Premature Power Steering System Failues in Late Model Mazdas - Mazda Forum - Mazda Enthusiast Forums


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Old 05-08-2009, 03:33 PM
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Exclamation Premature Power Steering System Failues in Late Model Mazdas

I pulled this from something I just posted on the Mazda 3 forum:

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I have a 1999 Protege 1.8L FP engine with manual transmission with 95,000 kms. odometer reading. I have the workshop manual for the year 2000 model of the same car, and which is also applicable to mine.
In the section covering the Power Steering System of this car is the following caution, which is repeated a number of times in this document.

"Caution:
If the steering wheel is kept in the fully turned position for more than 6 seconds, the fluid temperature will rise excessively and adversely affect the oil pump."

Similarly, in the section covering pressure test of the fluid pumping system requiring that the delivery outlet of the pump be connected to a pressure gauge:

"Caution:
If the valve is left closed for more than 5 seconds, the fluid temperature will rise excessively and adversly affect the oil pump."

Both manuals specify the use of hydraulic fluid ATF M-III or equivalent i.e. trademark Dexron II.

Neither in my owner's manual nor my shop manual is there a requirement to flush and replace the fluid. The procedures contained are related to fluid level, draining, bleeding and refilling, steering function inspection, pressure testing, steering wheel force, and leak testing.

Out of curiosity, I took a rubber bulb medicine drop dispenser and sucked some fluid into it for a look. The fluid was clear and a very pale tan color. There was no telltale smell typical of cooked fluid. My car has no history of steering related issues, nor has the system ever been flushed or bled.

So what is very bad for pumps is overheated fluid caused usually by excessive load on the system resulting in the pump running stalled. This to say the external load exceeds the pump's capacity to deliver, resulting in an almost constant volume of fluid being recirculated repeatedly within the pump itself, absorbing in the process almost all the energy delivered by the pump drive belt. The result is a rapid temperature rise which causes cooking of the fluid, and cooked ATF M-III is a destroyer of hydraulic systems.

Why these early failures? The evidence on this forum suggests it may be more common than anticipated; here are some factors which contribute to high loading;

The unavoidable:
Bigger engines/ beefier drive train: i.e. more weight on the front suspension.
Bigger wheels/ tires: i.e. bigger tire/road "footprint".
Bigger vehicle: i.e. requires more steering lock-to-lock low speed manoevering
when parking/ navigating in confined space.
Other bigger vehicles: more frequent need for tight low speed manoevering.

The avoidable:
Low tire pressures
Special big footprint/ supergrip tires
Turning the steering wheel at all while the vehicle is not in motion.
Applying hard full lock steering.
(This one is easy to avoid. When doing tight navigation, turn off all fans and entertainment devices; pull that bluetooth or MP3 thing out of your ear; you will now be able to hear the typical muffled distress scream of a stalled hydraulic pump. Back the wheel off just a bit and it will unstall. Once clear of obstructions turn on anything you want.)

Preventive action/ Damage control:
Check your steering fluid reservoir for more than just the level; take out the filler and filter assembly; the contents should not smell acrid or unpleasant; the color should be a clear, pinkish or very light tan. If it stinks and/or has the color of pancake syrup or darker, you've got problems. Get rid of it just as fast as you can.

Preferably you should go to a Mazda dealer; get a full report/ copy of the work order etc. etc. stating the problem, observations, and corrective action, even if your car is outside warranty. That might be handy if this problem turns out to be widespread.
If that's not practical, and you're handy; drain and flush your system thoroughly, and do a check once a week to see that there is no deterioration or loss of the fluid.
As a last resort, go to a dollar store and buy one of those turkey baster things. With the engine off, suck out as much fluid from the reservoir as you can. Refill it with new fluid, use the car for a day or two, then repeat the process until the fluid condtion improves. (You should still get the system completely drained, flushed and refilled ASAP.

Warning: Be scrupulously clean when doing this work; a minute amount of foreign stuff can do bigtime damage to hydraulic systems. Be careful not to get fluid on the paint finish; it's a real paint stripper. If you do spill some, soak it up and wash it off right away.
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:13 PM
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stickied.
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Old 03-23-2010, 12:32 AM
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The proper procedure is suck as much fluid out as possible refill. With car running turn steering wheel lock to lock 5 or 6 times. The repeat first step. Use at least 1 court or ATF is system.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:36 PM
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is that 1 quart of ATF in system?????????
a little clarification please
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:42 PM
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I wonder if this has anything to do with an NTSB investigation into the Mazda 3 and BMW's Z4 power steering failures. I know that the they are currently only looking at the 3, I wonder if this may turn up design flaws in other models as well.

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/201007...w-7318940.html
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:40 AM
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Hi to everyone Mazda actually have a slight problem with Mazda 5 Power steering failing all you have to do is take your vehicle to a dealer and they will put it right for you , if its out of warrenty then you will have to pay.
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:18 AM
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There is currently a recall in the United States & Canada for '08 and on Mazda3 & 5 series cars power steering failure. I can only assume that it's world-wide since I'm sure the problem exists elsewhere too.

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Old 10-30-2010, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master P View Post
Hi to everyone Mazda actually have a slight problem with Mazda 5 Power steering failing all you have to do is take your vehicle to a dealer and they will put it right for you , if its out of warrenty then you will have to pay.
Have to pay? Not so, at least not here in North America. A Mazda3 or Mazda5 could have a million miles on it and Mazda will still fix the power steering system for free.
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 93greenstrat View Post
I wonder if this has anything to do with an NTSB investigation into the Mazda 3 and BMW's Z4 power steering failures. I know that the they are currently only looking at the 3, I wonder if this may turn up design flaws in other models as well.

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/201007...w-7318940.html

That link is dead, I will be asking my local dealership about this ASAP thanks for the heads up people.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:09 AM
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My car was done at the dealership last April, I really have to acquaint my self under that hood!
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