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sprinkles08, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep master tech
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 22655
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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When backing up with brakes lightly applied if I turn the

Customer Question

When backing up with brakes lightly applied if I turn the wheel I get a repetative clunking sound and vibration. Vehicle is a 2003 Dodge Durango SXT/Sport 4.7L V8 MPI.
JA: Do you have power steering? Have you checked the power steering fluid? Are you hoping to fix this yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Yes, I have power steering. No, I haven't checked the fluid. No, I have contacted a mechanic friend of mine for some help with the diagnosis. I have tried nothing as I didn't know where to start. Seemed to me it was somehow related to the brakes as it only occurs when brakes are applied. But brakes work fine otherwise. Steering works fine otherwise as well.
JA: Anything else you think the mechanic should know?
Customer: It also occurs when I turn left or right from a stop and ease off the brakes slowly. Moving either forward or backward with brakes applied and wheel turned either left or right.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dodge
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 11 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

It's definitely possible that the problem could be with the brakes but it may also be in the rear differential, front differential, a front CV shaft or possibly the transfer case. Brake noise seems likely if it happens when pressing the brake pedal but that wouldn't explain why it happens when turning, brake noise should be present whether you're turning or not.

Can you tell if the noise comes from the front or rear?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Difficult to say, but if I had to guess it seems like it is coming more from the rear.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
It is also more prevalent when the vehicle has first been started after resting overnight. After 20 minutes of driving it is not as likely to make the clunking noise as it is before the trip.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 11 months ago.
Will it only happen with the brake pressed or any time you're turning tightly at slow speeds?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Tried different movements this morning to see what combination of thongs would make it happen. When backing out of my parallel parking space, the clunking could be heard and felt seemingly from the rear and only when brakes were applied in reverse with wheel turned. Felt like brakes were grabbing and slipping and grabbing and slipping. As I continued in reverse and straightened the wheel it stopped. As I turned in the other direction it started again. Wheel didn't need to be turned tightly for this to occur, maybe only 10 or 15 degrees.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Couldn't make it occur this morning while moving forward with brakes applied, but came to the first intersection, stopped in the right turn lane with steering wheel turned slightly. When light turned green I removed my foot from the brake and applied gas and as the car started moving forward I felt it again with just two short clunks before the car accelerated and I completed my turn. Brake was not applied at that time. Sort of felt like my rear wheel was trying to spin but not gripping the road, again like a feeling of grabbing and slipping and grabbing and slipping.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
By the time I got to work 20 minutes later I creeped backwards into a parking space and did not feel or hear anything. Seems to be more predominant when the car is "cold". (Cold is a relative term in Florida. Perhaps "rested" would be more accurate.)
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 11 months ago.

Have the brakes been looked at yet at all? I think you may be hearing noise from the differential clutches.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Not yet. I am planning on having the brakes examined this weekend. I just thought the symptoms might suggest the need to focus on something else and that you might be able to recognize the problem and point me in the right direction. Sounds like you are as puzzled by this one as I am. I agree with you that if it was just the brakes I wouldn't expect the noises to be affected by the steering.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 11 months ago.

Unfortunately I'm unable to hear the noise.

Based on the description I believe you're actually hearing noise from the limited slip clutches in the rear differential, it may not actually be related to applying the brake.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I will look at the brakes and the rear differential tomorrow and let you know what I find out.
Hopefully it is one or the other.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 11 months ago.