Justin Oquendo and Earl's Performance Plumbing Overcome Power Steering Fade and Overheating

By: Alex Healey02/05/2015 < Back to Blog Home
Throughout the 2013-2014 race seasons, Kibbetech Racing’s #1466 struggled with over-heating power steering fluid temperatures and battled steering fade. Our steering setup consists of a four bolt Saginaw steering box, modified for desert racing, with a hydraulic ram assist and a Howe aluminum steering cooler recommended for this application. Throughout the race seasons, we have tried a multitude of power steering fluids in an attempt to find a fluid that would not break down under extreme temperatures, hoping to keep from experiencing power steering fade. None of our power steering fluid changes made a difference on fluid temperature or longevity of the steering system. We upgraded our Howe power steering cooler to the largest available and re-located the cooler to have zero restriction on air flow.

Kibbetech Racing loaded up the race truck the following day to test in Barstow, CA to get real world results of the changes we had made. Some of the team was pleased with the temperature improvements, but as a driver I knew I needed to bring the temperatures down to make the steering last. At our next racing event we struggled with the same problems we had been battling throughout the year. Although we installed a bigger power steering cooler with direct air flow, it just would not do the job and was inadequate for keeping the system cool. At this point it was back to the drawing board. Turning to the guys at Holley Performance, they felt they had a solution to our problem and recommended we use an Earl’s Performance Products oil cooler in place of our current power steering cooler.

We installed an Earl’s Performance Products, 13 row, 4” tall, 8” wide, 2” thick oil cooler while utilizing Earl’s Super Stock AN fittings and Earl’s Super Stock Push-On Hose. We placed the Earl’s cooler in the same location as the previous Howe oil cooler, in line of direct air flow. Having no time to test the new power steering cooler before our next event, we showed up to the race hoping we would have better results than we had throughout the year. Warming up the truck in the pit, the crew chief was checking temperatures with a thermo gun and was impressed to find how cool the power steering fluid was in the reservoir, at the pump and in the steering box. Our previous power steering fluid temperatures after a 30 minute warm up cycle in the pits was roughly 185 degrees Fahrenheit. With the new Earl’s cooler our fluid temperature never exceeded 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Throughout the first lap I was amazed at the performance and capability of the Earl’s oil cooler. Experiencing zero power steering fade, never fighting on the steering wheel or struggling to gain control of the vehicle. Coming into pit for fuel, completing lap one, I radioed my crew and asked for someone to take the temperature of all power steering components. We would typically see temperatures topping 270-290 degrees. I was astonished when my crew informed me that we had fluid temperatures of 191 degrees. We set out to win the race and ended up also setting fast lap in our class from the day, never seeing a power steering temperature exceed 194 degrees throughout the day. Thanks to Ear’s Performance Products, the steering on 1466 Race works better than I could have ever expected and our steering problems have finally been solved.

-Justin Oquendo, Kibbetech Racing #1466

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