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 #395511  by JohnnyP
My '03 300M has 93k miles, and has a front suspension noise and shimmy when I slow to a stop. I took it to the dealer and paid for a diagnosis.

Besides saying I should replace rotors, struts, inner and outer tie rods and links, I should also replace the rack, as it has "internal gear noise".

Should I just take their word and replace the rack or are there some checks I can do verify their diagnosis?

I ordered a rack, strut assemblies, and a front suspension kit from Rock Auto. I also ordered the roll pin removal tool just in case.

I'll probably get a quote from a local shop to do the work, telling them not to replace the rack unless necessary. The dealer wanted $1200 for the rack plus $2k labor.
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 #395513  by FIREM
As noted in a previous response Racks rarely fail in these cars. Replace the inner tie rod bushings (outer joints if needed) first. That may correct your issues.
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 #395514  by LUNAT1C
The rack still is very unlikely to be a problem. Not impossible, but unlikely.

Inner and outer ties are common for causing a shimmy. Jack up the car and check by seeing if the wheel rocks when you grab it at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions and try to wiggle it in and out. It shouldn't move. Similarly, grab it at 12 and 6 and do the same. If it moves, replace control arms.

Bad rotors will cause a vibration when slowing down, not necessarily a shimmy.

If I suspected my rack was having issues, I would start the engine to run the PS pump and have someone sit in the car and turn the wheel lock-to-lock while I stood over the engine and inspected the rack and inner tie rod attachments for signs of wear and any odd movements and noises. You should only hear the typical PS pump noise and nothing else, and the inner tie rod attachments shouldn't move with respect to the steering rack (they will move in tandem with each other and the rack bellows as the steering wheel is turned).

Some notes on the parts you said you ordered... not knowing exactly what you ordered...

If you ordered "quick strut" complete assemblies, cancel the order. Or, plan to replace the strut mounts with OEM mounts and bearings before installing in the car. Aftermarket companies have ignored us for decades that the mounts are NOT identical side to side, and nearly everyone that uses those pre-built assemblies gets knocking noises within a few months.

You mentioned front suspension "kit". What "kit"? Is this about control arms and tension struts? Some observations we've had over the years, Moog heavy duty components are OK, standard duty on a daily driven car tend to fail within a year. Other brands are no different. Replace the tension strut and all bushings at the same time.

I'm not sure what the roll pin removal tool is, or what it's for? The only unique tool I've used when doing my front suspension was the inner tie rod bushing Miller factory tool to punch out the old bushings and press in the new one-piece OEM bushings (two-piece bushings don't require this tool, but they do require annual replacement as they wear out much faster).
 #395518  by JohnnyP
Thanks very much for your help and advice.

I ordered the 8 piece Mevotech "front end" kit with inner and outer tie rods, sway bar links, and control arms. The description says original grade.

I saw a vid showing the Moog two piece inner tie rod inserts that you speak of. Do you recommend I order those, remove the worn bushings and replace them rather than use the new Mevotech inner tie rods?

The car was well cared for, with 89k miles when I got it. I don't think it was mistreated. But, just in case, I ordered a steering rack, as the dealer said there was "internal gear noise".

The roll pin removal tool is to help disconnect the rack from the steering column. I've watched "three part" rack removal videos from two different guys and this seems to be a struggle right when you are almost done.

I also ordered Monroe shock, strut and spring assemblies. Two part numbers, for left and right sides. I had a local alignment shop replace them in my Intrepid a few years ago, no problems so far but I don't know what brand they used.

I'm 77, won't be driving it much as it's too nice to use as a daily driver. I don't get out much, put about 5k per year on my Intrepid.

I drove the 300M up to Seattle and back at Christmas, rock damage from trucks and road crews ruined the paint on the hood and front fenders. It's pock marked. I'll spend $2k getting the front end repainted after the suspension work.
 #395523  by rustybronco
Moog inner tie rods are $23.79 each plus shipping through Rockauto. If your outers are in good shape replacing the complete inners is probably easier than installing the split bushings. The only downside is having to have the toe set.

To set toe, center the steering wheel, sight down the sides of each front tire beforehand and remember the amount of rear tire showing (reveal) will get you close after the new parts are installed. Even better would be a string taped the the front sidewall of the front tire stretched to the rear tire and moved until it just touches the rear side wall of the front tire. Keep the sting parallel to the ground then make a mark on the rear tire denoting where the string met it. Adjust the new parts to align up with the previous markings.
 #395524  by rustybronco
I ordered the 8 piece Mevotech "front end" kit with inner and outer tie rods, sway bar links, and control arms.
Didn't see this when replying.
 #395526  by JohnnyP
I made a video after picking it up from the dealer, trying to showcase the noises.

