Acceptable loss rate for PS fluid?

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I checked my power steering fluid today and it was significantly low. The level in the translucent plastic reservoir was well below the "minimum" line and it took about 6 oz. (half a bottle) to fill it to the right level. I should add that I checked it after a drive so the engine and fluids were well warmed up. The last time I checked the PS fluid level was about a year and a half ago when I bought this car. Is a loss of 6 oz over that period of time considered normal or acceptable? Or should I be worried about a leak? Also, while at the store I noticed some of the PS fluids were listed as having "stop leak" additives. I know sometimes these mask the problems instead of fixing them. Are these stop leak additives in PS fluid beneficial or should I steer clear of them? Thanks.
 
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I wouldn't put any stop leak in there, just keep it topped up. If it is leaking, that is very slow, and possibly an air pocket or just a little drip. If your PS was leaking abd enough you would see it in the ground. Is this in the Taurus? My 99 starting leaking slowly from the boot on the rack and then got bad really fast, if it not leaking from that your probably okay to just keep topping it up. Obviously a normal thing would be no consumption on the PS system, but cars age and so do seals.
 
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Zero is normal. It's going somewhere. Wouldn't bother me unless it's dripping on your driveway, though I'd keep an eye on it (and a bottle in the trunk).
 
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It varies. To me it would depend on: -The car (bomber or newer lux-o-ride?) -What's leaking? (safety issue?) -Cost to repair -How anal are you? If say this is a daily driven work beater that is leaking fluid out the power steering rack, then the cost of that repair will buy an awful lot of PSF, cleaner and car wash credits!
 

Pajamarama

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Yes, it's the Taurus. The Fit has an all-electrical steering system -- no fluid. I never see any drips or puddles on the ground underneath the car so I know it's not TOO bad. Just got worried when I saw that it was that low and wondered where it went.
 
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I agree that zero is the correct rate of loss. However, 6oz in 1.5 years is 1/6th of the system capacity, and is a reasonable amount for keeping the fluid fresh. So just keep an eye on it. In terms of what to use, perhaps Maxlife ATF?
 
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Originally Posted By: Pajamarama
Yes, it's the Taurus. The Fit has an all-electrical steering system -- no fluid. I never see any drips or puddles on the ground underneath the car so I know it's not TOO bad. Just got worried when I saw that it was that low and wondered where it went.
Probably in the rack boots from leaking rack seals. Flush the system with new fluid and add a bottle of Lubeguard PS additive, it might help.
 

hpb

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The rack on my Ford leaks, it has never left drips on the driveway, but the boots were always wet. When I replaced the high pressure hose a few months back (it was leaking LOTS - straight onto the alternator), I topped the reservoir up with a Stop Leak product, Wynns or Nulon, can't quite remember, and it has slowed the rack leak to virtually nothing. I figured in a beater, why not experiment, if it didn't work I'd only lost 10 bucks, and luckily for me, it seems to have done exactly what it said on the bottle.
 
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Fresh ATF should slow or stop the leak. PSF is a maintenance item. Siphon and refill a few times with either Maxlife, or any HM ATF that mentions the required spec(MerconV or ???). Top off as needed is cheaper than replacing the pump or rack. All fluids have seals conditioners. More isn't always better as it could overswell the seal. Use the least amount needed to control the fluid loss. Go the fresh fluid route 1st.
 
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Originally Posted By: mjk
At the present rate, make a mental note to check it at each oil change, and get on with life.
here on BITOG, this IS life!
 

MolaKule

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Originally Posted By: mjk
At the present rate, make a mental note to check it at each oil change, and get on with life.
thumbsup
 
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Be alert to the possibility that a slow leak can open up, you lose a lot of fluid, and you have to replace expensive parts. A hose starting to leak at a fitting is a possibility.
 
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I was living with a chronic loss of power steering fluid on my Camaro up until last winter. Unfortunately, the fluid from the PS pump was dripping right into the alternator and shorted it out. Since this is a world ruled by Murphy's Law, this could only happen during my killer 120-mile commute after dark on one of the coldest days of the year. So not only did I have to replace the PS pump, I had to replace the alternator, too. Yes, you should be worried about a leak.
 
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Pajamarama

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Originally Posted By: 901Memphis
The correct fluid is Mercon V, but it might run on other stuff. I use Castrol Mercon V in my Taurus, but only cause i got it on sale.
Is it better to use ATF than actual power steering fluid? Honest question. When I refer to the official Taurus shop repair manual (purchased off eBay), it also says to use Mercon V ATF so I guess there's something to that. Why would that be? I thought keeping only the ATF red made it easier to identify and isolate transmission leaks.
 

Pajamarama

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Nevermind above question -- just checked the Taurus forums and it's all about Mercon, Mercon, Mercon in the PS system - NOT "PS fluid". I'll get some MaxLife ATF and do a flush of the system this weekend.
 
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Originally Posted By: Pajamarama
Nevermind above question -- just checked the Taurus forums and it's all about Mercon, Mercon, Mercon in the PS system - NOT "PS fluid". approved I'll get some MaxLife ATF and do a flush of the system this weekend. smirk crzy duh no-no
Why not just by a licensed Mercon V product like the super tech walmart stuff. Like others have said each product have conditioners in them for seals, and the Mercon V will have what Ford tested the car with. My folks have a 06 Ford 500 with about 90k on it and I recently noticed that the PS resovoir was almost down to the very bottom far below the add line. I thought it had a serious leak somewhere but I couldn't find anything at all. Everything looked dry and no drips on the ground. So I pulled out the Mercon from NAPA and filled to the full line and kept an eye on it. After 4 months it was down to half way between the fill and add line, I again filled to full line. After another 6 months it strangely had not dropped at all. So perhaps the seals had been renewed with the new fluid preventing any more leaking? IDK but the leak appears to have stopped.
 
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Pajamarama

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Originally Posted By: antiqueshell
Originally Posted By: Pajamarama
Nevermind above question -- just checked the Taurus forums and it's all about Mercon, Mercon, Mercon in the PS system - NOT "PS fluid". approved I'll get some MaxLife ATF and do a flush of the system this weekend. smirk crzy duh no-no
Why not just by a licensed Mercon V product like the super tech walmart stuff. Like others have said each product have conditioners in them for seals, and the Mercon V will have what Ford tested the car with. My folks have a 06 Ford 500 with about 90k on it and I recently noticed that the PS resovoir was almost down to the very bottom far below the add line. I thought it had a serious leak somewhere but I couldn't find anything at all. Everything looked dry and no drips on the ground. So I pulled out the Mercon from NAPA and filled to the full line and kept an eye on it. After 4 months it was down to half way between the fill and add line, I again filled to full line. After another 6 months it strangely had not dropped at all. So perhaps the seals had been renewed with the new fluid preventing any more leaking? IDK but the leak appears to have stopped.
MaxLife isn't Mercon approved? OK. I'll find something that is.
 
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