1997 Chrysler Concorde play in the inboard CV joint normal?

Tiny
HAWKEYE9INTN
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 CHRYSLER CONCORDE
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 141,000 MILES
Hello all,
My '97 concorde developed a vibration that seems to start at low speed and gets steadily worse as vehicle speed increases. While removing the driveaxles to replace them with rebuilt units I noticed that the inboard CV joint (the female-splined portion that slides onto the output shaft of the trans) was able to move axially about 1/8" inch while the shaft stayed steady. I double-checked the bearings in the trans shaft for play and found none. To be clear, there is no slop when I twist the axle while holding the other axle so the splines are fine (I think), so I'm wondering if this is a normal function of the axle assembly?
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Sunday, February 21st, 2010 AT 6:39 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The play sounds normal. Does the vibration occur in the steering wheel? If so, have you checked for broken belts in the tires?

If the vibration occurs only when under load, suspect worn inner cv joint housings. The vibration will go away when cruising or coasting.

Caradiodoc
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Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 AT 1:31 PM
Tiny
HAWKEYE9INTN
  • MEMBER
At lower speeds it seems to be mostly in the steering wheel, but as the speed increases it will shake the car chassis.
It gets a little less violent if I'm not accelerating, but it definitely doesn't go away or subside very much.
I've purchased a new set of tires and asked that the tire tech be certain that they are balanced well, I went to a place that has one of those newer (roadforce?) Balancers to be sure.
I think I'll grab a pair of axles since they're fairly cheap these days, and bolt it all back together for a test-run before going through the effort of removing the trans.

Thanks for the advice, I'll post the results this weekend after the road test!
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Thursday, February 25th, 2010 AT 6:19 AM
Tiny
HAWKEYE9INTN
  • MEMBER
Something is definately wrong. The new axle is sloppy on the trans shaft just like the old one was.

I don't think there's any reason to put it back together like it is, since it seems that the transmission output shaft is worn and not just the inboard CV joint housing that slides over it.

I looked at the axles on the parts car I have and there's not nearly as much play as mine has, even though the parts car has twice the miles on it.

It makes no sense to me that the engineers would not make the shafts hardened more than the axle housings so that any wear would be on the easily replaceable component. Then again, this is chrysler we're talking about.

I suppose I'll pull both tranny's and swap the shafts unless someone has a suggestion as to another cause or remedy for this, I was really hoping to avoid all that extra work.

Feel free to throw your 2 cents in if you've ever had any situation similar to this.I don't want to miss something simple if at all possible.

Thanks. Hugh
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Friday, February 26th, 2010 AT 8:32 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I'm not convinced you've found the problem. 1/8" of slop is not out of the ordinary. You would also see metal shavings and the stub shaft would be chewed up. After rereading my first reply, I see I wasn't clear on the wear I was refering to with the inner cv joint. The fact that the joint moves up and down 1/8" is irelevent because it would only cause a vibration in the driveline at very high rpm. The vibration would not be transferred to the steeing wheel. Plus, it's not spinning near fast enough to be noticeable, and you certainly wouldn't get a noticeable vibration at low speeds.

The wear I was referring to has to do with the roller surfaces inside the inner cv joint housings. I ran into about two dozen of these in one two-year period at the dealership, but these were all on minivans. The same joints were used on cars, but I don't recall ever finding a bad housing on a car. The symptoms you described fit perfectly though.

There was not much the vehicles with bad joints had in common. The model years and mileages varied widely. Only the side was fairly consistant. The problem was almost always on the right side. The problem was so common for a while, I tore my own van apart for the same reason, totally overlooking a broken tire belt. And I'm supposed to be the expert! Eventually I developed a procedure for diagnosing this problem. Remember, this applies to minivans. The only difference with your Intrepid is you are supposed to replace the axle nut every time it is loosened.

First of all, the weight of the car must be off the wheel bearing before the axle nut is loosened. The nut and outer cv joint housing hold the bearing together. The bearing will become noisy if the car's weight is on it when it's not held tightly together.

With the nut removed, use your thumb to push the outer joint toward the transmission. It should be hard to move, but will go about an inch, then spring back under heavy spring pressure. If it does not spring back, the inner joint's spring is broken. Replacement springs with cups on the end are avaiable from the dealer. Note than the outer joint on Intrepids is usually stuck in the bearing so you might have to check the spring when the joint is disconnected from the bearing.

Usually if the spring was broken, the inner housing was also worn, but with most worn housings, the spring was only broken about 10 percent of the time. The inner joint must be disassembled to inspect it. Watch out when pulling the rollers out. Some joint manufacturers don't include a clip on the ends of the tripod to hold the rollers on. If they fall off, you'll be chasing needle bearings around on the floor.

Wipe the grease out of the housing, then run your finger along the six polished rolling surfaces. If you can feel the slightest irregularity, you REALLY have junk. Next, when those surfaces are perfectly clean, shine a light into the housing and look at the reflections. If you see any waviness, similar to looking at the body of a car reflecting in the ground at a car show, the housing must be replaced. When the shaft rotates, the rollers run back and forth on these surfaces to let the shaft change angles and length. Under the load of accelerating, the rollers will bind in the low spots and won't roll freely. As a result, the shaft pushes out against the outer joint, bearing and hub, steering knuckle, lower control arm and steering linkage. Pushing on the steering linkage is why you feel the steering wheel shimmy. Another clue of this problem is the binding and shimmying stop when cruising or coasting. If you still feel the shimmy when coasting up to a stop sign, recheck for broken tire belts. Switch the front and rear tires and do another test drive.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, February 27th, 2010 AT 4:01 AM
Tiny
HAWKEYE9INTN
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I've gotten new (not rebuilt) axles for both sides and have the drivers side (longer) one installed at the moment.

There was some wear in the CV joints of the old axles but no rough spots, just some lash when held in a vise and twisted by hand, but the axles themselves are out of the equation with the new ones unless they've given me the wrong ones.

I carefully measured the compressed length of new Vs. Old and looked at both ends and they appear to be a match.

If I could upload a short video clip from my blackberry I could show exactly the nature and extent of the play I'm referring to between the axle and the stub shaft.

I wasn't concerned about it until I checked the parts car and found it to be much more firm on the connection than my new axles were on the good car.

I looked closely at the stub shaft and inside of the new axle to be sure there was no debris or broken snap ring to keep the axle from seating fully, and I heard the distinct "snap" when I slid the new axle over the stub shaft last night, so I'm fairly certan its installed properly.

I'm going to install the second axle and refill the trans/diff fluids today and see what happens.
With the cost of fluids these days I would be upset if I had to dump $75 worth into the recycle tank, but maybe it'll be fine, worst case is I end up pulling it all back off to use the shafts from the parts car.

I'll keep you posted, again feel free to critique or advise, and thanks for the swift reponses!
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Saturday, February 27th, 2010 AT 7:57 AM

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