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Steering System Flushing: Use the Buddy System

The #1 steering problem CARDONE encounters during analysis of customer returns is failure related to contamination in the system. Failure to flush the system correctly can lead to several premature issues such as binding, poor turnability, leaking, hard steering or noise.

The processes below will greatly minimize steering system contamination while also preventing excessive air from entering the system. During the flushing process, the engine is not running at high RPMs. This does not allow air to enter easily into the system, but bleeding must still be performed.

Use this process to properly flush the steering system when replacing any steering component. Remember that skipping a step in the process usually results in a comeback.

 

  • Fill the power steering pump reservoir with new fluid recommended for your vehicle, but do not hook up the return hose from the rack & pinion or gear. Place the return hose in a container to catch the fluid and cap the return port on the reservoir to prevent leakage.
  • Disconnect the coil in order to allow the engine to crank, but not start.
  • This is where the buddy system should be used, in order to prevent a run-dry condition and premature damage to the power steering pump. One person needs to crank/turn off the engine, the second person must fill the fluid reservoir and watch the return hose
    • Buddy #1: Crank the engine for less than 20 seconds.
    • Buddy #2: Fill the reservoir
    • Buddy #1: Turn off the key
  • Let the engine rest for about 30 seconds and repeat the flush procedure, as needed until the new fluid runs out of the return hose. Buddy #2 can turn the steering wheel, while cranking, to allow the fluid to pass through all areas of the system.
  • Connect the return hoses to the power steering pump.
  • Top off fluid reservoir to the specified level.
  • Reconnect the coil.
  • Continue with the bleeding procedure.
  • Start the vehicle and begin bleeding the system of air by cycling the steering wheel from side to side a minimum of four times.
  • Take the vehicle for a test drive; if assist is smooth the bleeding is complete. If assist is erratic and jerky, more bleeding is required.
  • Continue bleeding until all air is removed from the system.
  • To check a vehicle to see if air is causing a power steering whine, simply take off the cap on the reservoir and inspect the fluid with the engine running. Any foaming or bubbles in the fluid will indicate air in the system that needs to be purged.

NOTE: Some vehicles require minimal bleeding, while others require patience and persistence. Refer to the article titled “Vacuum Bleeding”. Allowing the vehicle to sit for a few hours may allow the air bubble to rise. If unsuccessful, there may be additional O.E. procedures available; Technical questions can be emailed to CARDONE’s Technical Services team here.

 

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