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I have never seen a filter installed in a return line of a power steering pump in any vehicle and there is a very good reason for that. BAD IDEA!!

GM power steering, as most manufacturers assemblies generally run between 800-1500PSI. The return line to the pump sump is on with a simple clamp because it was not designed for any restriction and therefore very little pressure in that line.

If you are adding a filter into that line you are increasing the back pressure in a line that was not designed nor intended for excessive pressure. If you insist on retaining a filter there, then you are going to have to upgrade the pressure capabilities of that hose. Switch it to AN fittings and have the housing modified to accept AN connection with hydraulic rated hose as opposed to a simple clamp on hose. GM used to place a magnet in the sump housing to retain any metal particles which were passed through the system. Only one problem remains, if you increase the backpressure in the system, your steering and braking capabilities may be affected. That being said, when that filter you add begins to clog, you are going to lose your steering and braking as the pump internal pressure regulator (which already has a screen filter) will blow wide open and supply very little, if any fluid into the system.

Hydro-boost was used for increased efficiency over vacuum because these vans had smaller engines and were expected to do hard work for their size. If you sat at idle all the time with higher vacuum, no problem, but under load your braking and steering were going to suffer. The only time I have ever seen failure in a hydro-boost system was with the pump itself.
 

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In reality, there is very little pressure on a return line, high pressure happens when there is a restriction.Much the same as a engine oil pump. A hose can restrict some. A hose of smaller ID can. A hose going bad inside can. A cooler can. And, a restriction at the pump fitting can. A filter can.
Generally it is considered a bad idea to run a aftermarket filter on a hydroboost, has been known to cause aeration problems.Did your new pump come with the canister already installed? If so,I would be looking at the inside of the small hose fitting.
 

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"I'd hoped that my Safari would be cut from the same cloth but it seems it isn't."
I think the data shows different. Sounds like you did not research astros before buying one.
I'll admit to doing little research before buying. All I really knew at that point was that the few I knew who had one liked them a lot, and that a V8 swap was rather easily done. But I still see these in a lesser light now that I know more. My 3200lb Buick had a 3.8 @178HP and could deliver up to 26MPG highway. My Silhouette had a 3.4 (terrible engine!) but great acceleration and could give about the same MPG. Now here people seem to say ~15MPG is good while my E350 with a 5.8 can do the same, and while my previous E150's with 302's could beat hands down fully loaded even through a carb. I can't see why anyone would say the 4.3 and the added complexities of FI and hydroboost are better than this. Maybe they've not had the comparative experience I have? Maybe they're fanboi's of the Astro? (understandable and excusable as we all overlook bad aspects in things we otherwise love). Maybe they're dazzled by technology and think that newer or different must somehow be better? I dunno- to each their own.

All I can see at this point is that the Astro with a 4.3 is a long way from what is and was clearly possible, and nobody has yet shown me why my position on this is in error. It doesn't seem to be too bad but it could clearly have been done better. I'm open to having my mind and opinion changed but I won't buy arguments which clearly lack validity regards a stock vehicle.

Regardless, I've got it and I'll take good care of it and try to give it a new lease on life as mine in in fantastic shape and deserves that kind of attention. That's why I'm here- to learn what it needs and how to best do that. If I make friends in the process that's great- if not I haven't lost anything. And once I get time I'll add my own contributions on what I learn in hopes that it will help other as I've been helped.

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I'll admit to doing little research before buying. All I really knew at that point was that the few I knew who had one liked them a lot, and that a V8 swap was rather easily done. But I still see these in a lesser light now that I know more. My 3200lb Buick had a 3.8 @178HP and could deliver up to 26MPG highway. My Silhouette had a 3.4 (terrible engine!) but great acceleration and could give about the same MPG. Now here people seem to say ~15MPG is good while my E350 with a 5.8 can do the same, and while my previous E150's with 302's could beat hands down fully loaded even through a carb. I can't see why anyone would say the 4.3 and the added complexities of FI and hydroboost are better than this. Maybe they've not had the comparative experience I have? Maybe they're fanboi's of the Astro? (understandable and excusable as we all overlook bad aspects in things we otherwise love). Maybe they're dazzled by technology and think that newer or different must somehow be better? I dunno- to each their own.

All I can see at this point is that the Astro with a 4.3 is a long way from what is and was clearly possible, and nobody has yet shown me why my position on this is in error. It doesn't seem to be too bad but it could clearly have been done better. I'm open to having my mind and opinion changed but I won't buy arguments which clearly lack validity regards a stock vehicle.

Regardless, I've got it and I'll take good care of it and try to give it a new lease on life as mine in in fantastic shape and deserves that kind of attention. That's why I'm here- to learn what it needs and how to best do that. If I make friends in the process that's great- if not I haven't lost anything. And once I get time I'll add my own contributions on what I learn in hopes that it will help other as I've been helped.

Phil
Any chance you might take your unrelated conversation someplace else?


