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I bought a used 2012 a week or so ago from Carmax and when I inspected it prior to purchase I confirmed that all the fluids were at the correct levels and appeared satisfactory. I noticed this morning that my power steering fluid reservoir was getting towards "cold", and since I was getting ready to go to Autozone anyway for some other stuff, figured I'd pick some up. Looked up the requirement and notice that Toyota calls for ATF in the PS system. The fluid in my reservoir is a very light amber color, which I am guessing is *not* ATF. It does not appear to be contaminated/burned ATF, since the color is VERY mild amber with no evidence of particulates, although I guess it *COULD* be slightly older ATF.

How do you guys think I should proceed? I imagine if I flushed it VERY thoroughly with DEXIII ATF, I would be covered? If there IS PSF currently in the system, do I need to COMPLETELY DRAIN before refilling with ATF (and then bleed it?) i.e. eliminate ALL traces of PSF before introducing ATF? Or will a thorough flush with ATF work?
 

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I bought a used 2012 a week or so ago from Carmax and when I inspected it prior to purchase I confirmed that all the fluids were at the correct levels and appeared satisfactory. I noticed this morning that my power steering fluid reservoir was getting towards "cold", and since I was getting ready to go to Autozone anyway for some other stuff, figured I'd pick some up. Looked up the requirement and notice that Toyota calls for ATF in the PS system. The fluid in my reservoir is a very light amber color, which I am guessing is *not* ATF. It does not appear to be contaminated/burned ATF, since the color is VERY mild amber with no evidence of particulates, although I guess it *COULD* be slightly older ATF.

How do you guys think I should proceed? I imagine if I flushed it VERY thoroughly with DEXIII ATF, I would be covered? If there IS PSF currently in the system, do I need to COMPLETELY DRAIN before refilling with ATF (and then bleed it?) i.e. eliminate ALL traces of PSF before introducing ATF? Or will a thorough flush with ATF work?
You can flush with DEXRON II or III but don't confuse ATF with DEXRON. ATF is used in Chrysler/Jeep vehicles now days. I don't even think you can find DEX II anymore but it is within Toyota spec which is II or III only.
 

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Sorry, I didn't mean to mis-use that term. What color is "good" DEX III fluid? If the forum gurus suspect that my current fluid is the right kind and satisfactory than I would still like to top-up a little bit (level is literally RIGHT on the line for cold low when cold).
 

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I believe the Toyota power steering fluid is just ATF without the red coloring. I have read many stories of people just using the regular ATF as their power steering fluid when they do a flush rather than buying the specific Toyota branded clear power steering fluid.

I know on my daughter's 99 4Runner, I flushed out the old Toyota power steering fluid and replaced with Valvoline Maxlife ATF. Works just fine.

My 2010 FJ still has the Toyota Power Steering Fluid that is yellow/brown colored.
 

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Sorry, I didn't mean to mis-use that term. What color is "good" DEX III fluid? If the forum gurus suspect that my current fluid is the right kind and satisfactory than I would still like to top-up a little bit (level is literally RIGHT on the line for cold low when cold).
The factory stuff is a little brownish in color. If it's fairly transparent, it is probably ok for now.
 

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x2. Likely just OEM.

Flush I super easy. Undo the pump return line into a catch pan, have someone rotate wheel back and forth as you keep it topped off (with truck OFF). It will pump out all the old and introduce the new.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sweet. Thanks all. I looked up Toyota OEM Dexron III fluid and the only thing I found I believe is red in color *BUT* I called my local dealership and they said they use a BG product when they service power steering and that it *IS* very light amber so I should be good. I think I will pick up a quart from them that I can use to top-off until I need to flush it.

Thanks again.
 

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x2. Likely just OEM.

Flush I super easy. Undo the pump return line into a catch pan, have someone rotate wheel back and forth as you keep it topped off. It will pump out all the old and introduce the new.
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A lot of mechanics will fill the power steering fluid with brake fluid... I flushed mine a couple of years ago and the replacement ATF ( i have a 09 ) was red.
 

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The original factory-fill power steering fluid used by Toyota (at least in all Japan-made vehicles over the last 10 years or so) is a very pale yellow when new. It gradually darkens as it picks up wear material, mostly from the pump vanes.

As for adding brake fluid to a power steering system, only a grossly incompetent amateur hacker would try that, the same moron who would fill a differential with salad dressing.
 

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Its a good measure to add a filter to the system. Most people dont realize the ps system has none. What destroys the seals in the rack is recirculating crud. I add a Magnefine filter to all my vehicle the day I buy them.
 

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Just checked the tech manual Fluid:ATF "DEXRON" II or III ( for my 2009 )
 

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In general, its a good practice to replace all fluids when you buy a used vehicle. That way you know when it was replaced and what quality fluid was used. It also gives you a chance to look around below and find other items that will need attention soon like torn ball joint and cv boots, time to get dirty.
 

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Just checked the tech manual Fluid:ATF "DEXRON" II or III ( for my 2009 )
And to reinforce what Istambull and I mentioned above the Valvoline Maxlife ATF meets the Dexron II and III standard. $18/gal at WalMart. Also meets the Toyota trans fluid WS standard.
 

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Its a good measure to add a filter to the system. Most people dont realize the ps system has none. What destroys the seals in the rack is recirculating crud. I add a Magnefine filter to all my vehicle the day I buy them.

How do you install this ? Cut the line, put the filter in between , reconnect lines ?
 
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How do you install this ? Cut the line, put the filter in between , reconnect lines ?
Inline on the return side(arrow facing pump or reservoir). I've seen this work to quiet down a noisy old pump as well.
 

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With these filter you install on the return line. Its pressurized. With the arrow pointing towards the resevior (fluid flow). I removed the section of hose and cut it on the bench. Make sure to use screw hose clamps on all connections before the filter so it does not pop off the lines.
 
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Its a good measure to add a filter to the system. Most people dont realize the ps system has none. What destroys the seals in the rack is recirculating crud. I add a Magnefine filter to all my vehicle the day I buy them.
Was it easy to refasten the home clamp on the IN side of the filter? I can picture just having the hose connected to the IN side of the filter and being able to move the filter into a horizontal position so, you can access the clamp easier to get it fastened? Or was it kinda a PIA to get the clamp fastened to the IN side of the filter?
 

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With these filter you install on the return line. Its pressurized. With the arrow pointing towards the resevior (fluid flow). I removed the section of hose and cut it on the bench. Make sure to use screw hose clamps on all connections before the filter so it does not pop off the lines.
I see now "I removed the section of hose and cut it on the bench". I'll look into removing the whole section of return hose myself. I'll drop the front skid today and take a look at how easy it is to remove/access.
 
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