2016 Dodge Grand Caravan - split CV boot, CV joint damaged - replace entire drive axle?

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Hello all -

My friend asked me to help troubleshoot a "really bad noise" on his daughter's 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan. He had not yet looked at the van or done any troubleshooting, but was just going by his daughter's description. We had no nature of what the noise would be, so looked underneath first. Nothing obvious dragging or hanging.

Started it up, and there was a lot of whatever you call lifter noise on an OHC engine. (In Mazda-speak, the lifters for their JE SOHC engines were called hydraulic lash adjustors - HLAs.) But I was pretty sure that wouldn't have been enough to stop someone from driving the vehicle - and it's unlikely the noise started suddenly - so we kept looking.

We put the van into R and heard a loud and disturbing metallic clang as soon as we started to back up. Went into D and the noise was gone. Back into R, and no noise. Drove for a few minutes around town, and no noise.

Returned to the driveway and jacked up the van with the factory jack. (I hate working away from my place - I never take the right tools.) But anyway, found that a split-open CV boot had flung grease all over. I suspect that they had driven this way for awhile, and that the CV joint had been running dry for awhile. I speculate that the noise was the CV joint seizing temporarily into one position, and then breaking free.

20220522_151432.jpg


They live in a rural community, perhaps 40 km (25 miles) from my house. I would not want to do the work at their place; I would envision many trips back and forth for tools I had forgotten.

So, that means getting the van over to my place, or having it repaired locally. Unfortunately, their trusted local shop cannot get them in for even an inspection until May 31. Given that I believe I have found the problem, they could tell the folks at the shop who could then be prepared to do the repair then. But even then, money is an issue. I figure the shop would charge at least a couple of hours labour to swap in a new drive axle. Add in the cost of the part and taxes, and they're out at least $400+ that they can't afford.

Alternatively, we could drive the van into town at low speed during off-hours, 4-way flashers on, taking the risk that the CV joint could fail completely during the drive. Perhaps it would help to pack the boot with grease beforehand, and wrap poly and duct tape around it.

But assuming I can get it to my house, then I have to decide whether to try to replace the CV joint itself, or the whole drive axle.

Here are the Rock Auto options:

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/dodge,2016,grand+caravan,3.6l+v6,3353538,drivetrain,cv+axle,2288

Thoughts from the BITOG pundits?

I should add that this boot failure doesn't reflect poorly on the van. Though it's only six years old, it's got 245,000 km on it - about 150K miles.

Also noticed that both front struts are leaking, but that's an issue for another day. If I can do a simple axle change to get them back on the road and save them some money, that's a good start for now.

As well, I'm thinking more about the "tappet noise" from the engine. I've heard lots of horror stories about the 3.6 l Pentastar having valve train problems in the early years, but would have hoped that by 2016 that was not an issue. I hope that's not the case here!

Thanks in advance!
 
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well that cv shaft will come out by just pulling the 2 bolts through the strut and the axle nut itself. No alignment needed as long as it's still the factory strut. Easy enough to do in 30-45mins in the driveway. New one is cheap enough. Beware; about half the time you ill lose 1/2 litre of tranny fluid. Less if you jack up pretty high. Replace with atf4 only.
 
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I guess you could pick any of the new Chinese axles. They should all be similar to each other in quality and not as good as OE. Trakmotive and GSP are the same axles you'll get at the parts stores.

I found these axles (right or left) that claim to use a thermoplastic boot. While the rest of the axle itself might not be any better than any other Chinese axles, thermoplastic is definitely better than the neoprene used in most aftermarket and reman axles. Neoprene rarely lasts more than 2 years.

Trakmotive offers HD axles on some cars with the TPE boots, but not your Caravan unfortunately.

Torn boots are the most common reason that (OE) axles fail.

