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Acura MDX Power Steering Fluid Replacement Guide
How to drain, flush and refill the power steering fluid in a 1st generation 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 Acura MDX.

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2006 Acura MDX 3.5L V6
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Front Left Corner Engine
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P/S Fluid Reservoir
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically created to assist owners of the first generation (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006) Acura MDX in draining the old power steering fluid, flushing out the p/s rack and refilling with new Honda fluid and optionally some "Stop Leak" fluid to prevent an oil leak or pulsations from the power steering rack.

Owners of other Acura or Honda vehicles such as the RDX, ILX, TLX, RLX, TL, CL, RSX, RL, TSX, ZDX, NSX, Integra, Pilot, Accord, Civic, Fit, Clarity, CR-V, CR-Z, HR-V, Odyssey, Element  and Ridgeline with the VTEC 3.5L V6 engine may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

To complete this procedure you'll need up to four 12 ounce bottles of genuine Honda 08206-9002 power steering fluid.

The tools and other items needed include a pair of pliers, an automotive fluid pump, an automotive funnel and an empty plastic water bottle.



 

If you've been experiencing a pulsating or subtle "On / Off" feeling in the steering wheel during slow speed turns, there might be an internal oil leak past one or more of the rubber seals in your power steering rack. You may have also seen drops or puddles of power steering fluid on your parking spot, garage or driveway.

I had been unhappy with the pulsations and jerking of my steering wheel in slow speed turns around parking lots and highway on or off ramps, so I decided to buy some Lucas "Stop Leak" Power Steering Fluid to temporarily solve the problem until I feel that the entire steering rack needs to be replaced.

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Pull Off Red Plastic Cap
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Fluid Pump & Water Bottle
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Insert Hose In Reservoir
The first two steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface and turn off the ignition.

I recommend engaging the emergency / parking brake and placing wheel chocks on both sides of the rear tires to prevent the SUV from moving.

Open the hood and move to the front left corner of the engine bay behind the passenger side headlight housing.

Locate the round grey plastic power steering fluid reservoir which has a red plastic cap on the top of it.

Carefully pull off the red plastic cap and set it aside in a safe place.

Insert an automotive fluid pump into the power steering reservoir. I chose to buy the Pennzoil 36670 quart bottle fluid pump.

(Note: It is recommended that you do not re-use fluid pumps for different procedures on your MDX. For example, I have dedicated fluid pumps for changing the rear differential fluid, the transfer case oil and now also the power steering fluid.)

Place the end of the tube into an empty water bottle.

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Pump Out Old Fluid
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Metal Retaining Tab
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Pull Back Release Tab
Carefully pump out all of the old power steering fluid from the reservoir into the empty water bottle.

Then replace the red plastic cap.

Gently pull back the metal tab on the reservoir's mounting bracket to release it.

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Lift Up Reservoir Tank
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Release Metal Hose Clamp
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Pull Off Return Hose
Carefully pull the reservoir tank off its mounting bracket and raise it up towards the top of the engine bay for easier access to the lower return line.

Use a pair of pliers to squeeze together the two metal tabs on the hose clamp at the front edge of the tank.

Carefully move the metal hose clamp back away from the reservoir tank and off the plastic nipple.

The hose clamp needs to be at least a few inches away from the end of the hose to allow room for the hose to be inserted into an empty water bottle.

The larger hose on the rear leads to the power steering pump and then to the power steering rack.

The smaller hose on the front is the "return" line that leads from the "oil cooler" (radiator).

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Place Hose In Bottle
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Start Engine - Turn Wheel
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Old Fluid Spraying Out
Insert the return hose into a large and sturdy empty water bottle or other suitable container.

I used a large Fiji brand water bottle since it was my best option at the time. It is made out of relatively thick plastic that is much more sturdy than typical water bottles.

I wedged the Fiji water bottle securely into the engine bay while keeping it away from the serpentine belt.

To help prevent the rubber hose from popping out of the water bottle and spraying old power steering fluid all over your engine bay (ask me how I know it's possible), you may want to secure the hose with some plastic cable ties, Gorilla Tape or have an assistant (wearing gloves) carefully hold the hose into the bottle.

If you use an assistant, either have them do the procedure inside the vehicle or please warn them to keep their fingers and hands far away from the spinning pulleys and serpentine / accessory belt!

Once the hose is secured deep inside the water bottle, start the engine and slowly turn the steering wheel from lock to lock.

Keep an eye on the engine bay through the opening between the cowl and the bottom of the hood to make sure the rubber hose doesn't eject out of the bottle and spray old fluid on the engine.

Then turn off the engine and check the water bottle.

If your water bottle is small, you may need to empty it out and repeat the procedure to prevent from having it overfill.

According to the service manual, the power steering system's total fluid capacity specification is 1.29 U.S. quarts (41.28 U.S. ounces or 1.22L).

Since the Honda 08206-9002 power steering fluid is sold in 12 ounce bottles, you may need up to four bottles or 48 ounces to do a complete drain and re-fill.

