Steering & Suspension: Steering Systems: Steering system procedures
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Topic IntroductionHelp

Pressure testing a power steering system

Summary
Power steering systems can reach a working pressure of over 1,000 pounds per square inch or 6,700Kpa during operation. The objective of this procedure is to show you how to safely pressure test a power steering system. Always follow manufacturers or equipment manufacturers procedure when working on the system.

Part 1. Preparation and safety

Objective

Pressure testing a power steering system

Personal safety

Whenever you perform a task in the workshop you must use personal protective clothing and equipment that is appropriate for the task and which conforms to your local safety regulations and policies. Among other items, this may include:

If you are not certain what is appropriate or required, ask your supervisor.

Safety check

Points to note


Part 2: Step-by-step instruction

  1. Prepare the vehicle
    Safely raise the vehicle to make sure the front wheels are off the ground and locate the catch tray under the power steering system.
  2. Connect the pressure gauge
    Following the manufacturers instructions for the pressure gauge/analyzer you are using, disconnect the high-pressure hose from the power steering pump. Connect the inlet hose from the gauge to the high-pressure connection on the power steering pump, using the appropriate adapter. Be careful not to loose too much fluid. Connect the high-pressure hose to the outlet valve on the pressure gauge using the appropriate adapter. With the pressure gauge control valve open, start the engine and run it at idle until fluid circulates through the tester and hoses, and the air is purged from the fluid. Turn the engine off. Check the power steering fluid level, and add fluid if necessary.
  3. Perform a pressure test
    Start the engine again. Record the initial pressure and flow readings on the pressure gauge. Close and open the pressure gauge control valve, making sure the valve is not left closed for more than five seconds. Record the highest pressure indicated. Close and open the valve two more times, noting the high-pressure readings each time.
  4. Perform a flow test
    With the pressure tester control valve open, turn the steering wheel to the extreme left. Record the highest indicated pressure at lock. Turn the steering wheel to the extreme right and record the pressure again. Turn off the engine. Compare these readings to the specifications in the vehicle service manual and take your findings to your supervisor.
  5. Disconnect the gauge
    Disconnect the analyzer hose from the high-pressure connection point on the power steering pump and remove the adapter. Reconnect the vehicle’s power steering system high-pressure hose to the power steering pump outlet. Top up the power steering reservoir.
  6. Bleed the system
    Lower the vehicle. Start the engine, and turn the steering wheel from lock to lock to check the system is working correctly with the vehicle load on the tires. Dispose of the waste power steering fluid in an environmentally approved way.