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      10-01-2011, 02:03 PM   #1
VictorH
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Changing/flushing power steering fluid

I have 30,000 miles on my M3 and plan on keeping her a long time, so I thought I'd change the power steering fluid. The car has been in the track and has boiled the fluid a couple of times. This is my daily driver so I'm pretty meticulous about having all the correct parts and pieces around for any work so that I don't end up stranded with a car that won't run sitting in my garage.

ONE CAUTION: I had to go to the dealer 3 times to get the two crush washers for the hose fitting to the upper power steering pump line. It's the smaller of the two and requires a 19mm socket to loosen. Guess what? The upper crush washer and the lower one (the one that sits on the steering rack) are two different sizes. The lower one is the larger of the two and the one for the top of the banjo bolt is the smaller one. Of course what I ended up with were two lower washers.


So the plan of draining, filling and draining one more time is out the window. I can't risk removing the fitting two times since I don't have a replacement upper washer. I'm just hoping it doesn't leak when I put it back together. Hope I have good karma today. I'll post pictures tonight.

Really it's not too hard. Just need to remove the lower front cowl (the black one) and the aluminum lower pan/engine cover. First drain the fluid out of the reservoir then take a 19 mm socket on a really short extension. My shortest standard extension was too long so a 3/8" to 1/2" adapter with matching socket was just the right length. Loosen the 10 mm power steering fluid line bracket which is about 8" or so from the terminus at the rack which allows you to move the line away from the rack. Have your drain pan handy and loosen the 19 mm bolt on the upper power steering rack line. It will start leaking immediately and drain down the aluminum suspension mount channel in various locations but mostly under the steering rack. Turn the steering wheel back and forth a couple times and more fluid will come out. DO NOT START THE CAR. Clean up your washers for the banjo bolt as below or replace with new and then refill your reservoir. Fill the reservoir full, then start the car and let it run for 30 seconds. You'll notice the fluid is a bit foamy, but settles down in a few minutes and then refill to full. Restart the car and let it run a few minutes, turn the steering wheel back and forth a couple times. Check for leaks at the fitting you just tightened and check you reservoir level again. Refill as needed and you should be done. Ideally you would do this procedure one more time to really get a good rinse but I didn't want to risk it with one old washer and one new one. After you are all done you will still probably have power steering fluid dripping from various areas. Don't freak, it's left over from the drain. Just do your best to get as much as you can (you can't reach all of the areas where the fluid runs) but get as much as you can and realize you'll still probably have some drips later.
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Last edited by VictorH; 10-01-2011 at 07:04 PM.
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      10-01-2011, 02:17 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by VictorH View Post
So the plan of draining, filling and draining one more time is out the window.
Do you get defeated that easily ? You can even use the original washers man; just sand them smooth with 400-grit sandpaper . But since you already bought new ones, just install the new ones but don't torque them to spec until final installation. They won't leak, or hardly anything. And if the washers were marked a little, it'd take you a few seconds to sand them smooth. I've done this a ton of times, and never a leak, since they're as smooth as new. I wouldn't sand them 3 times, but once won't make any difference whatsoever. Good luck man. And consider this the good karma you hoped for .
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      10-01-2011, 06:46 PM   #3
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Agree with your approach, the problem though is with the upper crush washer which is just under the bolt head, it's on really tight and to get it off you'd risk bending the washer. With the lower washer which drops into the oil pan, no sweat.

Check what fluid type you need in your reservoir as some 2008s use a different fluid. I used almost a full liter. No leaks!
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Last edited by VictorH; 10-01-2011 at 07:10 PM.
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      10-02-2011, 05:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by VictorH View Post
Check what fluid type you need in your reservoir as some 2008s use a different fluid.
My 06/08 build '08 has CHF-11S prominently displayed in green, so no doubt . Bought some because level was a bit low, and dealer never topped it off because it was between marks. But what a PITA with that stupid cap with a tube in the can; made a mess when the stupid thing gulped air, throwing fluid everywhere . Next time will pour it into a container, then into the reservoir.
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      03-11-2012, 05:00 PM   #5
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I have an 09 M3, E92. P/S fluid cap also says CHF 115 fluid.

I used to change the P/S fluid via the turkey baster DIY method in my e46. I assume that also goes for an E9x?

(Turkey Baster DIY: Suck all P/S fluid of the reservoir you can with a Turkey Baster. Refill reservoir with new fluid. Start car. Turn wheel lock to lock 1X. Repeat twice more.)
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      03-13-2012, 06:10 PM   #6
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Yes, that's certainly an option. Though I think the Roundel tech guy says you should probably change 4-5 times if you just drain the reservoir and refill. By my method with pulling off a hose and draining the whole thing you are supposed to drain and refill twice to get everything. Either way is probably a bit excessive as long as you change on some sort of regular frequency.
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      03-14-2012, 09:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by VictorH View Post
Yes, that's certainly an option. Though I think the Roundel tech guy says you should probably change 4-5 times if you just drain the reservoir and refill. By my method with pulling off a hose and draining the whole thing you are supposed to drain and refill twice to get everything. Either way is probably a bit excessive as long as you change on some sort of regular frequency.
Ok, makes sense, thanks.
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      07-30-2012, 05:23 PM   #8
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Sorry to revive this thread. When you measure the fluid, do you use the first line on the cap or the second? I think mine is a bit low. I also measured the fluid right after I turned off the engine. Thanks for the help guys.

