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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.
How can you get cheaper registration?
 

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2005 Dodge Grand Caravan C/V
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How can you get cheaper registration?
I just meant that In PA, they rape you on registration for anything that is considered a pickup. For my '04 Chevy 1/2 ton it is $89 for the year. For my van, it's $36.
 

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Weird.

In Texas, they just go by weight. A 5600 minivan vs 10,000 lbs. truck pays the same fees.

Insurance for a P.U. truck is usually cheaper.
 

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2006 Chrysler Town & Country Limited, 3.8L
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Hey BJ(615),

Background/Issues: About 3 years ago we bought a 2006 Chrysler T&C 3.8L (nearly identical to the 3.3L, but just a little bigger) with almost 200,000 miles on it for our growing family. When we got it there was a small tick, but wasn't very significant.

What I did: Some of these pert number will very between the 3.3L & 3.5L but some are identical. Right out of the gate to help this engine run smooth for as long as I could, here's some key things that I personally did...
  • Head Gasket Set - Head Gaskets, Exhaust Manifold gaskets, Thermostat gasket, etc. (Fel-Pro HS9996PT2) = $92.78
  • Head bolts (Fel-Pro ES 72163) = $19.38
  • Exhaust Manifold bolts (Dorman 03413) = $10.65
  • Lapped the valves
  • Cleaned carbon up where I could
  • Intake Manifold Gaskets (Fel-Pro MS928081) = $18.50
  • New Harmonic Balancer - to help reduce engine wobble to run smoother (Dorman 594-103) = $28.95
  • New Tensioner Pulley w/ new belt (Gates 38185K Solution Kit) = $78.51
  • Idler Pulley (Dorman 419-610) = $10.39
  • Water Pump (Gates 42292) = $26.78
  • Flushed coolant and replaced (Zerex G05) - Around $40
  • New Thermostat (Stant 14789) = $7.89
  • New Radiator Cap (Stant 10331) = $6.42
  • Front Crank Seal - noticed a small amount of oil seeping from it (Fel-Pro TCS 46194) = $8.23
  • Engine Oil/Filter change (Mobil1 5W-20 Full Synthetic w/ FRAM Ultra XG16 Oil Filter) = Around $30
  • New PCV Valve (BWD PCV555) = $13.99
  • New Spark plugs - OEM Spark Plugs (RE14PLP5)= $34.94
  • New Ignition Wires - Standard Motor Products Ignition Wire Set (7703)= $26.58
  • New Power Steering Reservoir - Non-serviceable filter gets obstructed easily on these vans (Dorman 603-934) = $14.33
  • Flushed with new Power Steering Fluid (ATF+4) = Around $10
TOTAL = $478.32
With things like carb cleaner, grinding compound and tool for lapping valves, etc. it'll probably run closer to $500

Result: Took me a few evenings after I got off work. Of coarse there's other general maintenance things I've done later (steering/suspension, brake fluid, brakes, filters etc) but this has helped keep the running like new for us. A lot of people may disagree/agree with some or all of the list above but it's what I've done with my money at home. I'm just relaying what I personally have done and the van runs great. I really like our van and has given us very few issues.

As for the transmission you'll definitely want fix the leak. Since you've been adding 2 quarts brand new fluid a month I wouldn't think that getting the system flushed with a new filter would cause any additional issues at this point. I don't think it would be a bad idea. Just my 2 cents.

I like having a nice looking vehicle but ultimately doesn't matter as much to me if I have a little rust here and their. Ultimately I try to base my maintenance decisions on cost and reliability.
 

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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.
Your on the right track to starting your own car repair/body shop business. Working on your own vehicle will be a good teacher and benefit to you. You will save your self thousands of dollars doing your own repairs, maintenance and preventive maintenance. As to your body repairs, I use Eastwood products. They have pretty much all you will ever need to do body repairs at a DIY price. They have helpful videos too. (It's how I learned how to repair weld and replace rusted panels on our minivan.

 
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Your on the right track to starting your own car repair/body shop business. Working on your own vehicle will be a good teacher and benefit to you. You will save your self thousands of dollars doing your own repairs, maintenance and preventive maintenance. As to your body repairs, I use Eastwood products. They have pretty much all you will ever need to do body repairs at a DIY price. They have helpful videos too. (It's how I learned how to repair weld and replace rusted panels on our minivan.

I drove my work van over 350,000 on a 3.3 until my boss retired it. Used a little oil but not excessive.
 

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I agree with the folks not to change the trans fluid. I f you keep adding fluid the fluid must be like new. If you decide to change it you risk “contamination” Why take that risk? I’d just fix the leak.

I’m no mechanic but I never changed auto trans fluid in my 44+ years of driving and never had a failure. I learned including on this forum that many people who change their tranny fluid contaminate the transmission and in a while poof...
 

