Shock Towers rusted-out!!!!!


annarborhawk
03-09-2005, 09:21 AM
Sure my '99 Voyager has 100,000 miles on it. But I'm sorry a five year old vehicle simpy should not have it's shock towers go this soon. They are both rusted-out -- I don't know how thing hasn't collapsed yet.

Dealer says it's normal, and common problem, and that they will "cap" the towers for $800.

Anyone know of a secret warranty, or whether the "caps" will even make the thing safe to drive? IMO this should be Chysler's problem, not mine.

jawss
03-10-2005, 03:36 PM
I have the same problem with my '98 Caravan, just on the drivers side...so far. Im a welder so Im going to fix it myself. The wiper cowl comes right off, exposing the whole strut cap. If Im not mistaken, this cap is spot welded on to the body therefore can be removed by drilling out the spot welds. Im going to scour the local junk yard till I find a good cap and weld it in. I dont have to go to this extreme but I want to do it right the first time. I could just remove the strut and seam weld a patch of metal over the rusted part. But like I said, Im picky. And your right, this is a common enough problem with these vans, Chrysler should be doing a recall on these. Good luck with yours!

jawss
03-11-2005, 10:27 AM
Where you located. Could I buy you a case of beer and a steak dinner to weld a plate for me. :-)


heheheheh Im in NB Canada and you'd have to make it a 24 of beer. :)

t4ia
03-14-2005, 03:10 PM
I have someone who has a similar problem on their Caravan. It is I think a 98 Caravan. Does anyone know of any good shop who can do a reliable work in Toronto/GTA area in Canada. BTW, those who got the strut tower rust fixed, is it good and reliable. I mean after getting that fixed can you rely on the car? Are those areas fixed strong enough and any chance of them breaking?

HiRez_L
03-14-2005, 03:58 PM
I guess they don't build them like they used to, as both my 89's and my 88 are still solid in the strut towers . . .

dougpeng
08-22-2006, 07:22 AM
I have a 1999 Grand Voyager with 190,000km (120,000 miles) that has exactly the same problem. I live in Toronto where the roads are heavily salted in the winter time, but have not witness this kind of rusting on any other car I have driven. The two front strut towers are rusted out at the top so badly that I'm surprised the entire assembly has not collapsed. It looks like an accident waiting to happen. I can just see them collapsing after hitting a big pothole on a freeway. I called Chrysler, and found that they sell a kit called the "Strut Tower Corrosion Repair Kit" that consist of a metal cap plate, screws/bolts and adhesive. The left and right cap plates are slightly different in design due to the opposite symmetry, so please specify if you are only replacing one. I read a few more websites that said the left tends to rust out faster than the right. THis is also the same in my case, but my right is really bad too. These pieces despite belonging to the kit, are priced individually. The metal caps are $33 CAD each, and the screws is another $36. Personally, I think you can pick up those same screws for like $3 at Canadian Tire, but then you don't know which ones you need. Basically, it's $100 for everything. As for adhesive, it's another $76 CAD but the dealer did not have it in stock so I did not buy it. Good thing. I brought these pieces to an independent body shop who told me they can weld the two caps on instead of bolting them on (hence wasted $36 worth of screws/bolts but thank God I didn't pay for the adhesive) for about $250 CAD. Now that's a steal of a price since I know the man, so expect the market cost to be much more. Just looking at it, I think the windsheild wiper assembly or cowling needs to be removed to make room for installing these caps. My mechanic used a chisel and with relatively light tap, the rusted tower cap flaked right off exposing the strut assembly below. This cannot possibly be safe despite Chrysler calling it a cosmetic problem in their 2002 TSB (see below).

dougpeng
08-22-2006, 11:04 AM
Got some more information on this problem. Turns out Chrysler knows of this problem and has issued a TSB in 2002 addressing it. See below:

Suspension/Body - Strut Tower Corrosion
NUMBER: 23-044-02
GROUP: Body
DATE: Oct. 14, 2002
SUBJECT: NS Strut Tower Corrosion

OVERVIEW:
This bulletin involves correcting a corrosion staining, surface corrosion, or corrosion perforation condition at the top of the strut tower/s.

MODELS:
1996 - 2000 NS Town&Country/Voyager/Caravan

SYMPTOM/CONDITION:
Cosmetic corrosion or perforation at upper strut tower/s usually between the strut and upper load path beam inner panel (inner fender).

DIAGNOSIS:
Inspect left and right strut towers for condition. If corrosion is present, perform one of the following repair procedures.

