2007 Dodge Grand Caravan - steel vent pipe between L & R steering rack boots was disconnected

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Jul 7, 2014
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I was installing my winter tires yesterday - this was the first time I'd removed a wheel on this van. Did my customary check of the tie-rod ends (grab tire at 3 and 9 o'clock, and check for play) and ball joints (grab tire at 12 and 6 o'clock, and check for movement) and brakes (lots of pad left, rotors looked smooth).

However, I saw a small-diameter (1/4") steel pipe dangling and disconnected. Put the van up on ramps this afternoon and went under. Found that the pipe runs from side to side, and plugged it back into the rubber nipples on the plastic steering-rack boot on each side.

Per the 'net, this pipe is a breather tube connecting both steering-rack boots.

It looks like someone before my time replaced the boots, and didn't take a lot of care in doing so. Both boots were loose on the steering rack. I tightened the plastic cable tie they had used on the one, and installed a cable tie on the other. Both seem secure now, although I'll keep an eye on them.

The nipple on each boot is supposed to have a clamp as well. The one clamp was missing, so I installed a small cable tie. One the other side, the clamp was there, but loose on the tube. I moved it into position, and it seemed to clamp well.

Does anyone know why these steering-rack boots are vented? I've never seen anything like this before.

I hope no harm was done running them open like this for an unknown period of time.

On the upside, fluid leaking out the vents is a bad sign. I saw none - phew!
 
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Never heard of anything like that. I will have to have a look at my wagon. Mine is due foe a rotation and brake bleed.
 
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AZ
I don't think my boots had anything attached on mine. I've replaced most of the front end except the PS rack. Caravan sway bar bushings tend to squeak. The fix is lots of grease.
 
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Number_35

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Here's a photo of the pipe from the passenger side with the right wheel off. It is supposed to fit into a nipple on the back of the corrugated boot.

20211028_165028.jpg
 
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The vent is to prevent the collapsing (negative pressure) or bursting (positive pressure) of the bellows while turning. IIRC, Ford and GM also had them on select models. It's been a while since I've replaced a rack.
 
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Number_35

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The vent is to prevent the collapsing (negative pressure) or bursting (positive pressure) of the bellows while turning. IIRC, Ford and GM also had them on select models. It's been a while since I've replaced a rack.
Agreed, that's what the folks on ChryslerMinivans.net say. Given that manufacturers will go to great lengths to save a dollar per vehicle, this seems to me to a curious addition.
 
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