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Old 04-12-2005, 03:23 PM   #1
Siper2
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Question Wife used PS fluid instead of ATF - how bad is this?

Hey guys. This past Saturday my wife and I were dealing with car issues (electrical problems with mine, and a flat on hers), and while were at it, I changed her oil, and she checked the other fluids.

She noticed that the power steering fluid was a bit low, so filled it with some she had in the garage. I was doing other things during this, so when she told me I got a little worried.... because I know you're supposed to use Dexron ATF instead.


So.... is this going to be an issue? Just checking.

=S2=
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Old 04-12-2005, 03:28 PM   #2
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PS fluid is atf fluid. So you'll be fine.

Only exception I can think of is that Honda uses their own specific fluid...but even then, I don't think it would be catastrophic.
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Old 04-12-2005, 03:36 PM   #3
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Hmm... well I figured Subaru just had some kind of funky setup. Otherwise, if PS fluid *is* ATF, why bother to write "use only ATF Dexron" on the cap?

Just seemed weird.
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Old 04-12-2005, 04:12 PM   #4
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PS fluid is not ATF. Some power steering systems do use ATF, some PS fluid, some require Honda fluid, some even require Type F ATF. I'd go ahead and flush it to be safe.
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Old 04-12-2005, 04:26 PM   #5
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Well what could go wrong? Can I check the PS fluid bottles to see what's in them before flushing?
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Old 04-12-2005, 07:26 PM   #6
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I don't know for sure anything would go wrong. But then, I wouldn't run ATF in my engine, or 5W30 in my trans (although some vehicles do call for 5w30 in their trans). Each fluid has its own viscosity and additives etc. The system was designed with that in mind. Just posting my .02, that is, that I would flush and fill with the proper fluid to avoid any possible problems. It's cheap and easy.
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Old 04-12-2005, 08:00 PM   #7
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The power steering pump and system is incredibly simple and the fluid used isn't really very critical, however, some power steering fluid will eat up your seals. That's why ATF is specified.
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Old 04-12-2005, 08:24 PM   #8
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our systems don't require the special honda stuff.....so as long as it's not the honda stuff.....your fine!

I've been running the valvoline power steering fluid in my legacy for years......it's fine
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Old 04-13-2005, 10:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orndog
But then, I wouldn't run ATF in my engine, or 5W30 in my trans (although some vehicles do call for 5w30 in their trans).
That's too bad. ATF is a great detergent.
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Old 04-13-2005, 10:07 AM   #10
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Gotta love free speech.


Well.... hmmn.... I've got my Impreza at the dealership, I can ask them what they think.
Just for another opinion.
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Old 04-13-2005, 11:07 AM   #11
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sure blame it on the wife
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:12 PM   #12
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I knew someone'd say that.
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Old 04-29-2005, 08:19 AM   #13
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bump for further thoughts.

Car seems to be driving fine with no adverse reaction, but since the opinion was split so far I thought I'd bump this...
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:39 AM   #14
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I don't know about PS fluid, but ATF usually has a TON of detergents and cleaners in it. I bet thats why they recommend it, so it will keep everything clean and smooth. OTOH, you probably don't want to put ATF in something that says PS fluid only, because the seals may not be able to take it...
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Old 04-29-2005, 02:12 PM   #15
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But on the contrary, putting PS fluid in a car that designates "ATF" just means that it might be a bit "dirty" after time...?
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Old 04-30-2005, 03:09 AM   #16
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Default PS fluid vs. ATF

PS fluid is similar in many respects to ATF, but has a little higher viscosity and lacks some of the additives that are not needed. Compare the PS fluid your wife put in compared to ATF and see if you think itís slightly thicker.

Common logic makes me think the PS pump will have to work harder to pump the slightly thicker PS fluid compared to the thinner AT, especially on cold mornings. Some argue all new PS fluid is now Mercon/Dexron II except in Honda/Acura applications.

I've always heard ATF in the PS system is ok, but PS fluid in the transmission will eat the seals. This is because PS fluid lacks some detergents/ingredients ATF has.

I'd replace it via turkey baster or flush because if your anal like most Subaru owners it will be on your mind until you do. You'll probably be ok either way, but just put in whatís on the cap, ATF.

Itíd be nice to find a list of ingredients for todayís ATF types and PS fluids.

-Charles-
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Old 04-30-2005, 05:23 AM   #17
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I know somewhere recently I read about a guy who grenaded a PS pump after filling with PS fluid vice ATF. Unfortunately, I don't remember if it was here or on a Mustang forum (my Mustang also specs ATF for the PS system).

I'd put the right stuff in the system, but that's just me.

Pat Olsen
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Old 04-30-2005, 09:27 AM   #18
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i've owned 3 gm vehicles(sucks for me right!) and used atf in both(ps,tranny) no prob's ever. but i've never had to replace in my suby yet. it won't hurt unless yours is specific, which i doubt, to anything other than atf.
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Old 04-30-2005, 10:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaverboy
That's too bad. ATF is a great detergent.
Werd, 1qt for 1000 miles works wonder for lifter noise on old mazdas and mitsubisi's

If she only put a little bit in, I wouldnt worry about it. I always like to use whats recomended for the car but I dont think you will have any problems.

Jay
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Old 04-30-2005, 06:13 PM   #20
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Well bugger I'm just so bloody confused I don't know what to do.




Great advice always come from so many angles.
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