DIY – Add a Power Steering Replaceable Inline Magnetic Filter - AcuraZine Community

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Old 08-08-2011, 2:04 AM   #1
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DIY – Add a Power Steering Replaceable Inline Magnetic Filter

WARNING: use this information at your own risk. If an inline filter is installed backwards, internal damage to the Power Steering Pump may occur (because of restricted fluid flow). And damage to your own human body can happen, if the car falls on you. Use care, use jack stands, etc.

DISCLAIMER: this information is presented for personal use only. I do not endorse any product mentioned here. I have no relationship with any of the companies mentioned below. The data is simply what I have read/ learned, and the products are those I have personally used.


Before using this information, please read through the entire post. Consider printing this post, to make reading easier. There is a lot of info, and you might miss something, unless you read all of it before starting work.

My goal is a service life of 250K miles (400K km), for the Power Steering Pump and Rack in a 2009 RDX, which is operated under moderately severe conditions. The Honda OEM Power Steering filter is only a coarse plastic mesh-screen. It cannot filter out the small wear particles. There is no magnet in the RDX power steering system.

There are two ways to increase the life of any power steering system.

Ø Install an inline magnetic filter, or install a magnet in the Power Steering Tank. Manufacturers other than Honda place a magnet inside the PS pump and/ or the tank.

Ø Change the Power Steering fluid at regular intervals, to remove tiny suspended non-magnetic particles. The OEM Honda PS filter cannot remove these small particles. Oxidized/ worn out PS fluid should be replaced at regular intervals. Honda PS fluid is not a synthetic, and is affected by high temperatures.

At 6,000 miles I installed a magnet inside the Power Steering Tank. At 19,500 miles I installed an inline (external) magnetic Power Steering fluid filter. I also replaced the PS fluid at regular intervals.

************************************************** **************
This post discusses just how to do all of this.
PARTS REQUIRED TO INSTALL AN INLINE FILTER:

WHY ADD AN INLINE TRANSMISSION FILTER to the ACURA RDX?
WHAT ABOUT THE OEM FILTER?
WHAT IS SEVERE SERVICE?
HOW TO CHECK THE CONDITION OF YOUR OWN POWER STEERING SYSTEM
HOW TO ADD A MAGNET TO THE POWER STEERING TANK
WHICH INLINE FILTER TO USE?
WHERE TO INSTALL THE INLINE FILTER?
HOW TO INSTALL THE INLINE FILTER:
HOSE CLAMPS:
SAFETY WIRING HOSE CLAMPS:
PROTECT THE WINDSHIELD WASHER TANK RUBBER LINES:
BLEED THE POWER STEERING SYSTEM:
CLEANUP AFTER FILTER INSTALLATION:
FLUSH THE POWER STEERING FLUID:
VACUUM LINE END-COVERS:
REPLACE THE POWER STEERING FLUID USING THE TURKEY BASTER METHOD:
MAINTENANCE LOG FOR THIS RDX:
HONDA POWER STEERING FLUID (is it really special):

************************************************** *****************
PARTS REQUIRED TO INSTALL AN INLINE FILTER:
Ø filter of choice to fit 3/8 inch (10mm) ID hose
Ø flat bladed screwdriver to remove body clips
Ø Phillips screwdriver for body screws
Ø X-acto knife to cut PS rubber hose
Ø masking tape to mark cut point on hose
Ø 2 hose clamps for 3/8 inch hose


************************************************** *****************
WHY ADD AN INLINE TRANSMISSION FILTER to the ACURA RDX?
Small metal particles in Power Steering fluid, under high pressure, forms an effective abrasive-slurry which will wear the rubber seals in the pump and steering rack. This includes both magnetic (steel) and non-magnetic particles (bronze, aluminum, sludge, etc.). Yes, the particles are held in suspension in the PS oil, just like the engine oil holds particles in suspension.

But the engine operates at 60 psi. And the engine oil is supposed to form a fluid layer between the bearing surfaces, so that they do not touch. The PS system operates at 1,300 psi, and the PS fluid is forced directly against the rubber seals. Once the seals start leaking, new/ rebuilt parts will be needed. A new OEM steering rack replacement requires that the entire front suspension and sub-frame be disassembled.

An inline magnetic filter will remove the magnetic particles. And the integral filtering element will remove larger non-metallic particles. The only way to remove the smaller non-magnetic particles, since they are too small to be captured by the inline filter element, is to change the fluid. If wear particles are allowed to build up in the PS fluid, the particles themselves cause more wear, accelerating wear in a cascade effect.

Honda does not give a service maintenance replacement interval for their PS fluid. We can assume that lifetime service is at least as long as the warranty period. But is lifetime service equal to 5 times the warranty period?

Honda non-synthetic PS fluid will eventually break-down from oxidation, forming varnish and sludge. Sludge will eventually clog the OEM filter, even as coarse as it is. If you doubt that the PS fluid gets really hot, just check the temp sometime (in the tank). Please use an all metal thermometer. You do not want to accidentally break a glass thermometer and drop pieces into the PS tank.

And while the fluid itself does not wear out, the additives become depleted. Once they are ‘gone’, wear accelerates. Honda fluid supposedly contains additives unique to the brand, and this is at least partly supported by chemical analysis of the PS fluid, as well as Honda’s MSDS (manufacturer safety data sheet).

So if you do not add a filter (or magnet), at least change the PS fluid at regular intervals.


WHAT ABOUT THE RDX OEM FILTER?
There is a coarse plastic mesh-screen in the bottom of the Power Steering reservoir/ tank. This OEM filter cannot be fine enough to filter small particles. It is located on the intake (suck) side of the power steering pump. If the OEM filter is too fine, the pump will starve for fluid, cavitate, and burn up.

While the OEM filter will not normally filter out the smaller wear particles, if the steering system is not maintained by changing the fluid periodically, the OEM filter can clog from sludge and larger particles. That will damage the PS system components. If your PS system has 100K miles on it, consider replacement of the OEM filter, even if you are adding an accessory inline filter. Replacing the PS tank is the only way to change the filter. A new RDX OEM tank is only about $15.

There is no magnet anywhere in the RDX Power Steering system. Other vehicle manufacturers place a magnet inside the PS pump or tank. My ’98 Chevy Blazer has a magnet inside the power steering pump, although it cannot be removed (without rebuilding the pump).




The CARDONE company places a magnet inside their replacement power steering pumps. If a Cardone inline filter is also added, the pump is warranted for life. Otherwise, the pump warranty limit is only 1-year.


WHAT IS SEVERE SERVICE?
Lots of short trips in temperature extremes. For most drivers, this is actually “normal” service. This RDX is operated 95% of the time in trips under 10 miles, including 25% of the total trips under 2 miles.

The local temperature in the summer is 90s and in the winter is 20s. Such short trips prevent the Power Steering (PS) oil from operating most of the time at normal temperature. And in the summers, when the oil does warm up, it is going to be at the high end of the PS system normal temperature range (because of the high ambient). Also city driving means the PS system is working hard (lots of turns), versus highway driving. Finally, remember that Honda PS fluid is NOT a synthetic – it has a limited service life.

All of the above means the PS system is working at a high load, generating lots of wear.


HOW TO CHECK THE CONDITION OF YOUR OWN POWER STEERING SYSTEM



Do you wonder just how much swarf is in your own PS system, that is not being removed by the OEM filter? Hang a craft store ceramic magnet in the Power Steering tank. Leave it overnight, and check for particles on the magnet. Just remember that the magnet is only going to capture magnetic particles. The magnetic particles are only about 50% of the total particles in the PS fluid. I purchased my magnets from ACE HARDWARE. The size is not important so long as they will fit through the tank opening.

Do not drive or operate the vehicle with a craft store magnet in the PS tank. Craft magnets are not made to be immersed in high temperature oil. They may break apart. They can also chafe on the hanging wire, and tiny pieces break off. Since this is a temporary setup, use any wire. But do NOT use colored/ painted craft store wire. The paint may come off in the oil. Bare copper or steel wire is fine. NAPA sells soft steel black handy-wire in a roll. The black color is an oxidized coating which will not come off in the oil.

Make certain that the magnet(s) do not rest on the OEM tank filter (bottom of the tank). That might damage the filter. Use a steel rule to measure the distance from the top of the tank to the mesh-filter.

You do not have to make a wire hanger as complicated as the one shown in the picture. I originally thought to use that setup permanently, until I decided not to use a craft magnet.

