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Power steering oil cooler?


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What are the 5th gen enthusiasts' thoughts on power steering coolers?

 

I was looking through previous owner's service records and noticed a new p/s pump put in previously. The car only has 39k km (24k miles) on it.

 

I read about track cars benefiting from this on other Subaru platforms and being often being dismissed as not needed on street cars. But seeing my low mileage as a family car still needing a new pump, it got me thinking.

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Like all oils and fluids in a car, they are (and the systems & components that the oils are circulating through) are engineered and designed to operate within a range of temperatures, and there is probably an optimal temp for every system for best performance and component life.

For a regular car being driven "normally" on the road, I wouldn't see the need.

You also don't know that the root cause of the failure of the previous pump was an over-temp situation.

I always make it a habit to ONLY turn the steering wheel when the car is moving, even slowly in parking lots.

If you had a habitual parallel parker who would spin the wheel hard over, back and forth, while STOPPED, this is really hard on the power steering system and all of the front end steering components, and even the tires.

 

The only time I have really heated up power steering fluid was plowing snow in a F250 pickup, where I was constantly turning the steering wheel with lots of movement, while pushing heavy deep snow.

 

If you don't abuse the power steering "system" and drive normally, I wouldn't expect the need for adding a cooler. While adding a cooler shouldn't hurt anything, I just don't think it's needed.

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I do see where you are coming from, and unless someone goes through the process of logging temps, we never will know for sure.

 

I just see a few threads about various steering ails being alegedly being improved or cured by steering fluid coolers on other Subaru platforms and wonder if our community has experienced similar.

 

Good points on ways one can reduce wear and tear on the system. IMO those work, though a truly well engineered system can tolerate use you describe as hard just fine. I have a Toyota SUV with almost five times my Legacy's mileage that sees a lot of that kind of use and it has no problems with the steering hydraulics. The entire front end is actually still as it came from the factory, no work of any kind needed in 12 years.

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Chances are your PS fluid (if same as US) is a Dexron III spec fluid.

If so, just drain it all and replace with Dexron VI spec fluid. Backwards compatible but far better and will last longer.

 

Most JDM 5th gens had electric PS like many newer/current model Subarus... but perhaps your car is a USDM or a APAC model that somehow has hydraulic PS still.

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Yes I think it's Dex 3. When I change the PS fluid I was planning on upgrading to a synthetic, there are a few threads saying it does help.

 

Huh. Didnt know USDM 5th gens had electric PS! Our domestic market Legacy looks to be Japan/Euro spec as I understand it.

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