While performing front brake pad replacement, I noticed the left front wheel (2WD car) was loose. While on jacks, the front wheel could be wobbled up and down. Further investigation revealed the nut that secures the wheel to the spindle had backed off. Because of the looseness, both inner and outer wheel bearings were wiped out. This condition is directly attributable to poor design. The wheel hub is held on the spindle by a fiber lock nut with conventional right hand threads. Right- hand threads on a spindle on the left side of the car will tend to loosen with the rotation in forward travel. Someone in engineering definitely had their head up and locked to allow this to make its way into a production vehicle. This spindle should have either left-hand threads and nut, or the more customary castellated nut with a cotter pin safety.
Anyway, the extended warranty ended up covering the $700.00 + bill for 2 new hubs with bearings. I guess the dealer wasn't happy with the right one, either.
However, had the nut come off completely, loss of the wheel would have resulted with the ensuing possibly tragic results. I'm very disappointed in Chrysler's engineering here, and just wonder what other little gremlins are in there.
Along with this repair, the rear hatch automatic lock was repaired, as it would no longer lock with the rest of the locks and had to be locked manually with the key.
The time before that, about April of 2002, the freeze plugs behind the motor mounts began leaking. The dealer handled under factory warranty.
I think the Durango is the best SUV of its size going. I wanted a very powerful and capable vehicle that rides nice and has the creature comforts. With the big motor, this thing gets the job done, but if you don't keep your foot out of it, will cost you running around town.
One other worthwhile note. The reports that the air conditioning is marginal in hot weather are true.
Being such a computerized machine, don't get caught without the extended warranty. It promises to be a very expensive car to maintain in its later years. When my extended warranty is up, I plan on trading it for something else---and I'm one of those guys who can fix anything and generally keep my cars 'til the doors fall off. I don't think I'll be able to do that with this one.
14th Oct 2003, 07:43
You've been fortunate. We bought a new Durango in 1999 for $30,000. The oil and oil filters were changed every 3,000-4000 miles and we thought we could drive it for at least ten years.
We had no major problems, just a power window motor replacement.
At 69,000 miles the engine failed on I-40 outside of Asheville, NC. We have a $5000 engine replacement bill. The mechanic said the engine was clean and saw no reason for the failure.
We have bought two Chrysler products in the last five years-the Durango and a PT Cruiser, but there will never be another Chrysler product bought by our family.