The main noise is a "muffled thunder" at low speed over small road imperfections. Dealer listed a bunch of front end work, including a new rack.
The second noise is like a meowing cat when I press on the brakes. I can modulate the tone with pressure on the pedal. Dealer said replace the brake booster.
The third noise is like a vacuum leak, but it gets louder with more throttle. Sounds almost like it's coming from in the dash, in front of the steering wheel. Dealer said it's normal, due to "the old engine design" with plastic plenum and intake manifold.

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 #395530  by LUNAT1C
The Monroe quick strut assemblies typically will have a clunking noise after a few months of daily driving, since they use the same mount on both sides. The assemblies will have different part numbers because the struts mount differently side to side, but they've ignored the other parts that are unique LH and RH. The preference is to simply replace your worn struts with KYB plus new polyurethane spring cushions, or replace the Monroe mounts in those quick struts with OEM mounts and bearings. Since you're primarily driving in CA on perfect roads (compared to Detroit...), you likely won't have much issue the first couple of years.

I didn't see anything in the video that implicated a bad rack.

Generally speaking, I believe Mevotech is about on par with Moog's budget line. If you're dealing with good roads like what you have in CA, you should be fine. If the inner tie rods come with one-piece bushings, I would use them. I wouldn't use 2-piece bushings, because the easy-install design of those causes them to fail very quickly, less than a year in most cases.

The whining still tells me the booster needs to be replaced.

If you're already doing the inner tie rods, then it makes sense to do the outers as well. I will only use TRW since that is the OEM supplier, but that's hard to find. I'm not aware of any other robust manufacturer, so I suppose Moog/Mevotech is a good enough replacement. Plan to have it greased annually if there is a zerk fitting. Same for the control arms and stabilizer links. Make sure you're replacing the sway bar bushings along with the stabilizer links.

Did the Mevotech kit come with tension struts? Odds are those bushings are bad, and the tension strut itself will be rusted where it fits into the bushings in the subframe and the control arm. Always replace.

The air leak sounds like the air cleaner system is open, not unlike what you said about the assy being off of a carburetor, or with a short-ram intake on FI cars. Check that the airbox, accordian tube, and throttle body clamps are all good and tight. Same for the small muffling chamber between the airbox and strut tower. Confirm all PCV and vacuum hoses are attached, including the booster.

No idea what they mean by "old engine design with plastic plenum and intake manifold". The 300M design is no different from my Pentastar and Hemi. Plastic plenum and aluminum manifold. There are several PCV and vacuum lines in that area ahead of the driver, check that they're connected and not cracked. There is also a line directly ahead of the throttle body that is well known to crack and leak.

Personally, I wouldn't go back to that dealer. Honestly wouldn't take any LH to a dealer for diagnostic work unless I knew the technician very well and they understood the platform well. Dealers have a tremendous amount of technician turnover and the only ones that even remember these cars existed are ones with techs that have been around for 20+ years, or are enthusiasts of the cars themselves. They won't know what they're looking at and will load the parts cannon in the hope that the price scares you away and you don't bring it back to them.
 #395532  by JohnnyP

Thanks again for the advice. I found a very long thread on, haven't gotten past the first page yet. Links to the photos no longer work.

Not knowing all the components and what they look like, I went searching and found an exploded diagram of the strut assembly: ... suspension

What's a reasonable course of action? The Monroe assemblies were $105 each from Rock Auto, and are arriving tomorrow. If the top mounts are the same then only one is wrong, so I could order the other one from Which side has the correct part?

Left strut mount: Mopar (4782019AB) $125
Right strut mount: Mopar (4782018AB) $98

The bearings: Mopar (68140264AA) $60 x 2 = $120

Are these the strut rod bushings?
Moog K8516
Close out on rock auto for $13.10
 #395534  by JohnnyP
Instead of throwing away the OEM struts, how about disassembling one of them to get the correct mounting plate and using it on the new strut?
 #395535  by rustybronco
Most aftermarket strut mounts are based on the left strut mount P/N 4782019AB. The right is the odd piece. Check Ebay on this P/N 4782018AB
Ebay item # 126288639921 The price is $53.95 plus tax. Also look at Ebay item# 294992948702 (Monroe 907972) $39.95. There are a couple of other P/'s that I think could be used to replace the Mopar RH P/N.
 #395536  by JohnnyP
Dale, thanks for the alternate part number for the right strut mount. Kind of weird they don't use 907972 in their fully assembled right strut for these cars. They have it but they give you two left feet when you order a pair.

Are the Monroe strut bearings ok?

Reading on for a solution of what to buy, other than OEM, as of 2022 there doesn't seem to be one, at least over there. Some suggest reusing the OEM mounts.

