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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2003 T&C with roughly 165k miles on the odometer. I am not the original owner, but the van has been in our extended family since new. Knowing that the struts had never been changed and the vehicle's front end was riding rough, I decided I would change them out this past weekend. In addition to this work, I also replaced the control arms on both sides and the stabilizer bar link on the passenger side only (driver's side was in good condition as it had been replaced prior to our ownership.) I put everything back together and was about to drive it to get an alignment, but found the van would not move. I put the vehicle into Drive, pressed the accelerator and nothing. Same with Reverse. The axle would spin both ways (depending upon which gear you were in) but would not engage to actually move the vehicle. I would need to put the vehicle into Neutral to get the axle to quit spinning, otherwise it would sound as though the gears were grinding. To top all of this off, when I put the vehicle into Park it does not stay put and will now roll. So, did I inadvertently destroy the axle (driver side, passenger side or both?) and what about the parking pin seemingly not engaging? Looking for any help or advise to get this vehicle back into use. Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Transmission shifter works as one would expect. I can put the vehicle into any gear, the vehicle will just not move. The driver's side axle rod will spin, just not making a connection closer to the tire?
 

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Clethig, I'm talking about the mechanical linkage in the engine/transmission compartment. You can move the column shifter all you want, but if it isn't connected to anything, you're out of luck. You were recently working under the van, and unless you had problems before, a transmission normally gives some warning before it stops working. Check or don't check, you're call.
 

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This is what you're looking for (or not):

 

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This has happened to other people before when they change the front control arms. There is a long bolt that needs to come out, and the transmission is in the way. In moving the transmission up or back, the cable stop attached to the transmission mount gets undone (cable comes off) resulting in this scenario. Double check the transmission end of the shift cable, especially the casing and that it is snapped into it's U-shaped holder under the battery.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Clethig, I'm talking about the mechanical linkage in the engine/transmission compartment. You can move the column shifter all you want, but if it isn't connected to anything, you're out of luck. You were recently working under the van, and unless you had problems before, a transmission normally gives some warning before it stops working. Check or don't check, you're call.
I checked the linkage connection and all is intact. As I mentioned, when I place the van into R or D the axle turns (driver's side only) as it comes from the transmission but is not turning the tire. I would agree that this is an odd problem to suddenly manifest itself immediately after completing the strut/control arm work which is what has me thinking it is all related. However, with my luck, I could see it being such that something else would just "go out".
 

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Axles don’t “go out” like that. Something happened when you took it apart. You’ll have to take the axle out and apart to see what’s wrong.

FWIW, it seems like the outer joint must have come off the shaft. It’s hard to take off when you’re trying — there’s a snap ring on the shaft that expands into a groove on the inside of the joint when you slide it in. It usually takes some pounding to take it off. It’ll be interesting to hear what happened.

Edit: you might try grabbing the axle shaft and forcefully trying to move it around — it shouldn’t be loose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This has happened to other people before when they change the front control arms. There is a long bolt that needs to come out, and the transmission is in the way. In moving the transmission up or back, the cable stop attached to the transmission mount gets undone (cable comes off) resulting in this scenario. Double check the transmission end of the shift cable, especially the casing and that it is snapped into it's U-shaped holder under the battery.

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You are correct, I had to drop one of the cradle bolts which allowed the portion which the upper portion of the control arm screws into to shift back just far enough to clear the transmission without lifting against it. The cable is still securely connected. Any other thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Axles don’t “go out” like that. Something happened when you took it apart. You’ll have to take the axle out and apart to see what’s wrong.

FWIW, it seems like the outer joint must have come off the shaft. It’s hard to take off when you’re trying — there’s a snap ring on the shaft that expands into a groove on the inside of the joint when you slide it in. It usually takes some pounding to take it off. It’ll be interesting to hear what happened.

Edit: you might try grabbing the axle shaft and forcefully trying to move it around — it shouldn’t be loose.
I agree, but then I have the kind of luck where if I wanted something to come apart so easily it wouldn't but would be stuck on there if I did. I will try to grab the axle shaft as you suggest later tonight or tomorrow and see if it is loose. Thanks.
 

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If axles are turning but wheels are not, there should be some serious tearing/destruction of axle joint boots somewhere on each axle. That would be your problem location, so suggest inspecting axle boots to see where they are twisted/torn. If torn open, you should probably even be able to see what's going on inside that boot.

FWIW, Axle boots are the only thing holding the axle segments together with fixing automotive structure (control arms, etc.) removed, so it's possible to pull the axle segments apart from one another if your boots are torn. Again, check each joint to make sure they are indeed intact. From your description, there should be an obvious problem at one or both joint locations on each axle.
 

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FWIW, Axle boots are the only thing holding the axle segments together with fixing automotive structure (control arms, etc.) removed, so it's possible to pull the axle segments apart from one another if your boots are torn.
Not really. Outer joints are held in with a snap ring on the axle shaft and are very difficult to remove. Inners have a snap ring that keeps the rollers from pulling out of the end of the tracks they ride in.
 

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Not really. Outer joints are held in with a snap ring on the axle shaft and are very difficult to remove. Inners have a snap ring that keeps the rollers from pulling out of the end of the tracks they ride in.
Good to know, I stand corrected.

Sounds like an improvement over the axles I've disassembled in the past where, to the best of my recollection, the axle segment with rollers can simply be freely pulled out of the "cup" they ride in for the inner joint. Those were Mitsubishi though, so perhaps they differ between brands? Dang-it, now I'm gonna have to dig out those old axles and take another look!
 

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We replaced tons of boots and cleaned and repacked joints on axles when axles were expensive and boots weren’t very good. There could have been a very few where the plunge joint could come apart, but it wasn’t common. What a relief it was when we didn’t have to do that anymore. It’s a messy job.
 

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The inner CV joint CAN come apart, with the tripod/rollers attached to the CV axle and pulled out of the "tulip". But, he said the axle turns so it's obviously connected in the transmission. The driver's side axle has been known to snap in half underneath the rubber dampener in the middle of the axle. My sister did that to one, and I still have it. It rusts under the rubber dampener and weakens the shaft.

Or, the outer CV joint exploded (cage inside cracks apart and the balls fall out, inner spider turns inside of the outer stub axle "cup"). Maybe also, rusted/stripped splines between the CV stub and the hub. That happens on Hyundai Santa Fe AWD PTU's which renders then front wheel drive only.
 

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OP, make sure the Emergency Brake is off. Jack up the front/rear and make sure the wheels turn freely.
 
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