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Pitiful tire life on the front of my 2008 T&C

4423 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  JC1
Bought new in 2008, built on a Monday. When we got it, the steering wheel was just off of level, and I am sure that they tweaked it ever so slightly. Front tires had significant wear on the edges at 12,000 miles. Actually, by 12,600 miles I was concerned enough to ask about alignment and the dealer said that was out of warranty at 12,000 miles.:angrya: I bought a 5 year alignment from NTB, and had them align it. At about 20,000, new tires up front.

I don't rotate tires, as my opinion is it just smears the evidence and makes four wear out in twice the time it would take two. There is significant wear after 10,000 miles. I finally figured out that the NTB guys sucked, after I got it aligned at one shop, then drove it to another the next day and had it checked, the paperwork may as well have been for two different cars.

I finally paid Chrysler and they had some old guy who said he was the god of alignments and that he would get it done right. He said that the struts were bent and that would have to wallow out the holes in the struts to get it to 0° Camber, and that the specs are so broad from Chrysler that having it "in spec" means nothing. He said that aftermarket struts are slotted for adjustment, but that the factory pieces are not. This was around 50,000 miles.

No real improvement. My tires last 20,000 miles whether they are the best ones, or the crappy ones. Now, I am at 129,000 miles and have nearly shredded another set of Michelins. The outer edges wear badly.

Recently, I get real bad brake stutter when braking, it shakes the steering wheel. So.. I am planning on new pads and rotors, and maybe the Gabriel easy strut pieces that rock auto has with the spring coil included as an assembly.... Wondering how much more of a job it is, if I am already doing the brake rotor to do the strut too. ? I have done struts on four or five cars in the past, just wondering if this van is unusually easy or hard in some regard. ???

Does anyone else have such horrendous tire wear ? I get 20,000 miles ?? Its getting real old.:angry:
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By 10,000 miles, my tread is trashed on the outside edges. Its really not good in the center either. For about 10,000 miles on one set, I maintained above 40 psi and it made NO difference. It would be nice to be able to adjust the TPMS to alert at 38 instead of 32 psi...

I don't really drive the van too much, its my wife's and I always drive when I am in the car. I have lectured about hard cornering, but I don't know for sure how she drives when I am not there. Mainly low speed subdivision driving, but that may be the most hard on the tire edges.

I live in Houston, TX. No real rust to speak of under the cars here. I remember the sway bar end links from my 98 GV. A pain, but it was just because 3 hands would have made the job much easier.
Yes, I wish that I could get real good info on the alignment. At NTB, a guy would do the alignment and hand me a printout, showing me that it was within "specs." I literally drove it to another NTB shop a few miles away a day later and expected to be handed a very similar printout. It was not just vaguely off a tenth of a degree, but nothing matched. Almost like the guy fetched some old crap out of the trash and handed it to me. Except I watched both these guys do their thing, and then hit print. Disappointing. Non-repeatable results, which taught me that going there was a waste of time.

I had a similar issue on my old '98 Caravan, except in that case, the guy could show me how the computer read "on target," but he could roll the van back a foot and then forward to the same spot (on the lift) and see the reading was well off. He found that the tie rod end was bad and that until it was fixed, it couldn't maintain the alignment. I was hoping for a "smoking gun" here. There have been none, so far. Except my wife's driving and maybe not keeping the pressure above 40psi.
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This is what happens to the tires, way faster than it seems like it should. Nearly equivalent wear on the inside edge too.


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Some updates:

I have changed a bunch of things: Bought some used 17" rims, changed the rotors, calipers, pads, and tires. I bought new cheapo tires for the rear at NTB (I actually like them a lot, the tires that is.) And put two of the used ones (that were the best two of the four when I got the 17" factory rims) on the front. Basically, I did a big brake upgrade and had to change wheels. Lets see how that works....Well, the two tires that were Fair/good are wearing like the last bunch, i.e. wearing quickly.

I took it to a guy who was of Legendary status at a Firestone in Houston and waited 3 hours while they checked out my car. He said that there is nothing wrong, but that it may need an alignment. I gave him one very important clue, to me anyways. "About one out of every 20 stops, the brakes have a hefty shudder that pulls at the steering wheel, pretty severely. Not every time, maybe just one out of 20 times, more often when braking while on a turn...." He had an assistant drive the van slowly forward and backwards at low speed and then jam on the brakes. You could see the wheel move forward/back in the fender opening when he jammed on the brakes. He pronounced it bad control arms. Finally an answer. His sky-high estimate of $1,600 for the control arm replacement gave me pause, tho. I bought some new control arms online and changed them this weekend, took about 3-4 hours. $300/hr, not bad wages. The van drives beautifully, but on one stop, the steering wheel shook a bit.... This is about unchanged, unfortunately. The worse of the two front tires also was showing a tiny bit of cord, so I am off to get two more tires for the front. I didn't want to replace the tires until I had new control arms on it, in case that fixed it. Looks like I would have wasted the $1,600 if I had paid it.

So, I am running out of suspects. I guess I could look hard at the tie-rod ends, and inners, the rack, and maybe the rack mounts. Struts are original and now have 140,500 miles. They function just fine, don't leak, and control bounce like they should.
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