Before putting the magnets into the tank, gently rub them with a soft lint-free cloth or paper towel. This is to verify that there is nothing on them. Because when you remove them from the PS tank, they will be covered with ‘dirt’, which is metal particles. Actually, you may not notice the particles, until you rub the magnets. The particles will be very fine, almost invisible individually. You may think that the magnets are breaking up, and that that is what you are cleaning off the magnets. Not true. That stuff is metal swarf, small PS metal wear particles, so small it looks like black paint.

And remember that since the tank has double chambers, the magnets can only attract a very small part of the particles which are in the inner tank chamber. Only the area in a one inch volume is close enough for particles to be attracted to the magnet. So the amount of particles on the magnet is only about 1/20th of the total amount in the system. This is when the engine is not running. When the power steering system is operating, fluid would flow continually past the magnet, eventually cleaning all of the fluid.


HOW TO ADD A MAGNET TO THE POWER STEERING TANK



A permanent setup can be made using any engine oil drain plug with magnet. I purchased mine from a local auto parts store. The picture shows a ceramic magnet that is nickel plated, making it easy to notice anything on the magnet. The black smudge on the paper towel, was just barely visible as a couple of spots on the magnet. I first placed this magnet in the tank at 6,000 miles. After a 1-thousand mile interval, the magnet was completely covered thickly with black metal particles.




After four 1-thousand mile intervals, the amount of particles on the magnet became very light, reducing to only a trace. I have been using this drain plug in the PS tank, up to the current 20,000 miles, removing and cleaning at 1-thousand intervals.

The engine drain plug in the picture was drilled through the head. A drill press will help. Stainless steel 0.032 inch safety wire was used to make the hanger. You cannot use pliers to make the wire hanger, only your fingers. If you use pliers, the pliers will nick the wire, creating a weak spot that will eventually break. That will drop the plug to the bottom of the tank. If you are truly unlucky, the plug will break through the filter in the bottom of the tank, and jam/ clog the pump intake hose, causing the pump and maybe the rack to burn up.

Also, do not pull the wire tight against the sides of the drain plug head, where the wire goes through the head. Leave a bit of slack in a gentle curve, as in the picture. Then the wire will not rub against the sides of the bolt head. This is the reason for chamfering/ beveling the holes through the bolt head, so that the wire does not rub against the edge of the drilled hole.

Use extra length wire to make the twists at each end of the drain plug wire hanger. If the wire is too short, your fingers will not be able to twist the ends. Then use wire cutters to clip off the extra length. The loop over the top of the tank hole will fit into the slot in the tank cap – see the picture. The cap will fit water-tight. The drain plug was purchased from a local auto parts store for less than $5.

I later found a better drain plug. A 1/8 pipe plug is quite small, and you really just want a magnet, so the smaller the plug itself, the better. Get a neodymium magnet rather than ceramic magnet. Neodymium is 10 times stronger than ceramic. There are several places selling magnetic pipe plugs online.

Since adding an inline filter, I have not changed the drain plug in the tank, still just using the original one, to monitor how well the inline filter is working.


WHICH INLINE FILTER TO USE?



The MagneFine and Cardone inline filters are both specifically made for Power Steering systems. I used the MagneFine filter since it has a finer non-magnetic filtering element. The MagneFine is the same filter that I added to the RDX transmission cooler lines. If this filter is used in the Power Steering line, care must be taken locating it, as it will just barely fit.

The advantage of the Cardone filter is the small physical overall size, and it can be disassembled, serviced, and reused. Both filters will capture the smallest magnetic steel particles, which are a significant portion of the total trash in the system.

You may wish to purchase a spare OEM Power Steering replacement hose. Then, if there is a problem installing the inline filter, you have a ready replacement hose at-hand. I was concerned that the filter would not fit into my chosen location, and ruining the OEM hose by cutting it. The replacement hose can be used if necessary, although it will require removing the PS tank to gain access to the top under-hood hose-clamp.

MAGNEFINE FILTER:



This filter is manufactured in Australia. It is used and sold by both Ford and Chrysler dealers (under their own part numbers).

This filter includes a by-pass valve which will open if the filter begins to clog with debris. The size is length of 5 inches and diameter of 2.5 inches. The filter is available with three sizes of hose ends: 5/16” (8mm), 3/8” (10mm), and 1/2” (12.7mm). The 3/8” size is required for the RDX.

This filter contains “a 25 micron pleated paper” insert, no percentage rating given. In other words, there is no statement as to how effectively it filters at 25 microns. There is an internal magnet inside the filter. The web site claims removal of 99.97% of magnetic particles. Even with the by-pass valve open, all fluid still flows past the magnet.

This filter was purchased online for about $16 plus shipping. Only the filter and two regular screw-type hose clamps were included, plus written instructions and installation diagrams. There are many online sites selling this particular filter. Some sites include two short lengths of rubber hose or other parts, for an additional cost – not needed for an RDX.

This same MAGNEFINE filter can be purchased from your local FORD dealer for $45 up to $100, depending upon the purchase of a KIT or individual filter. Also, one Ford dealer quoted me a lower price for the kit than the individual filter. So check all of the part numbers for price. There are also online sites selling under these same part numbers:
XC3Z-7B155-CA
3C3Z-7B155-AA
3C3Z-7A098-AA
FT-166

The MAGNEFINE filter can also be purchased from SEARS online, for about $32. It was not available at my local Sears store.

Some NAPA and Oreilly Auto stores also sell this filter, either as a NAPA number or CARDONE number 20-FLT2. It is not listed as a Magnefine filter. You would need to look at it to determine if it is actually a Magnefine or another brand.

CARDONE FILTER



Available from NAPA (in NAPA packaging) as P/N NSP 81-0589F, or elsewhere as Cardone Magna-Pure P/N 20-0038F. This is a smaller machined aluminum (housing) filter, intended specifically for a Power Steering System. The filter is size 3 inch length by 1.25 inch diameter with 3/8 inch hose ends. Filter itself is only one inch long, by-pass design, with a serviceable (cleanable) magnet and internal screen rated at 130 microns. Available online from RockAuto.com, Summit Racing, Amazon, etc. for around $15-20 plus shipping.

I have installed this filter in the PS system of a 1998 Chevy S-10, because of the space restrictions of that vehicle.


WHERE TO INSTALL THE INLINE FILTER?






The MagneFine filter was installed in the PS rubber return-hose behind the passenger side wheel well liner, in front of the wheel. That means that the bottom front splash-guard and passenger side wheel liner must be removed. Also remove the passenger side front wheel.

Access will be much better with the front of the car jacked up. First remove the passenger side wheel. Support the car on jack stands after removing the wheel. Then remove the splash-guard, then the passenger wheel fender-liner.

Do yourself a favor and wash under the splash-guard, and also from the top behind the radiator. That will remove dirt/ mud from the open side of the body clips, and they will open much easier. Also wash under the wheel well. Do not use a car wash spray – it is too strong. Just flood the area with a garden hose, avoiding direct spray onto the electrical connectors on the radiator fans.








The clips in the splash-guard do not have pry-slots. There is a circular slot all around the entire top. But there are two straight molded lines on the top of the clips. Pry only at either line. Otherwise, you will probably break the clip by prying at the metal inserts. The metal inserts have to move, in order for the clip to open. Clips cost around $3 each to replace.

Note that there are two lengths (same diameter) of clip used on the splash-guard. There are also two sheet metal screws, which hold each lower corner of the splash-guard. It is not necessary to mark the position of the two lengths of clips. The short clips are used where there are only two layers, the longer clips are used where there are three layers. The layers are the splash-guard, front bumper cover, and the frame cradle. I find it pretty easy to determine which length to use where.





The clips holding the wheel well liner have slots for a bladed screwdriver. Pry up the clip-top, and pull out the clips. In addition, if you have tire mud-flaps, the one on the passenger side must be removed, before removing the wheel-well liner. The mud-flap is held with 3 or 4 screws.





Finally, there is an open weld-seam on the top of the right side frame member, next to the steel Power Steering line connection. When the rubber hose is removed, fluid will flow into this seam, and inside of the frame member. You will not be able to wash the fluid out, so it will drip for the next few days, making a big mess. You can seal this seam the day before you work, with silicone sealer, as shown in the picture. Then PS fluid will flow over the top of the frame and into a tub that you place under the frame. With care, you can do the entire job in the garage without making a mess.

