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Used Cars for sale - Used Trucks for sale [707820338] Buy Used Cars

thumping underneath in front end

- Dodge-Grand Caravan

Forum Post
10/20/08 07:15

thumping underneath in front end

2005 grand caravan. Thumping coming form front end on passenger side. I've read about sway bar bushings and linkage being a problem. But I checked underneath a dozen times. EVERYTHING is tight.I see no problems. Is there a way to check sway bar? Could it be strut? Any help would be appreciated. Another thing - it seems to be worse when cold outside or when first starting in the morning.
Archived Replies

This post has a total of 101 replies. The most recent 25 are shown below, you can view the complete archive here: thumping underneath in front end archive. Your feedback, comments, opinions and questions are welcome and encouraged.

This forum post has messages dated from 10/20/08 through 08/26/14, please be sure to read all the messages. If you feel it is old or outdated, please follow up with a question or comment and someone may be able to update it, or reply with newer information if you have it.

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Tresa Pickup

Spoke too soon! The next day it started doing it again!!! I give up!
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Another 2001 Caravan Thumping - Just to confirm the above, this money pit problem is the sway bar bushings. Replaced on average every 25, 000 miles. Car has 134k now and really should be deep sixed. The replacement bushings generally last about 10-15, 000 miles and then we live with the noise until it gets to be too annoying. Needs a new replacement again. I heard that the Auto Zone sells a different material of constuction that is supposedly longer lasting. Does anyone have experience with these. Incidently, the dealer wants to replace my stuts and links but I have heard this noise too many times before.
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OMG I have the same problem hearing all kinda clunking in the left front end and whining from the steering. It becomes louder when I'm turning to the the left.

Had front brakes and rotors changed, new winter tires, sway bar links, sway bar bushing kit, bolts and left outer tie rod end replaced. Now its louder clunking over bumps or when I turn to the left brought in for an inspection they can't find anything wrong with it. Power steering fluid is full and nothing leaking and everything looks tight. I'm about ready to give up. I'll bring in one more time and suggest what I'm reading here hopefully that works. any suggestions that I haven't tried I for sure will not be buying another Dodge again.

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I replaced the sway bar bushings last year and it did not fix the clunking. I took it to 3 different Dodge dealers and all of them came up with different explanations ...BUT... this was after they each had it on the hoist and all said nothing was wrong. I insisted that a mechanic come for a drive in each case and all admitted that there was clunking, so the vehicle went back on the hoist. So far the diagnoses: 1)struts are gone, 2) sway bar bushings and end links, 3) steering rack. 3 different dealers, 3 different diagnoses. I can't understand how a manufacturer can create a vehicle that its mechanics cannot fix. We are thinking about replacing our van soon but not sure we can go with Dodge. I wonder if they have redesigned or improved the front end suspension on the 2011 models.

Don't get me started on the a/c problems we're had with this van too. Dodge doesn't seem willing to admit to and come good for their design flaws.


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I have an 03 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport. Has been making the knocking thumping sounds when you go over bumps or when you quickly turn the steering wheel left and right multiple times. I have replaced Sway Bar Links, Tie Rods, Ball Joints, complete Strut Assembly, Brake Pads, Rotars, had Aligned....IT IS STILL THUMPING.

Well, I guess I will look at the sway bar bushings and then the controler arm bushings next. This is so frustrating.

I also have the whining power steering, so am replacing the pump today as well.

Oh yeah...power slider stopped working and I replaced the motor...not working, but now looking for any broken wires.

