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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2006 Town and Country short wheel base.

My power steering system is leaking so bad I'm worried it will run out of fluid before I can get back to Florida to fix it. Seize the pump. And totally make driving not possible.

The cheap fix I can do to fix it is run a belt shorter and bypass the PS. Is this possible on the 3.3?

If someone has done this, might anyone know the shorter length needed?

It's possible I have over filled the reservoir. I have no idea. It randomly makes noise, I add some and then by the next time it has been shut down for an hour or so, it's pissed it's ATF all over the place. I cannot tell where from. It looks like below the power steering unit but above the rack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The level seems ok now. I backed the car up from it's current spot and it is not leaking any PS fluid. Just AC water. I will see what it does when it's off. Seems to be leaking it's guts when it's off.
 

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Here's a thought: If it gets low on fluid, put more in it so the pump doesn't burn up. ;)

Seems like that'd be a whole lot less wasted effort than disabling the PS system.

It might have just barfed some fluid out due to air / foamy fluid in the system. Let it sit for a while, and then recheck it with the engine off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So I found the leak, it drips it from the passenger boot breather hose. Not sure what that hose that connects both boots actually do? Probably just relieve air pressure in the boots as one expands and the other contracts during steering. As the boot is directly dripping from this hose I can only gather that seals in the rack have just let go. It only does it when the system is unpressurized which I guess makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here's a thought: If it gets low on fluid, put more in it so the pump doesn't burn up. ;)

Seems like that'd be a whole lot less wasted effort than disabling the PS system.

It might have just barfed some fluid out due to air / foamy fluid in the system. Let it sit for a while, and then recheck it with the engine off.
The rack empties the reservoir when it's off. 6 dollars worth of PS fluid every time I turn the key is pretty intense.
 

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I would cut the belt (or a piece of string) to the length it needs to be with the PS pulley bypassed, take it to the parts store, and try to have them match it up with a new one of the same length and number of ribs the old belt has.

Edit: And, obviously make sure the new belt doesn't interfere with anything without it running the PS pump.
 

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I would cut the belt (or a piece of string) to the length it needs to be with the PS pulley bypassed, take it to the parts store, and try to have them match it up with a new one of the same length and number of ribs the old belt has.

Edit: And, obviously make sure the new belt doesn't interfere with anything without it running the PS pump.
I wouldn't suggest deleting the pump, how the heck can you still have reasonably quick and responsive steering without the pump working? I'm cheap but I also need effective and responsive steering, which you will NOT have without a pump.
I'm sympathetic to rack replacement issues, did mine last year when it was leaking. There are some crap elements to the job. I've also replaced the PS reservoir a couple times when the very fine screen inside plugs, causing a 'moan and whine'.
 

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I wouldn't suggest deleting the pump, how the heck can you still have reasonably quick and responsive steering without the pump working? I'm cheap but I also need effective and responsive steering, which you will NOT have without a pump.
I'm sympathetic to rack replacement issues, did mine last year when it was leaking. There are some crap elements to the job. I've also replaced the PS reservoir a couple times when the very fine screen inside plugs, causing a 'moan and whine'.
Meh, once you're moving, you don't really need the power assist that much.

When I was in high school, my dad had a well used Dodge Shadow. The rack went bad and would puke all the fluid out when turned to either extreme. He didn't feel like putting money into a car wthat was nearing the end of it's life, so we drove it for quite a while with no power assist.

My last full size truck didn't even come with power steering, and I managed just fine in it.;)
 

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Right, but there is a heck of a difference between driving a vehicle with non-assist steering and one without the required pump working. Try going lock to lock next time you're in a safe place to do so, with the engine off and I bet you will change your advice 180 degrees. I managed a 35km drive recently with a badly failed water pump, so ran the engine only 4-5 min in the entire drive and so it's fresh in my mind how well that DOES NOT work.
 

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Right, but there is a heck of a difference between driving a vehicle with non-assist steering and one without the required pump working. Try going lock to lock next time you're in a safe place to do so, with the engine off and I bet you will change your advice 180 degrees.
Maybe you didn't read or comprehend my last post. I did essentially that for quite a while. It was far from the end of the world.:sneaky:
 

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Maybe you didn't read or comprehend my last post. I did essentially that for quite a while. It was far from the end of the world.:sneaky:
I read and fully comprehend your 'advice'. FWIW a Shadow is not a Caravan. I have recent experience with engine-off steering and suggested you give it a go for yourself....perhaps this will refresh your memory of how little the pump is required? Lock to lock, if you please!
 

