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Dodge Grand Caravan Steering

I have a '01 Grand Caravan and today when I started it, it was whining rather loudly. It continued when I accelerated, only to get louder, and then I noticed my steering felt sluggish. I ran my errand and by the time I got back home, the whining had died down to only when I turned the steering wheel. And the steering wheel became very stiff almost like manual steering. Does anyone know what kind of problem I am looking at?
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Comments

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    It sounds like you are low on power steering fluid. Best have it checked.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • I tried taking the cap off of my power steering fluid resevoir but it won't budge. Is there some special way of removing it that I don't know about? Also, does my van require a special power steering fluid or will any brand do? At this point the steering is so stiff that I'm afraid to drive it to the dealer.
    Thanks for any answers.
  • You should be able to see the fluid level without having to remove the cap. Take a cloth towel and wipe around it. There should be a full and low line indication. Not sure how hard it is to take the cap off. I've never had to remove the cap and we have a 01 DGC EX. :shades:
  • i do not have any service contract that suggests i have a 7/70 powertrain warranty on my car, tough i was provided with a laminated leaflet stating so. according to the leaflet any 2003 and remaining 2001 and 2002 models(chrysler) bought after july 9,2002 will have this warranty. i spoke to chrysler and the only show a 3/36 warranty on engine and powertrain for my 2002 grand caravan.they also show ,to my surprise, a previous owner to my new car,besides the wrong delivery date of june 29,2002. since the dealership where i bought my car is not longer in business(Michael Dodge) i cannot ask them. should i contact a lawyer to clear this matter, my car is having transmission problems. thank you for any suggestions
  • If your original bill of sale states the vehicle sold as "new", I would fight it. I once puchased a left-over vehicle that had only 63 miles, but it was sold as used because it had a "vehicle in service date" 6 months earlier, even though it was never registered to another owner. Who are you going to sue if the dealership no longer exists?
  • I have a 03 Dodge gran caravan that was recalled for the power steering hose. It never had any problems with steering or noises before they changed the hose. Now it has a constant whining sound coming from the power steering. The colder it gets outside the louder the noise. I have taken it back to the dealer 3 times. They said it had air in the system and they removed the air. That worked only when it was warm outside but still whined when first started in the morning. I have called Dodge to complain and they tell me to take it back to the dealer. The service manager at the dealer told me on my 3 visit that there is nothing he can do for me because that was dodges fix for the recall. It seems to me that the power steering fluid travels to fast through the system and always looks like there is alot of air in the fluid. Fluid level is ok and turning the wheel all the way to the right and left does nothing to help. Any help on this problem??? I asked for the original hose back but they said they could do that.
  • pearl4pearl4 Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Grand Caravan. I have had it back to the dealer 3 times. The first time they replaced the fluid, second time replaced the power steering pump, third time they replaced stering return line with TSB line and added a longer rubber line. I still hear the noise. Any suggestions??
  • pearl4, I'll tell you how I stopped my power steering noise after two years of trying. My mechanic added a bottle of Lubegard Power Steering Fluid Protectant and the noise is gone. I told him my problem with the steering noise while he was replacing my water pump that failed at 57000 miles.Dodge dealer told me all vans make that noise and to live with it after they failed to fix the problem. Napa and Carquest carry that Lubegard. Try it,works great!!!
  • dodgeman7dodgeman7 Posts: 17
    I have the same problem. It used to whine and sometimes shutter when I turn the wheel when it was only cold in the morning and now it does it all the time and does not go away for over 15 minutes or more of driving. I have an '03 Grand Caravan and had the hose replace for the recall on the power steering at the dealer. They then told me that the noise from the power steering pump is caused from the power steering reservoir. He said that this is a common problem with the '01-'06 Caravans. He said that there is a screen inside the reservoir that gets clogged and causes the power steering pump to whine due to lack of fluid. Of course the they told me that the screen cannot be cleaned so you have to have the reservoir replaced at a price of $178.00 total cost. Should be a simple fix it I buy the reservoir and install it myself. I just have to fill the reservoir when replacing it to minimize the air in the lines. If you do get air in the lines, it should pass out due to the self priming on the pump. The reservoir can't be that much money. If it's over $125.00, I'll let the dealer do it.

