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1999 Chrysler Town & Country Limited; 2001 Chrysler Town & Country LXi
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Discussion Starter #1
2001 Chrysler Town & Country - 3.3L - 150,000 miles (very clean, rust free southern vehicle)

I bought this van last year and found out that one of the "ears" to mount the alternator on the timing chain cover had been snapped off. I removed the timing chain cover and had a new ear welded on (I posted about it somewhere). Anyway, once I had the timing chain cover reinstalled, I replaced all of the accessories (power steering pump, alternator, tensioner, idler pulley) except the AC compressor that bolt to the timing chain cover with new OEM replacements purchased at Advanced Auto.

Both before and after the project, I had a slight power steering shudder. I followed the procedure in the TSB and added an extra "loop" of hose underneath near the cooler and that solved the shudder problem. I also replaced the PS reservoir as long as I had the fluid all drained. I refilled with ATF +4 and purged the system of air by turning the wheel back and forth to stop 8-10 times.

The van drove fine with no PS issues from July until December. In December, as temperatures in Milwaukee dropped to below freezing on a consistent basis, the van developed a PS whine on cold start up. Not a crazy loud, ear piercing whine, but enough that it is embarrassing when I drop my son off at school. By the time the van reaches operating temperature, the whine is gone.

My first attempt at troubleshooting was to fill the reservoir to the top. But the whine remained. Next, I decided it might be a partially plugged restrictor in the return line - even though I could clearly see fluid circulating in the reservoir. I drained the system (at the cooler) and replaced the return line with a kit purchased from Rock Auto. As the metal portion of the return line was still in pristine condition, I blew it our with compressed air and installed only the rubber portion of hose with the crimped, in-line restrictor....from the metal line to the reservoir. I also replaced the PS reservoir (again) with a new one. Upon completion, the whine persists.

What would the brain-trust here recommend as a next step? What happens if I remove the restrictor by replacing that section of hose with regular, restrictor free, power steering hose?

My other thought is that I got a crappy rebuilt pump from Advance Auto. Except that it performed fine during the warm weather months. I did keep the original power steering pump, but really would rather not replace that again.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
 

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Don't know that I would remove the inline restrictor. It's there for a reason.

You replaced your reservoir and added additional power steering fluid. That sort of rules the reservoir out.

Rebuilt/remanufactured power steering pumps are known to be noisier than OE, either initially or thereafter. Some can be very noisey, especially at low speeds. Check the pump, with a Mechanic's stethoscope, for noise.

Some have used "friction modifiers" to cut down on noise with some success. Transmission fluid has friction modifiers in it but maybe a little more helps with the power steering..


Ford owners seem to be most familiar with using friction modifiers in their power steering systems to quiet down the noise from pumps and racks.

Good luck with tracking down the culprit.
 
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fix it if you can
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My other thought is that I got a crappy rebuilt pump from Advance Auto. Except that it performed fine during the warm weather months
Get another 'crappy' rebuilt pump from them, it might (or might not) give you another 3-6 months of quiet operation...

Did you return your OE pump for core? If you still have it, put it back on or get a seal kit for it and rebuild it yourself.

Check the pump, with a Mechanic's stethoscope, for noise.
Moot, pump makes the noise weather it's starving for fluid or worn out of spec...
 

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Moot, pump makes the noise weather it's starving for fluid or worn out of spec...
If its starving for fluid one should hear air going through the pump. Rebuilt/remanufactured pumps seem be out of spec right out of the box, or shortly thereafter. Two noisey remanufactured power steering pumps on a 2004 Acura TSX, one right after the other. Problem was solved with a new Honda pump (very expensive).
 
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1999 Chrysler Town & Country Limited; 2001 Chrysler Town & Country LXi
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies so far. I got out my mechanics stethoscope and probed around a bit. Of course it is one of the warmest days in a month so I was not able to zero in on the source before the engine warmed up. However, it does not appear to be the power steering pump. It sure seemed like it was coming from inside the plenum. The whine/whistle was most pronounced at the inlet of the EGR valve and over where the brake boost connects to the plenum. I thought I read somewhere that PCV valves have been known to whistle, but I could not get my stethoscope back there before the noise went away. I did change out the PCV valve last summer when I went through the rest of the engine. I will let 'er cool down and try to pinpoint again when it gets cold.
 

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2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
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If the noise is coming from the plenum, near the EGR inlet, could it be that the EGR gasket isn't seated good? Never seen a PCV valve whistle, but I have heard them buzz and rattle.

Intake whistles sound nothing like power steering whine, so I don't see how you'd get them mixed up. Any chance you can record a clip of it? If you're under the hood while it's whining and you snap the throttle open, does the sound change to a hiss at any point, especially right as the throttle closes? That would mean some sort of intake leak.
 

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So to diagnose, you have to ask: What changes between when the engine is cold and when it warms up? Metals expand with heat, and could close a gap that is there when cold. Since you mentioned the EGR, and EGR function is not needed when cold, I suspect something in the vacuum circuit leaking before the EGR valve. My parts van was a 2001, and I know it has a vacuum-operated EGR valve. There is usually a thermally switched vacuum valve that only allows vacuum to be applied once warmed up with engine coolant. Unless these vans are switched with electronic vacuum switches activated when the ECM sees the correct operating temperature?

I guess I'd look for a vacuum leak first. Could use the old trick of spraying carb cleaner/flammable spray around when idling and listen for the engine to speed up. You could also rig up a smoke machine to fill the engine with smoke when not running, and see if any escapes. Could be a hose for the emissions system, since I remember there are a few around the area of the EGR valve.
 

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Well it doesn't change to a hiss, but it does seem to be worst as the throttle closes. It's definitely not power steering whine but something leaking on the intake. Could be the EGR inlet not fully tightened down. Follow the suggestions Ripper and Atoman gave and you should be able to find it.
 
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Bingo. The noise is coming from where the EGR bolts into the block. Should have used the stethoscope in the first place dang it! Unfortunately, I will need to remove the alternator to get to that bottom bolt...the top one is reachable and plenty tight. Thanks all!
 

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Good that you found it. I was thinking it was the other end. :p Lots of people don't tighten the intake side enough for fear of damaging the plastic intake. It'll scream from there just as bad.
 
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