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Chrysler Town & Country power steering problems

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  • I bought my T&C new in October 2006. In October 2008, the dealership replaced the power steering pump and battery when I had it in the shop for replacing the power sliding door electrical parts. I had maybe 18K miles on it. Last month when it got really cold, the front end starting making a whining noise. I only have 25K miles on it now. I finally took it back to the Chrysler dealership that did the previous repairs. They called and said that it needed both the pump and the rack replaced for $1,400. However, since they had replaced the pump already under warranty and that if I had an extended warranty (which I don't) that it would only cost me the $100 deductible. They said they would only charge me the $100 and charge Chrysler the rest. Guess I got lucky and found a reputable dealership (or maybe it is just a CYA now that Toyota is in a major donwfall!)
  • clorox91clorox91 Posts: 1
    I have a 2006 Chrysler Town and Country... same problem. Started at around 70,000 miles. Its getting worse. We all need to submit defect complaint to NHTSA.... https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov . Spread the word!!! Lets get this fixed on Chryslers dime!
  • rbucky64rbucky64 Posts: 2
    Thanks to this forum I was able to fix power steering problem cheaply. Hope it's not to late for somebody else and it applies. I have a 2005 T&C that had a very loud power steering whine. The fluid level was fine but after reading the forum I decided that I would flush the power steering reservoir and see if that worked. I bought a $5.00 siphone from auto parts store and 2 quarts of ATF+4. I siphoned all the fluid out of the reservoir that I could and replaced w/ new fluid. Drove a couple of miles and repeated the process. The whine stopped and has not come back in the last 3000 miles or so. Thanks for all the helpful posts!
  • marty62marty62 Posts: 2
    This is just a follow up to say that the power steering noise has not returned yet. We have put many miles on the van since the original posting...Good luck!
  • ryan78ryan78 Posts: 1
    I have a 2006 T&C that has been nothing, and I mean, nothing but one problem after another in the two years that I've owned it. I took the van in for same whining noise, amongst other things, earlier this year to a local auto shop. They had to replace the power steering rack, etc, totaling about $1000. Three weeks later I had to take it back in for the same thing and was told it was a defective part. They replaced it free of charge, but I had to wait 3 or 4 days.

    Yesterday, while over 200 miles from home on business, the van began making a horrible screeching noise and wheel wouldn't turn. After getting it to a Goodyear, I was told that it once again was leaking power steering fluid and that all the seals are bad. Had it towed for over $400 back to auto shop in my home town. Can't wait to hear what they have to say in the morning, but after reading these pages, it sounds like I need to make a call to Chrysler first thing. Someone is reimbursing me for that tow! :mad:
  • timcritontimcriton Posts: 1
    I'm a missionary who lives in Guatemala.
    I have a 98 Chrysler t/c lxi, everything has been great until about a year ago when the steering began to get hard to turn, over the past year I have replaced the P/S/ pump twice, the hoses, and had the rack and pinion rebuilt. And flushed the P/S system. it works fine for 10-30 min and then gets hard to turn, if I put it it park and gun the engine it is easy.
    I don't know what else to do, all the mechanics I talk to are stumped and just want to change the entire system again, the original mechanic who did all the work is clueless.
    I'd appreciate any help. Oh by the way the P/S pumps were bought from autozone in the U.S.
  • Ok I have to ask this question. When those of you who had the rack and pinion replaced in your van. Mine is an 06 Grand Caravan. 77k miles. its leaking fluid so it needs replaced I need to know if anyone has been told to flush the power steering system. Dealership says doesnt need done because all old fluid will drain out when new rack is put on... Other mechanic says yes.

