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Old 03-31-2017, 01:53 PM   #1
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Default 03 Roadtrek 190v Loud clunk when turning sharply at low speed

2003 Roadtrek 190V Dodge. While the van only has 18k miles on it, it sat for the past several years without being driven. I've replaced lots of rubber stuff due to aging and cracking. Tires, hoses, wipers, door gaskets etc. I don't know if it was garaged or outside. It runs and drives very nice, no "real" issues other than a (very) little bit of steering wander.

I notice when turning sharply at very slow speeds and going over a bump, (like turning sharply into a driveway or parking lot entrance) as the suspension gets compressed over the bump, there is a big clunk that feels like it is coming from the front wheels or under drivers seat. Not sure if it changes to passenger seat when turning the other direction or not. It's always when the steering wheel is either at or near left or right lock.

When driving at normal speeds all is well, even with bumps (though I never turn sharply at higher speeds). A cursory look underneath shows nothing blatantly out of place.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-31-2017, 02:26 PM   #2
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.

Probably the tie rod bushings are dried/worn/cracked. That explains why the steering wanders a bit.

I would get a mechanic to take a look.

It does not sound like an expensive item to repair.
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:15 PM   #3
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BBQ, Thanks for the reply. I had a mechanic go over the vehicle pretty well just after I purchased it, and got a very favorable report on its condition.

"Tie rod bushings"? I am somewhat familiar with front end components. But I guess I've not heard these before. Do you mean "strut rod bushings"? If so, yes, that could very well be the likely source of the noise/issue and the steering wander. I'll have to have a better look when the weather cooperates. Expecting a foot of snow tonight and tomorrow. Thanks again.
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:38 PM   #4
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If all the rubber is deteriorated, as you mention, any suspension rubber part would have to be suspect. The fact that it does it the same both ways is interesting, though, as that is less common. You might also front spring rubber isolators bad, or the steering box could be moving around on you, or have a bad bottom bearing.
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:53 PM   #5
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Booster, I think you are on to something re "spring isolator".. I had a similar issue (without steering wander) on a VW Jetta. I squirted some 30w oil onto the lower spring seats (metal) and as the oil worked its way in, the noise went away. But I also agree any rubber could be suspect at this point.

Steering box and tie rod, pitman, idler and ball joints don't appear to have any play in them. I am not going to address the steering wander until I figure out what the noise is. As I mentioned. the steering wander is so little that a couple of people who have driven the van, don't think there is any. I'm more sensitive to it. Plus... It's a Dodge. I KNOW they have wandering issues !!!
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:39 PM   #6
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Do you hear the clunk when you go over a sharp bump in a straight line? Now try the same bump again but apply the brakes lightly. Did the clunk go away?

If the answer to both questions is yes, then it is the brake pads rattlings in the caliper. You can try replacing the pads or you can use shims to reduce the rattle or you can bend the clips on the existing pads to fit better (if possible).

If the answer to the questions are no then please ignore this post
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Old 04-01-2017, 02:14 AM   #7
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My 2002 Dodge Ram Van 3500 Leisure Travel and 1994 Dodge Ram Van 2500 does the same thing. I think it must just be a characteristic of them. However, if you discover what causes it, I would be interested in knowing it. It only happens when making a sharp turn over an unleveled surface.
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Old 04-01-2017, 02:42 AM   #8
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Bruceper, Thanks for the input. Yeah, just went through the brakes when I got the RT, ended up replacing two hoses (one had collapsed, acting as a check valve in the line). Rest of the brakes were great. Thanks for taking the time
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Old 04-01-2017, 02:44 AM   #9
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GKSmith, you're not the first person to mention this. "They all do that" I think your right to a degree. Though I DO want to do some investigating to see if I can sure it. Thanks.
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Old 04-05-2017, 03:30 PM   #10
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Ok... Let's complicate things a bit on the strut rod bushings. I found AC Delcos for approx $11 per side on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/ACDelco-45G25...DELCO+45G25049

Just for grins I called my local Dodge dealer. I've been surprised by them in the past so I thought I'd give them a shot.

He had to call the warehouse they get their parts from because they were out of stock and the description was vague as to what came in the package.

The warehouse guy told him that the part had been redesigned due to premature wearing out and they added a "tubular insert sleeve" that goes over the strut rod, and inside the bushings.

Thus, the package has 2 bushings, 2 "curved" washers, a nut and the steel tube insert. and is about $30. I would need two of them.

From a mechanical perspective it makes sense. (I think). But I can't seem to find any reference to this updated part/kit. I sure would like to confirm this before buying a non-returnable part.

With shipping I am looking at $70 from MOPAR. The AC Delco's $22.

MY guess is if the originals lasted 14 years, the replacements will last at least 1/2 that. Very doubtful I'll have this vehicle that long.

Thoughts?

Thanks.

PS. Sway bar has to be disconnected to gain access to the strut rod. I'll probably do the sway bar bushings at the same time. Why not?...
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