> Ok, Is it possible to loose your power steering with no other problems and still have plenty of fluid?

  Yes.  I had this happen in my S4 last year.  In my case, air was getting sucked into the system through a loose hose on the underside of the power steering fluid reservoir.

  You can try to tighten the clamps on both hoses to the reservoir, but most likely the hoses are so saturated with oil that they'll be too soft to hold a seal.  If that's the case, try this:
 1) empty the fluid from the reservoir
 2) unclamp the reservoir from the mount to the fender
 3) remove both hoses from the bottom of the reservoir
 4) cut about 3/4" off the end of each hose - this should provide some "new" rubber that isn't saturated
 5) reinstall the hoses and clamp securely, but don't over tighten
 6) clamp the reservoir back to the mount
 7) fill with fresh ATF
 8) turn the steering wheel lock-to-lock to dispel any air and recheck the fluid level

  The reservoir has an integral filter that can't be removed.
I you're going to try all of the above, you should buy a new reservoir just to get a clean filter.  The cost is ~$25 from
the Big Three.

Jim Stadter

Peter wrote:
> Is removing, fixing the problem and replacing the canister something that can be easily managed, considering that I am to a great extent "mechanically challenged", but extremely careful when attempting anything on the car?


If you're able to continue using the existing hoses, then you shouldn't have a problem fixing a leak and/or replacing the power steering reservoir. If the hoses have deteriorated too much, then they'll need to be replaced and you may want to consider using a mechanic.  The reservoir and hoses are just held on with clamps, so everything is pretty straightforward, although the job can be a bit messy.  Note that I did this on my '88, and my '83 has even more room in which to work; the only thing I'm not sure about on your '86 is whether the throttle linkage might get in the way. 

Here are the steps:
1) Siphon all the ATF out of the reservoir.
2) Remove the large hose clamp that attaches the reservoir to the body.
3) Gently lift the reservoir and tilt it slightly to gain access to the two hoses underneath.
4) Loosen the two clamps that secure the hoses and slide them down the hoses a few inches.
5) Have some rags ready, and remove the hoses from the reservoir.
6) Inspect the hoses for deterioration, specifically at the point where the clamp secures the hose.  If the hose is extremely soft due to oil saturation, you'll want to cut off the bad section, but probably no more than 1/2"-3/4".  Before you cut, make sure you'll have enough slack so that you can be sure you'll be able to reattach them once they're shorter.
7) Using the new reservoir, reattach the hoses and secure their clamps.  Like any hose that is clamped, you don't want to over tighten and wind up crushing the hose.
8) Reposition the reservoir and secure it with it's clamp.
9) Using Dexron III ATF (I would _not_ recommend a synthetic in this case), add fluid, but not quite to the full mark.  I seem to recall that some caps have a dipstick and others that don't just rely on the seam in the reservoir to mark the full line.
10) Turn on the car and turn the steering wheel from lock to lock.  This will remove trapped air from the system.  Turn the wheels back to center, shut off the engine.  Top off with ATF to the full mark.
11) Take a test drive and look for leaks.  If there are any, tighten the hose clamps a little more.

You may want to have some engine cleaner ready since you'll probably end up spilling some ATF.

Good luck.
Jim Stadter


At 09:39 AM 4/30/2004, Steve wrote:
My steering pump feels like it is cavitating, as if there is not enough  fluid getting to it. Ensured the fluid in the reservoir was correct this AM and after getting to work (35 miles) the reservoir was above  capacity and the fluid appeared frothy (bubbles and opaque). If the fluid is not getting back to the pump and this is causing the cavitation, where should I start checking? Reservoir filter?
Steve Preda


> Hi Steve,
> The cause could be the filter in the reservoir. Jay mentioned this already. Its a very fine grid filter and can get clogged by particles and crud in the oil. One this to consider is that the ATF is a very very clean oil that normally does not create any residue. If you find dirt in the filter (you obviously need to drain the reservoir and see what you find) its
worthwhile to think about a cause. Any pump wear of filling problems might cause dirt getting into the filter and clogging it.
> I would drain the fluid in a clean glass and have a real good look. Then take the reservoir off and clean it too. Use petrol or anything alike to wash the reservoir and see what you find. It might be possible to clean it by reverse flow, so I do not fully agree with Jay.... but then again I'm Dutch... what can you expect ;-)
> Kind regards,
> Theo
> The Netherlands

Check to make sure that the suction line on the pump doesn't have a small air leak. It is also possible that the shaft seal is leaking, allowing air to enter.

Wally Plumley
928 Specialists