Power Steering Fluid Change - Observations

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by y_p_w, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. y_p_w

    y_p_w Guest

    OK - I did it myself in my '95 Integra GS-R. The last time
    I had it done was by my regular mechanic at 30K miles - it's
    up to 131K miles. I asked them to do it again at 60K miles,
    but a different mechanic said they don't particularly like to
    do it because of the mess. I know there's no recommended
    interval for doing it.

    Originally I was just going to use a turkey baster to get the
    fluid out of the reservoir, and repeat about 2 or 3 times. I
    did this once - then I thought it might be a better idea to do
    a full flush. The fluid was a dark brown compared to the light
    amber of the new fluid.

    I had several bottles of unopened Honda PSF I've bought over
    the years. The oldest was in a white bottle labelled PSF-V
    (maybe 6 years old). I had a silver bottle (bought in '99?)
    and one I bought today. The newer stuff in the silver bottle
    has a less acrid smell and was a bit lighter in color. I'm
    assuming there should be no issues of compatibility.

    I followed the instructions in my factory service manual (more
    or less). I drained the reservoir with the baster, because I
    thought it might leak out when I disconnected the return hose.
    I raised the reservoir, undid the clamp, removed the hose, and
    it didn't leak much. The inlet is routed through some sort of
    labyrinth, and gravity drains the fluid from the reserve hose
    when the engine is shut off. I found that a plastic funnel
    extension fit perfectly in the return hose, and I routed it to
    an empty motor oil bottle. It might have been a good idea to
    seal off the bottle opening with duct tape to keep the fluid
    from shooting out of the bottle. The funny thing is the service
    manual shows a drawing of an open wide jar as the container,
    which seems like a recipie for a big mess.

    I ran the engine, and heard the most hellacious grinding noise.
    I turned the steering wheel a few times lock-to-lock, and it
    groaned even louder. It became really difficult to turn the
    wheel. I heard quick shots of fluid out of the tube when I
    turned the wheel right or left. I was thinking this can't be
    good for the power steering pump, but I did it by the book.

    After reattaching the return hose and filling the reservoir to
    the top, I turned the ignition, ran a fast idle, and turned
    it lock-to-lock a few times, and turned it off. The noise
    was about as bad as when the fluid was being expelled, but
    got better with subsequent tries. I repeated it a couple of
    times until the air was bled out, and the fluid level was
    stable at the top line.

    Overall, it was fairly easy to do, and cost about $8 in power
    steering fluid. My power steering system is in good shape,
    but I wish I had done this sooner. The best part is that I
    can just dump the used fluid in the oil tank at my city's
    recycling center (PSF is just a petroleum oil base anyways).
    y_p_w, Mar 3, 2004
  2. y_p_w

    Samuel Guest

    Interesting, I am about to do the same but I wasn't sure on what to expect.
    You mention that you turned the steering wheel a few times lock-to-lock,
    maybe that's why you heard those noises. The manual says do not turn the
    steering wheel all the way.
    How many bottles did you use total? Also, did you have to raise the vehicle
    to turn the wheels or you did it in the ground?
    Samuel, Mar 4, 2004
  3. y_p_w

    y_p_w Guest

    Really? I've got the factory service manual, and it said lock to lock.
    I suppose they don't recommend it for normal use, but it's the way to
    get the pump to spit out the PSF. BTW - when I said it was a good idea
    to tape the bottle, thre still probably needs to be a little space to
    vent the air.
    I'm not sure. I drained just the reservoir once. I think I just used
    about 3 12 oz bottles with the resrvoir (3/4 bottle) alone plus the
    flush. I might not have gotten the full amount out of there, but it
    was close. The factory service manual says 1.01 quarts for the GS-R
    (less than the other versions). I'd get 4 bottles to be on the safe
    side. I'm thinking of doing it again, since it was over 100K miles.
    I did it on the ground with the shifter in neutral and the parking brake
    on. On second thought, I probably should have put newspapers under the
    tires to prevent marks. The front tires are ready to be replaced anyways,
    so I don't care about wearing them out.

    It's not very messy as long as you have something that fits snug in
    the return hose. The funnel extension I have is tapered at the end,
    so it worked really well. Once the reservoir is raised, it might
    be a good idea to put a rag or paper towel underneath for the drips.
    Also - be careful to keep stuff away from the belts.
    y_p_w, Mar 5, 2004
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