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Discussion Starter #1
So, I've had my sportwagon for less than two weeks, and yesterday the power steering failed. It happen quite suddenly, starting with a whine on a long drive, building up to a constant whine even in straight line driving (changing pitch with the engine revs) and soon developing into a grinding metallic juddering with every steering wheel movement forcing me to pull in and await recovery by the RAC.
Checked the power steering fluid and found the reservoir covered in leaking fluid, with a puddle quickly forming under the car. I presume the reservoir has had some kind of catastrophic failure and that it isn't something more serious such as a pump failure. Seems odd that the leaking fluid has ended up on top of the reservoir though? Anyone have any experience of this? Pic of the reservoir soaked in fluid is attached.
Any advice most welcome. This is my first Alfa and I'm gutted it's let me down so soon!
 

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Start with a new reservoir, the filter in it can get loose and then your Bella starts to scream.
And when you use the red power stearing fluid, then i would use the green one.

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Sorry to hear the sad start to Alfa ownership.

Where did you get the car from?
If it is a dealer it may be covered by the warranty. All dealers are obliged to cover cars for the first 3 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! It's a shame, as otherwise the car is a gem, with a really low mileage (32K) for a '10 reg. I've spoken with the dealer, and they have agreed to cover all costs, so it's being recovered from home on Monday and taken to local garage (sadly my nearest Alfa indie is an hour and a half away, so can't help with this one as it's undriveable). Fluid reservoir swap should be straightforward for my local chap however, as long as they can get their hands on the Green Tutela fluid, which seems rather hard to come by! Hopefully once this is sorted, I can look forward to happy motoring with the best looking car I've ever owned!
 

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An alternative is available to the original brand green fluid-central hydraulic fluid (CHF 11S)
The new reservoirs have a modified valve as it was the faulty valve putting air into your original fluid that causes its expansion/overflow and whine as the air bubbles are pushed through the pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ah! That's helpful. I was about to ask what I could use as an alternative to GI/R, as I need to top up with some fluid just to manoeuvre the car onto recovery truck and into garage at other end to prevent further damage. Comma CHF from Halford's seems to tick the boxes. Am I ok to top up with a litre of that until I can get the reservoir replaced and the system filled with GI/R?
 

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Dont mix the red with the green fluid, when you top it of then use whats in it now.

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Discussion Starter #9
It's a later reg model, 2010, so I assume it came with green fluid (although it's hard to tell - looks pretty clear to me!). Assuming this is the case, what are thoughts on topping up with Comma CHF (green, fully synth) until I can get the reservoir out and a few litres of GI/R put in?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The plot thickens. On closer inspection, it turns out that some genius has used red fluid in the power steering system (even though it clearly states Tutela GI/R on the bottom of the bonnet lid). Any advice as to what to do now would be most welcome. Do I top up with green for recovery to the garage, or leave it empty until it goes to the garage and hope that they can flush the system and get green in along with the new reservoir?
 

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I would go for the last option, let them recover it and then a system flush.
It has to be flushed anyways because when you want to put the green fluid in the system.

I had red to, after a failing pump they flushed it and now i have the right fluid in it and that is more then a year ago without any probs.

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If your filter has dislodged, I doubt that was the fluids fault that it was red.
I’ve a 12 year old Q4 with red in it. I’ve owned it 6 years without issue. Has anyone mentioned that many of people have used green fluid, replacing the red, and the new ( assuming ) added pressure has began to leak the green fluid from the seals on the steering rack.

So be carful what you do. It maybe better. It maybe be worse..


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Discussion Starter #13
Gosh, had I known about this steering minefield, I might have thought twice about this purchase! Gut feeling is to replace the reservoir and stick with the red fluid. After all, I guess there'll always be traces of it in the system, even with a flush.
 

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If it was me, I’d buy a new reservoir and replace the fluid like for like with what’s already in it.
I don’t expect you to do what I’ve advised, but I’d at least contact an Alfa specialist to see how they’d remedy the problem you have..


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Discussion Starter #15
I think that may be the way forward. From the research I've done, any Dexron III rated fluid should do the trick if sticking with red, is that the case?
 

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Mine had red fluid despite the bonnet sticker saying it should be green,I stuck with what was in it.
If I were you I would change the res and just stick with the red.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks johnnyroper, I think that's what I will do. You're in Wiltshire too? Have you managed to find an Alfa specialist in the county? Closest I can find is Autolusso down in Bournemouth. Having to get a local non-specialist garage to do the reservoir.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yep, would normally try to DIY it, but as dealer is liable for all costs, easier to get a garage to do it all and invoice them. Going to grab some fluid today to make sure there is something in the system. As it's reddish-clear fluid, am I right in thinking that any Dexron III rated ATF will do?
 

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Thanks johnnyroper, I think that's what I will do. You're in Wiltshire too? Have you managed to find an Alfa specialist in the county? Closest I can find is Autolusso down in Bournemouth. Having to get a local non-specialist garage to do the reservoir.
What part of Wiltshire are you in?
I haven’t used any garages personally apart from MOT and tyres I typically look after the car myself.
I have had optima in Wootton Basset recommended to me previously,might be worth giving them a go if Bournemouth a bit far.

I wouldn’t worry about the res being done by a specialist as it’s a simple job any mechanic can do.
 
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