    Any thoughts? I'm scheduled to have this replaced thursday am. I need to know if I can insist it not be done.
    Thanks!
  • rich_burbagerich_burbage Posts: 1
    edited June 2010
    Woooo! Is this a really bad trend. I'm in the process of purchasing a used 32K 06 TC. I brought it home and started it the next morning. Screeming whine under the hood. Steering wasn't power assisted anymore. Checked fluid. Empty. I just happened to have some PS fluid onhand. Filled then leaked out immediately. I called Carmax. Come pick it up. They are replacing everything for $0. Is this problem going to repeat again? :lemon:
  • 2003 T&C,
    Problem: With key on (not running) when i turn the steering wheel back and fourth and the wheels are just turning there is a knocking/bump noise, when driving and turning wheels its more noticeable.
    What I know: The bump noise is coming from the drivers side inner tie rod going into the steering gear assy. i can feel it there "bumping" while the steering wheel is being turned back and fourth.
    Seems like the "gear box needs tightened) but not sure on this set up
    Had the van since 2004 haven't had it aligned,1) because it still drives straight.2) the outer end of the pass.tire was wearing a little.3) I haven't had the power steering hoses changed (recall)

    Is it time for an alignment? does the "gear box need tightened"? I know I need it taken in for the recall on the hoses..is the any more recalls?

    Thanks
  • i got a 1996 tc that i am changeing rack and pinoion whats the best way to remove p/s hoses and coupler any tricks cause it dont look easy and i consider my self a experinced mechanic (heavy equipment mechanic)
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    I've never did one on a van, but did replace the rack and pinion unit on an '87 BMW.

    IIRC, removing the hoses was just a matter of having the right size sockets and/or wrenches, extensions, etc to be able to get at the nuts that attach the hoses to the rack assembly.

    From working with heavy equipment with their hydraulics, you are probably familiar with the pressures involved and how tight those fittings need to be torqued in order to prevent leaks.
  • Early sept. 2010, my 2005 T&C (106,000 miles) just went stiff and it seemed like all had shut down, just as I was in the middle of a curve in an intersection. Thank God was just at 10-15 mph, cause it stopped in front of a light post! I turned the key off, then on again and it seemed ok??!! Next day took it to the dealer in town and had them check evrything w/diagnostic machine. They replaced a pump sensor (?) that could've been wet, since it was raining. This had never happened before and I'm only owner. Never had any mechanic tend to the engine; only the dealer. They said another dodge caravan of 2006 had the same problem reported. They implied someone (mechanic) may have messed w/the sensors...To fix that +new wiring, etc = $1300....After 9/10 a strong vibration or shuddering started at low speed (gear changing?) or 1 to 1-1/2 rpm, I let go of the accelerat pedal and goes away.. Dealer says its my transmission plus my alternator...costing $3,200 more!!! anyone has similar experience?Why didn't the diagnostic check pick up on these problems? To fix this car or buy a new one...that's my quest!
  • kikilalamamakikilalamama Posts: 6
    edited November 2010
    Our van has started with the cold weather making a whirring sound with a cold startup which increases when I turn, after awhile it goes away but over the course of a week it is becoming more consistent and yesterday when I turned it felt as though the belt was slipping for a second, along with an increase of the sound. My question is does it sound like an issue of the belt needing to be tightened or could it be the pump or fluid needs replacing? Took it to my mechanic and he said they didnt find any leaks, of course didnt hear the noise and it COULD be we need a new pump or rack and pinion at the tune of $1600....but, "they werent sure"....

    I will note the belt is new and was replaced almost a year ago. Would love some input before I take out a loan :lemon:
  • I read your posting the other day and using the same procedure seems to have fixed my power steering problem.

    I purchased a suction gun, removed as much of the fluid as possible from the reservoir (there was some residue that came from the bottom) then refilled with new oil, drove it around for a bit to get a good circulation. Then again removed the oil and refilled with new oil. So far, the noise has not returned and the steering feels more like it should.

    I would highly recommend this procedure. I had been told I would need to have the rack and pinon replaced with a cost over $1000. This only cost a few dollars.

