Steering would suddenly become difficult. Then return to normal. Replaced the pump 3 times. Was told the rack and pinion was next. Then I saw a consumer complaint about the struts. The Dodges all have trouble with them I understand b/c of the plastic bearings, and mine is clanking, but would the struts cause the steering the become stiff suddenly (especially in cold weather)
Does the struts impair the steering? on 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan
by Sharon B in Clinton, NC on February 22, 2009
ANSWER by Johnny Mopar on February 22, 2009
Your concern involving the steering becoming stiff at times is likely the Rack and Pinion Assembly (Steering gear). If you turn the steering wheel with little or no difficulty , then it suddenly feels like it lost assist or binds, the steering gear is defective. The strut bearings are metal, plastic encased. The are load bearing as the are located between the top of the strut and the body mount. A failing bearing will make a growling or grinding noise when turning the steering wheel left to right, but should not cause any significant binding and a steering gear in good working order has enough force to overcome this. The steering gear failure is not unusual for a 2001 (RS) Caravan.