Bleeding Your Power Steering System

Whenever the power steering system has been modified or repaired, or if the fluid was allowed to get too low, or if your pump is making wierd noises, you will need to bleed the system to purge it of any air pockets in the hydraulic circuit. After doing hundreds of power steering installations over the years here at West Coast Broncos, here is what we have found is the best procedure for bleeding the system:

  1. Make sure the pitman arm or drag link are disconnected. Simply jacking the tires off the ground is not good enough. Properly bleeding the box involves turning the steering box completely from stop to stop, and if the drag link is still connected, external steering stops or tire clearance limitations will prevent the box from bottoming out against its own internal limits.

  2. Fill the power steering pump or reservoir to the indicated full line or slightly above.

  3. (OPTIONAL) Attach a short hose or tube to the fill neck on the pump or reservoir and tighten with a hose clamp. This will prevent any overflow from splashing out into your engine bay. If you don't have a suitable piece of hose, keep some shop rags handy.

  4. Disable the engine from firing up by removing the coil wire or other means, then turn the engine over briefly for 10 seconds or so. This should circulate fluid down into the gearbox, pump and fluid cooler. We disabled the engine because it is very important not to run the pump dry. Check the fluid level again and re-fill to the fill line. Re-connect the coil wire.

  5. Start the engine and keep an eye on the fluid level as it starts up (have a friend start the engine). Add fluid as necessary or immediately kill the engine if needed in order to keep the pump from running dry. Keep en eye on the fluid level during the remainder of the bleeding process and add fluid when necessary.

  6. Turn the steering wheel from stop to stop at medium speed. Hold the wheel for a second or two at each stop before turning back the other direction. Do this 10-20 times per side.

  7. Turn the engine off and watch the fluid level. If there are bubbles rising in the fluid at shut-down there is still air in the system, repeat the previous step.

  8. When bleeding is complete, re-start the engine and closely check all of your plumbing connections for leaks.

57454 Aviation Dr. Yucca Valley, CA 92284
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Email: wcb4x4@gmail.com