Steering rack//pump issues... - DodgeIntrepid.Net Forums - Dodge Intrepid, Concorde, 300m and Eagle Vision chat
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Steering rack//pump issues...

Car is an '04 w/ 2.7L.

Last week car started to make noises while steering after warmed up. It's not a problem with the linkages since the sound appeared to originate at the pump and when putting my hand on the reservoir while someone else turned the wheel I could feel vibrations that would worsen when wheel was turned either way. Fluid was at correct level. Thought perhaps something internal had given out after 10 years since the pump appeared OEM.

Replaced with new pump from AZ...bled air out of the system and all appeared hunky doory. Then a couple days ago it started making the noises again. In particular I would feel a funky vibration with feedback when turning the wheel right it would rebound slightly to the left. Doesn't do this going left..just vibration.

Today bled out the fluid which did smell a bit burnt...and no doubt got quite a bit off air in the system in the process. Drained by having the help work the steering back and forth manually w/o turning it on while I monitored the flow and topped reservoir off. After fluid started to run reasonably clear...topped off then attempted to bleed the air. Took a few attempts but seems to have gotten all the air out but the noise at the pump seems even worse now as if it's sucking air somewhere.

Now I did notice a puddle on top of the transaxle pooled in the large freeze-plug (even though it isn't) shaped dish on the passenger side the other day that seemed to be steering fluid. Certainly wasn't engine oil as it lacked the smell and feel.

I'm thinking perhaps the steering rack is going? During that test where I felt the feedback in the steering I had the help turn the wheel while I felt the rack...and did feel vibration there.

ADDENDUM: When the noise had started up again I also noticed the fluid level was low. It was then I noticed the aforementioned puddle. After the new pump install I made sure it was at level after bleeding then again after running on the road for a few miles.

Last edited by RuralTowner; 02-15-2016 at 04:51 PM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 09:00 PM
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Maybe someone can comment on if the rack may be a problem. It would seem reasonable to assume that leaking fluid would be related to/causing your symptoms. I do have a question though: What type of fluid are you using? It should only be ATF+4. It makes a difference.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Been using strictly PS fluid though can't recall the name brand that was in use before it started making noise the first time. Level was always good. When I flushed until it ran as clear as could be (used surgical hose to see) I ran a couple quarts of PRESTONE PS through it. Then reconnected the lines...topped off...then attempted to bleed the air out. Had alot of froth of course from pump cavitation in the process while the air was worked out. The noise remained and actually seemed worse after this.
Haven't been using ATF.
.
I know in much older rigs tranny fluid could be used w/o problems and was under the assumption the new(er) stuff was pickier.

I suppose I could purge then refill with the ATF4 to see but if the rack is leaking just enough for it to have started sucking air...I'd be throwing money into the drain pan.

Last edited by RuralTowner; 02-15-2016 at 10:03 PM.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2016, 05:45 AM
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I can't promise that the leaking will stop, but I do think that you've got to switch it back over to ATF+4 before you have a chance of getting it working right. That's been demonstrated many times over the years on this forum. Specifically, noise problems have been eliminated by replacing the fluid (usually the wrong fluid, but possibly even worn out original fluid) with fresh ATF+4. I think you're talking less than $10 to make the changeover. ATF+4 is what came in it from the factory and is the only p.s. fluid that Chrysler recommends for these cars.

You could use the proverbial turkey baster method of removing as much fluid from the reservoir with a baster and refilling with ATF+4, driving it a bit, being sure to turn from lock to lock a few times, and repeating the whole process a few times. Not a 100% changeover, but close enough. That's a lot less messy than disconnecting lines.

Last edited by peva; 02-16-2016 at 06:00 AM.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2016, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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At least a portion of what remained even after pulling the pump for replacement was undoubtedly original. Probably about 1/3. Guessing the ATF has better lube ability.

Will try the fluid change again before pulling the rack and will do the "baster" method. The way I went about it yesterday is admittedly more thorough but left ALOT of air in the system to be worked out and only made the noise worse. Hopefully it will work.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2016, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
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...The way I went about it yesterday is admittedly more thorough but left ALOT of air in the system to be worked out and only made the noise worse. Hopefully it will work.
I did an engine swap last year on my Concorde in which the p.s. pump was disconnected (and the system substantially drained). The air took a couple of days to work out, but it became as quiet as on a new car without issues. Gave me an opportunity to pretty much replace the fluid with new.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Did the fluid change after it had sat for a day or so from the previous purging. Sounded better but still felt a vibration as the wheel approached the stops...not the typical feel either. In next couple days will get it road tested. At the moment time is getting split between getting my dump truck working and cleanup//back-filling after having a new septic installed along with the Trep's woes. Will update thread once I know more.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Took the car today for the week's shorter commute of 16mi round trip. When arrived at work and just now at home there were no unusual sounds while driving or normal steering. The only time the steering made noise and also felt the vibration was when approaching (but not reaching) the stops. The sound made is about the same as the kind when you run over the white-line on the road edge...ya know the washboard textured ones. This sound like a steering rack issue?

EDIT: Lovely. Found another issue needing to be dealt with. Since I've not been the main driver of the vehicle for some time...was driving an 81 Colt for the longest time and now an 81 VW Rabbit diesel since the Trep gets nowhere near the mpgs those give...when parked after the first 8mi driving something smelled a bit warm though the gauge read fine. Got home nothing seemed amiss but then did the key dance. CODE 0128. Guess I get to play with the T-stat now. If it's anything like the one I replaced on a friends '02 3.5L 300M...ugh...big hands not meant to work in tight spaces.
It's been using noticeable amounts of coolant over time...when I do the T-stat I'll check for signs of leaking from the weep hole. AFAIK the car is still on its OEM water pump with over 211k now on the clock. Oh joy if there is 1 thing I dread about replacing on this car is the unnecessarily over complicated process of swapping W/Ps. The designers I bet were in cahoots with the dealerships on that one...

