'00 300m suspension (questions, observations, my experience)

My 2000 300m has 185k km on it (114k miles) and here's what I've had to
deal with regarding suspension issues:
- About 2 years ago in January, before I put the snow tires on, I was
coming down a slight hill that had a curve and I spun out, with the rear
passenger-side wheel hitting the curb hard. Put a 3-inch long crack in
the 17" Razorstar rim, but not deep enough to leak air. The impact bent
the axle so the tire rolled on an angle - but the wheel still rolled
true and straight. Drove it like that for months. Finally bought a new
axle-knuckle, monroe quick strut, and bearing. Turns out the old
bearing race had been broken in 3 places, but it still held together
(and really didn't make any noise). Got a used rim from a local
junkyard.
- Last December (Dec. 24 to be exact) in the morning I was at the bottom
of a hill with a dip or pothole and felt a hard bang - like the
suspension had bottomed out with metal-to-metal contact. Car was still
drivable but something didn't seem right, but I was only a mile from
home. Turns out the lower plate that supports the suspension spring had
rusted and had separated from the strut, and the spring forced the plate
to drop about 1/2 inch and rest against the steering arm (on one side)
and the tie-rod link arm (on the other side). The plate was now in
slight contact with the tire. This was on the driver side. Went to a
local auto parts store and bought a monroe quick strut, and a few hours
later everything was back to normal. A few months later when I was
taking off my snow tires, I had a close look at the passenger side and
the lower spring support plate on that side was half rusted through, so
I replaced that with another monroe quick strut.
After replacing the first strut, the steering wheel points to 8-2
o'clock (instead of 9-3) when the car is driving straight, but otherwise
on a flat, level highway the wheels drive straight (no pulling to one
side or the other) so I figured no alignment was needed.
More recently I've been messing with the lower control arms, tension
strut bushings, sway bar bushing and sway bar links, trying to eliminate
a knocking sound coming somewhere from the front.
I replaced the sway bar bushings last year, but what I notice is that
even new bushings have a loose fit - I think because of some erosion of
the sway bar. I've re-worked the bushings (wrapped some steel wire
around the sway bar) to make it a tighter fit.
What really surprised me is how badly the tension strut had
rusted/eroded under the bushings. The strut is dealer-only part. The
new strut is 3/4" in diameter where it rides inside the bushings. The
old strut had lost a minimum of 1/16" and in some places 1/4" due to
rusting.
Replacing the tension strut didn't really eliminate the knocking. That
leaves the tie-rod end and wheel bearing as the next candidates. I
really don't want to start messing with the steering rack and it's
various joints and bushings. Would a worn tie-rod be felt through the
steering up to the steering wheel? Because I don't feel anything in the
steering wheel.
According to a 300m web-forum (the one you have to pay $10 - $15 a year
to post to), there is a thread where someone claims that you need to
replace aftermarket strut-bearings and mounts with OEM versions when
buying aftermarket quick struts. I didn't see an explanation as to why
that is, or what happens if you don't. And I don't know what the "strut
bearing" is - I don't see that part in exploded views of the front
suspension.
In other threads on that same web-forum, I've read where there were
issues with these monroe quick-struts - something about them not being
able to fully tighten down against the top strut mounting plate so that
they were a bit loose. Was that the issue? I don't think mine are
loose. Mine are black - not the blue "economatic" version, which I
think are exactly the same as the black except for color and warranty.
Around here, parts stores only stock the black ones - the blue ones are
special order.
Reply to
MoPar Man

Site Timeline Threads

MotorsForum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.