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I recently took my 2007 grand caravan to the dealer for a front clunking noise when traveling at slower speeds over a bumpy road. The van has 29, 000 miles but is over the 3 year warranty. They replaced the sway bar bushings and charged my external warranty company $350. Upon driving away from the dealer I still noticed the thumping noise so returned the van. They kept the van for two more days not sure of the problem. They now think the clunking is from mis-aligned well coverings and waiting on parts. Funny how this time they will honor the factory warranty for the repair because it is still within the 36, 000 miles. I have a feeling this is not the problem but i will find out on Friday....
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2005 GC 3.8 I too had the front end noises. I replaced the sway bar bushings and links and the problem went away for about 1 week and came back. I used the polyurethane bushings too. I have also had the wrack and pinion replaced, cracked at output shaft, still have the noise. Every thing seems tight so I am just living with the noise. I am getting ready to replace the struts maybe I can kill two birds with one stone.
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Just had four new tires put on my 96 dodge caravan. Everything seemed fine. I only drive about 10 mins to and from work. Didn't notice anything until fourth day when I drove it a greater distance. Loud noice coming from front end drivers side. It would level out if I drove 50 mph or greater. As soon as I took my foot off the accelerator it would start again. It also stops if I brake. My first instinct was something happened during the tire change, maybe something was loose. Any ideas?
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**Update** so it was obviously not the sway bar bushings, wheel well coverings, or the spare tire covering. Charging the warranty company again this time they replaced the struts and mounts. Thumping ceased, so all is good for now.
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Well I found the source of my problem. As I mentioned in my post, I had just purchase four new tires. When I went to remove the front driver tire to try to locate the source of the thumping noice, I discovered that the technician at Kauffman Tire only tightened one lugnut. You can only imagine my horror at the thought of what could have happened to my family. The wheel was literally wobbling when I jacked up the front end. Buyer beware!!! Don't assume people do their job. I learned a very valuable lesson...always check you tires when you take it to someone else.
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everyone one this forum is doing the same thing i did. i have a 01 grand caravan with that same noise. i replace everything on frontend and it stilldid it.after a very long time trying to find it i did. watch your inner tie rod on the rack when you turn the wheel. there is a joint inside the dust boot. mine is worn out enough to rattle. rack is probally worn out
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I have all the sounds everyone is talking about, I changed the sway bar and bushings, Even the bar had wear.I found a parts store who loaned me a spring compressor and changed the mounts .All is well 3 hours in my garage. Oh! everyone should note none of the parts talked about in this review can be greased thats why they wear out!!!
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Further to my eariler post...taking the van in tomorrow to have the struts replaced with Monroe Quick Strut assembly. Had replaced sway bar bushings and end links a couple weeks change to the clunking. Will post back.

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Had the struts replaced today. Used the Monroe Quick Struts. The clunking problem is solved and front end is tight and silent. It drives like a new van now and I can't believe the difference in handling to boot. The mechanic invited me into the shop while he worked on the vehicle. We went over every part that could have been causing the problem. He had diagnosed the problem the day before but wanted to explain to me the possible parts that the clunking could have been attributed to. Everything seemed tight. He said that he was certain that it was the strut mounts but would have to disassemble them to show me where the sloppiness was - so we didn't bother. It took him about an hour to replace both struts. Nothing like a good mechanic with good diagnostic skills. Too bad I couldn't say the same for the multiple Dodge dealerships I took the van to. Happy camper now!


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Ok 2001 caravan, that thump sound everyones been mentioning, if it is not a sway bar problem...check the upper strut mount...on the strut, it has a bearing and can cause a loud thump or pop almost when you hit bumps. happens a lot on roadway cracks/or when turning and hitting a bump especially. Anyways, if your lost, and it does not seem to be sway bar, I just thought I'd mention it, it is the upper strut mount
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Thanks, everyone. I had awful noises coming from the front right side of my 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan. I printed off all the pertinent comments above and took them to A+ Dealer Alternative in Tallahassee that was recommended to me by a friend and the body shop here. They test drove the van first then checked the struts, steering rack and the Dodge site online. They have the equipment and experience (trained at a dealership) to diagnose and the job right, get the bolts tightened just right, etc. They put in MOOG sway bars, bushings and links which are better than the Dodge original parts.

My van drives like new again!!! I had it on the road this weekend and the handling and gas mileage was greatly improved.

Last year when my power steering was screaming loudly, they checked out Dodge recommendations online and flushed out the power steering and it has been great ever since.

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2004 chryslar town and country. popping in front end. has been lined 3 times now. have had struts replaced, with quick struts. rack and pinion, inner and outer tierods. still popping at slow speeds when making turns and the slightest bumps in the original diagnosis was the alighnment shop told me the popping was in the bumper, but i didn't check that out too deeply.all of the repairs i have had done has improved it but the popping hasn't gone away completely.
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I had the same thumping in my 98 caravan. Replaced the wheel bearings and that thumping went away. However after that there was a thumping noise when we put it in reverse. It drives fine and very quiet except in reverse. What could this possibly be?
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Pertaining to sway bar... The bushings go bad first, then the sway bar links break. If you replace any of the prior get MOOG, their aftermarket stuff is good. It's bigger, has grease fittings and Ido believe it's not made in China. You also have to check the sway bar for wear under the bushings, if the bar is worn, new bushings won't help. I have a 03 GC Sport and have had nothing but problems from the begining. I wish GM didn't sell out, they used to make a decent product, who likes change anyway?
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I have a 2005 Dodge Caravan which was purchased new. At 27363 miles I too heard a clunk in the front end. Both outer tie rod ends were replaced to what the mechanic said was excessive wear.