An alternate method to seal the open weld-seam, is simply a strip of duct tape. Apply before opening the power steering line, then remove the tape after putting everything back together.


HOW TO INSTALL THE INLINE FILTER:







Before disconnecting the rubber hose from the steel line, use red fingernail polish to mark the threads on the OEM hose clamp. That will tell you how tight to make the clamp during re-assembly. Too loose and it will leak – too tight and it will damage the hose (and leak).

Open the bottom BLACK hose clip to the metal inner-fender, using a flat blade screwdriver. Insert at the red arrow in the pictures, and twist. Look carefully at the clip, to see how it is closed. Careful, that sucker will cost $10 if you break it. Next open the top WHITE hose clip, up inside the engine bay. This can be done from the wheel well. Then loosen the bottom hose clamp. I used a 1/4 inch drive socket instead of a screwdriver – make it easy on yourself.

Support the steel line, when pulling on the rubber hose. Twist and pull on the rubber hose. If you muscle it too much, you can bend the steel line, or damage the frame-clip on the steel line. Only about 10 ounces (or less) of fluid will drain when the rubber hose end is removed. Only the fluid in the Power Steering cooler, and about half of the fluid in the tank, will leak out.

Simply cut a section out of the straight part of the rubber hose, and install the inline filter. Mark the cut position with a wrap of masking tape. If installing the MagneFine filter, wrap it in a thin rubber sheet and secure with wire-ties. The spacing is so close, that the filter body will press against the steel inner fender panel. Since the filter body is plastic, the rubber sheet is to prevent rubbing and wear.

Make certain to position the hose clamps, filter, and wire-ties so that everything fits and there is no rubbing. Even the end of a tire-wrap can eventually wear through the plastic fender wheel-liner.



HOSE CLAMPS:







The Cardone hose clamps which are included, are too small to fit over the RDX OEM hose. I did not like the provided MagneFine hose clamps, even though PS return hose is only at about 20 pounds of pressure. The MagneFine hose clamps have open screw slots, and sharp clamp edges. Either can cut the soft rubber hose.

I used NORMA constant-tension clamps in 11-17mm size. The NORMA clamp has closed screw slots, rolled edges so that it will not cut the hose, and a constant-temperature fixture. I purchased these from a Mercedes dealer, about $3 each. Sorry, I have no part number for these. But the clamps are stamped with the NORMA name, and size. They were in “open-stock” at the dealer. The parts person said that the MB mechanics use these as replacements. VW dealers usually also have this brand of hose clamp, in various sizes and styles.

http://www.norma.net.au/norma-consta...se-clamps.html


SAFETY WIRING HOSE CLAMPS:
I believe in safety wiring everything of a critical nature. It is usually easy to safety wire a slot-screw hose clamp, by running the wire though the screw-head slot and around the screw housing. This is not practical with the NORMA clamp, because of the round flange under the screw head.

While the NORMA clamps are much less likely than regular worm clamps to loosen, it is still a good idea to “safety” the screws. And it is really easy to do. Simply apply a ‘gob’ of clear silicone sealer to the area under the screw head and on the clamp screw-slots. Once this sets, the screw will not loosen. And to remove the clamp, just turn the screw, which will loosen the glue.

By-the-way, the ‘glue’ method works with any other screw-clamp used on the RDX. I use this method on the clamps on the engine air intake hoses. Then I do not have to over tighten them, worrying that they will loosen. The screw heads on these clamps are Phillips, so safety wire is not practical (without drilling the screw heads).


PROTECT THE WINDSHIELD WASHER TANK RUBBER LINES:
While the fender wheel well liner is removed, have a look forward at the windshield washer tank. Note that the rubber hoses are routed through metal panels. There is one hose in particular that is rubbing on a sharp edge. While it may take years to wear through the hose, now is a good time to cover the hose with 1/4-inch ID white plastic spiral-wrap, available from NAPA or another auto parts place.


BLEED THE POWER STEERING SYSTEM:
Actually, since no air is in the PS line between the PS tank and the PS pump, bleeding is not required. It is only necessary to pump fluid back into the section of lines that you drained, which are between the rack and tank.

I really do NOT recommend doing this by running the engine. That method risks the possibility of pumping air either through the pump itself, or the steering rack. Either will damage the internal rubber seals. That high-pitched ‘squeal’ that you sometimes hear, is really a cry of pain from the PS system. The sound is a result of the rubber seals rubbing, and metal parts touching, without PS fluid lubricant. And damage is being done.

Since you already have the front of the car on jack stands, and the wheels off the ground, it is very easy to refill the PS hoses with fluid. You do this immediately after installing the filter and re-connecting the line, and before any other reassembly. This also allows you to check for leaks.

Fill the PS tank to the upper mark. Sit in the car, turn the ignition key to unlock the steering wheel, then turn the steering wheel lock-to-lock 10 times. Do not hit or hold against the steering stops in either direction. Recheck and refill the PS tank. No more than a total of 20 or 30 lock-to-lock turns will be required. In my case no more than 10 were required, but I did a total of 30 just for good measure.

Now you can start the engine, and turn the steering wheel lock-to-lock a few times. This is done not to bleed the air from the PS system, that is already complete. This is done to force full pressure through the line you just disconnected, so that you can check for any leaks. And with the wheels off the ground, the tires will not be damaged (flat-spotted). Actually, the passenger wheel should still be off the vehicle.


CLEANUP AFTER FILTER INSTALLATION:
OK, now that you have the filter installed, and have bled the fluid, and checked for leaks, do cleanup. Wipe off as much PS fluid as possible from all surfaces. If you were careful, there should only be fluid on the one frame arm and surrounding surfaces. Then put everything back together

Drive the car out of the garage into the driveway. Reach under the front area of the wheel, and spray with a cleaner. I like the special automotive version of Simple Green. It is safe on aluminum, is bio-degradable, and is non-toxic. Safer than the household version. The automotive version states that it is orally non-toxic, which means you can actually drink it (no, do not do that). It is not strong enough to completely remove the PS fluid, it will leave some small traces of it. But on the other hand, it will also not remove any undercoating.

I also sometimes use other cleaners like Super Clean, but that is really a mild acid (technically a strong base), and will basically remove just about anything but the metal (it will etch aluminum). So choose which cleaner you want to use, and finish with a lot of water spray. Again, a garden hose is better than using a car-wash wand. I suppose running through an under-carriage car-wash is OK.


FLUSH THE POWER STEERING FLUID:
If you have time, and have planned ahead, now is a good time to flush the Power Steering fluid, when you are installing the inline filter. I did not do this, as I did not have time, and I did not plan ahead.

The FSM (factory service manual) states to disconnect the line at the PS tank. Disconnecting the PS line at the steel line on the top of the frame, behind the passenger wheel, you will not get PS fluid inside the engine bay.

After cutting the rubber line behind the passenger wheel, install the filter to the top part of the hose. Plug the bottom of the filter with a rubber vacuum cover. This works because there is no pressure on this line, during flushing. Put a longer 3/8 inch hose onto the steel line, and drop the end into a bucket. You can now flush the entire PS system of fluid, but make certain to keep the tank full and not let any air into the pump. This way no adaptors are required, just 2-feet of spare hose.

I think that the safest way to pump the fluid through the system, is to simply turn the steering wheel lock-to-lock, without the engine running. If you do start the engine, make doubly certain not to let air into the system, by letting the tank get low of fluid.

And the next time that you replace the new inline filter, that would be an excellent time to flush the system of old fluid.


VACUUM LINE END-COVERS:
Most auto parts stores will have vinyl vacuum line covers, in a kit of various sizes. Of course, you will need 3/8 inch size covers. Rubber or vinyl will be OK for use on the inline filter end, when flushing the PS fluid, as described above. I bought rubber covers from a body shop fastener store.


REPLACE THE POWER STEERING FLUID USING THE TURKEY BASTER METHOD:
This method does not introduce any air into the system. So bleeding air from the Power Steering system is not necessary, when using this method. This method is best done while the fluid is hot, or at least warm. Then the most particles will be held in suspension in the fluid being removed.

First of all, do not actually use a real Turkey Baster. I have several of them, and they are useful for many things, including basting a turkey. But trying to use one to change PS fluid will only lead to frustration and spilling fluid everywhere.

