Power steering fluid color is light tan??

Discussion in 'General Maintenance/Repair Questions' started by Last Dollar, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Last Dollar

    Last Dollar Member

    197
    May 10, 2011
    Huntington WV boating the Ohio River and lakes in
    Sea Ray 225
    5.0 Mercruiser
    Is this a problem?? I removed all the fluid in the pump and refilled it, then ran the engine and turned the wheel back and forth then shut the engine down and pulled all the fluid from the pump. Did this 5 times and each time the fluid I take out is light brown or chocolate in color. Looks like coffee with cream in it. What is the problem???? I put some of the fluid in a glass jar to check for water separation but did not see any sign of it. The fluid remains the same color. Power steering seems to work very well
     
  2. scoflaw

    scoflaw Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2011
    cape cod mass
    1999 Powerquest legend 260 sx
    502 mpi Bravo 1
    What color were you expecting ? It's hydraulic fluid, so many products will work and can be different colors from amber to red.
     
  3. techmitch

    techmitch Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    May 1, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River/Frog Mortar Creek MD.
    1999 270 DA
    Twin 4.3s W/Alpa I Gen II's
    What color fluid are you refilling it with? Possible power steering cooler failure/cross leak.
     
    Soulshine likes this.
  4. Last Dollar

    Last Dollar Member

    197
    May 10, 2011
    Huntington WV boating the Ohio River and lakes in
    Sea Ray 225
    5.0 Mercruiser
    I suppose there would be a fluid cooler in the system but even if there was a cross leak and water was getting in the fluid would it not be apparent if I immediately take fluid back out after a 60 second test and put it in a clear jar. The fluid I'm using is regular automotive power steering fluid and if I put a little in a glass jar and add a little water the fluid immediately goes to the top and water to the bottom. This new fluid I add to the pump turns light chocolate immediately after I run it for a few seconds and I'm thinking that is due to it mixing with the fluid already in the power steering system. I used two quarts of fluid, one pint each time, to flush the system but had no success in making it go away. New fluid from the bottle is crystal clear when going in.

    How much fluid does the system hold?? If the actuator, hoses and pump would all together hold say a gallon of fluid then I could see it would take a while to flush out contaminated fluid using the process I'm using. The pump itself, when pumped dry, takes 1 pint of fluid to bring it up to the proper level. Is there a way to drain the power steering system all at once???
     
  5. scoflaw

    scoflaw Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2011
    cape cod mass
    1999 Powerquest legend 260 sx
    502 mpi Bravo 1
    Take the return line off the pump, and put it in a container. Start or crank engine while feeding it new stuff.
    Power steering pump is a tough unit and doesn't care what color the fluid is.
     
    Chris-380 and techmitch like this.
  6. techmitch

    techmitch Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    May 1, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River/Frog Mortar Creek MD.
    1999 270 DA
    Twin 4.3s W/Alpa I Gen II's
    Try this. Take the return hose off of the reservoir, cap off the nipple an put the hose into a gallon jug. Preferably a clear or at least an opaque jug like a milk jug or washer fluid jug. Fill the reservoir with new fluid and have a couple more qts. ready to pour in as an assistant starts the engine an then turns the wheel lock to lock a few times while you are keeping the reservoir full. Turn the engine off just before she runs dry. Reconnect return line, fill reservoir, start engine, purge air from the system and recheck fluid condition.
     
  7. techmitch

    techmitch Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    May 1, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River/Frog Mortar Creek MD.
    1999 270 DA
    Twin 4.3s W/Alpa I Gen II's
    Faster typing.
     
  8. Sea-Ya

    Sea-Ya New Member

    14
    Sep 29, 2016
    Long Island
    2004 Sea Ray 215 Express Cruiser
    5.0 Mercruiser
    I am curious also as to what is causing this as I have the same light colored coffee colored fluid in mine also. I had thought water was getting in there also. I asked a few other boaters at my marina and they said it is fine and to leave it alone.
     
  9. Last Dollar

    Last Dollar Member

    197
    May 10, 2011
    Huntington WV boating the Ohio River and lakes in
    Sea Ray 225
    5.0 Mercruiser
    Looks like if water was in the fluid it would eventually sink and there would be noticeable separation after several hours if a sample was left in a glass jar. I'm also wondering if the previous owner had used a different type of fluid like Automatic Transmission Fluid instead of Power Steering Fluid and the mixing of the two gives a new color. I will try mixing the two together and see if this gives a color variation. Will report back later....
     
  10. techmitch

    techmitch Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    May 1, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River/Frog Mortar Creek MD.
    1999 270 DA
    Twin 4.3s W/Alpa I Gen II's
    Try this. Take the return hose off of the reservoir, cap off the nipple an put the hose into a gallon jug. Preferably a clear or at least an opaque jug like a milk jug or washer fluid jug. Fill the reservoir with new fluid and have a couple more qts. ready to pour in as an assistant starts the engine an then turns the wheel lock to lock a few times while you are keeping the reservoir full. Turn the engine off just before she runs dry. Reconnect return line, fill reservoir, start engine, purge air from the system and recheck fluid condition.
     
  11. Bt Doctur

    Bt Doctur Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2010
    New Jersey
    Ex SRV 240 Weekender twin
    in between
    you can flush it 1000 times, if the cooler is leaking water will constantly enter the oil and give a coffee color
     
  12. Last Dollar

    Last Dollar Member

    197
    May 10, 2011
    Huntington WV boating the Ohio River and lakes in
    Sea Ray 225
    5.0 Mercruiser
    But would the water and fluid not separate if a sample is left in a jar for an extended period of time??
     
  13. Spark600

    Spark600 Member

    48
    Dec 28, 2013
    Long Island NY
    29' Amber jack with twin 5.7 Mercruiser and V drives transmission
    Kohler Generator
    Mercury dinghy
    29' Amber jack with twin 5.7 Mercruiser and V drives transmission
    Send the oil simple to Blackstone labs to be analyzed ( $ 25.00 ) and they will tell you exactly with is in it.
     
  14. WV 320 Dancer

    WV 320 Dancer Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    594
    Oct 28, 2018
    2003 Sea Ray Sundancer 320
    Twin 350 MAG - V Drive
    I would send to Blackstone as Spark600 suggested. Might as well send a sample of your engine oil while you are at it. Not that two are related but it would save on postage.
     

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