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Chrysler Pacifica Suspension Problems



  • rodutrodut Posts: 343
    Happy New Year Steelydan !

    We didn't chat since about 3 years ago ! We couldn't forget each other because we were alone bravely fighting for the Pacifica ! Lots of posts really ...

    Yes, you are right, a transition from ice to clean concrete, while my wife was trying to climb on our clean driveway (from the icy road), blew both axles at the same time. Probably not the car's fault ... fortunately it was still in warranty, so Chrysler replaced the axles.

    Truth is ... I still look after Pacificas when I see them on the road. The damn beasts look beautiful !

    IMPORTANT for your safety: YEARLY CHECK if your front wheels have a play in them (caused by bad ball joints). The front end clunking, which comes standard on Pacificas, mask the clunking potentially caused by bad ball joints. I am sure you know that bad ball joints could cause the wheel to fall off, so it's lethal danger ! Check the front end YEARLY ! It's low price, because all they have to do is to lift the car, and manually push-pull the front wheels to see if they are loose or not.

    Having a bad ball joint at 40,000 Kms (25,000 miles) triggered my decision to get rid of the car. Not the blown axles.
  • Hello everyone,
    My wife and I bought our 05 pacifica 2 days before the birth of our first child. She had a Liberty and when O placed the infant seat in it, and it was against the door, I knew a bigger, stronger, safer car was needed.

    My father owns a garage, 25 years, and I have been a co-owner for 19 years. We have worked on just about every type of vehicle and the Pacifica was an easy decision.

    Purchased 3 years ago w/ 38,000 miles, it has been maintenance free (except tires and oil). Until last month...

    We have never had the CLUNK issue as described in many of these posts, but it started in December. My wife never mentioned it until I was driving it and noticed it. She said "oh that?"...

    I put it up on the lift and the first thing I see, the beginning of the subframe rot that has been mentioned.... But more on that later...

    Doing the NORMAL suspension checks, NOTHING stood out (and I am good at finding things). I did find a bad rear motor mount (leaking fluid) and it was in the area of the clunk sound. Hmmmm, could be... After changing that and driving it, No... But the mount needed to be replaced anyway. BUT, in the course of changing the mount, I had to loosen the subframe bolts to lower the cradle a few inches. Well, the upper mounts (isolater bushing) are large rubber donuts with a metal washer attached to the top. EVERY SINGLE ONE was rotted and brittle. Hmmmm, closer? Ordered new mounts (tops and bottoms) and replaced them. The ride was instantly and noticeably BETTER (didn't know it was bad until now), but the clunk was still there. Now to the internet for ideas, which brought me here...

    After reading ALL the posts, I was more frustrated but armed with the possibility of getting the $1300 subframe (my cost) replaced by Chrysler and not my pocket. I called the local Chrysler dealer and they said that MY vehicle was not covered but to call Chrysler and report it. I did and spoke with a case manager who spoke with the dealer and scheduled an appointment to evaluate the subframe. 30 minutes at the dealership and Chrysler has agreed to replace it this Tuesday 1/25/11....

    But the clunk is still there and aggravating me, so I put it back on the lift and revisited everything. The NORMAL checks I described earlier, had me pry, twist and bang on the sway bar. I disconnected the sway bar links and checked them and they were fine.... WHAT AM I MISSING!?

    I decided to tie the links up and leave the sway bar unhooked for a short test. NO NOISE, NO BANG, NOTHING.... Back on the lift, checked the sway bar bushings again and still they look good. No abnormal movement or wear visible.... KEY WORD IS VISIBLE!

    4 bolts to remove the sway bar bushings and pull them from the bar. They still look good, feel good, no wear.... UNTIL I put them back on the swaybar. They obbled. THEY WOBBLE! They were eggshaped from side to side instead of up and down. I have never seen that. $6 each and the noise is GONE!

    The car rides better that ever and goes in for the frame this week. $300 and a few hours of my time and the car is as good as new.

    So if you have the clunk/bang, when your mechanic checks your car again, ask them to remove and check the 2 rear cradle top mounts (or isolators) for the rot, disconnect the swaybar and remove/check the bushings (they are $6 each), and also the control arms (they are easy to detect bad ones but about $400 each).

    My wife loves her Pacifica and we are expecting our second child in May. This Pacifica is ready for the new arrival...
  • I know it has been awhile but it is hard to find info regarding this issue. I am about to order the lower control arms myself. Did that resolve your popping noise? thanks.
  • No, no one could really tell me what the popping noise was.
  • steelydanfansteelydanfan Houston Posts: 134

    my mechanic replaced lower control arms, tie rod ends, new front struts, and generally "tightened" up the front end the best he could.

    Also a new 4 wheel alignment after the above repairs.......

    my clunk is lessened, but still there. I am at 96,000 miles now, so I will drive to about 120,000 and then just replace the vehicle. It is better than it was, and I think it is related to all of the bushings ( which are not replaceable) that these front suspension pieces use............maybe the later years improved on this, but my early 2004 , not quite there on this issue.

