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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbie here with a 97 Ram 3500 with that wonderful beastie 5.9 Cummins thumping under the hood.

Mr. Cummins runs great, though I'd love to know how to tweak a few things. However, Mrs. Steering has left us and hard times - and hard turns - have been our fate for the last 6 months. I'm no mechanic, though I've scraped my knuckles enough to change tie-rod ends and do a few tune-ups back in the carburetor days. But from what I've read, this may be the pump and/or the dreaded Hydro-boost, that monster that only diesel owners dread.

Well, I'd just love to engage a talented Cummins mechanic that could cure the beast, but I live in this tiny town called...Los Angeles! You know, you'd think in the largest city in the U.S. a fellah could find a mechanic that really knew the Cummins 5.9... You'd think!

I've scoured the web and the Craigslistings and Yelped here and there and it's a desert out here - just nobody within 25 miles that knows what he's doing.

Do any of you fellow Dodge enthusiasts know of a good Cummins mechanic in L.A.?
Thanks!
 

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Welcome to Allpar. You need to find a technician that has the high-pressure gauges in order to diagnose the hydraulic pump/servo. Hydro-boost was originally a Bendix system. GM and Ford diesel trucks also use it and diagnostics would be similar as well.
Get a diagnosis first. Troubleshooting steps would be found in the service manual. Then consider your options, like going with a remanufactured component. Replace any lines or hoses that need it. Flush out the old fluid and use only the approved fluid.
Does the brake-assist portion of the Hydro-Boost work OK?
How to Diagnose Hydro-Boost Brakes - Auto Inc. (at https://www.autoinc.org/diagnose-hydro-boost-brakes/ )
 
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Does it steer by itself or doesent it have Power assist anymore?
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow! Thanks for the quick replies!
ImperialCrown - no, the brake-assist went out soon after the steering. Feels like I'm driving a 1940's truck (except that one had non-synchromesh gears and you had to double-clutch it - what fun!). If I have to get a new pump, I've read that the reman'd ones are dogs and I should really get an OEM pump. Of course, they start at $600.
AC TC - not a trace of Power Assist, and it was so pleasant to have to park it when my back was out in the Lumbar region...
BTW, AC, I had a Valiant back in the day, with that legendary Slant 6. Great car!
 

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Diagnose first. This may need a P/S pressure gauge and visual inspection.
I can't tell you what is defective from where I am.
 

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Since both steering and brakes are affected its quite safe to assume a pump fault.
 

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I have had pump regulator valves stick also. Quite likely a worn or defective pump, but one wants to be certain. There is no reason not to be certain.
Remember that pump output can be 1500 psi. I have seen some techs crack a line fitting on a running pump as a pressure check, but this could be dangerous.
P/S fluid (and ATF) can be flammable if it hits a hot exhaust component. Fluid injection under the skin can cause issues as well. You want to follow service manual diagnostic and replacement procedures and always be safe.
 
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