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> Tech Tips and Tricks > How to flush power steering fluid?
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SPlee
1st Gear

Registered: Dec 2006
Location: Richmond, BC,Canada
Posts: 168

How to flush power steering fluid?

My power steering fluid is brownish and has some black deposit on the bottom of the reservoir. I read from other thread that I can flush it by unplug the return line first.

Someone said that the one connected to the bottom of the reservoir is the return line, is this right? If I unplug it, will all the fluid in the reservoir come out??

Thanks.


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SPlee is offline Old Post 04-29-2007 11:50 PM
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Squishy
Platinum Overdrive

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Orillia, Ontario
Posts: 3649

That return line will pump fluid out at a VERY high pressure. You really don't want to mess with it if you don't know what you're doing (not to offend you or anything...just sayin'). A safer way to do it is to lift the two front wheels, then replace the reservoir fluid and turn lock to lock (without the car running) in between reservoir replacements. Just keep replacing until the fluid turns red, and from then on just replace the reservoir fluid every other oil change.


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Squishy is offline Old Post 04-30-2007 06:59 AM
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SPlee
1st Gear

Registered: Dec 2006
Location: Richmond, BC,Canada
Posts: 168

Thanks for your advice, Squishy. So when I siphon the old fluid out of the reservoir, is there anything I should be careful to prevent to introduce any air in the system?


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SPlee is offline Old Post 04-30-2007 08:03 AM
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Squishy
Platinum Overdrive

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Orillia, Ontario
Posts: 3649

No, not really. As long as you don't work the steering while the reservoir is empty, you'll be fine.

And about lifting the two wheels, I was actually confusing two strategies. Another way to do it is to disconnect the return line and turn lock-to-lock with the engine off, which purges fluid at a much lower and manageable pressure. It's not really necessary though, and a bit of a hassle to get a helper and to extend the hose into your drain pan, etc. You can do the reservoir refill with the engine on for power assist, and two quarts should be enough for a thorough exchange.


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Squishy is offline Old Post 04-30-2007 08:36 AM
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Big Jim
Platinum Overdrive

Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 2261

That's not a problem. It is self bleeding.

The above method is probably the best but an alternative is to siphon as much fluid as you can out of the reservoir with a turkey baster and refill. Drive the car a few days and repeat. Repeat as much as needed until the fluid is as clean as the new stuff.

By the way, this is an excellent place for Mercon V or even Mobil 1 ATF. A synthetic blend (Mercon V) or a full synthetic (Mobil 1) will hold up to heat better as well as be more responsive in really cold weather.


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Big Jim is offline Old Post 04-30-2007 08:42 AM
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miller542
New Member!

Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 47

quote:
Originally posted by Big Jim

By the way, this is an excellent place for Mercon V or even Mobil 1 ATF. A synthetic blend (Mercon V) or a full synthetic (Mobil 1) will hold up to heat better as well as be more responsive in really cold weather.



Indeed. I use Mobil1 ATF in both my cars steering systems.

My method of flushing is similar to others, but different. I disconnect the return line AND the serpentine belt. Then I spin the power steering pump pulley by hand. This spits out the old fluid while I dump the new stuff in. Keep spinning and dumping until what comes out looks as good as it goes in, around 2qts. Much less messy than having the car running and doesn't require a helper.


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miller542 is offline Old Post 05-02-2007 07:10 AM
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TAMonti
2nd Gear

Registered: Jul 2004
Location: Vernon Hills, IL
Posts: 258

How do you get the old fluid out of the reservoir???


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TAMonti is offline Old Post 06-12-2007 06:35 PM
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TAMonti
2nd Gear

Registered: Jul 2004
Location: Vernon Hills, IL
Posts: 258

Nevermind. I missed the turkey baister reference.


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TAMonti is offline Old Post 06-12-2007 06:44 PM
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bpd67
4th Gear

Registered: Jan 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 414

Is this procedure even necessary? I don't think I've ever had power steering fluid flushed or replaced in the 4 different vehicles I've owned over the years.

