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82 Imperial, 91 New yorker, 00 Neon, 00 Dak, 00 Ram 1500, 06 Ram 2500, 07 Charger R/T, 22 Ram 1500
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I figured I'd spend some time talking and sharing some photos of my ups and downs lately with my family fleet of Mopars...

First way over a year ago I'd brought our 00 Dakota to my brothers for storage. The drive train and truck are solid minus famous 90's clear coat peel. (Trying to find good pictures of the actual truck but am falling short) The worst part of the truck being steering wheel shake, it had new upper and lower ball joints, inner / outer tie rods, sway bar end links within the past year of me taking it to his house. It had been retired from daily driving when we got our $800 charger so it was time to go family. After a good look over i decided upper and lower control arm bushings were shot. No amount of new parts on shot bushings was gunna fix that shake. I decided on doing energy suspension bushings on the upper and lower control arms....over the next many months of procrastination I finally burned / pressed out all the old bushings (What a chore!) After a nice shot of rattle can black and the help of my father, we got the new bushings in, new wheel hubs in the knuckles.
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While I didnt really need help prepping the parts and assembling them, it was fathers day weekend and the Dakota was given to me when my grandfather passed. My grandparents had bought the truck new in Bakersfield Ca. Now we had 3 generations working on it, warmed my heart. (Ignore the chevy truck sign at my father-in-law's, he's a good man, but likes bow ties)

A couple weeks later I brought the parts back to where the truck was resting on jacks at my brothers to reassemble. All went smooth until the lower shock mount to control arm bolt broke while installing. Tried the weld a nut method of removal but ended up having to drill and retap it. We got passed this issue and assembled the front suspension to completation. What a relief after having it on jacks in my brothers driveway for a year plus. (Thank Chrysler there's no HOA there)
I torqued all the suspension components to spec with it unloaded and on jacks still. I bolded this because I'm fairly certain this was our mistake.
The only component torqued while the suspension was loaded was the new swaybar endlinks. Im fairly certain tightening these unloaded when installed years ago is what led to premature wear of them.
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(A picture before disassembly showing a not that old endlink pretty split)
JUMPING back to reassemblely though...
I torqued the upper and lower control arms unloaded as I didnt want the upper adjustments off our paint marks I left. After complete reassemblely we took it on a test drive to notice a large popping / binding sound in the front suspension. We still felt accomplished and called it a day, I have yet to return to diagnose further our mistake.

All in all the new parts installed / adjusted are as follows.
Upper control arm bushings
Lower control arm bushings
Wheel bearings with hub
Sway bar endlinks
New shock (old spring)
Pads & rotors with some oversized caliper pins (to correct a stripped pin from a previous brake job)
(Electric fans replaced aswell but unrelated)
The "older but not old" ball joints were left as is on the control arms.

My question in all this nonsense, is the popping noise in the suspension likely from the control arms being overtorqued and bound from being tightened unloaded?

This is just what I've been doing on our 2000 2wd Dak 4.7 Auto.

I'll post more hard to follow texts about what I've been doing to our other vehicles aswell..sorry if my grammar or spelling isn't the best or if my post was hard to follow. Thanks for the read.
 

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82 Imperial, 91 New yorker, 00 Neon, 00 Dak, 00 Ram 1500, 06 Ram 2500, 07 Charger R/T, 22 Ram 1500
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141 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Somewhere along this past year I got a deal on a 18ft deck trailer and Zturn for $500 combined. The trailer was in pretty rough shape. Cracked frame and rotted deck. The mower had a new Kohler motor but had electrical gremlins. After months of procrastination and help from friends, free wood from a jobsite, a bit of leftover fire red paint, and learning to stick weld with supervision of a retired shipyard welder. I got it back together.
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I was told the plug welds were overkill but still fun to learn different types of welds. I had to let the old timer do the vertical welds as I couldn't achieve a good bead, I was confident in my horizontal beads however.
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While it still needed repairs done to the gate, and I didnt get a chance to paint over our frame repairs (yucky I know, all that work to let it rerust) it was time for it to leave its temporary home and bring it down to the father in laws. The mowers issues were traced back to the fuel pump relay aswell as the ignition harness. Both fixed well enough for now.
 

