Friday, 2 September 2016

Top suspension mount replacement - Chrysler Grand Voyager

This is a set of steps and some photos of replacing the top suspension mount in a Chrysler Grand Voyager 2.8CRD 2005 edition. This process should be the same all the way up to the 2007 edition (As far as I'm aware) as these models all share similar front suspension components.

Symptoms, I suspected these were faulty for a while as I had a clunk when steering. About every 1/4 revolution of the steering wheel I'd hear a thuuuunnnggg, a thump that reverberated through the spring (I was guessing) so my assumption was either the bearings had seized up and were slipping at times, or there was something else wrong. Well whilst away on holiday recently one of the top suspension mounts completely collapsed! It made a real rattle and thumping noise whilst moving, especially on uneven roads. Taking the wheel off didn't reveal anything, but looking from the top you could see the damage easily. (You have to take the whole windscreen wiper assembly off to see the top of the struts/suspension mounts)
Here is the damaged top view:

The strut is sticking right up through the mount. To compare, here is the other side:

So, to replace them, order the parts (Eurocarparts did the job for me, decent price and all were in stock too).
Then the process of taking it out, you will need a set (or two) of spring compressors for this job. This isn't an easy job, so one you'll need to plan and have time to do, especially if you hit the problems I did, as you'll see.

Jack the side of the car up, and secure it with axle stands. There is NO excuse not to have these for doing these jobs, they are cheap from Halfords or most car places and will save you. Please buy some as they are key to your safety!
Firstly, take the wheel off and loosen (don't remove) the two main bolts holding the suspension to the wheel hub.

Here you can see where I've taken both nuts off the bolts. These were VERY difficult on both sides on mine, we had to use large breaker bars and a lot of heat. In the end two needed CUT off as they were so well fastened on. So this would be a good idea to have replacements ready. We got ours from a bolt/ironmongers so they weren't Chrysler/Mopar original parts but were very close (and high tensile, ensure you match as close as possible to factory). Once these were off/loose we could move onto the rest of the job. The anti-roll bar joint needed removing, this is on a nut, and around the back there is a slight groove cut into the metal so you can grip it with a molerench or similar.
That's it removed and free floating. You might need to lever it up/down so the pressure is released from it first.

Now move onto the top, so first you need to remove the wipers (small plastic cover hides the larger nut that holds the wiper on), when you pull the wipers off you might need to gently prise them, mine needed quite a considerable force to come off the wiper motor splines. Once off you take the top plastic wiper cover off using a star screwdriver, disconnect the water feed pipe (to the left of the engine, just a push fit connector) and then lift the whole piece out of the way.
Then disconnect the wiper motor power cable (to the right, just above the battery) and start to remove the main wiper tray assembly.
This is held on by two sets of fasteners, the first is at the top of this picture, where the upside down U shape metal brackets meet the bottom of the windscreen there are small nuts, undo all of these.


Then there are four large bolts fastening the whole piece into the bodywork. Here is the hole for one of them this is the far left side just behind where the wiper arm would sit on top of the splines (just visible top of photo)

Once out, lift out the entire motor assembly.
Now the tricky bit! You need to loosen the nut/spindle pair at the top of the suspension mount. This will make it easier later when you have to remove it and it's out of the car.
For this you need a bit of luck when it comes to what tools you have. In our case we used a spark plug socket, and then a smaller hexagonal tool. There may be a 'proper' item to do this, but see what you have available to you. This is what it looked like in place:


And a close-up of the tools we used, hopefully you can match what you need also



We just need to loosen this slightly, don't undo it completely!
Once you've done that, you can loosen the three main nuts that hold the suspension mount in place (you can see two of them in the above picture).
Then return to the wheel arch, remove the two main bolts and get one person ready to 'catch' the suspension, the other undo the 3 nuts from the top. You should then be able to freely drop the suspension out of the arch and take it out.

The next step is to compress the spring. You'll need some decent spring compressors, these springs are relatively short and dumpy, so getting a good purchase on with the spring compressors is vital.

Here is what it looks like with our spring compressors on and tensioned. We compressed more than you can see in this photo:
The way we 'tested' to see if we had enough compression was to grab the top suspension mount and tried to spin/move it. At first it wouldn't move, slowly as we compressed it, it started to free and spin. Once it could spin freely we then removed the top nut that was holding the suspension mount in place. Do this carefully. If there is tension it will fly off, so make sure it doesn't have pressure on it.

Once removed the underside of the suspension mount looks like this. The inner (lighter colour) part is the compression bearing and is removable which leaves the suspension mount, and the faulty part in my case. It wasn't really obvious, but underneath the compression bearing is a piece of metal (like a large washer welded into place, but one piece of metal no welds!) This is the weak point, and in my case although it looked in-tact, one tap with a hammer and it dropped out! So it was clearly weak, one side had given way on me, the other was near to falling out too! So take note. I'm on 113,000 miles. Maybe yours needs done too!
After that, it's a re-assembly. Put the new together (you'll see below, the new compression bearing sat in the right place ready)

Place on top of the suspension spring (make sure you line up the spring and rubber parts so they all sit in their correct markings), and if you've compressed the spring enough, you'll be able to drop the nut on the top and tighten it slightly. If you can't, then compress the spring more until you can. Once that's in and secure (tighten the nut down as far as you can so it is tight/holding tension) then you can start to release the spring compressors.

The re-insertion is just the reverse of the above, push it into the wheel arch into position and fasten with the three nuts at the top. Fasten the suspension to the wheel hub and reverse the process to put it all back together.

In my case, this totally removed the thump when steering, so clearly this was causing the issue.
What this does NOT fix is creaking when you go over bumps or uneven ground. Creaking noises I suspect are anti-rollbar joints/bearings/bushes that are worn and will be my next challenge.

I hope this helps, please do provide feedback or comments on it and I hope this will help you.

1 comment:

  1. Love the stuff on Youtube and on here about the Grand Voyager. I found a link a couple of years ago that gave me the factory manuals. It is http://oskin.ru/pub/chrysler-dodge/manuals/Service%20Manuals/
    If you find the 2005 model like yours, they call it Town & Country, you will find it also covers the 2.8CRD. Hope that helps you.
    All the best.

    ReplyDelete