2004 Chevy Astro Van – Front End Alignment and Idler Arm Problems

Reader Question:

Hello, my name is Cory and I brought my vehicle (2004 Astro Cargo Van) in to Monroe muffler to get a tire issue repaired front driver tire wearing on outside of tire . the manager said I needed an idler arm passenger side replaced. he said it moved a bit and I need it changed (truck is under 3 years old 48000 mi).

He said its not supposed to move at all and vehicles like mine, they allways go bad. so I said well if its not supposed to do that then change it. boy was that a mistake, I found out after that those idler arms are supposed to move just like it was. that part should not have been replaced at all the part was fine.

So he riped me off for that then he started in on I need new shockes , I said the shocks are fine leave them alone. so after 2 new tires (that I needed) and a alignment , idler arm, tire rotation , when i pulled out of there the van drove terrable , it felt like it was lower in the front end(pointing at the ground) and the travel in my suspension was shorter when i go over bumps. how could they have messed my truck up so bad in 4 hours (the truck drives awfull).

WHAT COULD THEY HAVE DONE TO DROP MY SUSPENSION IN FRONT SO LOW IT MAKES IT FEEL LIKE I HAVE NO SUSPENSION AT ALL ??? IN 4 HOURS MY TRUCK WENT FROM A GREAT RIDE TO THIS !!!!

I believe that they did something to it to sell me shocks . this is a van that i drive 6 to 8 hours a day for work, i know what it drove like when I came there , now its messed up . now i dont want to take it back to the same @#$#@^^^ that messed it up and they wont give me my money back.

IF I PUNCHED YOU IN THE FACE AND TOLD YOU TO COME BACK TOMORROW FOR A FRESH ONE , WOULD YOU COME BACK ??. Im taking it to a Chevy dealer now to get it right and if i find that they did something (monroe muffler) to it to drop my suspension im going to take them to court. ANY INFO THAT YOU COULD GIVE ME ABOUT MY WOULD BE APRECIATED THANK YOU. CORY

Hey Cory,

Sorry to hear about your recent visit to the mechanic….shops like that give us all a bad name. I am not real sure what if anything they could have done deliberately to make your front end lower to the ground. They might have installed the idler arm incorrectly or have the front end out of alignment specs, or installed the wrong size tires???

I think you are on the right track now, getting a second opinion from the Chevy Dealership. Muffler shops are great place to get exhaust and muffler work done, but I don’t recommend them for much more than that.

Taking this shop to court, in my honest opinion will be more trouble and effort than it is worth. I would bet strongly that they have been to court a FEW times and they know how to work the system where it will just wear you out trying to even get them to appear in court let alone appear with a settlement. I know you are angry and want the quality service you thought you were paying for, but usually walking away and cutting any future losses is the best way to go in times like this.

It’s sad to say that, but I have yet to see a customer walk away from small claims court with a positive outcome in situations like this. You really don’t have any concrete evidence that any wrong doing was done, although I am in agreement with you that SOMETHING is wrong, weather this is improper installation or deliberate sabotage is very debatable.

You might want to ask the muffler shop for a copy of the alignment print out to make sure it left the shop “in specs”, most shops will keep a copy for their records. I would also double check the tire size on the new tires against your two remaining originals. You might also want to stick your head under the front of the vehicle to see if you see anything blatantly hanging loose. Also take a yard stick and measure the distance from the ground to the center of the front fenders.

They should be the same, left and right front fenders. You can compare the distance from the front fenders to the rear fenders, but they were probably not the same distance from the ground from the factory, so that MIGHT not be a good test, but it might prove your theory that the front is lower than the rear…but then again it might be made that way?

You can measure your vehicle ground to center fender height and compare it to a similar model you can probably find on a used car lot in your area to be sure.

Blessings,
Austin Davis

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