Should'nt power steering fluid be CLEAR?

…and not RED! I’m thinking on one of my last two services(eccentric eliminator kit, or oil change) a tech put Mercon into the power steering pump of my '69. Symptoms; red fluid on my hydraulic lines, pump, assist cylinder and control valve assy., frame rails ect…plus the steering pump is growling. Is there red power steering fluid on the market,…or do I have a mess on my hands?

The tech probably should of used TYPE F transmission fluid, which is also red and NOT USED Mercon. So, to answer your question, you probably have a mess on your hands. John

What I figured. Thought about flushing the system with about a gallon of new fluid, but I’m afraid the automatic trans fluid has caused seal damage throughout. Spent some time earlier online researching a Borgeson setup, but once again a steering component that is “not compatible with a Z bar clutch system”. crap…had my finances set on a fuel injection system this summer.

Your car needs Type F automatic transmission fluid in the power steering system. Any other type of fluid causes severe damage and eventually pump failure.

Take a look at the dipstick in your PS pump. What does it say?

The various puddles of Type F ATF that line my garage floor and driveway are all red.

And so there you have it.

Thanks guys, anxiety lifted. Once I wiped away the silvery-white condensation from the dipstick there it was…USE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID. Now to discover what/where the leak is coming from. Back of the pump, around the fill and everything south is heavy wet with fluid. Made one heck of a smoke cloud taking the cloverleaf from the interstate this morning.

My guess would be the seal on the back of the reservoir, which has the pump inside it. From what I understand that is a main failure point for our PS systems. My issue is that the PO cross threaded a hose on the control valve, so, a nice somewhat slow but constant leak. A drop every second or two. Always. :slight_smile:

You know the trick, just wipe everything down completely and then you can tell where the leak is exactly. If you can get it to leak before you start the engine, that’s good, since the fan might just blow it all over the place with the engine running.

Good luck!!

Make sure it isn’t Mercon or Dexron fluid. Both of those are red and either will damage the pump.

So here’s the plan; Replace the power steering pump, since I’m hearing a metallic growling sound,… thinking internal damage. Looked over the pump pressure hose and see no rupture. Rag and detergent clean all components from the pump back. Now to purge the fluid from the system…put the front of the car on axle stands. Remove the return line from the new pump and cap its inlet at the pump. Start the motor and turn the steering wheel to move the fluid, with the return line plumbed into a catch can while adding clean type F. Not sure of the capacity of the steering system and how much to purge…3 quarts? A couple things are concerning; will capping the return at the pump while adding new fluid cause an issue. Why is there fluid around the fill on the pump? Actually everything seems fine except for the pump growl and fluid mess.

Dexron, Mercon or any other incorrect fluid foams up and overflows the reservoir if used in a Ford system. That’s why all the residue and apparent leakage you see.

The foamy fluid wrecks the pump.

Roger Rhodes, (one of the best guys in the country to rebuild Ford PS components) says NAPA brand is one of the few that is guaranteed to be the correct viscosity (it is thicker) of type F.

That’s what I use!! It’s definitely red. My driveway/garage looks like a crime scene.

The deed is done! Pump replaced and system purged…4 hrs. and 15 mins. Which included; Driving 35 miles to NAPA for Premium NAPA brand Type F fluid,…hey, if Don says it’s the best I’ll make the trip, pick-up new pump and pulley removal kit at O’Reilly, pull old pump and change over pulley, return core and pulley tool, install new pump, purge-purge-purge and 1/2 hr. test drive. All is well…no growl and no foamy fluid. Not sure what caused the problem…contamination or pump failure, but the fluid was clean/transparent when checked after the test drive…NO foamy condensate on the dip-stick. Fingers crossed! As for the method of purging the system, I made a revision after some thought. Running the motor to power purge the fluid out, was not going to be a good idea :cyclops: :biggrin2: …visions of my catch can being blown across the garage from the full power of the pump pressure, not to mention hours of cleaning ATF off of everything in its path! So, I manually turned the pump pulley, 20 turns for each man-handling of steering from lock to lock, while fluid was being feed from a filled tightly fitting funnel set into the pump fill tube. Purged ATF until it ran clean for several cycles…Total 4 quarts ran through.