I have a '98 minivan with 150k miles. Its had outer tie rods and hubs
replaced in last two years because of worn parts. Currently there is
no slop you can feel from attempting to move an unweighted wheel. A
few years ago I replaced the struts and found the strut bearings to be
absolutely find, so I reused them.
I have noticed a sort of chatter in the steering when turning in or
out of a driveway. Nothing terrible, but it does not feel normal. I
also have gradually noticed that the van has more "wander" than it
used to - although it was just aligned in Feb '07. Tires are
michelin, although close to replacment wear, have been rotated
A friend told me this sort of thing was likely caused by worn bushings
on the control arm. I then was looking at a friend's Motor Age
magazine (for professional mech's and tech's) and saw an advertisement
for Dorman where they showed a variety of frequently replaced parts,
such as wiper motors and window lifts....and lo and behold they had
the control arm with bushings (saves time to by loaded arms) for the
'97 through 2003(?) GM minivans. Clearly the bushings must wear out,
or they wouldn't even bother to make the part.
What do y'all think? Have anyone replaced these arms and did it help
I think you ought to inspect the suspension and driveline and try to find
out what is wrong, rather than throwing a set of control arms at this mini.
In my experience, some cars (of past years) were much harder on control
arm bushings than others. Yours may, or may not, be worn enough to
justify replacing them.
There are lot of other things that you need to inspect. Depending upon
the 'chattering' you get while turning, you might want to pay special
attention to the CV joints.
Well the AC went out in the last two days, and in Houston that is
fairly important, so I'll have the shop give the thing a drive while
they fix the AC and give me their opinion. But I'm not holding my
breath on getting an accurate diagnosis. Most shops swap parts. I'm
a shadetree, but I've found that I have as good or better experience
diagnosing problems with my ODB-II reader and my knowledge. This same
highly rated shop over-filled my crankcase after replacing my intake
manifold gasket (common on the 3.4) and did not catch that the rad cap
had failed after the cooling system now would pressurize. On this
problem, its a bit trickier to diagnose than some problems.
I lived in Houston for a long time, and understand the AC issue. (I live
about three hours north of you just now)
It can be VERY difficult to find an honest and competent shop in Houston.
I used the AAA list of approved mechanics when I did not do the work
Houston dealerships are, for the larger part, to be avoided. Nor are some
up here any better. The local Chrysler dealership just kept a friend's
car for two weeks, telling her that they had ordered a new computer for it.
(I told her it felt like a simple misfire, and that I thought it was spark
wires and plugs). She finally took it to a local independent who replaced
the wires and plugs, and it is running like a new one...
You can certainly take a look at the bushings, and at the other flexing
parts under the front suspension. You are to be congratulated for learning
to do it yourself.
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