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Author Topic: How to change your power steering fluid  (Read 14449 times)
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rbarrios
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« on: December 16, 2010, 08:28:42 PM »

This is a how to change it- a little at a time.
The other option is to disconnect the PS lines and force flush.

Ive done this on my other cars. most notably my 2003 Trailblazer. I did it on that one every 15,000 to 20,000 miles... and 157,000 later-- PS is still going strong. I prefer doing it this way. no leaks to worry about with the hoses. I know there was other Trailblazer members who disconnected hoses and ran engine to force out the fluid - then refilled- you get it all out- but it comes out with force and like I said- reconnecting hoses.  
This method has worked for me- and its what Ill do.

So- im going to do the same thing with the Traverse.
Since my PS lines ARE NOT leaking-- I dont like to loosen and flush and then reconnect--- only to find out that the perfect seal that was-- is no more... and  they MAY possibly leak.
So what I do is remove all the PS fluid from the reservoir- and refill with new fluid. This should allow the fluid to sort of make its way around the system and mix. In a few days ill suck out more fluid and refill with fresh fluid. I will repeat this a 2nd time---- a 3rd time- depending on how dark I see the fluid.
I did this today and it took me about 30 minutes- with taking pics and stuff.


1st. you want to get a bottle of Power Steering fluid. The one I bought is shown. I also bought a small turkey baster ($1.98)- both of these items at Wal Mart. You may also need to buy a small hose- like the one show (auto parts has hoses). I happened to have some. The manual doesnt say anything about GM Only fluid. THe Prestone bottle says its for use in GM cars.
I placed plastic under the car and in front of the car where I would be stepping.
 


THe PS reservoir on the lambdas for some odd reason has a small hole that makes using the turkey baster by itself- impossible (like on the Trailblazers- they had big openings- and you could use a large turkey baster.)
So thats why you have to use the small tube... attach it to the baster  like so.



Then youll want to remove the OIL FILL cap. once taken off- you can pull up on the engine cover. Its held in place by 4 pop on/off studs. Simply lift.
As shown- the cover comes off- and now you can access the PS reservoir



Insert the small tube into the hole... and begin to suck out all the fluid. Youll have to do this multiple times.
I placed a white paper towel so that you could see the fluid. Its very dark. Like a dark cherry red once its on your napkin.
I dont know if its this color from the factory. (but the new fluid is CLEAR).



I used a water bottle to temporarily store the used liquid. I placed it next to the PS pump so that I wouldnt be moving all over the place with a baster full of oil. Continue to suck out most of the fluid.



Once done- I proceeded to clean around the PS reservoir with Simple green. Clean any other part that may have gotten dirty.



Once clean- I refilled.  Check level and put cover back on
Before starting- the level was at the MIN. I left it at the MAX line.

Heres the old fluid... with less than 22,000.



My PS pump is not that loud. Its louder than my Trailblazer. But not loud to make me want to take it to the dealer.
Ill drive it around and see if it quiets it down... but thats not why changed a bit of the fluid.

FYI- I Only used about 1/3 of the Prestone bottle






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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2010, 09:27:14 PM »

Great write up there Rbarrios.

This is something that no doubt, get's overlooked on the maintenance schedule. As a matter of fact, I've never changed, or added any PS fluid to my Silverado, in the 5 years that I've owned it, and about 40k miles. Now the truck has 196,500 miles on it, and to my knowledge, the PS pump is orig, and I check the fluid level every time I change the oil, and it is still very clean, and to the top. This is something I may tackle on the Silverado this spring, and probably on the Traverse as well. Thanks to you, we have a great place to start.
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Greg.

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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2010, 07:23:38 AM »

Great write up.  I do the PS Fluid once a year on my truck, and will also be doing it on the Traverse.  The only difference in my procedure, is I have a suction pump (medical used for ventilators I think) that does the work for me.  It pulls the fluid into a container with cc's marked on it so I know exactly how much fluid I'm pumping out.  I'll post pics of it the next time I do it.  As you stated, it usually takes between 2-3 times before the fluid in the reservoir looks new again.
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2010, 12:22:52 PM »

Nice report on the "how to...". On the other hand I have had power steering on every vehicle I have owned since 1968 and have never changed the P/S fluid and have never had a failure because of it on any of those. I think I will spend the time I save skipping that maintenance procedure by reading another chapter in my current novel.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in maintaining my vehicles and when younger did a lot of tinkering and maintenance "just because it was fun". Now I let someone else do what has to be done.
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Bayner66
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2010, 10:45:27 PM »

Nice report on the "how to...". On the other hand I have had power steering on every vehicle I have owned since 1968 and have never changed the P/S fluid and have never had a failure because of it on any of those. I think I will spend the time I save skipping that maintenance procedure by reading another chapter in my current novel.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in maintaining my vehicles and when younger did a lot of tinkering and maintenance "just because it was fun". Now I let someone else do what has to be done.

Yeah, I've owned about 8 GM vehicles dating to 1973, and have never maintained the PS system.  I have overhauled them with various vehicles as part of a ground-up resotration, but never paid much attention to them as far as maintenance. 

I've never had one fail either.

On the other hand, this wouldn't be a bad thing to do by any stretch.  In fact, I SHOULD do it just to keep the contaminants out of the system. 

These days, it's not so easy to throw on a new pump or sterring box for 30 or 40 bucks like I used to.
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rbarrios
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2010, 11:16:49 PM »

and before--- the part was easily accessible. well compared to today.... you can barely get the oil filter out... imagine the PS pump.
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2010, 09:29:33 AM »

and before--- the part was easily accessible. well compared to today.... you can barely get the oil filter out... imagine the PS pump.

