1994 Dodge Grand Caravan SE, 110, 00 miles, 3.3 L V6


In preparation for a long-distance trip, my mechanic advised me that the front driver-side axle needed to be replaced. Up to this routine maintenance, there was no apparent wheel alignment problem, with the car riding perfectly straight, no drifting to the left or the right. The axle was replaced with a rebuilt axle from NAPA auto supplies. Upon retrieving the car, and upon acceleration from a stop, the car pulled dramatically to the left abating slightly at higher speeds with less pressure on the accelerator. In an attempt to remedy the problem, the same mechanic replaced the axle twice more only to experience the same problem. The wheel alignment was checked and double checked, with no misalignment problems discovered. Prior to this repair, brand-new tires (spin balanced) were replaced on the two front wheels.

Taking it to another mechanic for a second opinion, the wheel alignment was checked necessitating a slight adjustment. Although the car did not drift as much to the left after this wheel alignment, the problem was still not resolved. Consequently, during a routine transmission check approximately 5000 miles after the initial repair, a transmission mechanic suggested replacing the axle with a brand-new axle to see if that would solve the problem. It did not. He checked the engine mounts, the torsion bar, and all other drivetrain parts to see if he could discover a malfunctioning part. He did not. Consequently this car is still pulling to the left upon acceleration although not as dramatically as when the car was retrieved from the first mechanic. Prior to this repair, 2 brand-new front tires were installed even though the original front tires had only approximate 5000 miles on them. I believe this should rule out any possible tire problem.

I discovered in your question and answer forum, a previous question regarding a Caravan front end shimmy, you suggested that if one axle was replaced it would be necessary to replace both axles. Would you further elaborate on the reason for this, and comment on my specific problem.

Do you
have the same problem?
Tuesday, February 13th, 2007 AT 4:17 PM

1 Reply


Front wheel drives will "torque steer" on mid to hard acceleration, it is the nature of the FWD beast.I would check the l/f wheel bearing, it may have been over tightened and thus damaged on the 1st axle replacemant. Why both axles instead of just one? Because they wear out, both axles drive the vehicle and when turning the outboard CV joint takes a beating, unless something external damaged a boot at low mileage, the axles wear at the same rate, if one is bad the other is likely right behind it. Would you rather do both axles and not see your mechanic for a while or have the same noise on the other side in 2 weeks?

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Wednesday, February 14th, 2007 AT 8:00 AM

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