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Power Steering Fluid Smoking - Normal?

Mocktwo

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When I took the power steering reservoir cap off today to check my fluid level after a fun drive, I noticed it was smoking. Is this normal?
I have googled a bunch and searched, but I can't find anything relevant. Only that is has a flash point of 300-500 degrees F.

Background ... This is a 72 Challenger with e 440 Magnum (so there is some heat under the hood). The car sat all winter and after the first runs of the season I developed a steering box leak at the input shaft, enough to drain the reservoir. Based on this forum, I tried Blue Devil Power Steering Stop Leak which seems to have worked (maybe a few drips, but manageable). I used O'Reilly's Power Steering fluid.

I have not noticed this before ... only because I'm watching the level to check on the leaking. (I have a short video, but can't post an MP4)
Anybody know if this is normal?
Thanks.
 

Challenger RTA

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As moparleo said it's a band aid.sometimes only to get you home.I had a truck where the transmission fluid caught fire. Luckily I was ready four it,fire extinguisher a live in the land of ice and snow. there was plenty around that day. IT will burn like gasoline. Damaged a wiring harness. Take the belt off and drive it.Flex those pecks.
 

Rapidfire

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Mine was doing that same thing. I just pulled it and bought a rebuild Kit. Took about an hour and had it installed and works great, no leaks no problems and still have my orginal pump on the engine. One way or another get it fixed like @moparleo said.
 

Mocktwo

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Smoke? - so potentially over-heating and reaching flash point of the PS fluid. So I researched that which ends up being 300-500 degrees F. I went for a short drive and checked ... still smoke, but temperature of the fluid was only 170-180 degrees F. I went for a longer, harder drive, same thing.

Pump spins freely with the belt off. Input shaft for the steering box is low movement, so even though that was where the leak was, it shouldn't cause any heat issues. Everything points to fluid.

I flushed the PS fluid (no idea when it was done last as I only added O'Reilly's PS fluid). I used a whole quart of Lucas PS ... into the pump, through the steering box and out. After that quart the fluid was starting to look better. Then I filled the pump reservoir with Lucas PS fluid. Ran, double checked and topped off again.

Now the test ... first a light drive. PS fluid temp was 162 degrees F. No Smoke. Then a longer, harder drive. PS fluid temp was 176 degrees F - No smoke and still no leak.

Probable causes (in my order):
  1. old PS fluid had some water content (maybe from storage, I never checked PS after a drive so maybe it always smoked)
  2. old PS fluid was bad
  3. O'Reilly's PS fluid was bad
  4. Blue Devil additive was bad (unlikely cause since their support confirmed running temp was ok)
Hope this helps.
 
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Rapidfire

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I wanted to be sure before replying, so this took a little time as I had to figure this out myself, with no help from a forum that I thought was supposed to 'help' the E-Body community. Maybe if someone searches on this, my post might actually help them.

Smoke? - so potentially over-heating and reaching flash point of the PS fluid. So I researched that which ends up being 300-500 degrees F. I went for a short drive and checked ... still smoke, but temperature of the fluid was only 170-180 degrees F. I went for a longer, harder drive, same thing.

Pump spins freely with the belt off. Input shaft for the steering box hardly moves, so even though that was where the leak was, it shouldn't cause any heat issues. Everything points to fluid.

I flushed the PS fluid (no idea when it was done last as I only added O'Reilly's PS fluid). I used a whole quart of Lucas PS ... into the pump, through the steering box and out. After that quart the fluid was starting to look better. Then I filled the pump reservoir with Lucas PS fluid. Ran, double checked and topped off again.

Now the test ... first a light drive. PS fluid temp was 162 degrees F. NO SMOKE. Then a longer, harder drive. PS fluid temp was 176 degrees F - NO SMOKE. Hmmm ... and still no leaks.

Probable causes (in my order):
  1. old PS fluid had some water content (maybe from storage, I never checked PS after a drive so maybe it always smoked)
  2. old PS fluid was bad
  3. O'Reilly's PS fluid was bad
  4. Blue Devil additive was bad (unlikely cause since their support confirmed running temp was ok)
So easy to jump to the 'rebuilt it' conclusion (and lazy).

Hey, I'm also having some minor oil leaks from my valve covers ... I guess I should pull the engine and rebuilt it.
I'm glad you got your power steering leak "fixed". It's usually only temporary at best when a can of stop leak is used. If your seal/seals are bad then it's best to replace them. Fixing it right will pay off in the long run. If your engine needs a rebuild then you rebuild it not just dump in a can of engine restorer! A quick fix isn't always good or long lasting. JMO
 

Mocktwo

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I'm glad you got your power steering leak "fixed". It's usually only temporary at best when a can of stop leak is used. If your seal/seals are bad then it's best to replace them. Fixing it right will pay off in the long run. If your engine needs a rebuild then you rebuild it not just dump in a can of engine restorer! A quick fix isn't always good or long lasting. JMO
leak was not the question to this forum ... it was the smoke.
and if the valve covers are leaking, I would merely change the vale cover gaskets ... not rebuild the engine.
sigh ...
 

heminut

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I wanted to be sure before replying, so this took a little time as I had to figure this out myself, with no help from a forum that I thought was supposed to 'help' the E-Body community. Maybe if someone searches on this, my post might actually help them.
leak was not the question to this forum ... it was the smoke.
and if the valve covers are leaking, I would merely change the vale cover gaskets ... not rebuild the engine.
sigh ...
Lighten up dude! You come on here expecting someone else to solve your problem for you and then make snide remarks when it doesn't happen! Yeah, we are all here to help each other but sometimes a problem comes along that is very uncommon and no one else has run across it before and apparently yours was one of those cases! I've been working on my own cars for over 50 years and even worked at a dealership for 5 years, and I have NEVER seen smoking power steering fluid!
 

Mocktwo

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ok, sure I need to lighten up ... but hey, I'd give you more credit for posting "I've never seen that before" than a generic answer. Also, I don't 'expect' this forum to solve my problem, so I should have concluded on the original responses that no one (reading the post) had seen this problem ...
 

Challenger RTA

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My 2¢. Power steering fluid burning,don't know? 1¢ maybe a contaminant burning off in fluid,water or other? other 1¢. pulley turns freely when belt is off. belt on binds bearing because its bad.belt burning?
 

Mocktwo

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Lighten up dude! You come on here expecting someone else to solve your problem for you and then make snide remarks when it doesn't happen! Yeah, we are all here to help each other but sometimes a problem comes along that is very uncommon and no one else has run across it before and apparently yours was one of those cases! I've been working on my own cars for over 50 years and even worked at a dealership for 5 years, and I have NEVER seen smoking power steering fluid!
Apologies ... I've edited my post to be more constructive.
 

BergmanAutoCraft

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When I took the power steering reservoir cap off today to check my fluid level after a fun drive, I noticed it was smoking. Is this normal?
I have googled a bunch and searched, but I can't find anything relevant. Only that is has a flash point of 300-500 degrees F.

Background ... This is a 72 Challenger with e 440 Magnum (so there is some heat under the hood). The car sat all winter and after the first runs of the season I developed a steering box leak at the input shaft, enough to drain the reservoir. Based on this forum, I tried Blue Devil Power Steering Stop Leak which seems to have worked (maybe a few drips, but manageable). I used O'Reilly's Power Steering fluid.

I have not noticed this before ... only because I'm watching the level to check on the leaking. (I have a short video, but can't post an MP4)
Anybody know if this is normal?
Thanks.
It should not be smoking. Temp should be under 200F
 
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