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82 Imperial, 91 New yorker, 00 Neon, 00 Dak, 00 Ram 1500, 06 Ram 2500, 07 Charger R/T, 22 Ram 1500
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141 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The wife's new truck, our 2000 ram 1500 from previous post: Here
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Since getting it back to our property, I havent done too much to it mechanically but enjoy it. Letting the kids romp around in a big truck in an empty corn field was amazing.

I bought a nice set of 17in rims off Craigslist to match the freebie tires I got with the truck. (The gentleman the truck was purchased from wanted the current wheels back as they were worth more than he sold the truck to me.
Some time ago when I got rid of the f150 work truck and got my new dodge, unused pipe racks at our shop needed a home and she got one.
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The only thing she was missing was a receiver hitch for our newly redone trailer...
While on a trip to my local pick-n-pull for new brake clips for the Dakota that was being done at the same time...I found a brand new Reese hitch on a 2nd gen! Score!

Some pics from the junkyard visit.
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Oh hey there little turbo 2.4...shame she was locked up tighter than...nevemind.

Back to the truck! With a new receiver and harbor freight drop hitch. My cheap truck and cheap trailer could be one!
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Seeing someone's picture with kayaks on their 2nd gen sport made me drool for adventure...she sits ready!

There's plenty to fix on them still but one piece at a time.
 

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Are you sure the upper control arm isn’t sliding? I’ve had that happen on Dakotas. Especially if the pop is when stopping or starting.
 
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82 Imperial, 91 New yorker, 00 Neon, 00 Dak, 00 Ram 1500, 06 Ram 2500, 07 Charger R/T, 22 Ram 1500
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141 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Little bit of detailing under the hood of the Imp with a pressure washer, which turned into doing the entire car multiple times over...I covered up anything (precious and electrical) under the hood with rags to protect.
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Shes gone a a cruise or two aswell.
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Pardon my shadow destroying an otherwise great photo

Recently bought a set of chrysler 300 rims and tires on Craigslist for $150! After some research I was sure they'd fit, and I was right! Sorda... they fit the rear perfectly...but the front bearings on the Imps disc brakes proved to be too deep.
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So beautiful what could of been....well...I guess my wife's charger gets new shoes instead...
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For giggles, 2 of her oldies when on the Imps rears...mismatch for fun and stance...will probably end back up with the originals.

man her charger looks nice on Chrysler rims...in other news with her charger...
New alternator, serp belt, finally installed a nongutted thermostat!
 

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82 Imperial, 91 New yorker, 00 Neon, 00 Dak, 00 Ram 1500, 06 Ram 2500, 07 Charger R/T, 22 Ram 1500
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141 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Are you sure the upper control arm isn’t sliding? I’ve had that happen on Dakotas. Especially if the pop is when stopping or starting.
I will definitely check its location! Alhough she was definitely torqued down TIGHT. Thank you for the input. An alignment is still needed on it but id like to resolve this popping issue.
 

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1986 LeBaron convertible, 2.2L T2 with A413. 1989 J convertible dash and console modified to fit.
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You must live way out in VB, definitely the only area there I would live in.

After looking at the front suspension upper control arms, I see, the two end nuts that the bushings are attached to, they can be loosened and re-tightened with the truck on the ground as like the 50s and 60s Ford cars, they are strictly pivots. The two studs that pass through from the frame pads are the alignment portion and if they slip you probably will get a "pop" when the shaft for the upper control arm moves. BTW, those Fords, would do the same thing if they weren't torqued real tight. Torque spec for the pivot shaft fasteners is 155 ft-lbs (15 more than the head bolts on my truck).
 

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82 Imperial, 91 New yorker, 00 Neon, 00 Dak, 00 Ram 1500, 06 Ram 2500, 07 Charger R/T, 22 Ram 1500
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You must live way out in VB, definitely the only area there I would live in.

