Power Steering Filter - 1996 Ford Taurus GL

I recently bought a 1-owner 1996 Ford Taurus GL for my daughter’s first car. During the last sub-zero wind chill storm, the power steering fluid filter (a plastic Filtran in-line, magnetic filter canister usually used for transmissions) popped open at the seal. We finally found a replacement, installed the filter canister, refilled the fluid over the course of several hours (fill, rotate the steering wheel, fill, rotate the steering wheel, getting all the bubbles out, etc), and it ran just fine. I had to top off the fluid once after running. I find it difficult to believe that the cold temps had anything to do with the problem - otherwise everyone with one of these filters would be having a problem, no?

We ran the car for a few days with no incident, then (also during a cold snap, but not as cold as the previous incident) it happened again - the new filter (Wix brand, exactly the same as the original one taken off) canister popped open at the seal again! What else should I try? Can anyone help? Do you need to know any more details? Any help would be most appreciated. Thanks!

I’m pretty familiar with these cars and I don’t remember anything about a filter in the PS system. Find out if this is an OEM part. If, as I suspect, it isn’t then I’d remove the line with filter and replace it without the filter.

I did a google search and there are after market kits that have filters. Supposedly to keep the fluid clean. I would just remove it.

I’ve worked on a few of this generation Taurus, and they don’t have inline PS filters

Should just go back to the factory setup, without the filter

By adding that filter in line, you’re actually adding a weak link, so to speak

I would also suggest removing the filter but would also suggest taking a close look at the power steering fluid and comparing its viscosity to fresh fluid. Could someone have added one of the heavy viscosity snake oils in an effort to correct some previous problem?

Power steering systems don’t have filters for the very reason you are experiencing. The fluid gets pretty thick when cold so it won’t flow through the filter very easily. A power steering system can develop 1500 psi so it WILL push through, at a higher pressure than an automatic transmission, and this aftermarket filter can’t take it. Ditch it.

Some replacement racks come with a recommendation that a filter be installed to catch any debris from the old rack to prevent it from damaging the new one.

Even if this is the case, it has already done its job, I would simply remove it and replace the line.

I also think you should return it to original without the filter. Any debris from a blown pump or rack should be well collected by now. I just replaced the rack on my Celica. The remanufacturer recommended adding an inline filter. But, since the car never had one to begin with, and the rack was being replaced because an inner tie rod was damaged in an accident, not a blown rack or pump, I decided against it. Sounds like I made the right choice.

Most materials, even metals, especially plastics, turn brittle at some low temperature.

Thanks for all your input!

Ditch the filter, and put the lines back together without it. Didn’t come with one from the factory anyway. Someone installed this after the fact.