    On cold days it would sound like power steering low on oil. If I started it and let it run for a few minutes, turn it off for a while, then I could restart with no problem. Too much trouble.
  • I know it probably has been a while since you had this problem, but the 1996 town and country has a plastic power steering pump pulley, my pulley completely cracked out and was making a lot of noise, it dumped the belt. I recommend that the pump be replaced, but this could be really spendy! If the belt is loose, its probobly the pulley coming apart, have the pulley checked out before you go any further, the belt has a constant tension on it and should never be loose, if it stretches out the tensioner will keep it tight. if the belt gets loose, it will fly off and you will also lose your water pump, alternator and A/C if you have it, Good luck.
  • thanks, getting it checked today and will mention they check this! I did notice shortly after posting this that I have air in my fluid & also was low on fluid, possibly noting a leak so I ran out and got the lucas stop leak and refilled, but two mornings ago I got the tell tale whine again, just seems to be when I do a start up but its enough to tick me off! I think I may have a bad pulley also, I hear it jingling in there when I stop the engine so, all is getting looked at today. And really hoping its not the pump, if so may have to install myself to avoid the cost!
  • One more thing, today I finished my pump and it was really difficult. I am an aircraft mechanic with more than 25 years in the Biz, and have worked on just about everything out there that flies, and I used to overhaul helicopter transmissions and rotor systems, so I have a couple of skills, but this job was for the birds The books today don't tell you everything that you need to know.They try to cover all of the cars in the series in one manual, they will tell you in the instructions that its a 3.2 liter engine and show you pictures of a 3.8. If you aren't the one doing the work its no problem. I had countless problems the worst of which was that the pulley Bore "hole" was .009 inches smaller than the Shaft which means it won't push on, luckily for me I know a machinist with a honing machine who took off about .006 inches that is 6 thousandths of an inch, just so I could install the pulley with a .002 in press, "pinch fit" and the pulley had molding extraction burs on it and it shredded my belt after 30 miles of driving. If you have a friend do it for you provide them with many cold adult beverages, cause hell need them. Best regards
  • Jiggle the pulley, if it wobbles it's toast!, It is a difficult job to be sure, i cant tell you how many problems i had, but I did remove the right hand cv shaft and wheel assy and move it out of my way, all in all the job took me about ten hours labor and 20 hours driving, you will need to rent a puller set from your local parts house I rented one from O Reily auto parts most places will rent the tool for a day or two with a refundable deposit. The pulley has to come off before you remove it!, the pump wont clear the housing with the pulley installed. Its a big job but it will save you a ton of money! best regards
  • Hi, I own a 2003 Chrysler Grand Voyager 3.3 V6. For about 12 months we have suffered a grumbling, groaning, whining and heavily vibrating steering noise.
    The vibration was so bad that the interior mirror would shake and the vibration was felt through out the inside of the cab.

    The noise was embarassing when driving into and around a car park -it really was that loud!

    The general view of the mechanics was that I needed to replace the steering rack and proberbly the steeering pump too....around £1000.

    I did some research on the internet and found a profound answer to this type of problem.

    I was doubtful of the solution because the answer was so simple it could not possibly explain all the bad symptoms my GV was suffering???

    So today 08.01.11 we have carried out the instructions and I can hardly believe the result - 99% cure in only 5 mins of running her up - I'm astounded....

    The problem????

    Dirty filter in the power steering fluid reservoir!

    The solution????

    Take the reservoir off and clean it out or replace it with a new one (a £35 dealer only part)

    It would seem that even whilst the fluid looks clean, the filter is so fine that it clogs up after several years service or about 50~60,000 miles.
    When it clogs up it reduces and restricts the flow of fluid which in turn creates all the associated noises -
    Groaning, grumbling, whining and the mega bad vibrations too!!

    What pisses me off is that this seems a real common problem and it looks as thought a number of people are being ripped off with a bogus repair solution
    - surely the dealers must be aware of this simple fix??????

    Try it, worst case senario?? You'll waste 30 - 60 min's and poss' a £35 part.

    Many thanks to the original poster - you've saved me the best part of a £1000.

    PS you can see the fix on you tube search for Dodge Caravan steering noise.

    Good Luck from across the pond (UK)!
  • I removed my pump on my 97 T&C because it was leaking. Of course there's a "trick" to getting it out (posted on the Allpar web site). Remove the crank sharft pulley first then you will be able to get the PS pump and bracket out, without taking off the axle shaft. Details are on the web site. I free rented the pulley puller from Advance Auto parts. It's still a half day job, but doable for an moderate Shade Tree mechanic.
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