Jim Grant's Tech Tips
'96 Dodge Caravan, Front End Rattle
Q: The front end on my 96 Dodge Caravan is very noisy. I have replaced the struts with no help. When going over bumps there is a very loud rattling noise.
- Paul B.
A: I would suggest a close inspection of the sway bar links and bushings. These components can be a bit of a problem to diagnose, yet can create a very pronounced rattle that you would believe to be coming from the struts. When checking these components the vehicle should be setting on the floor or on a drive-on lift. Jacking the front-end allows the suspension to drop, changes position and applies a load on the components. This often causes the worn or loose parts to be masked and difficult to diagnose. When checking the suspension components such as sway bar bushings and links it is best to check them in their normal operating position. On a side note, a rattle is more common to the sway bar links, while the sway bar bushings have a tendency to cause a thump.