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Discussion Starter #1
I figured this would belong here since steering is obviously critical to handling.

I finally got around to swapping the old fluid with new Mobil1 Synthetic ATF Mercon V this past weekend. My car has like 42000 miles and I have never had it changed. All I can say is that my steering feels very firm again and the looseness has gone away. The steering feels practically brand new again. :yesnod:


How-to:

The steering system contains a tad less than 1 quart of Merc/Merc V transmission fluid, according to the service manuals, so use approximately 1.5 to 2 quarts of new Merc V fluid (specified in the owners manual). This may be redundant, but its only costs you like $3-$6 more. The engine should not be running, but the key must be turned to its first or second position to unlock the steering wheel. Also, this should be done with the fluid to ambient temperature outside....meaning not yet driven for the day.

First put the front of the car on jackstands. Then remove the reservoir dipstick and filter screen, and put them some where clean. With a clean turkey baster, suck out a measured amount of fluid from the power steering fluid reservoir. Remember the amount of old fluid in the baster. Dispose the spent fluid into your oil catch pan. Now suck in new Merc V fluid, to the same amount which you remembered. Put the new fluid into the power steering reservoir. Now turn the steering wheel from lock to lock a couple times, it will take some effort since the system is off. Repeat this process for the 1.5 to 2 quarts of fluid. Its boring, and you'll look like you have nothing better to do, but its worth it. The old fluid coming out will lighten up in color towards the end of the process, but it still will not be 'cherry red'.

When you have swapped up to 2 qts of fluid, be sure to turn the steering wheel lock to lock 2 to 3 last times to ensure all the air is bled out of the system. I don't think air could be present anyway since the system is never actually 'dry', but I like to be safe. Put the filter screen and dipstick back in the reservoir. Carefully start the car (since its still on jackstands) and measure the level fluid in the reservoir....the dipstick is never really accurate, but as long as its somewhere in the middle its fine, indicating that its not over or under filled. Shut off the engine, then lower the car to the ground. Measure the dipstick one more time, since the car is level, and make sure the fluid level is in the middle. Thats it! Drive around and enjoy! :drive: Be sure to throw away the turkey baster.

Keep in mind that you should never completely turn and keep the steering wheel in the left or right most positions, as this puts unnecessary stress on the power steering pump, rapidly increasing the temperature of the fluid. If you do, don't do it for more than 5 seconds, according to all the manuals. Always straighten the steering wheel when you park.
 

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I figured this would belong here since steering is obviously critical to handling.

I finally got around to swapping the old fluid with new Mobil1 Synthetic ATF Mercon V this past weekend. My car has like 42000 miles and I have never had it changed. All I can say is that my steering feels very firm again and the looseness has gone away. The steering feels practically brand new again. :yesnod:
How-to:

The steering system contains a tad less than 1 quart of Merc/Merc V transmission fluid, according to the service manuals, so use approximately 1.5 to 2 quarts of new Merc V fluid (specified in the owners manual). This may be redundant, but its only costs you like $3-$6 more. The engine should not be running, but the key must be turned to its first or second position to unlock the steering wheel. Also, this should be done with the fluid to ambient temperature outside....meaning not yet driven for the day.

First put the front of the car on jackstands. Then remove the reservoir dipstick and filter screen, and put them some where clean. With a clean turkey baster, suck out a measured amount of fluid from the power steering fluid reservoir. Remember the amount of old fluid in the baster. Dispose the spent fluid into your oil catch pan. Now suck in new Merc V fluid, to the same amount which you remembered. Put the new fluid into the power steering reservoir. Now turn the steering wheel from lock to lock a couple times, it will take some effort since the system is off. Repeat this process for the 1.5 to 2 quarts of fluid. Its boring, and you'll look like you have nothing better to do, but its worth it. The old fluid coming out will lighten up in color towards the end of the process, but it still will not be 'cherry red'.

When you have swapped up to 2 qts of fluid, be sure to turn the steering wheel lock to lock 2 to 3 last times to ensure all the air is bled out of the system. I don't think air could be present anyway since the system is never actually 'dry', but I like to be safe. Put the filter screen and dipstick back in the reservoir. Carefully start the car (since its still on jackstands) and measure the level fluid in the reservoir....the dipstick is never really accurate, but as long as its somewhere in the middle its fine, indicating that its not over or under filled. Shut off the engine, then lower the car to the ground. Measure the dipstick one more time, since the car is level, and make sure the fluid level is in the middle. Thats it! Drive around and enjoy! :drive: Be sure to throw away the turkey baster.