Use a battery water filler. Carefully measure the depth of the PS tank, from the top of the tank to the filter. Remember, there is a filter in the bottom of the tank. If you push the battery filler tip against the filter, you will punch a hole in it. The OEM filter is simply a plastic mesh, and is fragile.

Now cut the battery filler tip, so that the correct length is from the flange (with the hole in it) to the tip. Make the filler length at least 1/4 inch shorter than the actual distance, for safety. When using the filler, always position the flange against the top-edge of the PS tank opening. This will keep you from pushing the tip too far into the tank. I cut the tip with a hacksaw, smoothed the tip with a small fine file, and removed any burrs with an X-acto knife and sandpaper. Wash the tip, which is removable from the bulb.





Use the battery fill bulb to suck fluid from the tank. Only takes 2 or 3 cycles (bulb sucks). This will remove 7 ounces or so. The total volume of the PS system is just less than 32 ounces (1-quart). The following computations assume that the FSM (factory service manual) is accurate in stating that the PS system holds 0.96 quarts (30.72 ounces) of fluid.

So removing 7-ounces four (4) times will leave 35% old fluid. Five (5) times will leave 28% old fluid in the system. A bottle of Honda PS fluid holds 12 ounces. So 3 bottles will allow 7-ounces to be removed (and replaced) 4 or 5 times. Do this once or twice per year. This will keep the fluid fresh, and remove suspended particles in the fluid.

Hold a small container right near the PS tank. Carefully move the tip of the battery water filler from the tank to the container. Also place some cloths or paper towels around the tank to catch any small drops. If you get PS fluid on the engine accessory belt, it must be removed or the belt will squeal – it may also damage the belt. After finishing up, use a mild cleaner and wash away any spilled fluid. If you are careful, this will not be necessary.

Refill the tank after removing the 7 ounces. The PS system must be operated for a few miles, before repeating this process for the 4 or 5 times. This is to mix the new with the old fluid. Yeah, this process is tedious. It is also simple, and when I do this, I just do it (at home), after I fill up with gas, once per week for 4 weeks. That way, the PS fluid is warm/ hot and removes more particles suspended in the fluid. It only takes about 15 minutes total each time, and I do not get frustrated by trying to do it 4 times back-to-back.


MAINTENANCE LOG FOR THIS RDX:
As a reference, here is the maintenance log for this RDX PS system. Each drain/ fill of the PS tank replaced 7 ounces of fluid, from the MAX fill line on the PS tank. Removing part of the fluid more frequently, is preferable to removing all of the fluid at longer intervals.

00,025 miles: Mar 2009, purchase car new
06,100 miles: Oct 2009, INSTALL DRAIN PLUG MAGNET inside TANK
10,250 miles: Apr 2010, 9 drain/ fills, 91% fluid replacement
15,500 miles: Oct 2010, 3 drain/ fills, 52% fluid replacement
17,700 miles: Mar 2011, 5 drain/ fills, 72% fluid replacement
19,500 miles: Jun 2011, INSTALL INLINE MAGNETIC FILTER

As an example, removing 50% of the old fluid every 6-months, is preferable to removing 100% of the old fluid once per year. That lowers the amount of wear materials in the fluid, over a longer period. And also keeps the fluid itself ‘refreshed’ with additives, and the amount of oxidized fluid lower. If the previous seems counter-intuitive, remember, once the amount of wear materials becomes higher than some threshold level, wear is greatly accelerated by the cascade effect. Also, if the additives in the fluid are depleted, or the fluid itself becomes worn (oxidized), wear is again greatly accelerated.


HONDA POWER STEERING FLUID:
Honda Power Steering fluid is supposed to be special, both in viscosity and in its additive package. The Honda fluid does have an unusual viscosity rating, compared to all other PS fluids. It is also non-synthetic, which means it is more susceptible to oxidation from heat than a synthetic fluid. There is a reason why the RDX has a power steering cooler. The only currently (2011) available synthetic Honda PS oil is made by Penrite, manufactured in Australia.

Here are some comparisons of various PS fluids, just to show that the Honda stuff is really unique. All of these fluids are PS fluids, except for the GM ATF Dexron-III, which was also used on older GM cars instead of PS fluid.

All viscosity information is taken from the manufacturer’s MSDS.

100C/ +40C/ -40C for cSt viscosity at 100C and 40C/ Brookfield cP at -40C

12.3/ 46.0/ ...... = Honda OEM PSF-S
..../ 46.0/ ...... = Valvoline Pyroil HPS-12 (for Honda)
11.7/ 72.0/ ...... = Penrite HPSO-001 (synthetic) (for Honda)
11.3/ 53.7/ 64,000 = Pinnacle Resources PSF-2 (for Honda)
..../ 40.0/ ...... = GM OEM (GM p/n 105 0017)
07.8/ 39.0/ 39,000 = Esso PSF (GM p/n 105 0017)
07.7/ 34.0/ ...... = GM OEM Dexron-III ATF
07.5/ 32.0/ 20,000 = Castrol GT PSF (GM p/n 105 0017)
07.1/ 37.3/ 33,000 = Pennzoil PSF (GM Saginaw)
06.5/ 34.7/ 18,000 = RedLine synthetic (GM p/n 105 0017)
..../ 29.5/ ...... = BG Power Clean (semi-synthetic)
06.1/ 28.6/ ...... = GM OEM Cold Climate (GM p/n 1234 5867)
06.0/ 19.0/ 01,100 = Pentosin CHF 11S (European cars & Toyota)


NOTE 1: the Pentosin PS fluid Brookfield cP-viscosity in the above table is NOT a typo. Yes, the RedLine fluid really is almost 18 times as viscous (thick) as the Pentosin fluid, at -40 degrees C. This is possible because the Pentosin fluid is a special formulation synthetic. As a side note, this fluid is also used in the self-leveling suspension systems of some European vehicles. These suspension systems, as well as the power steering systems, require consistent operation at widely varying temperature extremes.

NOTE 2: the PS fluids listed above for the GM p/n are specified (on their labels) as general purpose fluids, for use in most cars, not just in GM cars. I listed the GM p/n to indicate the difference between different brands of PSF, that are specified for the exact same GM part number usage. That GM part number is listed on the product labels.

NOTE 3: Honda (Acura) PS fluid is currently labeled as Honda Genuine HG Power Steering Fluid. The label name has changed slightly over the years. The name and label differs in foreign (non-USA) markets. The fluid is currently manufactured in the USA, by Idemitsu Lubricants America, located in Indiana.

NOTE 4: the OEM GM Cold Climate (semi-synthetic) fluid is manufactured (for GM) by Texaco. It is also available as Texaco Cold Climate #14315. This Texaco PS fluid is also recommended by a few automotive manufacturers, other than GM, for cold weather use (northern USA and Canada).

NOTE 5: there appears to be only a few general types of PS fluid. Note that this grouping is based only on viscosity, and not on the additive packages.
Ø Honda
Ø Pentosin type for Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, VW, etc.
Ø GM/ Texaco Cold Climate
Ø All other cars

----eof
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2009 Silver RDX w/o tech: safety wired magnetic Engine oil drain plug | safety wired Oil Filter | safety wired Transfer Case drain/ fill plugs | safety wired Transmission drain plug | Red Line D4/Racing (1:1 mix) ATF | MagneFine magnetic filter in Trans cooler line | MagneFine magnetic filter in Power Steering line | safety wired OEM Radiator drain plug | safety wired rear Differential drain/ fill plugs | Red Line D4 ATF in rear Differential.
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Old 08-11-2011, 8:34 AM   #2
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Excellent post!

Thanks for pointing out how important power steering fluid is. Many owners and shops overlook any care for the PS system, until the rack needs replaced.

ps. OK, OK, I'll get a battery filler. I wonder if I should put the wife's turkey baster back in the kitchen drawer? ("Interesting flavor this gravy has.")

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Old 03-11-2012, 5:15 PM   #3
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It always makes myself feel good to replace the fluid, but the menu doesn't call for power steering replacement anywhere I was able to find.
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Old 10-21-2012, 6:44 PM   #4
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UPDATE – Report 1 on FILTER
WARNING: use this information at your own risk. If an inline filter is installed backwards, internal damage to the Power Steering Pump may occur (because of restricted fluid flow). And damage to your own human body can happen, if the car falls on you. Use care, use jack stands, etc.