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I read and fully comprehend your 'advice'. FWIW a Shadow is not a Caravan. I have recent experience with engine-off steering and suggested you give it a go for yourself....perhaps this will refresh your memory of how little the pump is required? Lock to lock, if you please!
My memory doesn't need "refreshed". :rolleyes: I've been working on my family's vehicles for over 20 years, and I also worked in a shop until I got tired of fixing other people's junk all day. I know exactly what both a Shadow and Caravan are. I also know what vehicles feel like with and without power assisted steering.

The OP is only planning to do this as a temporary repair. Sometimes, one has to do what's necessary just to get by for a while.

If you don't like my advice / opinion, sorry about your luck. I don't plan to change it.
 

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My memory doesn't need "refreshed". :rolleyes: I've been working on my family's vehicles for over 20 years, and I also worked in a shop until I got tired of fixing other people's junk all day. I know exactly what both a Shadow and Caravan are. I also know what vehicles feel like with and without power assisted steering.

The OP is only planning to do this as a temporary repair. Sometimes, one has to do what's necessary just to get by for a while.

If you don't like my advice / opinion, sorry about your luck. I don't plan to change it.
I kinda figured you wouldn't actually test this out. I've maintained everything from boats to any type of vehicle to aircraft, over 55 years now, but that doesn't change anything. Advising someone to run a Dodge caravan with disabled steering is foolish at best, dangerous and liable at worst.
Hope you do try that lock to lock out, even if you do when nobody is watching, eh? ha! PS: I'll probably have to do a quick trial of this again, just to refresh my own memory
 

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I kinda figured you wouldn't actually test this out
Again, I don't need to.
Advising someone to run a Dodge caravan with disabled steering is foolish at best, dangerous and liable at worst.
No, it's not.
Hope you do try that lock to lock out, even if you do when nobody is watching, eh? ha! PS: I'll probably have to do a quick trial of this again, just to refresh my own memory
 

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My first car was a 1965 Dodge Polara with non power steering. Didn’t have power brakes and a had a manual 3-on-the-tree with no syncro from second to first.
Like this
Tire Wheel Car Automotive parking light Vehicle


My second car was a 1971 Ford. This had power steering, power brakes and auto trans.
Like this
Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Car Vehicle

However the power steering pump went and I never fixed it. Have to agree with beat_truck - once you're moving, you don't really need the power assist that much. In fact I would argue that with non power assist you have more control of the steering at speed. Ever try to straighten your wheels real quick coming out of a turn? With non power assist you just let go of the steering wheel and it will straighten out for you – real quick.

That said for parking especially parallel parking – it can be a real work out and at my age now – I would fix the power steering pump on my caravan. My first two cars (Heavier than a Caravan) I was still a teenager.

This is what I told LEVY about this subject.
 

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When you are trying to drive a vehicle with power steering that is not functional, you are fighting against/pushing the fluid through small holes and hoses when steering. That is what makes it so difficult.

My Celica Supras have variable assist power steering, in which a vacuum valve opens and allows more assist at low engine speeds (assumes you are parking). At higher speeds like the highway where there is less vacuum, the valve closes and there is less power assist to increase road feel. I once had the pressure line start to let go and squirt fluid onto the exhaust manifold. Had to drive the car and had no extra money for a new pressure hose, so me and a friend "looped the lines". It basically connected the input and output fluid lines to each other down at the rack, so you weren't trying to push fluid through the pump (which had the belt removed). That made it MUCH easier to drive.

That is my recommendation for getting by. Either keep filling with any transmission fluid (since it will likely need to be flushed completely out because the steering rack is shot) or cut the pressure line and return hose and connect them together as short as possible. You can replace them with new lines when you replace the steering rack. Then, also bypass the pump if that's even possible, because I think you need it to get the belt around the water pump to drive it in the correct direction and also need the tensioner to work.
 
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My Celica Supras have variable assist power steering, in which a vacuum valve opens and allows more assist at low engine speeds (assumes you are parking). At higher speeds like the highway where there is less vacuum, the valve closes and there is less power assist to increase road feel.
Yes in my opinion “road feel” is a very important factor in proper handling of your vehicle. I heard that many new vehicles that come with “electric power assisted steering” have the computer apply less power assist as you increase your speed – to give you that road feel.
 

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The rack empties the reservoir when it's off. 6 dollars worth of PS fluid every time I turn the key is pretty intense.
I'd try dumping a bottle of Lukas or other PS stop leak in there before giving up on it, it won't work in long term but might give you a few days (if not used before)
 
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