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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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Old 04-05-2017, 03:38 PM   #11
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That is interesting. I can't speak for a Chrysler product with coil springs, but on the the torsion bar rear drive cars, you had to unwind the torsion bar and remove the lower control arm from the frame to be able to get the strut rod in and out because it was shouldered on both ends. You could usually get away with leaving the ball joint attached. If the same is true for the spring vehicles, you will need to remove the spring, I think. At least it would give you an chance to replace the isolator.
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Old 04-05-2017, 04:20 PM   #12
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Hi Booster,

I have been through the service manual very carefully several times. for the coil sprung vehicles (at least this one) it doesn't look like I need to remove the ball joint, control arm or spring.

When I get home I'll see if I can post the proc. It's pretty straightforward according to the manual.
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Old 04-08-2017, 03:24 AM   #13
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I have to replace my strut rod bushings this weekend. Any chance someone might go out to their RT Dodge and take a pic or confirm/deny the orientation of the strut rod bushing retainers? They run from the control arms to just under the feet of the driver and passenger.

Some say the cup side goes IN against the bushing, others say the cup side goes out, AWAY from the rubber bushing.

Thanks.
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Old 04-08-2017, 03:49 AM   #14
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Dodge Ram manual (up to 2003) shows the cup side goes next to the bushing. The drawing in the manual shows the bushing as having curved surfaces which should fit into the cup of the the retainer.

You should be able to see how the original parts are orientated when you disassemble them.

Good luck with the install.
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Old 04-08-2017, 12:36 PM   #15
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Joe, Thanks for the help. Interesting. I've got the Mopar factory manuals (2002 AND 2003) and I can't see anything in the picture about orientation. It's just like a "stick" drawing". But thank you very much for the reply.
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Old 04-08-2017, 01:01 PM   #16
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I have the Haynes manual.
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Old 04-12-2017, 01:55 PM   #17
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​UPDATE:

I got the Prosteer bushings from Pepboys. While the picture SHOWS a metal sleeve,there was none in the package. It came with 4 rubber bushings, two dished washers and two flat washers.

Lift wheel off ground by frame, not control arm. Disconnect sway bar link, remove strut rod nut, Remove 2 strut rod bolts and jounce bumper. Nothing is under tension or compression. Very easy procedure.

I made the attempt at installation. Very straight-forward procedure​. While they "physically" fit, I noticed they were significantly smaller than the ones currently on the vehicle. Between that and the fact there was no metal sleeve, I decided to abort, put the originals back in (they were very worn and tattered) and order the OEM ones from Mopar. ($70).

The Mopar ones ALSO did not have the sleeve in the kit. I had to buy two kits (one for each side). Nor did they have the washers. Just two rubber bushings.
There was a note in each kit that said they were redesigned with a metal sleeve. It was at this point that I realized the metal sleeve is INCORPORATED into the front bushing. I can clearly see it.

The Mopar ones were much larger than the Prosteer ones. I notice that when ordering these from Pep Boys, the listing is the same for the 1500, 2500 and 3500. There's no place to specify the heavier duty front end (4500 LBS I think on this vehicle).

Mopar shows a separate number for the 3500 maxi than the others. I think this may be the difference is size.

Anyway, I installed them yesterday. While I had the wheels off, I squirted a little oil in the lower control arm spring pockets in case the metal on metal was making the noise. Upon test ride, it handled a bit better, less steering wander, but it seems the clunk noise was still there. Maybe not as load or as often, but still there.

Hope this helps some one.

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Old 04-12-2017, 03:36 PM   #18
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Thanks for the update. Good info.
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Old 04-13-2017, 06:45 PM   #19
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My 1999 Great West High Top (RAM 3500) also exhibited a loud front end “clunk” when turning tightly at low speeds over uneven terrain (i.e. turning into a driveway). It seems pretty common, if I’m not mistaken there is a TSB floating around for the issue on the late (98-03) Ram vans.

Mine needed an alignment, so I took it to a local front end specialist shop, and told them to go over the whole front end. I suspected I might have had a worn steering box considering the van has had a steering damper since new and it has 87K miles on it, I felt the whole steering felt just a little looser then I thought it should.

Notably when you’re having an alignment done, make sure you take your van to the shop in its “traveling configuration”. I.e Water tank full, gear on board etc.

They found only the upper balls joints had an issue; With those replaced and a good alignment, it handles better, steering is a tad tighter, and the corner clunk is entirely gone.

Upper balls joints might be worth checking…
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Old 09-29-2018, 12:05 PM   #20
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Default My clunk noise SOLVED

98 American Cruiser RE2000 on B3500 chasis had loud clunk noise when turning at slow speed and pulling out from stops. Tried replacing sway bar and strut rod bushings (if you replace strut rod bushings get OEM, the aftermarket ones will give you alignment problems) . Still had the clunk, decided to go for connecting rod bushings. While the front end was in pieces I asked my mechanic to pull the springs, and there it was. The springs had worn through the upper spring bushing and the tip of the coil was resting on the metal frame. So when they were loaded by cornering or stopping they would twist slightly and hang up metal to metal then when unloaded they would release with a clunk. Both left and right sides were compromised. Hope this is helpful. See pictures.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg 20180730_154540.jpg (199.5 KB, 5 views)
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