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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi

I hear and feel a clunk noise on passenger front underside when I turn to the left - kind of like running over something small. Any guesses - or advice how to test it out.

04 Concorde Limited -
 

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Do you know how old each of the components in the steering, suspension, stabilizer systems are? Have any been replaced, what brands, how long ago?

Could be a number of things. Most common clunks are from worn stabilizer bar bushings and stabilizer links. Even if they have been replaced, they wear very fast as the bar moves side to side when steering due to the link and suspension design (steering and links both are connected to the struts). I did mine in 2010/2011 at around 97k and just did them again 2021/2022 at 140k, respectively. Solved clunks both times. Bar bushings often "look brand new!" until you remove them and see how "wallered out" they are.

Next is ball joints (replace with control arm and tension strut and tension strut bushings, due to assembly and rust). I replaced those last summer and solved suspension clunks, not necessarily steering-related though. This can be checked by raising the front end and removing the wheel/tire assembly, then use a large set of adjustable pliers to try and gently squeeze the control arm to the spindle at the ball joint. There should be no play.

Then of course the tie rods. Inner bushings get roached quick. Mine are original and I'm planning to replace this year along with my outer tie rod ends. If you can feel play in your steering while driving, then this would be good to do even if not related to the clunk.
 

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...This can be checked by raising the front end and removing the wheel/tire assembly, then use a large set of adjustable pliers to try and gently squeeze the control arm to the spindle at the ball joint. There should be no play...
I don't see the purpose of squeezing with pliers. The control arm has 3 points to check for wear/play:
(1) Control arm ball joint (worn out)
(2) Play in ball joint stud in hole in bottom of steering knuckle (clamping bolt loose, or steering knuckle hole or ball joint stud worn due to clamping bolt not being properly tightened in the past).
(3) Bushing (worn/ripped) and bolt (loose) attaching control arm to engine cradle bracket.
 

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I don't see the purpose of squeezing with pliers. The control arm has 3 points to check for wear/play:
(1) Control arm ball joint (worn out)
(2) Play in ball joint stud in hole in bottom of steering knuckle (clamping bolt loose, or steering knuckle hole or ball joint stud worn due to clamping bolt not being properly tightened in the past).
(3) Bushing (worn/ripped) and bolt (loose) attaching control arm to engine cradle bracket.
Doing so checks for play in the ball joint. Very common test, one jaw is on the control arm and the other is on the spindle, at the ball joint. Another method is to raise the car just enough to get a shovel under the tire, then press down on the handle and watch the ball joint. Using the shovel as a pivot to raise and lower the tire, only the strut should be compressing and there should be no movement in the balljoint. I did that method to confirm my Jeep's ball joints (all four) were shot. But that's harder to do in a car and easier to raise it and use pliers. Some cars you can get away with grabbing the tire and trying to shift it up/down, but I've heard that check doesn't always work on LH's.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Hi guys - thanks for advice!

Lunatic, way back in April of 2018 I bought the Concorde with 97,000 miles - it was in really great shape but wasn't drivable because a power steering hose was blown - so I got it for $750. I immediately did the brakes and all got one of those all part suspension kits and had a mechanic friend replace those parts. It wan't the best parts I am sure. A few years ago the whole rack fell out of the Concorde - tires were pointing two different ways -my mecganic replaced the rack twice now - first was bad. Sadly not MOPAR. It now has 137,000 miles on it. My biggest problem now is my mechanic tore down his shop so as to build a 5 story apartment building and he won't reopen for at least another year. So I will try with a new guy -but since I don't know them - I better figure it out before I go -know what all I want changed out.
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Doing so checks for play in the ball joint. Very common test, one jaw is on the control arm and the other is on the spindle, at the ball joint. Another method is to raise the car just enough to get a shovel under the tire, then press down on the handle and watch the ball joint. Using the shovel as a pivot to raise and lower the tire, only the strut should be compressing and there should be no movement in the balljoint. I did that method to confirm my Jeep's ball joints (all four) were shot. But that's harder to do in a car and easier to raise it and use pliers. Some cars you can get away with grabbing the tire and trying to shift it up/down, but I've heard that check doesn't always work on LH's.
I thought you were saying to squeeze the knuckle clamping tabs, so I didn't quite understand. Makes sense now. Still need to check that the ball joint stud clamping bolt is tight and hole (ID) and stud (OD) not worn. If the control arm is el problemo, most likely is the ball joint or control arm-to-cradle bushing/bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Besides the suspension kit - I also bought Mog Stabilizer Bar Bushings and 2 Dorman Front Suspension Rods

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Oh and I got an alignment and four new tires last year.

