PS Fluid is Orange

Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
471
Location
Alabama, USA
97 Toyota Avalon 182K--wobbly steering. Checked the PS fluid 3 days ago-it was orange. Extracted fluid and replaced with Dex VI and drove. Did this 3 times. Dex VI is red. Checked PS fluid again today--it was orange. Mechanic says the rack needs replacing--fair enough, it was replaced 96,000 miles ago (along with the PS pump), but why would this change the color of the PS fluid? No evidence of any leaks and no noise from the PS pump. PS fluid was replaced 14 months ago... I suppose I should get the pump changed along with the rack?? \:\(
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2005
Messages
36,183
Location
NY
Is it orange as in corrosion? I've seen PS fluid come out like a milk shake frost, and had lost all of the red ATF fluid color. I've seen fluid which looked a funky orange rust like color. There was water dripping onto the PS pump where the fill cap was, and every time it rained or the car got washed a little water must have entered the system, that's all I could figure. When we took trades in the used car dept, I saw some real gems.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
8,756
Location
RI
wobbly steering??? what does that mean? Flush the fluid, and make sure the belt isn't slipping.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
Messages
11,820
Location
Illinois
When you said orange, the first thing I thought of was rust. Water is getting into the hydraulics. Don't know if that's true or not. Can you get the fluid analyzed to see what's in the orange substance. That might tell you where you need to look next.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2005
Messages
36,183
Location
NY
That was my thought, water entry. I would flush out the system and see if and how water is entering. An analysis should detect the presence of water. What is puzzling me is water usually appears like a frosty milky substance that looks whipped like some kind of foamy cream. But the rust color could also indicate water. My bet is entry through the fill cap, during rain, or washing the car. It could be as simple as the cap wasn't put on correctly depending on the car and the design of the cap. As far as the wobbling, check out the front end too, just to be safe.
 

bcossa2001

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
471
Location
Alabama, USA
The fluid looks like creamy orange juice. Interesting theories about water because as a matter of fact it has been raining for about the last 2 weeks, and it rained yesterday and I checked the fluid last night. Hard to believe it is something in the cap design because I have had the car so long and have never had this problem. I'll do a full flush and see what happens. Thanks to everyone....
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
1,714
Location
CA.
My dad had an old Ford Aerostar, and there was this funnel below the fresh air intake under the windshield, the area where the wiper arms parked. Anyway this funnel collected water and dropped it into the street. The side of the funnel where the screw held it in place broke, and the funnel had shifted. One day while doing a routine check of the PS fluid dad noticed it had the milky looking junk in it. It turns out that funnel was draining onto the cap of the PS pump. AD
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2005
Messages
5,034
Location
Kansas
 Originally Posted By: ADFD1
My dad had an old Ford Aerostar, and there was this funnel below the fresh air intake under the windshield, the area where the wiper arms parked. Anyway this funnel collected water and dropped it into the street. The side of the funnel where the screw held it in place broke, and the funnel had shifted. One day while doing a routine check of the PS fluid dad noticed it had the milky looking junk in it. It turns out that funnel was draining onto the cap of the PS pump. AD
Some of those Aerostars had that problem, especially the 4.0 Aeros. The cheapest fix is to cut the top off of a beer can and slip it over the power steering fill. This keeps the water out of the reservoir.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2005
Messages
36,183
Location
NY
 Originally Posted By: Kruse
 Originally Posted By: ADFD1
My dad had an old Ford Aerostar, and there was this funnel below the fresh air intake under the windshield, the area where the wiper arms parked. Anyway this funnel collected water and dropped it into the street. The side of the funnel where the screw held it in place broke, and the funnel had shifted. One day while doing a routine check of the PS fluid dad noticed it had the milky looking junk in it. It turns out that funnel was draining onto the cap of the PS pump. AD
Some of those Aerostars had that problem, especially the 4.0 Aeros. The cheapest fix is to cut the top off of a beer can and slip it over the power steering fill. This keeps the water out of the reservoir.
I did something similar to mine, and re-routed that funnel on my 3.0 Aerostar. It was draining water very close to the PS pump. The funnel had shifted as well.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
8,859
Location
Texas
 Originally Posted By: bcossa2001
The fluid looks like creamy orange juice. Interesting theories about water because as a matter of fact it has been raining for about the last 2 weeks, and it rained yesterday and I checked the fluid last night. Hard to believe it is something in the cap design because I have had the car so long and have never had this problem. I'll do a full flush and see what happens. Thanks to everyone....
If there's an internal air leak in the rack or pump so that the fluid is getting "foamed" under high pressure, that can also make it look orange because of the entrained air. And it can take a LONG time for air that finely frothed into the fluid to separate out, too. Given that you have "wobbly" steering (whatever that means) I'd suspect more than just contaminated fluid.
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2006
Messages
19,479
Location
Chicago Area
I'd use the bottom of the beer can - the one without the hole. Maybe the rubber bellows on the rack are leaking. tie rods or steering stub.
 

bcossa2001

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
471
Location
Alabama, USA
Both of the rubber bellows are torn completely away from the inner boot clamp, but I can't find a leak. It looks like the boots are deteriorated, not split. With my mechanic's diagnosis of the rack needing replacement it probably is a combination of several things... I'm curious--how does a rack wear out?
 

bcossa2001

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
471
Location
Alabama, USA
I had the rack replaced yesterday. Asked the mechanic about the orange PS fluid--he said it is a dye they put in that shows up under UV light and helps them pinpoint leaks.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
1,714
Location
CA.
All you had to do was tell us they put dye in it to find a leak. Glad it worked out for you.
 
Top