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Jerky power steering

Help and Advice on Volvo's extremely popular car line, powered by Volvo's nearly indestructible, versatile inline 5-cylinder engine.
1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

Jerky power steering

Postby volvosrock » 14 Jan 2011, 06:04

I have a 98 S70 GLT, 160k.
I just bought the car a couple of weeks ago, and i noticed the power steering is jerky (or maybe "it sticks" is a better way of describing it). Its not smooth at all, and it's hard to make the small adjustments on the freeway to stay in the middle of the lane. I thought if i drove it for a while it would go away, but its not.
It just so happens that last week i drove my brothers car for the first time, (S70, same everything) and noticed that it did the same thing. Is this normal for these cars, or what? We've both upgraded from 850's, and they never had this problem that i can remember. Should i flush the power steering fluid?
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Re: Jerky power steering

Postby IVIUSTANG » 14 Jan 2011, 06:30

Yes, flush it. Mine used to do that then I flushed and filled with mobil 1 synthetic(dex III) and it is like butter now. I'll also mention that my old mishapen tires for me caused the exact same symptom as a notchy power steering rack. I love the steering on my car after those two problems were rectified!

- Jesse
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Re: Jerky power steering

Postby volvosrock » 14 Jan 2011, 15:38

OK cool, thanks for the reply.
how exactly do i flush it? Just pull the line and pour it in as its coming out as the car's running?
Does it hurt the system to run it dry?
And my other question is, how does the conversion to synthetic work? obviously there's some of the old fluid left in there...
thanks!
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Re: Jerky power steering

Postby jblackburn » 14 Jan 2011, 15:41

Turkey baster! Suck the fluid out, refill, and run lock to lock a few times, then shut it off again and repeat 4-5 times.

Don't let it run dry. Air gets stuck in the system.
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Re: Jerky power steering

Postby IVIUSTANG » 14 Jan 2011, 18:53

Or, the way I did it is to first empty the reservoir, then remove the return hose to the power steering reservoir, clamp an extension hose onto it so you have a good length. Then run the hose to a 1 gallon milk jug and put it beside the drivers door so you can see it as you turn the steering wheel. Plug the fitting where the return hose connects to the reservoir then fill the reservoir up with new fluid.

I then jacked up the front of my car as I didn't want weight on my tires as I turned the steering wheel with my car turned off(not 100% nescesary but I liked doing it), but with the ignition on so my steering is unlocked.

From this point it's just a matter of turning lock to lock until you see the shiny red new fluid come out of the hose into the milk container.

You'll want to continually add new fluid to your reservoir so it doesn't run dry during the process.

This is how I did it and it's kind of like bleeding brakes in the fact it doesn't really mix up the old and the new fluids, this will give you the most pure fluid possible in your steering system.

- Jesse
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Re: Jerky power steering

Postby Marcobrick » 14 Jan 2011, 19:43

Some of the symptoms you describe are similar to mine. You must have just submitted this thread as I was typing mine! ("Peculiar Power steering") I will watch with interest to see if the flush cures your symptoms.
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Re: Jerky power steering

Postby volvosrock » 15 Jan 2011, 03:42

So i did a partial flush this afternoon with Dex III.
I used a pump from a used container of hand soap...
(maybe those fancy bath and body works soaps are worth something after all! lol)

I only got like less than a cup per time (and per 50-60 pumps) from the reservoir because its so shallow, so i only ran 1 quart through the system. I used an old motor oil can and held it under the pump spout. Kind of ghetto, but hey, it works! (-:
I'll probably do it again tomorrow, but what a difference! The problem's not all gone yet, but i'm sure with another quart or two, it should clear up completely.
Thanks for the help everyone!
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Re: Jerky power steering

Postby kcodyjr » 20 Mar 2011, 20:25

I'd swapped my P/S pump and let a whole bunch of air into the system, and was about to do this, and then realized it only takes an hour or so of sitting still for the bubbles to work themselves out of the reservoir.

So, I'd start it, work it lock to lock just once and leave it centered, then shut it off and wait.

In 3 cycles, the pump was quiet from lock to lock.

I believe the key was only working the wheel once, so the foamy stuff came up into the reservoir and stayed there.
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