Need to replenish the power steering fluid

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

Joined
Feb 27, 2022
Messages
66
Location
Western WA, USA
Doing my first in depth fluids check on our new-to-us FJ60, and the power steering fluid is a little low. Found in the owner's manual that I should refill with Dextron II or Dextron ATF. Fast forward 40 years, and I'm wondering if the Dextron VI is the best choice, since that seems to be the current version of the Dextron II, or if there's a more desirable option. No idea what's in there right now. TIA.
 
Best to flush it out the way the manual suggests. Old oil has metal particles in it and it’s burnt.
The latest generation of Dextron is fine. Don’t use power steering fluid.

The number one thing to avoid when changing fluid is sucking air in the system when the pump is running.
If that happens, the pump blends the air into the oil like a frapé and it foams - and pumpy no worky right after that until all the air is cleared out of the lines - which can take a long time to purge.

A lazy and more wasteful way to change the power steering fluid (yet risk free) is to suck it out of the reservoir with a turkey baster AFTER the engine has shut down and pump is no longer spinning.
Just suck it all out and refill with new oil (when engine is OFF).

Do that after every drive for maybe 8-10 times and most of the old oil will have been swapped out. Not all of it of course, but a good percentage of it.
Doing it this way will prevent any air from getting into the system.
 
Thank you for that. I definitely like risk-free when I can get it. I had already suspected the fluid was low because at startup the power steering didn't seem to really be engaged, and I got a shudder and pump noise when I tried to crank the wheel in either direction. Then as the truck warmed up, that would go away and it would steer normally with no odd sounds. That screamed "low fluids" to me, since I would expect a true steering issue would stay relatively consistent. Definitely want to replace old-n-tired with new-and-clean as often as I can right now.
 
I'll play devil's advocate here. I flushed my power steering once using the pump to forcefully push out the fluid. I got all kinds of rusty bits and dirt out of the system. I think most of it came from the steering gear box. I found this method on the toyota truck forum but it made sense to me.

1. jack up the front of the truck to get the tires off the ground.

2. Pull the return line off the reservoir and plug the reservoir and the line until you are ready. I did this with a short piece of hose with a bolt in it.

3. Turn the return line downward into a long funnel. Have a bucket or oil pan under the funnel.

4. Have at least 2 quarts of ATF standing by with the tops removed and within arm's reach.

5. Remove the reservoir top and get ready to pour.

6. Have a second person start the truck and turn the wheel stop to stop as you pour ATF. This will happen quickly and violently. Make sure the person behind the wheel is ready to turn off the motor when you tell them to.

7. Continue to pour and when you are out of fluid turn off the truck. Try to stay ahead of the reservoir getting low and churning.

8. Once you are done you will need to get the return line on the reservoir quickly or at least be ready to plug it until you can get it back on.

9. Top off the reservoir. If air got in there just let it sit. The way to bleed air out of a p.s. system is to turn the wheels stop to stop. Not like brake lines.

10. If you want to do this in a more controlled manner you can do it w/out the engine running. It's easier to keep up with the fluid but you lose the power of the pump to clean out your gearbox.
 
I will second @g-man ’s description of active power steering purging being QUICK AND VIOLENT. Holy hell, the pump is eating new fluid faster than you can pour and the old stuff is blowing out the return line like a fire hose, blasting nasty-smelling old ATF all over the place. Meanwhile you’re friend in the driver’s seat is going lock to lock like they’re on a Sunday drive in the grocery store parking lot. But it really works. Totally worth it, if for nothing else than the experience alone.

@HemiAlex what kind of goodies does your filter collect? Color me interested…
 
Sorry to disappoint, but I'm inclined to go the turkey baster route. Call me a coward; I won't be offended. Quick and violent? I'll save that for standing on the sidelines and watching someone else go through the motions. I have learning curve enough on this rig; don't need to be intimidated out of doing one of my first fixit jobs. I did like the filter notion though. That'll definitely be included.
 
Sorry to disappoint, but I'm inclined to go the turkey baster route. Call me a coward; I won't be offended. Quick and violent? I'll save that for standing on the sidelines and watching someone else go through the motions. I have learning curve enough on this rig; don't need to be intimidated out of doing one of my first fixit jobs. I did like the filter notion though. That'll definitely be included.
I have a tendency to be dramatic. Buy 4 quarts and go to town. It ain’t that bad, just fast-paced. Make sure you either secure that return line pointing into a 5 gallon bucket or have somebody else holding it thought, otherwise it’ll move around on you as the pump pulsates. And it comes out with force so have that other person managing the splash situation, maybe point it at the side of the bucket.

So maybe three people is ideal. It really is fun though, and makes short work of the process.
 
Just an update on this, I had the power steering pump completely replaced when the rig was getting her knuckle joints serviced at Torfab. We debated awhile whether we should do the swap-out or not, but since we already had steering issues and some leftover $$$ on the car loan, we thought nope, just git 'er done. Maybe I'll be brave enough to do the power-on power steering fluid refill at some later date when I've got more repair work on my resume. For now, I was happy to hand that task over to someone else.
 
