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If you track your car it is highly recommended that you use a good synthetic fluid like the Redline full synthetic power steering fluid. If not, like mentioned above Mercon for ATF is fine. You will need two quarts, one to flush out the old one and one to fill up.
 

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When the dealer body shop was putting a new bumper cover on my car and replacing the power steering cooler that had got bent they used a regular power steering fluid in the car. When I picked it up it had essentially lost power steering assist and after talking with one of their techs in the service department he thought the bypass valve in the rack apparently got stuck. So yes, the proper fluid is important. A few flushes and some time later mine was back to normal. The synthetic Ford Mercon should work fine but if you're looking at other fluid I'd make sure they meet the same specifications. Quite a few people have used the Redline fluid already mentioned for quite some time without any issues, but I wouldn't just be dumping random fluids in the car.
 

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I recently purchased a SVTF that the previous owner used regular power steering fluid instead of the Mercon ATF. Looked like chocolate pudding when I swapped the fluid.
 

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Any suggestions on where to buy the redline stuff?
 

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Summit sells it. You can also do a google search. Other than that, it can never hurt to try a sponsor!
 

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Here's a few pictures and description of how I went about flushing the fluid in my car.

1.) Loosen the coolant overflow bottle attachment fittings. This is done so that you can gain access to the power steering return line.


^- ~10mm bolt to the side below the coolant lines and hood prop rod holder.


^- Clip on back side near strut tower. Use flat screwdriver to carefully pry plastic tab out while pulling up on bottle.


2.) Loosen the power steering fluid reservoir bottle from the bracket. Do this by lifting straight up on the bottle. It is retained by an interference fitting with the rubber grommets. Leave it sitting near stock location with cap on. The two hoses should keep it from moving around and with the lid on won't leak anywhere even if you tilt it onto its side.




3.) As shown in above picture with it already removed, the lower hose on the bottom of the reservoir is the return line (the larger hose that's near the bottom of the side of the bottle is the feed line to the pump). Remove the return line and place it into a container such as an empty gallon milk jug. Then place a cap over the fitting on the reservoir. I used a large 1/2" vacuum line cap (which is available at most auto part stores in the vacuum fitting section) then place a small hose clamp over it. You might be able to get away without using a clamp, but since even the largest vacuum cap I could find was still a little on the small side I went ahead and used one since it kept wanting to slip off. Better safe than sorry. After doing this place the reservoir back into the retaining bracket.


^- Closeup of the vacuum nipple/cap over the return fitting with the hose clamp in place.


4.) With the coolant overflow bottle loosened, move the return line and bottle to a stable location where it can't tip over. With the engine cold I placed it on the heat shield over the exhaust manifold between the cylinder head and the radiator support.







What you've done up to this point is move the fluid return line from the bottom of the reservoir into a capture bottle while leaving the feed line that provides fluid to the power steering pump in place. Remove the cap to the reservoir and fill it up close to the top.

The next step is to crank the car without it starting which will draw fluid into the power steering pump, through the system, and pump it out into the jug vice back into the reservoir like it normally would. You don't want the car to start or it will pump the system dry in short order. What I did was push and hold the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor. This tells the computer you flooded the car with fuel and it won't fire the injectors. (As a side note I also do this after doing an oil change to refill the empty oil filter and prime the system prior to firing it up the first time.) You could also remove the fuse for the ignition or fuel pump but this is an easy way that works great for cranking but keeps the engine from starting.

Crank for just a couple seconds and check the reservoir level to see how much fluid it pumped out. Depending on factors like battery charge, outside temp, etc., it will probably be around a couple seconds before you have to stop and refill. On my car I was doing this by myself and found I needed to fill it up after one or two seconds using a "one-thousand one, one-thousand two" count. If you have two people and one can watch the underhood area it would help speed up the process. After refilling the reservoir I'd let it sit for a moment so air bubbles in the fluid could purge out.

I had to put about five quarts of fluid through the system to flush all the dark nasty stuff out. Also while cranking the engine I found that if you turned the steering wheel one full turn left, stopped to refill, then on the next crank turn it fully to the right, stop to refill, then repeat a couple times helped to clean out the rack faster.


A couple last words of caution. The biggest thing to watch for is spilling fluid while taking the return line off and capping the reservoir. It sits right over the alternator and you don't want it spilling onto that and getting inside the alternator housing or all over the belt. You'll probably want to put a trash bag or something down to catch anything that leaks but be sure to remove it prior to cranking so that it doesn't get caught up in the belt. For me I pulled off the return line, immediately placed my thumb over the fitting so the reservoir wouldn't spill out while at the same time holding the return line hose up until I could get it into the jug. Once that was done I quickly capped the reservoir and then moved the jug and return line up to the front of the car where it couldn't tip over.

While first trying to move the steering wheel while cranking the engine over I ended up emptying the reservoir. You probably don't want that happening a lot as it can ingest air into the system. Although not a good idea, after filling up and repeating the flushing procedure a few more times it didn't seem to cause any issues.

