Chrysler/Ram Power Steering - Better Option Than ATF+4?

Messages
6,773
Location
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Firstly, I don't have a "problem" I am trying to solve, per-se. ATF+4 (spec) seems to be working fine for my Rams. It is however not a secret that pumps tend not to have spectacularly long lives driving the steering systems on these trucks. Not like they blow up in 10 k miles, but do get weak in the 70k miles range sometimes. Not an engineering issue really. Just a lot of work to do, especially on a big tire truck that tackles off road situations. I am about to upgrade both to the "later" more powerful pumps. They both already have the giant steering boxes Mopar offers that I've been told are from the Ram 5500. Worth noting that the power steering pump also drive the hydroboost brakes as well, so weak pump means weak braking. My stick Ram is starting to get heavy steering at low rpms. This is where I need assist the most, as it handles a lot of heavy trailers in tight spaces. This is probably exactly the stress that has taken its toll. Anyway, I'm looking for something that maybe would help the new pumps last longer. Something with greater fortification maybe? Pumps themselves are Saginaw TC type pumps that are used in about a million different vehicles. Probably going to do a new PS cooler with fan for the low speed work too, and a filter. Appreciate all input. Thanks.
 
Messages
10,702
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
I still have ATF+4 in my '06 Ram PS system, but my GMC C3500 literally ATE regular PS fluid until I changed it to Red Line full synthetic PS fluid-my days of burnt up fluid on that truck disappeared (also hydroboost system). On the '02 Cummins Ram the ATF+4 was actually a little too thick in subfreezing temps, actually couldn't turn the steering wheel until it was running for 2 or 3 minutes (traded it in on the '06 before I could figure it out). All ATF+4 fluids are supposed to be full synthetic, so I'm not sure how much the RL would help. I changed the PS pump & hydroboost on the '93 GMC when I put in the RL.
 
Messages
10,702
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Also, I'm going to be in the same boat as you on the MGM-even after changing the brown looking Dex/Merc to full syn Dex VI, the PS still makes a lot of noise & stutters on subfreezing starts (although it improved in warmer weather)-it has 123K of mostly old folk driving.
 

JC1

Messages
5,786
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Originally Posted by DoubleWasp
Firstly, I don't have a "problem" I am trying to solve, per-se. ATF+4 (spec) seems to be working fine for my Rams. It is however not a secret that pumps tend not to have spectacularly long lives driving the steering systems on these trucks. Not like they blow up in 10 k miles, but do get weak in the 70k miles range sometimes. Not an engineering issue really. Just a lot of work to do, especially on a big tire truck that tackles off road situations. I am about to upgrade both to the "later" more powerful pumps. They both already have the giant steering boxes Mopar offers that I've been told are from the Ram 5500. Worth noting that the power steering pump also drive the hydroboost brakes as well, so weak pump means weak braking. My stick Ram is starting to get heavy steering at low rpms. This is where I need assist the most, as it handles a lot of heavy trailers in tight spaces. This is probably exactly the stress that has taken its toll. Anyway, I'm looking for something that maybe would help the new pumps last longer. Something with greater fortification maybe? Pumps themselves are Saginaw TC type pumps that are used in about a million different vehicles. Probably going to do a new PS cooler with fan for the low speed work too, and a filter. Appreciate all input. Thanks.
Have you ever flushed the reservoir and sucked the fluid out of the lines? I would try that first.
 

JC1

Messages
5,786
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Originally Posted by DoubleWasp
Firstly, I don't have a "problem" I am trying to solve, per-se. ATF+4 (spec) seems to be working fine for my Rams. It is however not a secret that pumps tend not to have spectacularly long lives driving the steering systems on these trucks. Not like they blow up in 10 k miles, but do get weak in the 70k miles range sometimes. Not an engineering issue really. Just a lot of work to do, especially on a big tire truck that tackles off road situations. I am about to upgrade both to the "later" more powerful pumps. They both already have the giant steering boxes Mopar offers that I've been told are from the Ram 5500. Worth noting that the power steering pump also drive the hydroboost brakes as well, so weak pump means weak braking. My stick Ram is starting to get heavy steering at low rpms. This is where I need assist the most, as it handles a lot of heavy trailers in tight spaces. This is probably exactly the stress that has taken its toll. Anyway, I'm looking for something that maybe would help the new pumps last longer. Something with greater fortification maybe? Pumps themselves are Saginaw TC type pumps that are used in about a million different vehicles. Probably going to do a new PS cooler with fan for the low speed work too, and a filter. Appreciate all input. Thanks.
Have you ever flushed the reservoir and sucked the fluid out of the lines? I would try that first. I would just refill it with ATF+4.
 
