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Change Ps Fluid @ 60k Service?


99lsguy
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Need your input guys......

My 99LS 400 is within 500 miles of the 60K mark. I've slowly done some maintenace over the last few months to get everything done. My remaining four items are the coolant and brake flush, clean throttle body, and....

Thinking of flushing the PS while I'm at it.

I called Lexus and they don't recommend it - amazingly. But I think it may be prudent and prolong the system before any failure -- What do you guys think?

Also, I really bellieve it has BRAKE FLUID in the system. It is clearish, (albeit kinda dirty). A local Lexus specialty shop said it very well could be- That means it came from the LEXUS FACTORY that way! <_<

99

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:D Good question 99 .............

I too, would like to flush / change the PS Fluid early so as to ward off failures ....... if possible?

Anybody have any info or suggestions for those of us lucky enough not to have leaking PS Fluid ......... YET?! <_<

TIA

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old fluid will not cause leakage in your power steering system and once you have changed original factory fluid you will have to change it every 30k. its really easy to do it yourself and takes only 10-15 mins. let me know if you are interested and will explain to you how.

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Some add'l info....

I talked to the Parts Dept. at Lexus just to find out what they use. Usually Dexron III but he thought T-IV fluid would be fine also. My manual say Dex III - But I can swear that stuff in there looks like BRAKE FLUID. I'll call the dealer where the car originated new (Dallas, TX) to find out more.

Anyway, the parts guy was a riot :D He said (jokingly) not to flush it because WHEN it starts leaking :lol: - I'll be able to add new fluid then! His remarks were based on the fact the 90-94 units were prone to failure/leaking.

He knows for sure there is a newer design for the 98+ models (didn't ask about the 95-97 years- sorry). So I ask is it just because these cars are newer and haven't had time to leak; NO, (the answer) because the early design was flawed and they had lots of leaks within 2 years on many LS's they sold back in the early 90's. 98LS -This is good news for us!

I'm just a Maintenance Nut - always wanting to "over-maintain" I suppose...

VMF,

Why change every 30K afterward (not that this would be a problem - more of like; Cool, I get to do more maintenance on the LS!!!)?

I've copied some of your stuff to MSWord document, so I think I have the procedure. I may try to PM you with the attachment for your review.

My LS is humming like a sewing machine and I want to keep it that way :D

99

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Over the past 18 years I've driven 4 Toyotas a total of over 1,000,000 miles and one of them now has 435,400 miles without needing any major repairs. Still runs great.

I've learned the secret to making Toyotas last this long is to simply respect and follow the maintenance advice of the factory engineers and use the parts and fluids they recommend instead of what dealers and other sources recommend.

The factory original PS fluid is undyed Dexron fluid so that's why it looks like brake fluid.

A great replacement fluid is genuine Toyota Dexron fluid http://www.saber.net/~monarch/gtatf.jpg

http://www.saber.net/~monarch/gtatf2.jpg available from Toyota dealers for $3.40 a quart and that's more than you need to change the fluid. The idiotproof way to change the fluid is to suck the old fluid out of the reservoir, measure the amount removed and add back the same amount of new fluid. Then drive the car a bit and repeat - a total of about 5 times.

Since your car is only 4 years old the cooling system should still be very clean, especially if the factory original red Toyota antifreeze is still in the system. The cheap and idiotproof to change the antifreeze is to just drain the radiator, meausre amount drained and refill with a premixed 50/50 mix of genuineToyota red antifreeze and distilled water. This won't change all the fluid, but if done annually, will keep your cooling system looking like new for decades.

With regard to brake fluid, once again a great choice is genuine Toyota Brake fluid available from Toyota dealers for $3-4 a pint. I have no experience changing brake fluid on Toyotas with anti-lock brakes so I would consult the Lexus factory manual before attempting to change the fluid the traditional way (cracking open the brake bleeder plug 1/2 of a turn while another person slowly depresses and releases the brake pedal slowly many times).

Keeping fresh antifreeze, brake fluid and power steering fluids in any Toyota / Lexus WILL, in my experience, prevent leaks and other problems from developing for decades and hundreds of thousands of miles. Fluids are dirt cheap compared to the cost of repairing leaks and failed components.

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Monarch,

Great procedure methods!

