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Discussion Starter #1
Yes, I'm back again.

So, for some reason my steering wheel will be off center. Sometimes to the left sometimes to the right. If it's to the left I can make a hard right turn and it will return to center. Off center to the right then turn hard left to center steering wheel. Turning the wheel in the driveway you can hear popping close to the firewall. I understand the rack bushings can cause slop, but don't see any visible movement of the steering rack.

Items replaced: inner tie rod bushings, outer tie rod ends, both lower control arms all 4 struts, both sway arm links, new tires, alignment 2 weeks ago
 

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Popping is generally a CV joint. But if there is slop in the wheel that is usually inner tie rod bushings. Did you replace them with polyurethane ones? I haven't heard much success from those who replaced them with OEM rubber bushings as they tend to wear out quickly. If you can get someone to turn the wheel while you look at those bushings, you can see if there is any play. Also jack up the front of the vehicle and check for play in the wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Codyj I used Moog inner bushings the blue ones. No popping while driving, just in the driveway. I used the driveworks sway bar links from advance auto. Thought about buying Moog links.
 

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Moog are polyurethane ones so they should be fine. If it only pops when stationary all I can think of is ball joint or tie rod end. It'll take two people to find out where it's popping, one to turn the wheel and another to listen.

As for the steering slop, I've no idea unless it's the steering rack itself is just worn out. Mine is pretty much the same. Changing the inner bushings helped a lot but there is still a slight "dead spot" between 11 and 1 o'clock. Probably the rack, so I live with it.
 

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What Brand/Model Struts did you install?
 

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a first gen. one came in some years ago that i had to weld inside the wheel well where the tray that holds the rack attaches to the fender.
the whole tray may be broken on one side and the other side flexing. it's a major safety problem if that is the trouble.
 

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Just wondering if the steering knuckle between the column and gear box is to blame.
Extending what Cody’s said, have someone slowly move the steering wheel back and forth while you watch the entire steering wheel-to-tire’s for the point or points of lost motion. Remove the driver’s side knee bolster and crawl under the dash to look up at the column to check that area. There are a couple of universal joints in the column, and there’s a metal-and-rubber flex coupling at the fire wall under a rubber covering that could have failed.

It has to be in the steering chain or suspension.
 

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Yevrah, do you remember which side the crack was on? Something I'll definitely check.
passenger side. but i reinforced the drivers too before it happened to it too.
maybe not your issue, but it was a possibility i've come across myself.
a popping sound when turning is what led me to it.

about 8 years ago on a 95 trep with 300k+/km on it.
 

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I believe this is what he's talking about. I think they welded reinforcement plates to that area for the recall if found.

Recall Details
Vehicle 1995 DODGE INTREPID
Manufacturer DAIMLERCHRYSLER CORPORATION
Manufactured between 6/1/1992 - 10/31/1994
Recalled on 8/17/1999
Influenced by OFFICE OF DEFECTS INVESTIGATION
Owners Notified on 2/7/2000
# Affected 402,830
Recalled for SUSPENSION:FRONT:CONTROL ARM:LOWER ARM

Description VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: PASSENGER VEHICLES. THE LOWER CONTROL ARM ATTACHING BRACKETS CAN CRACK DUE TO FATIGUE AND SEPARATE FROM THE ENGINE CRADLE.
Consequences IF THIS OCCURS, THE TRANSMISSION HALF-SHAFT COULD PULL OUT OF THE TRANSAXLE AND RESULT IN LOSS OF POWER.
Corrective action DEALERS WILL REINFORCE THE ENGINE CRADLE AT THE POINT WHERE THE LOWER CONTROL ARM ATTACHES TO IT.
Notes OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN FEBRUARY 7, 2000. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT DAIMLERCHRYSLER AT 1-800-992-1997. ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok, popping feels to be coming from the left strut mount. Is there any way of injecting grease in that strut mount bearing without a complete disassembly?
 

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I believe this is what he's talking about. I think they welded reinforcement plates to that area for the recall if found.

Recall Details
Vehicle 1995 DODGE INTREPID
Manufacturer DAIMLERCHRYSLER CORPORATION
Manufactured between 6/1/1992 - 10/31/1994
Recalled on 8/17/1999
Influenced by OFFICE OF DEFECTS INVESTIGATION
Owners Notified on 2/7/2000
# Affected 402,830
Recalled for SUSPENSION:FRONT:CONTROL ARM:LOWER ARM

Description VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: PASSENGER VEHICLES. THE LOWER CONTROL ARM ATTACHING BRACKETS CAN CRACK DUE TO FATIGUE AND SEPARATE FROM THE ENGINE CRADLE.
Consequences IF THIS OCCURS, THE TRANSMISSION HALF-SHAFT COULD PULL OUT OF THE TRANSAXLE AND RESULT IN LOSS OF POWER.
Corrective action DEALERS WILL REINFORCE THE ENGINE CRADLE AT THE POINT WHERE THE LOWER CONTROL ARM ATTACHES TO IT.
Notes OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN FEBRUARY 7, 2000. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT DAIMLERCHRYSLER AT 1-800-992-1997. ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
no, that's not what i'm talking about.
the tray that the rack mounts to is mounted at either end on the inner fenders. it has no attachment to the firewall.
a little below and behind where the steering arm passes into the wheel well area is where i found the wheel well cracked. right where the rack tray is welded to the engine bay side of the wheel well.
 

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The rack itself is not attached to the fenders. The rack is mounted on a crossmember which is welded to the inner fender wells. It is also welded to the frame members that run alongside the inner fender wells.
 

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I actually had the same exact problem a couple years ago. One minute it was drifting right, then it was drifting left, and sometimes it would actually be straight. Pulling hard to one side or the other would shift the bias of the steering and the steering wheel would be off center. First I replaced the cradle isolator bushings. This eliminated some movement as well as a lot of popping/grinding noises caused from the cradle shifting around. Next I replaced the rack bushings (total nightmare), tie rod ends, sway bar links & bushings, and inner tie rod bushings. This made a huge difference but over the next several months it got bad again. This is when I discovered that the strut rod bushings were shot. One of them was completely gone, as in not even there! These were kind of a pain to replace since the lower control arm has to come out with it. Replacing these took care of the problem entirely. The steering response and handling were unbelievable. Then last summer it started drifting again, and making a popping noise when I would brake hard and accelerate. After tedious inspection, I found the driver side lower control arm bushing (frame end) was separated from the control arm, so the control arm would slam forward and backward under the force of accelerating and braking. Once that was fixed, all noises and drifting were gone. It's been solid since.

This car has a lot of bushings to wear out. You don't notice until they're really bad, but when you replace them all it handles so much better. Also, be advised that rust eats away at the strut rods where the bushings sit on them, and they can get dangerously thin. You won't see it until you take them out. Mine were pretty bad, but I decided they were thick enough to salvage. I sanded, sprayed with zinc anti-rust coating, and painted them to protect from further rust damage.

Let us know what you find out with yours. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
mjgrantham do you remember the part number for the strut rod bushings? What did you do to remove the rod bolts? No rust issues with mine, but they will not budge.
 
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