    Good luck y'all and hope this stops the whine ;)
  • dodgeman7dodgeman7 Posts: 17
    Well I picked up the part for $25.00 or so at the dealer. I also picked up their Mopar power steering fluid. After changing out the reservoir and putting in the Mopar power steering fluid, and with about 5 or 6 complete turns to the left and right, at last no more noise coming from the power steering pump.

    I then called the dealer about my problem I had and he told me the problem is that the mesh screen inside the reservoir gets clogged even though mine did not look that bad. The other problem is that mechanics or DIY people put the wrong power steering fluid in. Synthetic will clogged the mesh screen up over time. That's what I had in mine I think.
    No noise any more. I'll be finally convinced in the cold morning if it does not appear.

    :)
  • zxcvbnmzxcvbnm Posts: 4
    At around 60K, I was getting a groaning noise from the steering which was worse on cold days and usually disappeared after around 10Km but would come back intermittently even when the van was warm. As the van was still under warranty and not wanting to be stung for a steering pump/rack, I took it into Crowfoot Dodge in Calgary. They charged me 50 bucks to look at the van, told me they could find nothing wrong and the noise was 'normal' for vehicles of that type then told me that a recall would be performed on the vehicle while it was in the shop (steering hose). The noise was still there but as I had been assured that this was normal, I just put it down to the usual crap engineering standards found on most chrysler vehicles.
    After consulting with several people who also own Dodge GC's and finding out that the noise is in fact anything but normal, I took the van back to crowfoot dodge who -amazingly- now decide that they really can fix the noise. This decision may have been swayed by the fact that the van is now out of warranty so they smell serious cash. I pointed out that the problem was brought to their attention while the van was in warranty but all I get is 'tough luck'.
    What they did was add a power steering cooler to the system which looks like a cheap radiator grill attached in a vunerable position on the underside of the car beneath the driver. They also flushed the system then left me with a bill for 421 bucks and make a big thing about how nice they had been by giving me the parts for free. It would have been nicer if they had looked harder and bothered to road test the van while I could have claimed under warranty. I had to admit at this point that that I was stunned by the brilliance of their logic, fixing a cooler to reduce the temperature of the steering fluid when I had expressly informed them that the problem was worse when the engine was cold. So I drive the car away with my gleaming new steering fluid cooler, only to find that the noise is still there but worse. Back to the dealership (Crowfoot dodge) and they decide to add a length of steering hose to the cooler they previously added. This is cunningly attached to the car in boyscout fashion with a pair of cable ties. No doubt they think I will be paralysed with laughter the first time I see this contraption in my rear view mirror after driving in next winters inevitable ankle deep snow. They also mentioned that they had cleaned the steering reservoir filter which you would have thought would be clean after the flush (2nd visit).
    Anyway thanks Crowfoot guys, the noise is still there and you have truly amazed me with your incompetance and lack of customer care. Thanks especially to the service manager who makes every attempt to avoid my telephone calls. Thanks to the dizzy secretary who never fails to amuse me by claiming no managers are available. Thanks to Chrysler Canada for backing up crappy dealer service - I am now enlightened as to why you are almost out of business.

    I would appreciate any suggestions from fellow victims of chrysler as to what might fix the problem :shades:
  • dodgeman7dodgeman7 Posts: 17
    Did they ever change the power steering reservoir? It's a $25.00 part from the dealer. I did it myself and it took me less than 35 minutes to do it. It's a simple install. Dealer wanted $150+ to do the labor that's why I did it myself. My van has been quiet ever since doing it, 38 degrees and higher. No more noise. My van had the same noise as yours in cold weather then it was happening almost every time before I replaced it.
    The dealer also suggested that I have them install a cooler like you did before I replace the reservoir. Complete waste of money and time. I declined and bought the reservoir from them and put it on myself on a tip from a mechanic that was walking by telling me he's 99% sure it's the reservoir.

