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j.barleycorn

Flushed Power Steering, Cleaned Solenoid Screen

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My 1992 LS400 (93.500 miles) had no known problem with the steering, and the pump made no noises. This is my first Lexus, and therefore I didn’t know whether all was well or not.

After discovering a small amount of power steering fluid on the windings on the bottom of my alternator and associated wet/dirty hose connections below the reservoir, I read up on innumerable posts regarding power steering flushing/solenoid and reservoir screen cleaning etc. and decided to dive in and do battle.

I rounded up all the stuff needed, thanks to the tutorials and numerous posts by Monarch, Threadcutter, and others. I even hauled out the digital camera and took many pictures showing the removal of the solenoid and the removal and cleaning of the screen.

All went well, and for the most part, the way most others described their experiences:

Drained the reservoir first. It appeared the fluid in the system was original, as it was a brown/tan color. It smelled smoky, frankly a lot like bong-water from those days of yore.

Removed the solenoid, using vice grips; no problem. The screen was completely covered with black gunk. Removed it per Threadcutter’s advice (blade), and cleaned it gently and repeatedly with brake cleaner and a toothpick.

Not knowing what would happen during the flush if I re-installed the solenoid without the screen, I put the screen back on and re-installed the solenoid. (I’d read posts where folks have flushed without the screen, and also those who have flushed with the screen, then removed it again, cleaned it, and re-installed).

Disconnected the return hose, rigged up the 3/8 tubing, and flushed the system with Dexron III. The only thing different from all the other posts I read was that the it only took one quart to flush the old color completely out of the system. I see in most instruction it could take up to 7 quarts to do it, depending on the condition of the original fluid.

(I wonder if cleaning the solenoid screen first makes the flush more efficient, thereby using less fluid to flush the system clean?)

I drained the reservoir again, and took the solenoid off (again) to check the screen. It was still completely clean. Reinstalled the solenoid.

Reconnected the return hose and filled up the reservoir with Dexron III. Left the cap off, started the car, and turned the wheel lock to lock slowly at least a dozen times to get rid of the air in the system.

The car (pump) made loud whining noises from the time the engine turned over, throughout the “burping” process. The noise seemed to get a little fainter as the number of lock-to-lock cycles increased, but eventually seemed to settle in. (I have since seen a post indicating the lock-to-lock should go for 50 cycles to get all the air out?) :blink:

I put the cap back on, took the car off the jacks, and took it out for a spin.

At 0+ MPH and low speeds, the car steers like it has no power steering at all. Turning right after a stop is laborious. As the RPMs and MPH pick up, it handles and steers like it did before the flush/cleaning, which seemed fine to me.

I am definitely not getting the “one finger” steering others have described, at any speed.

Took at back home after about a 6 mile drive and parked it. Went back on the LOC and searched under the word “whine” for some clues. Obviously, it could be many things, from disaster to fluid level. One thread suggested leaving the reservoir cap off over night to let the air breathe out, and liking this easy and free option, I went back out to take the cap off and call it a night.

The fluid level was down about 1/2” below the lip of the reservoir, normal I would say. It was pretty much up to the top when I finished “burping” it before the test drive. That missing ½” looks like it came out from under the cap, as the hoses and guards below the reservoir are freshly wetted, and I have a nice red stain just in front and inside my front passenger tire. :censored:

So, why the hard steering all of a sudden, especially when the flush/cleaning was supposed to restore one-finger steering?

If the reservoir was too full, would the pressure cause the fluid to escape through the cap?

Why did the pump whine so after the flush and cleaning, when before the flush/clean it made no sound, and offered easy steering through the full range of RPMs/MPH?

I know this topic has been covered to death. I just hope someone has some words of wisdom for this particular situation. ALL HELP APPRECIATED!

Edited by j.barleycorn

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My 1992 LS400 (93.500 miles) had no known problem with the steering, and the pump made no noises. This is my first Lexus, and therefore I didn’t know whether all was well or not.

After discovering a small amount of power steering fluid on the windings on the bottom of my alternator and associated wet/dirty hose connections below the reservoir, I read up on innumerable posts regarding power steering flushing/solenoid and reservoir screen cleaning etc. and decided to dive in and do battle.