21 June 2012: replaced first filter, and flushed all power steering fluid.

The OLD filter had been installed for almost 8K miles. The power steering system continues to produce noticeable amounts of metallic particles at 27K miles. This is despite continual (partial) refreshing of the Power Steering Fluid, and periodic removal of metallic particles at 1K mile intervals (before the inline filter installation).

In the picture below, the black circle on the white paper towel, shows the metal filings rubbed from the ‘bottom’ of the donut magnet. That amount of metal is only about 1/4 as much as was on the same brand of filter-magnet removed from my RDX transmission cooler line. However, I would expect that the trans would generate a lot more metal than the PS system.

PICTURE: first filter


The next picture is a detail from the previous picture. It shows just how much filings are on the ‘top’ side (face) of the magnet. What seems to be a trench, is one of the separators between the 8 individual magnets which comprise the donut-ring. Look carefully, and you can see 8-lines across the ring. And finally, note in the picture above that the outside edge of the magnet is smooth, and the roughness on the face(s) of the magnet, is really metal filings.

PICTURE: detail of magnet



MAINTENANCE LOG FOR THIS RDX:
As a reference, here is the maintenance log for this RDX PS system. Each drain/ fill of the PS tank replaced 7 ounces of fluid, from the MAX fill line on the PS tank, down to the OEM tank filter in the bottom. Removing part of the fluid more frequently, is preferable to removing all of the fluid at longer intervals. Frequent freshening of the fluid compensates for oxidation of the fluid, and depletion of the additives. Remember, Honda PS fluid is NOT a synthetic type.

00,025 miles: Mar 2009, purchase car new
06,100 miles: Oct 2009, INSTALL DRAIN PLUG MAGNET inside TANK
10,250 miles: Apr 2010, 9 drain/ fills, 91% fluid replacement
15,500 miles: Oct 2010, 3 drain/ fills, 54% fluid replacement
17,700 miles: Mar 2011, 5 drain/ fills, 72% fluid replacement
19,444 miles: Jun 2011, INSTALL FIRST INLINE MAGNETIC FILTER
20,686 miles: Aug 2011, 1 drain/ fill, 23% fluid replacement
27,244 miles: Jun 2012, INSTALL SECOND INLINE FILTER, FLUSH all fluid

I will note that no matter how many times I did a drain-and-fill, the fluid never got more clear than light coffee colored. But after a complete flush, the fluid was brand-new clean, at least for a few thousand miles. Note that I installed the first filter with dirty fluid, so I could not tell how well the filter was working until I removed it.

Frankly, with the amount of trash created by the PS system, and as quickly as it accumulates, I am wondering how the steering rack is going to last 200K miles. Well, maybe it will with an inline filter and yearly PS fluid flushes. I will report back after about 4K miles on the new filter, about whether it is keeping the PS fluid “looking” clean.

EFFECTIVENESS OF THE AFTERMARKET INLINE FILTER:
Until the inline filter was installed, there was significant but not excessive metal particles on the magnet in the PSF tank, about every 1K miles.

At the June 2012 fluid flush, there was only a trivial amount of metal on the magnet that I had suspended inside the tank, after 8K miles, so that tank magnet was removed.

After the PSF was flushed, it was possible to actually see inside the PS fluid tank. By holding a bright small flashlight under the bottom of the tank, it was possible to clearly (pun intended) see through the tank. And to see that the OEM permanent filter in the bottom of the tank had only a few dark tiny dots of matter on it. It is easy to determine just how clear the fluid and clean the OEM filter are, by reading the printed code letters printed on the outside bottom of the PSF tank, looking from the top down through the fluid.

The material on the OEM PSF tank filter was not flushed out, because it is on the TOP of the tank filter. And the fluid is drawn from the BOTTOM of the tank, into the PS pump. And I did not back-flush the system, only flushed in the direction of normal fluid flow.

FLUSHING THE POWER STEERING SYSTEM:
I used the method described in my original post, BEFORE changing the OLD inline filter. I replaced the OEM hose between the bottom of the added OLD inline filter and the steel return line, with clear vinyl hose. That allowed me to see the quality of the PS fluid during flushing.

The PS system holds just under 1-quart of fluid, according to the FSM (factory service manual). After flushing with almost four 12-oz Honda PS fluid bottles, the fluid output was clean. Then I replaced the old inline-filter with a new one, and re-filled the PS tank and cooler line. That took another 16oz, or a total of about 55-ounces, for a total of 5-bottles.

During the PS flush, each fill of the tank required about 12 ounces, up to the top (above the max fill line). And to force that amount of fluid through the system, to flush, required approximately 12 turns lock-to-lock of the steering wheel. In other words, it required about 1 turn lock-to-lock to flush one ounce of fluid. So the total system flush required about 50 turns lock-to-lock of the steering wheel. And unless you allow the PS tank to run dry, no air will be introduced into the pressurized part of the system, so no bleeding is required when flushing is complete.

Remember, the flushing method that I have described and used, has the engine OFF and the front wheels off the ground. Please read the original post for details.

PICTURES and COMMENTS:
The next picture shows the various parts of the filter and its operation.

PICTURE: filter operation


The next picture, a cut-away of an actual filter, shows that the magnet is supported at the intake end of the filter. And that the magnet is separated from the paper filter, so that oil can flow completely around the magnet.

PICTURE: cut-away


The next picture shows that the amount of metal filings collected on the magnet, is the same on both sides, even though the oil flows directly onto the ‘top’ side first. I did not completely rotate the magnet around on the paper towel. I simply rotated it back-and-forth about 15 degrees, to deposit the black metal filings onto the paper towel, forming the circles. That means that the metal particles were evenly distributed all around both sides of the magnet. The edges of the magnet (outside and inside the hole) are clean, because the poles of the magnet are the top and bottom faces of the circle.

PICTURE: rings of metal filings


The paper filter is rated at 25 microns. From the pictures, you can see that some significant material has been filtered out of the Power Steering fluid. Yeah, its ugly and black, but exactly just how much junk is really on the filter is difficult to tell just by looking. It does not seem like that much to me – significant but not excessive.

Anyway, you can compare these pics with the clean paper filter in the cut-away picture above.

FILTER LEAK? – yes/ NO
Before I replaced the old filter, I could see that there was a small leak, onto the inner wheel well liner, from the Power Steering filter. As it turns out, it was one of the hose clamps that was too loose, not the filter itself. Even so, after an entire year, the amount of fluid leaked never was enough to see any decrease in the PS tank fluid level. And there was not enough fluid leaked to get any onto the frame member below the filter. See the pictures in my original post.

The special hose clamps I used are temperature compensating. But I guess that since I installed the clamps in hot weather (JUNE), I did not make them tight enough for DECEMBER temps. That is, these clamps expand when it gets hotter, but they do not contract less than the installation tightness when it gets colder.

FILTER BY-PASS VALVE FAILURE:
If you look at the first picture in this post, you can see the fluid pressure by-pass valve. It is just a spring-loaded tightly fitting button, in the intake end of the paper filter canister.

THE BY-PASS VALVE WAS FROZEN, when I disassembled the filter. It should only take 2-pounds of pressure to open, a trivial amount. When I pushed on it, it took perhaps 10-15 pounds estimated, to force it open. Then it functioned just fine.

PICTURE: by-pass valve SIDE


The reason for the frozen by-pass, is that too much glue was used to attach the paper filter material to the end of the metal cap. A drop ‘oozed’ onto the by-pass button, in one small area. The by-pass button was glued to the filter end-cap opening.

PICTURE: by-pass valve BOTTOM


The glue is only on the edge of the button. It can be seen in the picture just above, only because the button is retracted down inside the by-pass valve housing. Look at the picture at the beginning of this post. The glue cannot be seen. The top edge of the by-pass valve (button) was glued to the underside of the top end-cap of the paper filter.

PICTURE: excessive glue


I find this situation somewhat concerning, as I put another filter just like this one back into the Power Steering line, and also a second one back into the transmission cooler line. Anyway, when I examined the used transmission inline filter that I had installed in the cooler line, the by-pass valve worked OK.

In theory, the by-pass should not be required, until the paper filter has become saturated (clogged). However, when the ambient temperature is below zero, and the Power Steering fluid is cold, the fluid is also much thicker than when its warm. I do not know how to determine whether or not there will be some flow restriction, when the temperature is cold, and the by-pass does not open. So I think it is very important that the by-pass be functional, even when the filter is newer and there is not yet any flow restriction through the paper filter.

