Loss of Power Steering at High Speeds - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Loss of Power Steering at High Speeds

My wife was driving our three kids in the 2018 Pacifica on a highway when the power steering stopped working completely. She got a warning in the dash—between the dials—saying that the power steering was unavailable (not sure exactly, since she was doing 70 and couldn't really look down) and that the vehicle required service. Needless to say, this was pretty scary for her. My son and I did some quick research online and read a few horror stories about the inability to control the car when this happens, and a few near misses, so we and asked my wife to stop driving and get the Pacifica towed to the dealership where we purchased the car. 100 miles away. Thanks, AAA.

Problems occurred before this that were strange, but not terrifying. These include:
• either of the front power windows (passenger and driver) going down by themselves at 70 miles per hour. (This happened 10 times in three months.)
• the dashboard video monitor would not come on for about ten minutes. Sometimes, it required stopping the engine, then starting the car again. Once, the monitor made what my wife called a "screeching beep" for about 3-4 minutes after the car was turned off.
• the gas pedal would hesitate when activated, and occasionally lurched forward when it kicked in. (We didn't experience this in reverse. Yet?)

Our Pacifica was towed to the dealership and we were told that they'd have to duplicate the issues before any diagnosis can be made. That's fine with us. We're without a car, but don't feel safe in the Pacifica any more... a vehicle we bought for passenger safety, exclusively. The dealership also asked if the car was in for "the recalls." There were apparently two recalls that we did not receive. We get enough emails from Chrysler Capital to fill a wall of Gmail, but nothing from the company about important safety recalls.

This has been an eye-opening week. One that's left us with more than a few regrets about purchasing a Pacifica.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 07:34 PM
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I noticed the same thing happened to me while I was on my way to the dealership to have the remote start diagnosed (for some reason, it just wouldn't work, it'll beep once instead of the 2nd beep indicating that it'll start). It definitely is an uncomfortable feeling for sure, to suddenly lose power steering at high speeds. While you still have control of the vehicle, it takes much more effort to turn the wheel, which isn't something I'd want my wife to experience being a petite woman herself. The power steering failed for about 1 km going at 100 km/hr, and then went away.

Either way, the dealership couldn't find any error codes from the power steering, but stated that there were multiple low voltage error codes when trying to perform a remote start. They believe that the poor voltage can cause the power steering to fail, which I suppose makes sense considering other electrical things can fail, such as lights that flicker for instance, when a battery is weak. They inspected and diagnosed the battery, which didn't have any issues other than the low voltage. After a recharge of the battery, everything seems to be in order. I've been monitoring the voltage as I drive, and when its between 14.4 V - 14.6V, everything works like a charm.

Being in Calgary, we've definitely seem some extremely cold weather as of late (-35 °C/-37 °F), and I'm sure most of Central USA has been seeing it too. For now, I'm going to say this is a weather related issue, and I'm sure the quick start and stop driving on short errands certainly doesn't help the battery when temperatures dip down this low.

2018 Pacifica Touring-L Plus, Billet Metallic
  • S Appearance Package + 20" Wheels | MOPAR Front & Rear Splash Guards | Hands-Free Sliding Door & Liftgate | 3M Protection (Front & Rear Bumper, Hood, Wheel Wells, Mirrors, A-Frame, Door Sills)
  • 8 Passenger Seating | 3D MAXPider All Weather Floor Mats | Husky Weatherbeater Cargo Liner | Uconnect 4C
  • Build Date: December 27, 2017
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 07:45 PM
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IMO, you should go to a qualified independent shop and have them install high quality replacement batteries. Going to the dealer will get you OEM replacements that are thought by many to be of dubious quality.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 09:24 AM
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Just an update, the power steering loss is recurring more frequently now, maybe 1 to 4 times in any given day. While monitoring voltage, there doesn't appear to be any consistent trend as to why it fails, even with the temperatures warming. I guess back to the dealership for another diagnosis.

2018 Pacifica Touring-L Plus, Billet Metallic
  • S Appearance Package + 20" Wheels | MOPAR Front & Rear Splash Guards | Hands-Free Sliding Door & Liftgate | 3M Protection (Front & Rear Bumper, Hood, Wheel Wells, Mirrors, A-Frame, Door Sills)
  • 8 Passenger Seating | 3D MAXPider All Weather Floor Mats | Husky Weatherbeater Cargo Liner | Uconnect 4C
  • Build Date: December 27, 2017
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 05:05 PM
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Final update, vehicle was in the shop for the last 2 days, returned on the 7th. The dealership noted that there were some error codes with the voltage being too high. After a day of back and forth between technicians and FCA engineers, it was diagnosed that the Intelligent Battery Sensor (IBS) was at fault, since the instrument cluster was reporting lower voltage values than actual (Electric Voltmeter was measuring 15% higher voltage readings, ie 16 V actual vs 14 V IBS). They also noted that the ground cable appeared loose, which was re-tightened. I still think its a toss up as to what is truly the root cause, my guess is the grounding.

I've only had the vehicle in my possession for the last 24 hours, but I can at least say that the power steering problem and the remote start issue are now gone. The other thing I've noticed is the Engine Start Stop (ESS) appears to be working more consistently, as it doesn't seem to restart as quickly as it used to. In the past, the ESS would kick out at a red light no more than 3 - 4 seconds of stopping, which I thought at the time might be due to the colder weather, or maybe I didn't have my foot on the brake firmly enough. Either way, the weather is -25 °C, the vehicle warms up remotely, and saves a bit of fuel while waiting at a red light.
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2018 Pacifica Touring-L Plus, Billet Metallic
  • S Appearance Package + 20" Wheels | MOPAR Front & Rear Splash Guards | Hands-Free Sliding Door & Liftgate | 3M Protection (Front & Rear Bumper, Hood, Wheel Wells, Mirrors, A-Frame, Door Sills)
  • 8 Passenger Seating | 3D MAXPider All Weather Floor Mats | Husky Weatherbeater Cargo Liner | Uconnect 4C
  • Build Date: December 27, 2017
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