Dodge Repair/power steeing loss: '99 mini-van
QUESTION: I have a 99 caravan that has recently started having issues with the power steering. It would hold fluid up to a week and then I would have issues, and upon checking fluid would be all over the inside as if it came out of the top. Strangely I wouldn't notice leaks often under the van. We have now replaced the power steering pump and I am still having issues. When I first begin to drive it's fine, but within about a half an hour the steering is locking right up and I van barely make a turn. When checking fluid, the van is holding fluid. I have attempted to look up possible issues and have seen some info about power steering belts and steering column issues, however I truly do not know where to begin.
ANSWER: Hi Nicole,
By fluid being found "all over the inside" does that mean on the floor of the van on driver's side? And have you checked under the carpeting on the driver's side. Yet you now say it is "holding fluid". Do you mean that you don't have to add fluid and that it is showing that it is full on the steering pump dipstick both when the fluid is cold and when you have just driven it (I believe there are a separate set of "full - add" marks for the cold and the hot condition when you do the check)?
If you do find fluid in the cabin on the driver side then that is the cause of the loss of steering power. It could be either a leak at the hose fittings where the incoming or outgoing hose attaches to the steering gear underneath the steering column.
Are there any unusual sounds associated with turning the steering wheel?
If there is no loss of fluid then the next thing to check would be the belt tension on the belt that operates the pump and other devices on the engine. Tell me which engine you have (L).
Please read the PS (below) and respond to it.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Sorry for being unclear, by the inside I meant under the hood and on top of the power steering reservoir, which lead me to believe it was coming out of the top of the reservoir, possibly building up pressure somehow. When it was doing this there would suddenly be a winding noise and then steering would become very difficult fast. Since changing the pump this is not happening, and upon checking fluid when cold and hot it is holding and at levels it should be, however after I have drove it for about a half an hour the steering becomes nearly impossible to turn and there are no noises. We will be changing all hoses, as they may be warn out so may be collapsing, and will check the belt as well. The van is a 2.4 L, 4 cyl engine. Thank you very much for your time and help.
Checking for the pump drive belt tension would be important as its slipping would reduce the effectiveness of the pump to power the steering gear. Also it may be slipping because saturated with power steering fluid from the previous leakage situation so a replacement belt might be needed.
Then see if you need the hoses replacement.
Thanks for the rating/nomination/ and very kind remarks. If you would do another rating and nomination I would be most appreciative.