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sounds like you might want to try another alignment shop. Getting the steering wheel straight is pretty simple. If they are aligning the vehicle correctly and with the steering wheel straight, then it sounds like you may have other worn out suspension components causing it to pull. if so you are counter steering to keep it straight and the counter steering would make the steering wheel look mis-aligned.

do you have your alignment specs to share?
i got to find it and then ill post it up. but is there anything else i can look for that would do that to the sterring wheel problem.
 

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i got to find it and then ill post it up. but is there anything else i can look for that would do that to the sterring wheel problem.

Assuming that the steering wheel is aligned properly during the alignment, there are many components that can wear out and cause the wagon to pull. It sounds like you have replaced the main component that wears out, the tension struts.
inspect your upper and lower ball joints, upper and lower control arm bushings, tie rod ends (inner and outer).

A good alignment shop, in addition to properly aligning the steering wheel, should also inspect all of your suspension components for you. I would think 'they' should be able to identify why 'they' can't get your steering wheel to stay straight.

I would consider a different alignment shop personally.
 

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This has been a VERY useful write-up! Great pics and descriptions! This will definitely come in handy! Great job..
 

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Assuming that the steering wheel is aligned properly during the alignment, there are many components that can wear out and cause the wagon to pull. It sounds like you have replaced the main component that wears out, the tension struts.
inspect your upper and lower ball joints, upper and lower control arm bushings, tie rod ends (inner and outer).

A good alignment shop, in addition to properly aligning the steering wheel, should also inspect all of your suspension components for you. I would think 'they' should be able to identify why 'they' can't get your steering wheel to stay straight.

I would consider a different alignment shop personally.
thanks for the info on this i am going to search for a different alignment shop hopefully by this weekend to have it taken care of.
 

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thanks for the info on this i am going to search for a different alignment shop hopefully by this weekend to have it taken care of.
You're welcome. I hope it works out. Please let me know what comes of it.

There are other things that can make it pull that I didn't mention like a bad tire, bad strut, a sticky brake caliper.

I am confident that you will find a shop that can identify the issue for you.
 

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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Discussion Starter #26
i just did my tension struts on my 07 SE and after putting the new ones on and got it aligned the sterring wheel still is not straight. did you have to do anything different on the install than just putting the new ones on and cleaning up the areas?
I had my inner tie rods replaced a couple of weeks prior to replacing the tension struts. The alignment after the new tie rods but before the new tension struts was crap. I complained about it, but the tech thought it was "normal". The alignment after replacing the tension struts was dead on. The alignment of the car as it sits right now is probably the best it has ever been.

I'd say that the tech either did a bad job of aligning you car or you have some other issues in there preventing you from getting a good alignment. The only other thing that I could think of that would cause that is the tie rods. Most places have a warranty on the alignment for like 3k-6k miles. I'd start by taking it back to the alignment shop and have them relook at it.
 

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You're welcome. I hope it works out. Please let me know what comes of it.

There are other things that can make it pull that I didn't mention like a bad tire, bad strut, a sticky brake caliper.

I am confident that you will find a shop that can identify the issue for you.
you know that is funny you said about the sticky brake caliper because i found out that my front passenger caliper is not closing when i hit the brakes so im going to try to bleed the caliper before i take it in for a alignment.
 

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I had my inner tie rods replaced a couple of weeks prior to replacing the tension struts. The alignment after the new tie rods but before the new tension struts was crap. I complained about it, but the tech thought it was "normal". The alignment after replacing the tension struts was dead on. The alignment of the car as it sits right now is probably the best it has ever been.

I'd say that the tech either did a bad job of aligning you car or you have some other issues in there preventing you from getting a good alignment. The only other thing that I could think of that would cause that is the tie rods. Most places have a warranty on the alignment for like 3k-6k miles. I'd start by taking it back to the alignment shop and have them relook at it.
how do you know that your tie rod ends are going bad by looking at them because when i was changing the tension struts there was no damage to anything else on the suspension parts?
 

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Discussion Starter #29
you know that is funny you said about the sticky brake caliper because i found out that my front passenger caliper is not closing when i hit the brakes so im going to try to bleed the caliper before i take it in for a alignment.
My right front caliper completely locked up on me. I replaced it with a reman caliper from NAPA. My mpg went up 2 mpg, so I guess it was going bad for a while. lol!

how do you know that your tie rod ends are going bad by looking at them because when i was changing the tension struts there was no damage to anything else on the suspension parts?
Get the front end up in the air. Have someone grab the wheel at 3:00 and 9:00 then wiggle the tire back and forth (just like the wheel would turn with the steering wheel). If the tie rods are bad, the person wiggling the wheel will likely feel a "click". You may even hear it. If you believe that you hear/feel a "click", while that person is wiggling the wheel crawl under the car and watch the tie rods. If everything is good, it should all move (slightly) together. If something is bad/worn, you will see a disconnect in movement. In other words, the knuckle will be moving but the outer tie rod stays (relatively) still. If the outer tie rods seems to move with the knuckle and you hear/feel a "click" it is likey the inner tie rod.
 

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My right front caliper completely locked up on me. I replaced it with a reman caliper from NAPA. My mpg went up 2 mpg, so I guess it was going bad for a while. lol!



