Power Steering Fluid Flush

Accord 03-08

  1. jayok
    Difficulty Level:
    Last week I worked on a diesel Accord in that suffered a Power Steering Pump pressure valve failure and it was replaced by a mechanic. However, the owner contacted me and said he was still getting an occassional "grinding" sound when turning the wheel, so he took it to me for a check. Upon inspection, it appears that although the pump was changed the fluid wasn't flushed and probably still full if debris/junk, etc. So I offered to flush it for him and I said I'd do a DIY.

    Now, there is no specific interval for the power steering fluid in your Accord, it simply says change as required. Now I have done a few of these flushes and some fluids can be spotless and some can be rather filthy, the colour of the fluid helps as fresh Power Steering Fluid (PSF) is clear whereas overtime it blackens. However, I've filtered blackened fluid to determine how bad things were and found it clean, so I'm not sure what the colour truely means.

    Either way, I normally just flush the system as it's not a big job, just somewhat messy.

    Ok, to get going you will need the following:
    • 1 x Standard Pliers
    • 1 x Length of hose
    • 1 x syringe with hose attached.
    • 1 x cork/ear plug/bung
    • 1 x funnel (small and large)
    • 1 x large collection container (I typically use a 2 litre milk carton)
    • 2 x Litres of Genuine Honda Power Steering fluid
    Now the capacity of the PS system is 1.1 litres and a flush should 0.9 litres, however Honda supply 1 litre bottles. Everytime I've done this I've always lost some fluid into a rag and 100ml is just too tight for a flush, therefore I recommend buying two bottles. ALSO, get some shop-towels,rag, papers, whatever as this can be a messy job.
    1. Ensure the steering wheel is roughly centred (you'll see why later)
    2. Locate the PS reservoir under the bonnet of the car. It's to the left of the engine bay when you are facing the front of the car.
    3. Using your syrine with hose, extract all of the fluid from the PS reservoir and dispose of this safely.

    4. With the reservoir empty, disconnect the return pipe (top) and outlet pipe (bottom) using your pliers on the clamps. To do this squeeze the clamp spring will tugging at the pipe. No warning, PSF will leak from the system so have shop towels to the ready. Turn the pipes up to minimise dribbles.
    5. With both pipes disconnected remove the PSF reservoir. This is done by pressing the clip at the rear of the holder away from the bottle and pulling it up. Again there may be dribbles so keep towels to the ready

    6. So check the reservoir, in this case there was significant debris at the bottom of the bottle. I've tried to capture on the camera, but it looked way worse in real life that in the photo. This would have accounted for the grinding and blockages in the pump.

    7. Put the cap back on the bottle and pour some PSF into the reservoir and get ready to shake the bottle:

    8. Shake it keep the inlet/outlet pipes up

    9. Empty the contents of the bottle safely and repeat if necessary. The fluid should be clean and clear:

    10. Check the reservoir it should be spotless.

    11. Block the return inlet of the reservoir (top one) with a bung or similar, I've circled mine in red. I used an ear plug that I had spare from my motorbike (yes I find bikes noisy :Blushing:). Install the outlet pipe that feeds the PSP(bottom one) and clamp it.

    12. Fill the reservoir with fresh PSF using a funnel.
    13. Connect your length of hose to the return pipe that is not connected to the reservoir. The hose needs to fit OVER the rubber return pipe or a tight fit into the centre. The return pipe isn't under pressure so there's no need to clamp.

    14. Feed the (yellow) hose from the return pipe to a collection container


      Now for the actual change, you'll need two people, if done right the fluid will be swapped in 30/40 seconds!
    15. Sit a helper into the car and tell when you say "GO!" to: Start the engine and do a full lock to the left and then a full lock to the right, then return the steering wheel to the centre position. After which immediately turn the car off.
    16. Place a funnel into the PSF reservoir and ensure that it's topped off with fluid.
    17. Say "GO!" and keep pouring fluid into the reservoir as your helper turns the steering wheel to flush the rack. Keep pouring until the helper turns off the engine. Tada! Fluid flushed.

      Now some items of note:
      • A. To flush the whole lot takes about 30-40 seconds. That's it,
      • B. You will fly through the PSF in that time and you'll be left with about 1 litre in the collection container.
      • C. You may hear the PSP make a grinding noise for 1-2 seconds that means it's running dry and you need to pour faster! The idea here is that you are filling the reservoir as quick as it is being emptied.
      • D. You won't be perfect in your timing of the fill running the PSP dry for 1-2 seconds won't make that much of a difference.
    18. Disconnect your collect hose from the return hose
    19. Remove the return pipe bung and connect the return hose.
    20. Fill the reservoir to the max level.
    21. Start the car leaving the wheel centred
    22. Ensure the level of the PSF is at the max
    23. Do a full lock to lock (left to right, right to left) and ensure the fluid remains at the max. If it drops, there's air in the system. Keep topping up the fluid to max until it no longer drops. That means all air is out of the system.
    24. Clean-up and put the reservoir cap back on.
    25. Dispose of the PSF safely.
    All done, it take about 20-30 minutes to setup and as I said I end up using more that the 0.9 litres recommended for the flush. But the PSP doesn't run dry.
    brian62c and V tec power like this.

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  1. brian62c
    Excellent explanations and photos. Pretty similar to our CR-V by the look of things.
  2. exec
    great guide