I ended up only needing one 12oz bottle of Lucas Stop Leak and 1 and 1/2 Honda P/S fluid bottles to fill up my MDX's power steering system.

(If your MDX has the optional accessory power steering cooler, the maximum capacity is 1.33 U.S quarts or 1.26 liters.)

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Old Fluid Drained Out
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Replace Plastic Cap
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Push On Rubber Tube
Use a flashlight to look inside the reservoir and check the filter screen. If the screen appears to be clogged with debris or damaged, consider replacing the reservoir. The power steering oil tank part number is Honda 53701-S3V-A02.

Once you have drained out all of the old power steering fluid, replace the plastic cap and push the rubber return hose all the way onto the plastic nipple at the front bottom of the tank.



 

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Move Hose Clamp
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Rubber Hose Secured
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Replace Reservoir Tank
Use the pliers to move the metal hose clamp until it is over the end of the rubber hose and on the plastic nipple.

Carefully push the reservoir tank down into place on to its mounting bracket.

You should feel or hear the tank "click" securely into place on the bracket.

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Reservoir Tank Secured
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Remove Red Plastic Cap
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Insert Automotive Funnel
Double check that the return hose and the reservoir tank are securely in place.

Pull off the red plastic cap and insert the automotive funnel.

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Genuine Honda P/S Fluid
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Fluid Pump & Stop Leak
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Thick Stop Leak Fluid
If you haven't had any problems with your power steering system such as pulsations, jerkiness or oil leaks, you can skip the next steps that involve the stop leak fluid.

Since my SUV's steering wheel has had an unpleasant "On / Off" pulsating and jerking feel, I decided to try pouring in some Lucas Power Steering Fluid Stop Leak into the system to delay having to replace the entire power steering rack.

I poured in the entire 12oz bottle of very thick stop leak fluid that resembled honey into the reservoir.

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Replace Plastic Cap
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Turn Steering Wheel
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Check Fluid Level
Then I replaced the red plastic cap, started the engine and turned the wheel back and forth a few times to allow the power steering pump to suck the stop leak fluid into the rack and distribute it through out the system.

Since the stop leak fluid is so thick, I only had the engine running for about ten seconds to prevent from stressing the power steering pump.

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Stop Leak In P/S Rack
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Re-Insert Funnel
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New Honda P/S Fluid
Re-insert the automotive funnel and open a new bottle of Honda P/S fluid.
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Fill To "Upper Level"
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Pouring In New Fluid
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Fluid At Max Level
Fill the reservoir to the "Upper Level" (maximum) line with the new Honda P/S fluid.
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Raise Front of SUV
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Check Fluid Level
In order to easily and effectively bleed, "purge" or "burp" the air bubbles out of the power steering system, I recommend raising the front of the SUV.

Use a floor jack and at least two jack stands to securely support the front of the SUV with the front tires entirely off the ground.

Leave the red plastic cap off the reservoir to allow the air bubbles to easily escape.

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Remove Plastic Cap
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Engine OFF - Turn Wheel
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Bleeding Out Bubbles
Turn the ignition to the "ON" position but do not start the engine.

Slowly turn the steering wheel back and forth from lock to lock.

Be gentle when you reach the left and right lock (stop) points of the steering rack.

Look into the P/S fluid reservoir with a flashlight. You should see and/or hear air bubbles coming out of the new fluid.

If necessary, pour in more fluid until the level is back at the "Upper Level" line.

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Working Out Air Bubbles
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Top Off Fluid Reservoir
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Push Down Reservoir Cap
Continue turning the steering wheel back and forth at least ten to twenty times to release all of the air bubbles in the high pressure hose, the power steering pump and the rack.

Check the fluid level and add more if necessary until it reaches the "Upper Level" line.

I ended up using 12 ounces of the stop leak, a full 12 ounce bottle of Honda fluid and another 6 to 8 ounces from another Honda P/S fluid bottle for a total of about 30 to 32 ounces of total new fluid.

The power steering system's total fluid capacity specification is 1.33 U.S. quarts or 41.28 ounces (1.26 liters). So that means that there were about 10 ounces of old fluid still left in the system after I drained out most of the old fluid.

You may be able to remove more of the old fluid in your system by running the engine for longer and turning the steering wheel back and forth a few more times, which could require the full 41.28 ounces (four 12 ounce bottles) of the new Honda P/S fluid.

If you would like to perform a "flush" to remove more of the old fluid, simply repeat the steps above with more bottles of new Honda P/S fluid.

Double check that the return hose is secure and the reservoir bottle is securely in place.

Take your MDX for a careful test drive and listen closely for any strange sounds from the steering system that may indicate a problem.

I recommend re-checking the power steering fluid level after your first trip to make sure the level is still correct.

Be sure to record the P/S fluid change in your vehicle's service records.

For more, please check out all of my 2001-2006 Acura MDX DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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