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Chrysler Town & Country power steering problems

My '06 T & C just turned 30k miles this month. Power steering fluid started leaking back in July. I added fluid and got it in for service in August. Had several other small items to fix as well, including electrical issues (They kept it 4 days and only fixed 2 of the six items on the list). They put dye in the power steering to trace the leak but i am a one vehicle family of 5 household and couldn't get the van back until yesterday. Now the dealership is telling me i used the wrong power steering fluid (STP Power Steering and stop leak) and that they are going to charge me $129.00 to flush it and if the pump is damaged I will have to pay for it. They informed me that the leak is in the power steering rack and they would fix that. Does this sound correct? or am I paying for something I shouldn't have to? I am not happy with this vehicle at all but can't afford to get out of it yet...It has had nothing but problems from the start...unfortunately they have all been somewhat different problems...
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Comments

  • Unfortunately, you must have told the dealership service guys what you used for power steering fluid to top it off, mistake #1. NEVER tell the service dept anything. Your answer to all questions should be: "I was out of town when it happened and the dealership there took care of it so I could get home." This answer will almost always put you in a position of no responsibility for any problems with wrong fluids. The STP P/S fluid most likely did not hurt the pump or rack. If they told you the rack was leaking it was either a hose connection or the rack seal, left, right or both. I would recommend getting a second opinion from another service center that is close by if you think for even one second you are being scammed. You probably aren't though, due to the fact it's still under warranty and the cost of repairing the leak is covered. $129.00 to flush the system and refill is about right for a Chrysler dealership service department and you should have it done, if not by them then by a reputable service center. Do yourself a favor, in the future read your owners manual cover to cover and familiarize yourself with the vehicle and it's systems, and always use the recommended fluids listed in it. Good luck and Safe Driving ;)
  • We have an '05 Town & Country, and like many people on this board, have Power Steering issues.

    We have the same symptoms: low fluid, whining noise, difficulty steering, etc.

    Yesterday, a Chrysler dealer checked it out for us, and told us it's an $800 repair, due to a bad Power Steering Rack.

    Based on what i'm seeing at this board, this is not an uncommon problem, and has anyone heard of a potential recall on this? Also, does anyone know the part number for this? I'd like to find it outside of the dealer markups....
  • mcohiomcohio Posts: 1
    We own a 2005 Town & Country and just found out we need to have the Power Steering unit rack replaced at 60,000 miles. The Cleveland area dealer quoted $695 and I will probably have them do it.

    I am absolutely dumbfounded that a rack & pinion steering unit would go up this soon. I just bought this vehicle from my father in law and recently sold a Jeep Cherokee that was no longer practical with several kids.