I can get my fix a flat shop to lift each side and I can wiggle tires side to side and top to bottom - I can also film underneath at the same time. Guess I just got to get under there and poke around - I wish you guys could look at it. Thanks a lot! Cheers
 

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Dorman? Ewwwwwww!

Was the suspension kit you bought something like $130 off Ebay? Double Ewwwww!

Could also be a Strut or Strut mount.

When exactly does the noise happen? When you turn the steering wheel? When you start the turn and hit uneven or rough pavement? Same on smooth pavement?

This is one that's tough to diagnose unless it's obvious you find worn parts.

Again...is there any difference in noise when on smooth or rough pavement. Might be tough to find "Smooth" pavement in NYC but had to ask.
 
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.. I immediately did the brakes and all got one of those all part suspension kits and had a mechanic friend replace those parts. It wan't the best parts I am sure. A few years ago the whole rack fell out of the Concorde - tires were pointing two different ways...
It's hard to imagine the rack "falling out", especially to the point of "tires pointing two different ways". But I wasn't there, so there's that. 😉

What is way more likely (especially if the inner tie rod bushings and/or the rack were at any time replaced) is that one or both of the inner tie rod bushing bolts loosened (possibly even fell out - not kidding - it's happened to more than one person on this and other LH car forums). This can happen because whoever replaced them either didn't use the locking tabs, OR, just as or more likely, didn't realize you have to take extra measures to squeeze the locking tabs in a special dogleg shape to make sure they fit flat against the flats of the bolt heads - even mechanics aren't aware of that issue - and it's malpractice on the part of aftermarket and Chrysler for supplying bolts in the bushing kits with heads that are smaller than on the factory bolts. My recommendation is to either re-use the original factory bolts (of course with locking tabs) or (with the smaller-head bolts) squeeze the locking tabs with a second bend (dogleg) to fit flat against the bolt head flats AND apply blue threadlocker to the bolt threads as extra insurance.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Ronbo - yeah I got crap parts when I first bought it and had this work done. The clunk and bump happens on smooth surface when I turn to the right or turn while backing up. It might even do it when I am not moving - but just turning the wheel - I will test it in the morning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
It's hard to imagine the rack "falling out", especially to the point of "tires pointing two different ways". But I wasn't there, so there's that. 😉
Hi Peva
Sorry - I think you are correct - The wheels were pointing in different directions and I had to be towed to my mechanic and he said something broke off in the rack and he had to replace that as well...

Haha - unfortunately for me he is the guy who did the work and caused them to fall out -- he is likely getting rich now developing his property - however he was big into bitcoin so maybe he is in big trouble now...

Good to be getting a new mechanic - might be a hard go here and especially with this car.😁

If you can point me to the right parts perhaps I can make sure a new guy does better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
What is way more likely (especially if the inner tie rod bushings and/or the rack were at any time replaced) is that one or both of the inner tie rod bushing bolts loosened (possibly even fell out - not kidding - it's happened to more than one person on this and other LH car forums). This can happen because whoever replaced them either didn't use the locking tabs, OR, just as or more likely, didn't realize you have to take extra measures to squeeze the locking tabs in a special dogleg shape to make sure they fit flat against the flats of the bolt heads - even mechanics aren't aware of that issue - and it's malpractice on the part of aftermarket and Chrysler for supplying bolts in the bushing kits with heads that are smaller than on the factory bolts. My recommendation is to either re-use the original factory bolts (of course with locking tabs) or (with the smaller-head bolts) squeeze the locking tabs with a second bend (dogleg) to fit flat against the bolt head flats AND apply blue threadlocker to the bolt threads as extra insurance.
Any source for these correct bolts? Are we talking cotter pins? Can you please mark them on this diagram?
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Sorry - I think you are correct - The wheels were pointing in different directions and I had to be towed to my mechanic and he said something broke off in the rack and he had to replace that as well...

