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2001 S40 Power steering fluid coming out of the reservoir

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on S40 and V40. In this forum you'll find S40/V40-specific owners asking and answering questions on maintenance, ownership, repairs, tutorials and almost every do-it-yourself thing you can do to save money owning these Volvos.

1996 - 2004 S40
1996 - 2004 V40

grga1
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Year and Model: S40 2001
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2001 S40 Power steering fluid coming out of the reservoir

Post by grga1 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:40 am

So I have this problem with my 2001 Volvo S40 - while driving the power steering fluid leaks out of the reservoir. It seems the system is actually pushing it out through the cap, not the reservoir or cap leaking. I think it happens when turning and accelerating at the same time.

I noticed the following behavior - the power steering fluid level goes up around half inch when I start the engine. If I do not touch the steering that level remains the same (but higher then when then engine is off). If the steering wheel is turned while idling the level does not change. If the steering wheel is turned while the engine is around 2500-3000 revs the fluid level goes even further up. This kind of confirms my suspicion that the fluid leaks on certain turns while driving.

Not sure if it is related, but sometimes I hear slight clicking noise when turning. It happens even if the front wheels are raised off the ground.

I do not experience any problem with steering otherwise.

Is it possible that this is caused by a clogged screen or something in the power steering reservoir? The low pressure hose from reservoir to pump did fail a while back and was replaced so it might have introduced some rubber pieces in the system but that was about a year before this problem appeared plus the system was drained and filled. Would that cause the level to go up when the engine is running though? I think even if the flow is restricted, less fluid will be pulled by the pump and less will return, so the level should be the same but the pump might have trouble providing pressure which does not seem to be the case (or at least it is not noticeable).

The other theory I have is that air somehow gets into the system. Since the level goes up when system is working, I assume it is not in the high pressure side where it would be compressed but might be on the suction side where it gets expanded. The suction side though is only that hose between the reservoir and the pump, and I do not understand how air can stand there. The new clamps for that hose are after market worm clamps but I think they are ok, and there are no leaks from the joints.

Sorry for the long post, I spent a lot of time searching for this problem on the internet but did not find anything conclusive, so any ideas will be highly appreciated.

MadeInJapan
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Year and Model: '98 S70 T5 '07S40T5
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MadeInJapan

Re: 2001 S40 Power steering fluid coming out of the reservoir

Post by MadeInJapan » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:22 am

The clicking is probably a CV joint going bad... I would be tempted to suck out as much of that power steering fluid as possible and add in its place some Lucas in the reservoir- something to loosing things up in your system. The PS fluid expands as it gets hot thus the mark on the cap and warning not to overfill- could be someone put the wrong stuff in there. What does your owner's manual recommend for the fluid?
'98 S70 T5 Emrld Grn Met/Beige Tons of Upgrades Mobil-1
'04 V70 2.5T Red/Taupe Some Upgrades Mobil-1
'07 S40 T5 AWD 6 speed manual! Silver/Black Stage1 Heico & Elevate
'07 S60 2.5T Blue/Taupe- my kid's Volvo

grga1
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:18 pm
Year and Model: S40 2001
Location: EU
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grga1

Re: 2001 S40 Power steering fluid coming out of the reservoir

Post by grga1 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:42 am

I believe I figured it out. In short it appears the mesh filter inside the reservoir was clogged. I took the reservoir off, washed it under running water with some dish detergent, dried it as good as I could with a hairdryer, put it back and all seems to be fine now.

The design of the reservoir is different from my other car and that is what got me confused. On my other car the reservoir is simply separated by the mesh screen with the intake outlet below and the return above the screen. On the Volvo the screen is cylindrical, the return going into the bottom end, the cap is at the top end and the fluid is going through the mesh sides for the intake. With that design when the flow through the mesh is restricted the level will go up and eventually overflow.

I think the clicking might have disappeared now. It is really faint, I have to turn the radio off to hear it.

MadeInJapan
MVS Moderator
Posts: 13424
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2005 7:14 am
Year and Model: '98 S70 T5 '07S40T5
Location: Knoxville, TN American but born in Japan
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 25 times
United States of America
MadeInJapan

Re: 2001 S40 Power steering fluid coming out of the reservoir

Post by MadeInJapan » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:51 pm

That's good (about the CV too)- what an odd design on the PS pump. I don't believe on my S70 there is a screen at all...I dangle a round magnet from the top of the coil section of the cap (with a zip tie) to pick up little pieces of milled metal...it is so fine it's sludge whenever I take the cap off and clean it. This seems to do a good a job as a filter that can clog.
'98 S70 T5 Emrld Grn Met/Beige Tons of Upgrades Mobil-1
'04 V70 2.5T Red/Taupe Some Upgrades Mobil-1
'07 S40 T5 AWD 6 speed manual! Silver/Black Stage1 Heico & Elevate
'07 S60 2.5T Blue/Taupe- my kid's Volvo

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