Clunk when I turn my wheel to the left? - DodgeIntrepid.Net Forums - Dodge Intrepid, Concorde, 300m and Eagle Vision chat
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Clunk when I turn my wheel to the left?

I hit a pretty bad pothole some time ago. Ever since, my car has been drifting to the right (slightly). I also get this God-awful thud/clunk sound when I turn my steering wheel to the left. I'd like to get an idea of what's wrong BEFORE I start throwing money at it...
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 12:01 PM
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I hit a pretty bad pothole some time ago. Ever since, my car has been drifting to the right (slightly). I also get this God-awful thud/clunk sound when I turn my steering wheel to the left. I'd like to get an idea of what's wrong BEFORE I start throwing money at it...
Jack the front end up and wiggle the wheels in each direction. Top to bottom, left to right and report back. That would help narrow it down.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Jack the front end up and wiggle the wheels in each direction. Top to bottom, left to right and report back. That would help narrow it down.
just did. both wheels wiggle from left to right, but only slightly. not top to bottom. i jacked up the driver side and then the passenger side. i'm not sure if that's what you wanted me to do, but it's what i did and those are the results i got.

should the wheels have been wiggling at all?
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 02:45 PM
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just did. both wheels wiggle from left to right, but only slightly. not top to bottom. i jacked up the driver side and then the passenger side. i'm not sure if that's what you wanted me to do, but it's what i did and those are the results i got.

should the wheels have been wiggling at all?
There should not be any wiggle at all. You most likely need inner tie rod bushings, prone to failure. I just did mine yesterday. Now pull the plastic duct off the back of the intake so you can get a better look at your steering rack. Have someone turn the wheel side to side a few degrees and you inspect to see if that is indeed where the play is. Everything should be tight, but I suspect the bushings are shot. If so its a $15 fix-it kit from rockauto.com. If the bushings are ok, then check the outer tie rod ends where it connects to the strut. It's one end or the other, or both that are bad. If both are bad then replace it all and be done with it.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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There should not be any wiggle at all. You most likely need inner tie rod bushings, prone to failure. I just did mine yesterday. Now pull the plastic duct off the back of the intake so you can get a better look at your steering rack. Have someone turn the wheel side to side a few degrees and you inspect to see if that is indeed where the play is. Everything should be tight, but I suspect the bushings are shot. If so its a $15 fix-it kit from rockauto.com. If the bushings are ok, then check the outer tie rod ends where it connects to the strut. It's one end or the other, or both that are bad. If both are bad then replace it all and be done with it.
well, since my rack is less than a year old and has less than 20,000 miles on it, i don't think it's an issue at all. the tie rod bushings make sense to me.

is this an easy DIY, or should I have a mechanic do it?
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 06:33 PM
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well, since my rack is less than a year old and has less than 20,000 miles on it, i don't think it's an issue at all. the tie rod bushings make sense to me.

is this an easy DIY, or should I have a mechanic do it?
I did it in under 30 minutes. Look in the how-to section. You will need a socket set and a "cheater bar" to break the bolts loose. I used a 3ft copper pipe.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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so i decided to take the car into the shop. the mechanic replaced a "strut rod bushing" and did a front end alignment. the clunk has virtually disappeared, the car rides better and, since my tire rotation today, handles a lot better. now my only problem is the car drifting to the right when i have the steering wheel straight.

i'm guessing a number of things could be causing this: improperly installed rack? bad rack bushings? bad tie rod bushings? misalignment?

i'm thinking it could still be the inner tie rod bushings. any input will be much appreciated.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 05:13 PM
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There should be a slight drift to the right with hands off the wheel from the drainage cross-slope of the road, at least on most roads.

It could also be that the alignment guy didn't get the wheel perfectly straight while doing the alignment.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 11:26 PM
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Which is true?:
1. When you put the steering wheel straight and hold it there, the car turns slightly to the right.
2. When you have the car going straight, if you take your hands off the wheel, the car continues to go straight (with the wheel turned slightly).
3. When you have the car going straight, if you take your hands off the wheel, the steering wheel will move slightly, and the car will start going slightly to the right.

Did you get 'before' and 'after' alignment printouts?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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the first is true: "When you put the steering wheel straight and hold it there, the car turns slightly to the right."

it's quite irritating to have to drive around with my steering wheel cocked to the left to keep the car moving in a straight line all the time.

unfortunately, i do not have "before" and "after" printouts of the alignment.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey6400 View Post
the first is true: "When you put the steering wheel straight and hold it there, the car turns slightly to the right."

it's quite irritating to have to drive around with my steering wheel cocked to the left to keep the car moving in a straight line all the time.

unfortunately, i do not have "before" and "after" printouts of the alignment.
I'm in the same boat as you buddy and it is a HUGE pain in my butt. If I find anything that fixes my problem I'll be sure to let you know.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 08:53 AM
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I should have not had 1. In there (we know that is true) and had you choose between 2. and 3.

Printouts would tell you what's going on without the guessing. That's why it's important to get them.

Last edited by peva; 10-25-2011 at 09:02 AM.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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I'm in the same boat as you buddy and it is a HUGE pain in my butt. If I find anything that fixes my problem I'll be sure to let you know.
glad to know it isn't just my car. haha. thanks though. i'll do the same if i get to the bottom of it.

Quote:
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I should have not had 1. In there (we know that is true) and had you choose between 2. and 3.

Printouts would tell you what's going on without the guessing. That's why it's important to get them.
i suppose 3 would also be true. if i let go of the wheel after having it cocked to the left, it will go back to the "straight" position and the car will start drifting. however, the wheel does not turn itself more to the right after that.

should i see if my mechanic has any printouts of the alignment or if he has the ability to obtain them?
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2011, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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anyone? anyone? bueller? bueller?
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 02:22 PM
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Sorry donīt try to hijack this thread but I have a similar problem that might be related...

I got that awful clunk too, but in my case it happens the first time I hit the brakes after any left/right turn.

I can hit the breaks many times and nothing happens while I drive straight, but as soon a turn either side the first I touch the brake pedal I can heard that awful "clunk", but if hit the brakes while turning and/or before the steering wheel gets straight nothing happens.

My mechanic already replace both axles thinking it was the problem, but it doesn't. Any idea what might be?
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