I rounded up all the stuff needed, thanks to the tutorials and numerous posts by Monarch, Threadcutter, and others. I even hauled out the digital camera and took many pictures showing the removal of the solenoid and the removal and cleaning of the screen.

All went well, and for the most part, the way most others described their experiences:

Drained the reservoir first. It appeared the fluid in the system was original, as it was a brown/tan color. It smelled smoky, frankly a lot like bong-water from those days of yore.

Removed the solenoid, using vice grips; no problem. The screen was completely covered with black gunk. Removed it per Threadcutter’s advice (blade), and cleaned it gently and repeatedly with brake cleaner and a toothpick.

Not knowing what would happen during the flush if I re-installed the solenoid without the screen, I put the screen back on and re-installed the solenoid. (I’d read posts where folks have flushed without the screen, and also those who have flushed with the screen, then removed it again, cleaned it, and re-installed).

Disconnected the return hose, rigged up the 3/8 tubing, and flushed the system with Dexron III. The only thing different from all the other posts I read was that the it only took one quart to flush the old color completely out of the system. I see in most instruction it could take up to 7 quarts to do it, depending on the condition of the original fluid.

(I wonder if cleaning the solenoid screen first makes the flush more efficient, thereby using less fluid to flush the system clean?)

I drained the reservoir again, and took the solenoid off (again) to check the screen. It was still completely clean. Reinstalled the solenoid.

Reconnected the return hose and filled up the reservoir with Dexron III. Left the cap off, started the car, and turned the wheel lock to lock slowly at least a dozen times to get rid of the air in the system.

The car (pump) made loud whining noises from the time the engine turned over, throughout the “burping” process. The noise seemed to get a little fainter as the number of lock-to-lock cycles increased, but eventually seemed to settle in. (I have since seen a post indicating the lock-to-lock should go for 50 cycles to get all the air out?) :blink:

I put the cap back on, took the car off the jacks, and took it out for a spin.

At 0+ MPH and low speeds, the car steers like it has no power steering at all. Turning right after a stop is laborious. As the RPMs and MPH pick up, it handles and steers like it did before the flush/cleaning, which seemed fine to me.

I am definitely not getting the “one finger” steering others have described, at any speed.

Took at back home after about a 6 mile drive and parked it. Went back on the LOC and searched under the word “whine” for some clues. Obviously, it could be many things, from disaster to fluid level. One thread suggested leaving the reservoir cap off over night to let the air breathe out, and liking this easy and free option, I went back out to take the cap off and call it a night.

The fluid level was down about 1/2” below the lip of the reservoir, normal I would say. It was pretty much up to the top when I finished “burping” it before the test drive. That missing ½” looks like it came out from under the cap, as the hoses and guards below the reservoir are freshly wetted, and I have a nice red stain just in front and inside my front passenger tire. :censored:

So, why the hard steering all of a sudden, especially when the flush/cleaning was supposed to restore one-finger steering?

If the reservoir was too full, would the pressure cause the fluid to escape through the cap?

Why did the pump whine so after the flush and cleaning, when before the flush/clean it made no sound, and offered easy steering through the full range of RPMs/MPH?

I know this topic has been covered to death. I just hope someone has some words of wisdom for this particular situation. ALL HELP APPRECIATED!

Hi: The Whine sound is air trapped in the system. Make sure to fill to the cold mark if cold, and to the hot if the car is hot. Do not overfill, since this fluid is hydraulic, in other words is made to make pressure thus, it will blow something in the form of a seal or hose. To get the air out while the car is running and it filled at proper fluid, open the PS cap while at idle. Let it run for a minute. Check fluid, add or take out as necessary. The Leak probably comes from either the main pressure line at the pump, might want to check if that is good and tight, then check the rack at the sides by the rubber dust caps. Once you check this items, and find the leak you could either buy the part (s) in case is more than just tightening what is needed. You coudl also use NO Leak Tranny fluid but only the NO leak brand, I used Trans X and it did not work out.

My 1992 LS400 (93.500 miles) had no known problem with the steering, and the pump made no noises. This is my first Lexus, and therefore I didn’t know whether all was well or not.

After discovering a small amount of power steering fluid on the windings on the bottom of my alternator and associated wet/dirty hose connections below the reservoir, I read up on innumerable posts regarding power steering flushing/solenoid and reservoir screen cleaning etc. and decided to dive in and do battle.

