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All in One - Power steering fix(s). Solenoid/ACV plug/Drain-Flush/Bleed system. -DIY

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Old 03-22-08, 04:12 PM   #1
Neofate
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Default All in One - Power steering fix(s). Solenoid/ACV plug/Drain-Flush/Bleed system. -DIY

Hey guys,.. (Neo's power steering trio/quad maintenance/troubleshooting guide)

I fixed my mystery issues with the following procedure (I know some might be overkill, but take what you want, leave the rest)

I'm going to make a little guide as I go here, for anyone who searches on this topic in the future.

I basically did all the steps you can do to your PS system, every last one.

Preparing the vehicle for the process

1) First you want to losen your lug nuts on both wheels on the front.

2) Jack the car up on each side and use a jack stand, have the wheels a few inches off the ground,.. the higher the better for room to work.. you'll be under the car alot for this.

3) Remove both wheels, .. trust me, it makes things alot easier to deal with.
(We've already losened the lugs, so your good to take them off)

Removing Power Steering/Rack and Pinion Solenoid (and cleaning screen).

1) On the driver side, look behind the rotor, on the steering rack, you will see a cylinder, this is the power steering solenoid. -- As pictured below:

Click the image to open in full size.


2) As you will notice there is an electrical connector attached to it. This connector should be clipped into the metal housing. Simple twist it out of there, and press the button in on the side of the clip to remove the electrical connector.

Now that , that is off we want to remove the solenoid itself.

**Note, you will drop some ATF fluid during this step, so have some rags and a container ready,.. maybe 1/4 to half a quart. Not much.

You will want to find the nut that surrounds the top of this solenoid. -- This nut is made INTO the solenoid itself and is actually the top part of the actual removable solenoid. Remember that. It helps on removal. It is *not* a nut that losens separately from the housing below it, they turn together.

3) I am pointing to the nut in the picture below, and you want to turn to your left as is show in the picture.

Click the image to open in full size.

Alot of the guides, writings, tell you to use a chisel or a flat head screw driver to knock it loose. That didn't work so well for me. Instead I ended up using Vice Grips around the nut ( a little bit on the housing below the nut is ok as well, just be careful not to crack it) -- Once locked, break it lose with a good left tug, or tap the vice grips with a hammer. (Same goes if you decide to try with a chisel or flat head screw drive first) -- Place edge on nut edge, and tap to left, or towards the front of the car.

---

4) **Once this is loose, it comes off by hand fairly easily. It will unscrew quite a few times, and you can get 'prepared' for the fluid by have your container ready, and loosening it slightly, and then putting the container below it. Now unscrew by hand, and about half-way through the thread it will start to leak fluid, becoming stronger as it comes all the way off. (Just as a drain plug works, its best to try and hurry to get it off , unless you just don't care about the ATF fluid on you and your ground).

**Make sure you don't let the ATF fluid get in the Electrical connector, keep it off to the side, tucked away.

You've got it off. Great.

5) Now you can leave a bucket under the rack hole where it came from for residual fluid drain, and carry the solenoid to a sunny spot.

You will immediately see the screen, depending on how caked up it is. (Mine wasn't bad).

6) This screen comes off, it has 2 O-rings on it, and they are both removable. Just be careful. IIRC only one needs to be removed for the round screen to come off. Carefully take this screen off.

7) Use a Throttle Body cleaner, or some other type of cleaner, any type will do.. and a tooth brush (gently) to scrub both sides of it. **Try not to tear the screen**.

8) I also sprayed the holes where the screen goes over, on the Solenoid itself with TB Cleaner. Then let it dry in the sun for 10minutes or so.

9) Thats it for the solenoid. Installation is reverse of removal -- Just make sure you have the O-rings back on the way they were when you took it off, and the screen is back in there. (The O-rings have their own grooves they sit in.. you will notice very easily).

---
Solenoid Operational Test

The last check that is wise to do on this screen is the 'click test' -- Basically you are just making sure it is operating.

1) You can do this with it off, by applying 12Volt from your battery to the Solenoid electrical connector quickly, and you will either feel/hear the click or you won't. *or* --

1b) (optional method) What I find easier,.. is to just have it back where it belongs,.. and have someone else turn the key to the 'On' position but **NOT** starting the car. You will hear a distinct click with your ear by the Solenoid.

2) If it clicks, your good.

-------

Removal of ACV valve, and Plugging such valve with the ACV itself.

1) The ACV valve is the Air Control Valve, Idle Control Valve. It has a limited purpose, and gives steering boost based on speed. -- It can, and often does leak, and can and often does cause PS problems when old and worn. It is highly recommended you either Plug this valve, or replace it with a new one.

