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Thread: Power Steering Fluid?

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    Member Whosondephone's Avatar
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    Default Power Steering Fluid?

    My steering started feeling a bit loose recently. It seems fine after the engine has run over an hour. The front end has been completely overhauled. I am planing to change the steering fluid. I put a rebuilt pump in around 2013. The transmission fluid quickly turned dark. I'm not sure if it was over a course of two years or two months. Never got any darker. Never had a problem until now. I've often wondered what the difference between power steering fluid and transmission fluid. As I mentioned I originally used transmission fluid. Does anyone have a preference on fluids or have any thoughts on my situation?

    Current ride: 1986 Grand Marquis

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    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    IIRC Type F works fine in the pumps. Around ‘95 or so Mercon was spec’d instead.

    As far as the loose feeling, it would be worth checking the rag joint on the steering shaft near the gear box. Mine had been exposed to oil and turned it to jelly. Certainly worth checking.

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    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    the book says to use Type F. It will get darker if the old fluid is dark, replacing the pump doesn't get 100% of it out. Whatever is still in the box mixes with things. Honestly these things could do with a cooler, it really seems to help with the life of the pump. Mine finally got leaky at 200k, and I know most of them do not last that long. My original steering box wasn't leaky when it got upgraded around 170k.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

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    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
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    Stow It! GM_Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whosondephone View Post
    I've often wondered what the difference between power steering fluid and transmission fluid. As I mentioned I originally used transmission fluid. Does anyone have a preference on fluids or have any thoughts on my situation?
    In a steering system, no difference, they are both hydraulic fluid, use what is convenient (for me, Dexron goes in all my power steering boxes). For a transmission, the difference (Dexron, Dexron V, F, etc) does matter as each fluid has additives to be compatable with the clutch disc friction material in the trans and you don't want to go playing mix 'n match with that as if you do so you have a very high probability of your clutch material getting abraded off due to the different fluid causing the clutch material to swell a bit differently, and have different grabbing tendencies, which means it'll wear the material off quicker (if you are old enough, putting type F in a GM was considered a poor mans shift kit, unfortuaneately it meant the life of the clutches was compromised due to the different additives affecting the clutch material differently--in the case of older pre-computer transmissions, if you wanted to run type F in your GM, or Dexron in your C6, you do that after a fresh rebuild with brand new clutches and use the fluid you want from that point forward (that point being while the clutches are still on the bench and getting a pre-soak in the fluid you desire) as the clutches have only seen the one fluid).

    Alex.

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    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I have noticed a difference in how the steering feels, but only on the Fox R&P cars. I've never seen any difference in the steering box systems like Panthers run. I have noticed with thinner Dexron fluid the pump tends to be louder, but mostly thats with half worn out pumps that aren't super quiet anyway. Fresh pumps don't seem to care.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
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    Member Whosondephone's Avatar
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    @ GM guy. That's interesting about the transmission fluid. I've asked should I change my transmission fluid in the past. Some mechanics suggested I didn't. Saying it could "go into shock"

    If I remember correctly. The dipstick says to use dextron II. It was my assumption Dextron II was replaced with Dextron III. Which is what I used. lately it has been shifting rough. Especially downshifting on the highway. The vacuum system is in poor shape too. I forget if the tyranny uses the vacuum or not.

    Current ride: 1986 Grand Marquis

  7. #7
    all the CFI are belong to me
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    For the P/S fluid, I run Type F or a cheap "power steering fluid", whatever's on hand. Buying Type F for this purpose is just so I know I always have some and don't have to screw with my "inventory" levels of trans fluid (as in, fluid for the trans).

    For the trans, GM Dexron (there is no T) II was the original fluid spec for a Ford AOD. Dex II had a really long tenure, so if you for some reason found some Dex II, you'd want to make sure it is not almost 50 years old before putting it in something you care about.

    Ford Mercon (with no number behind it) is the same as Dexron III, and Dexron III replaced II. Dexron III/Mercon is also known generically as "D-M". Dipsticks up to a certain year say to use Dex II, and dipsticks after a certain year say to use Mercon. Use D-M in all AODs and everything will be happy.

    Do not use a Dexron later than III. Parity with Mercon fluids ended after III.

    As for the beliefs of mechanics about changing trans fluid, if your trans fails following a fluid change, it was a dead man walking anyway and failure was inevitable.
    Last edited by kishy; 09-14-2019 at 11:01 AM.

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  8. #8
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    No vacuum on the trans but the engine controls rely on vacuum. If the engine runs poorly, the trans does too.