    I will chalk this up to just a bad front end design.....

    I will also say that the "popping " sound you describe can be related to the CV joints and "half shafts" in the front drive system itself. I hear a "pop" sound myself when I shift from R to D after backing out of my driveway.....Sometimes it is louder than others, sometimes not at all.

    The car does drive perfectly normally at all times, and I don't notice any braking issues, etc.

    I have learned to live with this......I have spent all of the time and money I will ever spend on this front end..........It is what it is for my 2004 Pacifica...I will not buy a brand new design in the first year of production again, domestic or foreign.......

    The Pacifica has not been a disaster, but it could have been better.......
  • Did you ever find the problem or get it fixed? I have the same problem on mine.
  • Had to replace cv shafts on both sides to resolve turning popping. Clunking when shifting r to d was engine mounts. Had to replace those 2x now & I'm at 128k
  • steelydanfansteelydanfan Houston Posts: 134

    You are right about the engine mounts. I had them replaced also at about 89,000 miles.......I believe the mechanic said 2 out of 3 were cracked, one was bad. I agree they are responsible for the "clunk or pop" from R to D.

    I have ALWAYS come to a complete stop going from R to D, so the only thing I ever heard with the old mounts was a little, sharp "pop" sound, but not always.

    My CV joints ( knock on wood) are still OK at 97,000plus miles.

    davesgirl93, have you ever replaced the timing belt on the 3.5L ? I noticed you were at 127K, I'm at 97K. The owner's manual says replace at 102K.

    I am going to replace it , and drive on to about 125K, then take inventory........

    I'm guessing that is a $750 job, including the water pump replacement.......any feedback on that figure would be welcome.......


    Brooks Davis
  • No, I have not donned the belt. I really should, one day its Donna leave me stranded! I still have a shifting Clunking between 2nd and 3rd gears. It was fixed one time, but OT was not what I took the car in for, so I don't know what they did to fix it! I do know that the Clunking went away for about 20k miles. Tells me its some sort of chassis or frame bolts that must rattle loose?
  • steelydanfansteelydanfan Houston Posts: 134
    edited February 2011

    I know what you mean by clunking "going away" for awhile.....My mechanic , who is a reputable guy that makes his living by repairing cars, says he "tightens" things up when I am in for an oil change, etc, and it seems to be "tighter" when I leave.........but he makes it clear that he's not giving me any guarantees.....

    Bottom line: Clunking has many sources in the Pacifica.............None fatal, but a Clunk is a Clunk , of course, of course..........( Sorry , Mr. Ed ) younger Pacifica drivers won't get that, but some of us AARP drivers will...................... :)
  • faroutfarout Posts: 1,609
    As for the tranny clunk there seems to be even more TSB's that might clear that up. I had our torque converter replaced again at 82,000 miles under the lifetime power train warranty. Now I have 92,400 miles and has not given any trouble again.

    It takes 1 mile of rough gravel road and a really steep hill to get to our house. The PAC does better than any of the three Jeep Liberty"s we owned. So I am pretty pleased with it. I expect some rattles and even a clunk or two. Yes us AARP folks seem to take some clunks or bumps along life's fast lane. The end of the road is closer than you think when even the AARP magizine is not worth reading.
  • After starting to work on my wife's 2006 Pacifica. I decided to start doing some research here. Thanks for everyone's posts here, great info.

    We bought it used with 28k and it has been pretty maint. free until now (50k). I was replacing one of the rear shocks (wow these are expensive) and when I tried to lower the rear subframe (one side at a time), the front bolt would not come loose. When it finally did it spun the aluminum inner sleeve of the bushing out. Basically, the aluminum had corroded and seized with the bolt. Went to do the other side, same deal. The rear bushings were fine, but they are a different design. Needless to say, I'm not too happy with this. Now I have to take the whole subframe out and have new bushings pressed in the front two mounts.

    Wondering if anyone here has experienced or had a problem with these? I looked for any tsb regarding these but couldn't find any. Wondering if I should report to Chrysler and see if they will do anything for me?

    I also wanted to ask if the motor mount problem occurs on 2006's? Most of the posts I see here are for MY's 2004-05? My front cradle isn't rusted too bad, but there is rust visible around 2 of the motor mounts. The rear/middle motor mount does look like it should be replace, although I'm not noticing any clunks and whatnot.
  • charger3charger3 Posts: 210
    The rear shocks are self leveling why did it need replacement? The rust on the cradle is normally in the middle back
  • When I put it up for oil change/normal inspection, the right rear shock had fluid leaking out.
  • jaylepjaylep Posts: 1
    Have followed this forum for some time as I purchased an 04 Pacifica and had the infamous Chrysler clunk in the front. my problem ended up being the sway bar bushings. Even if these look okay, get them changed. I changed my sway bar links first and still had the clunk but the bushings took car of it. It's a cheap fix if you do it yourself.

