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Power Steering Woes

After 204k miles, I decided to rebuild the front end on my 1993 Dodge Grand Caravan, and replaced just about everything I could: tie rod ends, ball joints, bushings, hub bearings, power steering pump, water pump, timing chain, and rack and pinion. When I first started driving the car, I noticed that on left turns, it REALLY wanted to turn left and did not return to center very well. Right turns are no problem. I had it aligned, thinking this was the cause, but there was no change.

I’m thinking maybe the rotary valve in the rack and pinion is leaking fluid into one side of the cylinder.


Try bleeding the power steering system.

I tried turning the steering well back and forth to the stops, as per the maintenance manual, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

This type of problem typically originates with a binding ball joint or other articulating joint. If the spool valve were leaking into one side it would create a pull. The whole function of the valve is to direct the fluid pressure to the appropriate side of the piston in the rack.

I’d be inclined go back over the work performed.

Thanks for the tip on the ball joints. I checked them, and they needed grease, but they don’t seem to be sticking now and the problem is still there. What makes me think it is the rack is the fact that if I’m coasting with the engine off, the car tracks straight. Then if I turn the engine back on, the steering wheel gives a small turn to the left. With nothing else changing, it seems like the PS is the only possibility?

With this added detail, I’d agree. Yes, a bad spool valve could cause this.