I rounded up all the stuff needed, thanks to the tutorials and numerous posts by Monarch, Threadcutter, and others. I even hauled out the digital camera and took many pictures showing the removal of the solenoid and the removal and cleaning of the screen.

All went well, and for the most part, the way most others described their experiences:

Drained the reservoir first. It appeared the fluid in the system was original, as it was a brown/tan color. It smelled smoky, frankly a lot like bong-water from those days of yore.

Removed the solenoid, using vice grips; no problem. The screen was completely covered with black gunk. Removed it per Threadcutter’s advice (blade), and cleaned it gently and repeatedly with brake cleaner and a toothpick.

Not knowing what would happen during the flush if I re-installed the solenoid without the screen, I put the screen back on and re-installed the solenoid. (I’d read posts where folks have flushed without the screen, and also those who have flushed with the screen, then removed it again, cleaned it, and re-installed).

Disconnected the return hose, rigged up the 3/8 tubing, and flushed the system with Dexron III. The only thing different from all the other posts I read was that the it only took one quart to flush the old color completely out of the system. I see in most instruction it could take up to 7 quarts to do it, depending on the condition of the original fluid.

(I wonder if cleaning the solenoid screen first makes the flush more efficient, thereby using less fluid to flush the system clean?)

I drained the reservoir again, and took the solenoid off (again) to check the screen. It was still completely clean. Reinstalled the solenoid.

Reconnected the return hose and filled up the reservoir with Dexron III. Left the cap off, started the car, and turned the wheel lock to lock slowly at least a dozen times to get rid of the air in the system.

The car (pump) made loud whining noises from the time the engine turned over, throughout the “burping” process. The noise seemed to get a little fainter as the number of lock-to-lock cycles increased, but eventually seemed to settle in. (I have since seen a post indicating the lock-to-lock should go for 50 cycles to get all the air out?) :blink:

I put the cap back on, took the car off the jacks, and took it out for a spin.

At 0+ MPH and low speeds, the car steers like it has no power steering at all. Turning right after a stop is laborious. As the RPMs and MPH pick up, it handles and steers like it did before the flush/cleaning, which seemed fine to me.

I am definitely not getting the “one finger” steering others have described, at any speed.

Took at back home after about a 6 mile drive and parked it. Went back on the LOC and searched under the word “whine” for some clues. Obviously, it could be many things, from disaster to fluid level. One thread suggested leaving the reservoir cap off over night to let the air breathe out, and liking this easy and free option, I went back out to take the cap off and call it a night.

The fluid level was down about 1/2” below the lip of the reservoir, normal I would say. It was pretty much up to the top when I finished “burping” it before the test drive. That missing ½” looks like it came out from under the cap, as the hoses and guards below the reservoir are freshly wetted, and I have a nice red stain just in front and inside my front passenger tire. :censored:

So, why the hard steering all of a sudden, especially when the flush/cleaning was supposed to restore one-finger steering?

If the reservoir was too full, would the pressure cause the fluid to escape through the cap?

Why did the pump whine so after the flush and cleaning, when before the flush/clean it made no sound, and offered easy steering through the full range of RPMs/MPH?

I know this topic has been covered to death. I just hope someone has some words of wisdom for this particular situation. ALL HELP APPRECIATED!

Hi: The Whine sound is air trapped in the system. Make sure to fill to the cold mark if cold, and to the hot if the car is hot. Do not overfill, since this fluid is hydraulic, in other words is made to make pressure thus, it will blow something in the form of a seal or hose. To get the air out while the car is running and it filled at proper fluid, open the PS cap while at idle. Let it run for a minute. Check fluid, add or take out as necessary. The Leak probably comes from either the main pressure line at the pump, might want to check if that is good and tight, then check the rack at the sides by the rubber dust caps. Once you check this items, and find the leak you could either buy the part (s) in case is more than just tightening what is needed. You coudl also use NO Leak Tranny fluid but only the NO leak brand, I used Trans X and it did not work out.