    With regards to the engine cradle, I have the popping sound shifting from D to R and vice versa. I have been told I have some broken engine mounts and I know these can't be real easy to change and very costly. I have 114,000 on my Pacifica and the engine cradle rust is something I want to look into. If I'm laying underneath my car, where do I want to look? Is it a subframe above the actual vehicle frame?
  • charger3charger3 Posts: 210
    The whole frame you see in the front is it. It's like a turtles back with a hole for the engine oil pan. The rust is usually just behind the oil pan on the left or right side.
  • chausnerchausner Posts: 1
    After having several shops and the dealer checking for the CLUNK issue on our 2004 Pacifica, I read this forum and decided to replace the drivers side lower control arm.
    As I was installing the new one, I noticed the front control arm frame hole was slightly egg shaped (Just enough to move side to side).
    With the bolts slightly loose, I pulled back and forth on the control arm......I heard the famous CLUNK.
    The old control arm and bushings were in great shape, so I know it wasn't the problem.
    **Try tightening the drivers side front control arm bolt as tight as possible, as a start. **
    I don't know if it was a hole drilling screw up when the frame was drilled at the factory, or a wear issue.
    That's what fixed mine.
    Good luck
  • vtraudtvtraudt Posts: 52
    Has someone with a newer model (2007 and up) found similar 'clonk' issue, front suspension issues?
    All posts I found so far seem to be on 2006 and older models?
    Did they 'fix' the issue on the newer ones?
    I have a 2007 with 68k miles, and start to notice 'mild' form (but could be normal wear in the suspension components) in the front.
  • vtraudtvtraudt Posts: 52
    Can you be more specific which hole was deformed?
    I would venture a guess it is wear, not 'mis drilled' (which doesn't happen anymore with today's numerically controlled machines).
  • faroutfarout Posts: 1,609
    Yes!!!! This was been an issue.Our 07 has had the Sway Bar Links replaced twice. If you go on some rough roads on a regular basis that does it. I have no complaint as we go in and out on one mile of very rough gravel, dirt and holes, to get to our home. However I must tell ya our three Jeep Liberty's did far worst, and needed more upkeep. The PAC AWD is fantastic as far as we are concerned. We now have just a few miles short of 95,000 miles. Hope this helps.
  • popsgirlpopsgirl Posts: 7
    Hi: I have a 04 Pacifica. My mechanic said the sub frame was rusted. I called Chrysler,still waiting on a reply. In the mean time. I stopped by a dealer today to see if my Pacifica was covered under the "10 yr /150000 mile warranty". The service manager said he has not heard about the warranty. I am in the USA. Does the warranty cover the USA and Canada? Side note: My Pacifica was made in Canada and sold in the USA. - If warranty was issued by Chrysler Canada - would my Pacifica be under the warranty?
  • faroutfarout Posts: 1,609
    All Pacificas were made in Canada, much like the Dodge Caravans and Chrysler Town & Country's of today.

    Your dealer is uninformed, and knows how to contact Chrysler and find out for him or her self. Insist they call Chrysler to find out forsure
  • popsgirlpopsgirl Posts: 7
    Farout: Thanks for the reply. I agree and not sure what is going on with the dealer. It appears in the US, people are not getting a good response from Chrysler on the rusted sub frame. I still have not made contact with the person who issued a case number for my problem at Chrysler.

    If the folks who received the letter about the 10 yr / 150,000 extended warranty could post the letter or give more details on the letter I would really appreciate it.

    If I could post the date of the letter; who (person who signed /department ) sent the letter; if there is a reference number (e.g. TSB#, etc); who should be contacted if the Pacifica has the rusted sub frame.

    I would appreciate anyinfo. Thanks.
  • charger3charger3 Posts: 210
    I tried to post the letter but I could not copy paste to this web site. If I had an email I could send it but that is not safe for you unless you set one up just for this and don't use it again
  • popsgirlpopsgirl Posts: 7
    Hi Charger3: Here is an email you can send the info to [email protected] I would really appreciate getting the info on the letter. THanks. ">
  • geno1398geno1398 Posts: 1
    Hi my pacifica is doing the same thing, can you send me a copy of that letter. Just email me and I can send you my address, I would be happy to pay you for your services as well. My email is [email protected]
    Thank you and god bless. Gene
  • charger3charger3 Posts: 210
    I sent email of letter hope it helps
  • charger3charger3 Posts: 210
    Email sent
  • popsgirlpopsgirl Posts: 7
    Charger3 - I received the email. Thank you very, very much. I think with this email, some red faces will be appearing at the dealership and Chrysler.

    Will let you know how I make out.
  • Hi charger3...that was really nice of you to forward that letter to popsgirl! I was on the forum about a year ago....I have a 2004 with about 124,000 miles right strut mount broke and the strut punctured a whole in my hood....I've also had a lot of trouble with motor mounts...the popping, etc... I had asked a long time ago for someone to send me a copy of the new warrenty or letter describing it and got no responses... If I set up an email for you, would you be willing to send it my way too..... I'd really appreciate it.....I love my pac and want to get a few more years out of it if I can... Thanks!
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