NOTE: ANY UNDER HOOD LABELS REQUIRING REPLACEMENT DURING THESE REPAIRS SHOULD BE OBTAINED PRIOR TO BEGINNING REPAIRS.

dougpeng
08-22-2006, 11:17 AM
Saw your Caravan/Voyager Posting on automotiveforum.com regarding rusted out strut towers. I also live in the GTA and found a cheap place to get them fixed. You can e-mail me at dougpeng@rogers.com or check out this posting on automotiveforum.com for more details.

Vats
08-23-2006, 07:41 PM
Same problem on my 1999. Not completely shot but this should not happen. Chrysler say the strut towers are cosmetic, but the last thime I Checked a strut tower is structural.

Seems every Van around the 1998-2000 era has the same problem.

Mbriggs
08-25-2006, 09:36 AM
I just spent $390 to get the strut towers welded on my '98 with 145k.

Sounds like the kits would have been cheaper!:shakehead

mnwalleye
08-29-2006, 09:05 PM
My shock towers are just fine on my 98 but I have some rust wearing through on the drivers side rocker panel. I've taken it to a body shop but they want thousands to fix this. I've found this site ://www.rustrepair.com/Rocker_panel.htm that sells rocker panels for vans but wonder if anyone has any experience with this. I'm willing to put money and some labor into as this van still looks and runs almost new with the excemption of this rocker panel. A good looking van is a well cared for van I always say.

thanks,

MNWalleye

ATOZBODY
09-22-2006, 01:20 PM
I own a shop i have llooked at dozens of these with the same problem! This is a safety item and should be taken serious. I have a collection of pictures of this too. has anyone done the recomended repair and how is it done? How much time to do it?

Soccer dad
09-22-2006, 01:54 PM
When I bought my 96 about five years ago I took it to the dealer in town to have it certified and they fixed the rusty towers for free something about a recall or service bulletin was the reason? You may want to look into it?

Stevo2
09-26-2006, 06:21 AM
Here's the complete Service Bulletin.

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-12/537508/CaravanStrutTowerTSB.jpg

kekoa747
11-16-2006, 11:01 AM
Depending on the extent of the corrision there are two repairs on is a cap that fits over the top of the tower the other is a tower replacement.
I just did the cap repair it is glued and rivited. First you cut out the rusted area. the repair kit from chrysler has a template for the cut area. Then you place the cap, drill and screw it into place. then drill the rivit holes. remove the cap sand or grind off the paint from both the twoer and the inside cap.
you can by the adhesive from chrysler or use 3m structural adhesive from you local body shop 45$. 3m get 340$ for the applicator gun. I used and SEB or i think any other gun would work. seb gun was 55$. apply adhesive to both cap and tower. screw and riviet to place.
As this repair only seems to take side loads and not vertical loads if you where concerened about the saftey of the repair o strut brace would strengthen it more.

jsinton
03-14-2007, 08:32 PM
Hmm... It's all very interesting.

Did anyone find out where to get the strut tower kits? I figured it wouldn't be too hard to replace them, but I couldn't find a place to get the kits.

dougpeng
03-14-2007, 08:55 PM
You can get the strut tower kits right from your Chrysler dealership. My local Chrysler dealer said they typically stock a dozen or so kits as its a fast mover! There are three parts to the kit. The two symmetrical flange plates (one for each strut), a set of screws to bolt it on that probably cost no more than $3 at Home Depot if you know which ones, and also a special glue. My earlier e-mail describes this kit better. Instead of bolting it on, my local mechanic weld it on which is structurally better. Good luck!

crash2482006
06-11-2007, 07:48 AM
When I bought my 96 about five years ago I took it to the dealer in town to have it certified and they fixed the rusty towers for free something about a recall or service bulletin was the reason? You may want to look into it?

where you from. im in michigan an would like to get mine done soon

crash2482006
06-11-2007, 07:49 AM
does this mean that dealer will fix towers

holy_schnike
01-19-2008, 07:43 PM
The National Highway and Transportation Safety Agency has an online system for filining complaints website below:

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/index.cfm

Posting complaints on their website increases visibility of the problem to the agency, this agency dictates what manufcacturers have to recall. I have filed one for my '98 Grand Caravan, I'd suggest everyone who has posted here do the same. It is inportant to link the issue to a SAFETY problem (ex. failed safety inspection, failure could lead to loss of control, and passenger injury). Review existing complaints to help you word yours.

dougpeng
01-28-2008, 09:05 AM
Many readers in the Toronto area has asked me where to get these shock towers capped for a good price. The place to go is First Class Autobody and Collision located in Concord, ON (Hwy 7 and Jane area). The owner Clement will cap both of them for about $500 by welding the caps on rather than bolting them on which is a much stronger solution. You have to buy your own caps from Chrysler and bring them to Clement, but the parts are very cheap. His telephone number is 905-738-0143 and address is 101 Freshway Drive, Unit 28 in Building B. It's an industrial strip plaza where he usually services wholesale insurance claims and not retail, which is why his prices are so good.

