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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I've loaned my 18 year old son my well-maintained 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan to drive from Syracuse to Keys. Halfway down Florida on Saturday the right front wheel got bent out, and a repair garage couldn't find where the problem is. He proceeded to Keys at 40 mph, rotating tires, which are bald now, every few hours. Now it is in Marathon, where there is a shop that may have a frame machine. When he brings it there tomorrow, what can I expect? Is a bent-out wheel fixable, can a frame be straightened, or is this the end? It will certainly need four new tires and a spare.
Thank you, this is my first post, unsure of protocol.
EG
 

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Hello,
I've loaned my 18 year old son my well-maintained 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan to drive from Syracuse to Keys. Halfway down Florida on Saturday the right front wheel got bent out, and a repair garage couldn't find where the problem is. He proceeded to Keys at 40 mph, rotating tires, which are bald now, every few hours. Now it is in Marathon, where there is a shop that may have a frame machine. When he brings it there tomorrow, what can I expect? Is a bent-out wheel fixable, can a frame be straightened, or is this the end? It will certainly need four new tires and a spare.
Thank you, this is my first post, unsure of protocol.
EG
:hi2: and welcome to the Chrysler Minivan Fan Club Forums.

Alignment is off for sure. Some front end component (tie rod or something) or the frame might be bent. If it were really bad, I would think the axle would have caused some issues or even dislodged itself.
I remember having a vehicle off the road once, threw the alignment out pretty bad so that it was difficult to steer but a wheel alignment was all that was needed.
Hard to say, hope for the best. I think it is fixable. As to the rim, a rim can be straightened most times.
 

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Sorry to here the bad news, but welcome to the forum.

Don't lose too much sleep. With limited information, it is hard to predict what repairs must be made - so don't lose sleep over what you don't know.

Maybe a ball-joint failure or something that can be repaired somewhat easily. Hang in there, and let us know what you find out once you get your van back.
 

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AMC Nut stuck in a Dodge
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welcome and sorry about your news..

Did your son run over something like a hunk of 4x4 or a deer .....
 

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There isnt too many things that would cause that.Tie rod end,bent control arm,and not a whole lot else.I would think a control arm or strut would bend before a frame rail would.But when you say its bent out do you mean at the top or front? Front would be a steering component,top would be a bent strut or strut tower kicked outward (not likely).
 

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oh it is likely, did you see the pics I posted in that strut tower repair thread, he lives in syracuse chances are it is the dang towers and it is not even the kids fault
 

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oh it is likely, did you see the pics I posted in that strut tower repair thread, he lives in syracuse chances are it is the dang towers and it is not even the kids fault
Agreed. Pop the hood and see if a strut is crammed into the cowl wiper area.

Although as an 18 year old myself I do have to say that every major problem my van has had was in fact caused by something I did to it. I might be a little too rough with a vehicle designed for hauling kids around.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The first shop wouldn't take it in - the second shop took it in, replaced the struts (and tires), but that didn't fix it. It went for an alignment and that didn't fix it. But they have an identical parts car on the lot, no rust, and pieces of that are going in. It's been five days, the vacation is over, so my son had to fly back to NY. Now the shop thinks it is a broken spindle. We are already $800.00 into this, no collision insurance, and assuming it does get fixed someone has to fly to the Keys to drive it back. Did I hear someone say "cut bait?"
 

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How much is that plane ticket? If it exceeds the value of the van then send them the signed paperwork (ownership) to pay for your bill.
 

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Broken spindle? On a FWD? Its a sealed hub assembly with a CV half shaft tightened inside it and the hub is bolted to a cast/forged knuckle.Not much there to actually break.I think the shop is over their head and is willing to throw parts and your money into this indefinitely.I bet once you sign the paperwork over to them they fix it pronto!
 

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I'm putting my money on a bent/broken control arm. I hit a curb with a turned wheel in my '99 (I hit some snow-covered black ice) and had the same issues. I think the shop is barking up the wrong tree on the spindle.
 

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The first shop wouldn't take it in - the second shop took it in, replaced the struts (and tires), but that didn't fix it. It went for an alignment and that didn't fix it. But they have an identical parts car on the lot, no rust, and pieces of that are going in. It's been five days, the vacation is over, so my son had to fly back to NY. Now the shop thinks it is a broken spindle. We are already $800.00 into this, no collision insurance, and assuming it does get fixed someone has to fly to the Keys to drive it back. Did I hear someone say "cut bait?"
Alignment: I assume that means the shop couldn't line it up (toe out issue?).
Broken spindle: And the wheel stayed on? I had a damaged spindle on a vehicle years ago, due to a wheel bearing seizing up, almost lost the wheel. If the spindle had broken, I would have.

Do you have a local mechanic you can trust? If so, I suggest you explain the situation to him and have him help you deal with the shop over the phone. Might cost you a case of beer.

What was the nature of the collision and is it possible the rear end (axle) got moved back some?
The shop doesn't seem to have had a very competent Mechanic(s) working on it. Either something is loose (that should be easily detectable) or something is bent. I don't think the Van would have been driveable for long if something were broken. The alignment Technician should have been able to zero in on the problem.

Jazztrumpet266 may be on the right track.
 

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What kind of a shop is this that can't recognize what the problem is? Put on a lift and the problem should be easily visible. Sounds like they are trying to hose you.
 

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What kind of a shop is this that can't recognize what the problem is? Put on a lift and the problem should be easily visible. Sounds like they are trying to hose you.
I totally agree. What you might consider is getting someone to pick it up and ship it back. There are numerous transport companies, shipping should be under $600. You can look at it and determine what's wrong, more easily with it in front of you. If it's a good van, it's worth keeping (that may be the repair shops intent, too). :ask_wsign :angry1:

It would have been nice if "someone" could have taken a photo of it from several angles, including underneath and sent them to you to review, then you post them here for all of us to review and get back to you on. It's probably simple and easy to fix. :nut: :angrya:
 

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The first shop wouldn't take it in - the second shop took it in, replaced the struts (and tires), but that didn't fix it. It went for an alignment and that didn't fix it. But they have an identical parts car on the lot, no rust, and pieces of that are going in. It's been five days, the vacation is over, so my son had to fly back to NY. Now the shop thinks it is a broken spindle. We are already $800.00 into this, no collision insurance, and assuming it does get fixed someone has to fly to the Keys to drive it back. Did I hear someone say "cut bait?"
PLEASE stop throwing money down to FL. What kind of shop looks at a van with a "wheel bent out", replaces the struts and tires, then sends it to and alignment shop who claims to have aligned something that obviously is not aligned? Then, they decide to simply start throwing other parts at it off another van.

Get a new shop or something. You are being taken for a ride IMO.
 
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