Question about 1995 Dodge Caravan

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CV up and down movement while in transaxle.

Dear Tech Service,

I have a 1995 dodge caravan 3.0 motor. I recently inspected the van for front end hobble or vibration while breaking from 40mph. Was thought to be brakes but found the cv boot off from the driver side axle now dry and dirty. Upon my inspection of both axles I find the driver side axle has slop and or up and down movement closest to the transmission. The passenger side does not have any play or movement what so ever. Is the movement i see typical? I thought it was the bearing inside the housing and the old axle creating the issue. I have a new axle with the same up and down movement. The bearing that sits in this race is not where the slop is noticed. Its in the sleeve and spline area located in between the removable housing with the race installed on it and the inside of the transmission. Exactly how much up and down movement should I see. The initial issue identified is vibration upon breaking stopping from 40mph. No vibration in pedal indicating warped rotors. The CV bearing immediately found opening the transmission housing are tight in the race. They are a little scored but not damaged. There is a sleeve with a stop holding this bevel bearing into place. Is it possible this sleeve has worn now causing the slop to the axle allowing this up and down movement? Or is up and down movement allowed and if so approximately how much is allowed. I also looked for a book with diagrams of this inside piece of the transmission so that I can replace the bearing while I have it open and haynes does not have it. I'm wondering if there is a very detailed book referencing this particular trans axle. If so please let me know. I'm not opposed to the work I've already dismantled this van in hopes of solving this vibration issue. Maybe with the new axle the issue may go away however, to satisfy my curiosity I'd love to know if this is a common issue. I wanted to replace the bearing but couldn't get the sleeve to move and the haynes manual don't describe what tools and method is necessary to remove and replace this bearing. Please help me or point me in a good direction I'm willing to learn. I'd rather gain the knowledge as opposed to going to a car shop I'm half way there.
Thank you in advance for any info you provide.
Scott Wachowski

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Posted on Jul 03, 2009


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1 Answer

What else besides a CV joint can cause a wobble under acceleration up to around 50 mph, then fades away?

Possibly worn motor and trans mounts. Easy test is to open the hood and start the engine. Hold the brake tight and put the van in reverse, rev the engine slightly and look for the engine to rock, now keep holding the brake tight and switch from reverse to drive and again rev the engine slightly and look for the engine to rock the other way. If you get more than say a few inches of movement you should have your mounts changed.

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Hello, I just purchased a used 97 Dodge Caravan Se and when I was driving it down the road it started to shake and make a grinding noise in the front end. Does anyone have an idea of what this could be?...

Sounds like your front passenger's side wheel bearing might be going bad. It could also be the cv axle is going bad. Have it looked at before it gets worse and possibly seizes up on you.

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How do you remove a front axle

  • The replacement of the CV axle is much easier with the vehicle lifted on a suspension lift. With the minivan in neutral and the steering wheel unlocked, removal of the front tire and then caliper assembly will be required. Remove the entire caliper assembly with pads intact to save a step. Be sure to support the caliper assembly to the coil spring so it does not incur damage to the rubber brake hose.

    The disconnection of the lower ball joint and outer tie rod end will also be required to allow free movement of the steering knuckle. For Caravans that employ speed sensors, remove the wire harness from the knuckle connection as well.

    Remove the cotter pin and castle-headed nut lock from the CV spindle. Next, remove the spring washer and the hub nut. This will require a large socket and breaker bar or a pneumatic gun. To separate the CV axle spindle from the steering knuckle, thread the hub nut back onto the spindle so it's exposing a few threads at the top. Tap on the nut with a large rubber mallet until the splines of the spindle separate from the adjoining knuckle.

    At this point, it's wise to place a drain bucket beneath the transaxle side of the CV joint connection to catch trickling transaxle fluid that will leak out once the connection of the axle to transmission is separated.

    Because the tie rod end and ball joint connections have been separated, you'll be able to manipulate the knuckle from the CV axle spindle. This requires determination and having an assistant would be helpful.

    Once the outer spindle connection of the CV axle is free from the knuckle, you'll need a large pry bar to disengage the inner tri-pot joint out of the transaxle and remove the CV axle from the transmission. This is where some fluid will leak into the drain bucket.
  • To install the new axle, start with the inner connection to the transaxle so that the inner joint circlip seats in the transaxle side gear. An audible click of the circlip should be heard and then test the connection by trying to pull out on the axle by hand. There will be a little free-play in the axle, but if the circlip is seated, you will not be able to disconnect the axle without the aide of the pry bar.

    Next, align the splines of the outer CV axle spindle to the grooves in the steering knuckle. Do not force this connection. Rotate the axle by hand until the splines align properly to the groove. Reconnect the remaining components by reversing the procedure.

    Be sure to torque the hub nut, outer tie rod end nut and ball joint retaining nut to the proper torque specifications of your specific year Caravan. Since the Caravan has been around for quite a while and has employed different engine sizes, there may be a slight variance in the torque specs. A quality repair manual for the specific year and design of your Caravan will display the correct torque specs.

    Last, replace the wheel and then check and adjust the level of the transaxle fluid. Although only a little may have trickled out by the disconnection, the fluid should be topped off to capacity.

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    1993 Dodge Grand Caravan Transmission issue

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    Dec 27, 2008 | 1995 Dodge Caravan

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