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Used Cars for sale - Used Trucks for sale [1779940345] Buy Used Cars

thumping underneath in front end

- Dodge-Grand CaravanPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5

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 If you feel it is old or outdated, please follow up with a question or comment and someone may be able to update it, or reply with newer information if you have it.

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Dave Anthony Zotti

Pertaing to my previous post, I have a question.

Since I put a lot of dough into the van suspension. Thinking of replacing the rear shocks.

But I am not a mechanic type guy and do not know what type rear shocks are needed on my 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan SE, 3.3L.

Loadlevelers or regular shocks.

The van sits higher at the rear end with no load. Obviously lower with loaded weight inside the rear cargo compartment.

Got quotes, about $130.00 for regular rears installed and $548.00 for Loadlevelers installed.

Any help or suggestions.


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2001 Grand Caravan, 94000 miles. Lots of thumping. Inner sway bar bushings replaced at 20, 000 miles (problem went away). Came back at 35000. Replaced sway bar bushings again and problem went away. Then at 45, 000. Seems the frequency of needing replacement is getting shorter and shorter.

I noticed the sway bar itself is thinning out where the bushings go. We either need a smaller inner diameter bushing or a new sway bar.

By the way, the sway bar configuration on these Caravans are a little different than I am used to. Usually the inner sway bar bushings are bolted to a horizontal chassis frame, but with these Caravans they are installed vertically to the firewall. I think this contributes to them wearing faster.

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Pete Wheeler

To Ben Stefanic

See my post of 2/5/2010. I had the repair made as described and front end continues to be tight with no noises. Bearing plate above struts and some form of gasket material where strut join bearing plate seem to be the key for my success. Wish you luck

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I have a 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan that started thumping in the front end when I went over a bump. I went into the mechanic and they told me it is the struts. I did not replace them and now it bounces when we go over bumps really badly. Is this the struts? Is this something my husband can do himself. He says we need to compress the struts and we do not have a way to do that. Is this the case? Thanks
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hi, i have 2000 dodge grandcaravan, my problem of this car is a clunking noise at the front wheel side when i was driving even slow or fast, but its quiet when its parking, i replaced the tire , the hub bearing but still there, then i took to mechanics, the recommend is replaced the velocity joints, i just wanna try to wheel alignment when its works, would you think? please help, i lost lots of money cause of this problem, thre was a scenario i just lifted up at the front wheels while it is running to see, hear whre is the noise came from but we cant heard it, so smooth, but we try to run on the road the clunking, the sound like tug, tug, tug, still there, please help!
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I have 98 Caravan. I have an answer to the clunking sounds. I replaced every front end suspension part. The culprit for me was the new struts. Old struts did not use a camber nut in the lower bolt hole. You couldn't adjust front end for camber. But the new struts had an elongated lower hole. I reused the old bolts, no camber nut. So my clunking was the strut and knuckle banging togther. I purchased a Monroe Strut Mount Kit (two bolts, one regular nut and one camber nut). Tightened up and the clunking went away.
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I have a 96 caravan and I've had to replace the sway bar frame bushing three times now. There is no way that you can inspect them visually or by taking a mallet to the sway bar itself. They cost around $15 at the parts store, and if you're handy with about 1-2 hours, you can do it yourself, as long as you have a good sized set of sockets. There is a skid-type frame on the underside of the van that impedes your ability to gain access to the frame bushing brackets - so you need to remove it (about 10 large bolt/nut combinations). My van would thunk or clunk over the smallest little imperfections or dips in the road and I would notice it at lower speeds vs. highway speeds. It will probably cost you about $75-100 to have someone replace it - mainly because it's a good idea to get the front end off the ground (mechanics usually charge you when they have to use their lifts). Trust me - sway bar frame bushings. By far the cheapest starting point.
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i had my 07 grand caravan's brakes replaced and they told me the sway bar links were done for. they said that if i had been hearing a clunking sound it was the bad sway bar. fyi they also told me it would be about $280 to replace. im gonna shop around for a better price or ask family to help me do it myself, cuz the parts themselves aren't that expensive.

good luck to all.

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I think I am getting some noise from the sway bar link and bushings in front but all the joints are sealed. Can it be lubricated?
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Brian Werkmeister

Almost every chrysler minivan encounters a thumping at some point. The problem is the swaybar links are bolted from their sides not up and down like most vehicles. This is design flawed, it creates to much stress on the links. You can have a bad link and not be able to tell by how tight the bolts are. By the time you have 50, 000 miles on your vehicle, you probabily will need new links. When replacing, make sure they are tight. IT IS EXSTREMELY IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THE STRUTS ARE VERY TIGHT! That means two wrenches per bolt. If you look at the links you will notice either two nuts or a torque ended bolt on them. Used both to tighten. Many mechanics are not aware of this and think they tightened the links only to have the trumping come back. If done right it should correct the problem with the thumping.
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Purchased a 1999 Plymouth Voyager (140k miles) at a good price knowing I was going to have some money into, but vehicle was generally sound.

