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Chrysler Town & Country power steering problems



  • Found this by googling caravan power steering pump. Read through the 7 pages of replies and signed up to reply (but now I only see 4 pages of replies??). Anyway, I have power steering noise when it gets cold. 04 Grand we bought used last Sept with 96000 kms on it, and now has 125000 kms. No leakage that I can see, although I have what appears to be a small oil leak on the driver side. PS fluid level is at the bottom of the normal range when cold. I presume it will go to the top of the normal range when hot but I'll have to check that.

    Noise first appeared when having the front brakes checked and the mechanic turning the wheels by hand. After starting the van, we got quite the shudder when turning the wheel when at idle. Rev it up a bit and it goes away. It eventually went away after a day or so. Had a cold snap a few months later, and the noise came back but would go away when it warmed up. Redid the front brakes just a couple months ago, and the noise returned after turning the rack by hand to get at the brake components. Went away after a day or so. Now the colder temps are returning and so is the noise. Loud whine most present at idle.

    Mechanic who checked the front brakes the first time when the noise appeared said one of the hoses might be collapsing internally, causing a pressure drop in the line. That is plausible. Brake hoses can also do that. I might replace the hoses even though NAPA doesn't carry a part number for them (odd). Hoses aren't expensive and are usually not hard to replace.

    Read on here about the reservoir. Another inexpensive fix I can do myself. I think I'll do that too.

    Has anyone just replaced the pump and not the rack? NAPA has a rebuilt pump for $130 CDN + $65 core charge. I found a how-to on replacing the pump here:

    Doesn't sound that bad at all. In fact, when we bought our van, the car dealer had another Caravan on the lot that was about to get a PS pump replaced and he said it was an easy fix for his mechanic to do so.

    Where do you see the leaks when the racks are failing? Driver or passenger side? I never like saying "right" or "left" since that can so easily be mixed up.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Where do you see the leaks when the racks are failing? Driver or passenger side? I never like saying "right" or "left" since that can so easily be mixed up.

    Leaks could be on either side or both, depending on which seal is worn and leaking the worst.
  • 369369 Posts: 1
    I had to replace the rack on my 2006 town & country yesterday at 37000 miles, cost
    $ 880. I also contacted the customer assistance number. I hope I have the same results you did.
  • A few weeks ago I went to my dealer to buy a new reservoir. When checking at the service counter for the upper PS hose recall, the service guy said my van had no outstanding recalls but if I was having a noise problem to fill the reservoir about 1/8" above the high-full mark. They have found this eliminated a lot of noise problems. I bought a bottle of ATF+4 at the parts counter, went home and topped up about 1/4" above the high-full mark. Mine was right at the low-full mark (still in the 'normal' range). Well what do you know, it fixed the problem! I wanted to make sure we went through some cold weather before responding but we have gone through about -10C weather and no noise at all. This has seem to fixed it for now.

    So, make sure to go with the cheapest fix first and fill to about 1/8" to 1/4" above the high level mark and you might be okay!

    Now on to finding out why I have an occasional stutter and stumble at lower RPM under load....

    Merry Christmas.
  • 2006 Town & Country with 33,000 original miles. Whining noise coming from steering unit. Turns out the steering unit is leaking fluid. Replacement is $960 dollars in Noblesville, Indiana. I first thought I was being scammed but after reading all the post on this site I see that it is a major problem with this model. The bad news is my warranty has expired based on the 36 months but I am still under 36,000 miles. I know they will not cover it though. Merry Christmas.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,148
    How many miles do you have on your '04? When is the last time the spark plugs/wires were changed?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I cant believe all the posts. Have same noise -whinning sound- 42,000 miles! talking to dealership now. I am hearing call Chrysler and get compalint number filed and YOU all SHOULD call State attorney generals office might lead to RECALL. Is it true replace just the power steering reservior????? Need help!
  • It has about 75k miles on it now (125k kms). Plugs and wires have probably never been changed but that could definitely be a cause for low-rpm stumble under load is some worn-out or melted plug wires, eh? I've read that before as something to check on other cars. Somehow the spark isn't enough to jump the gap or a restriction that happened within the wiring at lower RPM?
  • I have an 02 that has been whinning on and off since July. I read a tech brief that said the hydraulic hoses were too short. With that in mind I overfilled the reservoir a bit and it quit. It came back last week when the temperatures dipped below freezing. I was just about to have the pump replaced when I tried a new tighter fitting reservoir cap. The whinning stopped without being overfilled. I would try a new reservoir cap before paying anyone a dime.
  • I have a 2006 Town & Country that has had this whinning sound for some time. I wasn't sure until I read this thread where it was coming from. I slighty overfilled the reservoir and thankfully it seems to have stopped the problem. Of course, I called the dealership about the problem before Xmas and it was out of the warranty coverage. I'm sure they would have gladly ripped me with charges had I taken it in. I purchased the van the year before they came out with their supposed greatly extended warranty. Thanks people for posting this problem...It may have saved me some real expense... :)
  • jrsattjrsatt Posts: 5
    I am quite positive this is not the end of your problem, you did save yourself some money for at least a while, who knows, you may keep it going until your driveway is covered with fluid but if it works, more power to you. Chrysler, if it is an honest company, should make a correction and cover those of us that suffered through this problem. Thankfully I was under my Chrysler Insurance and still had to pay a hundred plus 7% tax to get it fixed; much better than 800 or so. I still think I should be reimbursed the hundred by the company that built a failed product.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,148
    Apologies for the slow reply. Yes, weak spark (caused by high resistance in the plug wires or corroded/gummed up points on the plugs) can cause issues when additional fuel is dumped into the cylinder. Without a good spark, the fuel does not burn well, you get less power, and the engine stumbles. I dealt with this recently on an Escort and never suspected the plug wires (since they were "recently" replaced and only had 30,000 miles on them). I replaced the plugs, which helped for a few days, but the problem slowly began to return. Once the wires were replaced, it was almost like installing a new engine!