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Goodness, Gracious Jbarley you sure have done your part and then some. My only question is did you clean the pump screen? It's at the bottom of the pump. You may have inadvertantly released a monster into that screen from cleaning the bottom screen. Drain the pump with a hand pump or bulb baster and look inside, it should be a gold/ copper color. If it's not then the proper procedure would be to pull the pump and clean it. A Pain in the A$$...But a solution would be to brush it, suck it out with a bulb baster or pump..add a little more fluid and repeat as many times as it takes to get a clear screen. Since you were not having problems before it should not take long to clean it. Once it is clean, run the engine again for a while turning the wheel back and forth then clean the lower screen again. Both screens have to be cleaned or it will become cyclic and you will scratch your head. Once they are both clean...A "full" flush is in order. kinda like a PS spa :P

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Thanks for the replies, guys!

Card-

Yep, I suspect that the overfilling caused the system to leak under pressure. I will put the car up on jacks again today and see if I can find the leak. Do you know of a way to get a good view of the pump hoses without disassembling everything? And is the reservoir the only thing needing to be removed to be able to tighten everything?

I saw the tutorial on Planet Soarer to remove the pump and re-seal. I fear this will be my future.

Still seems like there would been no whine with the cap OFF, but I am probably whistling in the dark. :whistles:

RF-

The best laid plans of mice and LS owners, as the saying goes.

I had read posts of people cleaning the reservoir screen. No one seemed to make a big deal of cleaning that one (difficulty), only the solenoid screen. I used a suction gun to get the fluid out of the reservoir, pre-flush. Once drained, I could not get a light doen into the reservoir, and even if I could, I don't see what I would have cleaned it with.

Did I miss something simple there? I ended up adding some DexIII to the reservoir a few times and suctioning it out until it seemed pretty clean. In retrospect I should have taken the damn reservoir off, but I did not find many how-tos for this, and 95% of the posts from folks who had done the procedure did not mention to do it.

I saw three bolts holding the reservoir. Is it a simple process? Any hidden seals/o-rings etc?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm feeling a bit subdued. There are better things to do than crawl around on a cold concrete floor in winter in NY, especially when things go from ???? to @!&$%! :)

OK, going to make another pot of coffee and see if I can stop the whine coming from the car... and from me!

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Thanks for the replies, guys!

Card-

Yep, I suspect that the overfilling caused the system to leak under pressure. I will put the car up on jacks again today and see if I can find the leak. Do you know of a way to get a good view of the pump hoses without disassembling everything? And is the reservoir the only thing needing to be removed to be able to tighten everything?

I saw the tutorial on Planet Soarer to remove the pump and re-seal. I fear this will be my future.

Still seems like there would been no whine with the cap OFF, but I am probably whistling in the dark. :whistles:

RF-

The best laid plans of mice and LS owners, as the saying goes.

I had read posts of people cleaning the reservoir screen. No one seemed to make a big deal of cleaning that one (difficulty), only the solenoid screen. I used a suction gun to get the fluid out of the reservoir, pre-flush. Once drained, I could not get a light doen into the reservoir, and even if I could, I don't see what I would have cleaned it with.

Did I miss something simple there? I ended up adding some DexIII to the reservoir a few times and suctioning it out until it seemed pretty clean. In retrospect I should have taken the damn reservoir off, but I did not find many how-tos for this, and 95% of the posts from folks who had done the procedure did not mention to do it.

I saw three bolts holding the reservoir. Is it a simple process? Any hidden seals/o-rings etc?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm feeling a bit subdued. There are better things to do than crawl around on a cold concrete floor in winter in NY, especially when things go from ???? to @!&$%! :)

OK, going to make another pot of coffee and see if I can stop the whine coming from the car... and from me!

You will need to take out the air filter and hose. In the bottom of the card will have to take off some of the plastics under the engine. Then will have to use mostly wrenches not sockets because they probably will not fit. Bring the system back to specs of fluid, I would prefer to do it if I were you while the vehicle is cold. Do not overfill. It is difficult checking all those connections but not imposible.

Best Wishes

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j.barley, your experience is almost identical to mine in your regards to your flushing. It only took me a quart or two as well to get clean fluid. The main difference in our flushes being that I had the drain hose come off before I could tell my wife to kill the engine. Had a nice 20w shower in tranny fluid.

