Is your modified power steering pump running hot?

After modifying my power steering pump for higher pressure at idle speed I found out that the pump would now overheat and get REAL hot from working harder than it was designed to do from the factory. After a trip to the auto parts stores convinced me that I didn't want to adapt an aftermarket tranny cooler (cheapest... $29!) I decided to make a parts run to a local boneyard and scavenge something usable.

While I was there I came across several good candidates including Crown Victoria Ford police cars that have a combined power steering / transmission cooler located on the bottom of their radiator crossmember. (A good score if ya can find one that's not damaged.) I grabbed one of those but then I stumbled across the 'Mother of All Power Steering Coolers' on a Ford F250 work truck!
This darn thing probably holds 1/2 quart of fluid and if you scavenge the clamps and hoses while you're there all you'll need to buy are a couple of bolts and locknuts to hold it in place and some NEW high temperature transmission line hose. Plus ya can leave the power tools in the garage since XJ's have a couple of holes perfectly located to hold it! Be sure to scavenge plenty of extra clamps while you're there.

Note! - The Ford sheet metal screws that hold the cooler to the truck will work and fit your predrilled XJ holes but are just BARELY large enough to keep it in place. I suspect they'd work loose over time so I just used 1/4 - 20' bolts with lock nuts instead. The bolts cut their own threads since the holes were almost too big and a couple of washers & locknuts keep things tight.

What you'll need:

* - Boneyard F250 power steering cooler with clamps, mounts etc.
* - More heater hose size clamps scavenged from the boneyard.
* - 3' or so of NEW high temperature transmission hose
* - Couple of 1/4 - 20 bolts, washers & lock nuts.
* - Power steering fluid to refill with. (I use Valvoline Synthetic, ~ $3 quart.)

You should be able to do everything for well under $10 including the cooler.

Here it is! One salvaged F250 power steering cooler with Ford mounting brackets.
Cooler measures at just over a foot long!
(You can discard the hard steel elbow shaped mounting bracket seen on the right (at hose ports) for this application.)

(Right click and zoom in on pictures for details.)

This is the area below the grille and behind your bumper.

(I have a vacant C4x4 winch bumper so you can't usually see this location.)
Air flow is reduced in this location but oversized cooler will be out of the way and will get plenty of air flow to radiate heat away from the pump system.

View from driver side looking down below power steering pump.

The RETURN LINE (seen here) on the side of the pump reservoir is the line you want to remove from the pump assembly. You'll bend the other end of this line (located on the steering box) down toward your cooler's location and install the cooler inline between the steering box and the reservoir return.


This is the stock F250 cooler bracket (with 'p' shaped Adell clamp) that I have bent into a zig-zag shape. You can make one but it's easier to just bend the flat Ford bracket into this shape and reuse it.

NOTE! - BEND THIS TO KEEP FROM CRIMPING THE COOLER FINS! You're using this to hold one end AND space the cooler out a bit.

Just hold the cooler in place and you'll see where both ends can bolt right into holes pre-drilled in your XJ. You'll have to loosen and move the 'p' shaped Adell clamp around to get the location right.

You do need to bend the bracket to avoid crimping the fins on the cooler when tightened.

Here's where ya can screw up so take your time and do it right! After you disconnect the return line from the pump reservoir, remove the hose from the metal line coming out of the steering box. Now you need to CAREFULLY and SLOWLY bend the metal line so that it no longer points up toward the pump but rather now points down and to the front toward the new cooler location. USE A BENDER or carefully and incrementally by other means.

Here's a view from the driver side showing the NEW high temperature transmission rated hose going into and out of the cooler.

Sure hope ya grabbed a handfull of extra radiator clamps while you were at the boneyard!

Be sure to carefull route lines away from moving parts and out of the way so they won't get damaged

Another view showing lines zip tied together and routed away from moving parts.
Take some time to make sure everything is up & outta the way so ya don't cry like a little girl beside the trail after being snagged by a tree limb, etc.

Cooler's massive size will radiate far more heat than the modified pump will ever generate even with the comparativly reduced air flow of this location.

It'll do it's job, it's protected from harm and it's outta the way here!

And best of all... it's CHEAP!

If you have pics of your own repairs or can suggest other methods - please contribute your ideas (and pictures) to this article!

Revised on: November 14, 2006

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