Messages
35,444
Location
NY
Originally Posted by JC1
Have you ever flushed the reservoir and sucked the fluid out of the lines? I would try that first. I would just refill it with ATF+4.
That's what I would do, and stick with ATF+4.
 
Messages
6,939
Location
MIchigan
Originally Posted by JC1
[/quote] Have you ever flushed the reservoir and sucked the fluid out of the lines? I would try that first.
Good Point...If that doesn't help I would try Redline Fluid (As Mentioned) or Amsoil Fluid.
 
Messages
9,410
Location
Canuck living in California
I recently flushed the P/S fluid in my dodge minivan and there was a lot of metal break in material in the fluid. Had I known that, I would've flushed it much sooner. Looks like mopar P/S pumps break in quite aggressively. All these particles and no filtration, means the pump will start getting weak.
 
Last edited:
Messages
10,002
Location
Waco, TX
Originally Posted by DoubleWasp
Anyway, I'm looking for something that maybe would help the new pumps last longer. Something with greater fortification maybe? Probably going to do a new PS cooler with fan for the low speed work too, and a filter.
I have always used Mobil 1 0W-20 with a home-made "Magnefine" cartridge type filter
 
Messages
2,995
Location
Cedarbrae, Ontario
Originally Posted by KrisZ
I recently flushed the P/S fluid in my dodge minivan and there was a lot of metal break in material in the fluid. Had I known that, I would've flushed it much sooner. Looks like mopar P/S pumps break in quite aggressively. All these particles and no filtration, means the pump will start getting weak.
Im surprised it doesn't have electric steering like my 2015 Ram has.
 
Messages
25,045
Location
ON, Canada eh?
We used ATF+4 of varying varieties in our Chrysler vehicles and haven't had a failure. I've also used Amsoil PSF which is thinner in my Journey and it was fine as well. They are fine with whatever so long as it's changed regularly.
 
Messages
1,347
Location
Sask, Canada
I have been using Amsoil multi ATF in my Tb with great success over the years. Big improvement on cold start noise. Used it in my old 2011 1500 as well, which never had much for cold start noise. Currently using my stash of Co-op ATF SL in my 3500, which never had much issue with the ATF+4 in it.
 

DoubleWasp

Thread starter
Messages
6,773
Location
Fort Lauderdale, FL
System has been flushed twice. Real easy on this truck. Power steering cooler lines come under the radiator. Pull those two and EVERYTHING comes out. The new style pumps are supposed to be a much better design. Probably just switch the pumps and let it ride on ATF+4. Filter sounds like a good idea. Would be pretty easy to integrate a nice spin-on into the system. Still have a few Parker filter heads and 3-micron hydraulic filters.
 
Messages
5,371
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted by StevieC
We used ATF+4 of varying varieties in our Chrysler vehicles and haven't had a failure. I've also used Amsoil PSF which is thinner in my Journey and it was fine as well. They are fine with whatever so long as it's changed regularly.
Diesel trucks with heavy engines & Hydroboost on top of that overworks the fluid & pump. I have run Royal Purple Max E-Z & TES-295 approved ATF in my Chevy with a Type-I Saginaw pump with great success. Doesn't the 2003 & up CTD Rams run a Type-II Saginaw pump??
 

DoubleWasp

Thread starter
Messages
6,773
Location
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Yes. Type II. Am thinking something with a stronger anti-wear package may help. The pump is not the issue. Type II pumps have no inherent design flaws. It's all about the stress, as noted. Was thinking maybe something with more anti-wear additives. I see Redline looks seriously loaded. This could all be for naught. New pump design supposed to be solid.
 
Messages
25,045
Location
ON, Canada eh?
It's about the fluid being clean and debris free. Use a quality fluid and change it regularly and all will be well. Dumping the Power Steering Bottle or sucking out what you can and replacing (depending on the setup) every couple of oil changes is enough to keep the fluid in the system fresh.
 
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