Get the front end up in the air. Have someone grab the wheel at 3:00 and 9:00 then wiggle the tire back and forth (just like the wheel would turn with the steering wheel). If the tie rods are bad, the person wiggling the wheel will likely feel a "click". You may even hear it. If you believe that you hear/feel a "click", while that person is wiggling the wheel crawl under the car and watch the tie rods. If everything is good, it should all move (slightly) together. If something is bad/worn, you will see a disconnect in movement. In other words, the knuckle will be moving but the outer tie rod stays (relatively) still. If the outer tie rods seems to move with the knuckle and you hear/feel a "click" it is likey the inner tie rod.
ok thanks ill try that and see what happens with the tie rods. im going to check the brake caliper first then move to the tie rods.
 

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Hey do you happen to have the part number for the right Mevo tension strut? I cant find it on RockAutos cat. so I wanted to phone them to see if they were still available.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Thank you!!!!!

Thanks so much for the right up with thepictures the shop was trying to tell me you have to have speciel tools to replace them and was refusing to use the ones I bought off line and wanted to charge over $800 to replace. I will be in the garage tonight getting these done.Thanks again!!!!!
 

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I ordered both from rock auto cost $33 each plus shipping. They are Dorman Dor 521-122 and Dor 521-121. Let me know if you need anymore info I can pull the invoice.
 

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You MUST have the weight of the vehicle fully preloading the suspension before torquing the tension strut bushing or the lower control arm bushing!
They will fail prematurely if you don't do this! These bushings are under 'bush bind' when they deflect going over bumps. If you tighten them in any position other than the actual ride height, they will always be under 'bush bind' literally trying to tear the bushing.
Thank you for this writeup. It is awesome.

I have a 2006 Charger RT and I have the annoying clunking. It seems to have gotten worse with time and it's to the point now that it's intolerable.

So far, I have replaced my sway bar end links and bushings, which did nothing. I have narrowed it down to my tension struts, because I can grab them and there is some play where the strut connects to the chasis.


I plan to order the parts tonight but I have a question about the part I quoted above:

Can you explain how I can preload the suspension? I don't want to mess something up and I have done very little suspension work, prior to replacing the sway bar end links.
 

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Thank you for this writeup. It is awesome.

I have a 2006 Charger RT and I have the annoying clunking. It seems to have gotten worse with time and it's to the point now that it's intolerable.

So far, I have replaced my sway bar end links and bushings, which did nothing. I have narrowed it down to my tension struts, because I can grab them and there is some play where the strut connects to the chasis.


I plan to order the parts tonight but I have a question about the part I quoted above:

Can you explain how I can preload the suspension? I don't want to mess something up and I have done very little suspension work, prior to replacing the sway bar end links.

to preload the suspension, with the suspension assembled, any bolts that you loosened on bushings that can bind should be kept slightly loose, like the tension strut and lower control arm bushings. Then set the car on the ground and jounce the car several times. the best way is to drive it up and down your neighborhood street and then bring it back and tighten those fasteners to the recommended torque while the vehicle is still resting on the wheels and suspension naturally (preloaded)

I hope that helps.

Regards
 

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Well I replaced both my lower control arms yesterday. This writeup was a great help. Importantly, it helped me to know that I needed to buy a 21/22mm socket before I got started.

Thanks for the write up. My clunk is gone!! After replacing my sway bar end links, bushings, and brake calipers, I found the source as these control arms. It's enjoyable to drive my car again
:cool5:
 

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to preload the suspension, with the suspension assembled, any bolts that you loosened on bushings that can bind should be kept slightly loose, like the tension strut and lower control arm bushings. Then set the car on the ground and jounce the car several times. the best way is to drive it up and down your neighborhood street and then bring it back and tighten those fasteners to the recommended torque while the vehicle is still resting on the wheels and suspension naturally (preloaded)

I hope that helps.

Regards
Lowend, I have in the past (other makes/models) having the car supported on stands, used a floor jack on suspension to load it up, barely lifting that side off the stand, and then torqued. Would this produce any different result than the jounce/road-test? I can't see that it would, figuring in the dynamics of suspension action/reaction, but figure why not discuss it :)

Charlie~ Yeah, I'm doing my tension struts tonight as well, or tomorrow.
 

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Lowend, I have in the past (other makes/models) having the car supported on stands, used a floor jack on suspension to load it up, barely lifting that side off the stand, and then torqued. Would this produce any different result than the jounce/road-test? I can't see that it would, figuring in the dynamics of suspension action/reaction, but figure why not discuss it :)

Charlie~ Yeah, I'm doing my tension struts tonight as well, or tomorrow.

Charlie,

Sorry for the late response.
Your technique is the second best method and will be very close to the 'best' position for torque the bushing.
the height the you plan to tighten it will likely be just slightly higher than the ride height after jouncing and the natural settling. Also, the position of the car when you do each corner is relative!
The weight on the wheel you are working on will be determined by what weight you have on the other corners and their ride height, ie whether the other wheels are on jack stands, the ground or other.

I hope that makes sense. Your way will be very close and will be significantly better than not preloading at all.
 

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great write up just a note i have been doing a lot of them lately i have it down to 15 mins a side i do not remove the caliper or rotor any more and i only remove the 3 plastic clips in front of the wheel i have done at least 2 sets a week for the last 3 weeks this is a very easy job the tension struts cost me 42.00 each from my local parts store
 

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Hey, this is a great thread. I used it as a guide for changing my tension struts. It surely cured my clunking noise. Thanks!
 
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