2001 caravan blowing power steering hoses

I have a 2001 Dodge Grand caravan which keeps blowing out power steering hoses. My mechanic asked the Dodge dealership, who recommended
"trying" taking the ps cooler out of the loop. We did, and it did it again a few weeks later (blew hose right when starting up on a relatively warm day when I'd been driving just an hour or so before. The time before that it happened when starting up after stopping at a coffee shop for an hour). Now they say they "know there is a problem but have no fix at this time" and they've heard of it happening to people multiple times each winter (4 times for me so far). Doesn't seem to be an issue in the summer.
Replacing the whole ps rack might not fix the problem and would cost some real $$ ... but so is towing!
Is this a known problem out there? Any solutions?
c
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Chris Lott wrote:

It should be simple enough to put a pressure gauge inline to see if the pressure is too high, which is causing the hoses to burst.
If the pressure is too high, the obvious thing to do would be replace the power steering pump, since that's where the over-pressure relief valve is located in most PS systems (I'm assuming this isn't a speed-sensitive steering system, just a plain old rack-and-pinion.) Its possible that the rack could be producing too much back-pressure all the time, but that should also show on the gauge test (the back-pressure should remain very low except when the wheel is turned).
I can't quite believe the dealership can't figure something this simple out. There are only two "field replaceable" components involved here! Its either in the pump or in the rack. Sure, if its the pump there's a valve inside and if its the rack there are a lot of parts inside, but typically you don't go tearing into those, you just replace the whole assembly. This aint rocket-science.
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The problem seems to be that the pressure isn't consistent... it isn't reading as too high when tested, but at some point it is going too high because it keeps bursting the hose!
c
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wrote:

Well, see if you can blow it on purpose. One easy way is to do it in the driveway standing still. With the engine running and the emergency brake on, turn the wheels all the way left until they can't go any further, then all the way right until they can't go any further. If that doesn't *blow* the line, I can't think of what could.
Then you can start working on the pressure limiting valve(s) if you are so inclined. Or maybe you have the WRONG kind of pressure hose on there? Are you certain you have the right hydraulic hose?
Hell, put a gauge on the thing with a t-fitting if you have to and watch it ( with safety goggles on of course ).
Lg
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Chris Lott wrote:

To me, that would argue that its the relief valve. You'd normally only get enough pressure to lift the relief valve when you crank the steering wheel against the stops or something like that, and if they aren't doing that when they test it, they'd never see it exceeding the relief valve pressure.
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He didn't take it to the dealer. You don't think the dealer is going to tell an independent the problem even if he knows it. The very obvious first thing to do is replace the pump since it regulates the pressure.

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Chris Lott wrote:

Sounds like the pressure relief valve is shot. Replace the pump. I never heard of that as a "known problem". It's just one of those things that happens once in a great while.
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replying to Chris Lott, Dell wrote: I had the exact same issue. The fix was installing a new reservoir.($25) The reservoir gums up and restricts flow which builds pressure. Pop goes the hoses. While I was at it I installed a new cooler ($25). To change the reservoir (I'm assuming the hoses are blown and no fluid is in the system) remove the return hose (small one). Leave the large hose alone for now.There is a hose removal tool ( $6-looks like a pick.. makes it easier). Remove the 2- 8mm nuts from the top. Now put your right eyeball on top of the battery and look just under the reservoir. You'll see the top of a nut. Using an extension and 10mm socket, just loosen (don't remove) that nut then lift the reservoir off. With it off you can now twist both the reservoir and the large hose against each other to break it. When I put the new res. in I just used the top screws to secure it. Now my tip for the new lines. After you cut them to length ( I think about 6 inches) heat them with a hair dryer. Heat the hell out of them with a hair dryer. Drop some fluid in the hose and slide the fluid up and down. Install the hoses, fill the fluid (don't overfill). It will wind and grind at first but will smooth out eventually. Check the fluid after the test drive. You'll be amazed at the crap that has built up in that old reservoir. I have over 1K since my repair and the steering is smooth and quiet. Hope this helps someone.
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Are pressure relief valves adjustable or interchangeable on these pumps?
I'm looking to increase road feel and improve steering return on a '08 Kia.
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