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Old 11-24-2018, 07:15 PM   #1
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Front End Knocking

We did Death Valley last week and on Titus Canyon I seem to have knocked something out of adjustment. The van still tracks straight with hands off of the wheel but the steering wheel is off center and there is a definite knocking in the front end.

I haven't had to have anything done to my van yet since it only has 15K miles on it. Does what I have sound like something an alignment shop could handle? I have a standard SMB 2013 4x4 build so would a standard alignment shop be able to handle it? I have the alignment specs from the folder SMB gave me.

Titus Canyon wasn't too extreme so I'm not sure what caused the issue.
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Old 11-24-2018, 09:52 PM   #2
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You bent a tie rod. It happens to me earlier this year. Drove through a small was across the road at a turn. The wheel jerked to the right and never recentered. Took it to the Ford dealer in Nogales. They replaced the bent rods for around $500 parts and labor. If you are mecanicqlly inclined you can replace them yourself, then get it aligned.

I also damaged the bering on that side although I did not realize until several thousand miles later. May be something to get checked as well.
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Old 11-24-2018, 10:49 PM   #3
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Thanks! I was hoping this would be a cheap fix but nothing on these vans are cheap.
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Old 11-25-2018, 05:23 AM   #4
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Replaced the tie rod ends in my '06 SMB years ago. Don't know if the parts and procedures are the same for your '13, but at least it's a start.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/forums/f10/tie-rod-ends-1995.html


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Old 11-25-2018, 10:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rltilley View Post
Titus Canyon wasn't too extreme so I'm not sure what caused the issue.

It's the washboard surfaces just before a turn.



Like an impact air gun, washboard beats the crap out of tie rod ends and wheel bearings. Airing down the tires acts as a cushion between to washboard and the suspension parts, even if you have 2wd.


BTW, replacing those parts isn't hard. A lot of guys will buy good quality Moog tie rods at a discount, replace them themselves, and take it to the alignment shop with a $69 coupon. That way you don't pay full retail plus markup on the parts, then get up-sold on the alignment job as well.



Either way, it's all part of the adventure
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Old 11-26-2018, 04:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rltilley View Post
Thanks! I was hoping this would be a cheap fix but nothing on these vans are cheap.
I've bought more than a few Moog front end parts from Amazon, typically found them for just at 50% of local price quotes---delivery times just about equal too.

IIRC last time I needed "everything" up front (ball joints, tie rod ends, adjusters and drag link) it came to about $387 with free shipping.

HTH
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Old 11-28-2018, 01:12 PM   #7
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The shop I took it to said there was no issue with the steering outside of the steering wheel getting thrown off center somehow. They say the clunking is due to the front driver's side upper shock bushing failure. With the van on the rack they can move it by hand. Looks like I can buy just that part so I'm glad it is a somewhat simple issue.
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Old 11-28-2018, 01:38 PM   #8
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Yes, you can get the upper shock bushing by itself, should be <$10. I've managed to kill 3 sets of them in 5 years, the passenger side is extremely easy to change, the driver's side, not so much! A flexible head gear wrench is the bee's knees for the job!
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Old 11-28-2018, 01:59 PM   #9
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Yes, you can get the upper shock bushing by itself, should be <$10. I've managed to kill 3 sets of them in 5 years, the passenger side is extremely easy to change, the driver's side, not so much! A flexible head gear wrench is the bee's knees for the job!
Good to hear! I'll need to get this done before my next time off later in December. I don't have any flex head wrenches so this sounds like a good time to pick some up.
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Old 11-28-2018, 02:04 PM   #10
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Hmmm... like an empty radiator with no observed leaks, the coolant had to go somewhere. Steering wheels don't just 'get thrown off center somehow' unless something moved. So long as he didn't find a loose and rattling tie rod end, pitman arm, steering box bolts, you're probably fine. The clunking from the worn shock eye bushing is separate from the steering wheel clocking finding a new 'happy place'. Glad it was an easy/cheap fix!
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