Ran a gallon of fresh PS fluid, still dark

Ran a gallon of fresh PS fluid, still dark

Postby snailsafari [OP] » October 15th 2020, 9:52pm

1999 GMC Safari AWD.

After seeing feedback here that any off the shelf PS fluid will be fine, I bought a gallon of Johnsens Power Steering Fluid with Conditioners off of Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002JN2WC/

Routed the feed hose into a series of jugs while keeping PS tank topped up and pumping brakes / turning steering wheel.

Replacement PS fluid is transparent pale yellow. Attached photo shows sequential jugs that were extracted.

Is this normal? Is it worth running another gallon through?

FYI, I ran new fluid because a whine had appeared and was growing steadily louder over the past month. This has helped slightly but whine is still audible.
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Re: Ran a gallon of fresh PS fluid, still dark

Postby Sailing_Faith » October 15th 2020, 10:07pm

Once the whine starts, it usually won’t go away unless you replace the pump... the good news is I have run mine 130k now (after a hose leak let the fluid get low) and it still works.
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Re: Ran a gallon of fresh PS fluid, still dark

Postby Mmusicman » October 15th 2020, 10:18pm

snailsafari wrote:Routed the feed hose into a series of jugs while keeping PS tank topped up and pumping brakes / turning steering wheel..

I assume by this you mean you were constantly pumping in new fluid while completely flushing out the old fluid, never allowing it to recirculate?

My method for flushing is to remove the "return line" that feeds the reservoir, and have it pump out into a bucket, while continually topping off the reservoir. Yes you'll need to turn wheel and pump brakes.. but it's unclear which one moves fluid faster thus a more complete flush. They both need to fully flush.

Naturally, it's never a complete flush, some old will always mix with new. Also as mentioned, the steering system and brake system split into different directions.. and either one may not have completely flushed clean, leaving some of the old to mix with the new.

The fluid shouldn't be dark.. but a tan color may be normal, mixing old with new.
If it concerns you.. then flush it again.

Sailing_Faith wrote:Once the whine starts, it usually won’t go away unless you replace the pump...

On the subject of whine.. I've found this to be true, even with a new pump that once you run it dry (allowing it to whine).. a small amount of whine may stick with it (I'm not sure why). Typically, it "may" get quieter with time (my new one did). But I had an old pump that whined pretty bad, and NOTHING I did stopped it, until I replaced it.

Whine can also be caused by overheating causing aeration. Millions of microscopic foamy bubbles will cause whine, and it will take time for them to go away. This is one reason for the lock to lock bleeding procedure with the engine off. I had issues with a new pump in my 92 and solved it with an external PS cooler and high-performance Royal Purple fluid. This cured my whine immediately. The Gen 2's have what they call a "PS cooler".. it's nothing more than an open pipe behind the bumper.

High pressure pumps can cause issues and generate extra heat too.
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Re: Ran a gallon of fresh PS fluid, still dark

Postby snailsafari [OP] » October 16th 2020, 9:24pm

Thanks for detailed feedback, MMusicMan.

Yes, I fed the "return line" (my words "feed hose" - whatever it was my best guess :D ) into a container whilst continually topping up so it never ran dry while flushing. I both rotated tires and pumped brakes although I admit I did a lot more brake pumping than wheel turning since I noticed it drained pretty quick while holding down the brake pedal. When the whine first appeared I immediately checked the PS fluid level and it was within the "full" range on the dipstick.

Incidentally the whine appeared after I drained and refilled the TC with Auto Trak II - I had been noticing excessive resistance when turning the wheel, especially close to wheel lock. ATII was also black, just like the PS fluid. So, now the resistance to turning is gone but the PS whine has appeared in its place.

Van has 128k miles, but previous owner left everything in a very dirty condition including an actively leaking oil coolant hose and all fluids appear original to vehicle - eg, 21 years old. But, caps were sealed, and drained fluid does not appear contaminated, just really old and worn out. The wheels are easy to turn, even from stationary with no strange noises or clunks outside of the PS whine.

I've ordered another gallon of the PS fluid, I'll run another "flush" and see if condition improves. Otherwise I'll be back here trying to figure out if I need the PS pump with or without a reservoir.
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