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Dodge Grand Caravan Steering

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,461
    Terry,

    I apologize if my post was misconstrued as being directed at you. I was stating that it was foolishness for the manual to not recommend checking the fluid level.
  • descdesc Posts: 1
    2003 Dodge Grand Caravan - issue: power steering grinding / creaking noises at low speeds and turning corners. I suspected air locks in the system - the manual tells you to turn on the engine, turn the steering column from left to right repeatedly to push the air out of the system.

    I tried this but I also over-filled the reservoir a little, left the cap off, revved the engine above 3000 rpm and repeatedly turned the steering column to its extremes about 20 times (left and right sides). Seems to have cured the noise for now....
  • Terryvet1, my 05 grand caravan never made the whining sound. steering fluid is ok, never lost any. But, mine is making the same grinding type niose your referring to. Did you ever get the problem diagnosed and/or fixed??
  • Much to my surprise, simply adding atf+4 fluid, the whining went away on the spot. The grinding stopped after the second day, but was much better right away. My dealer said that it sounds like a serious power steering issue. I never did take the van in as it has stopped all noise and no fluid loss as of yet... By the way... Have you had any problems with your power sliding doors? Our right door only opens 1/2 way. thanks
  • I'm reading all threads i can on the "Grinding Noise" which i can hear occasionally during turns. I've never had the "whining" noise which seems to be attributed to a clogged screen in the PS reservior. As I said, I'm reading everything, so far I have:
    - People are using "Lube Guard Power Steering Protectant" from NAPA seems to be doing some good.
    - One thread is saying a tranny mount is loose, causing the grown, or grind.
    But that's about it.
    I have not had a problem with the sliders, except the right side rattles if not shut REAL hard. Sometimes it takes a few REAL hard shuts to get it quite. Not a real issue for me but my son in the back seat complains about it.
  • tiscotisco Posts: 4
    I have a '06 Grand Caravan that had grinding and squelling from the power steering asounded like it was low on fluid, turned out that the rack and pinion assembly was bad, Dodge replaced under warrentee and all is quiet.
  • I have a 2004 Grand Caravan, and recently have experienced a problem in turns. The steering wheel is very difficult to turn for a second or two, and then I hear a pop, and the steering is normal. The power steering fluid was low, and I have added fluid. Any thoughts?
  • I have the same exact problem in my 2001 town & country. It's always when I turn the wheel left though and only last till I get out of my apt. parking lot. I've never had a problem with it driving in town.
    If you find anything out let me know.
  • I heard whining coming from my van (while turning) when the weather got colder. Took it to the dealer from where I bought it used (18,000 miles). They tell me the van is leaking power steering fluid, the seal is cracked and I have to replace the complete rack for a cost of over $900.00. Any advise?
  • I got the same tapdance from the dealer yesterday, with one difference: the part is in national backorder, with no definite date of delivery. I must pay for the parts up front, before my name gets on the list. I think the parts are over $600. Now this might be the way it's done, but it just feels wrong. Why should I have to pay for Chrysler's "just in time" parts flow? Interestingly, I got a phone call just after picking up the car from new car sales at the dealership asking whether I would like to trade it in rather than fix it. I have done business with this dealer for over a decade, but I am finding my trust running low at this point. Time to trade, perhaps...but not for another Caravan, and not there!
  • I too have the exact same problem with my vehicle. My dealer told me that it was on back order as well; however, they anticipate that it will be in by next week. Thankfully I purchased the extended warranty when I bought my car otherwise I would be footing the bill. The dealer has already tried to "upsell" me a power steering fluid flush and replacement of the filter. More $$$ in their pocket. Approx. a year ago I had a similar sound as this one and come to find out all they had to do was replace the power steering resivoir which had been recalled by the dealership. Again at that time they tried to "adivse" me to do the power steering flush and filter change, otherwise the sound woundn't go away. Of course I didn't do anything other than replace the recalled part and the problem was solved-end of story.
  • My 2006 Grand Caravan just started making whining noises. It has under 16,000 miles on it. I took it to my dealer and they said it was a failed Power Steering Rack & Pinion Seal Leak and ordered a new one. Unfortunately, as of today they told me over 11,000 of the same part are on backorder. Does this smell of a major recall? I was told by the dealer that it affected Model Years 2005-2008. I was told as long as I kept the fluid up to par I could drive it. I asked for and received a free quart of Mopar ATF Transmission fluid to use until the part comes in.
  • I had the whining noise that came from the power steering in December 07. I added fluid and the whining noise went away. Now all of the sudden the noise is back. I added a little more fluid and the noise reduced slightly. The fluid was not low, so it is now maxed out. You mention a recall for the resivoir. I did not get any type of notice... Was this a national recall on the 2005 model or something from your dealer?
  • I don't believe the reservoir has a recall on it only the reservoir hose that connects to it. I have an '03 GC and not sure for the 2005-07 model has the recall. They all use the same part number for the reservoir. I just bought it and installed it an the noise went away over a year ago. Call the dealer and they will tell you what recalls your van has.
  • dadto3dadto3 Posts: 17
    I have an '06 T&C and commute out of town with it every day. When I exit the interstate and come to a stop, I've got a whining sound from the engine. If I excelerate back up to 40+ mph, I don't hear it, but it's back when I come back to a lower mph or a stop. When I'm just doing in town driving, I don't notice it. Took it to the Chrysler dealer on a 5 degree day and was told it's a common problem in cold weather (?????). Well, today is in the 30's and I've got the same problem. If there's work to be done, I want to get it done before I get out of warranty. Suggestions?
  • natb1natb1 Posts: 10
    Thanks all,