The MagneFine filter by-pass is exactly the same design as the by-pass in the RDX OEM internal transmission filter. I know, I looked (at an OEM replacement filter). Kind of makes you wonder, does it not?

I mean, what happens if the OEM non-replaceable RDX transmission filter should become ‘saturated’ and its by-pass valve does not open? Well, that is why I installed an inline MagneFine filter in the transmission cooler line. So that the replaceable filter removes enough material that the internal filter never does get saturated.

WHAT TO DO? about quality control:
Here are some things you can do. Let us consider each option in turn:

Ø Do not use (add) an external filter to the Power Steering system

Ø Hang a magnet in the Power Steering Tank

Ø Use another brand of filter

Ø Check that the MagneFine filter functions properly

Ø Replace the MagneFine filter in a timely manner

DO NOT USE (ADD) AN EXTERNAL FILTER TO THE POWER STEERING SYSTEM:
I tried to give some good reasons for adding the filter, in my original post. In summary, the OEM filter in the Power Steering tank is too coarse to filter small particles. This is obvious from looking at the amount of particles shown in the pictures above. Yet, there are only a very few tiny particles on the OEM filter. Remember, I did not add the external filter until almost 20K miles. Yet the OEM filter removed essentially nothing during the period from zero to 20K miles.

HANG A MAGNET IN THE POWER STEERING TANK (instead of using a filter):
Certainly one option would be to use a small very strong Neodymium magnet, hung inside the Power Steering tank. Even the ceramic magnet I described in my original post, collected significant material. A Neodymium magnet would collect even more material. And this option is so simple that I cannot think of any potential problem. I used my own hanging magnet for 3-years and 20K miles.

USE ANOTHER BRAND OF FILTER (than the MagneFine):
Any brand of filter with a by-pass, has the possibility that the by-pass will fail to open. And some filters do not have a by-pass, even worse. Only the Cardone and MagneFine Power Steering filters can be disassembled, to check that the by-pass functions properly.

Remember, nothing is ever perfectly manufactured. Every manufacturer of every product, has a certain QC (quality control) failure rate (bad product). That is why warranties are provided. Keep in mind the possible result of using a bad product. In the case of a Power Steering system, if the filter by-pass never HAS to open, there is likely no problem. But if the filter clogs and the by-pass FAILS to open, the Power Steering system can be damaged.

The Cardone Power Steering filter described in my original post, differs in design from the MagneFine. The Cardone filter is designed to be disassembled. This can be done before installation, to check for proper function. And it can be disassembled after use, to clean and reuse. I do not believe that the design would allow the by-pass function to fail, in the Cardone filter. However, the Cardone magnet is ‘tiny’ compared to the magnet inside the MagneFine filter. Therefore, the Cardone filter should be serviced at appropriately shorter intervals.

When I posted my DIY for a TRANSMISSION inline filter, I included all of the various filter options that I found. I believe that any inline trans-filter can be used as a power steering filter (but not vice versa). Unfortunately, I do not think that there is another valid option, besides the MagneFine or Cardone. But of course, you must decide for yourself. Here is a link to my post for an inline TRANSMISSION FILTER, where you can read about the other inline filters that I have found:

LINK: install an inline TRANSMISSION FILTER
http://rdx.acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=803129

I do not claim to have found every possibility for an inline Power Steering Filter. But one thing I do note is that there are many _brands_ of filters, that are just relabeled MagneFine filters. As best I can determine, the MagneFine filter is the most common, and most sold filter, available for this application.

FORD sells a re-labeled MagneFine filter through its own parts department, with a Motorcraft label and part number. I have to assume that if very many MagneFine filters fail, there would probably be some indication in online posts. There are many online threads describing how to install the MagneFine filter in every model of vehicle currently sold in the USA.

CHECK THAT THE MAGNEFINE FILTER FUNCTIONS PROPERLY (before installation):
Open up the new filter and check the by-pass valve, BEFORE installing it. The MagneFine and Cardone filters are the only ones that I found, that can be opened without damage. No other filter allows checking the function of the by-pass. And some filters do not have a built-in by-pass function.

The MagneFine filter-top just unscrews, and is sealed by a rubber O-ring. So that it should be OK to remove and re-install the top before use, to look inside.

Do note that even if the MagneFine paper filter by-pass valve does open, that oil still flows over and around the magnet, continuing to remove any magnetic metal filings.

As for those of you who think nothing of buying a cheap engine oil filter, well, good luck with that. There is a by-pass valve in your RDX oil filter for a reason. The real problem is that a failed by-pass in an engine oil filter, will not cause an immediate problem. It just means reduced oil pressure to critical areas of the engine. You may never know why your engine lasted only 80K miles, and failed, rather than lasted 150K miles and still going strong.

I personally, am going to assume that a more expensive name-brand oil filter, will have a lower QC (quality-control) failure rate, than a cheap filter. But feel free to make your own decision.

REPLACE THE MAGNEFINE FILTER IN A TIMELY MANNER:
Replace the filter within the time-frame (service-interval) specified by the manufacturer. The good news is that while the amount of material filtered out by the MagneFine PS filter was more than I expected, it was good-to-go for another 20K miles, in my opinion, before the by-pass would need to operate (open).

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU REPLACE THE MAGNEFINE FILTER?
I think that either 12K miles or 1-year is a safe interval to change the MagneFine filter, at least under the operating conditions of my own RDX. This is the interval(s) stated on the filter label.

I do not recommend a time period of longer than 1-year, regardless of mileage, because the MagneFine particle filter is made of paper. Paper breaks down faster than a synthetic medium. This applies to both the Power Steering system and the Transmission system.

Note that there are various other filter replacement-interval ‘suggestions’ from the MagneFine Filter manufacturer. As you can see in one of the pics in this post, the manufacturer says 20K miles (35K kilometers), with no time frame. The Magnefine filter label states to replace the filter once per year or 20K kilometers. The installation instruction sheet states to replace the filter every 30K miles. The online web site from which I purchased one filter, said something else (I forget just what). The NAPA filter that I purchased contained no instructions, just the filter. Confusing.

In other words, the MagneFine manufacturer and various distributors do not really seem to have a clear idea of just how often this filter should be replaced.

Well, have you noticed that most ENGINE OIL filter manufacturers are now advertising that they have high-mileage synthetic filters, to be used with synthetic oil, using a very high OCI (oil change interval)? There is a very good reason for that.

As only one example, Purolator now offers three different ENGINE-OIL filters: Classic, PureOne, and Synthetic. The Purolator web site says:

Synthetic, wire-backed media + 99% efficiency + 27 grams capacity = 10,000 mile protection. [my edit: no time frame given]

Purolator PureONE oil filters should be replaced every 3,000 miles or 3 months depending on the driving conditions - or unless otherwise specified by the vehicle's manufacturer.

For low-mileage or highway driving, a Purolator Classic oil filter is the oil filter of choice.

Note the low replacement intervals specified for the two non-synthetic Purolator oil filters, the PureOne and the Classic. Now why would that be? Could it be because the PAPER filters would break-down and begin to deteriorate after that interval? Yes, the paper used in oil filters is specially treated, but it is still not as long lasting as a synthetic medium.

Well, the MagneFine filter is PAPER, it says so in the picture from their web site, which is displayed in this post. I definitely would replace it after only 1-year. And I think that one year is OK because neither the transmission fluid nor the power steering fluid operates at a temperature as high as the normal engine oil temperature. Higher oil temps would cause faster deterioration of the paper filter material.

JUST HOW DOES A SHEET OF PAPER FILTER ANYTHING?
This picture shows that in comparison to the small particles being filtered, the paper is pretty thick. And fibrous. That is why it works as a filtering medium. The cut paper edges in the picture are so rough, because the X-acto knife was not very sharp, and I was not being particularly careful – I just wanted to cut away the paper to look at the by-pass valve.

And the paper medium does not look all black and nasty, as in the previous pictures. That is because the filtered material is on the ‘outside’ of the paper. Here, you are looking at the ‘inside’ of the paper, which should be (and is) cleaner. Try to keep a sense of scale, and the size of what you are really looking at here. At a guess, the paper medium is only 0.020 inch thick.

The paper is not much thicker than the metal in the picture. And that metal is not cut, I simply tore it away like tin-foil, using pliers. I used brute force (not much) instead of any care during disassembly. If that makes the filter seem flimsy, remember, this is not an engine oil filter. Engines can operate at up to 60psi oil pressure, and the filter can ‘see’ much more than that, during pressure surges. K&N engine oil filters are made to withstand 9-times normal engine oil pressure.

