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#1672851 - 11/15/09 09:12 PM power steering fluid or atf?
Johnny248 Offline


Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 2050
Loc: Detroit, MI
Hello,

Question about power steering fluids. I know that different manufacturers use different fluids for steering, where it be conventional power steering fluid or some type of atf, or sometimes some specific steering fluid. In the past I know that Chrysler started replacing power steering fluid with their atf fluid, and the bulletins stated to use the atf even in vehicles that originally came with power steering fluid.

Now, on to my question. I replaced the fluid in my Mitsu with Amsoil ATF. The original fluid was red, but it came in Mitsu bottles labled as power steering fluid. I'm not sure if it is red dyed power steering fluid, or atf, or something different.

According to Amsoil's applications, it states to use Amsoil Power Steering fluid. Is there anything wrong with keeping the Amsoil ATF in the system if it was originally designed for standard power steering fluid? could there be any long term problems with doing so? Or may it be even better for the steering system to use atf in it.
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#1673046 - 11/15/09 11:36 PM Re: power steering fluid or atf? [Re: Johnny248]
Nik Offline


Registered: 09/28/09
Posts: 59
Loc: Canada
See your car's specs. For example, my A4 requires Pentosyn 11S or Audi OEM PS fluid. Although, some people said they used other oils, there could be a lot of problems if you just top up vs. full flush. For Audi, some fluids are not compatible and will cause steering rack leak, or gelling or whatever. So, full flush is best if you are not sure.

On the other hand, in my 2001 Pathfinder, I used ATF because that's what the manual said to use if you don't have Nissan genuine PS fluid. But, again, I did full flush, not just replacing the PS reservoir content, but actual flush.


Edited by Nik (11/15/09 11:36 PM)
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#1673052 - 11/15/09 11:42 PM Re: power steering fluid or atf? [Re: Nik]
Johnny248 Offline


Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 2050
Loc: Detroit, MI
I also flushed my system, so I know there is not a problem with the two fluids mixing. The manual simply states "Genuine Mitsubishi Power Steering Fluid" I was curious because I don't know exactly what the Mitsu fluid is. It could be ATF in a smaller bottled called power steering fluid. Who knows.

I work at a Nissan dealer, and we use the BG Semi-Synthetic Red Power Steering in out power steering flushes.
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#1673063 - 11/15/09 11:55 PM Re: power steering fluid or atf? [Re: Johnny248]
Gary Allan Offline


Registered: 09/28/02
Posts: 39806
Loc: Pottstown, PA
I've yet to see authoritative documented proof that there's any need for a dedicated power steering fluid. While surely there are some (like the Audi aviation grade central fluid) that have special requirements, I can't for the life of me see what would be detrimentally effected by using ATF.

Since yours was originally spec'd for ATF ..there's no reason for you NOT to use ATF in your application.

I'm of the belief that PSF is merely hydraulic fluid without all the fancy stuff that ATF's require. I tend to regard it as a "more expensive cheaper product" due to packaging convenience.
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#1673069 - 11/16/09 12:02 AM Re: power steering fluid or atf? [Re: Gary Allan]
Johnny248 Offline


Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 2050
Loc: Detroit, MI
Originally Posted By: Gary Allan
I've yet to see authoritative documented proof that there's any need for a dedicated power steering fluid. While surely there are some (like the Audi aviation grade central fluid) that have special requirements, I can't for the life of me see what would be detrimentally effected by using ATF.

Since yours was originally spec'd for ATF ..there's no reason for you NOT to use ATF in your application.

I'm of the belief that PSF is merely hydraulic fluid without all the fancy stuff that ATF's require. I tend to regard it as a "more expensive cheaper product" due to packaging convenience.


I was told a long time ago that ATF is a high-detergent hydraulic fluid, and that is always stuck in my head.

I would *think* that in a power steering system, any hydraulic fluid that is compatible with seals and hoses, and can take the high pressure and heat involved would work fine. Again, I know that some vehicles have certain problems that may arise with things like noise or smoothness, but I would think that ATF is a higher quality fluid that performs better at both low and high temps than power steering fluid.

That being said, unless there was something somewhere that said do not use ATF because xxxxxxxx will occur, I would probably consider it an upgrade or improvement over standard power steering fluid.

But again, I figured I would ask to see if anyone else had any horror stories or reasons why ATF should not be used in a car that was originally spec'd for power steering fluid.
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'08 Beetle 2.5L
'04 Mini Cooper S JCW 1.6L


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#1673403 - 11/16/09 09:51 AM Re: power steering fluid or atf? [Re: Johnny248]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
Documented proof?
Hondas needed their own special fluid , or seal trouble could ensue.

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#1673512 - 11/16/09 11:22 AM Re: power steering fluid or atf? [Re: mechtech2]
AzFireGuy79 Offline


Registered: 03/08/08
Posts: 1286
Loc: Arizona
Hondas happen to be the exception and not the rule.
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#1674327 - 11/16/09 10:41 PM Re: power steering fluid or atf? [Re: AzFireGuy79]
Tremo Offline


Registered: 10/13/03
Posts: 463
Loc: California
I've run both ATF and specific PSF in my cars. They both work just fine.

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#1674500 - 11/17/09 06:46 AM Re: power steering fluid or atf? [Re: Tremo]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
Yes, the Honda PS thing was not the norm .
But it existed for a huge number of cars, and maybe applies to some other Mfrs.

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#1677926 - 11/19/09 07:52 PM Re: power steering fluid or atf? [Re: mechtech2]
Johnny248 Offline


Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 2050
Loc: Detroit, MI
the Honda thing... You know, I'm sure Honda has some reason for spec'ing their own fluid, however I have seen numerous clueless Honda owners have run regular p/s fluid and never had any problems. Plus I've seen people install some LubeGuard and again, have no problems. But anyone, Honda also spec's their own Coolant and says not to use other coolant. I know their coolant has had great reviews and response, I even use it in my Mitsu, but I again have seen more than enough Honda's without the Type 2 coolant, so who knows.

Point is, any quality hydraulic fluid *should* been pretty much ok in most systems.
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'08 Beetle 2.5L
'04 Mini Cooper S JCW 1.6L


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#1678129 - 11/19/09 10:15 PM Re: power steering fluid or atf? [Re: Johnny248]
silverrat Online   content


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 1554
Loc: Ontario
What Ive experienced.

PSF in all GM
Mercon V in Fords and Mazda
Type F in older Fords
PS in old Chryslers
ATF+4 in new chryslers
"Honda Formula" in Hondas
Dexron3 in Toyota, Nissan
Dexron6 in new Nissan
Dexron3 in Mitsubishi, Hyundai
VW/AUDI PS in VW audi
ATF in other old Germans
Pentosin in new ones.





Edited by silverrat (11/19/09 10:16 PM)
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