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merganser

99 Dodge Grand Caravan Rear Bearings

Question

merganser

I have an annoying humming noise coming from the rear of my van that changes pitch with speed and cornering. I am thinking it is the bearing/hub assembly possibly on the drivers side. How hard/easy is that to replace. Am I going to need special tools or should I just bite the bullet and take it to a shop. Estimated cost too if any one might happen to know. THank YOu.

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Scott K

Its an easy job, half hour or less, shop for the part, dealer is from $180 for a fwd, to over $300 for awd. Shop around you can find it for a fraction of that price!

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Jeremy airjer W

Once you get the tire and drum off its pretty much four bolts that hold the hub assembly (bearing) on. Sometimes separating the backing plate from the flange on the hub can be a little difficult.

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merganser

I found a place on line where I can get the assembly for about $70. It looks like the lug bolts are included. I was thinking that it had a center castle nut like a boat trailer hub. Am I way off with my thinking. So, if I do get the bolt thing figured out, am I going to need a "hub puller" or something like that to free the hub from the flange. One other thing, what should I be looking out for in regards to the anti-lock braking mechanism. I see the new assembly comes with some type of gear installed which I assume is for the anti-lock brakes. Am I making this more difficult than it really is??

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Scott K

Is this 4 wheel drive? If so there will be an axle nut on it, it should come out with a few taps from a hammer.

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merganser

Airjer, before I forget again. Any ideas on what might cause my instrument cluster to go "dead"? I will be driving along when all of a sudden all of my guages will just stop working. Sometimes it is a quick hiccup and other times I will notice it and smack my dash board and they all pop back on. Kind of weird when it happens. I may go weeks without an incident or sometimes it may happen a couple of times in one trip.

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merganser

Front wheel drive with the anti-lock breaking system.

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merganser

Thanks for the info 4wanderingeyes, I didn't mean to neglect you there!!

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Scott K

No problem Im used to it! If it is just fwd there shouldnt be any axle nut for it. As for your dash going out, most likely a bad cluster, I would pull the cluster off and check the connectors the plug into the back side of it make sure they are fully connected. If so I would be thinking a bad cluster. You shouldnt have to worry about the abs sensor , or gear it should just unbolt, it wont be as hard as it seems once your in it!

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Jeremy airjer W

Funny you should mention the instrament cluster. The wiufe has a 99 town and country that was doing the same thing a couple of weeks ago. I removed the instrament cluster and noticed a couple of suspicious solder joints where the main connector plugs in. I resoldered all the joints and all has been good since. I have run into many of these that have the same symptom and have replaced many to resolve the issue. I am a little more open to experimetation when it comes to my own vehicles so I figured why not give it a shot. Like I said a couple of weeks have passed and so far so good.

The bearing is very easy to do. No special tool or pullers will be needed. I think the four bolts have a 17 or 18 mm head. The torque spec for those is 95 lb. - ft. if you really want to go all out.

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merganser

Thanks guys, I'll rip into 'er and see how it goes. One more question. How do I get to the circuit board that runs the instrument cluster. Those cold solder joints can be a real pain in the butt if you aren't familiar with the probs. they cause. I used to repair copy machines and it was amazing how many machines you could get up and running again by touching up the solder joints.

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Jeremy airjer W

Get out the phillips screwdriver. Remove the cover that the hood release is attatched to (two scres on the bottom, one on the side, two that hold the hold the hood release. Remove the black vent looking thing in between the door and the dash (one screw).Remove the cover that sits above the steering column (two screws, traction control connector if equipped is down by the steering column). Remove the piece that sits in front of the Instrament cluster (one screw on the side two on the bottom, pull gently to release the pop in retainers, disconnect the power mirror, headlamp, and dimmer.) you will also have to take the vehicle out of park to this piece. There are four screws that hold in the cluster. You'll be able to rotate the top of the cluster down to unplug the main connector. Once its unplugged it will come right out. There are about a dozen torx screws that hold it all together.

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merganser

How do you release the tension on the brake shoes? I can't even get the hub off. Maybe the shop is a better option. I did save a ton by ordering the part on the internet so maybe I will quit wasting my time and have you experienced poeple fix it. I think the hub is so rusty it looks like that may need replacing too. The van has 170k on it.

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Jeremy airjer W

The problem is there is a rust ridge that develops on the inside of the drum. This is likely what is causing the drum not to come of. Either that or there is a fair amount of corrosion where the drum contacts the center of the hub. If this is the cause whack drum with a hammer. Once it breaks loose than you will have the issue with the rust ridge. There is a rubber plug on the backing plate right below where the brake line attatches to the wheel cylinder. Remove the plug to gain access to the adjuster. Usually you will have to hold the adjuster arm out of the way with one screwdriver while you turn it with another. It is almost impossible to see but once you have delt with several hundred of these its no problem.

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merganser

Thanks for the info airjer.... I tried that this weekend using a BFH and couldn't get the drum to budge. I just dropped it off at the local fixit shop. I had to chuckle when you explained the tension release. I had the plug out and said to my buddy it is probably pretty easy once you do it a couple of times. Oh well, sometimes trying to save a penny or two wastes more time than it is worth. I have to admit defeat on this one!! Thanks again for all of the info... I'm sure if the vehicle were a little newer, things would have come off like they were supposed to. Have a great day!!

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