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Old 01-09-2010, 05:22 PM   #1
thefrog1394
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Mobil1 ATF in power steering rack experiences?

I recently changed out my PS rack and filled it up with mobil1 ATF I found at autozone I think this stuff was it.

Ever since, when I start my car in the cold (its been around 20F these days) for the first time, the steering is really stiff, but warms up after about 30 seconds and everything is fine.

I was just wondering if anyone else had experience with this ATF in our steering racks or if it is the wrong kind or what? I guess it wouldn't hurt to just change it out anyways with OEM BMW fluid, but I just figured I'd ask what everyone thought about this fluid.

Thanks!
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefrog1394 View Post
I recently changed out my PS rack and filled it up with mobil1 ATF I found at autozone I think this stuff was it.

Ever since, when I start my car in the cold (its been around 20F these days) for the first time, the steering is really stiff, but warms up after about 30 seconds and everything is fine.

I was just wondering if anyone else had experience with this ATF in our steering racks or if it is the wrong kind or what? I guess it wouldn't hurt to just change it out anyways with OEM BMW fluid, but I just figured I'd ask what everyone thought about this fluid.

Thanks!
No experience with the Mobil 1 Dex VI but I did use Castrol Synthetic blend Dex VI in mine and DO NOT have the issues you are having. Sorry I cant be of more help.

What I used:

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Old 01-09-2010, 09:41 PM   #3
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If it's 20 degrees, start the car cold, and drive it right away, of course the steering will be stiff. The fluid has to warm up a bit.

Figured since you're from OH you would know that you have to warm your car up when it's below freezing.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:05 PM   #4
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I have been using it in my car for sometime now. It meets the BMW spec. and I haven't had any problems. Is your pump making noise?
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:10 PM   #5
thefrog1394
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If it's 20 degrees, start the car cold, and drive it right away, of course the steering will be stiff. The fluid has to warm up a bit.

Figured since you're from OH you would know that you have to warm your car up when it's below freezing.
Modern cars it is recommended to drive them to warm up (although a 30 second warmup period is good I'm sure). Plus all I can say is this is different than what I have experienced on any car in the cold before. The first time it happened I actually opened the hood to make sure all the fluid hadn't leaked out overnight. And yes I know what cold does to a car it is under freezing november through march.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by thefrog1394 View Post
I recently changed out my PS rack and filled it up with mobil1 ATF I found at autozone I think this stuff was it.

Ever since, when I start my car in the cold (its been around 20F these days) for the first time, the steering is really stiff, but warms up after about 30 seconds and everything is fine.

I was just wondering if anyone else had experience with this ATF in our steering racks or if it is the wrong kind or what? I guess it wouldn't hurt to just change it out anyways with OEM BMW fluid, but I just figured I'd ask what everyone thought about this fluid.

Thanks!
I used that atf fluid (from autozone too) on my car and have had no issues
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:24 PM   #7
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I've used plain jane Chevron ATF for years and haven't experienced this. Last car had 245000 miles on it without any rack or pump problems and was great when i sold the car, so I'm not convinced that synthetic is even necessary.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:37 PM   #8
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Modern cars it is recommended to drive them to warm up (although a 30 second warmup period is good I'm sure). Plus all I can say is this is different than what I have experienced on any car in the cold before. The first time it happened I actually opened the hood to make sure all the fluid hadn't leaked out overnight. And yes I know what cold does to a car it is under freezing november through march.
don't know where you got that info from, but I certainly don't like driving my car after it's been sitting overnight with wind chills in the negatives.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:57 PM   #9
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don't know where you got that info from, but I certainly don't like driving my car after it's been sitting overnight with wind chills in the negatives.
Quote:
Engine
Do not allow the engine to warm to its normal operating temperature by leav- ing it idling with the vehicle parked.
However, when starting in extremely cold weather it is a good idea to allow the engine to run at fast idle for about 30 seconds before getting underway; this precaution ensures adequate lubri- cation.
-- from the e36 owners manual, (first result in google, but I'm sure its the same for the e46)
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:11 AM   #10
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on a cold day here about -35 C my car was not plugged in and i started it and turned the wheel and the rpms would drop down to about 400 because the fluid was so thick and the pump was working so hard
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:50 AM   #11
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on a cold day here about -35 C my car was not plugged in and i started it and turned the wheel and the rpms would drop down to about 400 because the fluid was so thick and the pump was working so hard
Yea, I'm sure -35C (probably about the same as -35F for us americans?) does nasty things to all the fluids in a car. But +20F is really not very cold which is why I am wondering if the fluid is way thicker than it should be when cold. Or maybe my pump is just going out... or a belt slipping? I guess there are a lot of possibilities.
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Old 01-10-2010, 02:17 AM   #12
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I have the exact same problem as you and use Mobil1 ATF...but ive had the stiff steering only occur on really cold conditions (-5c) and its been like that for the past 3 years..I just got used to it..If i idle the car for 2-3min before driving i have no problem, just only if i drive right away its stiff..

If your still uneasy, just buy oem stuff, but personally, id get used to it
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Old 01-10-2010, 02:24 AM   #13
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I have the exact same problem as you and use Mobil1 ATF...but ive had the stiff steering only occur on really cold conditions (-5c) and its been like that for the past 3 years..I just got used to it..If i idle the car for 2-3min before driving i have no problem, just only if i drive right away its stiff..

If your still uneasy, just buy oem stuff, but personally, id get used to it
(-5) degrees Celsius = 23 degrees Fahrenheit -- sounds like the exact same symptoms as me. At least I know I'm not imagining it.
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Old 01-10-2010, 02:42 AM   #14
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Modern cars it is recommended to drive them to warm up (although a 30 second warmup period is good I'm sure).
I have to disagree here. Japanese cars? Yes. You can start them back of your driveway and proceed to redline the engine.

BMWs are a lot more finicky. I always let my car run for at least a couple of minutes when starting it up cold. If anything, my clutch/tranny will feel a little stiffer. Never noticed p/s issues. I use redline D4ATF.
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:36 AM   #15
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I use Mobil ATF - Dexron III and don't have any issues at all. Neither in below zero temperatures
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:51 AM   #16
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I recently changed out my PS rack and filled it up with mobil1 ATF I found at autozone I think this stuff was it.
Just a thought, but have you EVER driven the new PS rack with another fluid in the cold? It could just be a thing with the new rack. Had you just changed fluids I'd agree it must be the fluid, but when you change out the mechanical component as well it's a bit hard to know which of them is the culprit.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:11 AM   #17
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don't know where you got that info from, but I certainly don't like driving my car after it's been sitting overnight with wind chills in the negatives.
You do know that a car does not know or care what the wind chill is? Wind chill only matters for people.
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:46 AM   #18
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You do know that a car does not know or care what the wind chill is? Wind chill only matters for people.
I was just illustrating a point as to how cold it is. ATF gets thick when it's that cold. That's why the tranny will be slower to shift into gear when you just hop in and go.

This is not a mechanical problem with the car. Simply let the damn thing warm up for a minute or two before taking off. Frankly I don't care what the owners manual says. It cannot be good for the PS pump to have freezing cold, and thus thick, ATF flowing thru it.
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