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Thread: Power steering reservoir clean flush

  1. #1
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    Power steering reservoir clean flush

    This Van thread inspired me to spruce up the power steering system on my Previa...

    https://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/...teering+screen


    This, plus the fact I could no longer see the fluid in the reservoir because the whole thing was so black...

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    Read the above thread for some basics in conjunction with these tips for the Previa, below.

    Here's one way of draining the fluid from the reservoir with basically no mess.

    FIRST!! Put a nice big towel under the reservoir. You do not want any drips or spillage going on the alternator drive belt which is directly below.

    Using a syringe or syphon through the filler cap hole, get all the fluid out of the upper part of the reservoir. There is a screen immediately below the level of the inlet hose (the one on the back of the reservoir, part way up) so you can get the fluid down to there at this step. I have this great syringe which I use for all sorts of stuff. Its volume is 2oz/60ml, it came from a Veterinarian's office (they go through them all the time) and is really handy.

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    Now, remove the reservoir bracket bolts so you can get at the reservoir better (I could not get the reservoir out of the bracket, so I just took off the whole thing).

    Remove the return/inflow hose - the smaller one on the back.

    Remove the clamp from the larger S shaped bottom/outlet hose, but leave the hose attached. Now, rotate the whole reservoir clockwise a few degrees so that you can tip it over sideways, while holding a small jar over the inlet port, and drain the fluid which remained below the screen in the lower part of the reservoir. You are trying to get the inlet port below the level of the top of the outlet hose so that all the fluid is removed from the tank completely. It drains pretty slowly, so watch the flow and only proceed to the next step once you're down to the final stages of dripping. In the picture below, the reservoir tips into the space behind the fuse box.

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    This is how much fluid comes out... The fuller jar has about 8oz in it and was the fluid from above the screen. The other is what came out from below the screen.

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    Now you can remove the reservoir from the outlet hose and get to cleaning the filthy thing. Remove the hose slowly and carefully and prepare for a mess, just in case you didn't get the fluid out completely. When I took mine off, the fluid level was about 1" below the top of the outlet hose. No spills

    The Previa reservoir does not seem to be disassemble-able, but peering through the filler cap hole I could see that the screen was about 3/4 gummed up. Shaking the reservoir with kerosene in it did absolutely nothing to dislodge this gunk.
    You need to get some small, soft 3/8" to 1/2" diameter bottle brushes on wire stems so you can bend them appropriately to scrub the screen and the reservoir sidewalls. I didn't know what to expect during this process and didn't have any on hand, so I thermoformed a toothbrush and that worked ok. The three iterations of toothbrush are below...

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    The reservoir cleaned up nicely...

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    Regarding flushing the system, it is a pretty standard process and there are youtube videos which really help, so I'll not get into it, other than to say you should jack up both front wheels to make turning the wheels easier, and it can be a one man job if each time you cycle the wheels to the lock position you refill the reservoir.
    Last edited by Jonny; 01-04-2019 at 11:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Power steering reservoir clean flush

    Nice post, thank you. I've found almost all of Previa's various reservoirs are convoluted and thus hard to clean. The 1993 Factory Service Manual describes the PS flush/bleed on page SR-23.

  3. #3
    Van Fan
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    Re: Power steering reservoir clean flush

    I was waiting for a while and a lot of driving to be sure I was reporting accurately here.

    Before I did the above procedure my Previa had the original power steering fluid from 1991 and with over 200K miles on it.

    Several years ago the van developed this rather attention-getting habit... after driving on the freeway for a while and I came to an off ramp where I would have to turn the steering wheel more than just a few degrees the power steering system would "lock up" - it felt like it would if it was hitting a rubber stop - a squishy feel but no more steering wheel turning. Hmm, corner coming up, car won't turn, I'd better do some serious braking so that at least I hit the barrier at something less than 60mph. Oh, nice, when the speed gets down to about 40mph, steering comes back! First time this happened it was quite exciting, but being a total cheapskate I never got it fixed - just learned that it may happen and adjusted my freeway exiting/high speed cornering to accommodate. Yes, I know. Extremely foolish.

    Anyway, after the flush and change it immediately got a ton better and soon went away completely. Maybe 27 year old black power steering fluid with 220,000 miles on it doesn't play well with the mechanism? Ya think?

  4. #4
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    Re: Power steering reservoir clean flush



    thank you so much! When I added power steering fluid to mine I noticed how difficult it was to tell where the levels were because of how black the container was.

    it definitely needs to be cleaned in my 92. I donít it has ever been changed and itís at 284k. Will wait till I get to my folks place this holiday so Incase something goes awry I could get their help. 400 mile trip.

    any more tips? Iím not very handy but I am learning on how to be basic maintenance. Van was given to me. I am the 4th owner. As far as I know nothing has been flushed or changed until I got my hands on it

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