I did not clean the resevoir filter either and had some of the same experiences as you, i.e. hard steering at low rpms and noise. My thoughts were that I had done all of the flushing for nothing. However as I kept driving the noise went away and the hard steering as well. My recommendation is to keep driving and it should go away. While I'm not sure exactly how long before the problems went away I would guess a good month of driving.

IMO it takes a while to get the air out of this system. Look at it this way, nothing you've done has been detrimental to the steering system. Unless you ran the car too long while pumping the old fluid out, causing it to run dry. If this is not the case then I would say you only need time to let the system purge the air out.

JHMO

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Arkansawyer-

Thanks very much for your reply. Music to my ears of course, as I would not have to do any further work! :cheers:

You may be absolutely right. Your "drive-it-until-it -improves" experience backs up that post I saw recommending a minimum of 50 cycles lock-to-lock to burp it.

I am going to make sure the fluid level is where it belongs, check for leaks and tighten whatever I can put a wrench on, put the car back up, go lock-to-lock 50 times, close it up, set it down, and order a pizza and watch football. :lol:

Then I'll drive it for awhile and see what happens.

If all goes well over time, I plan on publishing my experience / pictures / references etc for the group. Either way, I'll report back so others don't suffer needlessly in the future.

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Hi j.barleycorn,

I read your post 2 times and noticed that you didn't rebuild the pump. I have a 1991 LS and it too had a small leak. I replace the high pressure line first and that was a waste of money. I then took the pump out and rebuilt it. The rebuilt kit was around $100 cdn. with a new front bearing. This pump was very easy to work on. I reinstalled the pump and flushed the system using synthetic fluid(amsoil). The reason these pumps start leaking, in my opinion, is the pump is mounted so close to the engine, the heat from the engine bakes the seals and causes them to leak. I have read that synthetic fluid is very good for tranfering heat and so far I have 6 years on the pump now and 430,000 kilometers (267,000 miles) on the odometer. I checked for leaks recently and still dry as a bone. By the way, my alternator fried shortly after the rebuild. If you think any power steering fluid got into the alternator at all, I would take it out and clean it out as best as you can, because the alternators are expensive to replace(I don't think it needs to be rebuilt- just cleaned).

This post doesn't answer your whining problem, but I am confident if the work is done properly and installed properly, the pump will stop whining.

I now have starter problems, it is a very big job to replace, so into Lexus it goes. :cries:

Daffy

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Hi Daffy, thanks for the reply-

No, I have not rebuilt the pump. I have found the tutorials necessary to do so, if I have to!

I appreciate the advice. Your theories regarding the pump seal life also make good sense. I will consider synthetics when the time comes. I'm hoping I can get to Spring and warmer weather.

And I will definitely have to deal with the alternator at the same time. You read my mind on a question I have been pondering about the alternator, which was "can it be cleaned?". Did you disassemble to the windings? How did you clean it?

The more I crawl around under this car, and the more I learn from you veterans, the more I realize there is a fair amount of work necessary to bring my car up to snuff. So, I'll take it as it comes, with priority to the immediate stuff.

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Hi j.barleycorn,

To clean the alternator, I would think disassembly is a must and you would have to find some kind of cleaner to use that would not harm any of the electrical parts. I haven't done this to an alternator yet, so I can't help you much here, but this is where I would start myself. Just to warn you, when my alternator went, it was sudden and the battery doesn't last long without an alternator on a Lexus. Once you get all these bugs worked out, you will really enjoy these cars. Good luck, Daffy

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Well, the reassuring words of Daffy and Arkansawyer inspired me to get out there and do as little as possible! :D

Seriously, I checked and reset the level (cold) by turkey basting out a few ounces (sorry to the wife, but another “tool” added to the collection!). :pirate:

Took it out for a leisurely ride; still stiff when turning at low MPH. Came back and parked it and ate the pizza and watched football, as promised.

Came out after the game, no wet spots on the floor or the canister. Jacked it back up and proceeded to start cranking lock to lock. Lo and behold, quite soon the “whining” began to get a little less, almost with every cycle. Continued on with the lock to lock in a happier frame of mind. :) Put on some tunes, rolled up the window, and cranked away on the steering wheel for 15 minutes, oblivious to the pump and engine. At the end of this the whole system had quieted right down to almost pre-flush volume.

