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ORD Dana 60 Hi-Steer Kit

Product Review

  1. CK5
    Article/photo's courtesy of:

    ORD Dana 60 Hi-Steer Kit
    With the addition of a hydro Assist steering System we really wanted to locate the hydraulic ram higher up in the steering system as well as relocate the tie-rod above the leaf springs to help keep them off the rocks. We were very happy with our current OffRoad Design cross over steering arm so when we heard that they were starting to produce a hi-steer version it was a no brainer to make the call and pick up the rest of the parts we needed.

    OffRoad Design's new hi-steer arm (drivers side) is made with the same quality and attention to detail as their standard cross over steering arm (passenger side). In fact it is meant to work with their existing non hi-steer kit as an add-on if you already have their standard cross-over, this saves the hassle and expense of having to buy two new arms when switching from a standard to a hi-steer setup. For those of you that have an older version of ORD's standard cross-over arm with out the extra tie rod hole, a discount is offered from ORD to ease the transition to their new arms.

    The ORD hi-steer kit consists of a drop pitman arm, two new beefy steering arms accounting for the king pin axis inclination angle, a new thick wall DOM drag link and tie-rod with rod ends, and all the necessary nuts and bolts. ORD will also sell any of the parts separately to complete your own system.

    Steering arm Features:
    * Milled from 1020 cold rolled steel.
    * Arms attached using stock Dana steering arm studs providing a precision fit.
    * Proper tapered nuts included.
    * Kingpin bushing cap is welded to arm providing a one piece unit.
    * Machined with the proper axis inclination to prevent binding during articulation.
    * Arms are drilled with an extra bolt hole to bolt on Dedenbear HD knuckles.
    * Tierod hole is offset to the outside to gain additional ackerman angle.

    Hi-steer cross-over VS standard cross-over
    Many people ask "What's the difference between hi-steer and standard cross-over steering", the main advantage to running hi-steer is that the tie-rod gets relocated to the top of the new steering arms above the leaf springs keeping it out of those pesky rocks everyone loves so much. Hi-steer requires and additional steering arm located on the drivers side so that the tie rod has a connection point on both sides of the axle. We run a hydro assist steering ram connected to the tie rod that also gets relocated up higher in the steering system, it will last much longer located out of harms way.

    Standard cross-over with tie rod below springs

    Hi-steer cross-over with tie rod above springs
    If you are running a 4"-5" lift with the axle moved forward an inch or more this setup may not work for you due to pitman arm tie rod clearance issues. There are also other factors that could affect pitman arm to tie rod contact, like the spring arch causing the axle to move back under compression, there is only so much room above the springs and not a lot of space to work with.

    Pitman arm clearance

    Spring clearance

    ORD arms mounted to Dedenbear knuckles
    Moving the tie rod to the tops of the knuckles especially when running hydro assist steering will put more stress on the knuckles, they can take a fair amount of punishment but could break with very large tires, lots of horse power and a heavy foot but it is rare. If you fit that category or "actually have" broken a knuckle you can upgrade your factory ones to Dedenbear's ultra stout knuckles for the ultimate in beef, in fact the ORD steering arms are also designed to work with their 5 stud mounting setup.

    Because the tie rod is closer to the kingpin centerline in the "high" position than it was in the stock location, it has a lot more stress on it and this will shorten the life of the ends to some extent. Also, any looseness in the ends will translate into more wobble at the wheel. So if you don't actually need the clearance, a HD tie rod in the stock location will give a bit better service life and cost less.

    Installing the hi-steer arms is basically the same as installing ORD's standard cross-over steering arm kit but with the addition of the extra drivers side arm and of course moving the tie rod from the factory position up to the steering arms. An extra set of factory studs for mounting the drivers side arm will be needed from either ORD or your local GM dealership. If you are going from factory steering to hi-steer then the new studs can be used on the passenger side (studs are used from the factory on the drivers side).

    Drivers side arm

    Tie rod (top) offset to the outside
    OffRoad Design can either supply a complete kit or any individual part that you may need. Before you bolt the steering arms down be sure to check the condition of your springs and bushings, ORD can also supply a king pin spring and bushing kit in the event yours need to be replaced.

    The test bed for this install is a 1990 K5 with 4" of suspension lift and the axle located in the stock position, this is important due to the close proximity of the pitman arm in relation to the tie rod, with our setup they are very close but do not rub.

    Installing cross over steering with a Dana 60 axle is completely bolt on and can be done in a driveway or home garage with most common tools although a stud remover and a few clamps could come in quite handy. The first thing you will want to do is park on level ground and pull the front tires to gain access to the steering components.

    If you are installing a crossover steering kit for the first time and have the factory steering setup you will need to change from a 4x4 steering box to a 2x4 steering box because the stock steering gear turns the pitman arm from front to back, while the two wheel version will rotate the pitman arm from left to right, another option is to swap out the steering sector shaft from your old box and replace it with a new 2x4 unit. The "UAV" has been running ORD's standard configuration cross over for quite a while now so it already had the 2x4 steering box so we were good to go.

    We removed the drivers side king pin cap and cleaned the knuckle surface (the area under the steering arm), we had to use a stud remover to coax a couple of the cap studs out that were being stubborn, otherwise everything came of fairly easy.

    Using stud remover

    Stock steering arm removed

    Clamping down ORD steering arm
    Sometimes the springs that are used to keep pressure on the king pins will not allow the new steering arm to seat properly on to the knuckle which was in our case. We simply used two clamps to force the arm downward enough to get the four bolts started then tightened them down the rest of the way. At this point the pitman arm can be installed onto the steering box shaft (not necessary if you already had standard configuration cross over), be sure to have the steering wheel centered when you do this.

    If you have the factory steering setup you will need to install the drag link and is what will tie the entire steering system together connecting the passenger side steering arm with the pitman arm. This is the step where a little adjustment comes in to play, the drag link ends will need to be rotated in or out to get proper lock to lock steering, make sure to center the steering wheel at this time also.

    We already were running cross-over steering with a beefy tie-rod in the factory low position so it had to be shortened before it could be installed on top of the steering arms, this is due in part to the design of the knuckles being angled in at the top.

    ORD hi-steer installed with hydro assist

    ORD hi-steer arms

    All arms now include 5th hole
    After running the hi-steer setup for almost a full season now with no problems whatsoever we totally recommend it to anyone who likes to play in the big rocks. Steering arm geometry is optimized for best turning radius, minimum tie rod stress and maximum arm bending strength, truly a well thought out kit.

    One thing we wanted to note here, if you currently have ORD hi-steer arms with the older 4 holes and want to run the much stronger than stock Dedenbear knuckles, OffRoad Design can drill the extra hole needed for you. On our test K5 everything fit perfectly although very tight, we were very impressed by the quality and the fact that ORD makes everything needed for this setup not just the arms themselves.

    Update: OffRoad Design is working on a super high strength ARP steering arm stud kit as a better quality, less expensive alternative to the GM studs, please call ORD for up to date pricing information.
    Off Road Design
    484 County Road 113
    Carbondale CO 81623
    Phone Number:
    (970) 945-7777