Heat is bad. It’s hard on engines, transmissions, rearends, and more. In fact, too much heat can cause oils and fluids to breakdown which can result in a catastrophic parts failure. Technology in automotive lubrication has come a long way over the past few years with the introduction of synthetics. The result is a longer life span for engine and driveline components that are able to go more miles. But at the end of the day, excessive heat still kills no matter how good the fluids or additives are.
One area that often gets over looked on your vehicle is the power steering system. The OEM setup on a factory vehicle is perfect at what it was intended to do. It’s when you start changing these parameters that you will start to notice some problems. Overheating the power steering pump can be caused by a few different things. However, high engine RPM and rapid turning are two things that factory pumps were not designed to handle. These two situations are quite common while road racing but they are fairly uncommon on a street driven vehicle for obvious reasons.
For more information on this topic we turned to the experts at Turn One High Performance Steering Systems located in Saginaw, Michigan. Now some of you might have already put the connection together with the town of Saginaw, and the Saginaw named pump unit that GM uses. Jeff Roethlisberger is the founder and CEO of Turn One but he spent 14 years at Saginaw Steering Gear, GM’s steering division, as a ride and handling engineer. Jeff specialized in steering development for the company as well. In 1997 He decided to open up his own company called Turn One and since that day, he has had the privilege of supplying steering products for 28 of the past 57 NASCAR Champions.
How do you know that your power steering system is overheating? Obviously, if the fluid is boiling or the pump is so hot it starts to fall apart, it’s already annihilated. For some additional insight we spoke with Junior Roethlisberger of Turn One. Junior stated, “If your fluid temperatures are in an excess of 275-degrees Fahrenheit, you are starting to overheat the system.” At this point the seals in the pump will start to breakdown along with the ones in the rack and pinion. The results of both components will be the same, they will start to leak which will ultimately lead to parts failure. Junior added, “A factory OEM power steering pump is designed to move a lot of fluid at a low RPM. When you have the factory pump it’s still trying to move a bunch of fluid at a high RPM it becomes inefficient and generates heat.”
The cure for overheating your steering system is actually quite simple. According to Junior, make sure you run a fully synthetic name brand steering fluid and contact Turn One for your power steering needs. Not every application is the same and they can help you with your power steering issues. Turn One specializes in building pumps right here in the USA with all new components that are ideal for street and track use. Some of their pumps are direct bolt-in depending on the applications. If your pump is something out of the normal, Turn One can also service and rebuild your power steering pump, steering boxes, and rack and pinion gears to best suit your vehicle. Not only will these pumps reduce the fluid temperatures of the system, they will also save you up to 3 horsepower.
Turn One is a solid source for all your steering needs and with clients like Penske Racing, Detroit Speed & Engineering, Stewart-Haas Racing, you can rest assured their products and services will not disappoint.