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Chrysler Town & Country power steering problems



  • jklchang3jklchang3 Posts: 1
    This is definitely an eye-opening forum. I purchased my new 2005 T&C Touring in 7/05 and it has been repair after repair ever since. It now has almost 42K miles and I also take maintenance seriously and take it for all regular service.

    For over a year, the right back sliding door "periodically" wouldn't open - no rhyme or reason to when it happened, just wouldn't open by pressing the button in front or on the door and we would need topen it manually. Of course it never happened when I took it in, so they couldn't fix what they couldn't see.

    However, the biggest problem was about 3 months ago when I heard a "clicking" as it was coming to a "rolling stop" (not while I was pressing the brakes). My regular maintenance guy finally told me it was the transmission and to take it to Chrysler for warranty service (he said at that time he thought it may be a recall item which Chrysler of course denied). After waiting 6 hours for what was promised as a 2 hour job, I was told there was metal flakes in the transmission and they fixed it. I drove it away with paying only the $100 deductible only to find a new problem -- there was squealing. I took it back the next morning, and this time also told them about the problem with the sliding door. They told me that both belts had to be replaced and that the door was just "gummed up". After they replaced the belts and told me they fixed the door, they told me the water pump also needed to be replace. After 2 days of work and another $200+, I got my car back. My warranty and extended warranty covered most of the work (one belt WAS NOT covered).

    Now 3 months later I hear the clicking again and when I turn the steering wheel there is a grinding noise. There is also some noise on what I believe is the brakes (which by the way were also replaced in 2007). I still have the same problem with the back sliding door periodically choosing not to open AND the right passenger window now periodially has the same problem. This seems to me it must be an electrical problem?

    Originally I thought that maybe I just got a "lemon", but after reading all this, I'm positive it is the van. I'm taking it to my mechanic to take a look to see if it is the rack. After the last set of problems, I've been looking for a new car and like others will NEVER buy another Chrysler/Dodge again. Although I owe more on my car than it is currently worth, I figure the cost for future repairs will far exceed that amount, so I'll probably bite the bullet on this one and cut my losses.

    I'd love to know if anyone out there has experienced the "clicking" problem as I didn't see anything in this forum specifically relating to that. And if anyone has had the problem with the doors and windows not working occasionaly.
  • akmccakmcc Posts: 3
    I just took my car in to have the power steering rack looked at. I had already read the comments on this website so I was prepared to push the issue with Chrysler and the dealership. I have 66K miles on my van so the dealership said replacing the part would not be covered. However, I told them that I knew this was a wide spread problem and that I wanted them to call Chrysler directly and get approval to cover this repair. After calling Chrysler the dealership said that the actual part which cost $425 would be covered by Chrysler but the labor cost of $200 would not. So although I wasn't fully satisfied I guess something is better than nothing. If I had not asked them to call Chrysler and told them I was already aware of this problem they would have made me pay the entire amount. They also told me there was a problem with my water pump, so I had to pay a $100 deductible to get that fixed as well. Obviously the water pump and power steering rack needs to be recalled.
  • grimleygrimley Posts: 3
    This is also very interesting. While my van was in a private shop and diagnosed the problem, I called two dealerships with which I have dealt as well as Chrysler and all disavowed any knowledge of the problem and denied that they would cover repair/replacement. We had to bite the bullet and pay the $800 repair. I learned from the mechanic that the rack/pinion mechanism was redesigned by Chrysler for this model year- if there was no problem, why would a redesign be needed? I also took the opportunity to complain about the need for front brakes every 15K miles, and the fact that the a/c compressor had to be replaced due to the clutch disintegrating. While the van was in the shop, the mechanic called and advised that they discovered that the water pump was leaking. Unfortunately sounds like a theme song. Wonder what will go next.
  • vc0799vc0799 Posts: 1
    Hi, Just wanted to know how you got them to cover this item. We are having the same problem and were told Chrysler would never cover this because its not under recall. I called Chrysler themselves but was transferred multiple times to India where they seemed to be trained to say We are very sorry, there is no recall, we cannot cover anything, I will put you on hold. For over an hour I dealt with powerless people. Any words of wisdom would be very helpful.
    Thanks much. Mom of almost 5 :lemon: :confuse:
  • grimleygrimley Posts: 3
    We did not get Chrysler to cover the repair. We had to eat it. I am keeping my receipt in the hope that eventually there will be a recall.
  • natb1natb1 Posts: 10
    Before committing a large sum of money to power steering issues check these 2 first.