Took it off the jacks, capped it, and drove it around a little more. Still stiff, but quieter. For all I know it is functioning as it always was supposed to, although it still seems too hard to turn at low speeds.

I’ll tell you, one of the many great things about an LS400: no matter how frustrated you might get, or how worried you are things aren’t right, or how much time and money you spend to keep it happy, driving it is literally the reward for your efforts.

Thanks again for the advice! :cheers:

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I am happy your car is back to normal, and yes the Steering on mine is a little hard, but just a notch. I guess is just the way they are. Now you need to clean the Throtlle Body, it carbons up a lot and the Maf Sensor next to the air cleaner, there are tutorials on the site on how to do both. If you have more than 150,000 your water pump might be in order also, the timing belt is another hot item, which if you change, since the water pump is there makes good sense to change also. Since yours do not have in cabin air filter because until 94 it was not in, you need not to worry about it.

C. PR

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if i remember correctly... there is a post with with the solenoid filter... that there r 2 types of pumps. Perhaps u got the more heavier to turn pump. Just a thought. Glad things r slowly getting back to normal. N e new updates? Since it has been several days by now?

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The screen in the bottom of the reservoir is full of junk not letting enough of the fluid get back to your pump.

I have tried to clean the screen but I have had no good results. The only way to fix it is to replace the reservoir...

One other way to fix it is to stick a screwdriver in to the reservoir and push it to the bottom and twist it around......IT will fix the no power steering at low speeds but it will let all that junk get in to the rest of the system..I don't recommend doing this!!!!

Edited by mustang2v

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I am happy your car is back to normal, and yes the Steering on mine is a little hard, but just a notch. I guess is just the way they are. Now you need to clean the Throtlle Body, it carbons up a lot and the Maf Sensor next to the air cleaner, there are tutorials on the site on how to do both. If you have more than 150,000 your water pump might be in order also, the timing belt is another hot item, which if you change, since the water pump is there makes good sense to change also. Since yours do not have in cabin air filter because until 94 it was not in, you need not to worry about it.

C. PR

Thanks Card-

The car has 96,000 on it, and the timing belt was replaced at 60,000. I am going to stand pat on the engine at this point, as there are no known issues. Come Spring, I will be replacing the ACV valve, do a radiator flush, tranny flush and filter change, a power steering rebuild, A/C investigation/repair, and throttle body cleaning.

N e new updates? Since it has been several days by now?

Hello K-

I have put 300+ miles on it since deciding to see if it takes care of itself (as suggested by Arkansawyer). It might be getting incrementally better, but it may also be wishful thinking on my part. The whine is gone, replaced by an occasional and very quiet buzz from the pump here and there. Rebuilding the pump come Spring.

I plan on putting together the pictures I took with some text and copies of other folk's posts, hopefully this weekend.

mustang2v' date='Jan 11 2006, 08:47 PM' post='174685']

The screen in the bottom of the reservoir is full of junk not letting enough of the fluid get back to your pump.

I have tried to clean the screen but I have had no good results. The only way to fix it is to replace the reservoir...

Hi Mustang-

I may try and drain the reservoir again and see if I can see/deal with the screen there. But since there was not a flow problem/pump noise before the flush, and since I suctioned out the bottom of the reservoir repeatedly before the flush, nothing could have come back into the reservoir during the flush because the return hose was disconnected.

Edited by j.barleycorn

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j.b, this may be out in left field or a long shot, but I assume you disconnected the cable connector when you cleaned the solenoid screen, correct? I'm wondering if it's possible you didn't connect it back after reinstalling or didn't get a good connection. A quick check to see if it's connected or pulling it apart again to make sure the contacts are clean may be worth the effort.

I don't suggest trying it, but I wonder how the steering would feel with the connectors unplugged.

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j.barleycorn, I was wondering if you think you could have avoided getting air in the system by having another person keep the PS fluid reservoir topped off with fluid during the period of time you were removing the solenoid, cleaning the solenoid filter screen and reattaching the solenoid?

In other words, if you had simply skipped the "flushing" procedure altogether and merely reattached the solenoid after cleaning the solenoid filter screen while another person made sure the PS fluid reservoir never

ran dry at any point during the entire process?

