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My van has not had a check engine light on. I have been using Mopar ATF+4. I went outside to check up on my van , and to see if I have any leaks from my transmission pan, it is a bit wet looking and a bit rusty. I think I might try ,and change the pan with one with a drain plug on it, and probably just change the filter with the pan off the filter has never been replaced . Do you have any suggestions to what filter ,and drain pan I should use (one with a drain plug).
The first step here grasshopper....

Get some sort of degreaser like purple power at Walmart and start detailing the engine area. Spray it on, let it work a few minutes and then "Gently" hose it off. Everything under the hood should be able to get 'wet' not soaked, not blasted, but with a hose you can get most everything wet.

It is an engine after all, so detailing is more of a concept than a goal, but clean up the greasy pan and engine area so you can determine if you really have a leak and where it is originating from. *stuff under the vehicle, you can hose bast all those hard parts.

If you don't have a place where you can degrease with a hose and the soap stuff, then you can don a pair of gloves, and safety glasses, a paint brush, some old rags and use paint thinner, kerosene, or even gasoline.... I hope you never are a smoker, don't smoke when using flammables..

Don't get a pan with a drain plug for your transmission, not only is it never going to be necessary to change the oil in that again, but if there is a drain plug there, you are going to be tempted.

If there is nothing physically or operationally wrong with your transmission, don't mess with it.
Too much risk with too little upside gain
and potentialy expensive repercussions to boot.

Everything in life leaks eventually.... So yes, you are going to find some "seep" at the transmission pan and perhaps a leak, but I caution you that until you get good automotive working experience in mitigating contamination, the transmission is the last place you want to start to learn.

But I remember when I was young and couldn't hear the wisdom of my elders...

I know professional mechanics who know better than to crack a transmission open if it is beyond their skillset.
 

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Welcome. My 2 cents with the trans maintenance is different from most responses here. Our 01 DGC EX has just over 283K. Both the engine and trans. run and operate grate. I service our transmission like this: every 35K I drain the fluid out of the pain and replace. (I replaced the OEM pan with a Dorman pan with a drain plug) Every other fluid change, which is 70K, I drop the pain and change the fluid and filter. I had the fluid tested about 30K ago and the results were very good. If the fluid has been changed as recommended by the maintenance schedule, I would stick to that. Science and wisdom does not support that not changing the fluid, is better for a health transmission. Just because people that haven't had any issues with their trans. by not changing the fluid, doesn't mean that the trans. is health.

As to how long it would last, I'd have to say easily over 300K if you perform the proper maintenance on time. Rust is the biggest issue if you like in the rust belt. We have a lot of rusted panels, to which I have been working on repairing. The front sway bar bushings and stabilizer bar end links tend to wear around 50K. Valve cover gaskets start to leak around 100K.

That was a good idea changing the fuel pump before it went out. Ours went out around 250K while I was driving in a bad rain storm. First time having to be towed and I wasn't happy. I should have changed it around 200K when I had the thought to. There's nothing wrong with changing things before they break, it's called preventive maintenance, especially if it will prevent a break down or safety issue. There are a lot of very helpful people here and YouTube videos that can help educate you as to how to fix and trouble shot pretty much any issue you might have.
 

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I ordered a new AC condenser/ cooler online
My AC does not blow cold anymore so I thought I might as well replace the whole thing. I have some things I have to do to my van, I am waiting on a new headliner to come in as well because mine is dropping, I have a very small amount of rust on one side of my rocker of my van, but I bought everything I need to fix it.
What are you using for corrosion protection? In coastal areas and road salt areas, corrosion needs abatement.

Fluid Film is used on snowplows and farm equipment. Similar, non hardening, products available including motor oil mixed with WD-40.

Automotive Fluid Film: Automotive | Fluid Film
.
 
