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The Gentleman's Express: Tech-Tips from the JIOC

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Power Steering Fluid

Author: TECH

We always have problems! Some are little, others expensive. If we are ignorant enough to use ATF (automatic transmission, red in color) type fluids in our power steering systems, please appreciate that the seals were not designed for those fluids and thus suffer deterioration as much by fluid damage as by the local heat of the engine compartment. The little problem is in finding the desirable (goldencolored) fluid, and it is at your Chrysler dealer under part number 4318055. The expensive problem is created when you persist in using the ATF fluids, making rack resealing mandatory!

The two fluids are compatible, if mixed to a minor degree. It is suggested that you make the changeover at an opportune moment. The easiest way is to remove the return line at the pump, plugging the pump return fitting, and adding a length of line to the existing return hose so you can feed the fluid easily overboard to a convenient receptacle.

Jack up the front end first to make steering movement from stop to stop easy. With adequate new fluid to hand, about two quarts minimum, and the engine at idle, move the steering wheel slowly from lock to lock several times, keeping an eye on the fluid level in the reservoir adding new as required. You will be dumping the red material until it shows signs of new golden fluid. Switch off, reconnect the low pressure hose and refill the reservoir. Again run the engine and exercise the steering again, adding to the level if required. Off jack, clean up and job complete. Your rack seals might last a little longer!

As a get-you-by in the event of leaks already present, Sta-Lube’s Stop Leak does a fair, if temporary, job of softening the heat-hardened seals and should give you a little more service life.

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

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