Haha - unfortunately for me he is the guy who did the work and caused them to fall out -- he is likely getting rich now developing his property - however he was big into bitcoin so maybe he is in big trouble now...

Good to be getting a new mechanic - might be a hard go here and especially with this car.😁

If you can point me to the right parts perhaps I can make sure a new guy does better.
Any source for these correct bolts? Are we talking cotter pins?
Yes - once the bolts loosen, they can break off. I forgot to mention that possibility (vs. them backing all the way out and falling off).

I don't know if anyone supplies the bolts with the larger heads in a bushing kit. I think I read one post saying that Chrysler went back to the larger-head bolts in their bushing kit, but not sure I believe it. Even if they did, you're safe with the smaller-head bolts if you put the blue thread locker on the bolt threads. Might as well also put that extra kink on the locking tabs too. You could drive yourself nuts trying to find stand-alone larger-head bolts of the right hardness, etc. Keep it simple - use the bolts that come with a kit, use blue thread locker, and give the locking tabs the extra bend. (Most likely the original factory bolts were thrown away by whoever replaced the bushings, so you're likely stuck with small-head bolts now.)

"No" on cotter pins. The bushing kits come with the locking tab plate - look at the photos of the bushing kits on Rock Auto and you'll see what I mean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Peva - great stuff - what brand kit would you buy? I assume MOPAR are pretty pricey - then cheap parts and mechanic friends have not worked out perfectly - though I am 40,000 miles down the road!
 

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Peva - great stuff - what brand kit would you buy? I assume MOPAR are pretty pricey - then cheap parts and mechanic friends have not worked out perfectly - though I am 40,000 miles down the road!
Moog is the go-to kit. They have the split (two-piece) bushings. I think all the Chrysler ones use one-piece bushings, which take special tools and techniques to install. The two piece bushings are simple to install and have no down side.

It sounds like you'll have someone install them for you, but if you DIY, it's important to rotate the outer tie rod ends so that their ball joints are in the approximate center of their rotation with the toe adjusting sleeve clamped down, otherwise as the steering wheel gets turned to extremes and suspension moves up and down, there will be mechanical binding that will put a huge twisting force on the inner tie rods and will instantly destroy brand new inner tie rod bushings. Alignment shops and mechanics should understand that, but you can't count on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Very helpful! Thanks again!
 

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Moog K7408 comes with some additional hardware (a backing plate and the bolts) that you don't need since the old parts should be re-usable, but it only costs $2 to $4 more than the other kit, so might as well get all new hardware (again, the bolts will have the small heads).
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Moog K7349 - $2 to $4 cheaper - doesn't come with the backing plate or bolts.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks again Peva - hard to believe that those little flap tabs and blue locktite is all that holds my front end together! I better get out and get under next time and check the job! Obviously - I will stress it tothe mechanic. They already love that I bring my own parts. Haha
 

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A note on the two piece kits (Moog or otherwise), is they have a history of not lasting long. My inner bushings are factory original, and just yesterday I received replacement Moog 1 piece.

The theory I've seen at the M Club is the two piece design does not last because of installer error. If you go this route, which is definitely much easier for the home mechanic, ensure the backing plate is installed correctly in order for the bushings to last longer.

I personally plan to do my inner bushings (Moog 1 piece) and outer tie rod ends (TRW - Factory supplier) at the same time, so I will be removing each assembly from the car (one at a time) and using the Miller tool noted in the FSM to replace the factory bushings with the 1 piece bushings. Good to know I can reuse the factory bolts and backing plate, because no 1 piece kit comes with these (they're only available as "per side", one bushing and one locking plate per "kit", no hardware other than locking plate). Chrysler used to sell a full service kit, but it was discontinued, like many other replacement parts for these cars.
 
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