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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2002 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport 3.3L (car was originally from Canada).
I'm U.S. Army :gr_patrio stationed in Germany and need some advice.

Have a really bad metal on metal sound coming from the front right of the van. I go over speed bumps at 3 mph with the left front tire NO SOUND.
I go over same speed with the right front tire SOUNDS REALLY LOUD METAL ON METAL NOISE.
When I go over same thing with both tires straight over the bump it does not make any noise (I believe the left if compensating for the right).
Also, when going over bumpy roads the front right side of the car sounds like a poggo stick :mad:

Took it to the AAFES car shop here on Post and this is what they have done so far:
replaced the front struts = no change
replaced the front struts again = no change
replaced the stabilizer links = no change
replaced the sway bar links = no change
replaced the sway bar bushings (rubber bushing in the middle of the sway bar)
= no change

A couple of days ago, I put the car on a lift myself and redid the front and rear brakes (new rotors, turned the drums, new pads/shoes all around).
A friend was helping me out and showed me where the LOWER BALL JOINTs are and the one on the left looked normal and the one on the right looked a little worn out and possibly dry rotted a little.
My friend told me that is what is making the noise.

I did not measure either of the ball joints but, looked as if the Left one was around 1 inch. tall and the Right one was around 1/2 - 3/4 inch. tall (Right looked a little smaller thent he left).

Problem that I can understand and I hope someone can shed some light on this. I did not see any metal scapping marks (from the above metal on metal noise).
If no scrapping marks (where metal makes contact with other metal and leaves scars) - just wanted to clearify !!!
Then how can it be a Lower Ball Joint needs to be replaced ?

Your .02 would be greatly appreciated.
Also, I don't have a service manual and as far as I'm concered the people that work at the car shop on Post are idiots, so I won't be going back to them again.
Is replacing the Lower Ball Joints a pain in the ass or is it pretty much straight forward.

Thanks in advance,
Jeff
jgershen at hotmail dot com
 

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If the boot is damaged on the ball joint then it's a sure thing that water and dirt have gotten down there and caused the "ball & socket" some wear damage. The clunk you hear is the ball part moving up and down inside the socket part.

The easiest way to check for a bad ball joint is to raise the vehicle of the ground maybe three or four inches. Have a helper put a large prybar underneath the wheel of the offending side and try and move the wheel up and down while you observe the movement of the ball joint. If there seems to be a lot of movement, replace the ball joint....actually you really shouldn't see any movement if the ball joint is good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is installation pretty much straight forward OR is there any tricks I should be aware of :IDEA:
Also, should I replace both lower ball joints L and R or just the bad one ?
Thanks
 

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In my opinion you should do both.

I guess you'd call it a straight forward install. Generally ball joints have to be pressed out and in using a ball joint press. Some ball joints are held to the control arm with pressed in rivets (hot rivets) that have to be drilled out...then the new ball joint is held in with bolts.
 
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