2) You will need to remove your engine guard for this part. Lots of bolts, all 10mm in size. So not too hard to remove.

3) The ACV is located on the bottom of the Power Steering pump itself. You will know you are at the right spot when you see two Vacuum lines coming off a black plastic piece on the bottom of the Pump.

4) Remove the clamps and these vacuum hoses. (pull them up from bottom to top, and remove from intake). **Be careful not to break the one on the left side near Throttle Body, it is brittle and plastic, not metal/aluminum like the right side nipple.

5) We will plug these first. You can use anything that fits to plug these nipples. There is no definite way to do this. I had some caps, 7/32 perhaps a bit smaller, and I pushed one over the nipple to the driver side (the metal one). The one on the left (passenger side) had broken off, so it was considerably shorter. So I had to use another method. I simply got a 1/4" bolt, and put some RTV on it. (Just a tiny amount). I screwed it into the hole, and it sealed itself. (It was a tight screw as well, the RTV was just to ensure the vacuum seal was perfectly air tight).

This is an example of plugged nipples on the top side:

Click the image to open in full size.

** As you can see if you don't break this, another cap will work fine, and you can plug with other variations, just make sure you make it completely air tight **

6) Ok you don't need those hoses anymore, yay, more room in the engine compartment. Toss em. (I hung onto mine just in case , spare parts kind of thing)

7) Now we want to remove the ACV itself: You have removed the intake hoses from its nippes on the backside and it looks like this:

Click the image to open in full size.

8) Grab a 17mm box wrench, (a socket won't fit because of the highpressure line being in the way, the altenator isn't so friendly, neither is the sway bar) --

** Note: more fluid leaks out on this step. You want to be careful here, as the fluid can, and likely WILL leak into your altenator. So put a rag or two in the area to protect it, and you can deal with the remaining fluid with another pan below you when you are ready. **

9) Slowly , as best you can, work the nut on the ACV to your left (towards front of vehicle) -- I had to work it in increments of millimeters to get it to break,.. eventually, once initially broken, you can turn it by hand.

10) About the point you can turn it by hand is when it will start leaking ATF fluid. Again about the same amount of overall fluid , maybe a touch less here, than the Solenoid leaked.

11) Once you get it off, keep the pan under it, for residuals, and you will have, again this part:

Click the image to open in full size.


**Note: This is a replacement image, and is credit of lexls.com -- It is showing the option of utilizing a bolt to plug the IAC Valve (Idle Air Control) instead of replacing it with a more costly part that does something we really don't notice and is prone to failure.

Hope that helps with location.

Click the image to open in full size.


12) This is where you can choose your options.

Option A) -- Many people find luck going to an autoparts store and getting a 14M x 1.5 Oil Plug bolt (with washer/rubber gasket). Then just using that as the plug with the washer it comes with.

-- This didn't work for me,.. the thread pattern didn't fit with the one I picked up. But I'm sure a good Hardware store should be able to match your ACV thread pattern and length.

Option B) You use your old/existing ACV as your plug. This takes about 10minutes to fabricate, but I prefer using this part because it fits so well, and has a beveled edge that is designed for the slot.

1) Take the ACV, and put the plastic part in a vice, squeeze until it cracks , turn, repeat. The plastic will easily come off. If you don't have a vice, improvise with a hammer, pliers and so forth.

2) You will end up with an all metal piece, that has a concave end where the plastic piece was. (Further down pictures will show you what you will end up with) This has a valve running through it, which you can easily knock out with a small object.

3) Clear it out. - Valve stem and such from inside the bolt.

4) The following step is most likely unnecessary if you have access to a welder (and JB Weld would probably work just fine... just would need to give it more time to setup).

5) I took a a tap set, and tapped out the center of the bolt of the ACV that was left for a 1/4inch bolt.

6) I then cut off about a 1/4" of the 1/4" bolt and notched it to screw it in flush with the BACK of the nut. Not where it goes into the PS housing. (I did this just to ensure absolutely no chance of leaking, although a weld should be more than enough.)

7) After this was flush with the inside of the bolt thread.. I took a Mig welder and spot welded the 'back' of the nut (Where the dish/bowl shaped area is) -- I went ahead and popped it about 3 times quickly.

**Note when welding, tap the weld a bit after you are done to get a clean area for the next weld to attach to, though one weld should be fine. Just inspect it for integrity **

8) That was it for the construction of my plug out of the existing part. Sounds harder than it is.. It is really quick. Here is the 'rear' shot of the welded area I am talking about:

Click the image to open in full size.