My power steering reservoir was also pretty nasty on the inside so I decided to pull it off and clean it. Parts cleaner, degreasing agents/detergents, you name it and it wasn't working. I ended up using paper towels soaker in parts cleaner that I placed into the reservoir and then moved around with a long screwdriver. If you try that be careful of the screen at the bottom of the reservoir. The return line pushes fluid through it and you wouldn't want it getting damaged. I'm guessing it's to trap debris from getting into the power steering pump and may also help deaerate the fluid. If mine had been much dirtier I might have just ordered a new reservoir.


When finished, reattach the return line onto the reservoir then reseat the assembly into the bracket and then reattach the coolant overflow/purge bottle. Before removing the line at the start of these procedures you might want to make note how the line lays out going from the pump area to the reservoir.

There are other flushing tools on the market but this worked really well for me. Being careful and not having to stop to go get more fluid I probably could have done the whole thing in around twenty minutes start to finish.
 

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I don't have the owner's or service manual with me, but I thought I recalled the newer Mercon V being the recommended variant for the SVT power steering system. While some of the multi-formula, Mercon and Mercon V-compatible fluids might work fine I just picked up the correct Castrol-licensed Mercon V fluid at a local AutoZone when I last flushed mine.

Unlike an automatic transaxle there aren't any clutch packs or other friction items that require very specific friction characteristics so if you can't find anything else the Mobil fluid should be fine.
 

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Thanks; that's what I figured but just wanted to ask. Imo this thread should be an SVT reference sticky. A good writeup & good information.
 

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i think i know what the answer will be on this forum by now--but as someone who wants to take care of his svtf, but doesn't own jackstands or a parts washer or even a milk jug, would anyone trust the Jiffy Monkeys to do this? is it easy to screw up? would they use the right fluid? thx--
 

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They probably should be able to flush the system but it wouldn't surprise me if they just pumped out the reservoir and then refilled it (not a true, complete flush), and if you're lucky they might start and stop the engine and repeat that a couple times. Or they could take one of the lines off at the steering rack (much higher labor rates my guess) or use some other tool/pump system. Since I don't work at one and every service center/tech might do it different it would be best just to talk to a few places and see how they would go about flushing it. My biggest concern would be that they wouldn't use the correct fluid to refill it and instead use something like regular Ford power steering fluid or some other mystery fluid from a 55-gallon drum.

Even if you aren't mechanically inclined, using the steps I posted earlier would only require picking up a $10 socket set for the 10mm socket and flat screwdriver to get the coolant degas/overflow bottle loose, a pair of pliers to take off the factory hose clamps, a rubber vacuum line cap (sold at every auto parts store, many times under the Help or Dorman brand) and a small hose clamp just to be safe and ensure the cap doesn't come off and leak fluid while you're flushing the system.

After that all you would need is a bucket or a milk jug like I used and the new fluid. It can be done with the car on the ground and no jack and jack stands required. My guess is a quickie lube place might charge around $50-75 to flush the system and you might not be certain they're getting everything out and what they're putting back into the car. Doing it myself I spent about $25-30 on fluid but I did a true flush and not a drain-and-refill and was sure I got as much of the nasty stuff out as I could. I also knew what went back in.

If you get a quote and decide to have someone else do it for you I'd ask what just the labor would be if you brought your own fluid and how much they'd need to flush or drain/refill the system. Then pick up the correct Mercon V fluid or whatever you decide to use and let them do the labor.
 

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They probably should be able to flush the system but it wouldn't surprise me if they just pumped out the reservoir and then refilled it (not a true, complete flush), and if you're lucky they might start and stop the engine and repeat that a couple times. Or they could take one of the lines off at the steering rack (much higher labor rates my guess) or use some other tool/pump system. Since I don't work at one and every service center/tech might do it different it would be best just to talk to a few places and see how they would go about flushing it. My biggest concern would be that they wouldn't use the correct fluid to refill it and instead use something like regular Ford power steering fluid or some other mystery fluid from a 55-gallon drum.

Even if you aren't mechanically inclined, using the steps I posted earlier would only require picking up a $10 socket set for the 10mm socket and flat screwdriver to get the coolant degas/overflow bottle loose, a pair of pliers to take off the factory hose clamps, a rubber vacuum line cap (sold at every auto parts store, many times under the Help or Dorman brand) and a small hose clamp just to be safe and ensure the cap doesn't come off and leak fluid while you're flushing the system.

After that all you would need is a bucket or a milk jug like I used and the new fluid. It can be done with the car on the ground and no jack and jack stands required. My guess is a quickie lube place might charge around $50-75 to flush the system and you might not be certain they're getting everything out and what they're putting back into the car. Doing it myself I spent about $25-30 on fluid but I did a true flush and not a drain-and-refill and was sure I got as much of the nasty stuff out as I could. I also knew what went back in.

If you get a quote and decide to have someone else do it for you I'd ask what just the labor would be if you brought your own fluid and how much they'd need to flush or drain/refill the system. Then pick up the correct Mercon V fluid or whatever you decide to use and let them do the labor.

x2, bring them your own fluid to be safe, you can pretty much bet they wouldn't use/have the correct fluid.

To give you an idea of the price, Valvoline in Orlando here want's $74.99 to flush (they have a vacuum type system supposedly gets the gunk out) so you could probably take $20 bucks or so off that if you had your own fluid.
 

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I just used the method that blackbird described and it worked great. My fluid was chocolate and now it is nice and red. The steering is noticeably smoother and easier too. Thanks for the excellent how-to!
 
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