I have had most if not all of the front end problems listed here.
I do most of the work on my van myself, and I have replaced or had replaced the sway bar mounts, sway bar linkage, struts and strut plates, control arms with ball joints, rack and pinion, and power steering pump. I also was chasing this elusive CLUNK noise in the front.
After changing the struts and strut plates, and everything else mentioned, it was still there. Turns out that the strut plates I got from a local chain parts store were junk from the get go. They would make a metal to metal sound at just about any crack in the road (and I live in Michigan, home of the largest pot holes).
Also if I jacked the van up, they would creak at the top of the strut. So I had them replaced with Monroe brand. Problem fixed. The OEM parts are also quality (believe it or not); just check prices.
I also am going to have to replace the sway bar bushings again. I noticed that the sway bar seemed to be worn a little thin where the mounts rub them. My mechanic friend suggested that when I replace them to wrap the bar with electrical tape and then coat it with white grease (lithium based) to compensate for the slight slack from wear. Sounds back yard, but cheaper than a new sway bar.
Also, DO NOT buy after market sway bar links!!! They will wear out quick. OEM is the way to go with this one. I know.
My front end is solid again. Well except the sway bar mounts (their next again, OEM). I do recommend OEM parts for most applications.
Just another note, the after market power steering pump was junk too, get OEM.
Remember I have 160,000 on this vehicle, and the aftermarket parts only lasted 1-1.5 years.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th January, 2009