Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

Crunching Noise in Chrysler Town & Country over bumps and through turns

My husband and I own a 2002 Chrysler Town & Country. We bought it used about 2 years ago. It has VERY low miles (a senior citizen used it to drive to church) - we are at about 60K miles right now.



The van has been great until early this summer we started to noticed a crunching kind of noise coming from the front of the vehicle. Every time we would run over a bump in the road we would hear it and whenever we would make a turn we would hear it.



We finally took it to a mechanic in our area who ended up replacing (and this is quoted directly from the receipt):

-2 or 3 (can't read writing very well) Sway Bar (link brushing and kilt (or kitt, i can't read his writing well)

-L strut and bearing plate

-R strut and bearing plate



The first two days after we got it it sounded fixed. But day 3 we started to hear the crunching again and no it sounds exactly like before. We paid this guy 625 dollars to fix this.



Does anyone have any idea what could be the real problem here? Is it serious? I (the wife) drive it a lot, and we have two small children.



Also, in case this is helpful depending on what the problem really is - we live in Western PA and the roads are horrible here. Pot-holes and poor patch jobs mark every street so we hear this crunching noise any time we run over anything realy

Comments

  • edited September 2008
    There's no way to know without looking at the vehicle. However, you paid this shop lotsof cash to fix it. Take it back and let him have another look. Any reputable shop will stand behind their work.

    By the way, the struts and their mounts as well as the sway bar links with bushings would be perfectly normal needs for a vehicle this age. I really don't see anything in your post to make me suspect the shop did anything unethical.
  • edited September 2008
    It is usually the sway bar bushings and the rest should not had been changed IMHO. Put some silicone spry on the bushings and see if the noise will go away temporarily. If yes then next time ask the shop to use the Moog blue bushings. I agree that the shop who charged you for the diagnosis and repair should fix the car now, but usually they will recommend to change another part that may or may not fix the problem.
  • edited September 2008
    Galant is right. The sway bar has bushings where the bar attaches to the frame of the car. The sway bar links are 2 short rods that attach the sway bar to another part of the car, the suspension. As the bushings get old they start

    to crunch over bumps. As links get old, depending on their design, they almost always rattle, different sound. You should ask the place exactly why they replaced the links, struts, and bearing plates. Are they trying to say that

    these 3 items together are causing the crunching?! Doesn't add up. Seems like they're using shotgun approach @ expense of your wallet, but it could be a legitimate repair. Most mechanics I know, when they hear a crunch from front of car over bumps, almost always think "sway bar frame bushings".

    PS: I don't think the sound in and of itself indicates anything unsafe. As a Pa. inspection mechanic I know Pa inspection is pretty rigorous compared to other states but since your roads are so bad maybe 6 mo. after pa insp. you should get another State Inspection except it won't be in the legal sense. They'll just go through the same procedure.
  • edited September 2008
    Just as a point of clarification, the links become corroded and it's frankly easier to just replace the links and bushings than just the bushings. The kit for each side is dirt-cheap if you use aftermarket parts.

    I still believe struts would not be an abnormal need anyway at this mileage, especially for a vehicle normally driven over the roads described, and would have considered them a suspect for the stated symptoms.

    But I respect that others opinions will vary on this.

    I agree that the sound is not likely to be anything unsafe, especially since the vehicle has been checked out.
  • edited July 2010
    I am having the same problem and have paid to have it fixed twice or more. Nothing seems to work. A week after having it fixed it started again.
    Perhaps I'm to stupid but I don't see an answer as what to do about or what specifically to tell the mechanic except that it isn't fixed.
  • edited October 2010
    Unfortunately the minivan platform has this issue. Hey Chrysler, let's pick up the quality of this front suspension and the transmission please! (Some Transmission modifications have been made) Having said that, A crunching sound is often associated with bad struts when heard while turning steering. A loose clunk sound up front is usually a stabilizer link. Both of these items are simply made cheap from Chrysler. They just don't last. I agree with two things I have read earlier. One is that it does appear that a "shotgun" approach was made by changing struts and links. If this was in fact done, it would have taken care of either sound. The second thing said was to go back to the mechanic and let them know that after trusting them to correct the problem, and hundreds of dollars paid to them, the problem still exists. They should stand behind it without any further cost, regardless of the problem. Because either they replaced things that weren't needed, or they didn't properly install what you paid for. Now having said that, it would behoove any driver of the minivan, to be conscientious of driving habits. Do what you want, but I suggest the following to help reduce stress and wear on front ends. Go SLOWER on bumpy roads and make "convenient" efforts to avoid chuck holes by watching out for them. I say convenient because you don't want to drive all over the road and cross the center line into traffic obviously, but too often we drive oblivious to road conditions and force our vehicle to just withstand it. Secondly, one of the hardest stresses on front ends is when we have our wheels turned and come down hard on the front end when pulling out of driveways from businesses etc that have a dip where the drive joins the road. That heavy lunge downward while the wheels are turn is a great way to overstress everything in the front end, from tires, struts, links, ball joints and idler arm. And hey since I am such a blunt suggester not shy to share my thoughts, the same is true with brakes. I recommend slowing down sooner, letting off the gas sooner and braking sooner. You'll save gas and prolong the life of your brake pads and rotors and drums significantly. Try not to be a driver that is either on the gas or the brake. Happy driving!! Doug
This discussion has been closed.