I'm leaning towards sending the Monroe quick struts back and leaving the OEM ones in place. I haven't noticed any porpoising or underdamped oscillations going over a speed bump.
 #395539  by 135sohc
JohnnyP wrote: April 17th, 2024, 6:19 pm Instead of throwing away the OEM struts, how about disassembling one of them to get the correct mounting plate and using it on the new strut?
That is what I do.

Take the thrust bearing apart and repack with fresh grease (mobil 1) and keep on going.

Besides the mount problem, the aftermarket struts do not come with the correct dust boot. The OEM boot design is part of the seal to keep water and dirt out of the thrust bearing. When you see the aftermarket quick-struts assembled you will see they leave the entire thrust bearing open on the bottom and it will get destroyed in short time. ... 74&jsn=894

on picture 2 of 2 look up inside there and see the white ring, that is part of the thrust bearing. Open and exposed to contamination.

On aftermarket struts the only piece I would use is the strut itself.
 #395540  by JohnnyP
Looking at the Monroe 907972 on rockauto:
OEM / Interchange Numbers: 4782018AB, 4782019AB, 4782019AC, 4895007AC, 903901

So that's not really a right side mount as they list it replaces either side. Check please.

Ok, I wrote before reading your latest. So reuse the spring and seat, everything but the shock itself? They were talking about repacking the bearing on but someone was saying the Monroe is smaller diameter or something?
 #395541  by JohnnyP
Would I be better off sending the Monroe quick struts back, then buy a pair of shocks and install in the OEM assemblies?
 #395542  by 135sohc
I would get two new bare struts and transfer the OEM parts into them. The Chrysler bump stop and the spring insulators are most likely shot and you could replace those with the aftermarket parts.

The Monroe branded bearing/bottom half is a different diameter than the Chrysler one. Unless they have gotten contaminated the thrust bearing on these cars usually will last just about forever.
 #395543  by JohnnyP
So keep the shock, strut, bump stop, and spring insulator from the Monroe quick struts, and transfer everything else from the OEM struts?
 #395544  by rustybronco

My opinion and my opinion only.


If your current struts dampen ok and you still want to freshen up the front suspension, personally I would get new front struts by themselves, not the complete quick struts.. I chose KYB. What you use is up to you but the general consenses here is KYB makes a good replacement strut . In addition to the struts you will need the upper and lower spring insulators. I used the rubber insulators that were a part of the new Duralast quick struts which were in the car when I bought it. I'm replacing all four 0 (zero) mile struts with KYB.

Strut bearings.

Unless your existing strut bearings are a bit crusty from lack of lubrication cleaning up the existing bearings and regreasing with a quality grease should be fine. I used Royal Purple synthetic. If not then I would use Moog strut bearings. That brand has worked well on my '02 base model 300M with the addition of proper grease.


The Duralast quick struts I'm replacing came with those crappy held on with tie straps bellows. Absolute junk! All four of of them had split just sitting on the car for three years. Don't even think about using those. Stick with the factory bellows. I went so far as to get a pair of used front struts just for the boots because I couldn't find new. The rears I did find new. Stick with factory.

Strut mounts for the front.

Some say to only use the factory mounts. Used if still in good shape. I'm not so sure it's necessary to use factory pieces. I reused the old mounts on my '02 300M because they were in good condition. I derusted and painted the mounts.

What you do want to do is use the proper right and left mount from a quality manufacturer. I used the left mount that came on one of the quick struts and I currently have a KYB replacement (SM5167) coming to use as the right front upper mount. It appears to look exactly as the factory mount (4782018AB). Closer than any other I've seen and I've really looked. Somebody on the interweb's said it is made in India not that that matters. KYB spec'd the part. $29.79 plus shipping through RockAuto on a Mfg's closeout.

Jounce bumpers and stops.

I reused the ones off the used struts I bought rather than the new ones that came with the Duralast quick struts. I prefer factory pieces especially when the bellows off the Duralast disintegrated. Gotta tell you something.

 #395545  by JohnnyP
Dale: Thanks for details on a strut rebuild. But I'm in a condo with a small garage, no real place to do front end work.

My regular mechanic has a strut spring compressor. He no longer does front end work, but I think he would rebuild them for me if I brought them to him. But removing them is the problem.

I was going to have another shop R & R the OEM's with the Monroes. I will probably forego the strut work unless there are obvious signs of wear, and just have them replace the inner and outer tie rods, links and bushings and ship the rack and quick struts back to Rock Auto.
 #395546  by JohnnyP
I finished the long thread on, looks like there are two solutions: ... st-4318402 ... st-4213322
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