Whereas, a Power Steering filter will see at best 15-psi, and probably less. Remember, the MagneFine filter by-pass is set to only 2-pounds or less. The filter is in the RETURN line. This explains how a PS filter housing can be a simple plastic molding. Its the pressure side of the PS system that sees 1300-psi.

The ‘sheet’ size of the paper medium is approximately 1-foot x 2-inches, when stretched and flattened. I did not measure exactly, as it is not of much concern to me. I simply note the size as a reference.

PICTURE: paper filter medium


CURRENT MAGNEFINE FILTER NAPA PART NUMBER:
As of June 2012 the NAPA part number for the MagneFine filter is a transmission p/n 1-8514, cost of $24, with the 3/8-inch hose-ends. The box says NAPA, the filter label says Raybestos/ MagnaFine. Yes, I am using the exact same filter in both the Power Steering and Transmission fluid lines. The MagneFine is specifically designed to be used in both applications.
----eof
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Old 10-21-2012, 8:40 PM   #5
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Are there specific issues with the RDX PS system, which, by installing a filter, would save the owner from an expensive bill? Or is this a "project."

The only PS issue I could find posted here on AZ turned out to be completely unrelated to the PS system.
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Old 10-22-2012, 7:29 AM   #6
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My PS pump has started to make a terrible 'whirring' sound whenever the engine has been running for a while (after about 5-10mins driving).
I'm trying to diagnose.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wspy View Post
My PS pump has started to make a terrible 'whirring' sound whenever the engine has been running for a while (after about 5-10mins driving). I'm trying to diagnose.
You would most likely get a better response with a new thread, this question is sort of "off-topic" here. But ...

'Whirring' or 'whining' or 'squeeling' its difficult to say, since I cannot actually hear what you hear. More info is always helpful, when asking for assistence: mileage, year of vehicle, any repairs, PS fluid ever changed, noise occurs without/ or only with/ steering movement, etc.

But, most likely causes:
1) low fluid
2) bad fluid, flush with new fluid
3) bad seal on the intake line from the tank to the pump
4) bad pump
5) weak accessory belt tensioner (check it), allowing belt to slip, or else belt itself is wornout

The (3) is pretty common on TLs and other Acura models, there was actually a TSB. And I have seen, I believe, a couple of posts for the RDX as well. Search this site for the problem, and the solution, which is pretty simple. Just replace the seal at the hose junction at the pump, for the hose from the PS tank.

There are some DIYs for other Acura models on this forum, I do not remember one for the RDX. But the pump and hoses and the seal are all similar. But the seal is specific to the RDX, if I remember correctly.

Its the pump sucking air by the seal, that causes the noise. When the fluid is warmer, it is thinner, and does not help to seal the rubber seal on the hose/ pipe.

Number (4) is also possible if you have high mileage (or severe service) and never changed the fluid. All of the other seals in the pump harden, and no longer prevent air intake, and/or the bushings wear. There is a thread on the TL(?) or one of the other model forums (this site) that describes how to completely rebuild the pump, just means replacing all of the internal seals. It looked like a lot of work to save a couple of hundred dollars for a pump.

The hard parts do not seem to wear in less than 100K miles, unless the fluid is never changed.
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Last edited by dcmodels; 10-22-2012 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mr Marco View Post
Are there specific issues with the RDX PS system, which, by installing a filter, would save the owner from an expensive bill? Or is this a "project”? …

The CARDONE company makes power steering pumps. They think that a POWER STEERING filter improves service life. And they also think that neither the pump nor the steering rack will last forever, without some help. As I stated in my previous posts, CARDONE warrants their own replacement POWER STEERING PUMPS for 1-year. But if a CARDONE inline filter is ALSO used, then their pump is warranted for life.

I thought I had more-or-less answered your question in my first post. As I stated there, I hope that my RDX steering rack will last 250K miles, under severe service use. I am not aware that there is yet enough high-mileage data available for the RDX model, to define typical service life of the steering rack/ power steering pump.

But here is a more direct response to your question, at the risk of repeating myself somewhat.

The steering rack in my Sister-in-law’s 1996 Honda Civic was replaced at about 120K miles. That vehicle is much lighter than a RDX, and therefore, should cause less wear on a steering rack. And yes, I am aware that perhaps the Civic rack was built to a lighter ‘specification’ than the RDX rack. Either way, 120K is far short of 240K miles.

WHAT CAUSES STEERING RACK and PUMP WEAR?
Driving 10 miles on the freeway requires almost no movement of the steering rack, and in theory, causes little wear. Driving 10 miles on city streets, and making many turns, definitely produces much more movement of a steering rack, and therefore, much more wear.

My own RDX is never driven on the freeway – I consider that severe use.

The 2009 RDX owner’s manual says: “Turning the steering wheel to full left or full right lock and holding it there can damage the power steering pump”. Why? Because the more steering lock that is used, the more fluid pressure is required. The more pressure required, the more fluid movement is required, to produce the required steering force. And the more fluid force, the more wear on the seals & moving parts, particularly if the fluid is full of abrasive particles (already worn from the metal of the pump/ steering rack).

The FSM (factory service manual) requires holding the rack valve CLOSED for no more than 5-seconds, when testing the output pressure of the pump (1,300psi). And holding the steering-wheel against the bump-stop is roughly equivalent to holding the pressure valve closed. If you are lucky, one of the Power Steering hoses will fail before the pump fails. Of course, if you do not notice this immediately, and probably you will not, the next thing to fail will be the pump, followed by the rack itself, because of lack of fluid (and the lubrication it provides), because the fluid is now all over the inside of the engine bay.

Try this experiment (carefully). In a large parking lot, drive in a straight line at about 20mph. Remove your foot from the throttle, and place the transmission into NEUTRAL. Turn off the engine, but do NOT turn the ignition key to the LOCK position, only to the ACCESSORY position, then immediately back to the RUN position, so that the steering column is not locked.

Unless you are George Atlas you will not be able to move the steering wheel. I am wondering what happens if the electronic DBW (drive by wire) fails, I have to kill the engine, and I am going 65mph?

IMPROVING STEERING RACK SERVICE LIFE:
There are only two ways to improve the service-life of a steering rack:

(1) replace/ flush/ refresh the fluid periodically because it oxidizes and loses it lubrication properties, and

(2) remove the wear particles from the fluid (with a filter), because otherwise the fluid acts as an abrasive slurry at the 1,300psi operating pressure of the rack. And the OEM PS tank filter is simply inadequate.

Old black power steering fluid is not as benign as black engine oil. Unlike engine oil, power steering oil that contains suspended particles, will simply wear-away the rubber seals, causing leaks.

Whether the PS fluid is old (oxidized) or full of abrasive particles, its not the rack metal that is in danger, but the rubber seals. Unless a rack has been severely abused, the metal parts do not ‘wear-out’. The rubber seals begin to leak, and then you either continually top-up the fluid, or replace the rack. And of course, if the fluid level runs low, then the metal parts will be damaged (either the pump or the rack).

Heat degrades the rubber seals. And it oxidizes the fluid itself. Old fluid that is oxidized and has depleted additives, will ‘fry’ and harden the seals, causing leaks. A couple of figure-8s around the parking lot and the PS tank will be hot to the touch. That is probably around 150 degrees.

Honda PSF is NOT a synthetic. It does not last forever, or even 30K miles in my opinion. In severe use, PS fluid should be replaced every year. But of course, every driver is free to make their own decision.

Unfortunately, there is no synthetic PS fluid with the same viscosity characteristics as the OEM Honda fluid. Well, actually, in Australia there is Penrite HPSO-001, which is a Honda compatible PS synthetic fluid.

I am not aware of any synthetic PS fluid that is available in the USA, with the proper viscosity. When you find a PS fluid in your local parts store, that claims it is OK for use in a Honda PS system, I would urge you to check the MSDS for that fluid, and confirm that it actually does match the Honda PS viscosity requirements of your RDX.
----eof
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Old 10-23-2012, 6:16 PM   #9
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Quote: "My own RDX is never driven on the freeway – I consider that severe use."