    Lesson learned from Cherokee and Town & Country: Chrysler can build a model for 30 years or 3 but they're inclined to screw it up either way.
  • I wanted to thank you for your input and advice...I was fortunate...this time...when I picked the van up, they only charged me $79 for the flush...they replaced the rack under warranty...and yes, I should have read the owners manual before filling the fluids! Another lesson learned! Any advice on electrical issues? The dealership installed an after market DVD player for me before I took the van off the lot brand new. The van suffers various electical issues and the mechanics blame the DVD player. The techs in the other depart. insist it's not the DVD player...back and forth they've gone with no resolution and I can't afford to keep taking the van in for service...it's my only vehicle in this family of 6 with 4 teen agers. Problems so far: 3K miles, van was driven to LA from Texas, trip home delayed 3 days when inserted key into ignition and nothing would happen. Something erased the chip...$85 tow w/a promise to re-imburse that never happened; dash lights flash bright randomly; one blinker bulb burned out (still under 25K at that time); now power locks starting to make funny noises...Would any of this qualify for Lemon Law? Not to mention the over charge of $1800 for the DVD system for which they can't get good sound from the speakers! AHHH! I am so frustrated! :mad: :cry:
  • dougf1dougf1 Posts: 1
    I just paid $780 to have the rack replaced in my 2006 Town & Country, with 55,000 miles. In addition I paid $105 for power steering fluid service and $99 for a front end alignment. . The service manager told me there are 1300 racks on order with Chrysler right now and they are changing several per week. I was amazed because if the problem is this severe I feel there should be a recall. I have owned at least one Chrysler minivan since 1984 and never had this problem before. Is it as widespread as the dealer indicated. Symptoms were a high whining noise that increase with acceleration. Some occasional steering issues that felt like a soft tire. I am interested in hearing if others have had this same problem.
  • We're having the same issues with our 2006 T&C...whinning noise coming from the steering console. Just started about a week ago, we thought with the extreme cold temperatures it must be the PS fluid "gelling" up inside, but after reading these posts, I made an appointment for tomorrow morning to have it looked at. We are just hitting the 33k mark, so of course, things will inevitably go wrong with it. They think it's "just a belt" but will check it out, I will defintely make mention the "rack" issues and see what thier assessment is.
    Another issue we've been having, and Chrysler doesn't seem to be able to duplicate the noise(this has been ongoing since about 22k miles) the speedometer control panel seems to rattle, randomly when we have an immediate increase in acceleration. I also notice it happens frequently since it is cold. Anyone out there experiencing this problem?
  • we just got our 2006 t&c back today from the dealership. it only has 20,000 miles on it. when they left the msg yesterday that it was ready, we thought it was fixed. when my husband picked it up, he found out about the 1000 replacement parts for the steering rack that are on backorder. they told us it may be 6 months before it got fixed. the srvc guy told my husband just to drive it and replace the ps fluid as needed (shouldnt chrysler supply this?). it is leaking all over the exhaust of the van.the srvc guy also told my husband that we could go on and drive it to florida at the end of the month! just to ck the steering fluid on the road. it loses more when it gets hot on the interstate! isnt this a fire hazard it is all over the exhaust. i am taking the vehicle back to the dealership tomorrow. a friend works for a local police department and advised me that because the van wouldnt pass inspection like this, the srvc dept at my dealership could lose their license for letting it go out the door unfixed. i am so mad. i have 3 precious children that i would have to unbuckle from carseats on both sides of the van if it caught on fire. shouldnt chrysler be providing the loaner car while i wait for mine to be fixed - if it takes 6 months whose fault is that - not mine!! what do you guys think?