After 3 months strange popping/clicking from front end also noticed grinding type sound, more pronounced when turning, in addition to those noises there was an loud clunk now and again, now I stress the following, my loud clunking noise does not occur when going over bumps, it mostly happens when first pulling way in drive, which leads me to think its an engine mount. Also was aware that the front struts were not very good after some simple testing.

I decided to repair things in stages.

Replaced front struts, the vehicle handles much better now, noises still present - as expected.

Replaced inner and outer tie-rods on both sides, popping and clicking noise is almost gone.

Next I replaced the CV shafts on both sides, grinding noise has completely gone.

The loud clunking noise is still present, as I said, it does not happen when going over bumps.

I've checked the wheel bearing and sway bar end/bushing etc, all look as tight as a drum, as a double check I took the vehicle to Firestone, after several hours they found a lose transmission bolt, they tighten this but agreed they could still hear the clunking noise and couldn't locate it.

The tightening have the transmission bolts has made a very slight difference, but I do me slight, the clunking is still there.

I have come to the conclusion it must be a worn lower front middle, transmission/engine mount, the one in the middle lower when looking from above the engine, it seems to have al ot of movement. If it's not this them I'm stumped.


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All said... I've been quite happy with my 03 dodge grand caravan considering it cost about 1/2 of a honda or toyota. It's got about 175k on it right now. engine/trans are strong. Real easy oil changes, no timing belt to fuss with. No problems that have left me stranded. the most money we wasted was on the power steering. It had continuous steering noise especially when you turned. we had it flushed, then had the pump replaced, each which cured the problem for a short while... until I surfed the net and found the real problem. The $20 resevoir has a filter in it. The first time, I just removed it and flushed it out with kerosene, it cured it immediately and lasted a year or two. Recently I just put a new one in. Just today I replaced the struts and sway bar links. Rides like a new car. Yeah mine has that mild clunk as well. I'm thinking about putting on the bushings, but might let it ride seeing as it isn't a catastrophic thing.
**/**/** **:**

The engine and transmission are really smooth on my minivan as well, and as you said, it didn't cost a bunch of money when compared to a Honda et al, and the parts seem not to expensive.

If you can put a little time, money and effort into it you can get yourself a good deal.

The clunking I'm hearing is not mild, it just doesn't sound right at all, it's very pronounced, only does it when moving away or hitting brakes hardish, not when going over bumps. I had another look at the front transmission mount, and it does not look right so I'm going to replace, it doesn't cost that much.

I've checked everything I can think of on the sway bar, everything looks fine and dandy, if the new engine mount doesn't cure it I will just have to replace the suspect parts on the sway bar.

One more thing, does anybody here know if there is a splash guard to prevent water getting onto the serpentine belt from underneath? The reason I ask this is that the other day I drove through a big puddle and the belt slipped, and when I looked underneath there is nothing to stop water getting on the belt and pulleys, I'm wondering if a) My splash guard/shield is missing, or b) it never had one and is poor design.

Any help appreciated (a quick look under the hood should do it)

**/**/** **:**
4 van owner

You can't tell from looking. It will look okay but still thump.

I've had several Chrysler vans with the thumping noise. I've found that cutting a piece of old bicycle tire and working it into the sway bar bushing gap works best, and is fastest. The bicycle rubber lasts longer than the bushing stuff. Don't even have to remove the tires. Just loosen the bushing brackets for the bottom side gap and lift front end off tires for the top gap.

I've also found that on the new vans with the goofy linkage bar you have to torque the nut way more than recommended or it comes loose. Several times it started thumping and I just re-torqued it tight and it stopped making noise. The thicker, greaseable replacment links are far better than thin Chrysler crap. Sames goes for new thicker sway bar when replacing a thin broken cheap Chrysler one.

I also had a clunking in the rear spring suspension mounting bolts when going around a corner and found wrapping bicycle tire around the bolt instead of a new tube bushing lasted longer.

When your coils springs start getting weak I've found putting those $10 rubber blocks in the coil springs is better than $700 for new coils, struts and alignment.

The rubber in the engine mount on the front of the car usually goes first. Especially if it's not a solid block but has air spaces in it.

I like Chrysler interiors and styling but with their cheap construction and refusal to improve on problems let them go out of business. And never do business with a Chrysler dealership. Find a respectable independent mechanic.