Really? Do you ever drive in stop and go traffic? Also considered severe duty. Short trips- severe duty. Dusty roads? Severe duty! Extreme hot or cold weather- severe duty! Are we talking about a museum piece or a daily driver?
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Old 10-23-2012, 8:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRR98 View Post
Quote: "My own RDX is never driven on the freeway – I consider that severe use."

Really? Do you ever drive in stop and go traffic? Also considered severe duty. Short trips- severe duty. Dusty roads? Severe duty! Extreme hot or cold weather- severe duty! Are we talking about a museum piece or a daily driver?
I meant that I consider never driving on the freeway as severe service. I did NOT mean that driving on the freeway is severe service. I realize that I have posted a lot of data in this thread, but if you read all of it that will cause less confusion.

I defined my idea of severe service, much like your own, in my original post in this thread. The heading of that section, in post #1 of this thread, is called:
WHAT IS SEVERE SERVICE?
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Old 10-23-2012, 8:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Marco View Post
… The only PS issue I could find posted here on AZ turned out to be completely unrelated to the PS system.

Since this thread is about preventative measures, by the time you start finding RDX problems on this (or any other) site, it is too late for preventative measures.

If you want to know what kind of problems to anticipate for a newer vehicle line, look for problems that other vehicles have, from the same manufacturer (Acura/ Honda). The power steering pump in the RDX is not that different from pumps in other Acura or Honda models. While the configuration of the pumps may differ, the same set of engineers designed all of the pumps, and gave the same level of quality specifications. Years ago GM engineers were known to say that the only difference between a Chevy and a Cadillac was the ‘build’ quality, not the quality of the parts. And because of the consolidation in the car industry, such as Toyota engines in GM vehicles, there is no longer much differentiation in the build quality either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wspy View Post
My PS pump has started to make a terrible 'whirring' sound whenever the engine has been running for a while (after about 5-10mins driving). …

The AZ site search feature does not work well in my opinion. As for specific problems with the power steering pump, here you go:

http://rdx.acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13901304#post13901304
Power Steering Whine - REPLACE THE O-RING ON THE PUMP INTAKE LINE

http://tl.acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=754586
Power Steering Whine fix - complete DIY on a TL pump

http://tl.acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=841134
Power Steering Pump Overhaul (with Pics & SM Scans) - REBUILD THE SEALS - cost of $8 and two hours, new pump is about $300

And those are just the ones I found with a quick search. I do remember reading some other threads, about power steering pumps, both on Acurazine as well as some other Honda web sites/ threads.
----eof
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Old 10-23-2012, 9:06 PM   #12
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you, sir, have earned the title of most detail oriented person on all of Acurazine (and maybe the world). I appreciate you sharing but I'd hate to see your documented method for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

J.
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Old 10-23-2012, 9:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRR98 View Post
Quote: "My own RDX is never driven on the freeway – I consider that severe use."

Really? Do you ever drive in stop and go traffic? Also considered severe duty. Short trips- severe duty. Dusty roads? Severe duty! Extreme hot or cold weather- severe duty! Are we talking about a museum piece or a daily driver?
And did you even read the paragraph just before my sentence that you have quoted? Quoting out-of-context causes miscommunication.

That paragraph clearly states that freeway driving causes little wear, and city driving causes much wear. Here it is again.

DCmodels says: "Driving 10 miles on the freeway requires almost no movement of the steering rack, and in theory, causes little wear. Driving 10 miles on city streets, and making many turns, definitely produces much more movement of a steering rack, and therefore, much more wear."
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Last edited by dcmodels; 10-23-2012 at 9:38 PM.
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Old 10-23-2012, 9:39 PM   #14
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For power steering rack to see more use vs less use, wouldn't you only take whether or not you're turning the wheel rather than the speed you're going or type of roadway you're on?
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Old 10-23-2012, 9:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockstar143 View Post
For power steering rack to see more use vs less use, wouldn't you only take whether or not you're turning the wheel rather than the speed you're going or type of roadway you're on?
Yes, of course. But how many turns are you going to make on a freeway? As the length of my posts is already excessive, I was going for some attempt at brevity. Again, here is what I already said, so I am not going to reply any more to these comments.

As for your comment about my detail obsessiveness, I cannot say whether people who work in IT become cursed with this problem, or if people who are cursed with this problem naturally work in IT.

DCmodels says: "Driving 10 miles on the freeway requires almost no movement of the steering rack, and in theory, causes little wear. Driving 10 miles on city streets, and making many turns, definitely produces much more movement of a steering rack, and therefore, much more wear."
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Old 10-24-2012, 7:49 AM   #16
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Thanks for taking the time to explain what you meant.
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Old 10-24-2012, 8:52 AM   #17
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Sounds good, man. I don't think anyone was looking to piss you off. You're just detail oriented...the world needs that too!

A blog, seems more up your alley though.
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Old 10-24-2012, 6:46 PM   #18
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Sounds good, man. I don't think anyone was looking to piss you off. You're just detail oriented...the world needs that too!

A blog, seems more up your alley though.
Sorry, I just did not seem to be communicating well. I checked your build in the link in your signature. I like black-on-black. And I am surprised that a non-RDX owner is reading this thread - it seems RDX specific to me, but I sometimes read the TL and TSX threads.
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Old 10-25-2012, 8:53 AM   #19
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LOL...thanks man. Yeah, Honestly, I normally click "See new threads" and just read up anything that looks interesting. I like to learn as much as I can about all of them since a lot of Acura platforms share certain flaws and fixes.

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Old 01-23-2014, 9:20 PM   #20
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UPDATE – Report 2 on FILTER, comparison of driving conditions

09 Nov 2013 @40,380 miles: replaced third (3) filter (with another MagneFine).

Driving 80% highway for 10K miles, produced much less wear than driving 80% city for 8K miles. The pictures below graphically illustrate the difference in wear of the power steering (PS) system, between mostly city, and mostly highway, driving. The third replaced filter was installed for 10K miles.

Note that between the first and third filters, a second filter was installed for 2.6K miles. All three filters were replaced sooner than normally required, because all three leaked. I have already discussed the problems with the MagneFine filter leaking, and other problems. So I will say no more here.

Because of the leaking problems I have had with the MagneFine filter in this PS application, I am currently considering what other filters may be appropriate. I will report again, when I have chosen and installed a different brand.

**********
When looking at the pictures, note the following:

Ø It is difficult to determine how much wear material is on the filter magnet, simply by looking at the magnet – or even by looking at an enlarged picture. No, the best thing is to look at the material on a paper towel, after it has been wiped off of the magnet.

Ø The magnet ring (donut) is composed of 8-segments, that is, 8 separate magnet-segments linked into a ring. For the first filter magnet, it is easy to tell that the material on the magnet is pretty deep, because of the *trenches* or slots, between the magnetic segments. But easier is to look at the wear material after it has been wiped onto a paper towel.

Ø The parallel lines on the magnet, in the detail pictures, are machined lines. Yes, the magnets are ceramic, compressed into the donut shape, then machined flat on each side.

Ø Note that the amount of material on the paper towels, is much greater for the first filter, which was installed when the vehicle was mostly city driven.

Ø A new paper-filter color is Orange, not White. Note that the color of the used paper filter, is black for the first filter, which was installed when the vehicle was mostly city driven. The other two paper filters, are only slightly discolored, caused by filtering out wear material from the PS system. The second filter was installed for only a short interval. The third filter was installed when the vehicle was mostly highway driven.

Ø I change about 40% of the PS fluid every 6-months, using the Turkey-Baster method, whether driving city or highway. The number of miles traveled will vary in 6-months, but is generally 4-5 thousand miles. The fluid is refreshed in order to lower the amount of wear on the PS system. Otherwise, the amount of wear in the pictures would be greater than shown. Honda PS fluid is not synthetic. It oxidizes and degrades rapidly. Unfortunately, there is no synthetic fluid compatible with the Honda PS system, available in the USA – in Australia, yes.

Ø Lastly, remember that the magnetic (steel) wear material inside the PS system, forms an abrasive slurry with the PS fluid, which can quickly wear the aluminum steering rack housing and rubber seals. As more material accumulates in the PS fluid, the wear accelerates, generating additional abrasive material – a cascade effect.
----eof
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PS_F1_DETAIL.JPG (44.8 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg PS_F2_DETAIL.JPG (56.1 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg PS_F1_top-bottom.JPG (30.0 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg PS_F2_top-bottom.JPG (44.5 KB, 6 views)
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