Another option is a used axle from the junkyard if you have one nearby. If so, there should be plenty of those vans with blown transmissions you could pick an axle from :unsure:
 

Number_35

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well that cv shaft will come out by just pulling the 2 bolts through the strut and the axle nut itself. No alignment needed as long as it's still the factory strut. Easy enough to do in 30-45mins in the driveway. New one is cheap enough. Beware; about half the time you ill lose 1/2 litre of tranny fluid. Less if you jack up pretty high. Replace with atf4 only.
Good to hear it's an easy repair!

I doubt the fluid has ever been changed - if we can get the van to my place, I thought I might drop the pan and replace the fluid and filter at the same time. I would change the axle with the fluid drained, of course.

I have some Castrol Synertec ATF+4 on hand for my van.
 

Number_35

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I guess you could pick any of the new Chinese axles. They should all be similar to each other in quality and not as good as OE. Trakmotive and GSP are the same axles you'll get at the parts stores.

I found these axles (right or left) that claim to use a thermoplastic boot. While the rest of the axle itself might not be any better than any other Chinese axles, thermoplastic is definitely better than the neoprene used in most aftermarket and reman axles. Neoprene rarely lasts more than 2 years.

Trakmotive offers HD axles on some cars with the TPE boots, but not your Caravan unfortunately.

Torn boots are the most common reason that (OE) axles fail.

Another option is a used axle from the junkyard if you have one nearby. If so, there should be plenty of those vans with blown transmissions you could pick an axle from :unsure:
There is a local wrecker with probably dozens of Dodge vans in stock - that might be a good option!
 

Number_35

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Lol, clearly you've never experienced a winter in Canada. :ROFLMAO:

Literally EVERYTHING freezes in winter.
When you force it to move, it breaks....simple as that.
Agreed, we've just emerged from a very harsh prolonged winter - we were up in the Interlake last week, and were surprised to see how much ice remained on Lake Winnipeg.
 
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Good to hear it's an easy repair!

I doubt the fluid has ever been changed - if we can get the van to my place, I thought I might drop the pan and replace the fluid and filter at the same time. I would change the axle with the fluid drained, of course.

I have some Castrol Synertec ATF+4 on hand for my van.
Don't mess with the ATF. If it quits after you do then you were the last one to touch it.
 
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.. Neoprene rarely lasts more than 2 years.
I've noticed the exact same thing, even through multiple boots. I've rarely ever heard of the mechanical joint failing if it wasn't abused and the boot is intact.

People seem to throw on cheapo CV joints (which almost always use neoprene) in as a replacement to quickly get going again but the neoprene never seems to last more than a few years. Always always go with thermoplastic if possible...it will save you $$ in the long term.
 

D60

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As others have alluded....you touch, you own it.

I know you say they're good people but next week when the rear wiper stops working it'll be, "Do you think you bumped anything while you were working on the front end?"

No good deed.....
 

Number_35

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As others have alluded....you touch, you own it.

I know you say they're good people but next week when the rear wiper stops working it'll be, "Do you think you bumped anything while you were working on the front end?"

No good deed.....
I know what you're saying - I would have to make clear what I'm doing, and what the potential downsides are.
 
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Our '16 has had cold startup tap since we bought it with 59k miles. 105k now. "They say" it is common for the hla's to need pumped up.

Trans needed rebuilt at 100k. The rebuilder was very tedious in making sure the fluid level was perfect, and he had me come back after 500 miles for a check, and he added 1/2 quart. I'm thinking he knows they're sensitive to level. I'd recommend they get the fluid checked by the dealer afterwards if any comes out.
 

Number_35

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Our '16 has had cold startup tap since we bought it with 59k miles. 105k now. "They say" it is common for the hla's to need pumped up.

Trans needed rebuilt at 100k. The rebuilder was very tedious in making sure the fluid level was perfect, and he had me come back after 500 miles for a check, and he added 1/2 quart. I'm thinking he knows they're sensitive to level. I'd recommend they get the fluid checked by the dealer afterwards if any comes out.
I assumed the tap or click would go away when the engine warmed up - it didn't. That worries me a bit.

Thanks for the heads-up on the ATF - I didn't check whether there was a dipstick. If not, I would be careful to catch what came out, measure it, and add back the same amount.
 
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