Keep in mind that you should never completely turn and keep the steering wheel in the left or right most positions, as this puts unnecessary stress on the power steering pump, rapidly increasing the temperature of the fluid. If you do, don't do it for more than 5 seconds, according to all the manuals. Always straighten the steering wheel when you park.
[/b]


How long did the entire process take you? Did you take any picture while you were doing it?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I didn't take any pics. I'd say about a half hour....for every fluid swap, I turned the wheel to make sure it mixed together. I probably could have removed and replaced 2-3 baster-columns of fluid for each wheel turning, but I didn't think of it at the time. Don't let the reservoir get empty. The other key is not to get side tracked and forget whether you just removed or replaced fluid. Make sure you have some rags to wipe your hands with for each wheel turning, and also at the very end to clean off the steering wheel.
 

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Great advice/write up. Comes at the time I have a couple extra quarts of Mobil1 Syn ATX fluid and was thinking of what I could use it for.

Thanks!
 

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I got mine flushed and changed a little while ago... I agree with immediate improvement. At the rate i'm going this 6 will last forever :D
 

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Best fluid replacement....ever. Well ok, maybe not quite as good as redline for the MTX, but damn it makes a world of difference.
 

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I just did this! Boy, my old fluid was brown!

Anyway, I only use up about half a quart and I didn't rock the steering back and forth. I figure that by next week, the left over liquid is already mixed with the new and I can do the procedure again.

Besides, I have 2 M6 and only have 1 quart of ATX fluid in the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm glad a lot of people are making good use of this write-up. Another small tip. Torque your wheels to spec. I, admittingly, have not in the past torqued my wheels to spec. I would basically tighten them down by hand with my ratchet until I get a bit of a creak. Although its sufficient to keep the wheels safely attached, its not good since it significantly dimishes the precise steering feedback that the steering system is capable of.

I did not notice this until approximately 2 weeks ago when I took my car in for inspection/emissions (which passed with cp-e mafci installed) and also requested a tire rotation. The car was returned with the tires rotated, and the wheels cranked down. I immediately noticed that the car had a feeling very close to new again. The steering wheel stays straight again, when going straight. And the most minute steering input directs the car into that direction, the way it did when it was new. I even noticed that my brake pedal had a more firm and precise feel. It was like I got a mod for free.

I do have a craftsman torque wrench capable of 90 ft-lbs...I just never used it because it felt like I was putting on way too much torque to the lugnuts before the wrench would snap. Apparently, this is normal.
 

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I'm slowly in the process of doing this without a jack (because that's 400 miles away). Oh well, delayed gratification is better than none at all. (suck out the resivor, replace, drive, repeat)

Anyway, the PS cap doesn't have a dipstick in it, nor is there a screen in there. Am I missing something here?

03 6i, manual built in June I think.
 

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I never have to flush my PSF.

I siphon/refill the reservoir at every oil change. Invest in a mityvac or pelaextractor. They make maintenance so much easier!
 

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Thanks for the great writeup. I just replaced one quart of fluid and noticed a change right away. I've got a second quart that I'll probably change in a few weeks.

:D
 

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i dont know why... i could swap only a 1/2 of a quartz...

i did turn the wheels many times... and only little came out.

I pumped out 1/2 quartz, and put back the same amount.

Can i redo the same process over and over like the ATF Drain/refill until i have swapped out most of the fluid?
 

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Im gonna do it this once I have the time and a turkey baster.

BTW Any mercron V ATf fluid is ok? ex) mixing fluids? I have a quart from when I installed my tranny cooler 2 years ago... it should still be ok?
 

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I did the swap w/ Mobile 1 Mercon V this weekend..1st time the factory PS fluid had ever been changed. It made a noticible improvement in decreasing turning effort. The old fluid was mud grey. Glad I did it.

BTW...I over filled it at one point during the swap out process and even w/ the cap on, the excess fluid overflowed from the cap down the radiator and onto my garage floor, which sucked to wipe up, so be careful not to over fill.
 
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