My Power Steering Filter is Shooting High-Voltage Arcs! - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-06-2018, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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My Power Steering Filter is Shooting High-Voltage Arcs!

This is just about blowing my mind. I believe this is fairly spectacular triboelectric charging, the same reason you shouldn't run teflon fuel hoses that don't have a carbon coating.

I guess this is how you know it's time to replace your power steering filter! Any other thoughts? I bypassed the filter with a hose barb fitting and no more arcing, I do hear one click at vehicle startup I've never noticed before but probably just never noticed it. I'll have to pick up a new filter and see if I get pinholes in hoses from charging somewhere else!


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post #2 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 05:44 AM
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 07:11 AM
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Check your coolant for electrolysis , there are many items that can be effected by those types of voltages among them are your radiator and heater coil .
Charging your coolant electrically causes it to eat aluminum , it becomes corrosive quickly .

You can read more about this by Google-ing coolant electrolysis .

It goes after the thinner components as well as the heavier ones , it is just noticed sooner as a leak.
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 07:31 AM
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Very interesting find! Is the filter body steel or aluminum? Any idea what the internal filter material is?
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by un lupus View Post
Check your coolant for electrolysis , there are many items that can be effected by those types of voltages among them are your radiator and heater coil .
Charging your coolant electrically causes it to eat aluminum , it becomes corrosive quickly .

It goes after the thinner components as well as the heavier ones , it is just noticed sooner as a leak.
This is power steering fluid which cannot have electrolysis being not water based.

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Very interesting find! Is the filter body steel or aluminum? Any idea what the internal filter material is?
The body is plastic. I have a metal body replacement coming today. I cut the old one apart, it is a paper filter cartridge like a standard oil filter and has metal end caps internally.
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post #6 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by christensent View Post
This is power steering fluid which cannot have electrolysis being not water based.



The body is plastic. I have a metal body replacement coming today. I cut the old one apart, it is a paper filter cartridge like a standard oil filter and has metal end caps internally.
Being present in the system as a whole should be a concern , if it is present in a overall circuit (the Jeep as a platform) it can and will in most circumstances find its way to other systems .
Think "the path of least resistance " .
It is a simple test to see if you are effected .

Using a volt-OLM meter set the dial to Mv , anything above 1 Mv is a concern .
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post #7 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by un lupus View Post
Being present in the system as a whole should be a concern , if it is present in a overall circuit (the Jeep as a platform) it can and will in most circumstances find its way to other systems .
Think "the path of least resistance " .
It is a simple test to see if you are effected .

Using a volt-OLM meter set the dial to Mv , anything above 1 Mv is a concern .
I really don't follow, this issue is isolated to the power steering circuit. It's not as though this is cancer in a body, it's a mechanical system with completely separated fluid systems (and you can't get a whole lot more separated than coolant vs. power steering). Anyways, this is 10's of kilovolts to cause this type of discharge, the millivolts-to-volts of electrolysis would not cause a high voltage breakdown like this.
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post #8 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 09:05 AM
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Your system is connected via nuts and bolts to one another and stray voltages WILL find their way to anything that they can attach to .
It WILL charge your coolant because it "is " a H20 based product and can and WILL become corrosive and cause damage if not addressed
There is a lot of theory about this subject , look into it .
Really just check it and see if your coolant tests for any voltage or if your coolant tests negative for corrosive properties .
Simple tests will save you a bunch of second guessing .
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, I thought you were suggesting the coolant electrolysis causing this problem. You mean this problem causing damage to the coolant. Ok, that makes sense, will volt-meter across radiator and such
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post #10 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 09:46 AM
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No dip the probe into the coolant and ground the negative lead to the body or negative battery cable .
Also get a test strip kit and see if the coolant still has it's protective qualities .
The coolant takes a charge and nearly instantly starts the process of loosing it's ability to be a protectant against PH changes that become corrosive , the older the coolant the faster it will be a determent .

Awareness of this is lost on most people until you have a continuing problem .

Mine was caused by a bad Optima battery that in turn caused a starter to fail internally then reared its ugly head as a radiator leak .
I had experienced this in the past on other vehicles , and then had an Ah-Ha moment and discerned that I had a problem .

Finding cause and effect was another story , I had a bunch of great help from other JKO members that did many hours of testing and many hours of labor to get to the root problem .

Those may or may not chime in on this (don't know) , but without them I'd still be changing out radiators .
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post #11 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 12:27 PM
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Working at BMW on the subject of electrolysis we noticed it seemed to be accelerated by did similar metals. Thermostat housings where usually the first place we would notice it but could be found on blocks and heads around coolant passages.

What is weird in the video is that it appears painted and plastic surfaces which should break any electrical current. Then the clamp is isolated on the hose which should also insulate it from conducting as well.
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post #12 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tspevacek View Post
What is weird in the video is that it appears painted and plastic surfaces which should break any electrical current. Then the clamp is isolated on the hose which should also insulate it from conducting as well.
It's that same isolation that causes the static charge to build up to the point a spark can jump.
Being an insulating plastic part makes it more apt to build up a positive or negative charge on the surface.

Bonding wires may be what's needed. Install a bonding wire between the parts and the charge can't build to the point of sparking.
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post #13 of 17 Old 02-07-2018, 02:45 PM
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This is very interesting.

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Awareness of this is lost on most people until you have a continuing problem .
Like all the stories we hear of people replacing radiator after radiator perhaps?

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post #14 of 17 Old 02-08-2018, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronjenx View Post
It's that same isolation that causes the static charge to build up to the point a spark can jump.
Being an insulating plastic part makes it more apt to build up a positive or negative charge on the surface.

Bonding wires may be what's needed. Install a bonding wire between the parts and the charge can't build to the point of sparking.
I'd start be checking the grounds wires going to the engine. I think Ron is on the right track here.

Personally, that many fires seems too many to be static electricity build up.

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post #15 of 17 Old 02-08-2018, 03:33 PM
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So this "charge" is being created by the friction between the PS fluid and the barb of the filter? Or is it being created elsewhere?

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post #16 of 17 Old 02-08-2018, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by gt1guy View Post
So this "charge" is being created by the friction between the PS fluid and the barb of the filter? Or is it being created elsewhere?
I believe the static charge is being created by the friction between the moving fluid and the hose and/or filter.

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post #17 of 17 Old 02-08-2018, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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I believe the static charge is being created by the friction between the moving fluid and the hose and/or filter.
Yes, that is my understanding too. The charge is being generated right there. Oil is an insulator, so it can't come from somewhere else. Even if my engine grounding strap were cut (which it's not), there shouldn't be any way to pass electric current through the oil. In fact, this happens because the oil is an insulator. If it were a conductor, it'd carry most of that charge away and it'd never get anywhere near enough voltage to create an arc.

I put in a metal-bodied filter last night and no more sparks.

This all started shortly after installing a high-flow power steering pump. I've had that filter in there for years with no sparks, but I think the roughly doubled flow builds up enough charge that you just can't use that filter with a high-flow pump.
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