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Discussion Starter #1
I feel ignorant posting this question but will anyway. I just drove our '05 T&C from Wisconsin to S. California. The drive went well minus the bungie cord coming off a semi truck, wrapping around the rear tire flatting it then piercing the metal on the rear hatch before flying off into the ditch...
Before leaving I noticed a small drip forming on some sort of control module sitting directly under the rack. I assume its part of the rack and pinion as the fluid was red. After the drive it is now leaving spots after sitting.
The component has a hose coming off it which is pinched and zip locked. The fluid is dripping off this piece. What is it and can I replace this piece alone. If so, any special installation instructions? The actual rack is dry and looks ok.
Thanks for your help. Oh, 87,000 miles.
 

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You should be able to remove one hose that is leaking and replace it without any problem, it goes to the power steering pump. Hose clamps only is the return line and compression fittings indicate the pressure side so you know you get the right one.
 

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I know of no control module underneath the steering rack.
Is this a finned cooler at about the center of the crossmember? These are low pressure P/S hoses in and out of it.
If it is part of the steering rack, it would only be serviced with the rack assembly. I would have a technician identify the part and give an estimate. Is insurance covering this with a deductible?

 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. I didn't think it was a part of the rack either. If my memory serves me right, this black round piece was on the opposite side of the cooler and was about the size of the cruise control servo. I think it has an electrical connection on it and has at least one hose coming off it. That hose was kinked and tied with a zip strip.?.
 

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That sounds like the black, plastic Natural Vacuum Leak Detector (NVLD) if it is towards the driver's side of the crossmember?
It is for the fuel system evaporative control and should be shown on your underhood vacuum diagram label. It took the place of the earlier Leak Detection Pump (LDP).
The detector will watch for a slight vacuum to develop in the hose leading to it in order to confirm that the fuel evaporative (vapor) system is closed to the air during an overnight cooldown. If there is an evaporative emissions leak like a breach-to-air in the closed vapor management system, it will not see a vacuum develop as things will remain at atmospheric pressure and it will set a fault code. If you are not seeing evaporative system leak codes, then the part, hose and wiring should be OK.
If it is wet with ATF+4, then the leak is coming from elsewhere. The NVLD is a separate system and doesn't use ATF.
Are there ATF drips hanging from the steering gear above it and dripping down on it? Or is the transaxle leaking ATF and blowing back onto it?


ma0809-driv1.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I.C. That is now the million dollar question. Transaxle or rack? Next time I'm out there I'm going to have to put her up on stands and do some investigating. Thank you for identifying the part and sharing what its actual purpose is.
I'm going to say a prayer tonight asking for a bad rack seal! :)
Is a power steering flush a must while replacing a rack because of a leaking seal? Do you have any suggested methods for flushing a p.s. system?
Thanks a million.
 

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Oil leaks will usually drift rearward (road draft) and down (gravity). Dry the area as best as you can. A can of brake cleaner and rag is handy for spot drying. Then watch for where the oil is coming from.
A leaking rack seal will be best serviced as a reman rack assembly and a toe-in set.
The ATF+4 can be flushed by disconnecting a lower-most cooler hose and letting the oil drain into a pan while filling it with fresh ATF+4 from up top. If the fluid is old, odorous and darkened, definitely change it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I.C. Is the WalMart brand ATF+4 the same as "mopar"?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Once again, thank you I.C. Now I'm really interested to see if Walbob's meets Chryslers specs!
 
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