Just an update on this, I had the power steering pump completely replaced when the rig was getting her knuckle joints serviced at Torfab. We debated awhile whether we should do the swap-out or not, but since we already had steering issues and some leftover $$$ on the car loan, we thought nope, just git 'er done. Maybe I'll be brave enough to do the power-on power steering fluid refill at some later date when I've got more repair work on my resume. For now, I was happy to hand that task over to someone else.
What did you have done exactly? My power steering pump needs to be replaced and going in to Torfab the end of this month. What are the options and costs associated? I know the stock is NLA. Thanks.
 
@Roonie we had to have our knuckles rebuilt, and we knew the power steering pump was leaking badly. Hubby and I debated doing it ourselves, and then work slammed down the idea that we'd have any free time for awhile. We didn't know how much of our steering issues were due to the pump being almost gone, and Kaylee wasn't safe in her current condition. So it was either keeping her parked until we could get to it, or have Torfab do it. Since she was already going in for the knuckles, we opted to have them do the steering pump too. It added a little over $700 to the total.
 
anyone got a pic showing which is the return line that need to be removed to do the fluid change. Was going to turkey baste but I am not afraid to do this with my son if I know what line to pull.
 
If you’re going to be acting as teacher- start the lesson the right way by insisting that the factory service manual should always be referenced first (it has pictures of what is what)
See attached
 

Attachments

  • power steering flush.pdf
    788.3 KB · Views: 26
If you’re going to be acting as teacher- start the lesson the right way by insisting that the factory service manual should always be referenced first (it has pictures of what is what)
See attached
thank you sir...printed and WILL read the instructions. Looks like they recommend doing it slightly different and not actively filling while the truck is running. Would you recommend adding while it is draining with a running engine?? Seems like this would maybe actually flush the system verses just draining and refilling. I am getting some groan during cold weather and want to do this over the weekend.
 
It's not clear in the written instructions but if you look at the image they put a "blind cap" on the reservoir return port. This to block fluid from running out of the reservoir while flushing. Remember to keep pouring new ATF in while driver is turning stop to stop.

As I recall i removed the radiator overflow bottle to use that space for my funnel.
 
Also if your pump starts to cavitate (air introduced because your not keeping up with the fluid) then it will make some noise. Have the driver keep window down so he can here you. You should be yelling for the driver to STOP the engine when/if you notice this is happening. If it cavitates for a couple seconds that is not a big deal. You will have pink frothy ATF. It will take some time for the air to settle out of the ATF if this happens. Just walk away and check it a few hours later and top off the fluid. Any large air pockets will purge themselves when the steering wheel is turned stop to stop. No need to prime the pump. Don't drive the vehicle with pink frothy ATF. Wait until it settles and top it off.
 
The gremlin with flushing power steering fluid is getting air in the system. Filling while draining with engine running is probably the worst method and probably the best way to fill the system with foam.
When the pump sucks air, it whips the bubbles into a fine froth then ejects the bubbly into the steering system: the pump, the lines and the steering gear box.

While eveeeeeeentualy the system will purge itself of air, the power steering is kinda messed up until it does - which can take a long time.
As it’s purging bubbles (and sucking them back in to be whipped around the system over and over again until they finally pop), the pump works like crap and groans - and you’ve got to continually keep an eye on the reservoir fluid level and keep it topped off — or it will suck in air again and the merry go round starts all over again.

The BEST way I found to flush/change the fluid without any chance of air getting into the system is to remove the power steering belt and turn the pulley by hand to slowly pump out the old fluid into a container.

Then add some more, then hand pump it out etc. Making sure not to pump too much out
You’ll see when the eject fluid is clean - and then you can stop.
 
The method I use is to jack up the front of the truck, suck the old fluid out of the reservoir, then disconnect the return line, cap the port on the reservoir, then run the return hose down so that it exits into a small bucket. it'll gravity drain on its own, and without the engine running, I fill the reservoir while (again without engine running) turning the wheel back and forth several times, keeping an eye on the fluid level (liks @OSS said it's important to make sure you're not allowing air into the system or you'll be in for an aggravating and long term chore of having it all bleed through while you watch fluid level like a hawk). Once you see obvious clean fluid going into the bucket, you can plug the return line to avoid spills, feed it back up to the reservoir, reattach it and fill up with the new fluid you're using. I'd fill it to the high side of the cold marks, then check the level next time you drive it and make sure it's all good.

If you REALLY want a good purge you can do it a second time after a few drives to flush out any debris left in from the first time that's now been freed up by the new fluid.

For fluid I'm a fan of Schaeffer's All Trans. Gave me a couple more years of life in my A440F when it was on its way out, and works great in PS systems. I'm due for a new flush myself too actually. I think Royal Purple Max ATF would work really well too, and is easier to source locally (for me anyway).
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top Bottom