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#1915331 - 06/06/10 09:16 PM What type of power steering fluid...
wallyuwl Offline


Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 1467
Loc: Lexington, KY
I have a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. I want to change the power steering fluid since it is looking a little "used up". I've been good with replacing the other fluids, just let this one slide I guess. The manual calls for using just Dexron III ATF fluid.

I'm considering using MaxLife ATF fluid (fully synthetic and meets Dex VI specs). Should I do this or just another synthetic such as their Dexron VI fluid (blue bottle)? I don't know if the addatives in the MaxLife would help, hurt, or not matter in power steering applications.

Also, what is the best way to change the power steering fluid (never done it before)? I've seen recommendations to just siphon out all you can, fill it up, then repeat this process two or three more times with each time separated by a few days. Is this sufficient to exahange most of the fluid? Is there a better way without special equipment to get most of it out doing it just once (without paying a shopt $60 to do the exchange)?

Thanks!


Edited by wallyuwl (06/06/10 09:21 PM)

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#1915336 - 06/06/10 09:21 PM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: wallyuwl]
tig1 Offline


Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 9850
Loc: Illinois
M1 ATF has worked well for me for many years. I just use the turkey baster method at every engine oil change.
_________________________
2007 Ford Fusion 144,000 miles
M1 0-20
2007 Ford Focus 128,000 miles
M1 0-20
10,000 mile OCIs on both engines
M1 ATF
M1 10-30 in all OPE

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#1915364 - 06/06/10 09:42 PM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: tig1]
Barkleymut Offline


Registered: 01/27/04
Posts: 2444
Loc: Richmond, VA
ditto on the turkey baster method. Do it every weekend for a month and you will have almost all new fluid in there. Use whatever the manual calls for.
_________________________
09 Vue(95K) 2.4 4spd AT -PU 5w30 / 09 Flex(52K)3.5L PU / Moms car 04 Pilot(105K) 5w20 PP + Puro

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#1915370 - 06/06/10 09:47 PM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: Barkleymut]
wallyuwl Offline


Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 1467
Loc: Lexington, KY
Sounds good. The suction method I mentioned is the turkey baster method, only using a suction gun instead of a turkey baster (ironically, I don't have a turkey baster but do have a suction gun).

So I guess with the fluid I'm wondering: will the addatives in MaxLife ATF, vs a regular synthetic Dexron fluid, hurt, help, or not make any difference when used in a power steering application?

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#1915417 - 06/06/10 10:36 PM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: wallyuwl]
Audi Junkie Offline


Registered: 11/03/02
Posts: 11247
Loc: PA
Hi-Miles ATF is not a good idea. Try some Dex VI.

Do a real flush. Skip the turkey's method.
_________________________
2008 Opel Astra 1.8 VVT 5M
2010 VW Tiguan 2.0 TSI 6M
(APR Powered)

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#1915420 - 06/06/10 10:37 PM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: wallyuwl]
beast3300 Offline


Registered: 12/24/09
Posts: 3012
Loc: Ohio
I have used Maxlife on a variety of power steering systems calling for Dexron. No issues came out of it.

However, I rather use one size fits my size than a one size fits many type of fluid. The M1 DexIII (if you can find it) or a Mercon V approved stuff would be more favorable in my opinion.

Dex 6 is a good spec but it may just be too much for the p.s.
_________________________
'03 Regal GS L67: PUP 5w30/XG3980, Filtermag

'99 Grand Prix L36: QS Dexos blend 5w30/PF47 Classic, Filtermag


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#1915611 - 06/07/10 08:24 AM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: beast3300]
tig1 Offline


Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 9850
Loc: Illinois
The turkey baster method works very well for PS pumps. Actually I use that at every OC with the brake master cylinder also with good results.
_________________________
2007 Ford Fusion 144,000 miles
M1 0-20
2007 Ford Focus 128,000 miles
M1 0-20
10,000 mile OCIs on both engines
M1 ATF
M1 10-30 in all OPE

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#1915772 - 06/07/10 11:25 AM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: wallyuwl]
Ursae_Majoris Offline


Registered: 03/28/09
Posts: 1350
Loc: South
I've used Mobil 1 MecronV ATF in my Tacoma. MecV is basically Dex3. Used a turkey baster and replaced a full quart over several weeks. Worked great. Really helped to lighten up the steering in winter.
_________________________
2011 Chrysler T&C, Dealer bulk fill/, OEM filter
2002 Isuzu Axiom, PureOne, 5w-30 G-Oil

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#1915866 - 06/07/10 01:22 PM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: Ursae_Majoris]
tig1 Offline


Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 9850
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: Ursae_Majoris
I've used Mobil 1 MecronV ATF in my Tacoma. MecV is basically Dex3. Used a turkey baster and replaced a full quart over several weeks. Worked great. Really helped to lighten up the steering in winter.


I've noticed the same with M1 ATF in cold temps.
_________________________
2007 Ford Fusion 144,000 miles
M1 0-20
2007 Ford Focus 128,000 miles
M1 0-20
10,000 mile OCIs on both engines
M1 ATF
M1 10-30 in all OPE

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#1916317 - 06/07/10 10:03 PM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: wallyuwl]
wallyuwl Offline


Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 1467
Loc: Lexington, KY
OK...

