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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Jeepman - I thought the same as you: why didn't the shop that did the suspension work a couple of days ago mention any of these issues. I don't lose much fluid at all, so I don't know how bad a leak this could be. About 100,000 miles ago I had the car at the dealer's shop, and they mentioned the steering gear needed to be replaced. The next time the vehicle was at my usual mechanic, I asked him about it and he thought the steering gear was fine. That same unit is still in the vehicle.

You're right about being over a barrel. The last couple of times I took it in for an alignment, there was always some reason why the vehicle could not be aligned. I don't think I will be purchasing a lifetime alignment again.
 

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Jeepman - I thought the same as you: why didn't the shop that did the suspension work a couple of days ago mention any of these issues. I don't lose much fluid at all, so I don't know how bad a leak this could be. About 100,000 miles ago I had the car at the dealer's shop, and they mentioned the steering gear needed to be replaced. The next time the vehicle was at my usual mechanic, I asked him about it and he thought the steering gear was fine. That same unit is still in the vehicle.

You're right about being over a barrel. The last couple of times I took it in for an alignment, there was always some reason why the vehicle could not be aligned. I don't think I will be purchasing a lifetime alignment again.
Get the tie rod end and control arm bushing checked out/fixed somewhere else. Then take it back for an alignment. Try some Lucas (or other reputable product) power steering stop leak, if you haven't already. Mopar likely has some as well.
 

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In my experience, the stop leak may or may not work, and if it does, you're only delaying the inevitable.

I noticed a tiny bit of fluid trickling out last summer while changing the brake pads. I put in some Lucas. To it's credit, it completely stopped the leak. I went over six months without losing a drop. But come January, when we had a string of frigid cold weather, it let loose. Big time, as you can see in the photo. Cost me $465, parts and labor, which is a real good price, if you shop around and stay away from the dealerships and national chains.
 

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EBay the parts, if you changed the other stuff, a control arm with bushings and ball joint, and an inner and outer tie rod should be no issue except for having to rent the inner tie tool, and the passenger side is easier than the driver side which has less access.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I am going to have to look for leakage on rack and pinion unit - do they always leak around the boot as shown in waynefoutz's picture? And if I am understanding correctly, once the worn tie rods are replaced, the vehicle will be able to be aligned. The leaking rack and pinion is a problem, but a leaking rack and pinion unit would not prevent the front end from being aligned.

Is that correct?

I will get a second opinion, too.
 

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I am going to have to look for leakage on rack and pinion unit - do they always leak around the boot as shown in waynefoutz's picture? And if I am understanding correctly, once the worn tie rods are replaced, the vehicle will be able to be aligned. The leaking rack and pinion is a problem, but a leaking rack and pinion unit would not prevent the front end from being aligned.

Is that correct?

I will get a second opinion, too.


Yes, you can replace the tie rods and get it aligned with the leaky rack. But IMHO, that would be a complete waste of time and money. Sooner or later, the rack is going to have to be replaced. If it's leakng, it's only a matter of time. Lucas will delay it, but not forever. Just about every modern car I've owned, I've had to replace the rack, somewhere between 120,000-160,000 miles. The seals on the end where the inner tie rod goes in are holding in a tremendous amount of pressure and start leaking. What will happen, is at some point, it will start spraying power steering fluid out the end faster than you can pour it in. The leak in the picture wasn't as bad as it looks, I was putting half a quart a week in it at that point. But I have let them go before, to the point where the car was pretty much wasn't drivable any more.

The rack comes with new inner tie rods, so if you replace the inner tie rods now, they will be discarded. Then, you're going to have to spend ANOTHER hundred bucks getting it aligned AGAIN.
 

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Originally Posted by waynefoutz


Yes, you can replace the tie rods and get it aligned with the leaky rack. But IMHO, that would be a complete waste of time and money. Sooner or later, the rack is going to have to be replaced. If it's leakng, it's only a matter of time. Lucas will delay it, but not forever. Just about every modern car I've owned, I've had to replace the rack, somewhere between 120,000-160,000 miles. The seals on the end where the inner tie rod goes in are holding in a tremendous amount of pressure and start leaking. What will happen, is at some point, it will start spraying power steering fluid out the end faster than you can pour it in. The leak in the picture wasn't as bad as it looks, I was putting half a quart a week in it at that point. But I have let them go before, to the point where the car was pretty much wasn't drivable any more.

The rack comes with new inner tie rods, so if you replace the inner tie rods now, they will be discarded. Then, you're going to have to spend ANOTHER hundred bucks getting it aligned AGAIN.
I would have to disagree.

