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Discussion Starter #1
Took trip to Walmart this morning to stock up, roughly 25 mile one way trip, and as I got closer I noticed something making noise, and when I got to the parking lot I could hear it was my power steering making much more noise than it should. After shopping for 30 minutes I came back out and the whole trip back home, no noise at all. So why would it be making noise then stop after it's sit for 30 minutes? Has around 83,000 on it. I checked fluid level 3-4 months ago and was fine.
 

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Took trip to Walmart this morning to stock up, roughly 25 mile one way trip, and as I got closer I noticed something making noise, and when I got to the parking lot I could hear it was my power steering making much more noise than it should. After shopping for 30 minutes I came back out and the whole trip back home, no noise at all. So why would it be making noise then stop after it's sit for 30 minutes? Has around 83,000 on it. I checked fluid level 3-4 months ago and was fine.
I'm guessing that "checked the fluid" means checked the fluid level? Most probably you have very dirty fluid in need of changing..... which fortunately is very very easy. Just take a turkey baster (or other convenient removal method) & suck out as much old fluid as you can from the reservoir. Next refill with Honda (use ONLY Honda) power steering fluid.

You could probably quit here, but I would recommend you start your truck, turn the wheels lock to lock a few times, and check the color of your fluid again. Chances are it will be a bit dirty again (from old fluid trapped in system when you sucked the old from the reservoir). Just do the suck-&-replace thing one or two more times & you're good to go.

To answer your question about "why".... If the contaminants ("dirt") in your system get into some place your system/pump doesn't like, you can get noise.... and if those contaminants "fall away" from that sensitive area (valve or ???) when you shut down, the noise may go away. Not really a concern if you just change the fluid.
Good Luck!
 

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I have less than 40K on my 2010 but I think time and the elements also act on the PS fluid. I've been contemplating doing a full flush while it is still working fine rather than wait for an issue to arise.
Just looking how fast it gums up has always concerned me and have done periodic siphon and fills of the reservoir, which no doubt helps some. But I think a full flush as the miles (and time?) pile on might be wise.
The strange thing is I don't every remember being that concerned about PS fluid in previous cars other than checking level but PS problems seem more common in the RL (which seems to defy common sense as well).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
How much oil does it take if I put new in (either for complete flush or just sucking out as much as I can)? I have 12oz bottle from AutoZone (suitable for Honda vehicles says on label) I bought last winter when I thought I might have been running low but then wasn't.

Why does Honda have it to where they need their own special fluid anyway?
 

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130k on mine. That and brake fluid I've never changed in anything. Never a problem either.
 

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How much oil does it take if I put new in (either for complete flush or just sucking out as much as I can)? I have 12oz bottle from AutoZone (suitable for Honda vehicles says on label) I bought last winter when I thought I might have been running low but then wasn't.

Why does Honda have it to where they need their own special fluid anyway?
You're fine with that bottle for a suck & fill. I'd guess it takes somewhere between 6-10 oz. (going from 'visual' memory)
Whether or not you could do 2 S&Fs with one bottle is hard to predict.... I'd say probably... maybe... don't try w/o another on hand. :)

Since you already have the fluid, you'll probably be fine, but I would recommend you use Honda branded fluid in the future.... the additive packages are different, even if you have a "special for Honda" aftermarket brand. Some on this forum would disagree.... but it's not like it's expensive. If you have a dealer close by (or want to order online), I'd suggest this is one area (same as VTM4 & Transmission fluid) where you only use Honda fluid. Just my 2 cents. Same for coolant to a lesser degree.
 

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Takes a little more than a half a bottle for a "suck out and fill" of the reservoir. Takes almost 3 bottles for a full flush, but I'd recommend having a 4th on hand just in case. It's really easy to do. If you go with the full flush, I'd recommend just replacing the reservoir while you're at it. It's less than $20 at the dealership. There's a little screen in the bottom of it that can get clogged up pretty easily. It's cleanable to a point, but replacing the whole thing is the easiest thing to do.

As far as the fluid goes, you would probably be ok to use what you have, but I'm in the school of "why use something that wasn't specifically designed to go in the vehicle?" Honda PS fluid is very inexpensive. I think a bottle is around $5 or so. Four bottles and a reservoir will run you $40.
 

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Had the same issue, and finally diagnosed that fluid was being lost through the rack and pinion, only while driving.
Had to replace whole rack and pinion steering.
Vinnie
 

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As far as the fluid goes, you would probably be ok to use what you have, but I'm in the school of "why use something that wasn't specifically designed to go in the vehicle?" Honda PS fluid is very inexpensive. I think a bottle is around $5 or so. Four bottles and a reservoir will run you $40.
I agree. As cheap as the Honda fluid is, why take a chance with anything else?

Chip H.
 

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I bought a 2006 RTL new. I had the power steering pump replaced twice before 36K miles and once more after that (the dealer did recognize that the pumps were bad and replaced all without cost to me. Now I have 133K on the truck and the pump is making noise again!! And...the last time I took it in for service (not Honda dealer) I received a phone call from the mechanic saying that the steering rack was shot and needed to be replaced (for $2300). The mechanic said that the odd thing was that the Honda dealer had the components in stock - something that the mechanic said would only happen if Honda KNEW that there was a defect. I've had other issues too. I do take good care of my vehicles so i know that wasn't the issue. No more Hondas - that's for sure.
 

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Honda does not have a recommended service interval for the PS fluid however I have come to understand that the Honda PS system works best with fresh fluid on a 20,000 mile interval. Dealers rarely recommend any service on the system unless there is problem. In my case, I do a "suck and fill" with every other oil change on all my Honda vehicles. I use Honda fluid while the vehicle is within warranty, and then a good quality brand PS fluid after that. I always use a clear fluid as Honda fluid is clear and allows you to see when it becomes discolored and needs service. I've had good luck doing this and have never changed a PS pump in over a million miles driving Hondas.

You may have the dreaded "o-ring" failure which is quite common on other Honda vehicles, especially Accord and Odyssey but less common on Ridgeline. There is an o-ring seal on the hose connection on the suction side of the PS pump that wears out due to engine vibration (long story). It allows air to become entrained in the thinner heated fluid giving you the noise as the pump cavitates. The noise is annoying but the system seems to continue to operate. Changing the fluid will only temporarily fix this and it is also why it seems better after the car sits for awhile and the air leaves the fluid in the reservoir and the fluid cools. You might need a new o-ring. The part is available at the dealer for under $5.
 

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^^ If your steering rack was bad from the beginning and leaking fluid, the pump would be working harder to try to maintain proper pressure. The pumps were bad because they were taxed beyond their normal duty. I still have my original pump at 145k miles and it's still quiet. Many others can say the same thing. If the dealership failed to properly diagnose a bad rack and simply kept replacing pumps, that's certainly their fault. That's sort of like continuously putting bandaids on a cut that requires stitches. It may hold for a little while, but it's not going to fix the problem.
 

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^^ If your steering rack was bad from the beginning and leaking fluid, the pump would be working harder to try to maintain proper pressure. The pumps were bad because they were taxed beyond their normal duty. I still have my original pump at 145k miles and it's still quiet. Many others can say the same thing. If the dealership failed to properly diagnose a bad rack and simply kept replacing pumps, that's certainly their fault. That's sort of like continuously putting bandaids on a cut that requires stitches. It may hold for a little while, but it's not going to fix the problem.
Not to mention that the 'bad' rack was probably providing a steady flow of particulate contamination to the pumps..... which would also do them in.
 
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