Power Steering Failure – and Repair – Clogged Filter [Archive] - Toyota CelicaSupra Forums

: Power Steering Failure – and Repair – Clogged Filter

10-23-2003, 11:26 AM
Symptom: A couple of days before my power steering went totally out, I had noticed some groaning from the power steering when I had the wheel hard over. After making a U-turn to park in front of the house, the power steering died. Fortunately I wasn’t on a twisty road somewhere. The next morning, with the wheels straight, the pump was groaning and I had no power steering.

Troubleshooting: The TSRM wasn’t much help for troubleshooting, so I searched the archives here. This is much easier than trying to search the Yahoo group archives! Possible causes were:
- Clogged filter in the reservoir tank (which turned out to be the problem)
- Bad pump
- Bad belt tension
- Bad tie rods, etc
The belt tension was OK, so I went after the cheapest solution first – Reservoir filter. A new pump would be $130, and I would have to pull the reservoir anyway, since a new pump doesn’t come with a reservoir.

I ended up having to pull the entire pump/reservoir assembly because one bolt (of 4) holding the reservoir to the pump is behind a flange for the pump pivot and I could not get a wrench on it. You also have to remove the pulley from the pump to get out the pivot bolt (used a 2x4 to wedge the pulley to keep it from turning). I also pulled the upper timing belt cover to gain some more clearance, but this wasn’t necessary.

With the reservoir off, I could not see through the filter. The screen filter covers the entire bottom of the reservoir, not just the outlet hole, and cannot be removed without undoing the crimps on the tank lid (and maybe not even then), but that turned out to be unnecessary. Lightly scraping the screen with a screwdriver blade, I figured there was about 4 mm (1/8 inch) of gunk covering the screen. The fluid I had drained was also pretty dark, despite having been flushed about 2 years ago. I then cleaned the tank with Simple Green and water. I also stuffed some used fabric softener dryer sheets (unlike paper towels, they don’t tear easily) into the tank to scrape off gunk, and repeated until clean. Lots of little chunks came out. I dried out the tank using compressed air. I also flushed some new PS fluid through the pump, which turned easily by hand.

After putting everything back together, the pump ran fine. The clogged filter had caused the pump to cavitate, causing a loss of power steering. I then flushed out the old black fluid so I don’t clog the filter again soon. I’ll be watching the color more carefully in the future, and whenever I flush the system, I’ll also consider pulling the tank and clean it as well, since flushing the system doesn’t remove the gunk that is already on the filter.

Based on this experience, I recommend cleaning out the reservoir tank the next time you flush the power steering fluid. 2 hour job. As always, YMMV :)

10-23-2003, 12:21 PM
Cool beans! I had no problems getting the resivior off by itself, and I even have had the PS pump off before without removing the pulley so I dont know what happened there but I'm glad you got it fixed.

10-23-2003, 03:44 PM
iirc, owners manual says to use auto transmission fluid for PS fluid.
So use syn auto fluid for longer life and a ~1+hp gain. this is the old PS


10-23-2003, 07:53 PM
Regarding the synthetic fluid in the PS system.

After I had a new PS pump installed, I also made the change to synthetic. I asked several peeps if Redline Power Steering Fluid would be okay, since it's more of a multi purpose fluid that should work in any PS system. Discovered that it made the pump squeal a bit. After about a year (pump never did leak), I drained out the Redline PS fluid & changed over to Redline Synthetic ATF, which is a DEXRON II specific fluid. No more squeally pump, it's now nice & quiet like before.

So if you do go to a synthetic ATF for the PS system, make sure that is a DEXRON II specific fluid (the Owners Manual also indicates this in the Spec pages in the back), and not a multi purpose PS fluid, synthetic or not.

Flyin' Hawaiian
10-24-2003, 12:33 PM
Chris is correct! I used Valvoline's synth ps fluid on my truck a couple of years ago when replacing the pump and noticed the groaning sound as well as very little pressure to turn the 33's I have on the truck. Thought it was a bad pump and almost pulled it to get an exchange! I decided to try Dexron in it before, as I read somewhere that this was better than ps fluid. Amazing enough, the truck has been without a problem at all, turns very well, even on the trails in rocky stuff, and hasn't made a peep since!
Definitely stay away from ps fluids and just use cherry juice!!! Dexron II is whatcha need!!!

10-24-2003, 01:31 PM
i just changed mine out yesterday i used Valvoline's max life dextron III thats AT fluid. i couldnt find and dextron 2 but its grate. my ps is smoother now . it did take loger to bleed the sistem then i thought. i just kept tering the wheel from lock to lock till it stopped growning. O the hole sistem only holds about a quort.