Another great point. I would hate to see the price on a rack, or a pump these days, that could have maybe been prevented by changing fluid. blob
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Greg.

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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2011, 02:29:47 PM »

Well today the weather cooperated a bit, so I decided to change out my PS fluid.  I really like the Turkey baster method, so I went to the dollar store and picked one up.

Here are a few pics.  I'm sure rbarrios will enjoy someone else posting a pic now and again.


Completed the fluid exchange.


Old Power Steering Fluid.



I replaced about 250ml of fluid.  I siphoned some out after I was done, and it was clear with a slight tinge to it, like slightly rusty water.  A LOT better than what is in the Prego jar.
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2011, 07:34:33 PM »

Does anyone know what colour power steering fluid comes in the Traverse form the factory?  The replacement stuff I put in was clear.  I'm wondering if the factory stuff is reddish or brown already, as I can't imagine that the fluid gets dirty that quickly.
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2011, 08:25:39 PM »

Power steering fluid gets nasty colored pretty quickly. It should be the same "clear" color from the factory as the new stuff you put in.
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2011, 10:19:17 PM »

Power steering fluid gets nasty colored pretty quickly. It should be the same "clear" color from the factory as the new stuff you put in.
Sounds right.   There was a thread on BITOG that it is undyed and very similar to ATF base stock.  But please don't interchange the 2 fluids as the additives are different.
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2012, 10:58:55 PM »

How about using Amsoil power steer fluid in the traverse power steer system. Has anyone used synthetic in their traverse?
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2012, 09:54:20 AM »

How much fluid does the steering system hold total?  I did the reservoir fluid change with a bulb for batteries I got at harbor freight.  Looks like I put in about 16 oz when I refilled it.  Just wondering how much it really holds and how many suctions I need to do to get most of it clean (clearer fluid anyway).

My pump does not sound any different from when I bought my 2009 used last year, but looking at the color of the previous posts, I thought I had better swap mine out just in case.

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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2012, 11:27:30 AM »

@rbarrios...Would you use this same procedure to change your brake fluid?
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2012, 02:36:49 PM »

I have used a turkey baster to remove SOME of the brake fluid in the master cylinder- then refill with new fluid---- THEN go to each wheel and drain fluid from there (with someone pumping brakes and me opening and closing the bleeder screw)....

(the quick explanation above) its a little more involved so that you dont get air in the line when youre opening the bleeder.

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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2013, 10:45:12 AM »

The only other way of changing more fluid out at one time than the baster method is to disconnect the rubber hose to the cooler (difficult...the line is flimsy so care is needed) and the large pipe going to the power steering pump (not proven by me yet).  All clamps involved are serviceable (worm and pinch clamp).

The reservoir is so high up on the engine and away from the the actual pump that a lot of power steering fluid is trapped between the reservoir, pump, and cooler.

Again i need to figure out away to remove the tube from the power steering pump.  When i do i will post pictures or start another thread.

For the record, this weekend i tried to drain from the reservoir to the cooler hose and pump more fluid out by turning the wheels (front wheels of the ground) and i got more out but I trapped a lot of air in the system and it took a long time to bleed it out.  The reason air was trapped is because i drained too much fluid from the rack.

The fluid came out dark brown, i hope it started out white or yellow.  when i was done it had a red tint, using dex 6, but it was not the pink on the white towel i was expecting.  This leads me to believe that a lot of fluid is trapped somewhere and i suspect it is the large tube from the reservoir to the pump.

I thought i would share.

Basically, the method i am trying is to drain the reservoir completely and refill.  Maybe add a step to pump the fluid out out of the rack by turning the wheels lock to lock in order to squeeze more ounces out of it.
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rbarrios
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2013, 11:02:36 AM »

I had pondered the method you describe... but had seen the notice below-- about being careful not to introduce too much air....
I guess the system must be very picky about air in there...

So Ive stuck with the turkey baster method--- and do it every so often.


 Replacing a Power Steering Cooler
July 2, 2012

When replacing a leaking or damaged power steering cooler on a 2008-2012 Enclave, 2009-2012 Traverse, 2007-2012 Acadia or 2007-2010 Outlook, it is critical to replace the cooler without introducing a lot of air into the system.

 

When replacing a power steering cooler, first block off the hoses near the cooler connection with the appropriate clamps. (Fig 3, A, B) Next, disconnect the cooler from the lines and remove the cooler. (Fig. 3, C)

 


Prefill the new cooler on the bench and cap off the pre-filled cooler ends for installation.

 

Install the new pre-filled cooler on the vehicle and remove the clamps on the hoses.

 

Once installation is complete, be sure to follow the Power Steering System Bleed Procedure in the appropriate Service Information
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2013, 11:50:13 AM »

This system is so touchy about air GM developed a tool to purge it and that tool isn't even very good it took two trips/tries to do my old 2010.

I would just have the dealer do the steering fluid change. It's not worth the aggravation and if it requires a re-purge then it's on their dime as it's part of the original service.

The cooling system and AC are the other item that's just not worth doing it's easier to have them do it.

That is however the only things I would let them do just because they have the specialized equipment to do it.

Having been through all of the Steering issues I know how bad it is to get air out of the Traverses steering system.


 
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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2013, 11:23:06 PM »

here is the tube i am talking about.


diagram


I want to try disconnecting this tube from the pump to drain and fill.
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« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2013, 10:00:06 AM »

Great write up. New owner here and this is on my to do list when my warranty runs out on me.
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