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Discussion Starter #1
Good day,

I was wondering if anyone could give me a direction on how to replace a power steering reservoir for a 2002 Acura MDX. My cars power steering whines while turning after 15 minutes and I believe it's because the fluid is not circulating through cause of the filter in the reservoir. I have enough fluid in the reservoir. I just need directions on how to replace it. I can't seem to find videos on this on youtube and hoping I can get help. Thank you.
 

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That's about the easiest thing to replace... Honestly, I'm a bit worried you need to ask about it.

The reservoir just slides into a bracket. It should lift right out. There are two hoses with clamps, so you'll want a pair of pliers to slide the clamps off.

The only thing to worry about is it can get messy. I suggest sucking the fluid out with a hand pump or turkey baster, then keep the hoses elevated when you disconnect them, to minimize spillage. Put rags under and around the reservoir to soak up spillage before it ruins your paint.

However, before you replace the reservoir, you may want to test your theory. Put the front of the vehicle on jack stands. Disconnect the return hose from the reservoir and put it in a bucket. Run the engine and see if fluid comes out at a good pace. If so, it's flowing fine.

I'd check to make sure you're not sucking air into the system. That is a common issue, iirc. I believe the solution is to replace some o-rings. Should be easy to find some info if you search this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice! Do you know if the reservoir is connected to something aside from the hoses? I feel like it's also attached to something else holding it in place. I am asking for assistance cause I'm also scared about getting air into the system so I was hoping you guys could reassure me it's straight forward.

I will try your test tho and jack the car!


That's about the easiest thing to replace... Honestly, I'm a bit worried you need to ask about it.

The reservoir just slides into a bracket. It should lift right out. There are two hoses with clamps, so you'll want a pair of pliers to slide the clamps off.

The only thing to worry about is it can get messy. I suggest sucking the fluid out with a hand pump or turkey baster, then keep the hoses elevated when you disconnect them, to minimize spillage. Put rags under and around the reservoir to soak up spillage before it ruins your paint.

However, before you replace the reservoir, you may want to test your theory. Put the front of the vehicle on jack stands. Disconnect the return hose from the reservoir and put it in a bucket. Run the engine and see if fluid comes out at a good pace. If so, it's flowing fine.

I'd check to make sure you're not sucking air into the system. That is a common issue, iirc. I believe the solution is to replace some o-rings. Should be easy to find some info if you search this forum.
 

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Thanks for the advice! Do you know if the reservoir is connected to something aside from the hoses? I feel like it's also attached to something else holding it in place. I am asking for assistance cause I'm also scared about getting air into the system so I was hoping you guys could reassure me it's straight forward.

I will try your test tho and jack the car!
The reservoir does slide into a bracket. It's held in by friction, only. If you give it a solid tug it should pull right out.

Getting air into the system isn't going to hurt anything as long as you have the front of the vehicle on jack stands. If you had the tires on the ground then that is a lot of resistance and you can cause problems with air in the system. But with the tires off the ground there is minimal resistance and you can let the pump help you bleed air out of the system.

Once you replace the reservoir, fill it with fluid and slowly turn the steering wheel lock-to-lock, topping off the reservoir, as needed. I'd do at least 30 lock-to-lock turns (slowly) and make sure you've done a number of them without having to add any more fluid. That way you're confident all the air is out.
 

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The reservoir is a plastic bottle - not much to go wrong there unless it's leaking (which would be very obvious). I can't recall one going bad, honestly.

95% of the time the problem the OP is experiencing is caused by a bad O-ring in the inlet to the pump. It's a few bucks and 10 minutes (and a 10mm closed-end wrench with a bit of an angle) to fix, and almost always fixes the problem. Of course, go to a dealership and you'll get a new PS pump and a huge bill.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I might try this O ring idea first cause it looks pretty simple looking at videos online. My only concern is that the whining noise doesn't happen after I start the car and rather begin once driving for about 10-15 minutes so I am not entirely sure if this is the issue.

Does't the reservoir have a filter in it that could get clogged over time?

The reservoir is a plastic bottle - not much to go wrong there unless it's leaking (which would be very obvious). I can't recall one going bad, honestly.

95% of the time the problem the OP is experiencing is caused by a bad O-ring in the inlet to the pump. It's a few bucks and 10 minutes (and a 10mm closed-end wrench with a bit of an angle) to fix, and almost always fixes the problem. Of course, go to a dealership and you'll get a new PS pump and a huge bill.
 

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There is a plastic screen at bottom of reservoir. You can get a long screwdriver and poke holes in it to see if noise changes. If it does it is clogged. The updated o ring (orange colour) is $2 and reservoir $20 iirc. Just swap and bleed.
 

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I'm not too sure about that test procedure though... it's kind of like testing a fuse by hooking it across your battery... if you get a bright flash, the fuse WAS good. ;-)

Why not just pull the reservoir out and fire some brake cleaner up through the bottom port to clean the screen? And that only if there's not obviously a lot of fluid flowing (easy to check with the cap off and engine idling). I'd say if there's an obvious swirl of fluid going on, the flow isn't the issue - if there are any bubbles present (even very, very fine ones) then you know the O-ring is the culprit.
 

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Poking holes in the reservoir won't burn your X to the ground. ?
Wasn't being flippant. It's not going to destroy the power steering system poking holes in the reservoir. For the minimal cost and known issue, just replace both.
 

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I'd just hesitate to do it for a couple reasons - first, if the screen was good, it won't be when you're done (so your PS system will be operating without a screen to catch any debris). Secondly, any debris that has been caught in the filter over the last dozen or so years will now be released into your system, where it just might cause a real problem (and you really don't want debris to damage O-rings in your steering rack... that one's no fun to replace).

If you're going to be changing the fluid anyway, I'd say just drain it into a clean container, THEN remove and check the condition of the reservoir screen, cleaning it if necessary. If there's some sort of fatal flaw in it, just put it back in and put the drained fluid back in until you get a new reservoir. At least that's the way I'd do it, though if a new reservoir is only $20, it might be a worthwhile investment just because it'll save having to clean the old one up, and it's probably easier to read the fluid level because the plastic should be more opaque than the old one.
 

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Does your PWR steering whine because the fluid is old or is it leaking? Typically you will see the leak from the top of the Power Steering pump as the line that goes in has an O-ring (91370-SV4-000). It gets old, becomes solid and brittle and then the fluid starts to leak and induces air in the system. The O-Ring costs about a dollar with tax.

I used a $12 vaccum pump/bottle to suck all the old fluid out before I dumped the new one in. I also dumped the old fluid from the reservoir, as much as possible. You can do what this guy did here >>
Also, you need to remove the plastic engine cover to get to the pump.
video of the whine >>
video of O-ring replacement (not an MDX, but similar) >>

If everything checks out (fluid and the O-ring) and you still have the whine, then your pump is toast.
 
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