At 30700 miles during a scheduled oil change the mechanic said a 23 point visual inspection of the van was done which includes an inspection of front end.

Yet less than 5000 miles later at 35056 miles the clunk was back and the rack was discovered to be leaking and the left outer tie rod was loose. The rack and tie rods were replaced.

At 37461 during a scheduled oil change the mechanic once again said a 23 point inspection of the vehicle was done including an inspection of the front end.

Yet at 45360 miles the clunk was back again This time the strut mounts, bearings, nuts, bushings, etc. and the stabilier bar were all replaced

Now at 51286 miles the outer tie rod ends have been found to be loose again.

All service was performed at the dealership where the van was purchased. Unfortunately I am not a mechanic but I know this--I will NEVER by a Chrysler product again.

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Mendon, MA
Thank author of this post/comment"SwayBar Bushing Info."

> I am just a backyard mechanic but, this is my 2 cents worth on all my research done on Swaybar bushings for Mopar (Dodge and Chrysler) MiniVans. I own a 1999 Dodge Caravan and my wife's is a 2004 Carvan and I have replaced those damn bushing a few times each.

> This is an inherent design flaw by Chrysler and they have not done anything to fix it yet. Some enthusiasts, claim it is a faulty design of the bar and sell complete replacement kits however, you can get away with just buying the Poly (Polyurethane) bushings described below.

> Don't waste your time buying the OEM product to replace them, they will fail again. It is not a question of if they will fail, but when.

> Make sure you know what you are buying if you are buying online. Some of the descriptions don't give you the type of material which make up the bushing.

> Generally, if they are:

> Black, they will be rubber (some polys are black too). If they are black with no listing for type of bushing, more than likely they will be Rubber. This is what the OEM replacements are made of. These are the least desirable. Bottom line, don't buy any bushing which does not describe which type or the makeup of the bushing.

> Blue: Could be thermoplastic like the Moog parts (again, some polys are blue as well). They are alot harder than the Rubber offering and will last longer but, they too will eventually wear like rubber counterparts. The nice thing about the Moog parts is, they are lifetime warranty. So if you don't mind replacing them every so often, these would be a better choice over the OEM.

> The best choice is Poly. These are the hardest and will not wear out. However, there is a small trade off. Because they are so hard, eventually, they will start squeaking; some loud and some not so loud. I have been told during the manufacturing process, there is no way to suspend any kind of lubricant because the Urethane product will not bond or bind to the lubricant. If you go to this site, polybushings dot com he has alot of information about them. He does offer poly for the older MiniVans and for the Newer ones 2001 and up. However, he does not offer the ones for 1999 and 2000 yet. If you buy his product, he includes a specially formulated grease for the poly bushings. However, if you choice to purchase polys elsewhere, make sure you order the special grease at $4 ea. from this site. Check out this guy who has not heard of the grease mentioned above, youtube dot com/watch?v=QwlofW23Jyk. The grease on polybushings website will fix that.

> The following is one of the most important parts about ordering. Make sure you know the size of your sway bar. Generally, the ones 2000 and below are 1" and 2001-2007 are 26/26.5 mm (I am not sure of the size after 2007) You can't measure with a ruler and be accurate so make sure you use or borrow a set of calipers. Don't take my word on the sizes for the years mentioned, you need to measure your bar on your own.

> Testing for worn sway bar bushings and end link wear: I have seen and heard so many professionals wrestle with this issue. Yes it can be a difficult thing to verify without physically taking them out for inspection however. I know how difficult because I tried a number of diagnosis myself. However, I have a bullet proof method without the use of any tools and it will take all of 2 minutes or less. You will 2 people and a flashlight. The easiest way to test, are the vans with an installed roof rack however you can still do this without. Open up the sliding door (either side) and grab hold of the roof rack as you pull yourself up the edge of the floor but stay on the doors edge. Now rock the van back and forth with your weight while your partner views the bushings with a flashlight. The more you rock the van, the louder you will hear the knocking. You will see the bar moving up and down in the elongated holes of the bushings once you shine the flashlight on them. If the bar is not moving up and down, yet you continue to hear the knocking, more than likely it is the endlinks and you can reach around the tire on each side and grab the end link. You will be able to feel the vibration and possibly see it moving as well. Time to replace if you do.