  • I just took my 2005 T&C to the Dealer for what a thought was a belt noise problem. They checked it and told me there was no fluid in the power steering pump and it was leaking out in the front seals. $850.00 est repair. Only 25000 miles on the Van.
  • I'm in a similar situation as of this morning. We own a 2006 Town & Country Touring, with 52,000 original miles. Took it in for scheduled maintenance and an oil change this morning (it's last service was about 4 mos. ago at around 43,000 miles). The service manager said the technician noticed the power steering fluid level was low and upon inspecting the bushings noted a leak which he attributed to the rack and pinion steering assembly. The service manager said that the rack and pinion assembly will have to be completely replaced, estimated cost $800 parts and labor. I've done some research and apparently this is a common practice however, I was alarmed to learn that there was a several month back order on these assemblies within Chrysler. I too smell a rat, there's either an impending recall or perhaps a class action lawsuit brewing here. I'm going to take my van to my local Firestone dealer and get a second opinion.
  • i did take my van back to the dealership. luckily our dealership is a small locally owned place and the owner was there. i spoke with him and told him my concerns about fire hazard and craziness of asking me to drive my family on a 10 hour road trip with a defective van. after some time of the owner being gone "looking for service records" he came back and informed me he had a loaner for me to use. he told me there are over 13000 of these so called steering rack units on back order and from what he said the dealerships are trying to get chrysler to recall these things. I advise if anyone is in the same situation and your vehicle is still under warranty, refuse to leave the dealership with a defective vehicle. demand a loaner and chrysler will be forced to pay for it for as long as it takes yours to be fixed. if everyone would do this, chrysler would take care of it asap because it would cost them!!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,644
    The sad truth is that there are few dealerships that would be willing to do what yours did. I think the local Chrysler dealership here is about on par with the rest of them, and I would rather pull teeth all day long than get them to lift a finger (other than the middle one) for any customer. The phrase "blue in the face" comes to mind. :sick:
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • I just found out that our 2005 TC needs a steering rack replacement also. I don't know much about cars, but was very surprised at how many people are having this problem. It would be nice if there was a recall. This repair is going to cost around $600 and they said it would take about 2 weeks to get the parts. We also had to have our water pump replaced. At least this part was covered under warranty. We just bought the van in May of 2007 and it only has 29,500 miles. Just out of curiosity, does anybody know how a part gets recalled from Chrysler?
  • FYI
    The service guy at the dealership advised us to save our receipt for our steering rack replacement. He has heard that Chrysler may be recalling this part. Apparently, this is a huge problem. I have my fingers crossed, would like my $600 back!
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    I'm not sure why Chrysler isn't covering it if it only has 29500 on it. Isn't there a 36,000K full warranty? Any auto I ever owned got everything fixed for free when the mileage was that low.
  • Well, I found out the full warranty ran out on Feb 10, 2008, ten days ago. Oh well, another learning experience for me.
  • The dealership is looking into trying to get the warranty to cover the repair. Thanks for the heads up. I appreciate it.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    I'd make a scene. 10 days out of warranty is not enough for them to not honor it. It was probably showing symptoms of this problem before the warranty expired. Chrylser should honor this.

