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Need a solid answer about power steering fluid.

Old 05-01-2018, 09:54 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Upper Michigan
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Default Need a solid answer about power steering fluid.

My 2002 Camry 4 banger manual says dexron iii for power steering fluid and atf type IV for tranny. This is asinine to me as itís proves they both existed at the same time. Why wouldnít they just say type IV is ok for the power steering fluid? As the dealership doesnít even carry dexron atf iii anymore but still has type IV they are recommending it. I can see why they would, isnít it just an improvement and should supersede obsolete dexron iii?

My actual question is, once and for all can I/and SHOULD I use atf type IV transmission fluid in my power steering reservoir if it says dexron iii on the cap/manual? Why wouldnít Toyota just recommend it if it existed when they were recommending dexron iii? I will be using the turkey baster method about 6 to 10 times. I donít really want to screw anything up trying to flush it all out and donít have those tools/items. Unless there is a really easy way to do it.
Old 05-01-2018, 03:45 PM
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When the car was manufactured, "official" Dexron III was available. Prior to 2002, Camry used Dexron III in PS and auto trans. As such the PS fluid was the same as ATF.

GM held the license on Dexron III then withdraw it, thus no more official Dexron III.

GM eventually went to Dexron VI. GM states it is backward compatible with Dexron III but recommends against using it in non-GM vehicles that were designed for Dexron III.

Toyota developed T-IV to be backward compatible with Dexron III.
The Toyota dealer thus uses T-IV in Dexron III systems. Rumor is Toyota got tired of paying royalties to GM but who knows.

As to why the trans uses T-IV. Speculate Toyota updated its trans for 2002 to increase MPG and designed it for T-IV. T-IV is a substitute for Dexron III but its not the same. Speculate T-IV is less viscous to improve also MPG. Mobil 3309 is supposed to be the same fluid.

Meantime the PS systems may have stayed the same and Dexron III (or later the Toyota equivalent) was available, so why change fluid in 2002.

Now Camry and other models have electric steering.

Toyota does sell a Toyota branded PS fluid.

You could use either a Dexron III substitute or Toyota T-IV.

Dexron III substitutes are available everywhere at lower cost. If going this route make sure the container is clear that it is a substitute for Dexron III.

Yes, no need to flush. Remove old fluid from PS reservoir and add new. Repeat between drives until fluid is clear.
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