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We have a 2004 Pacifica that rocks and bounces terrible in…

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We have a 2004 Pacifica...
We have a 2004 Pacifica that rocks and bounces terrible in the back. No dealer has been able to help us. They just say the back shocks aren't leaking. I cannot believe Chrysler would put out a product like this. Something has to be wrong. It rocks or bounces from side to side when you hit even a small bump.
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Chrysler
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Answered in 24 minutes by:
6/2/2011
Chrysler Mechanic: Brad, ASE Certified Technician replied 6 years ago
Brad
Brad, ASE Certified Technician
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Satisfied Customers: 2,366
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Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.com!

This is pretty typical as there isn't a whole lot of weight in the rear to keep it more stable. I don't know how long you've had this vehicle or what you drove before, but most of these modern front-wheel-drive vehicles have most of the weight in the front and this causes the rear to rock and bounce like you describe.

You didn't mention if you replaced the rear shocks or not, and if they are original then there's a good chance they are worn (even if not leaking).. especially considering the vehicle is 7 or 8 years old. This may help with the condition, but don't expect miracles.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Brad,

I am finally back to you, something happened and I could not view the answer yesterday. I was asked to log in but the site could not verify me for some reason. I have been working with customer service ever since. I was charged but never read your reply.

Our previous vehicles included a Plymouth Reliant and two Dodge Caravans. We were well accustomed to front wheel drive vehicles but nothing as heavy as this Pacifica.

No, we have not replaced the rear shocks yet but are considering it. They are expensive and we are afraid this won't help the ride. When following the vehicle I noticed one side looks lower than the other and somethimes when getting in and out of the car I hear a wierd noise in the back.

Do you think the later year models were any better? We have considered driving another one since this was the first year they came out. I wonder if the rear suspension was changed after 2004?

Nathan

Chrysler Mechanic: Brad, ASE Certified Technician replied 6 years ago
The later years are the same design.

If it is leaning to one side then this is usually a problem with one of the coil springs - possibly worn, cracked, or broken. Just make sure this is the case because if the ground isn't perfectly level, it can appear to be leaning when it really isn't.

A worn or broken stabilizer bar link back there could cause the instability and the noise, but shouldn't cause it to sag. Also worn bushings or shock mounts back there can cause problems like you describe and often will look normal in a visual inspection (until disassembled).

Personally, at this point I would go somewhere other than the dealer and have it looked at. Sometimes dealers get blinded with "Technical Service Bulletins" and don't take the time to properly look it over. These things have had many published front end issues (which they seem to have addressed) but nothing for the rear. Sometimes they get so focused on "design flaws" that they don't bother to notice that a perfectly good part has simply worn out over the course of 7 years!

Find an independent shop to take it to for another opinion, and make sure they take a good look at the rear shock mounts, the rear springs, the rear stabilizer bar and links, and to check the rear bushings for play. If everything looks good then your only course of action may be to go ahead and replace the rear shocks - but yes they are expensive!
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Thanks for the help. I think we have more insight into the problem now. We had considered taking it to another shop so we will probably do that. What you say is indeed true about the dealers and we don't feel like they have thoroughly checked everything.

Nathan

Chrysler Mechanic: Brad, ASE Certified Technician replied 6 years ago
That's a big reason why I quit working for the dealers. I wish I had more 'solid' information to give you but it's difficult without being able to see the car personally.
Brad
Brad, ASE Certified Technician
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Satisfied Customers: 2,366
Experience: ASE Certified Master Technician
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Yes, I know what you mean. It is difficult to diagnose without seeing the car. Anyway, thanks and I may be back to you with future comments/questions.

Nathan

Chrysler Mechanic: Brad, ASE Certified Technician replied 6 years ago
Let me know what they find (if anything).. Maybe I can still help.. if nothing else you have me very curious here! Enjoy your weekend!
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Brad,

We took it to a reputable tire shop we have used for years and they found the rear alignment to be out. We also bought a new set of tires and the ride is now more stable (not so much wobble or rocking in the back).

They said the shocks look original and with over 100,000 miles on the car they would recommend replacing them but could not guarantee it would help. We might do this later; it appears to be about a $1,000.00 job.

Nathan

Chrysler Mechanic: Brad, ASE Certified Technician replied 6 years ago
It's good to know that you've been able to improve the condition. While they are good for many things, the dealer is often not the 'best' choice for service.

Given the high price for the rear shocks, it would be difficult for me to recommend you replace them if you are happy (happier?) with the handling of the vehicle, and if you aren't seeing any adverse tire wear.

For the record, $1000 does seem a bit on the high side... dealer list for the rear shocks are $330 each and labor is only 1.0 hour. I think you could easily get that price down below $750 if you shop around.. but even that is a big pill to swallow!
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Brad,

Thanks for the reply. The dealer quoted us $417.00 each for the shocks and $180.00 labor. Maybe they misquoted us.

We are happier with the ride but we might do this too after we recover from the $800 set of Michelins.

Nathan

Chrysler Mechanic: Brad, ASE Certified Technician replied 6 years ago
Wow that's a crazy price. Definitely shop around when it comes time to do them. I could do them for $700.. maybe even less!
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Yeah, they are proud of those things. Said they were made by Mercedes or something? Anyway, I'll let you know sometime the outcome. Thanks.

Chrysler Mechanic: Brad, ASE Certified Technician replied 6 years ago
Well they are designed to last the "life of the vehicle", but by what I've seen today's standards seems to be about 100,000 miles!

But like I said before... If you're happy enough with the ride and you're not seeing any unusual tire wear then there is no real need to replace them.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
I agree. Thanks.
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