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Thank you for being here! I'm a new kid with my grandmothers old car, just had some questions!

There are a few noises I'm hearing on my 2003 Chrysler T&C 2wd. It has 141k miles on it or thereabouts
When the engine is running it sounds like there's a super charger bolted to it, just a steady whine. It lessens as the engine warms up but is still present under acceleration. Turning the wheel I hear what can be assumed is the power steering pump whining, and when I turn the steering wheel about a quarter turn there's a distinct clunking sound that I can also feel, it only happens at the 1st quarter and also on return. Only the 1st quarter of a turn though, it happens both left and right.
Sometimes when going over speed bumps there is a grinding sound. I just put the spare away so that could be the problem as I had to do it alone, my roommate refused to help.

Beyond that I had a question about what the little grey stick in front of the turn signals/wiper stick on the left side does. It only goes forward and I cannot for the life of me figure out what it does. I'd look it up in the owners manual but I have no idea where that went.. my parents probably have it but I don't know for sure.
What's the redline on the van/what does it sound like at top end? My gauge cluster doesn't have an RPM gauge, and I like to keep an eye on that stuff.

Also what's the plan on maintenance at my mileage?
 

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I had a question about what the little grey stick in front of the turn signals/wiper stick on the left side does. It only goes forward and I cannot for the life of me figure out what it does. I'd look it up in the owners manual but I have no idea where that went.. my parents probably have it but I don't know for sure.
What's the redline on the van/what does it sound like at top end? My gauge cluster doesn't have an RPM gauge, and I like to keep an eye on that stuff.

Also what's the plan on maintenance at my mileage?
Welcome.

That grey "stick" is probably the steering wheel tilt adjustment.

Regarding the redline question, if your grandparents never had to worry about it, you shouldn't either. Seems like this great vehicle that your grandparents used for almost 20 years is not going to last very long in your hands.

Good luck.
 

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My gauge cluster doesn't have an RPM gauge, and I like to keep an eye on that stuff.
if you're interested in a fun little DIY project, you can swap in a cluster from a van that does have one

it's plug and play, the only thing you need to worry about is if yours has the "eyelid" "message center" on top of the dashboard
 

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Your whine is probably one of the accessory pulleys going bad. Remove the serpentine belt, and see if the noise goes away. If it does, turn all the pulleys by hand, and you should be able to find the bad one.

Fix this before you worry about anything else, as it can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere.
 

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The power steering pump could make the whine. Could use new or merely more fluid.

Our van is newer, but it had a whine kinda like that for a long time. I figured it was the steering pump, but after the alternator died recently and I replaced it, the whine is gone. It seems our alternator was just loud.

The clunk in the 1st quarter turn could be control arm bushings. If it clunked at any/every amount of turn, I would think it was a loose tie rod.

Not sure how the spare would make a grinding noise. I'd try going over a speed bump slow enough that you can tell if the sound comes from the front or back. Then better guesses can be made.
 

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The steering clunk (turn wheel left or right, clunks once, or possibly a second time if you turn farther) is a strut bearing. The stuck bearing won't let the top of the spring turn with the wheel so it builds up tension. At some point the tension is enough to overcome the bearing's resistance, and it "sproings" into its proper position, which you notice as a clunk. The way to confirm this is to watch the spring above the front tire as someone else turns the steering wheel. This video illustrates the problem well:

YouTube - I'm not fixing that clunk noise from shocks or struts that sound bad.

This is something you should take care of right away, or risk having a broken strut spring. Common knowledge is that if your strut is otherwise good, it's better to replace just the strut bearings/mounts than to replace the entire strut, as the OEM struts are better than aftermarket ones. If you want to do the job yourself, be aware that you will need to borrow or buy a spring compressor kit. Also, the sway bar link where it connects to the strut can be stubborn especially if well rusted. While the mount and the bearing are two separate parts, they are typically sold together as a kit, one for each side, for a reasonable cost.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

I have learned a whole lot here, these guys rock!
Post a video of your whiny minivan...

We'll all be happy to help diagnose and help you maintain the vehicle, AND avoid common pitfalls.
Cheers!
 
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