2003 Chrysler Town and Country 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 84000 miles
First, I have flushed the power steering fluid with the factory recommended Mopar ATF+4 fluid. Fluid is filled to the correct level.
If the engine has set for as little as an hour, regardless of outside temperature, the power steering is noisy for the first 5-10 min of run time. It starts in about 1-2 min down the road and last about 10min at most. There is no loss of power steering during this time, just noise as you would hear if the fluid was low. The outside temp has dropped here, over the weekend, and it appears to sound worse. So I am worried about the upcoming holiday season travels. Any help is GREATLY appreciated.
Trying to figure out if the pump, rack, or a tight joint is what is causing all the racket is one of the less then happy jobs a technician gets to fix. I start at the tire pressure and work back. The fact that it goes away when hot leads me to think the rack is going hard with its seals. But theres nothing like the feeling of telling a customer that it was the pump also. The system gets noisey, but it can be both. It is to be tested with a gauage. I've put ten steering racks in for every pump. But you would be suprised how the tires lose air. Where does it go? I always thought right through the rubber. At a molecular atomic level. Or the stem.
The tires are the number one most neglected steering and suspension parts.
October, 21, 2009 AT 8:19 AM
Thanks Joe, but the tires are inflated properly. I check once a week, usually on Saturday after my weekly wash. Also, they have less than 10K miles on them. Thanks for you suggestions. Greatly appreciated.
October, 22, 2009 AT 12:48 PM
I'm glad to hear that. I have to start at the tires, and work back. Who? Recommended ATF? The noise is important, in its sound and location.
A whine or growl is either pump, or the lines touching the body or frame.
A sucking air sound is an o ring or air leak.
Air in system shows up as fluid loss and sight of it in pump.
Knocking/scrubbing could be the rack ends hitting something or incorrect tire type or size.
NO vibration or rubbing in steering wheel, no sticking or difficulty turning, means it is probably pump.
I have never used ATF, ever. But they cannot get the same parts suppliers now. The heat softens seals, and tightens the punp clearances. So if the pump is whining cold, it may be a little of both.
Not the belt, tell owner its cheapest to try a pump, for now and then the rack(if bad) will just require replacement anyway because of its mileage.
It's made to be quiet and steer with adequate assist until warranty is over only. It should put 3500PSI out of pressure side of pump, and with tie rods disconnected, the wheels and tires should not bind. On flat rate we put a long extension or stethascope on the pump, if it whined alone with no movement from steering, it went, with a new res. Also.
With the rack to follow soon. Sorry. No one fooled with steering problems. Use ear plugs for now and wait till there is a windfall of cash, replace the vehicle.
Talking 3,000 dollar repair and a 500.00 gauge from Miller tolls to check pump output. I am grouchy cold also. Its hard on line. With noises. OK h broke. I don't think your going to loose your assist in an instant. No way. I guess their putting ATF in them but that was and is a no no.
You can feel, see, and hear the difference. Once, I tried to get away with just the pump because atf was used. I kept adding and adding fluid, looked down, and there were two balloons on the rack boots, about to explode, so thats what ATF did to the whole system. It was a 1999. What you hear, and what you get are two different things.
October, 22, 2009 AT 1:11 PM
Thanks again for all the input, but ATF+4 is the recommended BY CHRYSLER fluid. The owners manual and Chrysler service manuals say so. It is acually in BOLD print " DO NOT USE ANYTHING BUT MOPAR ATF+4". I am in the process of ruling out the reservoir as a restriction. I know there was a recall on these and mine has been performed, but I also know there is a filter in the reservoir that can starve the pump if it gets trashy. I will post with outcome of this later. Thanks again.
October, 22, 2009 AT 5:43 PM
Good. Your welcome. Hope thats all it is.
That whole unit is quite serviceable, getting parts is a little difficult. Any thing dirty or broke, can be repaired, its the time factor Chrysler was so worried about. No pay for pressure test. 0. Best wishes.
October, 23, 2009 AT 9:23 AM
Hi. Replaced PS reservoir this morning. I left return line off, plugged fitting, and filled reservoir with the recommended Mopar ATF+4 fluid. Placed return line into a Coke bottle and cranked engine. As soon as engine cranked, I cut off. Refilled reservoir and repeated. Did this a couple more times and then hooked up return line. Topped off fluid one last time and drove around the neighborhood. Absolutely NO noise! I will update in a couple days to let you know if noise has returned. Hopefully it will not have. FYI - The reservoir and fluid was about a $35 fix with genuine Mopar parts.
October, 23, 2009 AT 10:25 AM
Good, I figured the recall was done but for 35.00 it should be alright. In 92 Thrifty rent a car would always buy one fluid for oil and one for all else. And the racks were cheaper but had diff. Seals, so we had so many of them, but you could always see pump gear wear, and the resevoir was like an audible amplifier.
Ok Chris, I'll stop bye, and your experiences have given me insight into the quality of the model year as they have me on Elec. Transaxles now, one, another hundreds. Getting tired of it. But since my leg went, someone takes em out, and usually puts them in. Good job but my business is picking up like never before.
If I could just learn how to take money from people, I would be successful. But I'm a soft heart(kills me when I hear problems that women and men have with price and no service. Later man