So I may have made a mistake. I had the vehicle in to get the rear brakes (drums - I can do disc but don't mess with drums) checked and adjusted. While I was there I figured I'd just have them do a power steering fluid exchange (it was $50 and I figured I'd spend $15 on fluid doing it myself plus the time). I don't know if they put the right kind of fluid in...

The fluid is definitely changed. It looks clean and the level is a little higher than before. It is supposed to take Dex III, a tranny fluid. This fluid is not red. I haven't sucked any out of the resivoire to see the color for sure (the resivoire distorts the color a bit), but in pulling the cap off and looking down plus looking at what is on the plastic dipstick it definitely isn't red.

Basically the color of the fluid looks the same as the fluid that was in there before the exchange (from the factory). But I figured it was dark because of being worn out (108k miles - I admit I've neglected this fluid). But maybe not? We bought the vehicle with 21k miles, but I really have no idea what color the fluid was back then.

Should I be worried they didn't use the right stuff?

I should have just done the turkey baster method myself...

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#1916431 - 06/08/10 04:43 AM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: wallyuwl]
dnewton3 Online   content



Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 5621
Loc: Indianapolis, IN
Originally Posted By: wallyuwl
I have a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. I want to change the power steering fluid since it is looking a little "used up". I've been good with replacing the other fluids, just let this one slide I guess. The manual calls for using just Dexron III ATF fluid.

I'm considering using MaxLife ATF fluid (fully synthetic and meets Dex VI specs). Should I do this or just another synthetic such as their Dexron VI fluid (blue bottle)?

Thanks!



First of all, the Maxlife product you speak of does NOT meet DEX VI; that is their marketing speak, seen here:
http://www.valvoline.com/products/consum...ission-fluid/37
Fundementally, they cannot "meet" the (former) DEX III(h) specs, and the DEX VI specs, with the same fluid. They also claim it OK for Mercon, Mercon V, Mercon LV and SP, TES-295 and TES-389 ... quite a miracle fluid if you ask me! The bottom line is that it's "recommended for use" by them, which is NOT the same thing as being licensed for specifical applications. GM and Ford don't even license the old stuff any longer.

All that said, I do not mean to infer it's not a good fluid; probably is great stuff, and will likely work very well in your p/s system. Any product that would meet the (former) DEX III and/or Mercon criteria will work. For example they also have this:
http://www.valvoline.com/products/consum...ission-fluid/33
I find it mind-numbing that they state " ... qualified by both General Motors and Ford." Neither GM or Ford license those products any longer, and haven't for several years.

Sometimes marketing is quick to make claims, slow to update outdated material, and generally full of rehtoric. Go figure.

As for the new fluid in your car not being red, that clearly means they did not use an ATF. They likey used a specific p/s fluid replacment; GM's steering fluids are clear for most all of their products. In contrast, Ford's steering fluid has been ATF for years and years (I know because I worked at their power steering factory in Indy for 16 years ...). Your Vibe (a veiled Matrix) was made in concert between GM and Toyota. Toyota uses ATF based products for many of their p/s systems. Hence, the call for DEX III rather than clear p/s fluid in your manual.

As long as they got all the old fluid out, and changed over to the new stuff, you might be OK. The real problem is that I'm not all that confident of all the potential chemical reactions (long term) that might happen from mixing ATF with clear hydraulic p/s fluid. Perhaps one of the few true chemists we have here could comment.

If it were me, I'd be a bit ticked off that they blindly didn't check the fluid spec before doing the work; clearly they didn't pay any attention. I would think the color difference alone would alert them to a potential issue, but that's what you get at some (or many) service facilities. In this situation, I'm the type person that would (at the very least) go back and speak to the site manager, and really drop an ear-full, so that perhaps the NEXT customer didn't get treated that way. And I'd likely demand a full refund, or work re-done, at their expense, just to make a point. I'm kind of a jerk that way. I'm sure their marketing hype brags upon their "professional service" and "trained employees"; make them earn it!

The reality is that your simple act of replacing the fluid (with any one of a multitude of reasonable choices from any major brand competitors) is MUCH more important than the nuiance of which brand you pick, as long as you use one that is specifically targeted to the performance characteristics of the (former) fluids. But I, for one, would at least want the right type of fluid used, if for principle only.


Edited by dnewton3 (06/08/10 05:16 AM)
_________________________
Conventionals vs. Synthetics isn't about which is "better"; it's about which lasts longer, while assuring safe operation, in relation to cost. Any product can be over or under utilized. The same applies to filters.
Make an informed decision; first consider your operating conditions, next determine your maintenance plan, and then pick your lube and filter. Don't do it the other way around ...

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#1916616 - 06/08/10 10:28 AM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: dnewton3]
wallyuwl Offline


Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 1467
Loc: Lexington, KY
Thanks dnewton, your info. was very helpful.

I called where I got the ps fluid exchange done and they said they used a semi-synthetic ps fluid called Super S, and the company that makes it is Smittys. It is supposedly safe for all vehicles other than Honda.