    My 2001 was exhibiting the exact same symptoms. After an independant service station said i needed both pump and rack, I declined. They only asked $700 for the whole job, parts and labor. I good deal considering what ive read so far. I figured $700 was enough to warrant a little internet surfing. BTW, this is the best use of the internet by far! Sure enough, i pulled off the resevuoir (that rear nut is a pain), and I actually back flushed it with hot soapy water. I then dried it VERY THOUROUGHLY. Put back together.....Nearly Silent even on a cold start. Total cost?....Zero Dollars!

    PS....I did find a leaking hose fitting on the "cooler" below. that should be all of 5 Bucks.

    Thanks again all!....Now over to the 95 S-10 (CPI Vortec) Message Board!
  • I had the same whining problem for the last few weeks. It used to last about 5 minutes and would be gone after I had caught up speed. I took it to the dealer who recommended getting the rack and pinion unit replaced for $880.00 . Wow !! I was not prepared for it.

    I skipped the dealership and did some net surfing, checked the Power Steering Oil level and it seemed a little low and so thought of getting some Power Steering Oil. Dodge recommends using only Mopar oil. Looked up Target/Walmart and did not find any and so I finally went to Napa Auto Parts. The guy at Napa recommended using Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak. A 12 oz. bottle costs $9.99. I took my chances, bought it and then poured the same to the required level (did not overfill) on 25th evening and the whining dissappeared the next morning. I looked up the oil level this morning (about 36 hours after I filled in) and the oil level seemingly was intact. I just hope that this will go a long way. keeping my fingers crossed though.

    If interested you can look up the Lucas Oil info at Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak
    I will watch out for another week and post you with my anticipated success.

    Do also let me know if someone has any experience around this product. Even though I have taken my chances I want to be sure it is the right thing to do.
  • ls6454ls6454 Posts: 11
    We have an 2005 Grand Caravan that has had the whining noise for a couple of monthes, the power steering fluid is full. The dealer suggested replacing the rack, a frieng of mine suggested adding some Lucas power steering conditioner, I figured for under $10 what did I have to loose. I removed the hose and started the engine and turned the wheel , this pumped the old fluid into an empty gallon jug. I refilled the fluid and added the Lucas power steering conditioner, this was about a week ago and still no whine.
  • natb1natb1 Posts: 10
    I used ATF+4 with no problems.

    To anyone who has found fluid to be low:
    jack the vehicle and secure it with stands.
    DO NOT get under car with a jack alone!
    While the van is suspended by stands, start the van.
    Get under the van while a friend turns the wheels.
    Inspect the 2 hose fittings that go to the small cooler.
    It looks like a miniature radiator under the van.
    Mine leaks slowly
  • I have a 2003 Caravan and almost got ripped off by the dealer.

    Having a whining noise in the steering system I took the van to the dealer and was told the power steering needed to be flushed. That cost about $150.00.
    Problem solved for a few days. Then it came back and grew worse week by week.

    Took it back a month or so later, dealer said they were not sure if it was the power steering onit or the rack and pinion.

    TOOK IT TO A SMALL SHOP.
    THEY FOUND A TECH BULLETIN INSTRUCTING TO REPLACE A HOSE ON THE UNIT WITH A LONGER ONE.
    PROBLEM RESOLVED.