    I'm also no believer in the "changing fluid kills transmissions" thing. If it dies, it was mostly dead already. The one time I changed fluid and had a problem was on a German trans, and that was probably my own fault. I drained and filled it rather than dropping the pan and it stirred up old crap that got into the governor and made it act up. I had to remove and clean the governor so it would shift again. I changed original pitch-black fluid in my Towncar at 130k and it continued to work fine until I caught the car on fire and killed the transmission.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  9. #9
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kishy View Post
    ...For the trans, GM Dexron (there is no T) II was the original fluid spec for a Ford AOD. Dex II had a really long tenure, so if you for some reason found some Dex II, you'd want to make sure it is not almost 50 years old before putting it in something you care about.
    Thank you. Few grammatical mistakes irk me quite like the ole Dextron one.

    Quote Originally Posted by kishy View Post
    For the P/S fluid, I run Type F or a cheap "power steering fluid", whatever's on hand. Buying Type F for this purpose is just so I know I always have some and don't have to screw with my "inventory" levels of trans fluid (as in, fluid for the trans).
    Ford Mercon (with no number behind it) is the same as Dexron III, and Dexron III replaced II. Dexron III/Mercon is also known generically as "D-M". Dipsticks up to a certain year say to use Dex II, and dipsticks after a certain year say to use Mercon. Use D-M in all AODs and everything will be happy.

    Do not use a Dexron later than III. Parity with Mercon fluids ended after III...
    I unfortunately I have a lot of experience with swapping and trying different type F's in that gawd awful CII pump. First, I recommend just finding a replacement pump from a similarly equipped Ford or other Ford car like a Taurus. We had two rebuilds (I believe AC Delco from Rock Auto) sent to us for Ashley's F150. Both were louder than a cat in heat. First we just used O'Reilly's branded Type F as that's all we could get a hold of. Switching the second pump from that to Valvoline Type F made a noticeable difference. Adding MotorKote helped a bit more but it still caterwauled louder than the effort invested suggested it should have. Solution was a CII pump from a Taurus with something like 260k on the clock. It had no leaks and the brackish fluid in it made me smile- no leaks confirmed and no water contamination! Slapped that sucker on, flushed fluid in entire system yet again and finally Ash and I were rewarded with an F150 which wasn't trying to attract other Fords via powersteering pump caterwaul.

    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
    No vacuum on the trans but the engine controls rely on vacuum. If the engine runs poorly, the trans does too.

    I'm also no believer in the "changing fluid kills transmissions" thing. If it dies, it was mostly dead already. The one time I changed fluid and had a problem was on a German trans, and that was probably my own fault. I drained and filled it rather than dropping the pan and it stirred up old crap that got into the governor and made it act up. I had to remove and clean the governor so it would shift again. I changed original pitch-black fluid in my Towncar at 130k and it continued to work fine until I caught the car on fire and killed the transmission.
    I also support this. Both my Firebird and Town Car are going strong after trans pan drops & filter changes.
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    I post a lot... knucklehead0202's Avatar
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    Yeah my P/S pump sounds pretty horrid but i'm afraid to replace it for fear of getting the same or worse. There is a rebuilder nearby i may go talk to.

  11. #11

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    The solution Ive always used at least with the pumps on the mod motors is to slightly overfill them. I dont recommend it but I did put a tiny bit of seafoam trans tune in the power steering reservior of my 87 mgm and it quieted it down.


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  12. #12
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I always thought the one on my Towncar was decently quiet until I replaced it. The new one makes no noise. Nothing special, just a Napa reman pump.

    The one on the Conti I plan to re-seal. it leaks just enough to get on the belt and make it squeal a bit at full lock. Its quiet and its the correct pump for the wierd-ass application though. I've got the seal kit. If it goes horribly wrong I'll just exchange it. I think the seal kit was under $5. I own a good puller and I've had that pulley off before so I know it will let go.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

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    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    I've heard that a bit of brake fluid in the reservoir might just cure your ill there. Read something on reddit where two dudes were hunting and using their beat up F150 for heat during the cold night. PS pump leaked and every time the fluid got low, they would be woken up by the noise. The one dude couldn't see too well and dumped what he thought was PS fluid in but turned out to be brake fluid... It never leaked again, so said that redditor's story.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
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  14. #14
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I'm not willing to risk the very expensive to replace brake hydroboost unit or the very difficult to replace steering rack with that. Much easier to change or fix the leaky pump. Brake fluid does swell seals up but it also tends to make them gummy and soft so they might work for a while until it blows out.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

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