATOR to find the FT/LBS applied. The numbers aren't huge, but 598 LBS of pressure on the rod side and 982 LBS on the bore side.
I did notice easier steering turning right (the Bore side). My hope is that these assisted pressures will take a little pressure off the steering gear and help me in the parking lot, and when hooking to trailers. No my tires are not over sized, i may upgrade in the future, but i could not turn previously when standing still.

If anyone is considering doing this, here is a brief, high level write up.
1. You will need a gear box that is tapped for additional lines. Blue Top and Red Head* both offer this with their new gears. ~$400
2. Hydraulic Cylinder of your choice. I wanted to keep it as short possible to minimize customization needs, hence the size listed above. ~$100
3. 28" Hydraulic Hose with a JIC -6 Female on one end (Could do 90 elbow or straight, i did straight) SAE-6 on the other (I would 90 Elbow this one for sure) Note that the SAE fitting is not flared. It's a newer style with a rubber o-ring gasket at the shoulder. ~$50
4. I bought 18" and i think it's too short. I would recommend bumping up to a 22" or so. Same fittings as above. ~$50
5. Probably optional - I would upgrade to the 12 (from 10 vane) vane power steering pump found on the 07+ trucks. Little more fluid movement from what i understand. ~$160
6. New Power Steering Fluid (Gallon was sufficient, I just used Prestone). From my reading, the GM recommended fluid isn't anything special, just a normal grade hydraulic fluid. $20
7. Power Steering Cooler - Recommended $40

I replaced the steering stabilizer with the hydraulic cylinder. They hydraulic cylinder now acts as the steering stabilizer as well.
I mounted the rod end of the cylinder to the connection point of the stabilizer. I had to remove some diameter of the metal so that the 1/2" eye hole would fit.
You may be able to use the existing mounting locations of the stabilizer for the other side of the cylinder, but my measurements were saying it would probably be cutting it about 1/4" -1/2" too short. If you could live with reduced steering radius, this may not be an issue. I wanted my full steering radius, so i welded an new mount about 2" back (towards the driver side) so that i still had some extension on the hydraulic cylinder left in either direction.
I think the photos can tell the story better than i can at this point.
I will try to update how the system performs after i get some more miles and get it nice and hot while towing through the mountains etc.

*Quick review on the two now that i have had both- The Red Head was a great unit. My steering was nice and tight. I would purchase again. Only reason i didn't go with them is because the Blue Top was cheaper and I talked to Ryan (the owner) briefly to pick his brain on a couple of things. Also once I received the gear, i had a couple more questions and someone was there to answer the phone each time. That's pretty neat! Red Head didn't answer their phone once. So far on my quick drive with the Blue Top, steering is nice and tight again, i think it may be a touch tighter than it was with the Red Head. Very Smooth so far. I'll try to remember to post back how it's holding up after a few thousand miles.
 

Attachments

  • Hydro Assist1.jpg
    Hydro Assist1.jpg
    309.5 KB · Views: 16
  • Hydro Assist2.jpg
    Hydro Assist2.jpg
    315.9 KB · Views: 18
  • Hydro Assist3.jpg
    Hydro Assist3.jpg
    252.5 KB · Views: 18
  • Hydro Assist4.jpg
    Hydro Assist4.jpg
    279.8 KB · Views: 17
  • Hydro Assist5.jpg
    Hydro Assist5.jpg
    263.7 KB · Views: 16
  • Hydro Assist6.jpg
    Hydro Assist6.jpg
    312.8 KB · Views: 16
  • Pressures.JPG
    Pressures.JPG
    149.1 KB · Views: 15
  • Pressures2.JPG
    Pressures2.JPG
    141.5 KB · Views: 14