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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've noticed in far sub-zero weather in the winter in Colorado, cold starts always has the power steering pump protesting loudly. This was noticed in both a 2006 V8 and a 2007 V8 Sport.

I recently had the vehicle serviced at a generic garage last year due to the leaking valvecover gaskets, and in the process I think they refilled the power steering system with ATF instead of Pentosin.

This past weekend, I flushed out the system and sure enough the fluid that came out was a deep red in color - ATF and not Pentosin which is supposed to be either blue or green.

Has anyone else noticed cold-weather noises from the power steering pump? I will be getting more Pentosin 202 to continue flushing and get most of that ATF out. I'll also post a procedure on how to DIY this - it isn't hard.
 

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When my power steering fluid last needed a bit of a top-up, I used ATF since my owners manual said to use ATF. Can someone explain the difference in using ATF vs. Pentosin, and why it matters? Thanks...
 

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pengc99 said "I've noticed in far sub-zero weather in the winter in Colorado, cold starts always has the power steering pump protesting loudly. This was noticed in both a 2006 V8 and a 2007 V8 Sport."

I am in Melbourne, Oz, and obviously cold at the moment but nothing like your winters, but my power steering is doing exactly the same thing. Only at first start up of the day when it is cold. Protests for a minute or so, particularly when turning the wheel either way, and then goes. From experience with other cars over the years the noise is definitely like a power steering pump that is low on fluid. Had my mechanic check the overall system and no leaks anywhere. He initially thought it may have been leaking into the rack but somehow checked the boots and no signs of any leakage there either. On top of that the reservoir is full, not missing a drop. He has confirmed also that it definitely has the Pentosin in it too (it is a light green colour). Any suggestions anyone??

Regards Barney
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A few years ago when I just purchased the XC90, it would protest and groan loudly on cold starts in sub-zero weather. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I live in Houston so I never got a chance to test it until I drove the car to Colorado for a ski trip, where the temperature in the morning when we were getting ready to drive out to the slopes was a toasty -25F.

This past summer, I drained and flushed the power steering fluid with Pentosin which you can purchase at O'Reilly's Auto - but you need to make sure you tell them that it's Pentosin Hydraulic Fluid for a Volvo and it's probably on the shelf in the back and not on the floor.

This past winter when I went back with the Pentosin power steering fluid (as specced by Volvo) no more noises in sub-zero weather!
 

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A few years ago when I just purchased the XC90, it would protest and groan loudly on cold starts in sub-zero weather. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I live in Houston so I never got a chance to test it until I drove the car to Colorado for a ski trip, where the temperature in the morning when we were getting ready to drive out to the slopes was a toasty -25F.

This past summer, I drained and flushed the power steering fluid with Pentosin which you can purchase at O'Reilly's Auto - but you need to make sure you tell them that it's Pentosin Hydraulic Fluid for a Volvo and it's probably on the shelf in the back and not on the floor.

This past winter when I went back with the Pentosin power steering fluid (as specced by Volvo) no more noises in sub-zero weather!
Sorry for the revival, I will have to give the Pentosin a try, where did you see that?
 

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A few years ago when I just purchased the XC90, it would protest and groan loudly on cold starts in sub-zero weather. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I live in Houston so I never got a chance to test it until I drove the car to Colorado for a ski trip, where the temperature in the morning when we were getting ready to drive out to the slopes was a toasty -25F.

This past summer, I drained and flushed the power steering fluid with Pentosin which you can purchase at O'Reilly's Auto - but you need to make sure you tell them that it's Pentosin Hydraulic Fluid for a Volvo and it's probably on the shelf in the back and not on the floor.

This past winter when I went back with the Pentosin power steering fluid (as specced by Volvo) no more noises in sub-zero weather!
Ok so I am not loosing my mind over this! My car too is protesting the cold weather. I keep thinking it is PS related but the level is up to snuff. My fluid is brown in color, not red nor burnt red and definitely not Pentosin green. My other thought has been transmission low, but I am waiting for parts to come in so that I can check it, I want to have a word with the engineers that thought a level tube incorporated with the drain plug was a good idea. I am pretty confident that the transmission is topped off, since I just did a flush less than 12 months ago. However, I :facepalm: was too aggressive with torquing things down, as I stripped the level screw head trying to get it off.
 

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For sure fill with Pentosin when recommended. If the PS still complains in cold weather ... check the condition of the auxiliary belt drive. An old belt is likely work-hardened and likely to slip on pulleys. Also replace the belt tensioner and idler roller.
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And, believe it or not, the condition of the alternator and the battery also play a part ... if the battery is old and puts a heavy charging load on the alternator, especially at a cold start up, this all adds load to the belt at the alternator so that less tension is left at the PS pulley, the belt loosens a bit and slips. There is interplay that we sometimes don't think of.
 

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For sure fill with Pentosin when recommended. If the PS still complains in cold weather ... check the condition of the auxiliary belt drive. An old belt is likely work-hardened and likely to slip on pulleys. Also replace the belt tensioner and idler roller.
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And, believe it or not, the condition of the alternator and the battery also play a part ... if the battery is old and puts a heavy charging load on the alternator, especially at a cold start up, this all adds load to the belt at the alternator so that less tension is left at the PS pulley, the belt loosens a bit and slips. There is interplay that we sometimes don't think of.
Thanks 12ounce, the battery is only a year old and checks good, we replaced a bad idler roller last year that wasn't smooth in hopes that the PS sound was the bearing, along with a new belt while everything was apart. (the idler roller now serves as a paper weight...)

