Is it and how do I replace a front wheel bearing on a 2000 Dodge Caravan?

Tiny
LETMECH
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 185,000 MILES
Passenger side wheel is frozen on front wheel drive.
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 4:44 PM

13 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Do you mean the wheel won't turn or the bearing assembly won't come off?

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 4:48 PM
Tiny
LETMECH
  • MEMBER
The Wheel won't turn. Tire went flat for my wife. Got a new tire on and then the wheel was locked up. I'm going out to pull it apart now. I don't know much about front wheel drive and wondered if there were other things that could cause it.
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 5:07 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Did you have just the one wheel jacked up while it was in park?

Caradiodoc
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+1
Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 6:24 PM
Tiny
LETMECH
  • MEMBER
Not sure exactly what you mean. The van was in park, parked where my wife left it. I left it in park while I jacked it up and removed the flat tire. I ran to Walmart in a different vehicle to buy a tire and have it mounted on the original rim. After I got back and put the new tire on, I tried to drive off and the wheel was locked. The driver side wheel has been and still is operating and trying to drag the van.

I just took the tire off and there is a fresh groove worn on the inside of the rim and a matching worn spot on the caliper. The rim turned until the caliper caught on an open spot on the rim and locked up. Could it be that walmart mixed up the rim? Or is it more likely that something broke and it's misaligned somehow?

By the way, First time on here. Thanks a million! I'm mechanically inclined but an extremely novice auto mechanic.
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 6:50 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Oh. The chances of them giving you the wrong wheel isn't real likely since most other ones won't bolt up. To be safe, compare tire sizes between the two front tires.

If that new groove is not all the way around, but only hitting on one side, it might be possible the wheel wasn't on straight. Since you saw a worn spot on the caliper, be sure it is mounted correctly. Most Chrysler calipers use two bolts that go in from the inside and thread into the steering knuckle. If one of them is missing it can allow the caliper to lift up and hit the inside of the wheel. The clue there is it WILL let the wheel turn in the other direction.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 6:59 PM
Tiny
LETMECH
  • MEMBER
I'm thinking about putting the donut spare on and seeing it it will drive with it. My concern is that if I do that, I'm making a possible problem worse by driving one wheel while the other is locked. Does that make any sense?
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 7:01 PM
Tiny
LETMECH
  • MEMBER
I will look deeper into that. I know that when I tried, the wheel wouldn't turn in either direction.
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 7:06 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup, you'll chew up the tire in a few yards. Take the wheel off, put the transmission in neutral, and try to turn the locked brake rotor by hand. It will turn hard but it will turn. Sticking a screwdriver into one of the rotor's vent slots will give you a bunch of leverage. If it is still locked, look in the hole on the top of the caliper to see if something fell in there like a rock or wheel weight.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 7:08 PM
Tiny
LETMECH
  • MEMBER
Here's what I just tried:
1. Rotor spins freely(some restriction like you said but no leverage needed)with the tranny in neutral.

2. Put tire on and finger snug lugnuts. Wheel turns but only as far as the caliper will allow. It's rubbing and stopping the wheel.

3. Tighten lug nuts. The wheel won't budge.

I'm going to try the donut spare in the same order and see if it might be the rim. It sat flat overnight and was driven what the wife calls "just a little ways." I would think even a low budget tire shop would notice a damaged rim though.
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 7:43 PM
Tiny
LETMECH
  • MEMBER
Tried the same with the donut spare and it spins fine. I took it off the jack stand and drove it around the farm slowly. No noises or other problems that I can see or hear. Is that it? Warped rim?
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 8:05 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Put that wheel on the back and see if it fits.

Gonna be gone for a few hours. When I get back, I want to read that you found the problem. :)

caradiodoc
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 8:13 PM
Tiny
LETMECH
  • MEMBER
Thanks again for all your help! OK, I took the bad wheel and put it on the back passenger side. I drove it lightly and there was no issues. Next, I put the good wheel that was on the back passenger side, onto the front passenger side where I had the donut spare. It seems to drive fine like that. I'm wondering if I would be better off running the spare on the back rather than the rim that I suspect is bad. I really have to get to work tomorrow morning and haven't had any luck finding a junkyard open today.
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 9:29 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I think I would put the spare on the back, leave the good wheel up front, and first chance you get, take the wheel back to Walmart and ask them to just spin it by hand on their balancer to see if the wheel is bent. If it is, you should be noticing the seat wobbling back and forth when you drive at slow speeds. It is possible for older tire changers to bend steel wheels, but most shops use "rim clamp" tire changers now to prevent scratching the wheels. They won't bend wheels.

Did your wife hit something that bent the wheel and caused the flat tire? Normally they would have seen the wheel was bent when they balanced it and it would have called for an unusually high amount of weight, but there is a protective cover that lowers over the wheel in case rocks fly off the tire. That cover hides the wheel unless they know of a reason they need to get down there and look at it.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 10:57 PM

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