Piston Slap: Belated Advice for a Beloved MOPAR

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Ted M. writes:

I have a 2005 Dodge Magnum RT with about 60,000 miles. Recently, I’ve heard a rattle or persistent clunk that sounds like its coming from the rear passenger side. I cleaned my car out to make sure there were no errant projectiles rolling around, but it still persists. Then I began to notice that it usually happened when I was turning left and accelerating up hill at the same time. I don’t hear it at speed on the freeway, or even turning left on a level or downhill grade. Every once in a while I hear it over violent bumps in the road, but not always. I’m taking it to the shop in a week or so, but I’d like to hear from you and the Best and Brightest about what it could be and what I should have them check.

Sajeev answers:

Luckily, you don’t need the Best and Brightest’s help: an honest (fingers crossed) mechanic puts your MOPAR on a lift, grabs a few springy bits and finds the offending loose part.

My guess is a bad anti-sway bar bushing, or perhaps the bar’s end link. If so, have the offending mounts replaced in pairs, as both sides are on their way out. Other parts that cause similar noises: the upper shock/strut mount, control arm bushings and maybe a loose ball joint. But my money is on the sway bar, because the noise arrives on uphill turns while accelerating. The other bits normally cause a racket in less demanding maneuvers; and scare you into the workshop at a much faster pace.

[Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Adam Adam on Sep 04, 2009

    @ windswords: Seriously, it sounds like what Sajeeve said. If you want more info, go to the fourms at Allpar.com. They have one specific for the 300/Charger/Magnum. There are a ton of good, knowledgeable people over at LXforums.com as well. They even managed to get an open thread with members of the SRT engineering team a few months ago. @ tmerklin: I had wanted a Magnum ever since I saw the prototype a few years earlier. I lucked out and found this 05 model in the June 06 brand new on a lot. The first offer I received was 9500k below sticker. Couldn’t pass it up. My Magnum story is similar, but it sounds like you got an even better deal! Congrats!

  • SupaMan SupaMan on Sep 04, 2009
    tmerklin Congrats man. Make sure you take care of her. Passing one of those on the road always causes a second look. There weren't much deals on Magnums when I was in the market for a new car...at least not the ones I was interested in. Congrats again!
  • Tedward Tedward on Sep 06, 2009

    As someone who has thoroughly beaten (someone else's) two Magnum R/T's (one past 70k miles and the other now reading just north of 80k) the gripes about quality come as something of a suprise. Suspension components (sway bar bushings, tie rods, etc...) do belong on the wear list for this car, but then, it's a heavy ass, RWD, 340hp ride. I suppose you could (I do) bitch about the cost of a brake job, but that's about it. Honestly, the car is just too big and heavy to ever join the problem-free category entirely, and certainly not at the price Dodge pushes them for. If you take the weight and performance capabilities of the vehicle into account it's pretty hard to fault on quality grounds. The automatic, while despicable in theory, is fine considering it was released when only top dollar cars rev matched on downshifts. Someone should be fired for the lack of a manual transmission option though.

  • Melinda Collins Melinda Collins on Nov 21, 2009

    I absolutely love my 49,000 miles, 2005 Magnum RT Hemi.....I'll never let it go.....