That thud in the back of your Caravan might be a loose exhaust pipe.
I recently purchased a 1996 Dodge Caravan SE. I really enjoy it, but am wondering about a thudding noise that sounds a little like a dead body rolling around in the back
of the van every time I accelerate quickly. I asked my neighbor about it, and he says his Caravan makes the same exact noise. He thinks it's a design glitch. The spare tire
seems secure, and neither one of us works for the Mafia. What's up? -- Barb
TOM: A word of advice, Barb. Leave the Mafia jokes to us. We're already in the Witness Protection Program.
RAY: You mean the "WITless" protection program.
TOM: The most likely cause of your noise is a loose piece of the exhaust pipe hitting the floor, the right rear shock absorber, the leaf spring or something else in the
back. When you accelerate, you change the angle of the chassis relative to the ground, and that could cause a loose or improperly installed exhaust pipe to hit something
and make a "bu-bum" noise.
RAY: Of course it's also possible that the noise is due to Chrysler's top-secret Caravan Recycling Automation Program, often referred to by its acronym.
TOM: Our theory is that as part of this innovative program, immediately after delivery the vehicle's parts begin to loosen up by themselves as you drive around. And
while many owners think these are design flaws or mechanical problems, we believe they're actually part of a carefully thought out plan to make the Caravan easier to
recycle at the end of its life.
RAY: But if you don't buy that, have your mechanic check the exhaust system, Barb. You'll probably find the source of the noise there.
Don't let your car grow old before its time! Order Tom and Ray's pamphlet Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It! Send $3 and a
stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Ruin, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-6420.
?(C) 1999 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.