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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi y'all:
'06 Limited, Hemi. 70k miles.

About 4 weeks and 2000 miles ago, I put on a short lift (2" in front, about 1-1/4" rear) and shocks that I got from Kolak (highly recommended). I then added 255/75's, and 1-1/4" wheel spacers. I couldn't be happier with the way it looks and drives.

But 2 days ago, as I was pulling into the driveway, I heard the whale-like moan from under the hood, accompanied by stiff steering, that to me always means power-steering pump.

I checked the fluid-level, and it was a little low. I was chagrined to learn that my owner's manual (and the reservoir cap) say only MS-10383 spec, so off to the dealer I went. I topped-off with $20/qt fluid, and then raised the front of the car so I could do a lock-to-lock air-bleed. Unfortunately, it seemed to be getting WORSE as I was doing this.

I jumped into the shop manual I bought a few weeks ago, and it talks about needing to perform a pressure-test. expensive tool.

I'm looking for three things:
1. Any way this is NOT a bad power-steering pump?
2. Is this related to my larger tires and wheel spacers I just put on? Will I have the same problem with this again?
3. Reading the service manual, it says that because the HEMI has the hydraulic fan, I need to "...use the DRB III to activate the hydraulic fan on full fan operation..." as part of the bleed procedure. Is there a way to do this without the tool? Or do I really have to take this to the dealer to handle this?

Thanks in advance.
 

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1. Any way this is NOT a bad power-steering pump?
If could be any number of things, including just bad fluid. The only symptom you have is PS whine from time to time while at slow speed, many vehicles do this normally in cold weather.
2. Is this related to my larger tires and wheel spacers I just put on? Will I have the same problem with this again?
More likely the lift, the larger tires and wheel spacers might be contributing as well. Did you have the alignment checked after doing the lift?

The lift would change the normal angle the control arms and steering tie rods ride at, that can change the stresses on those items a lot and cause damage or accellerated wear. But, if this was common, I'd think we would be seeing more postsabout PS noise from all the folks that have put lft kits on their Commanders.

Bigger tires would increase the boost needed from pump, especially at slow speed, and a pump running short of volume and pressure would likely make noise. But, again, if this was common, I'd think we would be seeing more posts about PS noise from all the folks that have put larger tires on their Commanders.

Spacers? What is the offset/backspacing on your current wheels, how wide are they as well and how big of a spacer? If the combination of wheels offset/backspacing plus the spacer has made a huge change in the track and offset dimensions of the suspension, it could increase the forced needed to steer a lot at slow speeds, maybe that is the source of your noise, you're overstressing your PS system.
3. Reading the service manual, it says that because the HEMI has the hydraulic fan, I need to "...use the DRB III to activate the hydraulic fan on full fan operation..." as part of the bleed procedure. Is there a way to do this without the tool? Or do I really have to take this to the dealer to handle this?
Yea, you, I and a whole host of other shade tree mechanics are endlessly frustrated by the Manfacturer exploiting the software rights to the electronics to keep anybody but the dealer being able to service and repair your vehicle. Yea, a DRBIII or any of the follow on electronic tools cost 10's of thousands and even the lesser capable tools that private companies have reserse engineered, will cost you $500 or more and then it will just have some of the capabilities just for Chrysler Vehicles, no others. And all you need is the valve opened to the hydrualic fan motor.

BTW, I suspect that is why the XK/WK have a new PS fluid standard, MS-10383, the demands on the fluid for running that hydrualic fan. But, and maybe it is for simplicity sake and avoiding confusion, for the Commanders with different engines that do NOT have hydrualic fans, they still recommend the MS-10383.

You've got a couple of options,
1.)you could take it to the dealer and pay them.
OR
2.)you could bleed and flush the fluid from the system like normal, NOT doing the fan circuit, you still replace a vast majority of the fluid and it should be fine.
OR
3.)and I can't help you much cause I've never done it and don't have a Hemi Commander with the hydrualic fan, but imagine the fan has to have some sort of electrically activate valve in the circuit. You could try to remove that valve to bleed the fan circuit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Mongo. as always, very useful post.

I wish it WERE just the noise. Notice that I've also got stiff steering accompanying it. it comes-n-goes in Surges / Jerks.

The Wheels are the factory limited wheels, and the spacers are what I've see as commonly installed with this lift. I do not know what the offset is on the factory wheels. I tend to agree that if this were causing failures, we'd be hearing about it more frequently.

I'll see if I can find the valve and bypass somehow.
as a tangent: You may recall that I've been frustrated by some sub-par A/C performance at idle.... I have got to wonder if this hydraulic fan might have been part of the problem?
 

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I wish it WERE just the noise. Notice that I've also got stiff steering accompanying it. it comes-n-goes in Surges / Jerks.
Yep, definitely sounds like the PS system is running short of volume/pressure, if the pump can't provide the volume demanded of it, the pressure will drop. Of course it could be other things as well, like kinked lines, clogged lines or cooler, even a bad steering rack.

Low fluid level, I'd think you'd have to have a dry dip stick for the fluid to be low enough to cause this, and then when you topped it off the problem would be gone, unless it damaged the pump.