    1. Search this forum for "noisy groaning rumbling power steering". Many (including my 2001) were fixed with a new fluid reservoir. I actually clean mine out, and its been quiet for a year now.

    2. There are 2 rubber hoses under the vehicle going to a cooler. Mine has a slow leak right at the hose clamp. Easy to fix, and cheap.
  • I took my 07 T&C to a local dealer, he searched and searched and could not find the problem. He drove the van, but did not drive it long enough for the noise to start. I am having the same problems with whinning noise starting after long drive. I told the service mgr about the posts on here and he asked me to see if someone who had the same problem (rack) and had it fixed, would please send me the name of the dealership they used (include address/phone# if you would). And if you know the name of the person to talk to there, please include that too. He wants to contact them to see how they found the problem. I would really appreciate all the help I could get. Please email me the info at: Thank you very much.
  • akmccakmcc Posts: 3
    I live in Michigan. And took my vehicle to Mount Clemens Dodge. I told them that I was aware of the problems because of the information I'd read online. Initially they wanted to charge me the full $800. But I asked the dealership to call Chrysler to have this fixed for me. They called back and Chrysler agreed to cover the $600 part but I had to pay $200 for maintenance. Then about 2 weeks ago the power steering rack went out again and they replaced for a 2nd time. This time there was of course no charge at all. I think the trick to it is taking your car to the dealership and having them deal with Chrysler. I had originally tried to get the dealership to negotiate with Chrysler before I brought my van in but this did not work.
  • jcfjrjcfjr Posts: 1
    Our 2002 caravan with 54,000 miles was whining and growling through power steering. By combining 2 of your messages with some thought I believe it's fixed. Had already had reservoir and hose replaced and did no good. I bought a 12 ounce bottle of Lucas power steering stop leak and brought full (by the full line) reservoir up to within 1/2 inch of top. All whinning and growling stopped within 15 seconds. Cost me 11 dollars and change. Should also work with original reservoir. We spent around 200.00 dollars on unnecessary work. Hope it works for you.

  • ok,

    i have an '04 T and C which i bought a year and a half ago...great vehicle except for the steering whine...brought it in to the dealership and had it filled and bled (to remove supposed air bubbles) more than once...would seem to be improved then go back to same old thing...the noise would start when i started the car in the morning and would be worse in cold weather...was told to turn the wheel while i warmed up the car in the driveway..this seemed to get the groaning under morning i was in a particularly bad mood and turned the wheel pretty violently and as i backed out i saw a puddle of red steering fluid on the ground...all the fluid just gushed out...had to have it towed to the dealership where they found one or more loose clamps in the steering system hoses...the clamps were replaced and the steering fluid filled and no more problem!!! that was several months ago (winter time) and the problem has not resurfaced...hope that this helps other T and C owners:-)
  • 5hills5hills Posts: 2
    '05 T&C with +63,000 miles

    Like others, we've experienced the whining of the power steering system, but only during low ambient temperatures. Keeping the fluid level topped off seemed to eliminate the noise problem. The problem of more concern is the shudder in the steering, whether at slow or highway speeds.

    I went to a dealer to discuss the problem and the service guy indicated that this is a frequent problem and Chrysler is aware of it, but unless you are within a warranty period, regular or extended, there's nothing they will do about. I asked that he call the Chrysler regional manager to discuss it, but he indicated that Chrysler's not returning any calls. No wonder the company is tanking :sick:

    Anyway the service guy says the problem is usually one of three things.

    plugged screen in the reservoir preventing fluid flow through system.Solution, replace the reservoir and be sure to use ATF+4 fluid.

    A pressure switch in the system senses low pressure and calls for the engine to increase the idle Solution, add more hose, and cooler if not present. Chrysler thinking is that the additional volume of fluid in the system will prevent low pressure and reduce the idle changes. The explanation seemed lame.

    Bad steering rackSolution, replace the steering rack.

    Well, I've got a shudder, and I'm not ready to let them work on it yet. Purchased the reservoir, about $25 and replaced it myself. Not hard to do except for getting to the 10mm nut. Looking at the old reservoir screen it looked clean, no sign of pluggage. Test drove with new reservoir and the shudder is still there. But maybe the whine will go away come cold weather.