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My 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan (SE) 3.3l has 219,899 miles on it, (my mother did most of the driving but 8 months ago when I turned 16 she gave it too me). So far the only repairs it has had is a new EGR value, new plugs and wires, new PCM, new battery and radiator. But I replaced the front, and rear value covers and intake manifold gasket, and also the fuel pump for preventative maintenance, also the rear shocks and sway bar bushings. I was wondering if there are certain things I should look for with this type of mileage? Also is it safe to change the transmission filter and the transmission fluid? The reason why I ask about the transmission fluid is because I have a big leak in my transmission cooler I have to top the transmission off with about 2 quarts every month the fluid looks normal and not burnt a tiny bit dark still shifts good. What are your thoughts?
If you take good care of it and protect it from corrosion, it will last as long as parts are available. How does 1,000,000 miles sound? I have heard of them lasting past 1,000,000 km.
 
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Discussion Starter #25
If you take good care of it and protect it from corrosion, it will last as long as parts are available. How does 1,000,000 miles sound? I have heard of them lasting past 1,000,000 km.
Wow that sounds amazing! Unfortunately I have found some corrosion pretty bad that it made two rust holes on my driver side rocker panel, I have things I am going to do to patch the rust. One hole is half an inch wide, and the other one is 2 inches wide we lived in Michigan for 3 years the salt must have been inside the rocker panel or something, we did go to the car wash during the winter. Meanwhile I have access pretty much inside the rocker panel, what would you suggest me spraying in there to try , and stop or even neutralize the rust. I live in Nashville Tennessee now, so pretty nice weather.
 

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I found this website and thought of you BJ(615) when I saw the 'Flexible Bumper Repair Cement' under the topic Body Fillers.

All of this stuff should be available locally at an auto body supply store in Nashville.


Inspired by atoman's newest 'sticky' regarding body paint codes
 
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Discussion Starter #27
I found this website and thought of you BJ(615) when I saw the 'Flexible Bumper Repair Cement' under the topic Body Fillers.

All of this stuff should be available locally at an auto body supply store in Nashville.


Inspired by atoman's newest 'sticky' regarding body paint codes
Thanks, FabricGATOR for the awesome resources! I will look into it, I really appreciate you helping with all my questions. My family are not car people at all ,they think once something stops working it is junk, that’s why I drive my moms old van I want to have my own car repair Business or body shop. She wanted to donate it, I would not let her at all the van has a very sentimental place in my heart. Mopar strong.
 

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Wow that sounds amazing! Unfortunately I have found some corrosion pretty bad that it made two rust holes on my driver side rocker panel, I have things I am going to do to patch the rust. One hole is half an inch wide, and the other one is 2 inches wide we lived in Michigan for 3 years the salt must have been inside the rocker panel or something, we did go to the car wash during the winter. Meanwhile I have access pretty much inside the rocker panel, what would you suggest me spraying in there to try , and stop or even neutralize the rust. I live in Nashville Tennessee now, so pretty nice weather.
Only thing that will work is something that doesn't setup or harden. Products that set up or harden trap moisture, crack, and eventually promote corrosion. Avoid rubberized or wax type products also, as they trap moisture.
Fluid Film, Rust Check, Krown, and Rust Cure Formula 3000 will work.
Information on Rust Cure Formula 3000:
FEATURES
  • Rust Cure Formula 3000 prevents the start of corrosion in seams and crevices to maintain the structural integrity of vehicle
  • Removes and displaces moisture in hidden cavities, including salt water
  • Clean, clear, invisible, with no sticky messy residue
  • Dissolves and neutralizes existing rust and corrosion
  • Prevents paint blistering at edge of overlapped seams
  • Protects underbody - fuel and brake lines
  • Protects against abrasion between painted and vinyl surfaces
  • Penetrates deeply and lubricates
  • Stops electrolysis between dissimilar metals, restores UV-damaged rubber and vinyl
  • Not a sealant - will not trap moisture against metal
  • Non-flammable as a liquid, non-conductive, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, no solvents, no odors or toxic fumes
Automotive Fluid Film: Automotive | Fluid Film
 

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Discussion Starter #29
We’re do you think I would be able to find Rust Cure Formula 3000, or fluid film? I would like to take care of my rust as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading to other areas of my van.
 