I'd find a troubleshooting guide and work your way down it. Sure, I'd guess your pump is bad, but it would suck to spend all that time and money to find out it wasn't the pump and something else is the problem.
The Wheels are the factory limited wheels, and the spacers are what I've see as commonly installed with this lift. I do not know what the offset is on the factory wheels. I tend to agree that if this were causing failures, we'd be hearing about it more frequently.
Yea, I don't have any experience with the lift kits or spacers. I have brought it up in other threads and those with experience with these things have said the Commander's suspension and steering do just fine with these kits and spacers, they don't put the suspension geometry far enough off to create problems or accellerated wear.
I'll see if I can find the valve and bypass somehow.
as a tangent: You may recall that I've been frustrated by some sub-par A/C performance at idle.... I have got to wonder if this hydraulic fan might have been part of the problem?
Well, hose out the radiator and condenser, do the troubleshooting steps on the AC, you need to check the pressures on the AC system, run the self test on the Air Blend Doors, etc. The problem may be unrelated or directly related.

Honestly, 70k miles and 8 years, with this PS driven engine fan, it would NOT be shocking at all that the PS pump is worn out, especially if it ran a while on low fluid.

The PS system will bleed itself, so its just a matter of how much fluid is trapped in the fan circuit as too how much old fluid will be mixed in with new. I would think you can skip it, and be just fine, the vast majority of fluid will be replaced with new.

I have the 3.7L QT1 Commander, there is enough room for an electric fan, so NO PS driven fan, I have replaced the PS fluid and even using a few ounces to flush the system and spilling a few onces, I used just one quart of fluid. So, whatever the amount over one quart the system with the PS driven fan is, would be the amount trapped in the fan circuit. Actually I wouldn't be surprised if the PS fan version has a bigger PS cooler on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I just do not have any time right now, so I took it into the dealer today. As always..... I'm very disappointed with this dealer.

They took it in for a "diagnostic". When they called me 3 hours later, it was to tell me that it was going to cost me over $1600, because the hydraiulic fan is bad too.

Honestly, here's what I think: I think that the fan went first.... which is why I've been having poor performing Air conditioning. and then THAT killed the pump.

So why am I mad at the dealer? Because I took it to them to diagnose the Air Conditioning too.... and they said everything was fine.

I'm pretty chapped, actually. I bought a JEEP instead of the Mercedes so that I wouldn't be looking at these sorts of repair bills. If I spend this $1600, then I will have spent more in repairs on this car in 6 months and 20k miles than I have in 7 years and almost 200k miles on my Mercedes ML.

I'm frustrated beyond words right now.
 

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I quick google search I found PS Pumps for $75 and unfortunately I only see the hydraulic fan motor being sold as an entire unit (Fan, Shroud, Motor, Reservoir) from a Dealer that sells parts online (usually a little cheaper than dealers over the counter) for $600.

So the Dealer want $925 in labor to change these parts out? Or is he charging hundreds of dollars over for the parts?

Perhaps you should find another dealer or independent shop to do this work.

The real frustration is with the Dealerships, more than a few rip off their customer's horribly.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
They quoted me $850-ish on the fan, and $275 on a reman. pump.

Here's the REAL kicker: the fan is backordered, and they can't tell me an estimated arrival until I place the order, and then it's non-cancellable. So it could be MONTHS, or a Year?
"Oh, and by the way: don't drive it anymore like it is or you'll take out the gear too".


So I ordered a pump from NAPA, and had them 2-day air it in for me so I have it for this weekend. Then I'm going to pull the fan and FLUSH THE HELL out of it, and hope I can make it go. If not, I'll bypass the hydraulics and install an aftermarket electric fan. I think I can tap into the signal that controls the flow-valve for the hydraulic fan to control the electric one. (with a relay, of course.)

damn this pisses me off.

I'm trying not to say stuff that'll detract from my tenuous love affair with the JEEP. Some things become more real once their spoken.

:cowfrown:
 

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http://www.moparpartsoverstock.com/p/gb/JEEP__GRAND-CHEROKEE/FAN-MODULE--MOTOR--SHROUD-MODULE-Hydraulic--Radiator-Cooling/6704488/05191827AA.html?partner=googlebase_adwords&kwd=&origin=pla

I didn't read it close, I'm assuming they have it in stock for $599.72.

The reason I've been told they went to an hydraulic fan on the Hemi in the Commander and GC, is because there is no space to fit an electric fan or even an engine driven fan.

So, if you can find an aftermarket fan that can fit, I suspect it won't be strong enough to draw enough air to cool properly. Of course you could setup smaller pusher and puller fans on either side of the radiator.

You could start scrounging junkyards for the hydraulic motor.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I thought I'd post a follow-up.
I ordered the Pump from NAPA. I paid $55 for it, plus $45 for 2-day air to get it here in time for the long weekend.
Picked it up on friday afternoon, and started yanking parts immediately when I got home.
I threw my gear-puller on the pulley to take it off, only to crack it right through the center. Friday at 5:45pm... labor-day weekend.... SUNNUVA.....

The good news: that meant I had plenty of time to flush the fan out. I ran a new quart of fluid through it over and over, about 5 times.

SO: I picked up a pulley on Wednesday (had to order it in on Tuesday) and put it all back together.

It seems to work well now. swimmingly, in fact. Steerings' great, no noise, and the fan is working properly (or seems to be).

I'm going to run it for another couple hundred miles and then flush it again. My hope is that I don't end up buying a fan.
 
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