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i belive subaru's use dexcron automatic transmission fluid for power steering fluid. it should say on the cap.

the one time i needed any was on my old wrx, just picked up some ATF from a local gas station.
 

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admin
2019 3.6R & 98 Forester Atlanta, GA
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7,251 Posts
I should know this, but how do we change our power steering fluid?
I'm inclined to just empty and refill the power steering reservoir several times.
 

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2004 FXTi
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764 Posts
Having just replace the power steering rack I can speak at length about this. There are two simple ways to do this allowing you to get all the fluid out. You can either remove the return line to the power steering fluid resevoir tank or you can do it at the power steering rack. Then just turn the wheels left and right a couple of times and it will pump out all the fluid for you.

I found it quite easy to do it at the rack and not only because I had the rack out already. It is easier at the rack because it leaves lots of room to get at things where as space is pretty tight around the power steering fluid resevoir and the return line is kinda tough to get of and on.

There is a plate that covers the center of the rack and would likely be best to remove. It is held in by 4 12mm bolts and is easy to remove. Two of the four 12mm bolts are held in with fixed nuts and the other two have 12mm nuts that you will have to hold with a wrench on the backside.

You will see two lines in the center of the rack. One is a solid line, the other has a rubber tube about 6 inches long connecting two solid lines. The rubber tube is part of the low pressure return line.

The rubber tube is held on each side by spring clamps over flared/barbed solid lines. Remove the rubber hose from the driver's side of the hard line using a pair of pliers to take off the spring clamp and then pry the hose off of the hard line barb with a flat head screw driver. If you do this on the passenger's side of the rubber hose you will be left with fluid coming out of the solid line which is much harder to catch. Doing this simply drains all the fluid in the resevoir and line. Catch the ATF/power steering fluid by placing the rubber hose in a bottle. While it is draining just plug the solid line with your finger tip. Once it is drained reattach the rubber hose.

Then, remove the other side of the rubber hose-on the passenger side hard line. Place the rubber hose in your bottle again. Turn on the car and crank the wheel lock to lock a couple of times. This removes the fluid out of your power steering pump. Reattach the hose again. Add Dexron III ATF fluid. I use Mobil 1 synthetic ATF which I have used in other cars to fix worn/groaning racks and pumps. Our cars take .7 liters of fluid. Crank the wheel lock to lock to get rid of any air in the system. The pump will whine/groan a little at first especially at full lock. It may even help to turn the engine on/off a couple of times to let the pump get rid of all the air.

Replace the metal plate and enjoy.

I've got some pictures so I may submit this to scoobymods along with full directions on replacing the rack.

Regards,
Justin Wade
2004 FXTi :) :)
 

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That is pretty much what the service manual says to do!
 

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'09 STI
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4,129 Posts
Why did you replace your rack? Upgrade? I was told by a Subie wrench that I can just use a baster and draw some fluid off and add while turning the steering lock to lock until it runs clean.
 

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2004 FXTi
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764 Posts
NahdaDamdyke said:
Why did you replace your rack? Upgrade? I was told by a Subie wrench that I can just use a baster and draw some fluid off and add while turning the steering lock to lock until it runs clean.
Yeah, I put in the USDM WRX STI rack for fewer turns lock to lock and quicker ratio. Got it from a wrecked STI.

It seemed that the power steering fluid resevoir held about 350cc of the 700cc total fluid in the system. Using the baster method to empty it once and you clean 50% of the fluid. Mix everything together by turning the rack left and right and change out again and now it is 75% clean. Do it again and it is 87.5% clean. etc etc. This is OK and simple but total time isn't much less than how I said. My method took out about 675cc which is 93% clean on the first go around (showing 7% residual left sticking in the tubing).

Regards,
Justin Wade
2004 FXTi
 

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NahdaDamdyke said:
Why did you replace your rack? Upgrade? I was told by a Subie wrench that I can just use a baster and draw some fluid off and add while turning the steering lock to lock until it runs clean.
That works too. And is more maintenance than what most people do to their power steering. Main advantage to the full drain using the hoses underneath is that any particles will be drained out. Probably not a big deal though.
 

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2004 FXT
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830 Posts
sometimes when I turn the steering lock to lock, at the ends, I will hear a high pitched whining sound...

it does it sometimes, other times it doesn't... it's not the belt slipping, and it doesn't matter if the car is in motion or not...

someone suggested I replace the fluid with synthetic, and others have said it's a sign of the pump going bad...

it's happened ever since new... but I haven't taken it to the dealership cuz it doesn't happen all the time..

and I've got a bunch of mods, including GFB pulleys...
 

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2004 FXT
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830 Posts
normal cars are very quiet... mine is SUPER loud... someone suggested it's the pump going...
 
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