    I collect a refund of the $ 150.00 flush "JOB ".
  • crablandcrabland Posts: 2
    My van just started making the same noise. I was told to add pwer steering fluid until the part arrived. Which they said was about 6 weeks. I have a 2005 Dodge mini van and the three year/30,000 milage warranty is covering the replacement part.
  • dadto3dadto3 Posts: 17
    Finally got my van into another dealer for a 2nd opinion. Found the steering rack is leaking and needs to be replaced. Will take 2-3 weeks to get the part in. They topped off my steering fluid and today is the first day I haven't had the whining noise. Luckily I'm still under warranty....
  • ginadiginadi Posts: 2
    Hi~ I have a 2004 DGC SE 80,000 miles. I recently had a new h20 pump, tranny flush, and the recalled hose fixed. But, over the past week or so when I start it the car seems to whine? and it louder then usual. Also, when turning the steering wheel right or left it seems to howl?? Not sure what to do, so any suggestions would be great.. Don't really want to take it in as I just spent 600 bucks on it!!! Thanks so much - Gina
  • bjssbjss Posts: 51
    Based on other posts with the same symptoms, it sounds like the steering rack needs to be replaced.
  • dodgeman7dodgeman7 Posts: 17
    Whoa... Slow down there bjss!

    Gina,
    If you would read the entire forum on this problem with DGC, you would find out that a simple fix might be the replacement of the power steering reservoir. The part is only $25.00 or so and could be installed in less than an hour if you don't mind getting your hands dirty like me. The only hard part was the 10mm bolt behind the reservoir. I didn't know it was there until I thought I had all the bolts off and still it did not come out. The back bolt you just have to loosen it then it just comes off. The dealer quoted me $178.00 to fix it. Sure beats the $600+ to have the rack replaced and the loss of time waiting on the part to arrived at the dealer. Either way it's still cheaper than the rack job. The reservoir can be picked up the same day.

    Only if it still makes noise would I go with bjss statement of getting the rack & pinion checked out or replaced.
    There is a good chance that the replacement of the power steering reservoir will do the trick like it did for mine and a lot of others I've helped out.

    I fixed my '03 DGC with 80,000+ miles on it by changing out the power steering reservoir over a year ago and no noise came back. Let me tell you mine was pretty bad and noisy before replacing it and the dealer also told me that the rack might need to be replaced. Then a mechanic there at the dealer told me it's the power steering reservoir without even hearing my van make any noise. He told me a lot of them have been replaced and fixed the whine.

    Good luck and I'm putting my money on the reservoir being the culprit.
    :shades:
  • bjssbjss Posts: 51
    Good point dodgeman7! Didn't mean the jump the gun. I hope it's the reservoir too! : ;)
  • Thanks so much for the info! I have had the same problem for about 6 months on my 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan (83,000 miles). Dealer told me it was a "design flaw" that allowed too much air into the lines and there was nothing they could do about it. I could have had the reservoir and lines replaced and it would lessen the noise a bit, but it would still make noise. I'm going to try your suggestion!
  • ginadiginadi Posts: 2
    Dodgeman 7,
    Thanks so much for the info.. I will most definitly do that. When reading through the posts it sounds like a TON of DGC have had this prob...
    Anyway thanks again.. ;)
    Take Care,
    Gina

    PS.. That tip on the bolt will be a lifesavor!!!!
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Good advice by dodgeman7 here. This applies to almost any problem or repair you're contemplating. Always try the simplest, easiest thing first before moving on to the more expensive, complicated repairs. I can think of at least 2 more problem areas where this applies.
    1. If your transmission doesn't seem to be working right, replace the fluid first and see if that makes any improvement. Of course, make sure you use the right tranny fluid when doing this. If it doesn't fix the problem, you're only out $25-$50 or so.
    2. If your CEL is on and the code is indicating a bad catalytic converter, try replacing the O2 sensor(s) first. Even if you still end up needing the cat, you probably would have replaced the O2 sensors as part of the cat replacement so you have not thrown away any money here.
  • drdylandrdylan Posts: 4
    No need to list my visits to the Dodge deal to fix the whining problem I had with my 2003 Caravan. No time for that.
    It took a small repair shop to accomplish the repair I needed by replacing a power steering hose with a longer one. They were to do so because they read Dodge's

    Tech Bulletin bulletin number 19-006-05, dated August 4, 2005.

    One visit to the small shop, one reading of a tech bulletin and a one time charge of about seventy five dollars resulted in my problem being resolved.

    Amazing.
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