How To R&R 1998 Grand Caravan Power Steering Pump


CarBob
04-04-2010, 10:59 AM
NOTE: This is a repost from a thread I replied to back in 2004. I just wanted to make it easier to find for someone who might find it useful. For what it's worth, it's now roughly 6 years later, my van now has 236,000 miles on it and no recurring PS pump issues. :smile:

I have a '98 Dodge Grand Caravan SE 3.3L V-6 that I did this repair on. Two words: Not Fun. However, it is doable. My Haynes repair manual says to unbolt the catalytic converter and back the exhaust out of the way. Yeah...as if I could get to the bolts which were probably frozen. Would have been nice, since there is more room to remove the pump, but in my opinion, removal of the exhaust system creates a whole new job. Though I usually prefer using the Haynes manual, in this case it wasn't terribly descriptive, but you can somewhat follow the procedures. More pictures would have been nice. Sorry, no pictures here. Anyway (from memory) here's what I did in a nutshell:

PREPARATION:
- You will need a metric socket set with various extensions. I think I used sizes between 13 and 18. Same goes for wrenches.
- Have your replacement pump on hand (you might have to order it).
- Get a couple of quarts of power steering fluid. You will need at least that much, because you are going to completely bleed the system. Mopar fluid is probably safest, because you don't want to do this job twice. Your choice though, just make sure the fluid you choose says its for Chryslers/Mopar equivalant.
- Have an oil pan on hand to catch all of the draining power steering fluid. A nice big flattened cardboard box or sheet of cardboard would be nice to put underneath the car too. It will help catch splashes and is easier to slide on if you’re not using a creeper.
- You'll need pulley pullers for your main pulley and the power steering pulley. I got the three prong one from Advance Auto (Kragen/Schucks) for the main pulley, but I got the power steering pulley puller from AutoZone. It's a nice hand tool that will not only pull the pulley off the old pump; it will also push it back on the new one. Gotta have it (for this job. Don't buy it.) If you haven't checked-out tools from any of these guys before, it works like this: You "buy" the loaner tool, use it, and return it when you are finished. I think you get them to two or three days at a time max. After you return it, they will refund your money (cash or credit). Just ask about their loaner tools.
- If you haven't ever replaced your power steering hoses, you need to do so now, because they are most likely stiff and full of crud. Though they have heat resistant sheathes on them, they run right near the catalytic converter which gets extremely hot. I point that out, because that is what contributes to the hoses' deterioration, and you will want to make sure the car has been sitting long enough to allow you to work around a cool catalytic converter while you change the hoses. The pump manufacturer recommends/requires replace these hoses in order to keep from damaging the pump. Choose wherever to get your pump, but save yourself some time and get your hoses from the Dodge/Chrysler dealer. Your old (original hoses) will have the part number on them. Give these numbers to the dealer parts dept, and they will be able to give you an exact replacement. You pay a little more (and no I don't like to pay any more than I need to). Trust me. DO THIS! It will save you a lot of running around. I tried all of the aftermarket parts stores in San Diego (i.e., Advance, NAPA, etc...), and I kept getting hoses that didn't route properly. NOTE: My van is an SE model with factory towing package options. Maybe that was the difference in the hoses and the way they routed. I don’t know, but I couldn’t find aftermarket hoses that would route properly; maybe you can. Now, on to...”The Rest of the Story...”

THE JOB:
- Block the rear wheels.

- Set the parking brake.

- Remove the serpentine belt.

- Jack-up the front of the van and place it on quality/properly rated jack stands. A lift would be better if you have access to one.

- Remove the passenger side wheel.

- Remove the splash shield.

- Remove the main pulley using the three-prong pulley puller. This will give you room to remove your power steering pump through the wheel well (between the engine and the well).

- Remove your power steering hoses one at time so you can properly route them. Yes, do it now, because you are going to need to bleed the new fluid through them after you mount the new pump, but before you hook them to the new pump.

- Without going into details, there are several bolts you are going to have to remove to get to the pump. My best advice here is to closely examine how the pump is mounted and remove as few as possible to get it out of there. As I recall, in order to have room to remove my pump, I ended-up removing the alternator mount and pushing the alternator back which allowed me access to the power steering pump bolts and the power steering mount bolts. I also recall removing the belt tensioner. The more you can avoid removing, the better! I think the problem was I needed more clearance because the pump pulley was in the way. I didn't use the AutoZone power steering pump pulley puller (say that three times fast!) until I had removed the pump and everything else in the way. That's only because I didn't understand that the pulley isn't metal. It's a kind of plastic (resin?), and doesn't require the awkward three-prong puller. If doing this job again, I'd try removing that pulley first. It would probably save you some time and busted knuckles.

- Once you get the pump out, install your old pulley or a new one if the old one is damaged. From there, just follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the new (or reman) pump. You'll need to remove a couple of bolts off of the old pump and switch them to the new one (at least I did, because I used a reman pump).

- Install the pump and any other parts you had to remove (bolts, mounts, main pulley, serpentine belt, etc. Basically, do like the manuals say, reverse order). Follow the pump manufacturer’s instructions for connecting your new hoses and for proper bleeding of the system. I'd leave the splash shield off until you've double and triple checked your work (ideally you do this as you go as well).

- Take the van down off the jack stands (obviously), remove your wheel blocks, take it for a test drive, and check for leaks.

- Like I said, this was from memory, so it’s possible I missed something, but I just did this job about two months ago. Should be close.

GOOD LUCK!!!

DISCLAIMER
I am not a professional mechanic. I am merely a shade tree mechanic who likes doing my own vehicle repairs and sharing my experiences with other shade tree mechanics. Though the procedures I use are based on several years of experience with my own vehicles, various repair manuals, technical publications, and advice from other hobbyists; I am not recommending anyone specifically follow my methods. The information provided here only demonstrates how I did the work on my car, and the lessons I learned in so doing. They are not necessarily the best, or only, ways of performing the job at hand. IF YOU CHOOSE TO FOLLOW ANY OF THESE METHODS, YOU ARE DOING SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I do recommend you use common sense, and ALWAYS think SAFETY FIRST whenever you are working on your vehicle. Use appropriate ANSI and or OSHA approved personal protective equipment (goggles, gloves, hearing protection, etc). Purchase a good repair manual (or more) for your vehicle, the proper tools and safety equipment (i.e., jack stands, ramps, etc.) for the job you are trying to perform, and thoroughly familiarize yourself with all procedures BEFORE you ever begin working on your vehicle. If you are not comfortable with a particular job, then don’t do it. Hire a professional or personally seek the advice of another knowledgeable person that can help walk you through the procedures of the job you wish to perform.

Working on your own vehicle can be fun and very rewarding both personally and financially. However, one must realize the seriousness of doing so, and be meticulous and thorough about any maintenance or repairs performed on any vehicle. Anything less presents a hazard to oneself, one’s passengers, and other people who share the roadways.

Have fun and stay safe!

CarBob

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