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Power Steering Resevoir Screen Missing


rgp46
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Hi, I have a 96 LS400 that I'm replacing the power steering pump in. I just discovered that there is virtually no screen left in the resevoir.......is there a solution other than a new resevoir for $250+? (and I can't figure out how to spell resevoir... :huh:d;^) )

Thanks :(

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Ummmm ...... not sure about your question ... but I do know some things about the power steering system ..... I am so curious to know ... if you know about the little, small, fragile filter/ screen that is located inside your power steering rack? It is located inside the solenoid. If it becomes dirty or clogged, you will still have problems even if you have changed out your power steering pump .... this is why I mention it ....

It is fairly easy to service .... basically you take the steering rack solenoid out and carefully remove the filter screen .... then put the solenoid back in, minus the little screen .... the idea is to do a total system flush .... clean the screen (very fragile so you have to be very careful) ... then re-instal the screen inside of the solenoid body and put it all back together .... then re-fill the system with OEM fluid .... you are good to go.

Many Toyota / Lexus mechanics are not aware of this service item. It does effect those of us that drive this series of LS 400 ....

The reason this is important, is because the system pressure will become too high and start a leak somewhere eventually if the solenoid filter is not cleaned .... usually the boots on the steering rack will start sweating .... things like that. My filter had never been serviced when I bought my 95 LS with about 110,000 miles on it .... so ... my power steering system was leaking a little when I first got my car. After doing this filter service, my system stopped leaking! That was about 2 years ago .... today my system leaks just a very, very small amount ... mostly from the high pressure power steering line ..... I am just waiting to put together a few more $$ before I work on it ......

anyways ..... if you are new to all of this .... it is something that you REALLY need to know about .....

hope it helps ....

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Ummmm ...... not sure about your question ... but I do know some things about the power steering system ..... I am so curious to know ... if you know about the little, small, fragile filter/ screen that is located inside your power steering rack? It is located inside the solenoid. If it becomes dirty or clogged, you will still have problems even if you have changed out your power steering pump .... this is why I mention it ....

It is fairly easy to service .... basically you take the steering rack solenoid out and carefully remove the filter screen .... then put the solenoid back in, minus the little screen .... the idea is to do a total system flush .... clean the screen (very fragile so you have to be very careful) ... then re-instal the screen inside of the solenoid body and put it all back together .... then re-fill the system with OEM fluid .... you are good to go.

Many Toyota / Lexus mechanics are not aware of this service item. It does effect those of us that drive this series of LS 400 ....

The reason this is important, is because the system pressure will become too high and start a leak somewhere eventually if the solenoid filter is not cleaned .... usually the boots on the steering rack will start sweating .... things like that. My filter had never been serviced when I bought my 95 LS with about 110,000 miles on it .... so ... my power steering system was leaking a little when I first got my car. After doing this filter service, my system stopped leaking! That was about 2 years ago .... today my system leaks just a very, very small amount ... mostly from the high pressure power steering line ..... I am just waiting to put together a few more $$ before I work on it ......

anyways ..... if you are new to all of this .... it is something that you REALLY need to know about .....

hope it helps ....

I had no idea about the other screen and haven't seen it mentioned in any of the tutorials. Thanks for the heads up! Where is the solenoid located and do I access it from the top or underneath?

Thanks again...

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The subject of the steering rack solenoid filter is at times huge here ..... if you dig really hard you can find some great photos of it ....

anyway .... please check this out on your car ... you might be really glad you did ....

OK .... so the solenoid body is visible on your steering rack especially so if while parked on a level surface, you can turn your front wheels all the way to the right ... then lift up your car a little and you will see the solenoid body as you look under the car from the area of your driver side wheel-well area .... It is a round cylinder shaped object on your steering rack that faces toward the ground at a slight angle .... You will notice some wires that go to it ..... it takes a pretty large wrench to unscrew it. You will see the solenoid body just above your steering rack boot on the driver's side .... actually lifting the car is not needed, but it would provide you a little more room with which to view it ...

I just have my independent Mechanic do mine .... he charges me about $110 for the whole service .....

