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Power steering fluid smells burnt

wod300

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Hey guys, I changed the power steering fluid using the in-situ method and the old oil had a significant burnt smell to it.

Does this just mean that the oil is old, or is there something that I need to worry about?

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Tasmaniak

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Depends on the age of the fluid in there. If it's old and never been changed only ever topped up.... then yup, probably pretty normal I'd say. It is ATF after all.
 

BlackVXGTS

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If it had a significant burnt smell you are better off doing a complete flush. By in-situ method I presume you mean just replacing the fluid in the reservoir? This won't replace all the fluid in the system.
 

wod300

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If it had a significant burnt smell you are better off doing a complete flush. By in-situ method I presume you mean just replacing the fluid in the reservoir? This won't replace all the fluid in the system.
Yes, I am using a syringe to change the oil in the reservoir, and repeating 2 or 3 times over a couple days. But I've just noticed a small leak around the clamp on the bottom hose, so I may have to do it properly and replace the hose. Would this be a hard job, as in do you need to worry about air in the system?

As for the oil, I'm unsure how old it is as I've only had the car a few months. Geez though, it really smelled burnt.

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Big-Al

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The hose leak is pretty normal, the hose clamp just needs to be tightened.
The job is very easy, air in the system will purge itself, it might just make the pump make a weird whining noise for a few days.
The best way is to remove the return line and put the end in a bucket, start the car and let all the fluid purge out then shut the engine off. reconnect the return line and refill the system. Start the motor and do a few lock to locks, top up the reservoir again, do some more lock to locks, check the reservoir. Wait a few days so all the tiny air bubbles are expelled from the fluid and do a final fluid level check.
Changing the fluid a bit at a time will always leave some of the old **** in the system.
Also consider installing a larger power steering cooler as the "hairy pipe" in front of the radiator is pretty pathetic at heat dispersal, particularly if you like the occasional spirited drive.

Do not run the pump for extended periods of time with no fluid in it. It will #### it up. A few seconds is fine during a purge.
 

wod300

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Thanks for that. So you don't think I'll need to replace the hose, maybe just tighten the clamp.

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Tasmaniak

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Well you would try it first wouldn't you?
 

Pollushon

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Just to expand on Al, I use a two man method to flush:

  • Jack the front up (takes the pressure off the system, easier to get air bubbles out after);
  • Take off and put the return line into a large (3 litres or more) container securely (the one that goes back into the reservoir);
  • Make sure you have a few litres of new fluid (even though the system barely holds 1.5L);
  • Now here's where you should be vigilant, you want to avoid the system sucking in air as much as possible or have no fluid in the pump;
  • One person is in the car, starts it, and turns the wheel lock to lock until you're done;
  • Old fluid pumps out through the return into the container;
  • At the same time one person outside the car, tips in new fluid and ensures the level stays up in the reservoir;
  • You'll know when the old fluid is flushed out due to the colour change in the return line container (failed to mention a clear or open container helps immensely);
  • Once you're happy it's all clear, kill the engine, put the return line back on the reservoir and start the car back up;
  • Keep going lock to lock and make sure that the flow inside the reservoir is good, and air bubbles have stopped (it's inevitable you will get some air);
  • Make sure the level is right as per hot or cold (depending on car operating temp at the time); and
  • You're done.

I do this once a year, usually when I do the trans fluid.
 

wod300

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Thanks pollushon, I didn't want to stuff my car up, so I did it on my mum's car today!

Turned out all good. I used nulon fluid so it was pretty easy to see when the old stuff had emptied. I won't notice any difference but at least I'll know it's done now.

Thanks again for the tips.

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