> Removal and Installation:

> For first time attempt, plan on 2 hours if you have all the necessary tools. I have it down to 3/4 of an hour for removal and set up and 1/2 hour to install. Removal can be some what challenging depending upon rust and amount of undercoating on the bolts. You will need a 15mm open/closed ended wrench and 1/2" ratchet wrench with a 15mm deep socket. You can use a 3/8" ratchet but you will need to put a pipe on the end for additional leverage. I was able to use my air wrench on the passenger side but not the driver side. I suppose I could have stuck a universal joint on for the driver side, but I chose the manual method. Yes you can use a set of ramps but what I found, . there was not enough room to work comfortably down there because I like to use a creeper so I used my floor jack and jack stands. If you aren't using a creeper, then ramps may work for you. Both bushings must be removed before reinstalling. Removal is pretty easy but, when reinstalling, there is a little trick, the new ones aren't as soft and pliable as the old ones you just removed. Trying to spread the split bushing to get around the bar is tricky. I used a piece of wood molding stock (1/2 x 1" and rounded one edge). Slide the narrower side in the slit leading with the rounded edge and turn the molding with a pair of pliers. This will open the split to the point where you can slide it on over the bar and as you push forward it will knock the molding into the open hole of the bushing and then slide the molding out and you will be able to slide the bushing on the rest of the way. The owner of polybushings will instruct you to soak the poly bushing in hot water to get it pliable enough to spread over the bar. The split should be facing the clamp not the frame. Now you can reassemble the clamps and you're all done.

> Now you will see how quiet your front end will be ........ Music to my ears. :)

> Hope this helps.


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Thank author of this post/comment"still thumping and rattleing with all new parts"

I have the same noise everyone else on here is experiencing, I thought it was the struts so I changed the whole strut assembly's out with KYBs still had the noise, I changed the steering rack, still have the noise Changed inner sway bar bushings and outer links with moog lifetime greasable, the noise persists, The darn thing sounds like a piece of junk. My old Camry with 250k rode quieter than this thing. I am wondering if it might be the motor mounts or control arm bushings. Has anyone fixed this problem by changing these?
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Thank author of this post/comment"Found source of thumping for 2005"

I put the front end on stands and prepared to replace the inner/outer tie rod ends and even the swap bar tie rod... I ended up finding the REAL issue. On the driver's side, the front bushing on the lower control arm is blown(loose). I grabbed the wheel/knuckle assembly and shook... I watched as the front part of the lower control arm moved in the mount... bushing blown!

Next adventure is to learn how to disassemble everything to get the lower control arm out.

Wish me luck!

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Thank author of this post/comment"thumping noise 2005 grand caravan"

i have had the thumping, bumping noise on this car for the past 20K miles and no mechanic doing any kind of inspection has been able to find it. finally after new outer tie rod ends, which I did witness to be loose with play, the noise remains so I jacked up the front to let the front wheels dangle to check further. moved all steering parts with the help of 2 helpers while I watched under the car with a light. bushings seemed good, all other steering parts and control arm bushings seemed good too. then with use of a pipe jacked up under the drivers wheel as if to check ball joint play and to hold the tire stationary which also loaded the steering parts against the suspension, one helper tried to wiggle the opposite passenger wheel quickly left and right. doing that I noticed a slight knocking sensation coming out of the passenger side steering rack. when I grabbed the steering link and put a little in-out pressure on it the noise stopped. tried to repeat the same test for the drivers wheel which resulted in no noise from the drivers side rack. is there a bushing or a shim inside the dust boot that can be replaced or does the rack need to be rebuilt
08/26/14 07:08
Thank author of this post/comment"TO MAMAMOBILE"

did you ever solve the problem?
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    This post has a total of 101 replies. The most recent 25 were shown above, you can view the complete archive here: thumping underneath in front end archive. Your feedback, comments, opinions and questions are welcome and encouraged.

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