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Thread: Power Steering Fluid

  1. #1
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    Power Steering Fluid

    Seeking some expert advice on refilling steering pump.
    Chilton repair says to use Dexron automatic trans fluid to cars 1976 and earlier (GM cars). Can I use regular fluid. (Don ?) My '76 Chevy is about 3/8 inch low. Checked it "cold". Will any bad reaction result in using other than ATF?

  2. #2
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan
    Seeking some expert advice on refilling steering pump.
    Chilton repair says to use Dexron automatic trans fluid to cars 1976 and earlier (GM cars). Can I use regular fluid. (Don ?) My '76 Chevy is about 3/8 inch low. Checked it "cold". Will any bad reaction result in using other than ATF?
    The safest thing is to use what GM recommends. Mixing different fluids sometimes is OK, sometimes not. Considering the relative cost of the Dexron against repair of the steering pump, I'd get the Dexron.


  3. #3
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    I thought they used power steering fluid, not ATF???

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan
    Seeking some expert advice on refilling steering pump.
    Chilton repair says to use Dexron automatic trans fluid to cars 1976 and earlier (GM cars). Can I use regular fluid. (Don ?) My '76 Chevy is about 3/8 inch low. Checked it "cold". Will any bad reaction result in using other than ATF?
    I agree with Dennis; stick with what your owner's manual recommends.

  5. #5
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    I thought they used power steering fluid, not ATF???
    That used to be the case but it appears that many makers have switched to ATF in the pump also.


  6. #6
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    That would not be the case for a '76 Chevy though, would it?

  7. #7
    DonTom
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    "Chilton repair says to use Dexron automatic trans fluid to cars 1976 and earlier (GM cars)."

    I've always used "power steering fluid" in all my 1970 GM vehicles. I don't recall any of the older vehicles asking for ATF in the power steering pump.

    -Don-

  8. #8
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    quote]

    The safest thing is to use what GM recommends. Mixing different fluids sometimes is OK, sometimes not. Considering the relative cost of the Dexron against repair of the steering pump, I'd get the Dexron.


    [/quote]

    I don't recollect what I put in the pump previously so I took samples from both pump and trans dipsticks and wiped them on white paper towel. Pump oil is yellowish and trans oil is pinkish so that gives us a clue. I might as well replace it with new ATF. Is there a drain plug or must I suction it out? I may sop it out with some clean rags and absorbent paper, what do you think?

  9. #9
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    I would go with what the manufacturer recommends.

    Lots of people get into trouble with Hondas by putting 'better' fluids in the transmissions and differentials (RedLine, ATF, etc) instead of the recomended fluids. They usually end up with expensive repairs.

    To change out the power steering fluid, I would use a clean turkey baster to siphon out as much of the old fluid as you can, top it off with new, and then go for a short drive (or just move the wheel from lock to lock a few times). I'd then repeat the process twice more, which should result in a reasonable amount of new fluid getting into the bowels of the system, and little or no air.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    Got me a qt of NAPA ATF Dexron III ,also a baster to suck out and also to fill the pump which will give me control so as not to overfill it. I hope NAPA brand is good enough? If not I can return it for a refund.

  11. #11
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    NAPA brand is pretty much always at least "good enough". Most of the time their stuff is top notch. Especially oil filters and batteries.

  12. #12
    DonTom
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    "I'd then repeat the process twice more, which should result in a reasonable amount of new fluid getting into the bowels of the system, and little or no air."

    What are the symptoms of getting air in the power steering fluid or pump lines? I have replaced power steering pumps and never had a problem.

    -Don-


  13. #13
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    [quote

    What are the symptoms of getting air in the power steering fluid or pump lines? I have replaced power steering pumps and never had a problem.

    -Don-


    [/quote]

    Yeah I was also wondering about how air gets into the power steering fluid. I can see that happening in the hydraulic brake lines but steering???


  14. #14
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "I'd then repeat the process twice more, which should result in a reasonable amount of new fluid getting into the bowels of the system, and little or no air."

    What are the symptoms of getting air in the power steering fluid or pump lines? I have replaced power steering pumps and never had a problem.

    -Don-

    There is a bleeding process you're generally supposed to follow; usually there are instructions with the new pump...


  15. #15
    DonTom
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    "There is a bleeding process you're generally supposed to follow; usually there are instructions with the new pump..."

    There were no such instructions when I replaced the PS pump in my 97 Jeep GC. And there were no problems.

    But what is supposed to be the possible symptoms of air in the PS lines?

    -Don-


  16. #16
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "There is a bleeding process you're generally supposed to follow; usually there are instructions with the new pump..."

    There were no such instructions when I replaced the PS pump in my 97 Jeep GC. And there were no problems.

    But what is supposed to be the possible symptoms of air in the PS lines?

    -Don-

    I think since the system is "open" (any air can bleed out into the reservoir, which though capped isn't pressure sealed, etc.) the problem takes care of itself through normal operation. I have bled/flushed PS pumps by disconnecting the low pressure line and putting the open end into a catch bucket while topping off the reservoir with fresh fluid as the system operates.

    I would expect any air bubbles in the system to manifest in either intermittent jerkiness or loss of PS assist....

  17. #17
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    Like Eric said.

    But the bubbles will eventually work themselves out. It's just that if you do a change (and get air in the system), and then immediately go driving, having the unexpected loss of PS assistance can be, uhhh, unexpected.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  18. #18
    DonTom
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    "But the bubbles will eventually work themselves out."

    Perhaps by the time one backs out of the garage, if not sooner!

    I never noticed such a problem and I have disconnected or replaced several PS pumps.

    -Don-


  19. #19
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "There is a bleeding process you're generally supposed to follow; usually there are instructions with the new pump..."

    There were no such instructions when I replaced the PS pump in my 97 Jeep GC. And there were no problems.

    But what is supposed to be the possible symptoms of air in the PS lines?

    -Don-


    The pump will growl and make weird noises. Possibly some jerking to it too. Just move the wheels back and forth a couple of times and the air will pass through the system. It will then bubble up to the top and disappear. Leave it in and it can cause some problems with excessice wear due to lack of lubrication. Air bubbles don't lubricate.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Power Steering Fluid

    Eric,
    Do you happen to know the capacity of fluid in the PS pump?

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