Imperial Homepage -> Repair -> Steering -> Power Steering -> Bleeding
After installing or servicing a power steering unit (rack and pinion, pump or gear), it will be necessary to purge the air out of the system. After the system has been pre-bled, purge the air out of the system as follows:
1. Idle the engine to bring the hydraulic steering fluid to operating temperature (60-80 C degrees, 140-170 F degrees).
2. Add fluid to bring system up to proper specifications.
3. With engine idling, cycle the steering wheel from side to side 10-15 times. Do not turn too quickly or hold in the lock position for more than 10 seconds.
4. Refill the power steering pump to proper specifications.
5. Check hydraulic fluid for color—if tan, light red, foamy or cloudy, air is still in the system. Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 (for cars with rack and pinion, it may be helpful to let car sit for 30 minutes before repeating steps 3, 4 and 5).
If all the air is not removed from the system, an abnormal intermittent whine, moan or continuous growing noise may be heard form the power steering system. In some cases, a "shudder" may be felt in the steering wheel while driving the vehicle. If possibility of an air leak exists, check the entire system for leaks, repair as necessary and bleed the system.
Question from Frank (1961):
I have to replace the high pressure hose on my power steering. What is the procedure for bleeding the system after I replace the hose? Bleeding is mentioned in the service manual but I could not find out how. Is there a bleed screw or something or do I just remove the low pressure hose and remove the air from there?
Just start the engine after you fill the reservoir and move the steering wheel to both stops a couple of times, then recheck the fluid. This should expel all the air.
As I understand it, you turn the steering wheel from lock to lock until you do not hear any more pneumatic "burps", checking every 2 or 3 revolutions to make sure the fluid level is ok.
This page last updated September 2, 2002. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club