1999 Dodge Caravan Need Assistance with no Assist

Tiny
JBAHAVEOLOS
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • AWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 115,000 MILES
There is little or now power assist when steering at low rpm 750. Worse when truning to the right, then the left. Fine at higher RPM over 1000. Only slightly better when hot. No leaks. Fluid was not low, but was dirty until I swapped out half for new. Belt and new tensioner have about 50K miles on them, but there are no squeeking or grinding noises. Even when turning stop to stop. Moved into a new house a year and a half ago, and have to turn all the way to the right stop when pulling in and out of the garage. Which is 10 times a day. Did I just wear out the steering?
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Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 AT 11:23 AM

5 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
If the fluid is full, the pump may be getting weak or the rack and pinion may be wearing out. Also, the RPM's seem a little low. In park, it should be around 1000 and in gear, 8 to 9 hundred. Maybe adjusting the base idle will help solve the problem cheaply.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Joe
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Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 AT 12:09 PM
Tiny
JBAHAVEOLOS
  • MEMBER
My RPM numbers were close estimates. The van actually idols closer to the numbers you gave. 1k in park and between 8-900 in gear. If the pump is wearing out, Do you think that I could try a low viscosity fluid before seeing the dealer? The problem came on all of a sudden rather than over time.
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Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 AT 1:35 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi Again:
You know, I thought about your problem since I emailed you earlier. The more I think about it, the more I want to say readjust the PS belt. It may be a seperate belt from the serp on your van. Or, if it's a 3.8L it may not have a seperate belt. It's sounds like at a low RPM it the pulley may be sliping causing you touble. Also, make sure that the self adjuster is keeping enough tension on the belt. Let me know if it has the seperate belt. Also, let me know if this helps. Finally, if the belt has 50K on it, it's most likely due for replacement. The belt companies recommend if you have more than 3 cracks within an inch, it's due for replacement.

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 AT 4:20 PM
Tiny
JBAHAVEOLOS
  • MEMBER
One serp style belt runs everything. I was thinking belt too, but don't they squeal when slipping. Or is that more with v-style belts? Let me know. I looked at the belt but did not inspect it with a fine tooth comb. No cracks or chuncks missing on the section that I looked at. It is definately time for a new one especially if it might solve this problem. If I change it and it doesn't solve the problem, I would still be glad it's done. I have always had to replace the tensioner after replacing the belt. I must put too much presser on the tensioner and sprung the spring. I guess that's the plan for this weekend. I will let you know how I make out.
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Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 AT 6:28 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
Let me know. Belts can slip slightly and not make noise. I'm hoping that takes care of your problem.

Joe
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Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 AT 7:52 PM

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