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I have a 96 ES, 3.5L. On cold mornings, when I start driving the car, there is a loud clunking noise when I turn my wheel from left to right. After about 5-10 minutes of driving, the clunk goes away. Also, sometimes there is a cracking noise when I go over bumps when the car is cold...that, too goes away after a few minutes of driving.
I asked the local Dodge Dealership and they told me that a bushing in the steering column expands when it is really cold, and gets smaller when it warms up (like when I drive it and turn the wheel alot, the friction heats it up).
Has anyone else had this problem? I just had my sway bar links replaced not too long ago, and the guy at Dodge checked my tie rod ends (he reached his hand into the engine and tried twisting something, but it wouldn't budge), so he said that wasn't the problem. Any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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Golden Rule: If you car functions without getting you killed --> it's ok.

I have an issue with the steering where it only squeals turning back and forth, no clunking. But that goes away after a while (prolly that bushing).

I also have a turn signal problem where I move the lever, but it doesn't contact the terminals inside the column. I just knock it a few tims till it works or until it warms up enough to connect properly.
 

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mine clunks too when its cold out. Only does it for about 5 minutes. After the car is warmed up its fine. i have no clue what it is either.
 

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Similar thing happens on my '93 3.3. The steering clunks only once, when I first turn the wheel to get out of driveway. After that it's fine.
 

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Mine started to do that last winter and progressed as time went on. I thought something was wrong with the suspension so I took it into Carx and they said that the stabilizer links were shot (a common problem) they replaced them and the problem ceased to exist. I wouldn't worry about it. It is more annoying than anything. ;)
 

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The clunking up front is a sorta rubber gasket that goes between the struts and the top of the spring missing or almost gone. They tend to squish out.
 
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