I've done this "partial fluid replacement" method on the Tranny; but never thought of it for the coolant, PS, and such - good idea.

I did THREE pan drain/refills using T-IV Tranny fluid over my first 3k miles once I got the car off lease this summer - the fluid looks perfect now - now I do these "pan drains" probably every other oil change (8k for 2 oil changes)

So you suggest the toyota dexron over the T-IV? I know the manual specifies the dex III but I figured the T-IV wasn't "proven" at time of Publication.

Once again, your suggestions are "easy and efficient" and as a bonus...not MESSY to do!

BTW, what Toyota of yours has 435K?

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So you suggest the toyota dexron over the T-IV?

TypeT-IV is for the transmission only (just like it says on the tranmission dipstick and in the owners manual)

Dexron is for the power steering only (just like it says on the power steering filler cap and in the owners manual)

DOT 3 brake fluid is for the brake master cylinder ((just like it says on the brake fluid filler cap and in the owners manual) Genuine toyota brake fluid is DOT 3.

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99,

I changed the PS fluid on my SC a few months ago and put in Mobil1 Synthetic ATF. Like you I was surprised to find a clear fluid in the reservoir that looked like brake fluid. It didn't smell like brake fluid so I assumed that it was a proprietary ATF formula. Anyway, the way I did it was I disconnected the return hose (coming from the PS cooler) at the bottom of the reservoir and ran the hose into a suitable container. I plugged the inlet of the PS reservoir once it had drained. I then filled up the PS reservoir and cranked the engine for about a second (don't start the engine!!) The container had about a 1/3 of a quart of dirty looking fluid in it and the PS reservoir still had some fluid in it. I added more clean ATF to the PS reservoir and repeated the process two more times. After three cycles the fluid coming out of the PS cooler was bright red. I reconnected the hose from the cooler, added more fluid to the PS reservoir, ran the engine, checked the level and was done. The advantage of using this method is that you change ALL of the fluid that's in the reservoir, steering rack, cooler and lines. I used a similar method to flush my transmission as well but that requires two people. The result is worth it though.

:)

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K9,

good to hear from you @ 5:45 local Hawaii Time!

I'm too lazy tonight to go get my manual - but I take it the PS system doesn't take many quarts? How much did you use?

I see two hoses coming off the PS reservoir, so is it the bigger one?

Also, that sounds kinda tricky not to let it start, my LS zooms right up - so, is it bad to IMMEDIATELY TURN IT OFF in case it does start? Does NO START keep air from entering or something?

I think VMF had a friend in the car while he just added fluid while running. He used 7 quarts - but that was on Gen I LS.

PS - how's the LS!

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99,

It's 8:03pm HST!! :)

The hose to disconnect is the one that goes from the PS cooler to the bottom of the reservoir ... it's something like 1/2" OD and 1/4" ID.

When you crank the engine you only do it for a split second ... just enough to bump the starter so that the flywheel turns but not enough to start the engine. You can try it before you pull off any hoses and you'll see how easy it is. I was going to suggest disconnecting the coils to prevent the engine from starting but realized that we have coil-on-plug systems ... :D

As for my LS ... my wife has been driving it all week since I have the rear lights out of the SC for "service and modification". I couldn't survive without three vehicles!! I did just buy some rims for it though ... 18" x 8"!!! :D I'm still waiting for the new door to come in so that the body shop can fix it.

While we're on the subject of adding fluid to the transmission, if you change 2 QTS every time you drain the transmission pan you'll end up with the following amounts of OLD oil in your transmission ...

1st change = 75%

2nd change = 56%

3rd change = 42%

4th change = 32%

5th change = 24%

6th change = 18%

7th change = 13%

I don't like those numbers!!

:)

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Becarefull flushing your powersteering system. If you don't know what you are doing, you will damage the pum and cause the switch to shut off. I would suggest taking your reservior out and CLEAN IT REALLY GOOD.

JPI

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Thanks monach, K9, JPI, and others,

It's time for this one to hit the hay.... will continue later.