The filter is small ... and FRAGILE ..... you clean it with a soft tooth brush (compressed air would ruin it in a nano-second) ..... but by taking the filter out and then re-install the solenoid body, you can then flush the whole system ... then take the solenoid body back out and re-install the little [ now clean ] filter and put it all back together .....

I think you could spray the filter screen with starting fluid as another way to clean it .... that is an old trick I learned while working on a farm once as a kid .... starting fluid evaporates so fast .... and it is a great degreaser / cleaner ....

it is good to also clean the filter screen inside the power steering pump as well .... but you now have a new one, right? So that should not be an issue for you .....

guys in the past with this vintage LS 400 would sometimes develop a power steering leak at the pump and the fluid would leak into the alternator! You can imagine what that would be like!! So .... if you do not service this solenoid filter ... then the root of the problem has never been addressed, thus more trouble is ahead of you even after spending all this time and effort on other components ......

I am going to retire in about 2 months .... I think I just might take some time and do some new pictures and do a good write up on this subject and make the posting available here to future [new] vintage LS owners ..... THANK GOD for this web site .... this is how I learned about all of this in the first place ... this club has always been a fantastic resource and has saved me tons of cash .... !!!

anyway ..... In the 1998 model LS400 and beyond, a design change was made to address this situation ..... so if you get a 1998 or newer LS some day .... you will not find this issue on those cars .....

let us know how it goes ..... !! (^-^)

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The subject of the steering rack solenoid filter is at times huge here ..... if you dig really hard you can find some great photos of it ....

anyway .... please check this out on your car ... you might be really glad you did ....

OK .... so the solenoid body is visible on your steering rack especially so if while parked on a level surface, you can turn your front wheels all the way to the right ... then lift up your car a little and you will see the solenoid body as you look under the car from the area of your driver side wheel-well area .... It is a round cylinder shaped object on your steering rack that faces toward the ground at a slight angle .... You will notice some wires that go to it ..... it takes a pretty large wrench to unscrew it. You will see the solenoid body just above your steering rack boot on the driver's side .... actually lifting the car is not needed, but it would provide you a little more room with which to view it ...

I just have my independent Mechanic do mine .... he charges me about $110 for the whole service .....

The filter is small ... and FRAGILE ..... you clean it with a soft tooth brush (compressed air would ruin it in a nano-second) ..... but by taking the filter out and then re-install the solenoid body, you can then flush the whole system ... then take the solenoid body back out and re-install the little [ now clean ] filter and put it all back together .....

I think you could spray the filter screen with starting fluid as another way to clean it .... that is an old trick I learned while working on a farm once as a kid .... starting fluid evaporates so fast .... and it is a great degreaser / cleaner ....

it is good to also clean the filter screen inside the power steering pump as well .... but you now have a new one, right? So that should not be an issue for you .....

guys in the past with this vintage LS 400 would sometimes develop a power steering leak at the pump and the fluid would leak into the alternator! You can imagine what that would be like!! So .... if you do not service this solenoid filter ... then the root of the problem has never been addressed, thus more trouble is ahead of you even after spending all this time and effort on other components ......

I am going to retire in about 2 months .... I think I just might take some time and do some new pictures and do a good write up on this subject and make the posting available here to future [new] vintage LS owners ..... THANK GOD for this web site .... this is how I learned about all of this in the first place ... this club has always been a fantastic resource and has saved me tons of cash .... !!!

anyway ..... In the 1998 model LS400 and beyond, a design change was made to address this situation ..... so if you get a 1998 or newer LS some day .... you will not find this issue on those cars .....

let us know how it goes ..... !! (^-^)

I think your period key must have some sort of sticky substance gummed up underneath it..........

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...

You will notice some wires that go to it ..... it takes a pretty large wrench to unscrew it. You will see the solenoid body just above your steering rack boot on the driver's side .... actually lifting the car is not needed, but it would provide you a little more room with which to view it ...

...

I agree strongly with the importance of this maintenance procedure.

There's a post on here somewhere with photos + everything.

