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I'm having a rebuilt transmission put in (fourth transmission in the car, second was a rebuilt, and this is the second time the rebuilt has been replaced under warranty). But I also have a leaking rack and pinion. The rack and pinion is easy to replace with the exhaust and K frame and transmission out, but a lot of work otherwise, cause you have to take all of that stuff out. The transmission guy is reluctant to put in the rack and pinion because he did it once before and the new rack started leaking, he thinks because of crud in the power steering fluid, and I agree, except I suspect that the crud was metal. So to get him to agree to replace the rack and told him I would have it flushed before I bring it to him to change out the transmission, and then have it towed back to my mechanic (it's about half a mile, and it turns out the transmission guy has a tow truck) and have them flush it again before we start the engine.

But then my garage said they couldn't get to it for several days, so I checked another garage that I've heard people say does a good job on stuff, and when I mentioned turning the wheel to get the dirty fluid out of the rack, he said that they don't turn the wheel in a power steering flush, that the fluid never moves out of the rack! I knew that wasn't true, but I went and looked up a couple of diagrams and found a really nifty YouTube video where I guy takes a rack and pinion out of a junk car and cuts it apart with an angle grinder to show how everything including the valving works. video

So after this I am getting less confident about mechanics, and I look at a bunch of videos (I'm a Physics major and a mechanical engineer) and figure out what I think needs to be done. Here's my opinion of the ultimate power steering flush.

Many folks talk about doing this flush with the engine off, because you don't want to run the power steering pump with no fluid. Others talk about disabling the car's ability to start and running the starter to drive the pump. I like this better, but blowing the fluid through the system with the pump is going to get a lot more crud out of the system. So I plan to start with a gallon of power steering fluid for Asian cars, including Hondas, and get the car on jack stands, and disconnect the return line at the reservoir and connect it to a clear hose which goes into an oil drain pan which will allow us to see when the fluid is running clean. Then I'll suck all of the fluid I can out of the power steering pump, and put a funnel in the top of the reservoir and have my helper pour fluid from the gallon jug in to keep the reservoir full while I start the engine and turn he wheel back and forth, two or three times. Then I'll shut the engine off, and disable the engine starting, and switch to genuine Honda power steering fluid, and run enough through using the starter to get all of the generic fluid out and Honda fluid in.

In my case, when the transmission guy changes the rack, I'm going to have him put new hoses on too, and then everything will be new except the pump, and then we'll have the system flushed again by my mechanic.

Two reason's I'm telling you all this.

First, I can't find anything on how to disable the van from starting. All my searches turn up "won't start", instead of "stop from starting". How do I do this?

Second, I will be glad to have any opinions on anything I can do to improve this process. I'm smart enough to know that I'm probably missing something that would make the process easier and or better.
 

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First, I can't find anything on how to disable the van from starting. All my searches turn up "won't start", instead of "stop from starting". How do I do this?
Copy your key onto a non-chip key blank. Then crank the engine using the non-chip key. The immobilizer will disable the ignition and fuel pump. (I've never actually tried this, but I think it will work.)

Dave
 

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Interesting. Several random thoughts on this ...

Automotive starters are designed to run for a few seconds while starting the car. The owners manual will typically warn you to wait some period of time while it cools down between tries. So I'd warn about running the starter for an extended period of time - it may overheat the starter without you knowing it, causing problems down the road.

Disconnecting the main relay should stop the fuel pump, as should pulling the fuel pump fuse.

The PS pump is a sliding vane pump. The vanes are pushed out by the centrifugal force as the belt-driven pump spins, making the seal and pushing the fluid along. I don't know if the rotation rate from the starter alone will be sufficient to get the vanes into position to create any pressure. If the spin rate is not sufficient, the pump will not pump.

I'd be a little skeptical about the Asian-car PSF. I know my Honda takes Honda PSF and my Lexus takes DEXRON II or III or VI. I would not use Honda PSF in my Lexus or DEXRON in my Honda, so I wonder about an Asian-car PSF.

From doing more conventional PSF flushes on my Odysseys, I can definitely agree that you'd be missing a lot if you did not turn the wheels lock-to-lock to purge the rack. And nice work on not believing everything you hear from a mechanic. I think it may be more efficient (certainly from usage of fluid, if not also for effective cleaning) to do multiple ~manual purges like this rather than a starter-powered continuous flush as you're proposing. Maybe start with some manual fill/purge cycles (which should be pretty efficient in removing old stuff), and then continue with the powered flush afterwards. Just thinking. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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I agree. I'd just do 2 or 3 regular flushing with honda ATF (majestic $3/12oz bottle + SH). I just did this a month ago and it required 2 flushing of 1 quart per flush to get a clear fluid in the reservoir. <6 honda bottles. I run the engine about 5 secs while turning the steering wheel lock to lock per flush.
 
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