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Agreed. If you love your ford so much and can't stand your Astro van, sell your van as I'm certain you could find someone here to purchase it and reassemble it the right way.

An Astro van is a lightweight workhorse. It has proven itself since 1985. It's not an E350 and never came with a V8. Like every vehicle it has positives and not so positives. Are they perfect, nope. But damn nice and durable for what they are.

We don't bitch about them here. We search for solutions to our problems and try to provide solutions to others if we can or point them in the right direction if we can't.

We here love our Astro Vans and are here to share experiences and help others who need it. If you don't like our advice and just want to complain about your van, get rid of it. There an awful lot of people here who are very happy with their vans.
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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I have never seen a filter installed in a return line of a power steering pump in any vehicle and there is a very good reason for that. BAD IDEA!!
Not only is my filter on the return side... but the instructions said to put it there.
Works for me, and makes good sense to me too.
 

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Not only is my filter on the return side... but the instructions said to put it there.
Works for me, and makes good sense to me too.
Yes. There are NO aftermarket filters or screens that go in the pressure line, only the return. Millions in use, for many decades. Just as the ones used for auto trans, they are in the low pressure cooler side. Would be crazy and expensive to have one on the pressure side. Most of the equipment you see, tractors, loaders, etc, merely have a screen at the fill, then a replaceable spin on cartridge, on the low side.As my backhoe does.
Now lets look further. You know that pressure valve screwed into the back of the power steering pump, that the pressure line screws into? Well, older vehicles, there is a screen in it. Fixed many a steering problem just by cleaning the screen. Most people never see this, and even experienced mechanics overlook it. So much so that many times, when you buy a pump without the reservoir, the rebuilders throw a new one in the box.
I think GM dropped putting in the screen, late 90's? but not really sure. Heck, we used to overhaul p/s pumps, not replace!!!
 

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Not only is my filter on the return side... but the instructions said to put it there.
Works for me, and makes good sense to me too.
Have never actually found one installed on a vehicle. I have seen them available and that's where they say to put them, but never found the need for one.

That's why they used to put the magnet in the sump housing, cheap precaution for metal fragments.

If it's a low pressure filter, it can only go on the return line. The only problem is that if it begins to clog, without a built in relief valve the back pressure will blow it off. But as long as the system stays clean, not a problem.

Like I say to everyone, hey if it works for you, certainly doesn't bother me. I'm sure I may do something that another may not understand the reasoning behind or approve of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Logic would say there is a blockage in the lower part of that small hose, or in the small tube off the pump it hooks to.
Power steering return hose blowing off Problem figured out!

To recap:
-new redhead steering gear
-new power steering hoses
-new remote reservoir hoses
-cleaned remote reservoir
-new power steering filter
-new reman power steering pump

1. Bleed new system without starting engine, then new filter blew apart immediately when engine started. Fluid spray goes 10ft away. Thinking defective filter…Mess #1

2. Removed exploded filter, bleed system again, drove it 100ft away before return hose blew off pump. Huge mess #2

3. Replaced all hose clamps on return line, rebleed system, made it little more than a mile away before return line blew off cooler! Much smoke and huge mess as open cooler is pointing at radiator fan and spraying all over entire engine compartment and headers. Made it home carefully and made sure no fire… ridiculous mess #3!

Removed the (now garbage) reman power steering pump and took it apart to see what might be the issue…

There is a small mesh filter plugged into the return line fitting inside. The filter has a little magnet inside, which might seem like a good idea, but it is what has made such a mess of my Astro power steering!



Unfortunately for me, whoever assembled this rebuilt pump did it perfectly wrong, and the little magnet was flipped down and filter bag folded in half, which exactly covered the return line inlet to the pump reservoir. I think not completely, as bleeding without engine running worked well if slowly. Once running, it was only a matter of time until the return side built enough pressure to start blowing things apart.

Restriction=pressure!





Hopefully tomorrow I can go grab a warranty pump. I’ll make sure to remove that #% filter before install though!


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Yep,as I said. They had that positioned perfectly to block off the small return. Bummer,dude!!!!!
Probably a rebuilders idea of making their pumps last longer on systems that people do not flush, I have never before seen such a non-factory filter added, and not sure I would want one in any of my systems.They will not be able to pay you any labor, for your time, but a manager should give you a few gallons of P/S fluid, or such, a manager can write that stuff off very easily in a parts store.
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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The "return line filter" (as per instructions) has a screen.
If you "clog" it...YOU GOT MUCH BIGGER ISSUES

Here's mine..
Household hardware Gas Electric blue Engineering Metal

Motor vehicle Musical instrument Idiophone Coil Automotive fuel system


PS: Great work crashaaron for tearing things apart, discovering the problem. It only made sense there was a problem with the pump. Good job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Back from the parts store with a warranty pump, replacement return line, and another gallon of fluid. Was a bit of a fight, but got it done.

Replacement pump also has dumb filter screen, wasn’t blocking return line, but easily removed. Hopefully be driving later today!




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