changing power steering fluid?

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Old 08-11-09, 09:57 PM
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changing power steering fluid?

MY power steering fluid looks black. Is it a good idea to change the fluid or can it do more harm than good if done wrong? If it is a good safe idea, how is it done the right safe way? I have been putting this job off because i didn't want to tear something out or lose my power steering pump or etc. any suggestions on this would be very welcome. thanks. This would be on a 98 ford windstar.
 
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Old 08-12-09, 06:07 AM
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I routinely exchange the power steering fluid on all my vehicles every 30K. It gets rid of the debris that accelerates wear. This is the procedure I use. You'll need a helper. The steps are rather simple.

1. Lift front tires off the ground.
2. Disconnect the ps return line at reservoir, drain ps reservoir.
3. Plug open connection at the reservoir.
4. Secure the return line to a generously-sized container (at least one gallon). If needed, add a length of hose.
5. Fill reservoir with new fluid.
6. Line up your bottles of new fluid for quick pouring.
Here comes the fun part...
7. Have helper turn car on, and immediately have him go through full range of steering motion (left and right) and shut off car, all the while you are trying to keep the reservoir filled.
8. Button everything back up.
9. Clean up mess.
10. Top off fluid.

The front tires must be off the ground so the system is unloaded, otherwise a lot of fluid is forcefully pumped out. The return line must be secured to prevent a big mess. Keep at least a gallon of ps fluid on hand. The helper must know what they are doing.

I strongly recommend using power steering fluid rather than the Dexron stuff that is probably recommended for your vehicle. Modern Dexron formulations are different than the Dexron formulations present at the time when your car was built. Power steering fluid is the same as Dexron, but without the additives that may be harmful to the steering system.

This method is specified by rebuilders every time you replace the rack or pump.

A lot of people use the short-cut method of sucking out and replacing the fluid in the reservoir. It's considerably faster, but only partially replaces the fluid.
 
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Old 08-12-09, 10:37 AM
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changing power steering fluid

By having the front tires off the ground,do you mean in the air or on ramps,I presume with both wheels in the air either with 2 jacks or one and some prop help to hold the other wheel up,right?
 
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Old 08-12-09, 11:14 AM
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Kestas must do it for a living..thats way too much work for me..and I'd probably break something doing it...lol.

I'd suck out the reservoir a couple of times and refill it and be done..but thats just me. Kinda the same as the typical trans fluid change.
 
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Old 08-12-09, 11:33 AM
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Taking the tires off the ground unloads the power required to operate the steering, and hence reduces the pressure in the lines. This helps make less of a mess.

How well the job gets done depends on how ambitious and how much work you want to put into a task. I know that I'm in the minority and most people just suck out the fluid (called the "turkey baster method", because most people use a turkey baster), but that's okay. I'm presenting both methods for the person to choose.

I feel better getting ALL the old fluid out. I just hope that the same people who use the turkey baster method or partial transmission fluid changes aren't the same ones who obsess over draining the last drop of oil during an oil change.
 
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Old 08-12-09, 12:34 PM
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Cool changing power steering fluid

I've already done the "t-b-m method as you refer to it. My fluid is still pretty darn black and i did it several times by soaking it up with a clean rag. I'm not lazy as you say,but i don't want to get into more serious trouble either by screwing it up. Thanks for the help.
 
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