**This is the back, the end that will be facing the ground when you screw it back in the pump housing.

10) This may or may not be necessary, but doesn't hurt, if you have teflon tape. Go ahead and wrap it around the 14mm bolt, to ensure the bolt is leak free from any pressure/hot fluid.

**Remember on wrapping with Teflon to wrap clockwise,.. if holding the nut in left hand, with bolt sticking to your right. Wrap away from you. --If you wrap in the wrong thread direction it can sometimes cause it to be very hard to go in the slot and or defeat the purpose of using the Teflon. --- (If you don't have Teflon, don't worry -- Just skip the step)

Here is a picture of the side of the plug, with Teflon on it:


Click the image to open in full size.

Also another view, from the bolt side -- This is hollow, remember I welded the other side. This angle is the end that is going into the pump house directly.

Click the image to open in full size.

11) Ok great, you've got a plug one way or another now.

12) Now installation is of course reverse of removal, but have a picture or two just to show you the area again.

**Moving toward the ACV housing hole but not quite there yet **

Click the image to open in full size.

**Now I am threading the fabricated plug ever so easily, to make sure the thread is started right, as I don't want to tear up the Teflon with a misthread. (I use both hands to align it properly as it is at an angle).

Click the image to open in full size.

13) Hand tighten best you can. (With teflon I only got halfway) -- Grab your 17mm wrench again.

14) I found that turning around with head toward rear of car, and going in at that angle to the bolt was the easiest to tighten it. Just work around the hoses/altenator till you find the best solution. (It can be tedious , but you'll get it)

15) Tighten it up snug, but don't over torque it. Though don't leave it hand tight of course.. it should tighten up before the nut is mating with the housing with the teflon on.. (I forgot if it was this way prior).

16) Your done .. ACV plugged! No more leak! No more wierd idle, and potential other issues.

Draining Flushing Power Steering System:

For this method, I used the tutorial found here:



http://www.lexls.com/tutorials/steering/psflush.html



I will add some comments to it though.

1) I used some hose slightly smaller than garden hose I got from an autoparts store,.. for a few dollars. (A water hose will work fine though)... use your imagination.. It doesn't have to be air tight here.. The system sort of 'blows out' when it flushes.. you will hear it.

2) My Return hose was a pain to get off,.. Don't be discouraged if yours is too -- Just keep pulling, and twisting while pulling back seemed to help. Try to avoid using sharp objects or a flat head, as they can tear the hosing.

3) Once hose is off, follow above guide -- I stuck the return hose into the 4 foot hose I had from autoparts store (just jammed it in) -- Then lowered it down through the bottom to the pan I had it resting in.

3a) Don't forget to plug the return nipple -- (shown in LexLS guide) -- He used a speaker wire.. I used one of my vacuum caps, turned it with capped end out, and it wedged in nicely. Doesn't take much to keep the fluid from draining out of reservoir, **It isn't under immense pressure in the reservoir, unlike the return hose where it is a little more pressurized.

**Note try to keep hose away from fan blade -- You don't want it getting knocked around**

4) The guide says up to 7 quarts,.. This number is a little far fetched imo, I found 3 quarts (to flush, 5 quarts to do it all) to be MORE than enough,.. and overdoing it, but you can't overdo .. so whatever you feel comfortable with.

5) Just remember, fill reservoir 4/5ths to top -- Start car, turn off within 2-3 seconds.

6) Check hosing in pan, make sure its coming out, and what color it is.


** -- Important step here, especially if you've done the entire process here: -- Check for leaks while the car is in the air, and the engine cover/guard is off. Check the Solenoid, check the ACV plug, and all your hoses/pump pulley and so on. (But mainly the Solenoid and the ACV plug you just made changes to)

*** -- Also not a bad idea to check your vacuum plugs. Listen around the plugs to ensure an air tight plug. No whistling or noise should coming from them. Even a small vacuum leak can cause an intermittent idle , so if your car is running smooth you probably plugged/capped them well.


7) Rinse repeat step 5 and 6 until you feel things are adequately cleaned/flushed out.

8) Remove your hose from return hose, remove you plug from return nipple.

9) Push return hose back onto nipple (again my hose was tight, so I had to push fairly hard and twist a bit) -- Then use clamp , but don't overtighten the clamp, good and snug will do. (Often a clamp isn't necessary, but is precautionary)

10) Your done with the 'overhaul' of your PS system.

11) Now its time to bleed -- Remember we are still jacked up at this point.

Bleeding Power Steering:

1) This is simple, and is a MUST if you just did all of this guide.