skyhopper
08-17-2008, 09:21 AM
Why Does Chrysler Not Admitt Fault In This Area And Repair It For The Customer Or Atleast Help In The Repair Costs

AV_INPUT
10-28-2008, 07:22 PM
I've got a 99 Caravan I recently purchased and it has significant but not severe (structural) rust on the driver's side strut tower. I've poured some oil and sprayed some WD-40 on / in there to hopefully displace the moisture and reduce the speed of the rust. It's a cheap "fix" (repair delay) at this point and it may be worth a try if your problem is just starting. I'll let you know how it has worked out in 3 years....

dieter
08-07-2009, 07:34 PM
Shock Tower repair plates can be purchased through Amazon. Really! And they are only $16.

There are other suppliers; just google shock tower rust kits Chrysler mini van.

This is free information but to return the favor complain to the NHTA; the link is above.

Chrysler should have to pay. First their shock towers then there transmissions. I wish they would sell to the Japs.

camerabugs
03-01-2010, 10:34 AM
I think Chrysler should be sued into the Stone Age for this. I just found out my strut tower is too rusted out to be fixed. They obviously knew there was a problem with a lot of vehicles or they would not have put out the repair kit. Now I have a van that will just have to be junked. Thanks too to the guy who sold it to me 4 years ago. I would bet he knew there was a problem.

steph48209
03-02-2010, 09:41 AM
i took my dodge 99 caravan in to the shop yesterday to have new struts and all put on the mechanic called me back and said he couldnt do them that the top of my strut tower was rusted out 2 bad and i would have 2 take it 2 a collision or welder 2 have it fixed now upon talking to a collision shop the owner informed me 2 junk my van there is no fix 4 this problem so what did i do i came home and googled lol and i found the strut tower repair kit and it cost 46 dollars with shipping for all parts including both side caps bolts and all..... they will be here in 1-3 days and from there i will take it 2 the mechanic and he will put them on for 120 and then it will be 120 for the shocks to be put on here is a link to the site i purchused from and it even allows you to see the picture to make sure it will fix your problem Net Auto Parts sorry cant find the full link just google them and they will come up

peterjon1
03-11-2010, 04:44 PM
How about instead of "too rusty to be fixed," you write "too rusty to be fixed for the amount I want to pay." A competent welding shop can fix you up, but not for free.
I had mine done, without any issues.

rpdemink
03-25-2010, 12:15 PM
If you want to do it yourself go to allpar and search strut tower rust, there is a step by step photo gallery showing the repair. I did it myself and it takes about 2 days, cause adhesive needs to set up...by the way the adhesive is WAY STRONGER than any welds, AND wont make a place for rust to start like a weld.

rmkisting
07-09-2011, 01:54 AM
This is the best advice that I have received yet. My recently aquired used 1997 Dodge Caravan has this problem, but it was let go so long, that the "Caps" won't even touch the damage. I will really check into the weld issues. I really think with over 600 people liking your site on facebook, that Dodge should correct this well known problem. The CAPS are only good, if you are catching the rust problem early on, after that it becomes a hell of an expense and an autobody shop has to do it. What Consumer Protection? rmkisting - WI

b1lk1
07-09-2011, 08:12 AM
While I understand people's concerns, the fact that there are tens of millions of these there are bound to be problems that are unusual. The upper strut towers are more for the location of the strut and a base for the strut spring to push. They are nowhere near as important as the control arms and subframe that ARE structural. Dodge will not pay to fix these considering part of the problem is places like Ontario which like to plow the roads with thousands of tons of salt which in my book puts them far more to blame. I guarantee that if you look at the statistics that 90%+ of this problem only occur in the salt belt.

Get the repair kit and get it welded. Any competent welder with a little MIG welder can easily repair this. Hell, I cannot see that it would be difficult to make up some repair plates from some decent steel.

Now the transmission issues are another story that SHOULD be addressed by Dodge since they have never been able to build a properly functioning transmission.....

tumbleweed_biff
08-24-2011, 10:55 PM
To all: In my humble opinion: the rusting of the towers and the rocker panels are two, long-term, known issues with the Caravan/TownAndCountry line. This has been the case for well over a decade. the fact that the issue has gone on as long as it has demonstrates a) the designers are clueless, b) and/or the mfg cares nothing about the quality of their products or customer satisfaction and/or c) is a case of intentionally designed obsolescence.
YMMV

The resolution? if you do not have yet have this problem or if it is just beginning, prep the metal of the entire area by stripping off all paint, and repainting it with POR-15 paint. They have a number of paints which will form a relatively permanent chemical bond with the metal. For surface rust, you can apply to the metal without removing all of rust as it will chemically convert the rust and prevent further oxidation. You can finish it in whichever preferred method you wish. This would also be appropriate to use on any welds as well to prevent the corrosion of the welds someone spoke of earlier.

