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Power steering fluid

01 Taurus. I removed p/s pump to change timing cover gasket. Manual says to use Mercon ATF for refill. The stuff that came out looked dark and fairly thick. Compared to fresh ATF. Why does generic p/s fluid seem thicker than trans fluid? GM fluid and ford stuff is visually different. Is it?

Gm uses a gold color fluid for power steering that is very similar to ATF except it has no red dye and has lubricity additives not found in ATF. ATF will work just fine in GM power steering. Ford uses Mercon ATF straight out of the bottle. Generic p/s fluid may be a little thicker because it nearly always goes into worn power steering pumps needing a little help because almost no one changes their p/s fluid before the pump or a hose fails. They should 'because it always “came out looked dark and fairly thick” is a common phrase whenever anyone drains it… but no one does.

Gas station has DM ATF. Dex/merc I think. Label is somewhat vague. Says can be used anywhere dex 6 or merc V is not used. Don’t have newer ford so I am not up on merc V specs. Store does have 12oz bottles of PS fluid. Stp stuff. Woohoo