Power Steering Failure – and Repair – Clogged Filter

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  1. #1
    CelicaSupra.com Member Rich64N's Avatar
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    Power Steering Failure – and Repair – Clogged Filter

    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

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  3. #2
    CelicaSupra.com Member SupraWes's Avatar
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    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.
    Wes
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  4. #3
    CelicaSupra.com Member
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    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
    mod.

    StanS

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  6. #4
    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.




  7. #5
    CelicaSupra.com Member Flyin' Hawaiian's Avatar
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    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!!!

  8. #6
    CelicaSupra.com Member Daves2JZGTE's Avatar
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    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.
    Dave

  9. #7
    Boosting Mod SilverMk2's Avatar
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    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.
    1985 Super Silver Supra 2JZGTE
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  10. #8
    CelicaSupra.com Member Supra_devil's Avatar
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    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

  11. #9
    CelicaSupra.com Member MAD_83supra's Avatar
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    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..

  12. #10

    Yea

    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??

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