bleed / flush power steering fluid - Maintenance and Repair Forum

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bleed / flush power steering fluid
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 4:53 AM

Is there an official / easy / proper / best method for completely bleeding out and flushing all of the power steering fluid in the system and replacing it? I'm not talking about just the lock-to-lock steering wheel thing. I want to get every drop out of my system and put clean fluid in there. Thanks.

2001 2.2 Cavalier 259K 5-speed manual.

Leak in the system killed the old pump 2 years ago. This one was doing fine just adding more once in a while, but now it is howling and whining even though the reservoir is full. The difference now is that the fluid is dirty and contaminated, which is a big change. Usually, at all times in the past, the clean fluid just got lower but stayed clean.

Re: bleed / flush power steering fluid
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 4:00 PM
You could use a pump to flush it. Doing it a few times with fresh fluid will end up getting most everything out.

The only way I know to thoroughly clean the rack is to dismantle it, clean everything with brake cleaner. Check that there are is no damage/scratches to any parts of the rack. Then put it back together with a new seal kit.
Use a Mityvac hand pump (which have more than doubled in price over the last 2 or 3 years since I bought mine) to get all the air out. You can make a cap for the reservoir out of a sink drain stopper. Works great and is far cheaper than a purpose made bleed cap. DO NOT pull more than about 20 on the vacuum.

Maybe someone knows a better method, but the above works well and is the only way to be certain all contaminates are removed.
Re: bleed / flush power steering fluid
Wednesday, October 07, 2020 5:32 AM

Is there not a simple bleed valve located somewhere? The loud screaming, whining, groaning is just getting worse and there seems to be little connection to the level of fluid in the reservoir - like there is a blockage between the reservoir and the pump.

Is there a simple way to remove the reservoir from the pump or does the pump have to be taken out first?
Re: bleed / flush power steering fluid
Thursday, October 08, 2020 3:46 AM

So I am now thinking that it must be leaking between the reservoir and the pump. That would explain quite a few things - like where the air is getting sucked into the system, why no matter how much fluid I add, it doesn't make any difference, why the level of the reservoir doesn't matter either.

So now my questions are - is it possible to remove just the reservoir from the pump without removing the pump? And if the answer to that is yes, then is there a washer/seal that is sold or known-of that works to fix such a leak?

Replacing the power steering pump is not something I could do so I am hoping there is a fix to this that doesn't require taking it off.
Re: bleed / flush power steering fluid
Thursday, October 08, 2020 4:24 PM
You have to remove the pump to get the reservoir off. There are two clips that attach it to the pump. There is a rubber o-ring that seals the reservoir to the pump. I don't know what size it is. You can buy a pump seal kit and I would imagine that it includes the o-ring you need. RockAuto has the kit,
Those clips holding the reservoir on are very tough. Be careful not to damage the reservoir when removing/reinstalling them. You might find a video on YouTube showing how to do it. I used a flat screw driver to pry up the locking tab and a small hammer to tap the clips off. It worked fine, but there may be another method better suited for the job.

You may be able to find the correct size o-ring at NAPA.
Another option is to buy a new pump and reservoir, but it will cost a good bit more than the seal kit or the o-ring alone.
Re: bleed / flush power steering fluid
Sunday, October 18, 2020 5:57 AM
Thanks for the reply. I spend a lot of my very limited time searching the internet for all these problems and given my many, many parameters, things are almost beyond help. Can't afford repairs, can't repair things myself, no money, injuries, no place to work on the car, not enough or not the right kind of tools, can't be without the car for more than a few hours at a time, etc......good times.

Seems like pouring a quart in the howling, screaming pump every few days is my current option. Sounds like an air horn when I start in the morning and when making turns.

But every day there are new problems and I literally don't know what is going to happen anymore when I turn the key. Most recent problem is electrical. Going to post a new thread, but not sure there is any point.

Dim headlights and hissing from speakers. Can't find any ground wires where they connect to the body - either for the headlights or the speakers. Checked all the fuses and they all look good. Took bulbs out and the connections all look clean dry and as good as new. It isn't an alternator or battery issue. I've gone though both of those with this car several times and this is different. I just noticed the headlight issue recently and the speaker hiss started within the last month so I guess they could both be caused by the same thing - whatever and where ever it is. The speaker hiss is connected to the radio/clock being on. The hiss continues for 15 seconds after the radio shuts off and the clock goes out. I tried to trace the headlight wires back to see where they would touch metal somewhere but I don't see it. Same with the speaker wires. Everything appears fine on all ends. So I don't know where else to look.

It has got cold here and I don't know how I am going to survive the winter. 2020 has been a nightmare.
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