    When my T&C had about 38,000 on it my daughter pushed coins into the tape player and shorted it out. I complained to Chrysler about the broken tape player it saying it was only slightly out of warranty and that they should honor it ( I didn't tell the exactly HOW the tape player came to be broken). They did - they popped the old one out and popped in another no questions asked.

    Your dealer should go to bat for you of he desires your business again.
  • Yep. Same happened to us. 2006 T&C Limited started making whining noises when you'd start up. Sounded like a belt or something but then it would smooth out once the engine heated up. My wife kept complaining that she'd smell something burning too after a 1/2 hour trip or so. The best I can describe is was an oily or tire burning smell. I'd check the engine compartment and... nothing. I initially chalked it up to the fact that we live on a hill and the tires tend to overrotate when you go over the flat spots in between the incline. After a while though, the noise wouldn't go away so we took it down for service. Sure enough, just as orionpirate8 describes, dry power steering pump and needed a whole new rack. The dealer told me that this was a back ordered item and we were 752nd!!!! Obviously there's a huge problem with the steering system. Fortunately for us, the van only has 21,000 on it so it was covered under warranty.

    The good new is that so far, this is the only problem and I mean only problem, we've ever had with the vehicle. Great van so far.
  • cgaskincgaskin Posts: 5
    Apparently, Chrysler is going to cover the repair, but I have to pay a $100 deductible. It looks like the part won't be here until March 31. Almost a month and a half since we originally took it in. I am amazed at how huge this problem is.
  • bjssbjss Posts: 51
    Hi - I'm having the same symptoms with my '05 T&C (whinning noise when start up, occasional noises when making turns..). I took it in to the dealer to diagnose (has 35K on it). The Technician called me back, said it was the steering rack and they had the part (surprisingly) and would replace (take a couple of days). Two days later, I called to check on it, the Service Mgr tells me that the Tech had my Van confused with another (same color) and mine does not have this issue ("all OK"). I really like the Service Mgr, however, given the situation, I asked him to double check the situation (check power steering pump fluids, leaks, etc..) to be sure. Also, I did buy an extended warranty - he says it will cover the steering rack if it should fail. Should I be concerned?
  • jeweeksjeweeks Posts: 1
    THIS IS COVERED UNDER THE 36K warranty!! DON'T PAY A CENT!! It's covered. I'm going through the same thing and I have 44,000 miles. They want a hundred dollar deductible and Chrysler is coivering it. Also, the powertrain is covered up to 70K miles....Check it out. you're getting ripped off!!
  • bjssbjss Posts: 51
    Thx - they checked out the car again came back with same conclusion. Had the car for 1 week now and no problems...but, I had the dealer owner give me a written note and signature that they would cover beyond 36K (up to my 85K extended warranty) if the rack should fail. They will also cover the $100 deductible.
  • connieb2connieb2 Posts: 1
    I took my 2005 Town&Country into the dealer on March 12 for a recall on the windshield washer motor. I also had been hearing the whinning noise in the front of my van, so asked them to check it out while I was there. I too had to have power steering box, gear-rack and pinion replaced. I have just under 45K on my van. I am glad that I had purchased the extended warranty, I had to pay a $200 deductiable, for the front end alignment and power steering fluid for a total of $267. Had I not had extended warranty it would had come to a total of $ll78.
    I was told that this has been a problem and to hang on to my invoice for a possiable recall.
    Does anyone know were we can go to make a complaint to Chrystler about this HUGH PROBLEM!!!!!!! :mad:
  • jrsattjrsatt Posts: 5
    Odd that I find this message postings today since all day my van was in the shop receiving a new rack at 46+K miles. My symptoms were the same as stated by others, whine on start-up and ending after the unit warmed up. I also had purchased an extended warranty and paid a hundred plus 7% sales tax. I have always been a driver who takes care of his vehicle properly. Just wondering if a recall is made in the future if possibly Chrysler would pay my deductible costs as this certainly is a defective manufactured major component and one on the safety side of driving.
  • bfesenbfesen Posts: 1
    I have just had to pay our Chrysler service department $800 to fix a problem that after reading all these postings should be a recall by Chrysler. We had to have the steering rack replaced and it played out exactly as previous postings stated. My only questions is WHERE IS THE RECALL????
  • sk4sk4 Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Town and Country with the same problem. My van has 50,000 miles. Now that the warranty is off, I use a mechanic that is more reasonable than the large dealer where I bought the van. He said I should contact Chrysler because this should not happen at 50,000 miles and I searched Google and found all of you on my first hit! I will contact Chrysler but I don't think it will do any good. It is amazing there has been no recall.
  • eppeseppes Posts: 2
    Just having tires replaced and asked the shop to check the noise....and was told that I needed to spend $1400 to replace the steering rack ...tech showed me the leak and everything...I cant believe how many folks are having this problem. I have just over 70,000 miles and when I was still under warrenty asked dealership about the noise that I now know is the steering... and was told it was nothing.....now I am not under warrenty....hoping for a recall.... :cry:
  • jrsattjrsatt Posts: 5
    At 1400 bucks they should give you the tires, balance and fill with Nitrogen then pain the car. Between 800 - 900 should be tops unless there is damage to other parts. This is a mess that Chrysler - Dodge - Jeep must get in line and help those out who have this failed problem. This item is a joke. :confuse:
  • grimleygrimley Posts: 3
    Yesterday I was informed that my grinding whine was due to the rack and pinion failure. $800+ repair. I also researched and see that it's a BIG PROBLEM which the dealers are disavowing. If you have this problem, please make a complaint with www.nhtsa.gov, who can count complaints and force Chrysler into a recall. Also call Chrysler and make your complaint (800) 992-1997. If you have it repaired, save your receipt for reimbursement should there actually be a recall.
    I also have to replace the brakes every 15K miles, and my mechanic informed me today that the a/c clutch has disintegrated, making the vehicle (in yet another way) unsafe. Now I also need a new a/c compressor. Ridiculous for a vehicle with 53,000 miles and not even paid off yet!
  • ragtop262ragtop262 Posts: 58
    Recalls are normally only done for things that are directly safety related. What Chrysler should do (and they have done this in the past with similar issues) is admit there was a defect with a significant number of these steering racks, and issue an extended warantee for that part - including retroactive payments for anyone who already had to pay for the replacement.

    BTW - aftermarket replacements are available for these steering racks, and you can have them replaced for under $500 at a local repair shop. (of course, then you will have a harder time getting your money back if Chrysler does extend the warantee)
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