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How hot is TOO hot for power stering fluid?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by fortcollinsram, Feb 15, 2003.

  1. fortcollinsram

    fortcollinsram 1/2 ton status

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    I came to Denver to visit my mom and see some friends...Only problem is that my mom lives in Downtown Denver which means LOTS of parallel parking and needless turning due to one way streets. When I got home earlier, I noticed that my power steering was squealing more than normal. I feel the steering box and it was HOT...I was alble to keep my hand on the gearbox but barely...The high pressure line from the pump to the box was too hot to hold on too...Now, why is there so much heat? also, if I mount a PS cooler to the return line, does it have to be at the same level or below the inlet on the back of the pump or can I mount it up higher like on my radiuator support...Also, what kind of cooler should I get...? I was thinking a tranny cooler, whould that work? Thanks gang...


    Chris
     
  2. the professor

    the professor 1/2 ton status

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    P/S fluid can get up to 400deg..thats why it uses special P/S fluid....DO not put your finger into the resavor
    /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif--
    Chevy has a neat little cooler that bolts to the bottom of the radiator support in some mid 80's and later trucks..mostly heavy suburbans..., it is only a 3/8 alum line, looped back and forth in the return line...(some 1980's Camaros had similar)
    --
    You can easily make one out of alum tubing...and do the same...use those nifty little rubber/alum clamps to mount it..
    --
    Ford has some model cars, with a small cooler w/fins on the pump, but the best if you can find one, is for FWD mid 1980's to early 1990's Continental FWD..they have a small cooler down low, on the drivers side, in front of the radiator..that is held on with 2-8mm screws...cut the lines..please do this in a wrecking yard, not to someone car... /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

    The coolers only have to be small, because the efficiency of a cooler, is directly proportonal to the differience in the hot temp and the outside temp...

    A very hi temp fluid loosed heat very rapidly..

    One other thing..DO NOT mount a cooler higher than the pump, it will drain back into the pump, and MAY leak all over the place/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif /forums/images/graemlins/truck.gif
     
  3. Judd

    Judd 1/2 ton status

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    I work at a power steering/ steering rack plant in the QA department. We make pumps for beanie cars for the most part-Nissan, Mazda, Subaru, some Fords. The gears we build are for Nissan, BMW, FORD and Mercedes. Believe it or not, we use DexII and Nissan PSF. Just depends on how much we came save at the time. We do our durability test with ATF. Call the manufacturer and ask them and they will tell you-Nothing but "their brand" will work. I'm not saying there are differences, just that ATF will work. There are some pumps that do need a special oil though {Honda for one}, make sure before topping off with DexII.
    Now to your question. During the durability test, we run the pumps at relief pressure for some time. This is basically the same as turning your wheel to full lock and leaving it there. The oil will heat up very fast, sometimes in the 300 degree range or over{depends on the pump}. After the test is done, all fluid is changed out as this kind of temp. burns up the fluid. Basically, try to keep the average temp of the fluid in the 200 degree or below range. I know this is not possible all the time, especially when wheeling. Buy a small transmission cooler, it will help alot. Dont go overboard with the cooler though as the oil needs to operate in the 160-175 degree range to burn off water condesation and it just works better in that temp range. If you are going over 250-275 degrees on a regular basis, the seals will get highly pissed and the fluid will break down very quickly. Basically, think as the PS system in the same way as a automatic tranny. The temps that work in the tranny are the same temps that are good for PS systems.
     
  4. Highlander

    Highlander 1/2 ton status

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    I would get a cooler for your PS just as the other guy said there are a lot of trucks and cars that have them. The ones that come to my mind are Ford Maverics, Ford super duty trucks have a neat one. and some Dodge trucks have a neat one as well.
    I just found one out of a old Ford truck that I'll be using just as soon as I find a place to mount it.
    And to keep the fluid from braking down from the heat I'll be using this /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif Have fun


    Eric
     
  5. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I have a PS cooling setup off of an '88+ K5. (guy didn't know)

    I find it rather odd that GM ran these trucks (actually all their RWD cars and trucks used the same or similar setup, with no cooler in almost all cases) for approx. 14 years (73-87) with no cooler, and then all of a sudden decided we needed one.
     
  6. opfor2

    opfor2 1/2 ton status

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    So can I use ATF in by 1990 Blazer's power steering ? My Ford's Crown Vic uses ATF fluid and I just changed it out to Moble one synthetic ATF. It would be a lot cheeper to use ATF than having to buy special power steering fluid.

    Dan...
     
  7. Judd

    Judd 1/2 ton status

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    Yes on the DexII ATF in your PS pump. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  8. fortcollinsram

    fortcollinsram 1/2 ton status

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    So is it alright to mount the cooler higher than the pump...Idealy, I would mount a cooler on the rad. support on the drivers side of the radiator...obviously, when I shut it off, any fluid that can drain back to the pump (ie the stuff in the the line going to the cooler) will drain back, but aside form that, is ther any concern about air in the lines or anything? Also, is there any good waty to completely flush all the old PS fluid out of the system to replace it w/ ATF...I was thinking about unhooking the retun line and running the engine and pouring ATF in the pump until the return showed just clean red fluid...Would that work?

    Thanks a bunch...

    Chris
     
  9. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I've tried to run fluid through the pump/gearbox until it came out "good", since I had water in mine, but it took something like 10 quarts to get it even acceptable IMO.

    *Best* thing to do is probably pull the gearbox and turn it over I guess. Can't think of any other way to do it that will lead to the least amount of residual fluid, short of running *huge* quantities of fluid through it, because every time you add good stuff to bad, you are just contaminating it anyway.