What I did to make removal easier (instead of using a big wrench [would need to be like 2"]) was to first mark the "nut" (not really a nut but a hexagonal flange) vs. the solenoid body with a line - sharpie or scratching with a screwdriver. This way, when you put it back you tighten until the marks line up. Then, instead of using a wrench, I used a flat head screwdriver on the "nut" and tapped it with a hammer to begin unscrewing it. It can then be done by hand. On my car (1991, with 160k miles, and I'm sure I was the first to do this job) it came with one medium size tap. All of this is done after removing the wires.

I jack up the left front of the car for better clearance. You may also want to remove the left front wheel for an even better angle on the work. Not a bad idea if doing it the first time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Click here, start with page 5 and follow the pictures. I did this with my old LS, and it made a world of difference in the steering. I'm going to do it again soon to my GS430.

http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/index...++screen++clean

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  • 8 years later...

OK, so you guys have been so amazingly helpful to me in solving my LS400 steering issues, I thought I would give a little back. My slow speed steering was making noises and was hesitating. So here is stuff I have learned: See photo attached. This is the filter screen that goes around the solenoid. By the time I took this photo I had already cleaned off an almost 100% clog, every screen window was clogged. Also, my guess is that the clogs caused the screens to bust through to flow what fluid I was steering on. Most likely this part caused my issues. Does Lexus sell this miserable little part? Not that I could find. Sooo… my thinking was that if I ditched (eliminated) the screen completely, the hydraulic fluid would flow without restriction, albeit unfiltered. Use a tooth pick to remove the upper o ring from the solenoid, then just work the nylon screen circle off. I reasoned: what good is a clogged screen with holes in it? Mine probably hadn't done much filtering for a long time. My thinking also was that it is relatively easy to get the rack rebuilt, also new hoses and pump are now cheap on ebay. Important: I had my rack rebuilt. The rebuilder didn't have this screen as part of the rebuild kit, so he reused my clogged screen! Same problem even after the rebuild. So what real function is this screen anyway? If I destroy something without the screen (doubtful) I'll fix it. I elected to ditch the screen and take my chances. My power steering problems are now GONE! I went to Harbor Freight and bought both their Nitril o ring set AND I bought their Viton o ring set. The small top solenoid o ring had a match in the Viton set and the big o ring on the solenoid bottom had a match in the Nitril set. I used Mobil One full synthetic grease in putting the solenoid and o rings back in. Be careful with the big o ring at the solenoid bottom. You need to grease it to stay in place up in the rack slot. Put it up into the rack, right at the bottom of the hole, before you screw in the solenoid. Close call: My old o ring was still up in the slot/hole. I found out I was about to put the new o ring on top of the old one! You'll see what I mean when you get into the project. Guaranteed leak, or worse if you forget to pull out the old o ring before you screw in the solenoid. Next issue: The Lexus power steering calls for ATF and NOT power steering fluid. My solution was to use Tractor Fluid from Walmart. This stuff is clear, about the consistency of oil, and I use it in various other hydraulic steering I own, Ford 7.3L truck, etc. Quick lube places will ALWAYS refill your LS400 Lexus PS pump with power steering fluid. Wrong! Tractor fluid worked great for my LS400, and is cheap at Walmart. My guess is ATF would work fine as well. If you still have trouble, use Tractor Fluid. The labor to do this solenoid screen elimination took me about 1 hour max. This ain't rocket science. Oh, another important issue: Ditch that vacuum sender on the bottom/side of your power steering pump. As best I can tell, it does NOTHING but cause trouble. Trace back the vacuum lines and plug them with the little rubber caps you can buy at Autozone. You don't want a vacuum leak. That vacuum sender thing will leak power steering fluid directly onto your alternator. This will destroy your alternator and you will be stuck somewhere. Also, you'll start your LS400 one day and get a cloud of white smoke vacuumed through this ridiculous vacuum sender thing directly into your intake. I actually had a valve job done on this Lexus thinking the white smoke was valve seals ($2000. fix) before I learned about this miserable Lexus PS mistake vacuum sender. Unscrew the vacuum sender and take it down to Autozone. The sender threads match one of the replacement plugs they sell for an engine oil pan. I used Teflon tape on my new Autozone plug and screwed the plug into the power steering pump vacuum sender hole. Problem solved. Good luck. Woody

lexus_solenoid_screen.jpg

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