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j.b, this may be out in left field or a long shot, but I assume you disconnected the cable connector when you cleaned the solenoid screen, correct? I'm wondering if it's possible you didn't connect it back after reinstalling or didn't get a good connection. A quick check to see if it's connected or pulling it apart again to make sure the contacts are clean may be worth the effort.

I don't suggest trying it, but I wonder how the steering would feel with the connectors unplugged.

Hi Az-

I definately re-connected the connector, but whether contacts are dirty... could be I suppose. What would the symptoms be if it was not powering the solenoid? I have no idea what would happen if this was disconnected.

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j.barleycorn, I was wondering if you think you could have avoided getting air in the system by having another person keep the PS fluid reservoir topped off with fluid during the period of time you were removing the solenoid, cleaning the solenoid filter screen and reattaching the solenoid?

In other words, if you had simply skipped the "flushing" procedure altogether and merely reattached the solenoid after cleaning the solenoid filter screen while another person made sure the PS fluid reservoir never

ran dry at any point during the entire process?

Hi Monarch-

Nice to see you. I read many of your previous posts on this topic, and learned a lot from them.

I really don't know the tolerance level of the system for air. I was going to answer "yes, I believe you can change the solenoid without the reservoir running dry, and therefore no air would enter the system", but then wondered if air would enter simply because the solenoid was taken off and put back on. I suppose the flow of PS fluid from the solenoid cavity might prevent this if it could be removed/reinstalled or plugged quickly.

Prior to the flush I suctioned the reservoir as dry as I could get it, trying to get as much gunk off the bottom (which I could not get a light in to see). I’m sure this process let plenty of air in the system.

In retrospect, I wish I had only cleaned the screen. Would have been interesting to see how much my steering improved (when I thought it was pretty fine to begin with!)

There is an answer here and we’ll find it! :geek:

PS: All the hub-bub on what tool to use. On the vertically-oriented solenoid I was able to get in there with a big set of vice-grips and remove it without tapping after giving it some good blasts of sea-foam and letting it soak for 30 minutes.

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Buy some electrical contac cleaner, is always a good policy to clean electrical contacs as you disconnect and work with them. It is my opinion your PS pump does not need to be rebuild at present time. I do believe, as you describe it, the PS system is working fine. C. PR

Edited by cardona6569

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I am just trying to help you fix your P/S. I know this will work I have spent about a week trying to fix this on a 400 last year. The screen on the bottom of the reservoir is what is wrong with your car. I am looking at one that I replaced last week. Other than replacing the reservoir the only way is to do the screwdriver trick..

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If you turned the steering wheel while flushing, then

more of the old fluid would have been pumped out

(or so I've been told). That may explain why it took

so little fresh fluid. Some claim to pour the fresh fluid

into the reservior as fast as it's pumped out, thereby

avoiding the air problems. My approach has been to

periodically replace the fluid in the reservior and

leave all else be, especially since it's not leaking or

causing problems.

Edited by jschunke

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The screen on the bottom of the reservoir is what is wrong with your car. I am looking at one that I replaced last week. Other than replacing the reservoir the only way is to do the screwdriver trick..

The "screwdriver trick" works, but it also permanently ruins the reservoir filter screen. An alternative is to clean the filter screen. Here's how:

a) Remove the 3 x 12 mm bolts that secures the PS fluid reservoir to the power steering pump.

b) Remove the hose that's connected to the PS fluid reservoir

c) http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y189/mastertech/psa.jpg

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Monarch - Those are great pics! The best I've seen yet of the resovoir screen. Did you clean your screen using this method yet? I would have liked to have done this when I flushed my system. Fortunately for me the solenoid screen cleaning and flush (with inline filter added) vastly improved my steering alone. When you removed the resovoir, did you suction out the fluid first and was there any remaining when the pump was removed that could possibly spill? (of course not an issue with the use of the protective sleeve on the alternator). Also, were there any issues with extra air in the system that had to be bled afterwards? Thanks.

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Gumart1, I really cannot answer your questions because the reservoir in the photo is one I got off a junkyard LS V8. I was curious so I pulled the top off the reservoir with vise grips so I could see the filter screen. The screen in the photo isn't actually plugged either. In fact, none of the junkyard Toyotas had plugged screens unless they were around 25-35 years old. Even then, the screens were about 75% blocked, but not fully blocked.

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