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George H.
George H., ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
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Experience:  ASE Master 15+ years
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1998 Intrepid: rattle..Ball joint/control arms are..struts..assembly

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I have a 1998 Intrepid with a nasty rattle that seems to be coming from passenger front. Ball joint/control arms are new. Stabilizer links are new, struts are a year old (quick strut assembly) Rattle emanates through the whole car. All mounts check ok, the sway bar bushings are new and the inner tie-rod bushings are ok. I had the vehicle aligned today because the steering is very erratic. I know notice something peculiar. At highway speed when I accelerate hard (downshift) the vehicle pulls to the right...BUT when it shifts back to 3rd gear it feels as though the right front driveline "slips" and the vehicle immediately veers left! It's hard to describe what it feels like...a "slip" is the best I can think of. One thing for sure is I can absolutely feel it in the steering. Its as though the car is drifting like worn tie rods would do but my front end parts are all either brand new or in good condition.

Half shaft? I don't hear any clunk from them. I do get the LOUD rattle especially at lower speeds 35-50 mph on EVERY little bump. This sucks.


Hello I will help you with your question,


The subframe mount bushings fail on this vehicle and I need to know what the alignment shop said if they knew of the loose steering and erratic action. Did they just go ahead and do the alignment without trying to determine the source of the problem?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I asked them to look further for the noise...all they found was the rear sway bar bushings appeared to be worn. If after replacement the noise continued the struts were most likely the culprit. I did not agree with that one. I had the motor replaced by a reputable shop about 6 months ago. I would safely say that those 4 bolts/ bushings to drop the motor were agitated! Are these the bushings you are referring to?

Yes the bushings that the subframe bolts run through are what wears and leaves the subframe with a rattle and the steering can shift with the subframe.


You had the other wear item replaced? The inner tie rod ends/bushings? These are also a common problem but the way I read your question these have been replaced.


The shop that did the alignment owes you your money back if the steering shifts as you posted and they went ahead and aligned it.


If the engine has been replaced you need a shop you can trust to find what has become loose and concentrate on finding the problem not just replacing parts hoping they will hit it.


This should not be hard to find if you demonstrate the problem to the tech on a short testdrive.



Let me know how I can help you with this


Thank you



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
They told me the toe was so far out of spec it was out of range on machine! Inner/outer rod bushings and ends are good. I didn't mess with those. I replaced ball joints and stab links...that should not have changed the toe THAT drastically!

Ok...are those bushings pressed in? Cut to the chase...I have access to a hoist...are these a bitch to do?

The subframe bushings are easy to do, just loosen all the bolts and lower the front, replace the bushings by pulling the bolt out an popping the bushings out of the subframe and installing new then loosely install the bolts and remove the rear bolts. Control the subframe droop with a stand or floor jack..


The bushings will not affect the toe but they do rattle. I would be replacing the inner bushings if they have not been done. These do cause darting steering and can drastically affect toe. There has to be something loose for the steering to dart to one side then the other and the inner bushings are known to wear quickly.


The inner bushings are not hard to do, maybe 45 minutes.


Let me know how I can help you and I would find another shop to do the next alignment as this one only cares about taking your money not repairing the problem.





Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ok. Regarding the steering...I get the pulling to the right on downshift at highway speed on the subsequent upshift it seems to "relax" and slightly veer back to the is a very strange sensation...not normal FWD load drifting. Maybe a shaft? I have checked for movement in the front end components so many times in the last 2 months...I just don't see anything moving excessively anywhere! not even the Inner rod bushings. Shafts typically lose a boot and blow out grease or start clicking...especially in reverse 360 mode. Is what I'm describing something a shaft or bearing could do?

It might be a shaft but with the rattle it may be the engine/trans moving the subframe. Just a 1/4 inch on each wheel being pulled on the lower control arm would result in 1/2 inch of movement. I think if you can get everything tightened up and then align it the steering will feel normal again.


A shaft would be unlikely as it is rotating so there would be a vibration to go along with it but bearings certainly could do the shift for the steering. Ball joints and bearings are checked together by lifting the wheel about 2 inches off the ground and grasping the wheel top and bottom and rocking up and down to feel for play. You should feel very little. Then a bar under the wheel to lift and rock the wheel while feeling the ball joint to the lower arm movement. Any movement is too much and means the joint is loose.


The acceleration/deceleration movement would be worse if you had any looseness of the ball joint or the subframe so maybe all of this is the subframe bushings. They are not expensive and should take less than an hour to replace so then you will know if you still have more work to do after those are replaced.


Let me know





Customer: replied 6 years ago.
OK! Thank you very much. I want you to get your money but I may have a follow-up question or 2 pertaining to this issue. Would I be able to ask a question or 2 If I release your money now by accepting?

You can always post to this thread, it never closes to you and I will be notified when you make a post so any follow up questions are welcome.


I am curious what you find when you pull the bushings out, usually they are pretty worn and come out in pieces. You can look for shiny spots where the metal is sliding on metal for the noise and movement while you are replacing them.


Let me know what you find out






George H. and 4 other Dodge Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I will let you know. Thanks for your help.

Glad to help and I will watch for your post when you get a chance to check it out


Thanks for using JA!!



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Put it on the hoist today...1 front bushing and 1 rear bushing are bad. $200.00 for those parts. definitely the problem. Front Passenger and Rear drivers....of course!

Ahhh that is the problem.


Let me know if you have further questions



Thanks for letting me know



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Doesn't take much movement in those bushings to make for an unsettling steering issue. BTW, $140.00 for the rear bushing assy. $60.00 for the front bushing assy. Dealer part of course. And...I found the Dealer Service Manuals for 1st and 2nd Gen Intrepid online....FREE. That was a nice find. Let me know if you want "a few pages" from one or both. Thanks a hell of a lot George. I appreciate your help. Please confirm that you did get paid for this. Take Care.

Glad to help and I did get paid so I thank you for that.


I have the service information so I'm good there


Thanks again and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you in the future



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