power steering Fluid change? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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power steering Fluid change?

Lazzman

Explorer Addict
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City, State
Massachusetts
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Sport 4wd- V6 Sohc
Did a pretty good search on how to change power steeting fluid on my 1998 X and did not find a lot of comprehensive info so I am asking in this thread.

What is the best way to drain and refill power steering fluid in an Explorer? I have read that undoing the steering cooler line works well, but which line should be undone- top or bottom? Not sure which is the return line??

My explorer has 221,000 on the clock and the steering fluid has never been changed :eek:

Thanks for anyhelp in advance :D
 



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i would disconnect the bottom p/s fluid cooler line (seems more logical). be sure that when you refill the system that you use MERCON V. do not use Merc/Dex or Power Steering Fluid.
 






I have a vacuum pump set up and I just pull out everything out of the reservoir, refill, start the engine, cycle the steering, shut off the engine and repeat a few times. Maybe not the most efficient with fluid, but easy and effective.
 






i would disconnect the bottom p/s fluid cooler line (seems more logical). be sure that when you refill the system that you use MERCON V. do not use Merc/Dex or Power Steering Fluid.


Why is that? In the owners manual it says use Mercon fluid.
 






Why is that? In the owners manual it says use Mercon fluid.

I use power steering fluid in all PS systems. It's made for it, ATF is made for transmissions.
 






I use power steering fluid in all PS systems. It's made for it, ATF is made for transmissions.

Mercon V is current spec. we had a poster here a few months back that used something else and had problems (noise/vibration) for months until he went back to Mercon. why chance it? Regular Mercon would probably be fine, but good luck finding it anywhere.
 






Mercon V is current spec. we had a poster here a few months back that used something else and had problems (noise/vibration) for months until he went back to Mercon. why chance it? Regular Mercon would probably be fine, but good luck finding it anywhere.

That reason(ATF comes in countless variations) is why I use PS fluid. It's made specifically for the system, ATF is not, and regardless of what any book tells people, I want the best product possible for the task.

I have old experience from 15+ years ago when Mustang(Fox) guys would have leaking PS racks, tons of them did, and my Mark VII and my friend's(we had five between us) never leaked a drop. Who knows what those Mustang guys put in their racks, but I am positive it was not PS fluid, it was ATF, maybe the cheap stuff or wrong stuff for 1994 or so.

Nothing is perfect, and that also applies to books, manuals, service writers and part store personnel.

Logic tells me to us PS fluid in a PS system.:salute:


BTW, Mercon is readily available. It is the same fluid made before, called Dexron III which was always labeled Mercon/Dexron III. They just took the word Mercon off of the label, but its the same fluid. Changing ATF's for PS, at any time a new ATF version comes out and the book changes to tell you to change ATF, that doesn't make sense to me. I refer to logic, see above.
 






That reason(ATF comes in countless variations) is why I use PS fluid. It's made specifically for the system, ATF is not, and regardless of what any book tells people, I want the best product possible for the task.

I have old experience from 15+ years ago when Mustang(Fox) guys would have leaking PS racks, tons of them did, and my Mark VII and my friend's(we had five between us) never leaked a drop. Who knows what those Mustang guys put in their racks, but I am positive it was not PS fluid, it was ATF, maybe the cheap stuff or wrong stuff for 1994 or so.

Nothing is perfect, and that also applies to books, manuals, service writers and part store personnel.

Logic tells me to us PS fluid in a PS system.:salute:


BTW, Mercon is readily available. It is the same fluid made before, called Dexron III which was always labeled Mercon/Dexron III. They just took the word Mercon off of the label, but its the same fluid. Changing ATF's for PS, at any time a new ATF version comes out and the book changes to tell you to change ATF, that doesn't make sense to me. I refer to logic, see above.

i guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.
 






I prefer PSF over ATF for the reasons Don mentioned. Never had a problem
 






Ok, what kind of readily available power steering fluid should I use?

