1999 Dodge Caravan Left (driver) side no front wheel drive

Tiny
WILLIE9622
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 159,000 MILES
The driver side wheel doesn't engage in forward or reverse, yet the passenger side wheel does both fine. How do I find out if I need to repair/replace the transaxle or the whole transmission?
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Friday, March 27th, 2009 AT 10:30 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
How did you determine this? Are you having a problem? Are there any unusual noises? Not much information so I'll have to guess.

If you have the vehicle jacked up so both front tires are off the ground, it's normal for only one wheel to spin. Hit the brakes, then block the spinning wheel, release the brakes and the other wheel will spin. That's normal and proper.

There was a common problem in older vans where the large pin in the differential would walk out and catch on the back of the transmission case and break it. You'd have transmission fluid all over and the van would not move.

A broken cv joint will prevent the van from moving but there would be all kinds of racket. This isn't common. Based on the lack of other symptoms, I would guess you just have the tires off the ground. If there's other important information, holler back.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, March 28th, 2009 AT 1:55 AM
Tiny
WILLIE9622
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Thank you for your response. I tested this morning, with both wheels jacked up, put on the brakes, and when I removed the brake the driver side wheel tried to turn but made a rattling noise, turned only a couple times around, then stopped and the right side started up again. What next? Do I need to change the drive axle or the whole tranny? Thank you.
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Saturday, March 28th, 2009 AT 1:20 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You still didn't answer any questions. It sounds to me like it's working fine. You need to block the spinning wheel before the other one will turn. The rattling noise is because there's no weight on the spinning wheel bearing.
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Saturday, March 28th, 2009 AT 7:14 PM
Tiny
WILLIE9622
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OK, so this morning I blocked the passenger side wheel, and the driver side wheel did turn, but made a noise like a tin can full of bolts being shaken. What am I looking at?
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Sunday, March 29th, 2009 AT 11:27 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Noise is normal because there's no weight on it. What kind of a problem are you looking for? Every single thing you've said so far sounds completely normal.
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Monday, March 30th, 2009 AT 2:46 AM
Tiny
WILLIE9622
  • MEMBER
The original problem, which is still present, is loud rattling from the left front wheel while I drive. It happens in forward or reverse, but not at idle. It is not brakes, as I have checked all of those components. That's why I started checking with the wheels jacked up. I tried to drive away from my curb again this morning and had the noise louder than ever. My debate is whether to start pulling the left drive axle myself, or to give up for a full transmission replacement.
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Saturday, April 4th, 2009 AT 12:53 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
This almost sounds like a worn outer cv joint. The only other thing that can make that kind of noise would be the wheel bearing, but they usually make a buzzing noise. If they're real bad, you can easily wobble the tire and wheel when it's jacked up.

Before you waste any more time hunting for the problem, consider having an inspection done at a Sears Auto Center or similar place. They used to offer a free inspection as a way to get people to come in. Don't know if they still do that or not, but it's worth asking.

By the time cv joints make that much noise, the rubber boots are usually ripped too and grease is sprayed all over.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, April 5th, 2009 AT 3:37 AM

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