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Trumpeter Extraordinaire
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Discussion Starter #1
4.6L Power Steering (P/S) Fluid Flush

Supplies and tools:
3 quarts inexpensive P/S fluid (more, if needed)
1 quart premium P/S fluid (Service and Owner’s manuals state P/S fluid capacity is 1.6 pints)
Shop rags/paper towels and newspapers
Oil drain pan
1 gallon laundry soap or oil bottle
1 old banjo bolt from a Thunderbird brake caliper, or a drain plug, or something similar
Channel lock pliers, or spring clamp pliers
Small screwdriver or the appropriate ignition coil wire disconnect tool
4’ of hose, same I.D. size as P/S hose (or very close, anyway – clear hose is excellent for this)
Jack stands
1 helper/friend

The How-to:

1. Raise front of car. Support with jack stands. Disconnect coil wire connectors from coils.

2. Optional: cover floor of work area with newspapers (essentially, under P/S oil cooler and fluid reservoir return hose connection). The return hose is the hose connecting to the reservoir on the outer edge of the bottom of the reservoir. There’s another hose that connects at the bottom of the reservoir in the center. Do not disconnect this one.

3. Place oil drain pan under the P/S oil cooler at the return hose connection.

4. Using channel lock/spring clamp pliers, open and slide the return hose clamp off the connection and out of the way.

5. Disconnect return hose, and drain P/S fluid reservoir into oil drain pan.

6. Think to yourself: “THIS stuff is circulating through the power steering system?!?”

7. Use old banjo bolt/drain plug to plug return hose. Slide spare length of hose over connector on the P/S oil cooler, and place end into old gallon bottle.

8. Fill reservoir with the inexpensive P/S fluid. Have your assistant sit in the car, crank the starter motor, and turn wheels completely to the left and right while cranking the starter motor. Monitor the fluid level while this is in progress. Do not let the reservoir drain completely. Note: there’s no need to replace the cap each time, as the fluid will not spray out.

9. Say (or yell) “Stop” when fluid is almost gone from reservoir. Assistant must stop cranking starter at this time.

10. Observe color of fluid passing through spare hose into gallon bottle. If color is still dark, repeat steps 8, 9, and 10.

11. When color of fluid in spare hose is the same as the fluid poured into the P/S fluid reservoir, switch to the premium P/S fluid, and fill the reservoir. Repeat step 8 and 9 until 1.6 pints (.7 liters) of the premium P/S fluid has been poured into the system (make sure the reservoir is not overfilled).

12. Disconnect spare hose from P/S oil cooler (watch for dripping) and drain the hose into the gallon bottle.

13. Unplug the return hose, drain it into oil drain pan, and reconnect it to the oil cooler. Reposition hose clamp to secure return hose to the oil cooler connector.

14. Check level of P/S fluid. Reconnect ignition coil wires. Clear away oil drain pan, gallon bottle and hose, and newspapers. Lower the car.

15. Start engine, and slowly turn wheels lock-to-lock several times. Check fluid level again, and add fluid if needed.


This is the procedure my son and I followed on a 1994 Thunderbird, with the 4.6L engine, taking just about 30 minutes. Steering improvement is very noticeable, and there’s no discoloration in the steering fluid.
 

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Moderator
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8,239 Posts
instead of power steering fluid, ford specifies Mercon ATF transmission fluid.

You can use merconV also if you want.
 

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Amateur Expert
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1,662 Posts
Good write up! Not to pooh-pooh your method, but I found it much easier to disconnect the return line at the bottom of the reservoir. Catch any fluid leaking out of that, then turn the return line upside down into a catch pan or bottle and start the motor. I let the fluid pump out, fill up the reservoir, repeat, then reconnect the return line and go through the filling/bleeding procedure. It's easier than jacking up the car, IMO.
 

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Premium Member
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9,165 Posts
Raising the dead again here...

Any comments on the advantages/disadvantages of the two methods mentioned?
 

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another method

Out of my laziness, I just syphoned the power steering fluid out of the reservoir with a tube and emptied into a jug. I did it 5 times and my fluid is now a beautiful red Mercon V.
 

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Reaching into the bone filled grave....

...why is Mercon V a better fluid to use other than Power Steering fluid?
 

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Super Moderator
1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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9,370 Posts
It runs quieter than regular P/S fluid.
 

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Out of my laziness, I just syphoned the power steering fluid out of the reservoir with a tube and emptied into a jug. I did it 5 times and my fluid is now a beautiful red Mercon V.
I used the lazy method too. My steering turned easier after doing the "flush", maybe the EVO actuator was struggling to push the dark stinky thick fluid that was in there before LOL.
 

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Super Moderator
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I used the lazy method too. My steering turned easier after doing the "flush", maybe the EVO actuator was struggling to push the dark stinky thick fluid that was in there before LOL.
HAH! You lazy son of a guns!

I'M replacing the power steering pump, the rack, the high pressure hose, the low pressure hose, and the cooler!

THAT'S how you change it!

It also serves to make your car run faster, with all that weight out of your wallet! :eek::facepalm:

RwP
 

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HAH! You lazy son of a guns!

I'M replacing the power steering pump, the rack, the high pressure hose, the low pressure hose, and the cooler!

THAT'S how you change it!

It also serves to make your car run faster, with all that weight out of your wallet! :eek::facepalm:

RwP
But what if you only have a debit card??? :confused:
 

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Super Moderator
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It'll wear the numbers off, so you're cool :diablo:

Fact is, most of mine was bought on my Paypal account.

RwP
 
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