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#2383187 - 10/06/17 08:44 PM Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan
yorker Offline
Village Idiot

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1723
Loc: Walmart parking lot
01 Town & Country. Van has 138,000 miles. Normally this van had pretty good front end, no pull or play. I started to drive it around the inner city, ( bad roads ), and now the steering has about 4 inches of play and a single clunk when turning at times.

I stood outside the van and turned the steering wheel and at one point the left front wheel seemed to bind and then jump. Have not had a chance to take it to a shop.
Really don't want to drive it much in this condition. The lug nuts are tight. I did notice not long ago, a clunk in the steering column, like a piece of heavy metal in the shroud. Play in wheel when motor is turned off also.
Any ideas on what this problem is? Will let you know in couple weeks when take it to shop. Thanks
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#2383196 - 10/06/17 09:08 PM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: yorker]
amxautox Offline
Still Retired. Still Posting on Moparts. A Lot.

Registered: 05/13/03
Posts: 95830
Loc: On The Boat, On The Lake, Wa. ...
Nerves, Ya been feeding it too much drano weed. devil
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#2383208 - 10/06/17 09:31 PM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: yorker]
Sunroofcuda Offline
master

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 6085
Loc: Highland, MI.
Sounds like the steering rack to me. Get out the checkbook!
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#2383222 - 10/06/17 09:52 PM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: yorker]
buildanother Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 10885
Loc: chicagoland,usa
Physically see if you can find out where the slop is at, and do you have rust issues where you are? Them shock towers rot.

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#2383245 - 10/06/17 10:42 PM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: yorker]
Andrewh Offline
master

Registered: 02/17/03
Posts: 7627
I saw this once.
The shop didn't find anything and they brought it to me.
The rack was loose.
Just "tight" enough to hold it in place, but it shifted when turning left or right.
When the shop got it, they put it in the air and didn't find anything because there was no load on the wheels.

When I got it, I just lifted it enough to see under and have someone turn the wheel back and forth.
I could see the rack shift in the cradle.

A few turns with a ratchet and it worked like normal.

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#2383525 - 10/07/17 04:46 PM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: Andrewh]
ahy Offline
master

Registered: 01/22/07
Posts: 7405
Loc: IN
I like to run it up on ramps so the tires are loaded yet you can get underneath. Get a helper to turn the wheel while you watch.

Agree it sounds like a bad or loose rack. I helped a family member change PS hoses and pump on one of those. It is tight around the rack. Getting to the hose there was not easy.

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#2383591 - 10/07/17 07:48 PM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: yorker]
wingman Offline


Registered: 06/23/04
Posts: 2104
Loc: St. Charles, MO
If it ends up being the rack, I did one on my 4th generation (2005) caravan in the driveway on jackstands. Was a little tight but not as bad as I expected.

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#2383671 - 10/07/17 10:58 PM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: wingman]
yorker Offline
Village Idiot

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1723
Loc: Walmart parking lot
I was wondering if it was the rack loose. When I recently did the brakes, I noticed some play in the wheels at 3- 9 position in park. A quick look at you tube shows that could be inner tie rods. The old van is not to pretty. Dont want to put a ton of money in it. Just spent 450.00 on the brakes, and that was just for parts.
I love to take long trips in the van. Have a bed in the back. Use it as a camper.
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#2383827 - 10/08/17 10:35 AM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: yorker]
cudaman1969 Offline
master

Registered: 01/25/04
Posts: 3712
Loc: fredericksburg,va
Originally Posted By yorker
I was wondering if it was the rack loose. When I recently did the brakes, I noticed some play in the wheels at 3- 9 position in park. A quick look at you tube shows that could be inner tie rods. The old van is not to pretty. Dont want to put a ton of money in it. Just spent 450.00 on the brakes, and that was just for parts.
I love to take long trips in the van. Have a bed in the back. Use it as a camper.

$450 for brake parts?! A loaded caliper was in the $30-40 range but I bought just the discs for mine, $14. With that much play, like the one said, loose somewhere or rusted out. Check your steering column u-joints too, my Dakota u-joint bolt had worked loose and it had about 3-4 inch play in the steering wheel and a knock.tried tightening it up but the splines was buggered up so I got the whole column at the pick-a-part yard for $60. Keep replacing parts, you can't get a better driving-riding-all around better vehicle in today's market. I have three extra parts vans for the one I drive, a 99 shorty.

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#2384214 - 10/08/17 10:34 PM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: yorker]
poorboy Offline
master

Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 5993
Loc: Freeport IL USA
The top of the shock towers rust out enough there is even a "kit" to repair them. I've seen some rusted so bad, the kit didn't go far enough!

A loose rack is another option, as are the inner tie rod ends.

With a helper, 3"-4" of play should stand out like a sore thumb, that's a lot of something moving that shouldn't, or a combination of a pretty big list of stuff moving a little. Gene

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#2384237 - 10/08/17 11:26 PM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: yorker]
therocks Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 18831
Loc: Niles , Ohio
I agree could be rack we did a few at work that were loose.Also the frt strut towers as said rust.i replaced some of them.I even bought the large rivet gun to install them.Could be wheel bearings also.Ive sen some so bad they almost fell out.Rocky
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#2384453 - 10/09/17 12:21 PM Re: Sudden excessive play, front end 01 Caravan [Re: therocks]
bboogieart Offline
master

Registered: 01/12/08
Posts: 3332
Loc: Lost and Spaced
Originally Posted By therocks
Could be wheel bearings also.
I've seen some so bad they almost fell out.Rocky


Wow, that is something I will have to look at.
We are using two minis and also have one for parts.
Not having this problem (yet), but I do like preventive maintenance.
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