2) When I had all that work finished, and I filled the reservoir and started the car, the pump made an awful CONSTANT noise. Sounded like something was terribly wrong. -- It was just immense air --


** It is very likely you will have alot of air in your system after this.. but bleeding it simple.

3) Fill the reservoir 3/4ths the way up.. (car still off the ground).

**make sure you are using ATF fluid, not PS fluid.

4) Now start the car (keep cap off reservoir this whole time).

5) Walk back to your reservoir, and watch the level, and the activity.

6) If its silent, great! If its making noise, don't worry.

7) With alot of air it will foam up like a milk shake, and you will notice the air bubbles coming to the top like slowly boiling water at times.

8) Don't fill the reservoir too full, because it can overflow from this air.

9) I recommend , at first, turning the car on for a bit, watching level.. and turning vehicle off after a few minutes. -- Then allow fluid to settle (stiring it helps) -- top it off as necessary (as the air dissipates the fluid gets into the entire system, and the reservoir will go down).

10) After you've done step 9 a few times (up to you) -- Then you can start with the turning of the wheels.

11) With car off the ground, get inside and turn the car on. (Res. Cap is still off) -- Turn the steering wheel 'slowly' lock to lock 20 times. If you hear noise.. its ok. If none, you are just being precautious.

12) Keep it on, and go check the reservoir,.. add fluid if necessary.

13) Get back in and turn the steering wheel lock to lock 20 more times , slowly.

14) Repeat 11-13 if a noise persists/and or the fluid is foaming showing signs of any air bubbles when you get out and check it.

15) Once it settles down and is smooth, quiet, and calm. Turn it a good 25 more times to each side, for good measure.


** -- This is a good time to put your Engine Guard back on,.. you've put enough pressure on the sytem to verify leaks, and the wheels are going on next which will make it tougher to get to the guard threads


16) Now put your wheels on , just hand tighten lug nuts, car still off the ground. (This will add some pressure/resistence to the system).

17) Turn the wheel 10 more times lock to lock,.. it should be fine, if so -- Go ahead and lower the vehicle.

18) (I keep the car running from step 11 till I'm finished.. )

19) When car is lowered, tighten your lug nuts, and put center caps on if applicable.

20) Now go back to reservoir, and check level and for air/foam. If all looks good. Shut it down.

21) Wait a few minutes, check the level. Add as necessary. You want to move it up to the 'hot' level on the dipstick.

22) Put reservoir cap back on,.. you are done. Your PS system should be clean, and leak free (other than a bad HP hose or PS pump) --


------

Take it for a drive,..

I had phantom problems with my power steering,.. replaced the Rack and pinion, the power steering pump and still had awful issues. (Ie: Small leak into intake , and bigger problem -- No power steering at low speeds.. with the new pump it got to that point after the first day of it working).

After doing the aforementioned in entirity , I can confidently say my problems are finally gone. It is silent, and it functions perfect.

Hope this helps someone --
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Last edited by Neofate; 02-28-12 at 12:02 AM..
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Old 03-22-08, 06:35 PM   #2
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Once again Neo I told you so, air in the system. Bad pump my hat. Good write up and will help many, well done.
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Old 03-22-08, 06:43 PM   #3
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Will give it time to see if it is truly fixed,.. as it did work for a short while when I first drove it home,.. So if it lasts for a solid few hours next drive.. I think I've got it.. If not, gonna be going back to pump I guess.. Since I've ruled out most everything else.

The ACV was leaking, had fluid in the vacuum lines -- So that was necessary, and I like the feel of it this way better. Plus I'm proud of myself for figuring out how to get the dang thing plugged without taking the easy way out (stubborn)

Now, I will admit I had hellacious air in the system after all of what I did was done. The pump sounded like it was ripping itself to shreds (this was with no movement, just normal rotation.) -- But after a good while, and constant bleeding despite the fact that is sounded like I was doing major damage to the system.. it smoothed out to a silent bliss.

You ever heard of such a noise ? Not a whine, not a moan.. Just at idle the pump sounded like internal parts were colliding almost .. But it was air.. I've never seen anyone mention air as so severe -- I guess most people don't take so many parts off their PS system at once though, so I introduced, as I suspect, several pockets of large air, instead of say, one that had to bleed out, it was 2-3 or more.

Thanks for the compliment -- I had to re-hash what I spent the last day doing,.. I think it will be a good resource to add to all of what we have thus far. People can scan down through it pretty easy and maybe get a different look on some processes, and there is a tiny bit of 'new' in there.. (some pics never before shot on the forum as well).