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Michael Foster

You are having a bad start in the morning? Maybe because it is cold. Try heating it up and see what will happen.
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I don't know were the GRAND in in the dodge grand caravan came from, but we bought our 2003 DGC at car max in Knoxville tn. It has had 2 transmissions and now it has started to slip going into 3rd or overdrive again. We replaced the rack, struts, wheel hub twice, fixing to again this weekend. It always seems to be the right hub that makes all the racket. Now that is is getting cooler out the van is making a loud popping noise when we hit a bump or turn the wheel. It almost sounds like OLD BONES. Anyway, good luck & Grumpy OUT......
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Had a banging noise in my 2002 Dodge Caravan for years. Had several people look at it and no one could find the problem. Tonight I replaced the sway bar link on the right side, it wasn't that hard except the bolts were rusted on. That was the problem. When it's on the car it's under pressure and shows no sign of wear.
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Update: No noise whatsoever since Sept 27, sweet, however today the wife said there is another noise, almost like a squeaking noise..sounds like from the left side sway bar bushing...which I just replace about a month ago....oh boy.
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We have a 2001 Grand Caravan. We noticed about three years ago a thumping noise that would happen most when driving over bumps and rougher road. It did not affect anything so let it go. Well a couple of days ago, we noticed a constant thwacking sound (but not really loud). Thought it might be tires. I checked the tire (as it seemed to come from the left front). Seemed good. Well while we were out tonight the noise got way worse. We noticed that it got really bad if I took my foot off the gas pedal but went away when accelerating or braking. Any help would be highly appreciated.
**/**/** **:**

This is a follow up to my last post (#68). A mechanic friend of mine rode with me and suggested it was warped brake rotors because of the pulsating rhythm. I took it to the shop and the brakes were fine. They did some checking and found it to be the sway bar bushings. They replaced them and now all the sounds are gone. It is riding nicer than it has in a long time.
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Having a similar issue with a 2004 Dodge caravan SXT front left driver side pops when hitting a bump, doesn't have to be a big one just when road is uneven or rippled. Sounds horrible. I cannot even begin to tell you the problems this van has had nothing but front end suspension issues. Rack and pinion have already been replaced along with master cylinder. I don't really know where to turn but I sure don't want to spend money at a shop. It was under warranty until recently and even they could not fix the problem for good. Any advice would be wonderful.
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BFritts, try the sway bar bushings. The shop I took mine to replaced them and no sounds have redeveloped. They mentioned the parts are only about $6-8 a piece. So if you have the equipment to lift the front end up and feel comfortable doing it on your own, it would be an inexpensive fix. I, unfortunately do not have the equipment to be able to do this but it only cost me about $125 for the whole job with diagnosis and labor.
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J. Carter III

1999 Dodge Caravan SE have one endlink broken on passenger side, vibrating, thumping, between 30-70mph alignment is off steering wheel turned to left. Sway bushing, and Endlinks plus an alignment should solve problem ???? Thanks
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AG Bulling

I installed the MOOG Bushings and Links and it fixed the problem. The MOOG links were clearly more sturdy that the OEM. The rod itself was about 50% thicker, there were grease fittings on both ends, the bearing housings were more sturdy and with better bearing seals, even the new retaining nuts that came with them were better. I got the parts fast and cheap from and even found a 5% off coupon.
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Bob Williams

I had the same problem of a thumping noise on my 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan which only has 37000miles. Within the first year we had many problems with the steering popping when turning (right) into the driveway. The right front strut was replaced and some adjustments were made to correct that. My wife has been complaining of the thumping noise for some time. I finally got arround to checking it out and found nothing loose so, I suspected the right strut since we had it replaced for a simullar problem. I replaced both struts and found the right one was nearly worn out even though it was almost 2 years newer. The thumping noise was not as bad but still there. After finding this site and reading these comments I decided to go with the most common and cheapest resolution, which was replacing the 2 sway bar bushings. On this van the most difficult one to remove and replace was the one on the driver side. I found that it was much easier to replace by first removing the driver side wheel and taking off the top nut of the sway bar link attached to the strut and pushing it back through the hole to allow for movement of the sway bar (this you may want to do before replacing either of the bushings to allow for some movement to remove the old ones and replace the new ones). If you have the van for a long time you will be doing this again so it's best to get it down to where it won't be such a long chore. With the tire out of the way you will have more room to torque the nuts down when finished. After replacing the sway bar bushings the thumping noise was completly gone. Also noted that prior to doing all this work the right front brake was grinding as though the pads were worn. This problem was also corrected after replacing the strut and sway bar bushings. I have found from this experience that the design of the sway bar mounting alone puts enough stress on the bushings but when you compound it with a weak strut it just wears down a lot faster. If you replace the sway bar bushings and a few weeks or months later it starts thumping again check for a defective strut(s). As for the brake grinding this I belive was due to the fact that excessive movement of the sway bar along with a weak strut contributed to a jaring affect when applying the brakes causing an uneven contact resulting in the break ginding noise since I could find no other problems with the brakes (such as dirt wedged between the pads and disc or problems with the caliper). As for the Sway Bar Bushings I found them at Autozone with a lifetime warranty. If you plan on keeping your vehicle for some years I suggest you get the lifetime warranty because you will be replacing them again (sooner it you drive consistently on bumpy roads). You don't have to buy them from Autozone just get the lifetime warranty ones. As for those who have to take their vehicle to a shop you can save a few dollars by buying them from an auto store and provide them to the shop for replacement (if they allow it). I do a lot of engine and transmission rebuilding as a hobby but I'm still learning about autos, for every time a new vehicle comes out there is always a new and unique problem that will come with it. Hope this is helpful to someone experiencing these problems and I thank all those who have placed their comments and experiences which in turn assisted me.

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    Dodge Grand Caravan 'thumping underneath in front end'