10-24-2003, 02:09 PM
Hmmm I've used Valvoline synthetic PS fluid in my silver car for the last 2 years or so with no probs. I even had it in my red car for a little while with no probs.

12-06-2003, 06:09 PM
my power steering never had a problem but just to make sure i got rid of the power steering all together and never had a single problem with it afterwards. :) no power steering no problem, plus better road feel and no noticable difference over 5-10 kms/hr

12-06-2003, 09:57 PM
I had my power steering hoses replaced because the insides broke down and i found chunks of rubber in the pump.
My steering still sticks alot even after replacing the pump..
What should i do now.... replace the whole rack? It only a couple of years old..I suspect chunks of rubber stuck in the valving..

02-11-2004, 10:29 PM
I wasnt paying attention and I put regular ol power steering fluid into my supra and the damn thing squeeled like a pig. I checked the fluid and noticed it was all foamy. So i need to drain the system and add dexron type atf huh. How do you drain the power steering system?? :(

02-11-2004, 10:59 PM
Go here:


Have fun!!!

03-26-2007, 02:38 AM
easiest way to drain the ps fluid is to go under the car and disconnect the return line. Throw a pan underneath and direct the little rubber hose to it. turn on the car and watch the fluid come out. Turn car off, reconnect, fill with dex, turn wheel, start car, recheck fluid, have a nice day.

I know this is old but, eh

04-25-2007, 07:36 AM
my power steering seems to be moaning too, and there is visible leaks of liquid under the reservoir..does my power sterring is dead now..or shall i follow what you all have been doing..flush the old power steering liquid and clean the resoirvor.like what have been told..

05-11-2007, 02:43 AM
You can also use Honda pwer steering fluid,It is a non foaming type.I have been using it in my car for about 6 or 7 yeras now...not one problem.

Jose H. 3
03-17-2008, 10:03 PM
So, just cleaned out the PS pump, res and was curious if anyone knew of a rebuild kit for these? like new o-rings and all? without going to the dealer for them, since they are mm sizes which are obviously less common...

03-19-2008, 02:00 PM
PartsAmerica (Schucks, Kragen, Checkers, Advance)
Powercraft Power Steering Repair Kit
Part Number: 8598
Retail Price: $55.82
Our Price: $38.99

Duralast / Power Steering Pump Kit 8598 $33.99

Rock Auto
EDELMANN Part # 8598 {Pump Seal Kit}
Power Steering Repair Kit $17.92
BCA/NATIONAL Part # 203 More Info {Ball Bearing} $10

05-13-2010, 08:39 PM
I'm gonna have to change mine soon. I was hoping I could just get a brass barbed nipple and connect one end to the return line, and the other to a clear plastic hose to stick in a container, start the car and have someone turn the wheel lock to lock while adding the Dexron.....would this method work?

05-19-2010, 11:36 PM
Years later (note I did this post 7+ years ago):

- The screen has to be clean. Period. What my post was about. Gunk on the filter screen.
- Dump the fluid out of the rack at the bottom of the PS rack. Slowly turn the steering wheel after the rack hoses are disconnected (otherwise mess), then refill with any non-synthethic Dextron. Red is good. Yellow is bad. Brown is dangerous.

05-20-2010, 07:30 PM
Years later (note I did this post 7+ years ago):

We are constantly drilled on using the search feature here, so rather than starting a new thread I found it just as easy to ask my question here, since I already took the time to conduct the search...was just wondering if it will work.

12-14-2010, 10:25 AM
Squeal like a pig. Happiness is a clean screen. Power steering questions are coming up again and I thought bumping this thread might make it easier to find - good info regarding power steering and it makes it look like Chris might still be around.

12-19-2010, 11:35 AM
I put a little more info on a new thread I started a week or so ago in the engine section. Dealt mainly with the o ring.

12-19-2010, 08:45 PM
thanks for the bump. I'm currently facing this same issue. I was digging around the reservoir screen with a screw driver and ended up pulling pieces of the clogged screen out. It was brown mixed in with some red in the tank. I also replaced the O-ring at the bottom (using vaseline as lube for the ring) of the reservoir tank and flushed the system with new ATF (dextron II ATF). There aren't any brown stuff anymore (as far as i can see). It doesn't leak at rest but when i put lock it to either side, it whines and starts leaking from the O-ring. I tried to dig out any left over screen and couldn't find anything. is it necessary to have a screen in there?

I also replaced the pressure line and return lines. No leaks from those areas.

I also dismantled the power steering assembly and put it back together in the right order. I didn't replace anything in there aside from the oil seal. I just checked inside there to see if everything is okay.

any suggestions?