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Power steering growl...the fix???

 
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Old 24 Aug 2010, 04:24 am
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Default Power steering growl...the fix???

Since purchasing a dodge minivan for my wife, I have become a member at several minivan forums, while i was perusing one, I stumbles across a thread where several people were saying that Chrysler is now recommending using ATF4 in place of power steering fluid. They said that it cures the growl, and that it is even suggested that if you have any power steering work done, to replace lost fluid with ATF4...apparently you can mix the two without any issues. Can anybody speak for the validity of this claim? Because if this is true, I may be draining my system and replacing the fluid with ATF4. I replaced my power steering pump a while back and the growl became worse. It's embarrassing really.
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Old 24 Aug 2010, 06:20 am
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Default Re: Power steering growl...the fix???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironman View Post
Since purchasing a dodge minivan for my wife, I have become a member at several minivan forums, while i was perusing one, I stumbles across a thread where several people were saying that Chrysler is now recommending using ATF4 in place of power steering fluid. They said that it cures the growl, and that it is even suggested that if you have any power steering work done, to replace lost fluid with ATF4...apparently you can mix the two without any issues. Can anybody speak for the validity of this claim? Because if this is true, I may be draining my system and replacing the fluid with ATF4. I replaced my power steering pump a while back and the growl became worse. It's embarrassing really.

The PT uses ATF +4 can't say about the mini van bit I imagine it does. If I was you I would suck out the old fluid and refill with the ATF +4. From what I've read the pumps do go sometimes.
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Old 24 Aug 2010, 06:38 am
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Default Re: Power steering growl...the fix???

Here's a good read about the fluid for Chryslers power steering pumps.

Power Steering Fluid Warning
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Old 28 Aug 2010, 04:52 pm
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Default Re: Power steering growl...the fix or maybe not....

I have gone through several of the common problems, including CEL, growl, and pressure switch leak, with my PT power steering and I think I know what's going on. I believe that Chrysler is trying to apply a band aid through their recommendation of ATF 4.

Here's what I think is happening. The reservoir has a fine screen filter in the bottom carefully designed to be near impossible to clean or replace. I tried both. The filter becomes clogged at high mileage; mine at 130,000. By clogged I mean that it can't flow enough fluid to serve the pump. The pump either cavitates or ventillates when starved of fluid causing a growl, discolored fluid and often an increase in the level of fluid that might then cause an overflow and subsequent low fluid.

The growl is worse cold because the fluid is thicker and has more trouble passing the screen. As it warms; the growl often subsides as the fluid becomes less viscus and can pass the screen. Less aggressive steering will also reduce the growl as flow is reduced.

The growl indicates that the pump and maybe the rack or even the pressure switch and lines are being overstressed and may soon fail if not corrected.

Chrysler is attempting to head off the problem with the fluid change. ATF 4 is less viscus than most power steering fluid and probably less likely to oxidize and clog the filter. I think that will delay the problem but not long enough for those of us still driving the old ones.

The only way to extend the pump life, IMHO, is to get rid of or prevent the growl. Mine was growling when winter cold but OK in the summer and when totally warm.

I ordered a new reservoir (clean filter) and flushed the system with ATF 4 (synthetic). I flushed the system by disconnecting both supply (large tube) and return (small tube) from the reservoir; put a clear tube into the return and taped (leak proof) a soda bottle with the bottom cut out to the supply. I then poured 2 qts of ATF into the bottomless soda bottle while an assistant ran the car moving the steering from stop to stop. The fluid ran clear in no time but I used the whole 2 qts anyway.

IMHO, all PT owners should use the ATF 4 as Chrysler suggests, and, I think, should flush the old fluid completely when the change is made. If a growl develops, the reservoir should also be changed. These preventive methods might well save more expensive repairs later.
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Old 28 Aug 2010, 07:59 pm
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Default Re: Power steering growl...the fix???

My Pt cruiser growl every time I turn to the right side. I take it to Chrysler dealer and they only put some ATF 4 fluid. And the noise disappeared for only 2 days. Can the filter becomes clogged with a mileage of 35,000?
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Old 28 Aug 2010, 09:47 pm
Mal Mal is offline
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Default Re: Power steering growl...the fix???

Though I would seriously doubt it; it is possible. I would start by flushing out the old fluid if you have any suspicion it is not ATF 4. Take a look at the filter by shining a strong light down the filler with an empty reservoir. If you cant see individual threads in the fine mesh filter; replace the reservoir. It still could well be another problem. Drive around the growl as much as you can until you get it sorted and good luck.
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Old 29 Aug 2010, 02:58 am
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Default Re: Power steering growl...the fix???

Your PT should have ATF in it anyway. As far as I know (without looking through every model's specs to verify), Chrysler hasn't used power steering fluid in quite some time.

For those that don't know what type of fluid they have, ATF is red while power steering fluid is clear. Power steering fluid is much thicker than ATF as well.

When checking the fluid, look for a fairly thin, red fluid.
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Old 30 Aug 2010, 12:00 am
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Default Re: Power steering growl...the fix???

Thanks for the info. Yes, the fluid it's thin and red. Perhaps the problem lies in another place. For now I can not take it to the dealer. But perhaps it will try to empty the reservoir system and will review it and put ATF 4 again.
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Old 04 Feb 2012, 07:56 pm
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Default Re: Power steering growl...the fix???

Hello everyone,
I just found this great site and really appreciate it. I have a 2001 PT with 120,000 miles on it. A power steering growl started last week. I followed your comments and found them very helpful. Mal...Your August 2010 post explaining the fact that there is a filter in the bottom of the power steering reservoir gave me the crucial diagnostic clue. I found the filter plugged so severly that mineral spirits under 120 PSI wouldn't pass through it. I was able to find a dealer who had a new reservoir with a wire screen filter at the bottom of the reservoir rather than the fiber filter. I then flushed the system with ATF +4. The noise went away and the steering is working great.
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Old 04 Feb 2012, 08:22 pm
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Default Re: Power steering growl...the fix???

Quote:
Originally Posted by heifetz17 View Post
Your PT should have ATF in it anyway. As far as I know (without looking through every model's specs to verify), Chrysler hasn't used power steering fluid in quite some time.

For those that don't know what type of fluid they have, ATF is red while power steering fluid is clear. Power steering fluid is much thicker than ATF as well.

When checking the fluid, look for a fairly thin, red fluid.
I have a 04 turbo witch has clear fluid from the factory. Not sure when they starter using ATF+4.
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