I originally bought synthetic Mercon V from Valvoline to use but I guess I will just return it, I have heard something about the power steering seals needing the additives in power steering fluid but like I said, it was just something I read.

Thanks for the advice about the procedure.

If I wanted to do it from the power steering resevoir, which is the return tube? the one coming out the botton or the one on the side?
 






Valvoline Mercon V worked fine for me. 3/8" rubber vacuum cap to plug the reservoir inlet. Don't understand why some
still use the turkey baster "dilution" method. Fast and easy, even alone. Cranking or starting the engine not necessary.
Flushing the system and bleeding the pump are both easy. You may want to do both, or just the latter. If you flush, bleed it as well to ensure a kick-ass job was done.

To flush:

1) Raise the front wheels and secure the vehicle.
2) Extract the old fluid out of the reservoir until empty.
3) Remove the power steering fluid return line from the reservoir, and plug the reservoir up.
4a) Extend the now-disconnected return line to a longer length of hose, with a good seal
4b) This step can be skipped, if you have enough room to get a cup or container squeezed in that the return line can deposit its fluid into.
5) With the return line depositing into a separate container, fill the reservoir with fresh fluid (Mercon V Transmission fluid - nothing else).
6) Turn the key to the ON position (do not crank the engine).
7a) Cycle the wheels between both full locks, which will suck in the fresh reservoir fluid, and flush out the old contaminated fluid.
7b) Keep the reservoir topped off, and check your old-fluid-container in case it fills up (primarily if you're using a smaller cup squeezed in the engine bay)
8) Stop cycling the wheels once fresh fluid is deposited out of the return line.
9) Make sure the reservoir is not overfilled beyond the appropriate mark. If it is overfilled, suck some out.
10) Perform a quick 'switcheroo' and put back on the return line to the reservoir nipple quickly while you remove the plug. Use a rag underneath to catch what fluid does come out.

Power Steering help | Ford Explorer and Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
 






The only fluid I have ever used without issues is Mobile One synthetic ATF. Works great, and quiets the noisy Ford pump. Years and years of use with no problems.
 






Thanks again this really helps me out alot, I can't wait to get started.

Only thing is I am confused on the ATF or PSF its about 50/50 on this post, guess it doesn't matter as they will both work i guess.
 






While shopping for trans fluid I found this and chuckled to myself. A picture to end all trans fluid power steering fluid conflicts

https://www.amazon.com/Ford-XT-5-5Q...=UTF8&qid=1504714176&sr=8-3&keywords=mercon+V

mercon v.jpg




See? It is a desert topping ANNNND a floor wax.
 






I'm confused, it says you can use it in a manual transmission, but not in your transfer case? I use the same oil in both with the atf mercon...:dunno:
 






Mercon V is not needed in the t-case, but you use it if you like. There's no issue. Many manual transmissions now use ATF instead of gear oil. Ford recommends Mercon V for automatic transmissions and power steering, so why use anything else?
 






When I got my V8 Truck. They owner swamped the PS pump and put a new one on because the old one had gone out. When he refilled it he put PSF in and I have not had any issues in that department. However I have thought of changing to spec fluid. That was 2 years ago 20k miles ago.
 






If a synthetic blend like Motorcraft Mercon V ATF is good, then a full synthetic like Mobil 1 or Amsoil ATF should be better, right? Then again, I'm sure there are millions and millions of Fords running around with over 200,000 miles or 20+ years old and still have the original oem fluid in the power steering and still works fine.
 






You know what is interesting, is that for my '94 the Haynes manual specifies ATF for the p/s unit. I'll have to check my '94 Ford manual sometime, and Chilton's manual, to see what they say.

I have run various brands of ATF for 17 years in mine without issue.
 



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This is out of my Haynes Explorer manual 1991 thru 2001, my 1997 owners manual also states mercon type ATF for power steering...Ford must have recommended mercon v sometime after this was printed... I've been using mercon type for a few years now in my power steering, transmission, and transfer case... If i ever have to change them out, I'll go :dunno: lol
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