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We’re do you think I would be able to find Rust Cure Formula 3000, or fluid film? I would like to take care of my rust as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading to other areas of my van.
Just so you know, these bacon grease rust preventative types are not for painting.

Applying this 3000, or Fluid Film is not if you desire to paint of body filler repair, fiberglass. It is a different way to control corrosion. Rust is Iron Oxide. This stuff works by removing the oxygen through an oily film.

It is great. But only in some situations.
I use the snot out of it on things like by boat trailer leaf springs and trailer winch. Something I want to stop the rust AND lubricate a working machine. Never on anything that I intend to paint or refinish.

It can be done mind you. But you are working your tail off trying to undo that grease oil coating.

I would convert the rust. Repair the armor (paint coating) and then use the FluidFilm over (and behind, as in, from within the door itself) after that.


Reality is that you are all enthusiastic and gung ho on your first vehicle. I get it, it is your rocket ship...
Reality is that near down the road, you'll want to restore a Toyota Supra or a perhaps Dodge Challenger / Charger...

This is a learning opportunity. Don't worry too much about doing anything wrong, you learn from your mistakes. Its ok...

Fluid Fuilm is available Online at Amazon AND in stores like Advanced Auto Parts/
as is Ospho or Rust Reformer by Rustoleum. I use Rust Reformer in the offshore oil and gas drill rigs and ships.
 

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We’re do you think I would be able to find Rust Cure Formula 3000, or fluid film? I would like to take care of my rust as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading to other areas of my van.
We’re do you think I would be able to find Rust Cure Formula 3000, or fluid film? I would like to take care of my rust as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading to other areas of my van.
I know it sucks to hear, but having worked at a body shop for years and living in the rust belt and driving old vehicles all my life, I can tell you that pretty much all of the DIY repairs suggested (metal tape, fiberglass, Bondo etc)are band aids that just cover up and maybe slow the rust at best. Especially where there are holes involved, the rust you see is almost always only a fraction of what is there where you can't see it. With cover/patch jobs, the rust will come back in short order.

The only way to really repair it right and have it last is to cut out all the rusted metal and weld on (or use panel bonding adhesive to attach) new panels. Then do your sealing/priming/painting.

I have come to the conclusion that with older vehicles, either do nothing with the rust, and just drive the vehicle 'till it is junk, or go whole hog fixing it right. Most older vehicles just aren't worth the work to do it right, though. Anything in between is a waste of time, money, and effort. (Unless you are just doing it for a learning experience or to pass inspection)

I am at nearly the same place with my van. The underside is nearly perfect, but the rockers and rear doglegs are starting to get some holes, and the bottoms of the rear doors and tailgate are starting to get a little crusty.

I have three options that I see:
1. Do nothing, and drive it 'till it either gets too rotten to drive, or an engine/transmission fails
2. Sell it soon while it still looks halfway decent
3.Go all out and weld in new rockers and doglegs, grind and/or sandblast the doors and tailgate, replace the one rusted and dented fender, seal everything up, fill the other various small dents, and paint the whole van.

Just something to think about. I have been through it many times.
 

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We’re do you think I would be able to find Rust Cure Formula 3000, or fluid film? I would like to take care of my rust as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading to other areas of my van.
Fluid Film is available at Auto Parts stores, Home Depot and likely at John Deere Dealerships as it's used to abate corrosion caused by fertilizers in the farming industry. It repels moisture, creeps (up the outside of your vehicle doors for several inches is evidence of that), and seals the surface from moisture penetration. It remains active for a year, or more, depending on exposure to washing away. I spray it in my engine bay, on electrical connections and wires, on hoses, on locks (it's a lubricant as well) and the vehicle rust prone areas.

More on Fluid Film:

An interesting use per Sheldon's experience (Mississippi Gulf Coast "Cruising the Coast" event):

Best you educate yourself on the product. It will burn so don't go using a torch, or welder, on it in an enclosed space.

As for your rocker panels, some pour old transmission fluid in them and let it find its way to the drain holes, while saturating rust areas with oil on the way.