    Next step ???
  • vand59vand59 Posts: 1
    We have a 2002 T&C that had been having the power steering noise that got worse in the winter. I had read about the problems with this and how some people had paid the $700-800 to fix it only to have it come back so I did not get it fixed. The other day it just pretty much died and now makes a horrible grinding noise when you drive. The dealer said it is the Power Transfer Unit and it will cost $2300 to fix. I don't know if it is worth fixing. I just replaced the air conditioning compressor? for $700.00. I am ready to ditch it. Has anyone ever heard of this problem and is it related to the power steering noise?
  • 68gs68gs Posts: 2
    This has been an interesting read, to say the least. I had my 05 T&C to the dealer yesterday for a brake job. No problem there, but they told me the steering rack seals are going and the boots are filling with fluid. They wanted to replace it at about $850. Didn't say if they even HAD a rack in stock though. 61,000 miles and 3 yrs old. That's total BS. No fluid on the garage floor at this point, so I'm going to keep an eye on the floor and the fluid level. I gave them a little lecture on the recall/TSB subject and got nowhere of course. They DID admit to replacing a lot of them during severe cold spells in the last couple winters, some under warranty, some not. It's not making ANY odd noises at all either, so I was quite surprised when they told me what they'd found.

    GM eventually gave in and recalled steering racks last year on some GP's and Regals, maybe Chrysler will see the light eventually...
  • I have on 07 Town & Country that got fire on the underside last night. Luckily I was pulling out of a friend's driveway when it happened. I heard a loud noise and then all sudden smoke was everywhere. I jumped out of the car to find it on fire. After the fire was put out, my husband noticed the power steering fluid was completly empty. I had no power steering for driving at all. I'm wondering if what happened it what all of you are describing. My van only has about 19,000 miles on it and I haven't even had it for a year yet. I will be interested to see what they say is wrong with it.
  • 5hills5hills Posts: 2
    Took the car back to the dealer for them to look closer at the problem. They called to indicate that the shudder they noticed was unlike any that they've seen previously. They were able to call Chrysler which gave them some specifications to check out. Long story short is that everything related to the steering check out within specifications. Looks like my shudder problem is related to the tires.
  • We bought a new 2006 T&C SWB a year ago that now has 3,200 miles on it. The car has almost no power steering although fluid hasn't leaked and there's no noise as others have experienced. It just has no power. The dealership replaced the rack and pinion and pump but it made little change in the hard steering. They agree that the steering is unusually difficult, but have no solutions and are trying to get around the problem by also claiming the steering is normal. Our friend's 2005 that uses the same parts is easy to steer - normal, and other used T&C's we've tested on car lots are normal. Has anyone else had this problem?
  • I've an '05 T&C, bought in Sept of '05. It's got about 34K on it, and I found out today that the power steering assemby has to be completely replaced. Not under warranty, as I'm two months past the 36 month deadline. I'm a paraplegic, and have no choice but to go to someone to have it fixed. From the looks of the posts here, I think there's a very good chance for a lawsuit against Chrysler. Meanwhile, I'm going to the local TV station to see if they will do an expose' on this subject. $1127 for this repair is killing me.

    Eugene Humbert
    Denver, Co.
  • I highly suggest you contact a person of knowledge and make personal contact with the Chrysler Corporation and express your concern over the sever problems that their mini-vans are having with the power steering racks and demand satisfaction. They put out a piece of junk and are hiding behind a stone wall. I had the same story except I had purchased a policy so it only cost me $107.00 which included state tax on the repair bill.
    Go get em!
  • Took my 06 T&C to a dealer to have it serviced. They changed the oil & everything checked out ok except there was a problem in the steering rack. Had some noise in the steering the past couple of weeks so I listened. The steering rack was leaking fluid and it was going into the boots which could cause a problem of locking up. Since I have an upcoming trip back to Indiana (I live in SC) I figured I better replace it. Total cost of $707.73. Called back the next morning and was told the dealer couldn't do anything about it. Was given Chrysler's customer service number 1-800-992-1997.
    Only had 42447 miles on the van I purchased in May '08. Had just over 32000 on at purchase.
    After reading all these messages I figure there's a real problem with the rack and pinion steering on Chrysler vans. Am going to follow through with the call to Chrysler and see what happens. The other recourse is Indiana's Lemon Law.
  • After hearing the irregular whine (slipping belt sound) at start up, especially with the cold weather, and finding a clear, thin, oily substance under the right hand side of the front of the car, I took the car to the local dealer. I am still shocked that after only 30,600 miles, such a major repair had to be made. 90% of the mileage has been to and from school on local roads which are in excellent condition. We've driven to Texas twice. This hardly seems like conditions that should cause the rack & pinion assembly to fail. Chrysler should be ASHAMED that they have not acknowledged and rectified such an obviously dire design flaw. Because the car was put into service 7/05, it is out of warranty. Initially, the quote to replace the R&P was $850 plus tax. After finding out that a Firestone repair would probably be less, they adjusted the repair price to $750 plus tax. I guess every little bit helps, but I'm still very concerned that this should actually be a recall item replacement. It is not at all unreasonable to expect the power steering to function properly for much, much longer than 30,000 miles. I never had any problems with my Toyota Previa or Nissan Quest minivans...