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bpd67 is offline Old Post 06-12-2007 09:00 PM
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Squishy
Platinum Overdrive

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Orillia, Ontario
Posts: 3649

The fluid does eventually get dirty, and could lead to a PS pump failure.

That being said, our Pontiac van just got its first PS fluid change in 11 years and 275,000 km. The PS was still very well behaved, no whines or anything; I just had some leftover ATF and thought, what the hey.


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Squishy is offline Old Post 06-12-2007 10:22 PM
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lietzke
[shift] Neutral!

Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 53

I did this to my wife's 2002 Escape V6 today. The supply hose is the larger one that connects to the side of the reservoir. The return hose is the smaller one that connects to the bottom of the reservoir. In my case, the supply hose was cracking at the bend where it attaches to the power steering pump, so I replaced it. It cost $21 from the Ford dealership.

Flushing the system was not difficult. I unfastened the coolant reservoir and moved it out of the way (with all hoses still attached) to make access easier. Then I unfastened the power steering reservoir and turned it on its side so that I could remove the return line without making a huge mess. Then I plugged the hole in the bottom of the reservoir and ran the disconnected return line into a 1-quart oil jug to collect the fluid coming out of it. To purge the system, I tried doing what another poster said and disconnected the accessory drive belt to turn the pump by hand, but I found this to be way too slow. So I removed the fuel pump relay and had my wife run the starter (the car would not start) and flushed out the old fluid that way. While I had her cranking the starter, I also had her turn the steering wheel from full-lock left to full-lock right and this flushed out some more dirty fluid. I did have to stop a couple of times during all of this to refill the reservoir with new fluid.

Overall this was not a very difficult job, especially if you don't have to replace the supply hose like I did. The dealer wanted $95 to do a power-steering fluid flush, which I think is way over-priced.

BTW I used Mobil-1 ATF, $6.50/quart from Autozone. I ended up using almost 2 quarts to do a complete flush.

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lietzke is offline Old Post 06-16-2007 10:46 PM
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prowler
Hyperdrive

Registered: Nov 2002
Location:
Posts: 6549

quote:
Originally posted by lietzke
Overall this was not a very difficult job, especially if you don't have to replace the supply hose like I did.


you don't post often enough.

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prowler is offline Old Post 06-16-2007 10:52 PM
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lietzke
[shift] Neutral!

Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 53

quote:
Originally posted by prowler
you don't post often enough.


LOL - I'll try to post again in a couple weeks when I do an antifreeze change. The first one I did was at 35k (3 years ago) and now the car has 81k so it is overdue. The Ford dealer mentioned it today during their "courtesy check" while the car was there for the ABS recall. The fluid still looks bright green which is why I haven't bothered to change it yet, but the dealer said they tested it and the test results indicated that it was past due. So maybe I'll get around to chenging it in the next couple weeks. Dealer wants $95 to do it - no thanks.

They also mentioned the murky power steering fluid which is what prompted me to do that today. Dealer wanted $95 to do this also (not including the hose) - no thanks.

The last thing the dealer wanted to do was to adjust the rear brakes. Somehow they determined that the front brakes are doing most/all the stopping and that the rear brakes were not. I guess there is an adjustment for it? Dealer wanted $65 to do it - no thanks. So I am looking through E-C to try to find out what to do. I am still having a hard time with the search function here so please let me know if you have any good links. Thanks!

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lietzke is offline Old Post 06-17-2007 12:30 AM
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prowler
Hyperdrive

Registered: Nov 2002
Location:
Posts: 6549

quote:
Originally posted by lietzke
LOL - I'll try to post again in a couple weeks when I do an antifreeze change.


Well then, hurry up and change it and do your usual post - MINE IS DUE LATER THIS YEAR!

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prowler is offline Old Post 06-17-2007 12:40 AM
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