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Why do I need a Power Steering Cooler?

A Hydraulic Closed Loop System:
Jeeps with hydraulic power assist steering are a closed loop system without filtering. This means when a pump fails, the steering gear should be replaced as well or vice versa. If this is not done, your new part could be contaminated causing yet another failure. It’s reasonable to even replace the hydraulic lines to do things properly. Needless to say, this could cost thousands of dollars.



Why does the system overheat to begin with?
In hydraulic system, there are inefficiencies and work being done. Think of it this way, if you need to push on the steering with more force, that takes a lot of effort, and with effort comes heat. Just like running or lifting heavy weights. If you're outside on a cool day than all is good, but if you’re in a small room with no air movement - thing are going to heat up. Think of your Jeep's steering when you’re crawling up a technical hill with little speed and sawing at the steering. Your engine is putting off heat, the steering pump is putting off heat and there’s little air movement while its 110F outside. All of those systems are heating up. It might tolerate it for a little while, but then the temperature starts to rise.

 
 
What happens now?
While the metal parts can tolerate fairly high temperature, the oil and seals cannot. When the oil heats up it becomes thin and offers less protection from rubbing or rotating parts. Once the oil overheats - it’s never the same even after cooling down. This then causes excessive wear or galling (adhesion between metals). If the system doesn’t lock up, it could send metal throughout and in doing so trashing everything in its way.
There are many seals and plastic parts in the steering system. These parts can start to melt/burn or deform causing leaks externally and internally. After this happens it's just a matter of time before a failure:
 


What do I do about this?
Get the heat out. The steering system can manage the pressures but not high temperatures. While power steering coolers aren’t new, the off road world requires something tough and over-engineered. That’s where we come in. By putting traditional coolers in a more efficient area far from other heat production, you end up putting it in an area where typical radiators would fail from rock strikes or other abuse. The APEX cooler is "take a five pound hammer to it" tough. Now that we can mount in the best location for cooling, it just works better. This is not a generic cooler made to fit, it was designed specifically in all ways to do its job in a power steering application on a Jeep. Might as well make it look nice while we’re at it.

Does everyone need it? No

Do I need it? Maybe…check the list. If you answer yes to any of the questions then yes you do:
  • Pull off your power steering reservoir cap. Does it look black and smell burnt?
  • Did you lift your Jeep with larger than stock tires?
  • Are you rough on your Jeep and give it hell off road?
  • Do you drive off road in desert or hot conditions (more than 100F)?
  • Do you rock crawl?
  • Like good looking stuff on your Jeep?
Maybe I don’t need it…check the list. If you answer yes to the following questions then maybe you don’t:
  • Do you only use it to pick up the kids at soccer?
  • Use it primarily to go to the mall?
  • Commute to work only?
  • Never leaves the paved road?
  • Trailer queen?

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