As for rocker panel repairs, preformed covers are available for gluing or spot welding in place.

Maybe this is too much information so don't hesitate to ask questions for clarification. Nuts and fasteners are easier to remove if they have been coated with Fluid Film (it penetrates). It's not a miracle cure, just a lot of common sense.
 
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Discussion Starter #33
I know it sucks to hear, but having worked at a body shop for years and living in the rust belt and driving old vehicles all my life, I can tell you that pretty much all of the DIY repairs suggested (metal tape, fiberglass, Bondo etc)are band aids that just cover up and maybe slow the rust at best. Especially where there are holes involved, the rust you see is almost always only a fraction of what is there where you can't see it. With cover/patch jobs, the rust will come back in short order.

The only way to really repair it right and have it last is to cut out all the rusted metal and weld on (or use panel bonding adhesive to attach) new panels. Then do your sealing/priming/painting.

I have come to the conclusion that with older vehicles, either do nothing with the rust, and just drive the vehicle 'till it is junk, or go whole hog fixing it right. Most older vehicles just aren't worth the work to do it right, though. Anything in between is a waste of time, money, and effort. (Unless you are just doing it for a learning experience or to pass inspection)

I am at nearly the same place with my van. The underside is nearly perfect, but the rockers and rear doglegs are starting to get some holes, and the bottoms of the rear doors and tailgate are starting to get a little crusty.

I have three options that I see:
1. Do nothing, and drive it 'till it either gets too rotten to drive, or an engine/transmission fails
2. Sell it soon while it still looks halfway decent
3.Go all out and weld in new rockers and doglegs, grind and/or sandblast the doors and tailgate, replace the one rusted and dented fender, seal everything up, fill the other various small dents, and paint the whole van.

Just something to think about. I have been through it many times.
I know it does suck, I have noticed rust . But I do want it to look a little bit better then it does right now, even it is just a band-Aid fix. I do know that everyone’s first car is never perfect and it just happens that my vans issue is rust. One day I will have to stop driving it but I don’t plan on that being anytime soon. I would never think about spending thousands on body work on an older car it just is not worth it. I am just going to live with the fact that my van spent some time up north and paid for it, at the end of the day I am going to keep the fluids clean ,and keep on driving until I can’t anymore.
 

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Today is your birthday, Welcome to 17!


Here's a link to the archived FSM for your vehicle online or you can download all the individual chapters.
This is what the technicians at the Dodge dealership would use for everything from paint and body repairs to air conditioning.

Work safe and post pictures...
 
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I know it does suck, I have noticed rust . But I do want it to look a little bit better then it does right now, even it is just a band-Aid fix. I do know that everyone’s first car is never perfect and it just happens that my vans issue is rust. One day I will have to stop driving it but I don’t plan on that being anytime soon. I would never think about spending thousands on body work on an older car it just is not worth it. I am just going to live with the fact that my van spent some time up north and paid for it, at the end of the day I am going to keep the fluids clean ,and keep on driving until I can’t anymore.
I was exactly the same way with my first car.
I did patch jobs to the rockers and bottoms of the doors, and painted the car myself. Looking back, I just wouldn't have wasted the time or effort on a car my dad paid $75 for. I would have just driven it, because before too long, I lost interest in the car and moved on to another that I thought would be better.
 

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I was exactly the same way with my first car.
I did patch jobs to the rockers and bottoms of the doors, and painted the car myself. Looking back, I just wouldn't have wasted the time or effort on a car my dad paid $75 for. I would have just driven it, because before too long, I lost interest in the car and moved on to another that I thought would be better.
I do have to admit, that after all the years of disgust with slow moving minivans blocking the lane I wanted to speed in, all the times I wished I could see through the windows to know what the traffic ahead was doing, I disliked the fact that my friend had a minivan and occasionally asked my to work on it... All my disdain and compassion....

I really like my gen 4.

I can stack full sheets of plywood into it, I haul tools, pull trailers, its easy to get in/out of, good visibility, fair fuel mileage... I've camped in it, can load friends in it to go to a concert or dinner. Load band gear and smoke it out....