    On mine, though, the problem occurred all through the rpm range when under load, and, when it was really bad, even a little when it was just sitting there idling.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • A little over 40,000 miles developed noise under the hood that sounded like a cat trapped in there when the car was cold. Warranty had expired so finally took it to my mechanic. Recommended the Power Steering unit be serviced. Had that done but noise came back in two days. Took the van back to mechanic for two more days. Was called by mechanic and told he had checked with Chrysler dealer in town and this was a problem common to Chrysler and there was no fix for it. Could replace unit for $700. but noise might return in a week. No guarantee it wouldn't. Or I could just live with it. I chose to live with it until I could investigate further. Took van in for oil change and told service man about the problem when he recommended servicing the power steering unit under routine maintenance. Service man asked if he could add something to the fluid level for free to see if the noise would stop. Guess what? Noise has stopped and he just told me it was a trick of the trade. If this is a problem common with Chrysler, then it seems to me something should be done to alert the public or other owners. Hope the quick fix holds.
  • I too have a 2006 T&C and it is also making that noise, but mine makes it all the time now. Mine has 52,000 miles and is out of warrenty and I don't have that kind of money to fix it but still owe like crazy on it. I think people should pass a petition and start a suit against chrystler if they wont fix them
  • Just read your post.........I can't believe all the website postings I am finding on this problem.....I also have a 2006 T&C and have the same problem.... but my dealer in St.Louis Missouri quoted me a price to fix it at about $1700.00 .... I told them they were nuts....I bought the car used and had a warranty on it but of course the warranty didn't cover it.... I couldn't afford to get it fixed at that it brings to my question to you !!!!! PLEASE can you find out what your service man put into your unit to fix the noise and problems. I am a woman and know a little about vehicles but not when it comes to something like this.... so if you can respond to me I would greatly appreciate it...... :cry:
    Looking for a solution...
  • I too am interested about the "free fluid" that was put in to fix it. Called Chrysler and said take to dealer but I told them the dealers are the ones who charge you an arm and a leg. I would rather take to my own mechanic. Customer Service said Chrysler will not reimburse a person but they "may" pay a dealer. Purchased vehicle second hand don't even have a year. Chrysler says if you are a loyal customer(i.e...original owner of vehicle-which I am not and your loyalty to the dealers-who charge 1400.00-1700.00). Where is Chryslers loyalty to their customers? :cry: :cry:
  • There is definetly a trend here. My 06 town an country started whining and a local service man found fluid squirting out. He wants about a $1000.00 to fix it. Symptoms sound exactly like yours. I have it parked now because i do not have the money to fix it. I wonder where we go from here.
  • Methinks you should call the Toyota dealer because Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth don't understand the recall procedure to satisfy their loyal customers. Possibly a call to the Better Business Bureau and tell them to look at the Edmunds Car Space and give them
    and let them look up the list of complaints.
    To many of us have been gouged by this company.
  • ok, well this may be late info for some people. I read over a few threads on this power steering whining noise. Just today I replaced the power steering reservoir and PRESTO, no further whining. Well, so far on the first day. $28 at my local dealer and he said they have had a run on replacing these things. Hmm, wonder why?? :) Anyway, it was a fairly easy fix. I own a T&C 2006.
  • 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.... . 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.
  • 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 the any more recalls?

  • 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)
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