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Any further comment on the described issue of the steering? I know it's not normal.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 04:19 AM
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I know you are detailed and thorough, so no doubt you have checked the level and topped off as needed as the air worked out of the fluid (plus, the baster method should not have introduced any more air) but of course that has to be mentioned so it is not overlooked.

Do you still see signs of leaking (and you're sure it is p.s fluid that is leaking)?

I don't know how many times you basted out the reservoir and refilled for getting the ATF+4 back in, but it might be worth a shot to do it a couple more times to get the percentage up a little more (as you know, you asymptotically approach 100% but can never fully get there with the baster method). No promises, but if it were me, I'd do that just to rule that out as the problem before spending time or money on other possible causes (bad rack or pump - I know you replaced the pump, but most everything in aftermarket is suspect for these cars these days, and Auto Zone is definitely no exception to that.)

Only other suggestions would be to turn it lock to lock, and even briefly against the locks in case there's a stubborn pocket of air, and make sure the belt is tight. The belts need to be a bit tighter than some people think is good so they don't slip and cause vibration under different loading conditions. 1/4 to 3/8" deflection at mid span with moderate thumb pressure is best. (Belt not fluid contaminated or worn out?.)

So - the only things I can think of:
- still some air in fluid/fluid low?
- percentage of ATF+4 still not high enough?
- belt not tight enough?
- belt fluid-contaminated or otherwise needs replacing?
- bad rack or pump?
- still leaking/leak related to remaining symptom?

Last edited by peva; 02-23-2016 at 05:18 AM.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Will do another baster-round then first as well as double checking the belt. Belt is dry. As for the pump I can't tell if the replacement made any difference since I'll need to take the car for a longer drive to find out. I know how it feels after the of-late main driver of the car gets home so I will have something to compare to.

Fluid had definitely been lost when the issue first arose since the level when HOT was at the COLD MIN line. The fluid did smell burnt.
As for the puddle under the rack it's harder to be certain. It's not motor oil (way too clear and doesn't feel as thick)...not brake fluid (that level has not changed since I got the car) and brake fluid isn't slippery like oil and is quite thin. It seemed to feel//smell like steering fluid since it was after replacing the pump and topping off with said fluid that I noticed that puddle. If I can get a pic of it I will. If the rack is leaking I suppose it's possible that gas leak that I finally became aware of that was shooting a jet at the rack (and eating up the tie rod bushings) might have caused damage somehow that only now has become apparent.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-28-2016, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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After dealing with the T-stat (what a PITA)...was worse than when I did one on a 3.5 and THAT was with the benefit of working with the car overhead. Alt didn't have to be removed on that one. Also a plus saw no sign of weeping at the hole near the housing. Now onto the main topic....

Okay I hadn't yet done the fresh round of basting but this time when started it up (to get it filled back with coolant) there were no odd noises from the pump and it steered fine when I took the car out (again to get it warmed up to then check coolant levels). Still have that funny feel//sound when steering nears the stops but fluid levels are still good in it. I'll just have to keep an eye on it and HOPE it doesn't become a serious issue. As the main driver-of-late of the car now has their own I'll be driving the Trep again while my Bakery or French Fry burner of a VW gets an overhaul...
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-29-2016, 07:48 AM
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After dealing with the T-stat (what a PITA)...was worse than when I did one on a 3.5 and THAT was with the benefit of working with the car overhead. Alt didn't have to be removed on that one...
Yes - R&R'ing the alt on the 2.7 is a horrible experience.

Years ago, when I did all my own work, I started on the t'stat - ended up 1/3 of the way thru it and put it back together and took it to a shop and they charged me $150 labor - and I was happy to pay it. The shop told me afterward that they should have charged me more, but that was the price they quoted me ahead of time.

The way I know about the difficulty of R&R'ing the alt. was the alt. went bad about 5 or 6 years ago. I did do that myself. What a pain that was.

Glad your steering is doing better. Hopefully the noise will totally go away with a little more basting. As I always tell people, don't let your wife see you using the baster for that, and make sure you rinse it off before sticking it back in the kitchen drawer.


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Last edited by peva; 02-29-2016 at 07:50 AM.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-04-2016, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Today gave it a proper road test...seemed to do okay. But after a run of about 60mi in total it started making a bad racket when was in town and pulling up to the bank. Noise got worse with turning and ESPECIALLY engine revs. Is an AZ just up the way so pulled in there...a just in case spot...and checked the PS. It was low...topped it back off with ATF4 I had with me and the noised died down back to more "normal" levels. Got home and parked it to let it set and cool off so I could check. Levels a little low again but not much.

I took another look at that spot on top of the transaxle...its right below the right-side boot that goes over the rack. The underside of the boot bellow is oily and the firewall just behind it is as well. Think I found the culprit for the loss then. Since when running...the rack is continually pressurized...fluid gets forced out and more so when wheel is turned. Guessing what noise I'm hearing is cavitation from the pump constantly having to make up for pressure drops in the system.

Grrr....looks like the rack is getting replaced afterall.

It wouldn't fix the problem and I'd regret it after...but would be so satisfying (at least briefly) to flatten it all with the old D2 CAT I'm getting...
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