After looking at the front suspension upper control arms, I see, the two end nuts that the bushings are attached to, they can be loosened and re-tightened with the truck on the ground as like the 50s and 60s Ford cars, they are strictly pivots. The two studs that pass through from the frame pads are the alignment portion and if they slip you probably will get a "pop" when the shaft for the upper control arm moves. BTW, those Fords, would do the same thing if they weren't torqued real tight. Torque spec for the pivot shaft fasteners is 155 ft-lbs (15 more than the head bolts on my truck).
We actually down in Camden Carolina right past Currituck...the best part of VB is living on the other side of the border! My morning commute into the 757 isn't that bad either.
You're absolutely right it terms of upper control arm set up. A shaft that holds the bushings & pivots. Then two alignment bolts with retainers. I remember resourcing a dakota manual from another forum at time of torqueing. I will definitely be loosing then retorqueing to spec. If I loosen the alignment bolt, won't the tires want to cave inward / \ toward the truck?
 

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1986 LeBaron convertible, 2.2L T2 with A413. 1989 J convertible dash and console modified to fit.
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Yes on the alignment bolts, no on the pivots. If you still have your marks, with the front up and unloaded verify that the marks are still correct, then tighten them as tight as you can get them. Once that is done, set the truck down, loosen the nuts on the front and rear of the control arm, bounce the truck and re-tighten the control arm pivot shaft nuts. This will put the bushings in an unloaded condition. Torque on those nuts is 130 ft-lbs.

Did you use bushings that go into the original shells and reuse the sleeves? If you did, the popping may be the bushings slipping in the shells or on the sleeves. I rebuilt the rear suspension on my 1986 LeBaron using Poly Bushings replacements which come with a special green lubricant for installation, sticky but slippery.
 

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82 Imperial, 91 New yorker, 00 Neon, 00 Dak, 00 Ram 1500, 06 Ram 2500, 07 Charger R/T, 22 Ram 1500
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes on the alignment bolts, no on the pivots. If you still have your marks, with the front up and unloaded verify that the marks are still correct, then tighten them as tight as you can get them. Once that is done, set the truck down, loosen the nuts on the front and rear of the control arm, bounce the truck and re-tighten the control arm pivot shaft nuts. This will put the bushings in an unloaded condition. Torque on those nuts is 130 ft-lbs.

Did you use bushings that go into the original shells and reuse the sleeves? If you did, the popping may be the bushings slipping in the shells or on the sleeves. I rebuilt the rear suspension on my 1986 LeBaron using Poly Bushings replacements which come with a special green lubricant for installation, sticky but slippery.
The outer shell was kept, it came with new inner sleeves for some. We used borderline excessive amounts of the provided lube. Thank you very much for the reply and help. Did it firm up the Lebaron any? I've heard poly bushings can naturally be squeaky if not enough lube was used.
 

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1986 LeBaron convertible, 2.2L T2 with A413. 1989 J convertible dash and console modified to fit.
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Car is not yet on the road, but my previous experience with polyurethane suspension bushings on two Ford pickups (a 1977 F150 and my current 1986 F350) has been very positive.

The LeBaron parts are from Welcome to Poly Bushings.com and I have used a number of his products, even though you didn't buy from him, Johnny Spiva may be able to help on the issue.

One suggestion, first, are the retaining nuts on the ends of the control arm shaft self locking or what they call prevailing torque (look like someone stepped on them)? If so, try loosening them slightly and carefully drive the truck where you are getting the popping noise, if it is gone, maybe just a squeak of metal on metal, you have proof it is in the bushings, then you need to contact Energy Suspension about the issue.

Good luck with it!
 

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My experience: poly bushings don’t clunk. They will squeak, assembly lube helps some but not always.
 

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He said a popping noise not a clunk, I know they won't clunk. I have rebuild a number of various front suspensions over the years including the Ford upper control arm coil spring systems.

I was taking his description as the sound you get from a rubber bushing, loaded to the slip point, then going "pop" as it unloads.
 
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