    Everyone reading and posting here should file a formal complaint with Chrysler and the NHTSA and possibly their state consumer protection agency and anyone else who might influence a recall. Let Chrysler know of your plans regarding any future purchase of their products...
  • Hey guys - POWER STEERING PROBLEM SOLVED! our 2005 town and country had the same power steering noise - after listening to a bunch of advice and getting the dealer to quote us $1400 for a new rack and pump - we found a smart local mechanic who did some research - so for a $29 part + an hour labor - he replaced the p/s resevoir - apparently there is a teflon type of additive in the factory p/s fluid that clogs the screen in the resevoir - and guess what! - no more p/s noise - no leaks - no problem!

    Hope this helps - spread the word
  • kvanderkvander Posts: 3
    UPDATE: I filed a formal complaint with Chrysler, sending receipts and documentation of the repair. Ultimately, I received a check for $527 :D from them. No letter, no reason, but the refund speaks for itself I suspect. If you haven't already done so, give it a try. Call the Customer Assistance number first to get a complaint number, then they'll tell you what to send and where.
    Good luck!
    PS - if you are just now discovering the problem, try the p/s reservoir changeout noted below first!
  • I'm having PS problems with my 1996 Town and Country. It has a rebuilt engine with approx. 14,000 miles on it. When making a turn, it makes a whining noise and has a really stiff feel in the wheel. The engine sometimes stalls out when making a sharp turn at low to mid-range speed. I've noticed too, that there is some blow back from the top of the fluid reservoir, but no apparent leaks from around the pump.
    Any ideas or suggestions?
  • We don't know if our engne is rebuilt or not, is there a way to tell??? We bought our 1996 T & C 2 months ago today from a used car dealer, and I have also noticed that there is a really stiff feel in our wheel too, but no whining noise!!!
  • I had hoped this would work, (replacing the P/S reservoir) but my mechanic says once a rack starts leaking, it won't stop leaking. We will have the rack replaced and the fluid changed for $600. OUCH!
  • We had the engine rebuilt at around 140,000 miles. I can't tell you hot to tell if the engine is rebuilt or not, other than to try and find who the previous owner was, prior to the dealer.
  • I just went and got my 04 from dealer with a PS problem. cost of repairs 1009.00. I will use the suggestions given. Calling Chysyler in the morning. Will never buy a chrysler product again! :mad:
  • Just took my 2006 T&C (60,000 miles) in to have the EGR Valve replaced. Was told the P/S rack is leaking and needs to be replaced ($1100). Any word on whether there will be a recall?
  • Does anyone have a 2005 or 2006 Town and Country Short Wheel Base (or Dodge Caravan SWB) that has tight power steering? We bought our 2006 new and only have 6,000 miles on it and have taken it in for warranty twice for the power steering -or lack of. No whines or noise, just extremely difficult to turn. Getting in and out of parking places is miserable. The first time the dealer said it was overly tight but couldn't find a problem. The second time they replaced the rack, which didn't improve the steering at all, and said there was nothing more they could do. Took it to the Dodge dealer who said the Crysler dealer did not replace the rack and agreed after a test drive that there was a problem. They found a leak and replaced the rack. Only a slight improvement. Can't find any used SWB versions anywhere near us to test drive to compare. The long wheel base uses a different rack, so testing that model won't help us. We live in a small town that's a ferry ride away from the big city and don't have any other Chrylser dealers in the area. The Dodge dealer was great but is now out of business.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Power steering pump, maybe? One way you might be able to tell is to disable the power steering (by removing the power steering pump drive belt) and see if the steering effort is any greater. Just a thought.
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