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      07-30-2012, 05:47 PM   #9
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I just did this and the instructions are great. I skipped the step about undoing the 10 mm bolt for the bracket for the lines since the lines don't need to be pulled back to drain the fluid from the rack. You do have to watch for the aluminum crush rings on the rack side of the banjo bolts (one on the bolt side and one on the rack side for each of the two banjo bolts).

I had no trouble with the fluid bottle gulping. I poured slowly. After the initial fill, I started the engine and the reservoir drained into the rack and I refilled it. It will be foamy for a little while, but no big deal.

My original fluid came out tan colored. The fluid that went in was green.

Last edited by pbonsalb; 08-16-2012 at 08:12 PM.
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      03-04-2013, 11:45 AM   #10
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No one has really mentioned where the fluid level should be. Can someone answer this? I want to do this to my car.
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      03-07-2013, 12:30 PM   #11
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No one has really mentioned where the fluid level should be. Can someone answer this? I want to do this to my car.
The cap is essentially the dip stick. You'll see 2 lines across.
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      03-07-2013, 09:30 PM   #12
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If you track your car a lot you'll want to keep the fluid level at the bottom line and if it's a daily with no track use then go ahead and fill it to the top. The only time I've had the problem with spraying out the vent hole is when I've had my steering fluid reservoir filled to the top, and it's not temperature dependent, last spitting episode was in December after a dealer service, when they topped off the fluid.
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      05-12-2013, 09:03 PM   #13
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Went autoxing today and it looked like the PS fluid vented over half the engine, thought it was a leak at first. Is this normal or should I remove some via turkey baster? I don't want that crap splashing all over the place every event.
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      05-17-2013, 02:17 PM   #14
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Went autoxing today and it looked like the PS fluid vented over half the engine, thought it was a leak at first. Is this normal or should I remove some via turkey baster? I don't want that crap splashing all over the place every event.
Common problem. Check the Track forum for a thread. Two options. Replace the res (part numbers in the thread) or zip-tie a section of sweat sock over the lid.
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      06-27-2013, 03:23 PM   #15
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IMPORTANT TIP:

Don't be a hack (like me). Screw the bolts on the banjo fittings MANY turns into the rack BY HAND ONLY. Then proceed with a wrench. Pretty much wrenching 101 but shit happens... I partly stripped the first thread thinking I had engagement. Luckily I have an awesome hardware store nearby with a M14x1.5 tap. I threaded in a rag to block chips, somehow through a miracle found enough room for the tap and a wrench, somehow got the tap started and cleaned up the thread. Then onto rigging an extra long straw to blow out the chips with compressed air. I think I (barely) saved a full rack dismounting and perhaps even a new rack.
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      05-05-2014, 08:31 PM   #16
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I bought some power steering fluid today to just suction out the reservoir and replace it, after I had been driving for quite a bit.

When I filled the reservoir it was up to the top line, this is after turning the wheel lock to lock a few times and re-checking. About 5+ hours later I checked again and the fluid is down to the first line.

I've added fluid to some older cars and they've had a hot/cold min and max. How does it work for the M3? Should we be doing the measurement hot or cold?
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      05-31-2014, 12:24 AM   #17
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CHF 11S color

I siphoned and my reservoir and refilled twice. The fluid on the first siphoning was a dark yellow/black. So I have filled the reservoir a third time and drained it twice and it still appears yellow/black, so I am buying another bottle and will repeat this. Does anyone know the color of CHF 11S after being exposed to heat for a bit (As in is it yellowish normally?) because it is green from the bottle. I bought the car 2nd hand and don't know if the fluid was ever changed.
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      07-11-2014, 11:47 PM   #18
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OP, thanks for the write-up. Just finished mine.
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      07-13-2014, 04:00 AM   #19
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Question about the siphon out method. When you suck it out, does it all come out on the first time and then you just fill, turn lock-to-lock, fill, turn, fill, etc? Or do you have to siphon multiple times too?
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      07-13-2014, 11:54 AM   #20
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Siphoning from the reservior does not get it out of the whole system. I don't believe anything is accomplished by doing it this any.
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      07-13-2014, 12:28 PM   #21
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Siphoning from the reservior does not get it out of the whole system. I don't believe anything is accomplished by doing it this any.
I disagree. I recently siphoned and drained my reservoir to replace my PS fluid, yes it will take about 4-6 full siphons and refills but it replaces all the fluid.

I only needed a 1L can of new fluid. I would siphon the reservoir, refill, start the car, turn the wheel many times lock to lock and then repeat until the new can was empty. I checked the fluid in the reservoir a few days later and it still looked brand new, hinting at the fact that I replaced the entire volume.
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      07-13-2014, 10:23 PM   #22
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That is what is good about these forums. We all have opinions and if I am wrong then I am okay with learning something new.

I just can't see how siphoning out of the reservoir will get the fluid out of the lines and the rack-and-pinion. I would imagine if you drained the reservoir and filled it up and drive the car for a short period and did this process a few more times all you would be doing is mixing new oil with old oil.

My thinking process may be wrong but I don't see how this would be good practice.


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I disagree. I recently siphoned and drained my reservoir to replace my PS fluid, yes it will take about 4-6 full siphons and refills but it replaces all the fluid.

I only needed a 1L can of new fluid. I would siphon the reservoir, refill, start the car, turn the wheel many times lock to lock and then repeat until the new can was empty. I checked the fluid in the reservoir a few days later and it still looked brand new, hinting at the fact that I replaced the entire volume.
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