I don't know how you happen to "destroy" a Rack and Pinion in such low mileage, I've never, ever replaced one on any vehicle I own or owned, and I'm talking about up to 500,000 + miles.

It is not a waste or time to try to buy some time, as stated by the O.P. this is a work vehicle, not worth to spend much money on it.

Go ahead and try Power Steering Stop Leak, it may work for a couple of years.
 

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Originally Posted by waynefoutz


Yes, you can replace the tie rods and get it aligned with the leaky rack. But IMHO, that would be a complete waste of time and money. Sooner or later, the rack is going to have to be replaced. If it's leakng, it's only a matter of time. Lucas will delay it, but not forever. Just about every modern car I've owned, I've had to replace the rack, somewhere between 120,000-160,000 miles. The seals on the end where the inner tie rod goes in are holding in a tremendous amount of pressure and start leaking. What will happen, is at some point, it will start spraying power steering fluid out the end faster than you can pour it in. The leak in the picture wasn't as bad as it looks, I was putting half a quart a week in it at that point. But I have let them go before, to the point where the car was pretty much wasn't drivable any more.

The rack comes with new inner tie rods, so if you replace the inner tie rods now, they will be discarded. Then, you're going to have to spend ANOTHER hundred bucks getting it aligned AGAIN.
I would have to disagree.

I don't know how you happen to "destroy" a Rack and Pinion in such low mileage, I've never, ever replaced one on any vehicle I own or owned, and I'm talking about up to 500,000 + miles.

It is not a waste or time to try to buy some time, as stated by the O.P. this is a work vehicle, not worth to spend much money on it.

Go ahead and try Power Steering Stop Leak, it may work for a couple of years.

Yes, it's a work vehicle, but OP is still paying shop prices for parts and labor. That said, I'd hate to see him have to get the same job done twice. If he was doing the work himself, I'd tend to agree with you.
 

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Yes, it's a work vehicle, but OP is still paying shop prices for parts and labor. That said, I'd hate to see him have to get the same job done twice. If he was doing the work himself, I'd tend to agree with you.
What job he will be doing twice?

If he doesn't replace the rack, then if he need to replace later, it's not going to be double. Regarding alignment, I understand it's going to be free.
 

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I think your faith in the stop leak differs a lot from mine. For me, it held up until it got cold out side, then the leak came back even worse. If I were in his position, I'd get the rack fixed. I'd probably do it as cheaply as i can, probably put a used one in, or a remanufactured one. And if I couldn't do it myself, if find someone working on the side out of his garage to put it in for me. I wasn't aware that he was getting a free alignment. About the only place in my neck of the woods is the national tire chains, and only if you buy tires. Even then, for what they end up charging you, you can hardly call it free.

My logic is this. He pays $x for the tie rod repair, which is for the sake of argument, rated as a two hour repair. The rack is a four hour repair, according to everyone that gave me an estimate. The rack comes with new inner tie rods. So you can almost eliminate the first job by just going ahead and get the second job over with. As they are doing the rack, the outer tie rod ends have to be taken off anyway, irregardless of whether they're bad or not. so theoretically he'd only be paying for the parts if one or both of the outers are bad.
 

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I think your faith in the stop leak differs a lot from mine. For me, it held up until it got cold out side, then the leak came back even worse. If I were in his position, I'd get the rack fixed. I'd probably do it as cheaply as i can, probably put a used one in, or a remanufactured one. And if I couldn't do it myself, if find someone working on the side out of his garage to put it in for me. I wasn't aware that he was getting a free alignment. About the only place in my neck of the woods is the national tire chains, and only if you buy tires. Even then, for what they end up charging you, you can hardly call it free.

My logic is this. He pays $x for the tie rod repair, which is for the sake of argument, rated as a two hour repair. The rack is a four hour repair, according to everyone that gave me an estimate. The rack comes with new inner tie rods. So you can almost eliminate the first job by just going ahead and get the second job over with. As they are doing the rack, the outer tie rod ends have to be taken off anyway, irregardless of whether they're bad or not. so theoretically he'd only be paying for the parts if one or both of the outers are bad.
I agree. He can try the Lucas stop leak, since that won't require any removal of parts. But the problem here is, now he has to keep checking the power steering fluid.
 

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I agree. He can try the Lucas stop leak, since that won't require any removal of parts. But the problem here is, now he has to keep checking the power steering fluid.
Just have a container of power steering fluid in the vehicle, like I do for my Jeep. :)

The rack is expensive, say $200+ for a remanufactured one from BBB Industries plus $300+ for labor = $500. Power steering stop leak is worth a try, and it may work better than expected.

