car troubles

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  #1  
Old 03-12-07, 12:15 PM
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car troubles

Help!! My car has problems..making me and my husband crazy! We've had it aligned, balanced, rotated, etc...last year took it to 3 different shops..never did get the shimmy out completely...shudders at 45mph...the front end is so out of whack that the tires keep wearing out from the outside in....now, it is also making a clanking sound in the back on occasion..sounds like a metal part clanging against something...it will pull to the right all of a sudden...can't relate it to any particular speed at which it does this, and will pull to the left when I come to a stop....also, front end makes a grinding sound when I break and a kind of squeaky sound when I go over bumps in the road...I'd love to get a new car and just forget this one, but it's been a decent car till now, and can't really afford a car note at this point. My husband has changed the break pads not too long ago...does this when needed, and has done it for years...never had any of these problems before. It's a 1994 Dodge Spirit....HELP!!!!
 
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Old 03-12-07, 12:51 PM
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Could be a number of things. Sounds like you have a suspension problem, either a bad spring and/or shock.

Have you replaced your bearings yet? Also check your A-arms, and tie rod ends.
 
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Old 03-12-07, 03:28 PM
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A 13 year old Spirit is likely to have a fair collection of worn out parts, starting with the ones Hot suggested. If you had it to three diffferent shops and they aligned/balanced/rotated without finding out what was worn out, you need to try shop #4. Make sure they know up front what the problem is and that you want to fix it. If you just drive in and ask to have the front end aligned, many shops will oblige you and align it, regardless of whether you (a) need it, or (b) it will actually fix your problem.
 
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Old 03-12-07, 06:22 PM
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Make sure your car is not falling apart!

I had a Dodge 600 that looked good on the outside...not that much rust. But a key component where the front end parts mount to the unibody underneath was rusting away. The front end snapped on me at 45 and I veered towards oncoming trafic and them luckily towards the shoulder where the left front wheel began to tuck under the car. I had been noticing before that, that even though the front end felt "tight" = good...that I was gradually having to hold the steering wheel more and more turned some, to go straight down the road...over the last number of weeks.


The car is now in the boneyard. No mechanic would try to reweld the front end as they said liability was an issue as they said it be like trying to weld a tin can.

*I* have a Spirit now! 91. 235,000 on it.Very tight. No front end troubles.

Have you jacked up the front end and tried to grasp the wheel at the 12 and 6 position and pull/push to and fro?...and also at the 3 and 9 position? You could have an internal failure in your strut tower for one thing, that when just sitting can look perfectly fine.
 

Last edited by DaVeBoy; 03-13-07 at 06:50 PM.
  #5  
Old 03-13-07, 04:46 AM
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Good point, Dave; I've seen a couple of cars (towed a couple, too) where the subframe was basically sitting on the ground from rust-out. Probably more of a problem in areas where there's a lot of road salt used in the winter.
 
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Old 03-13-07, 06:49 PM
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the tow guy,

The scary part I want to emphasize is the fact the car did not look like a rust bucket. Salt and sand got lodged in some crotch where they welded? the front suspension under the car. It rusted the metal to the point that the metal then tore. Yes, tore. It then shifted the axle outward so that the splines partially came out, and as the axle slid outward, (I then could not make it drive) the bottom of the tire buckled INward. I was stuck on the shoulder of the road and could not move the car more, as that would have been safer for traffic. I was barely off the pavement. I got a call a couple hours later on my cell phone...from the cops! They told me I HAD to move that car by 6 pm that night. I was like, "uhh...y-y-yes sir"
 
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Old 03-13-07, 07:50 PM
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follow up

I'm taking the car in for a diagnosis on tues the 20th...was referred to him by a co-worker...says he's honest and skilled...we'll see! Thanks for your help!
k
 
  #8  
Old 03-14-07, 04:42 AM
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Be sure to post back if/when you get it fixed so we know how it turned out.

Dave, last one I remember the big subframe bolts, nuts, washers, and rubber bushings were still attached to the main frame and the subrframe was resting on the ground. The subframe had rusted out 360 deg around where it was bolted on both sides; pulled right off OVER the mountng hardware.
 
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Old 03-14-07, 07:54 AM
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Ands it's probably good people read about this stuff, because often, with low cars you can't crawl under, and if the top looks good, and you are the kind that doesn't regularly have your car serviced...one never knows what is going on under there. I had a Chevette in the mid 80's, where the rear axle was rusting away from it's mount underneath. Another case of manufacturer attaching major suspension/axle components to real thin metal that one can't weld. I had to sell the car for parts even though it ran and looked good, because the alignment of the rear wheels being parallel with the direction the car traveled was starting to get off-parallel!

Another guy with some smaller car traveling into my town had his rear of his car come off and the cop was standing along side the bridge where this happened scratching his head looking at the car sitting on the floorboards while the rear axle (like a weightlifter's barbell set) was up against the bridge wall a number of feet away from the rest of the car. The whole rear axle/wheels came right off the car. Obviously rusted off. Everytime I see rust- bucket cars driving around town now where whole quarter panels and (I forget the name of the panel directly below the doors) is completely rusted through...I am wondering what the unibody frame must look like, and think cops really should be pulling cars like that over and issuing warnings that they must take a car like that in and get it up on a hoist and looked at/inspected by a mechanic who then wouldd sign a release form or whatever, as cars coming at you down the highway like this could be a lethal weapon.

Ozarkgirl,

Yes, do let us know what they find, please.
 
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Old 03-15-07, 12:07 PM
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Will do...thanks, Guys!
 
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