The PS has been making noise on cold days for a year now, so it takes a long time to go...

I spoke to my indy about the Pentosin and they said it works sometimes and sometimes it comes back after a few months, and this is not just a Volvo issue, but they have been replacing a lot of PS pumps in Subie and MB and a few others in the last few years, seems that whoever is making the PS pumps is value engineering them to early death.
 

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I have been lucky with power steering pumps thus far. Perhaps it because of taking some advice I was given/read years ago ... "never let a power steering pump operate "dry"" ... not ever, no time, never! Because most power steering pumps are "vane" pumps, they will self destruct if allowed to turn with out fluid ... if even for a minute, or so. So, when refilling a steering system, one must be careful to keep the reservoir refilled as the system is expelling air. Best to have an assistant, or shut down the engine often, during the procedure.
 

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I have been lucky with power steering pumps thus far. Perhaps it because of taking some advice I was given/read years ago ... "never let a power steering pump operate "dry"" ... not ever, no time, never! Because most power steering pumps are "vane" pumps, they will self destruct if allowed to turn with out fluid ... if even for a minute, or so. So, when refilling a steering system, one must be careful to keep the reservoir refilled as the system is expelling air. Best to have an assistant, or shut down the engine often, during the procedure.
Thanks, but ours was never drained/refilled or operated without fluid.
 

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Believe if Pentosin fluid is used, CHF 202 supercedes CHF11 for Volvo 2003- applications and has a performance range of -40C to 130C. I'll want to wait for pengc99 to do yet another of his great write-ups but I did my fluid change last year using repetitive manual lock-to-lock steering wheel turn and hold (engine off) with a long drain hose on the return side of the rack line to a bucket and a plug on the reservoir fitting (car up on jack stands so wheels were free to turn). Used almost 2 cans just to be sure I got as much of the old fluid out as possible.
 

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Believe if Pentosin fluid is used, CHF 202 supercedes CHF11 for Volvo 2003- applications and has a performance range of -40C to 130C. I'll want to wait for pengc99 to do yet another of his great write-ups but I did my fluid change last year using repetitive manual lock-to-lock steering wheel turn and hold (engine off) with a long drain hose on the return side of the rack line to a bucket and a plug on the reservoir fitting (car up on jack stands so wheels were free to turn). Used almost 2 cans just to be sure I got as much of the old fluid out as possible.
I think that in general CHF 202 supersedes CHF11. For another application the manual specified CHF 11, I went all around town looking for it, finally a NAPA counter person, did some digging and found in their system that CHF11 was superseded by CHF202. With that said, I just did some poking around on Pentosin's website and they still offer both products. The spec sheets indicate that 11S is less viscous than 202 and that the 11S has a lower density.

CRP Fluid Guide indicates in a note at the bottom of the hydraulic fluid section that CHF 202 and CHF11s are compatiable and mixable. I am not sure how to interpolate that
 

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Some sites (and the guide) note CHF11 for Volvo applications 1998 to 2002 and CHF202 for 2002 and beyond. Some sites suggest CHF202 for all current Volvo applications and some stores still stock CHF11 only. The Pentosin guide notes CHF 11 as Spec TL 52 146.0 and CHF 202 as Spec TL 52 146.01 so I assume any difference is minimal at best (likely an additive). Seems like you can't go wrong with either.
 

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Some sites (and the guide) note CHF11 for Volvo applications 1998 to 2002 and CHF202 for 2002 and beyond. Some sites suggest CHF202 for all current Volvo applications and some stores still stock CHF11 only. The Pentosin guide notes CHF 11 as Spec TL 52 146.0 and CHF 202 as Spec TL 52 146.01 so I assume any difference is minimal at best (likely an additive). Seems like you can't go wrong with either.
The volvo manual for the 2007 and 2012 XC90 say to use Pentosin CHF 11S for the power steering fluid.

Unfortunately our PS pump finally went at only 59k miles, and blew out the front seal spewing fluid all over. I guess the cold temps finally did it in.
 

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I hate to say this guys but I happened to have my return line break at no fault of the car was human error and leave a lake of fluid in front of my ex's house. HA HA the irony, either way my kiddo was with me and against better judgment of leaving my just purchased xc90 at her house I decided to drive it while it left a mess under my hood to say the least. 40 miles to get home on a dry pump which im sure the power steering pump did not enjoy one bit. Fixed the problem the next day and everything seems great pump held in there for me. So as my son says its "volvotastic" ha ha. Not much to do with the thread but good for a laugh
 

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Good post on this at Howard's Volvo Maintenance: http://howardsvolvos.webs.com/steering.htm
I took a look under my hood yesterday and looked at the PS reservoir. It appears that here is a pump supply line which is located on the bottom of the reservoir and a return line from the PS cooler which heads back into the reservoir. Unless others have tried and failed , I plan to

disconnect the return line and with the aid of some extra tubing extend it out to the bucket
cap the nipple on the reservoir
top the reservoir off
have someone start the engine and turn the wheels back and forth while I pour fluid into the the reservoir until it runs clean

In the same fashion that people commonly flush the transmission. Has anyone else tried this or know of a reason why this will not work?
 
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