ATF for power steering pump

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Jun 20, 2003
Fort Langley, BC
I was going to take my 80 to the dealer next week and have them flush the power steering system. It's seems a lot easier for them to just use the cool flush system they have than for me to do it myself. It's got to be a 1 :banana: job.

Problem is that the power steering system calls for ATF fluid but the flush system at the dealer uses PS fluid [editted out brake fluid to reduce the moron effect].

Question is - does it really matter if ATF is used? The only way to get ATF in there is to do it myself and that seems like a pain from what I hear.

I want to get this flushed as it's looking pretty dirty.

How many of you actaully use ATF in the power steering system?

R :-\
ATF in my 91
Brake fluid ??? I use Mobil-1 ATF.
LOL.......I ran brake fluid in my 92 for 150,000 miles before someone mentioned that it was suppose to use ATF......yeah I guess I might have read the cap in all those years/miles :D But I did swtich to ATF after finding out(what others know....I'm a moron sometimes) But BF apears to have done no damage to my PS pump or box. Heck it leaked when I gotit at 70k.....and it still leaks at 230K, actaully a bit less after using Eagle No leak a few years ago.

I do(now that I learned how to read) use ATF in all my other PS pumps.

John H
Here are three reasons to use ATF

1. It's cheaper
2. You already have it. Why buy another bottle of stuff?
3. Many types of PS fluid come in the same looking pint bottles as brake fluid. Its also clear, like brake fluid. I have seen three complete brake system replacements done because someone put PS fluid in the resiviour. Eliminate that possibility by not having the bottle on your shelf. :beer:
Perhaps I should go read up on the PS fluid replacement threads and use ATF or synth but I still have to wonder because -

My 92 Camry also calls for ATF. So if I'm to assume that all modern Toyota's use ATF, why the heck is the dealer using PS fluid in the flush system? This can't be that bad if that's what they use.

Perhaps a question for Dan - what's your guys use in their flush system?
And I recall that's what you'd be using.

If it's OK for Dan it's ok for me (I think).

R -

PS. everything little thing I take on with this rig becomes a study to death project.
We use power steering fluid.

What I find odd is that the factory fill that I see in vehicles that specify "ATF" is not red. :-\ This is not limited to Cruisers either.
why the heck is the dealer using PS fluid in the flush system?
Power Steering Fluid is Automatic Transmission Fluid. ;)
I think the Service Book says to use Dexron IID. :-* But you can use any ATF. :slap:
ATF here also. I use a turkey baster and remove and replace the oil. I let the truck idle and turn the wheels left and right a few times and remove and replace the oil again. I do this a few times until all the oil looks new. I know a flush would be better but it works for me. Bob
I'm using ATF w/ Dextron III (some older manuals may spec dextron II, but I don't think it's made anymore). I've heard of some guys w/ Toyota trucks switching to PS fluid and developing leaks, then upon switching back to ATF w/ dextron, the leaks stopped.
Ok for the first time since I've owned my truck, I had it in at the dealer today to flush the PS system. The same dealer commented that it was dirty on the pre-inspection before I bought it.

Note: the dealer uses PS fluid not ATF.

My wife took the LC in today to have it flushed while I was busy following Cary and kenton duke it out on the topics of PHDs and MTs.

Anyway I just checked the fluid color my dropping a few drops on my hand. Man it still looks dirty to me. :mad:

Shouldn't this be clearer like new engine oil only thinner?

Perhaps I should have done this myself, I thought this should have been straight forward enough. When will I learn :slap:

They probably did a change of the reservoir only. Saved them some time and money. It should be clear and red, though if yours was neglected it may have indeed been changed, and now what you're seeing is the fresh oil's detergents are cleaning the system. I'd consider another change in a few months if they convince you they changed it all.

Thanks Doug - The dealer has a flush machine that I assume cleans the entire system. I had previously checked that out and it seemed to make sense.

Does standard PS fluid look clear and red?

I'm sure they did something as fluid has been spilled around that area.
True PS fluid will be a light honey blonde or perhaps blue (Pennzoil ps fluid).

As I noted eariler, the book spec's ATF but the factory fill is blonde. I haven't been able to get a concrete answer about why that is.

I guess I'll follow Doug's advice and replace myself in a few weeks, this is after I call the dealer to inquire what exactly they did and why is it so dirty. Gee I really hate talking to the "service advisors" ::)

Perhaps it's just so dirty in there that the new stuff is cleaning it up. But a little hard to believe that in 20 miles or so it would end up being that dirty. Engine oil doesn't get dirty that fast. I would think they would flush it until it was clean coming out of the system.

Maybe your motor oil and PS fluid are mixing at the pump. Unlikely, but possible.

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