    Change the reservoir and your noise will go away! The screen inside the reservoir is clogged and can't pass through that easy. :shades:
    Also, do not use synthetic fluid. I put in Mopar power steering fluid.
    All is quiet and it's been over two month now.
  • zxcvbnmzxcvbnm Posts: 4
    They didn't change the reservoir but said they had cleaned the screen. I asked if they used the same fluid as the tranny (ATF+4) and he said it was special Mopar PS fluid.
    Anyway its back in this week for them to take another look. This time the service manager reckons he'll take a look. Maybe I'll print out your reply and give it to him.
    Thanx
  • rick04rick04 Posts: 1
    Thank you for the info you provided. My 04 Grand Caravan started to Whine awfull, but only after I had been on the freeway. It was perfect on the surface streets. I went to the dealer got the Resevoir ($25). Installed it & put new fluid (ATF+4)in the resevoir only. I also took to heart the note from another thread to use "Lube Guard Power Steering Protectant" (from NAPA). I might add for anyone else that is going to replace the Resevoir, that in addition to the obvious 2 screws on the valve cover, there is a 10mm nut on the very back side directly under the Resevoir that can be handled with a 10mm deep socket & 8" extention. Anyhow the noise is completely gone.
    Thanx Rick04 :)
  • Hey, Thanks to all of you!!!

    I'm about to buy a used 03 short Caravan SPORT with 96,000km (60,000 mi). The CAA inspection noted a "minor power steering whine at idle speed". I called several Chrysler dealers for opinions. I got the following replies: rack job (about C$800) [1 opinion], replace PS pump [2 opinions], replace reservoir [2 opinions]. I'm not a mechanic but crawled under the car and checked the bellows on the racks. One is dry the other seems to have some slight oil on it (maybe suggesting a rack issue).

    My plan [before reading this very helpful thread] was to get permission from the seller to take the caravan to the nearest Chrysler dealer for inspection. If it passes, I could buy an extended bumper-bumper Chrysler warranty that will last 1 yr/20,000 km (12,000Mi), for C$1,000, or double that for C$1,400. The warranty might also give me peace of mind for other unforeseen issues.

    After reading this thread, I think I'll still go for the dealer inspection and if they say its NOT the rack, then I may forgo the warranty, save some $$$ and do the reservoir as recommended here.

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,
    Dave
    British Columbia
  • I believe I read somewhere on this thread, that the 2003 Caravans had a recall on the power sterring hose, which supposedly can cause the whining issue. You may want to check into that. Maybe the repair won't cost you a thing.
  • My 2003 Dodge caravan has been back to Crowfoot dodge in Calgary as the power steering has twice failed initially on start up. Their solution after now having charged me almost 500 dollars for unnecessary work is A)Remove the power steering pump and bench test it - quoted around 700 dollars B) Replace the rack at around 1300 dollars.
    I now have a shiney new copy of the Haynes manual. After having read the relevent chapters, I reckon its a couple of hours max to change out the power steering pump. And at least I know the job will be done correctly.
  • rrdoxrrdox Posts: 1
    After having Chrysler Dealer tell me over & over about air in the power steering lines followed your advice and had reservoir and screen replaced 2 weeks ago. Have not heard a sound from the power steering since.

    Advised our local dealer to consider this when advising other Grand Caravan owners with same problem. 2003 Grand Caravan with
    102,000 k
  • I just want to follow up with my last message on the board about the whining and grinding noise issue I had on my 2003 Grand Caraven. To this date, no steering sound has ever returned since I replaced the power steering reservoir and put in Mopar power steering fluid.
    Before any of you get suckered into replacing the power steering pump or rack and pinon, FIRST replace the power steering reservoir. It's a cheap part and fairly easy to replace. I hope it fixes your problem like it did mine... and I thought the worst before replacing the reservoir!
    :shades:
  • sunnybsunnyb Posts: 1
    Hello, I have a Dodge Grand Caravan 2007 model and wanted to know if anyone was facing similar problems as mine. Twice while driving, my steering seems to lose power and I lose control over it..the steering power goes flat and I cannot control. This happened to me once about 4 weeks back, and was lucky that I started off a stop light, so my pickup speed was slow. But it happened again today, not so lucky this time, when my wife was driving - again suspect same thing happened, car swerved towards the curb, over the curb and back on the road, badly damaged the axle etc. Thankfully not too much traffic, so no one was hurt. Please advise if anyone has seen similar steering issues. Thank you.
  • Add me to the list of those who changed the PS fluid reservoir and got rid of the whining and grinding. Mine's a 2001 Sport. I had looked at several different internet sites before finding this comment string. This is the only site that has discussions about the reservoir, as far as I can tell.

    The reservoir cost me $31 at the dealer parts counter. The biggest hassle is removing the 10mm nut at the rear bottom of the support base. Once I got that out the rest was pretty easy. I put up with the noise thru last winter, but with the temperature at 46º this morning, startup was quiet as could be.