    You could probably equate the process to power flushing an auto trans, but those cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 last time I checked, and I believe that is because of the amount of fluid used.
     
  10. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    I would be carefull if I were you, the older domestic trucks had steering boxes that work with power steering fluid not ATF and would be ruined if you use ATF in them.
    ATF has friction enhansers, power steering has pressure capabilities.
    In newer style boxes they design them for ATF so it's OK to use ATF.
    Do not generalize.
    Ask the manufacturer or someone knowledgeable, and don't believe every mechanic or dealer, they mostly assume and don't know the truth.
    I use power steering fluid in my K5, no problems, leaks, or squeeling, maybe that is why?
     
  11. the professor

    the professor 1/2 ton status

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    I have to agree with the last guy...
    --
    But the reasons you can use ATF in later vehicles is most are equiped with some sort of p/s cooler...
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    Ford school, and Honda school were adamant about using P/S Fluid..
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    Most P/S fluid is "semi-synthetic", and some are all synthetic..
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    They are designed with "flash-points" over 400deg
    --
    IF you run ATF..and they will work just fine with it..BUT if it is overheated...at the guy who rebuilds the pump /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gifs pointed out...ATF will break down at those temperatures
     
  12. TheLakeRat

    TheLakeRat 1/2 ton status

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    From building several hundred boxes i've learned thet ATF will work but it hardens the rubber O-rings inside the box. It will also build of more sludge inside a box moreso than PS fluid will.
    But most newer boxes have gotton away from using rubber and have gone with some sort of poly O-rings instead to stop that problem. The drawback to that is that the lower seals on all the newer Saginaaws SUCK!!!. And are prone to leak more than the older ones when put under lots of stress.
     
  13. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    From building several hundred boxes i've learned thet ATF will work but it hardens the rubber O-rings inside the box. It will also build of more sludge inside a box moreso than PS fluid will.
    But most newer boxes have gotton away from using rubber and have gone with some sort of poly O-rings instead to stop that problem. The drawback to that is that the lower seals on all the newer Saginaaws SUCK!!!. And are prone to leak more than the older ones when put under lots of stress.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    So for old boxes you do recomend PS fluid right?
     
  14. the professor

    the professor 1/2 ton status

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    The answer is in the statment...
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    The hardened seal and sludge are from overheated ATF
    --
    The dedicated P/S fluid is designed to run at MUCH higher temperatures, and has suitable seal conditioners
    --
    DO NOT use ATF in anything unless it specificly requires it
    --
    If, for instance, you use ATF in a pre 1992 Honda, you will sieze up the steering rack... /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif /forums/images/graemlins/truck.gif
     
  15. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    Thanks.
    That just proves my knowledge and back up my first statement above.
    I am not a certified mechanic, but I have been doing research and maintaining many vehicles as a hobby for 20 years.
     
  16. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    Guess I fail to see the point of the issue of ATF vs. PS fluid. I mean, both are designed for a specific purpose. The PS system is a closed loop. If it is working right, you should be loosing fluid left and right. If you are, get that fixed first. If not, then go buy some PS fluid and be done with it. The cost of PS fluid vs ATF is kind of ridiculous considering, if everytihng is working correctly, this is something you do in bulk once in a blue moon and top off occasionally.

    So, with that said, what would be the point of running ATF instead of PS fluid? I just don't get it.
     
  17. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Guess I fail to see the point of the issue of ATF vs. PS fluid. I mean, both are designed for a specific purpose. The PS system is a closed loop. If it is working right, you should be loosing fluid left and right. If you are, get that fixed first. If not, then go buy some PS fluid and be done with it. The cost of PS fluid vs ATF is kind of ridiculous considering, if everytihng is working correctly, this is something you do in bulk once in a blue moon and top off occasionally.

    So, with that said, what would be the point of running ATF instead of PS fluid? I just don't get it.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    That was my point exactly.
    I hope your reply to me is just because I was on the bottom of the thread.
    /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
    I think most people think that if they buy one kind and use for both tranny and PS they are saving money, hastle or maybe space in the truck when they carry spare fluid.
    I like to use the best fluid for the intended purpose.
    PS fluid for PS and ATF for Auto Tranny.
    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  18. K20Sub

    K20Sub Newbie

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    Being brand new to this board I thought I might finally weigh in...

    In error I added ATF to my hydroboost K30. Within a couple of weeks (??) the steering began to "lock up" when doing tight turns in parking lots. I felt like a vapor-lock kind of situation. Any way, when it finally dawned on me what I had done I had the system power flushed with PS fluid and all was well. My conclusions: 1) use the fluid spec'd for the device 2) don't merely assume what is spec'd - do the howework first.

    Great Forum... Learning tons!

    And hey, am I doing this right? /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Richard Stratford
    Vancouver, BC
     
  19. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    You have started out better than many here recently! If you have a rig, put some of its info in your sig and/or your profile. That way when you do ask a aquestion, responses can be more specific to your exact situation. And welcome aboard!
     
  20. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Being brand new to this board I thought I might finally weigh in...

    In error I added ATF to my hydroboost K30. Within a couple of weeks (??) the steering began to "lock up" when doing tight turns in parking lots. I felt like a vapor-lock kind of situation. Any way, when it finally dawned on me what I had done I had the system power flushed with PS fluid and all was well. My conclusions: 1) use the fluid spec'd for the device 2) don't merely assume what is spec'd - do the howework first.

    Great Forum... Learning tons!

    And hey, am I doing this right? /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Richard Stratford
    Vancouver, BC

    [/ QUOTE ]


    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif

    And yeah what do you drive?
    Put it in your profile.
     

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