No, I do not work for POR-15 and I don't get any form of compensation from them. I have used their products and found the results to be outstanding immediately and over time. I recommend checking out their full product line.

It has been over a decade since I have worked with any of their products, however, that far back, PPG Paints had something called DCD35, a base prep and primer onto which you could directly apply color, which also formed a bond with the metal. Again, it has been over a decade and I have no idea as to how this product or its replacements/upgrades perform over time.

Where to find kits? As mentioned above: dealers, amazon, and other etailers. Your local auto parts store can probably order them.

Sincerely
Tumbleweed_Biff

b1lk1
08-25-2011, 08:00 AM
All makes of minivans have problems with rocker panel rust. WHen you have long flat pieces of metal that are exposed to rocks, road sand/salt and lack of proper cleaning you will have this. This is not a fault of the manufacturer or the paint. This is mostly the fault of the consumer that doesn't properly care for and wash/maintain their vehicle. Also, if the consumer would actually LOOK at their car without a blind eye for a moment and when they see paint coming off then they need to have it repaired. It does not cost thousands of dollars to have partial repaints. Anybody shop would repaint both rockers for $500 or less. If they have to strip them or perform repairs of course the cost goes up, but people are just far too lazy to take a look and even when they see a problem they turn a blind eye. These same people are the first to complain when they have rust issues.

There is no paint that can ever prevent this. THere is no treatment that can prevent this. Using expensive treatments/paints will only cause an increase in car prices and still not in the least. Personal responsibility is the only thing that can prevent this.

As for strut tower rust, again, taking the time to actually clean out the wheel wells with a power washer once a month would have gone very far to prevent this problem.

RIP
08-25-2011, 10:03 AM
b1lk1 - By any chance do you work at the Brampton, Ontario Chrysler plant?

b1lk1
08-25-2011, 12:25 PM
Nah, I'm an independent mechanic working out of a shop I share with a friend who does body work.

RIP
08-25-2011, 10:40 PM
Nah, I'm an independent mechanic working out of a shop I share with a friend who does body work.

Thought you were coming from a whole different direction. Thanks for the clarification. It puts your post in a whole different positive light.

b1lk1
08-26-2011, 07:14 AM
I should also add that I have a 2002 Grand Caravan and have had to have both rocker panels repaired because of rust through. Van was neglected by previous owner. I bought it with about 70K miles and I've done probably $2-3K in repairs I'd blame mostly on poor maintenance. This is the main reason I tend to blame the owner and not the manufacturer although I wish the manufacturer would make things a little more idiot proof and just charge a few more bucks so their cars could withstand poor maintenance better.

RIP
08-26-2011, 12:47 PM
I should also add that I have a 2002 Grand Caravan and have had to have both rocker panels repaired because of rust through. Van was neglected by previous owner. I bought it with about 70K miles and I've done probably $2-3K in repairs I'd blame mostly on poor maintenance. This is the main reason I tend to blame the owner and not the manufacturer although I wish the manufacturer would make things a little more idiot proof and just charge a few more bucks so their cars could withstand poor maintenance better.

Rust is nearly unheard of around here. I'd guess the body guys here probably have less than half the work you guys out east deal with. Course that's good and bad. Right there with you on the "idiot proof".

b1lk1
08-29-2011, 02:44 PM
I live in what is affectionately termed the "Rust Belt" since Ontario uses an insane amount of road salt to protect people from themselves. Rust is a HUGE problem here.

Moppie
08-29-2011, 02:59 PM
I haven't seen a car made since the 80s that has a real rust problem.

While we don't have to salt our roads like much of the Northern Hemisphere does, do live extremely close to the sea which means lots of exposure to high humidity and air born salt.

Our car fleet is mostly comprised of Japanese and European built cars. Paint and coating technology reach a very high standard in these countries in the early 90s, and rust is simply not a regular problem anymore.
Anything made before then, unless it's very well looked after will now be riddled with rust.

b1lk1
08-30-2011, 06:55 AM
Road salt is far more punishing than sear/air salt. Road salt is like sand blasting as it removes pretective paint. Once it is in and not washed out it then causes corrosion. Plus, once there is a hole or it finds a drain hole and it is not cleaned out, it rots from the inside out.

No car is more immune than any other here.

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