Changing power steering fluid

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Thanks to Doug Lewis.

This is for all the folks out there who want to service their own power steering system. You won't find this in any service schedules or owners manuals, but he P/S system should be serviced every 30K miles. The fluid isn't subjected to acids like the engine oil, but it is subjected to heat and pressure like an automatic transmission.

You should have two new quarts of power steering fluid on hand before starting.

1. Raise the front wheels off the ground.

2. Remove the power steering cooler located on the front of the subframe, on the drivers side. It will probably be easier if you use a razor blade and slice the hose lengthwise just enough to get it off the cooler tubes. There is enough slack to snip of the sliced piece and slide it over the tube end. Be sure to have a catch pan under the cooler to catch the fluid running down your arm.

3. Wipe off your arms, start engine, and turn the steering wheel lock-to-lock, stopping at the lock and holding pressure against it for about 5 seconds. This will use the spool valve and the power piston to force the fluid from the reservoir and the rack, out through the cooler hose.

4. Do this about 10 to 15 times or until you hear a sucking noise coming from the reservoir. This will tell you when the reservoir is empty. Refill the reservoir and repeat.

5. Install new clamps on the hoses at the cooler ('93 and later have constant tension clamps that can be reused) and re-install the cooler.

6. Fill the resv with clean fluid and repeat the steering wheel steps. This will purge the air from the punp, spool valve and piston. Refill the reservoir and start the engine. Check the fluid level and look for leaks.

and an alternative method, originally from Doug Mellum @ Performance Plus :

1. Suck out most of the fluid in the PS reservoir. (I use an old battery filler that looks a little like a turkey baster)

2. Remove the return hose from the reservoir and plug with a two inch piece of rubber hose with a bolt threaded into the end of it.

3. Place a long hose (5 feet) using a union onto the return line and run it down into a large bucket.

4. Fill the reservoir with fresh fluid and have a gallon container of cheap PS fluid or cheap ATX fluid ready.

5. Assistant starts the engine and turns the wheels lock to lock (I have the front end jacked up when I do this) while you pour in the gallon of fluid to flush the system.

6. Stop engine and introduce synthetic PS fluid. Assistant runs engine just enough for you to add two quarts of synthetic fluid.

7. Bleed air from system after reconnecting return line with engine running, turning lock to lock.

8. Top off reservoir.