Lucas is pretty confident about their product: http://lucasoil.ca/products/problem-solvers-utility/lucas-power-steering-stop-leak
It is 100% GUARANTEED to stop seal leaks in power steering units or your money back. Totally corrects rack and pinion problems.

It is also totally effective in reducing slack, squeals and hard spots in worn rack and pinions. Your results will be immediate and long lasting.
Estimator for power steering rack replacement: http://repairpal.com/estimator/dodge/grand+caravan/steering-rack-replacement-cost
 

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I agree. He can try the Lucas stop leak, since that won't require any removal of parts. But the problem here is, now he has to keep checking the power steering fluid.
Just have a container of power steering fluid in the vehicle, like I do for my Jeep.


The rack is expensive, say $200+ for a remanufactured one from BBB Industries plus $300+ for labor = $500. Power steering stop leak is worth a try, and it may work better than expected.

Lucas is pretty confident about their product: http://lucasoil.ca/products/problem-solvers-utility/lucas-power-steering-stop-leak
It is 100% GUARANTEED to stop seal leaks in power steering units or your money back. Totally corrects rack and pinion problems.

It is also totally effective in reducing slack, squeals and hard spots in worn rack and pinions. Your results will be immediate and long lasting.
Estimator for power steering rack replacement: http://repairpal.com/estimator/dodge/grand+caravan/steering-rack-replacement-cost

I've used Lucas on three different vehicles. The first two, it didn't work at all. On the caravan, it only bought me six months. That's far from a 100% success rate, in my opinion.
 

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Seems like you don't want to give up, do you?

$436.00 may be a good price if your vehicle is worth it, and you have the money.

I understand this vehicle is a good reliable working vehicle but not good enough to spend that kind of money on it.

I vote he should try Lucas, and let us know the ending of this story.

$436.00 for a brand new rack.
 

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Seems like you don't want to give up, do you?

$436.00 may be a good price if your vehicle is worth it, and you have the money.

I understand this vehicle is a good reliable working vehicle but not good enough to spend that kind of money on it.

I vote he should try Lucas, and let us know the ending of this story.

$436.00 for a brand new rack.



Fair enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 · (Edited)
At this point, I now committed to the car. I replaced the rear shocks, bought a fender for $65 to replace the one the got crushed when the van fell to the pavement, and am going to replace the inner and outer tie rod ends. It would be easy to walk away from the van if it wasn't reliable or ran poorly, but it still runs great - I took it on a 1000 mile round trip this past weekend with no problems.

I'll do the tie rods myself, but not the rack and pinion (I read the write-up someone did on this forum. Sounds like a real undertaking). The cost of a shop to do the rack and pinion is more than I want to spend, so for now I will just watch the fluid, and probably add sealer as was suggested. I really do not lose that much fluid now, anyway. I guess if the leak becomes severe, then it will be time to make a decision.

Rust, road salt, and unrepaired collision damage have taken their toll on the body, but mechanically the van is still pretty sound. Two years ago I could not get the car to pass emissions - the check engine light was lit, and it was going to take what was estimated at an almost $1000 catalytic converter and some other parts to get the van to pass. I was not going to put $1000 into a high mileage body damaged van, so we bought a replacement low-mileage 2007 and figured the 2005 van was finished. Two days before the plates were due to expire, the check engine light in the 2005 van, which had been lit on for almost a year, suddenly turns off with no intervention on my part. I go directly to the emission testing center, the van passes, and 20 miles later the light comes back on (the code again indicating the catalytic converter needs to be replaced). I drive the van with the check engine light on for two more years. This past June, when the van is again due for emission testing, I figure the time has finally come where we will part ways, because I am not going buy a replacement catalytic converter. But just like two years ago, a couple of days before the plates expire, the check engine light goes out, I take it to the testing center and it passes. If only it could self-repair its rust and body damage!
 

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I was just chilling using the company 2009 dodge caravan and while I was delivering items to certain places then I started hearing noises while only going 50 to 55 mph then when I finally took a turn doing my usual 70 mph be it 65 in the area and I'm used to the area be I go through there way too much the tire yeeted it self far away to where we couldn't find it anywhere else so it sitting in someone's farm land or in a dirt field I've seen the sparks coming from it scraping the ground while started to dip into the dirt shoulder in order to slow down scarey **** but then now that will be getting repairs done and hopefully be back in use until the engine blows up and I thinks it at 81,000 miles
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Motor vehicle
 
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