    John :D
  • Finally got round to looking at the steering fluid reservoir after Crowfoot dodge in Calgary failed to fix the whine and suckered me into parting with 400+ bucks of hard earned cash for unnecessary work - flush, steering cooler, extra hose length, claiming to have cleaned the screen, etc.
    I unbolted the reservoir, removed the return hose, tipped the reservoir so the fluid drained from the return hose port. A particle came out that looked like a black paint chip which if sucked against the filter would have reduced flow , stressing the pump, possibly causing cavitation of the fluid, hence the noise. After bolting the reservoir back on and filling with ATF+4 NO NOISE at 3 weeks and counting in a mix of +10 celcius to -5 celcius weather. I guess I could have followed the advice of the dealership and changed the pump and rack - not!
    FYI- For anyone who has not tried this, the bottom fixing bolt on the reservoir does not need removing completely, just loosen it then after the other 2 bolts are removed the reservoir pulls off the mount. :lemon:
  • At about 50K miles my powersteering was getting very loud so I took my 03 Town and Coutry to the Chrysler dealership. They told me I needed new hoses and for about $500 they could fix it. A friend told me to just add a powersteering conditioner. That fixed it and it worked great until 130K. I did the same thing... sucked out the powersteering fluid from the reservior and added more conditioner. This time I added Synthetic fluid with conditioners. BIG mistake. It was squeeling worse than ever. I read your posts and decided to change out the reservior and use the Mopar ATF4 fluid. Everything went great and the squeeling is gone! Make sure when you change out the reservior that you have a 3-5 in socket extension and use a 10mm socket to loosen the nut below and behind the bigger hose attached to the reservoir. You do not need to remove the nut, only loosen it.
  • I was all ready to spend big bucks to get my 2002 Caravan's power steering pump replaced but thanks to being a little bored I started searching on the internet for like problems. I ran across this forum and bought a new reservoir last night and installed it an hour ago and now all the noises are GONE! Thanks.
  • I have a 2004 3.3L Town & Country. I had a noise or whine that would occur sometimes after some hard driving such as high speed freeway trips. 63K miles. I just suctioned out most of the Power Steering fluid and replaced it with new fluid and conditioner. $2.99 at Checker Auto. No more noise or whine. Thanks for those people posting on this problem.
  • My 2005 grand caravan starting having a whining sound. It was noticed even more while turning. Now when I start the vehicle, a grinding type of sound is present for a split second. The noise gets worse almost every day. I checked all of the fulids and found the power steering fluid to be low... I filled it with atf+4 as the manual suggested. The whining went away on the spot, but the grinding type of noise did not. Did your power steering fluid appear low?? Was your van making a seperate noise at start up as well? Thanks so much.
  • My van was whining and making a grinding noise. I noticed the fluid was low. I added some and the whining went away on the spot. The next day the grinding noise stopped as well. Has anyone found the fluid level to be low?? Manual says that the fluid should only be checked or added to if you suspect a leak or problem...
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    Manual says that the fluid should only be checked or added to if you suspect a leak or problem...

    That is foolishness! All fluids should be checked on a periodic basis. If you suspect a problem based on something other than finding the fluid level low, it is probably late enough that damage has already occurred! If you want to keep a vehicle for a long time, do your part - maintain the fluids! ;)
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • I do check the fluids on my vehicle on a regular basis. I have NEVER had the power steering fluid low on ANY vehicle I have owned over the past 15 years. I tend to buy new, and keep them for about 3-4 years. I am looking for someone to respond that has a 2005 dodge grand caravan (or simular) with a simular situation. My power steering fluid was in the normal range just a few weeks ago. I noticed the noise last Friday. I checked the fluids on Sunday. I purchased the fluid on Monday and filled it. I am trying to find out if anyone with this same problem also noticed the fluid level dropping. It has only been 2 days, but no fluid loss... The manual says that you normally do not need to add fluid unless there is a problem with the power steering system. I am wondering if it would be normal for the fluid to be consumed. It was just down to the "fill" line. thanks
  • My 2001 Grand Caravan has really benefited from having the PS reservoir replaced. Our morning temperatures here in Middle Tennessee have been ranging lately from the mid-20s to the low-30s. Starting up is nice and quiet. I still remember this time last year and all the racket that reservoir made.

    If you're having a lot of irritating noise when you start up and turning the steering wheel makes it worse, chances are that changing the PS reservoir will get rid of it.

    John :)
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