They did say they would exchange it for Dex III for free if I wanted them to (they said they don't put Dex III specifically in vehicles even if they call for it because they've had problems with it causing problems with seals and such).

Recommendations on whether or not I should keep what is in there or have Dex III put in? If the stuff that is in there is fine I'll just leave it. I just don't know anything about the product and their web page isn't very informative.

http://www.smittysinc.net/PSF.htm



The MaxLife PS fluid isn't liscensed Dex VI but in their FAQ Valvoline says it meets the criteria and they stand behind it in Dex VI applications.

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#1916647 - 06/08/10 10:52 AM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: wallyuwl]
dnewton3 Online   content



Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 5621
Loc: Indianapolis, IN
First things first. There is simply no way on this green earth that a product can claim to meet both DEX III and DEX VI "criteria" at the same time. For one thing, the min vis of DEX III is well above the max of DEX VI; you cannot be both above and below a range at the same time (not at least in the physical world I live in). Valvoline is full of poo, here. Amsoil tried this for some time, and ultimately developed their "ATL" product, in lieu of the "ATF" product. It's fine for Valvoline to stand behind their recommendation, but that means piddly-squat as to what "meets criteria". It is not licensed because there is no phyical way for it to be licensed; it cannot pass. Also, to be DEX VI licesned, there is a specific chemistry package that is required by GM. I doubt that package meets the DEX III stuff either. That is the whole reason Valvoline also has a DEX VI licensed product, in addition to many DEX III based products.

Again, not that the Maxlife DEX/Merc won't work; it probably will do fine. But it does NOT meet DEX VI criteria. End of story.

Really does not matter though, because your car calls for DEX III (a fluid that technically does not exist any longer).

I know nothing of the smittys fluid. It may work perfectly well for the next ten years; it may sludge up in two years. I have no idea.

That is the point to licensed fluids; known safe operating parameters with minimum standards of performance. Aftermarket solutions can be "better" or they can be a disaster; you won't know until you try, and you are at their mercy because the only validation that exists is their own (like the fox and the hen house ...). Some aftermarket suppliers have good reputations (Amsoil, Mobil, ect) and others could be fly-by-night operations.

Here's what really bugs me: I really have to question your service facility's logic of not putting a DEX III product into a DEX III application ... DEX III and Mercon were VERY similar, so much so that the aftermarket was able to make fluids that met both GM and Ford criteria with one fluid (it was a performance spec, primarily). There are MILLIONS of vehicles out there with that fluid in the tranny and p/s. If that fluid base was such a problem, it would be an industry standard to run away from it. Yet those formulas are still marketed today, with great success, and good performance for the dollar. Allison even has a TES-389 fluid spec that basically duplicates the old defunct DEX III spec, so that there is a cost-effective option for their trannies in many applications, rather than having to run TES-295 (which is very pricey). Your service facility's comments about seal issues is probably a weak attempt to talk you out of what they should have used in the first place.

Do as you see fit, but it sounds to me like they made a big mistake, and are trying to cover it up.



Edited by dnewton3 (06/08/10 11:02 AM)
_________________________
Conventionals vs. Synthetics isn't about which is "better"; it's about which lasts longer, while assuring safe operation, in relation to cost. Any product can be over or under utilized. The same applies to filters.
Make an informed decision; first consider your operating conditions, next determine your maintenance plan, and then pick your lube and filter. Don't do it the other way around ...

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#1916714 - 06/08/10 12:04 PM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: dnewton3]
wallyuwl Offline


Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 1467
Loc: Lexington, KY
I called the company that makes the product (Smittys and Super S, respectively). They transferred me to someone in their chemical/product lab, but I got a voicemail (for a specific person, not a generic voicemail box). Hopefully I'll get a return phone call soon from him.

Based on their company web site it seems like a legit company that makes bulk automotive fluids not available to the general public (or if they do they are under different brand names than just their company name).


Here is the link to the FAQ on Valvoline's site regarding MaxLife. I don't know enough about this stuff to know if it is bull you know what (to avoid the censor... :) ) or not, but this is what they say:

http://www.valvoline.com/faqs/system-fluids/automatic-transmission-fluid/94

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#1916763 - 06/08/10 12:57 PM Re: What type of power steering fluid... [Re: wallyuwl]
wallyuwl Offline


Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 1467
Loc: Lexington, KY
I got a call back from the guy that works in the chemical lab at Smitty's that makes the Super S power steering fluid. He said he doesn't think it will cause problems because the specs for that PS fluid aren't far off from ATF, but can't say for sure it won't cause issues without knowing why the manufacturer recommends using ATF. His recommendation was to use what the manufacturer recommends. So I'm going to get it redone in the next day or two using ATF.

The shop has Shell semi-synthetic Dex III compatable ATF in stock that they'd use. I can also bring in my own ATF.

Any suggestions on what type I should use (their Shell, or if not what I should bring in)? Would a full synthetic be better? If you'd recommend me bringing in my own, any idea how many quarts power steering systems take (2?)?

Thanks.

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