The list goes on.
 

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I hardly ever get looked at by the highway constable...

touch wood
 

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I do have to admit, that after all the years of disgust with slow moving minivans blocking the lane I wanted to speed in, all the times I wished I could see through the windows to know what the traffic ahead was doing, I disliked the fact that my friend had a minivan and occasionally asked my to work on it... All my disdain and compassion....

I really like my gen 4.

I can stack full sheets of plywood into it, I haul tools, pull trailers, its easy to get in/out of, good visibility, fair fuel mileage... I've camped in it, can load friends in it to go to a concert or dinner. Load band gear and smoke it out....

The list goes on.
I like my van, too.
Especially with it being a C/V. It's essentially an enclosed pickup with cheaper registration. I also love that it has no options, besides A/C. Less BS to fail.
 

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I don't know your year, but sounds like the same 3.3L V-6 since the 1990's, like the 3.8L in my 2002 T&C AWD. A robust pushrod engine. Early ones had a problem with the rocker arm shaft towers cracking in the aluminum head, but they added a tower in mid-1990's and no such problems since. The engine is otherwise similar to the classic 318 cu in small-block V-8 used in gazillion Chryslers 1964-2002 (Magnum). Better than their first V-6 Magnum, which was just the V-8 w/ 2 cyl lopped off. It has the optimal 60 deg bank angle for a V-6. Mine has 272K miles w/ no problems. A year ago I removed the timing cover to fix a small oil leak and because I assumed the timing chain would be worn, though I heard no slapping the side. The chain had a little slack, but could have gone another 100K miles easy. I removed the oil pump cover and measured the gaps in spec w/ no wear on the lobes. I did find the crankshaft center bolt snapped off and left like that, either a some gomer mechanic or even the factory, but was able to get the remainder out and install a new bolt. Worst risk is if the roller lifters fail, you must remove the heads to change them, so plan on a ring & valve job at that time if >200K miles. Biggest problem was that the flex-plate cracked ~200K miles, which is apparently a common problem with the higher torque 3.8L. Since I had to remove the A-604 transmission, I rebuilt it w/ a "banner kit" (clutch plates, ~$110). I found it perfect inside, w/ the clutch plates worn a negligilbe 2 mil at most. Don't know if anyone had been in there before (bought used at 150K). Thus, unless you hear funny noises, you might assume everything is fine inside until at least 300K miles, assuming oil and filter changes have been done.

Body wear depends upon where you live. In CA, I haven't seen even a spot of rust on the sheet-metal and just a bare rust dusting on the unpainted suspension parts. The sun attacks the clear-coat, though not very noticeable on our silver paint. Wish I had garage space, but my classic Mopars fill that. The headliner fell down, so I pulled it out and relined w/ foam headliner from Joan's Fabrics (inexpensive). Mine has many wiring bundles overhead since a full-option van. You must cut that glue that off the headliner (hard-wired to body), then glue back w/ a hot-glue gun (cheap at dollar stores). My biggest concern is that I have the AWD and those parts are rare and expensive. Ours still looks close to new. If it ever become unsightly, I can remove the rear seats and use it like a pickup as I do with our old 1996 Voyager 4 cyl. A 4x8 plywood sheet sits flat and I can close the door, whereas in the shorter 1996 it is 6" too long so tie the door down. I snicker when I see people trying to fit boards into those crew cab pickups with short bed at Home Depot, though at least they are trying to use the bed which is more that you can say of most pickup type guys. I had a pickup long ago and hated it. A minivan is much more useful for hauling stuff.
 

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After my Mopar tech friend went through my tranny with all updates (just some rough shifting). I promptly went overboard and installed a B&M 24k cooler (bypassed the original). yup, I have to block it for the northeast winter.
See attached pics for some inspiration and laughs.
Rust under the pass side sliding door is starting to bite with chunks falling off but the railing/supports are solid, hopefully the fluid film can stop it, I just started using it. It has 125k with a lot of short trips, traffic etc
2006 Caravan SXT 3.3,
 

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