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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi.

Needed to top up the steering fluid reservoir. Stopped at the local car shop and asked if they had any power steering fluid for a 1990 16v Saab 900i. They had, the guy said, and he handed me some red plastic thing named "Automatic Transmission Fluid ATF Dexron II".
I have never seen anything like it and asked if he was sure. He was, absolutely, no doubt about it. So, in one of those moments, I handed him my money and walked out the shop holding onto 1 litre of "Automatic Transmission Fluid ATF Dexron II".

The thing is, I haven't topped up the steering reservoir with it. I'm just not sure. This thing doesn't look right somehow.

So the question is, has anyone has any idea as to whether this stuff can be used as power steering fluid on a 16v c900i? Many thanks.
 

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Last time I asked that question, I was told to use the "Power Steering Fluid" approved for GM steering racks. The one I use to top off is rather dark...
 

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I doubt the rubber seals are different. Others have used ATF with no problems, and I would have thought it makes no difference whether the rack is rebuilt or not.

Saab want you to use their PS fluid for commercial reasons. Saab recommend you use their engine oil, but most do not.

There is much debate about ATF and Saab PS fluid in the archives. I have not read/heard anyone say they have had problems using ATF.
 

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RickyS said:
I have not read/heard anyone say they have had problems using ATF.
I have. Poorly racks full of ATF get a new lease of life with Saab fluid.
http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=344974

RickyS said:
Saab recommend you use their engine oil, but most do not.
Engine oil from different vendors is essentially the same stuff, just different quality and additives. ATF and Saab PS fluid are not the same stuff.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok. Thank you for all the input. Guess the choice is between erring on the side of caution and -- prudence, prudence -- not use the red ATF or to hell with it and...

Hmm.
 

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Matthew
I had read that post http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=344974 by cdaly, but I didn’t think it implied that ATF necessarily caused a problem, or that PS racks get a new lease of life with Saab PS fluid. It all depends how you interpret the information in the post.

cdaly had groaning noise from PS pump. There was ATF in the PS system. The PS system (rubber seals) was already contaminated with ATF. He flushed the system with ATF. The flushing with ATF might have been the reason the noisy PS pump became quieter. I doubt it would have been the result of refilling with Saab PS fluid. He may have got the same result had he refilled with ATF rather than Saab PS fluid.

Some car manufacturers recommend ATF in PS systems. It is used in the PS systems of some Volvos.

The Bentley manual says not to use ATF, but does not say why. The Saab Manual I have (M1979-1988) says use Texaco 4634 PS fluid. I don’t think this is available in the UK. Saab PS fluid is available from Saab dealers.

If ATF were a problem, would it not cause PS racks to leak after putting in ATF? Otherwise what is the problem with using Dexron ATF?
 

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I just pick the bottles that say "Power Steering Fluid" ;) and sometimes "With Stop Leak"

I think the stop leak conditioners actually have slowed down the leaks in my rack, I'm topping it up once every 2-3 months now instead of every month like it used to be.
 

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When the cars were new, some dealers used ATF, some used (approved) GM Power Steering Fluid. They both worked fine.
 

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RickyS said:
Matthew
I had read that post http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=344974 by cdaly, but I didn’t think it implied that ATF necessarily caused a problem, or that PS racks get a new lease of life with Saab PS fluid. It all depends how you interpret the information in the post.

cdaly had groaning noise from PS pump. There was ATF in the PS system. The PS system (rubber seals) was already contaminated with ATF. He flushed the system with ATF. The flushing with ATF might have been the reason the noisy PS pump became quieter. I doubt it would have been the result of refilling with Saab PS fluid. He may have got the same result had he refilled with ATF rather than Saab PS fluid.
Good point. I don't remember if things got quiet before the refilling and I only closed up the system after the flush, not with new ATF in it.
 

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My interpretation of the experience of this forum is that these racks function best with Saab/Texaco PS fluid - not ATF.

That said, I have no scientific fact to prove that.

It'd be nice if ATF was as good to use in our 900s as Saab PS fluid. ATF is cheaper and available everywhere.

RickyS said:
The Saab Manual I have (M1979-1988) says use Texaco 4634 PS fluid. I don’t think this is available in the UK. Saab PS fluid is available from Saab dealers.
The Texaco and Saab stuff is the same (apologies if you already knew that - wasn't sure from your post).

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Matthew said:
The Texaco and Saab stuff is the same (apologies if you already knew that - wasn't sure from your post).
Yes, I knew that. Sorry, my post was not clear. The label on an old bottle of Saab PS fluid I have says 'Hydraulic Oil 4634'.
 

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I`ve used dexron II ATF in my original rack (`91) for 7 years now with no problems whatsover. Save yourself some money..........Saab don`t need it when a single O ring from them is £5.12..........
 
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