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Old 10-29-2019, 10:01 AM   #1
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Question proper power steering fluid

I have a 1992 ford E-350 with 7.3 engine. The power steering is not whining but the fluid is way low.

Does anyone know what kind of fluid to use, I have gotten so many "version" or what to use, everything from the ATF for the trans, which is dexron III, to 10W30.

I can just about reach the fluid level and it look pink.

I'm also interested in learning something so I you know why or why not something should be used I would love to hear about it.
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Old 10-29-2019, 10:46 AM   #2
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Is it hydroboost brakes?

Just go to an auto parts store and use their house brand power steering fluid.

I've never had an issue going that route. I have ran into issues using atf in a steering system with hydroboost brakes, definitely wouldn't recommend someone doing that. I imagine motor oil could create the same issue.
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:29 AM   #3
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ATF is what Ford has used for years in all of their power steering systems to my knowledge and experience. All of our Ford buses use ATF, hydroboost or vacuum. The only noise issues we've run into are because of poor quality hydroboosters from auto parts stores. Ford boosters just like leaking on the pedal end and putting ATF on the floor. It is my preference to use ATF in my own trucks, though they aren't hydroboosted.
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Old 10-29-2019, 01:36 PM   #4
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thanks, I've heard is has something to do with foaming, ATF vs 10W30 vs power "steering Oil" but I dont remember what context
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Old 10-29-2019, 01:39 PM   #5
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thanks, I also have heard about ford using ATF in the power steering for years but i also heard it didn't actually start until mid 1990's; "for years" is relative to how old you are
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Old 10-29-2019, 02:05 PM   #6
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The oldest I know of for sure is 94 as that's the year of my Ranger. I'm not sure if there's been significant changes to power steering systems over the years, but formulations of ATF sure have. Air could be getting into the system and causing the foam. It is possible to have an air leak but not a fluid leak on the suction side of the system including the seals in the pump itself. I could see an abrupt change in fluid type could cause an issue with the pump seals. However I wouldn't be worried about it since you said you already have a pink color in your fluid, which should mean that it already has ATF in it.
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Old 10-29-2019, 03:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by alpinekid View Post
thanks, I've heard is has something to do with foaming, ATF vs 10W30 vs power "steering Oil" but I dont remember what context
The motor oil will have a very different "detergent additive package" compared to power steering or ATF oils which are both considered hydraulic fluids.
The p/s & atf will both have anti-foaming additives because the hydro pump can't pump foam and c/would quickly cavitate...

Be mindful that the DEX IV and Mercon V are NOT backwards compatible -- some of the chemistry w/in could weaken your seals & hoses...

Have you looked on the p/s reservoir to see if it says what fluid is preferred?

Dex III will probably be fine -- if you look at the MSDS you'll see it specs out almost the same as most p/s fluids do.
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Old 10-29-2019, 03:31 PM   #8
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thanks, this thing has dexron III equivalent in the trans and the fluid in the p/s looks pink so I'm thinking more and more about using my left over, I just changed to the trans fluid, in the P/S
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Old 10-29-2019, 03:33 PM   #9
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thanks, I dont have a foaming problem, I'm just trying to make sure I dont get one.
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Old 10-29-2019, 04:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
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thanks, I also have heard about ford using ATF in the power steering for years but i also heard it didn't actually start until mid 1990's; "for years" is relative to how old you are
to someone my age, that's yesterday
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Old 10-30-2019, 09:56 AM   #11
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thanks, I dont have a foaming problem, I'm just trying to make sure I dont get one.
The vanes of the p/s pump (and trans) whip the oil about pretty hard in the process of making pressure -- the anti-foaming additives are to help the oil drain back quickly to the sump so the pump doesn't cavitate.

I've been using dex III in all my p/s systems for the last 30 years -- seems to be just fine, even my Saab (saab purists claim you must use the very hard to fine Pentosin p/s fluid -- Nope -- bs... the pentosin oil qualities and dex III again, are nearly the same...)
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