I may get your hat this next week -- Lets hope you keep it though.
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Old 03-22-08, 06:46 PM   #4
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Very nice write up and thanks for doing it.

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Old 03-22-08, 11:37 PM   #5
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Good job. Thanks
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Old 03-23-08, 07:28 AM   #6
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Can anybody recommend some quality PS/Tranny fluid ...Thanks!
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Old 03-23-08, 04:17 PM   #7
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mobil1 synthetic ATF (dexronII/Mercon compatible) will be fine for the PS
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Old 03-23-08, 05:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddievegas View Post
Very nice write up and thanks for doing it.

Eddie
Thanks Eddie,

Just lacks more pictures -- I could have taken them, but this Dig. camera I have is rediculous on batteries,.. I'm going to have to get another one. I put brand new batteries in it and it says they are dead. -- Yet they work in other appliances.

I had to get some other batteries out of remotes to get those few pics. --

Maybe the batteries I tried were Zinc-carbon and not alkaline,... That would only make sense due to the power requirement.. But I digress.

So, new Dig camera,.. or just a truckload of Alkaline or buck up for some Lithium so future writeups can include more pictures.

Sound would be very useful in DIY's as well -- Hrmm..
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Old 03-23-08, 05:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PureDrifter View Post
mobil1 synthetic ATF (dexronII/Mercon compatible) will be fine for the PS

Think running Synthetic in our PS systems would have any advantages over noises/heat dissipation and so on? The cost isn't a factor, our systems don't hold much fluid in general. Given how often you need to change it out.

A flush and fill is a much faster process than doing all of what I did in that write up, and once you do something once you can do it again twice as fast the second time. So I might consider flushing this Havolin "high milage" ATF Dex III/IV fluid out for some Synth.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-23-08, 05:21 PM   #10
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id just do it coz synthetic has some benefits in terms of durability
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Old 03-23-08, 07:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neofate View Post
Thanks Eddie,

Just lacks more pictures -- I could have taken them, but this Dig. camera I have is rediculous on batteries,.. I'm going to have to get another one. I put brand new batteries in it and it says they are dead. -- Yet they work in other appliances.

I had to get some other batteries out of remotes to get those few pics. --

Maybe the batteries I tried were Zinc-carbon and not alkaline,... That would only make sense due to the power requirement.. But I digress.

So, new Dig camera,.. or just a truckload of Alkaline or buck up for some Lithium so future writeups can include more pictures.

Sound would be very useful in DIY's as well -- Hrmm..
Get yourself some rechargables. 2500 mAh are quite easy to find now (even Wal-Mart has 'em cheap with an included recharger), and you can easily keep a fresh set lying around.

"Regular" batteries are a waste of time in high-drain scenario's like a camera. Can't remember where I saw the breakdown, but best bang for your buck is the Li-Ion Energizer's if you insist on using non-rechargeables. Far better (like, double) than alkaline's and better than other Li-Ion's by enough to warrant the price.

Since I don't use anything other than rechargables anymore, I can't comment on longevity, but I've got a Fuji S5000 that I can fill a memory card with if my 2500's are fresh, which is a hell of a lot of pics
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Old 03-23-08, 07:41 PM   #12
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I was considering this route actually ..

What is the exact product name (best you can remember) at Walmart? I'll go tommorow and pick it up.

Happen to know the open circuit mef rating on the rechargables?

Man, talk about getting off topic..

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewkaree View Post
Get yourself some rechargables. 2500 mAh are quite easy to find now (even Wal-Mart has 'em cheap with an included recharger), and you can easily keep a fresh set lying around.

"Regular" batteries are a waste of time in high-drain scenario's like a camera. Can't remember where I saw the breakdown, but best bang for your buck is the Li-Ion Energizer's if you insist on using non-rechargeables. Far better (like, double) than alkaline's and better than other Li-Ion's by enough to warrant the price.

Since I don't use anything other than rechargables anymore, I can't comment on longevity, but I've got a Fuji S5000 that I can fill a memory card with if my 2500's are fresh, which is a hell of a lot of pics
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Old 03-26-08, 04:37 PM   #13
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Thread bump for someone who is interested in a how to on the ACV. --
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Old 03-26-08, 06:08 PM   #14
melissac
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Man this really helped. I wouldn't have even known where the valve was. The pics really helped to.
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Old 03-26-08, 06:32 PM   #15
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Glad it helped someone.. Makes it worthwhile
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Old 03-26-08, 06:32 PM
 
 
 
 
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acv, bleed, dirty, gs300, jb, lexus, location, ls400, power, problem, pump, remove, solenoid, steering, weld

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