I'm still wondering why the factory PS ( ATF fluid) is ....UNDYED? <_<

K9, I see your logic because by the 6th change - technically at every 5K - there would be 18% of OLD (30k mile atf) fluid. But, if we did it by Lexus specs, 2 quart pan drain every 30K - We'd have some REALLY OLD GUNK IN THERE AT 100K :lol:

99

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It strikes me that Toyota/Lexus must have something in mind when they specify their type 2 or type 4 synthetic ATF for the transmission, and on the same car, Dexron ATF for the power steering. As Monarch has said in so many words, follow what they say. The requirements of a hydraulic oil for a trans are far different than for a power steering system.

Which brings me to my next point. Domestic power steering fluids (hydraulic oil) are clear in colour and very similar to ATF. I know that ATF's are dyed a bright red colour to distinguish them, and as suggested, perhaps the Toyota factory fill oil is undyed. It isn't brake fluid, that is for sure.

In most domestic cars ATF can be used instead of the power steering fluid, at least for short distances.

Best to do what the factory advises and not try to re-invent what they know better.

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99,

Yep, if you bought a new car and drained the trans pan every 5k miles, then by the sixth drain/refill at 30K miles the ATF would consist of 25% new, 18% old (30K original ATF) and 57% consisting of some horroble combination of 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K and 25K mile ATF fluid. THE MIND BOGGLES!! :) To much thinking for a Friday night!!

:)

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Best to do what the factory advises and not try to re-invent what they know better.

Hmmm ... even after numerous PS pump failures (a known, well-established Lexus problem) Toyota still knows better. :( I'd rather use a fluid recommended by a company that specializes in developing fluids. Maybe Toyota likes clear PS fluid so that you can't see the pump leaking!! By the way, Toyota DOESN'T tell you to use a Toyota fluid ... they tell you to use Dexron II/III so ANY fluid that meets the DII/III standard is ACCEPTABLE!!

As for the transmission, Toyota DOES say to use Toyota Type IV fluid and since transmissions are WAY more complex/expensive than PS pumps do what they say unless your PhD thesis was titled "Rebuilding the A650E transmission".

:)

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guys b4 i did my PPS flush i asked guys from the dealership what should i use and they said any tranny fluid brand and they mentioned that volvoline is the best and i dont have to spend extra to get the same fluid with toyota label on it. i never heard that you can damage your pps system by flushing it. as to the tranny flush you should ask people who gonna do it about what they mean by flush. some mean just open the tranny, clear the screen and add some fluid. in this case you will change only a small part of the fluid. but if they will connect your tranny to the special machine via radiator hoses and this machine will heat the new fluid up b4 pumping into the tranny while suckin the old one from the other end then you will change all of it. just make sure that you use original toyota tranny fluid in this case.

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The power steering pump failures on the LS is more than likely a design fault of some sort. I am sure no amount of "special" ATF's will prevent it. Considering the number of clapped out cheap cars that never experience a pump failure, I am amazed that Lexus didn't get this component right. They should be replacing PS pumps for free for the life of the car in my opinion.

Companies that specialize in lubricants are companies like Exxon and Mobil. The low volume small oil companies (which I shall not name publicly) are a bunch of flim flam artists who surround themselves with zealot distributors who promote the idea that their oil will cure all ills....

When organizations like Toyota, or Ford, or Cummins, or the American Military produce a service requirement for a special oil of some sort, the major manufacturers work very hard to acheive those requirements and sell them product. Oil companies have always responded to the dictates of the engine and powertrain manufacturers, and certification is approved by SAE, API, and ILSAC. So Toyota type IV fluid is just fine for me in the LS trans. And I use Dexron in the PS because they said so, and I agree, the operating requirements of the PS system have little to do with those of the transmission.

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The power steering pump failures on the LS is more than likely a design fault of some sort. I am sure no amount of "special" ATF's will prevent it.

I'm hoping that poor PS fluid maintenance is the culprit ... either using the wrong fluid or never changing/flushing the fluid since those are two things that I can do something about. As I mentioned before, I use Mobil1 sythetic ATF in the PS system since it meets the Dexron II/III standard and I use Toyota Type 4 ATF in the transmission.

:)

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It's worth a try, that's for sure. And if it works, you save a bunch of money. What concerns me about the Lexus design is still the idea that lots of very simply built and routinely abused (no oil changes ever) type pumps like the GM Saginaw style, never leak, never wear out, whereas the Lexus pump gives trouble.

Mobil makes the best oils in the world in any case.

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