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2007 Dodge Grand Caravan (SE) 3.3l Blaze Red Crystal Pearl 219,990mi
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter #48
Hey BJ(615),

Background/Issues: About 3 years ago we bought a 2006 Chrysler T&C 3.8L (nearly identical to the 3.3L, but just a little bigger) with almost 200,000 miles on it for our growing family. When we got it there was a small tick, but wasn't very significant.

What I did: Some of these pert number will very between the 3.3L & 3.5L but some are identical. Right out of the gate to help this engine run smooth for as long as I could, here's some key things that I personally did...
  • Head Gasket Set - Head Gaskets, Exhaust Manifold gaskets, Thermostat gasket, etc. (Fel-Pro HS9996PT2) = $92.78
  • Head bolts (Fel-Pro ES 72163) = $19.38
  • Exhaust Manifold bolts (Dorman 03413) = $10.65
  • Lapped the valves
  • Cleaned carbon up where I could
  • Intake Manifold Gaskets (Fel-Pro MS928081) = $18.50
  • New Harmonic Balancer - to help reduce engine wobble to run smoother (Dorman 594-103) = $28.95
  • New Tensioner Pulley w/ new belt (Gates 38185K Solution Kit) = $78.51
  • Idler Pulley (Dorman 419-610) = $10.39
  • Water Pump (Gates 42292) = $26.78
  • Flushed coolant and replaced (Zerex G05) - Around $40
  • New Thermostat (Stant 14789) = $7.89
  • New Radiator Cap (Stant 10331) = $6.42
  • Front Crank Seal - noticed a small amount of oil seeping from it (Fel-Pro TCS 46194) = $8.23
  • Engine Oil/Filter change (Mobil1 5W-20 Full Synthetic w/ FRAM Ultra XG16 Oil Filter) = Around $30
  • New PCV Valve (BWD PCV555) = $13.99
  • New Spark plugs - OEM Spark Plugs (RE14PLP5)= $34.94
  • New Ignition Wires - Standard Motor Products Ignition Wire Set (7703)= $26.58
  • New Power Steering Reservoir - Non-serviceable filter gets obstructed easily on these vans (Dorman 603-934) = $14.33
  • Flushed with new Power Steering Fluid (ATF+4) = Around $10
TOTAL = $478.32
With things like carb cleaner, grinding compound and tool for lapping valves, etc. it'll probably run closer to $500

Result: Took me a few evenings after I got off work. Of coarse there's other general maintenance things I've done later (steering/suspension, brake fluid, brakes, filters etc) but this has helped keep the running like new for us. A lot of people may disagree/agree with some or all of the list above but it's what I've done with my money at home. I'm just relaying what I personally have done and the van runs great. I really like our van and has given us very few issues.

As for the transmission you'll definitely want fix the leak. Since you've been adding 2 quarts brand new fluid a month I wouldn't think that getting the system flushed with a new filter would cause any additional issues at this point. I don't think it would be a bad idea. Just my 2 cents.

I like having a nice looking vehicle but ultimately doesn't matter as much to me if I have a little rust here and their. Ultimately I try to base my maintenance decisions on cost and reliability.
That’s a lot of work! I have replaced everything that I could think of that needed some work.
Parts:

Radiator 148,349 miles

Alternator 182,896 miles

top and lower radiator hoses replace with flushed coolant 215,678 miles

Cooling fans replced do to only one fan working replaced with (TYC 621370 Dodge/Chrysler Replacement Radiator/Condenser Cooling Fan Assembly).


Headlights replaced due to cracking and yellow haze replaced with (Headlights Set W/Xenons Driver Left Passenger Right Pair Assembly Fits 2001-2007 Chrysler Voyager/ Caravan Town And Country) ordered from headlight depot.

3rd brake light replaced with (Eagle Eye Lights CS331-B0000 High Mount 3rd Brake Stop Light) came with light.

Passenger side brake light replaced with (TYC 11-6027-00-1 Right Replacement Tail Lamp) also replaced all the rear taillight bulbs.

Rear wiper arm replaced because the spring did not hold rear wiper down, replaced with ( Anrddo Arm Rear Wiper For Chrysler Voyager PT Cruiser Town & Country Dodge Caravan Grand Caravan Rear Window Wiper Arm and Blade Set).

Rear Motor replaced with Mopar 4857931AD Windshield Wiper Motor

Front and rear value cover gaskets replaced because of major oil leak
(Fel-pro Vs50599r value cover gasket set)

Intake manifold gasket replaced do to very small coolant leak replaced with (Fel-pro Ms928081 intake manifold gasket set)

Fuel pump and tank seal replaced with (mopar fuel pump module 5175966AE)

The power steering was flushed do to a loud whining noise, was replaced with the Dorman 603-934 Power Steering Reservoir and with new mopar ATF+4 fulid.

Dash lights replaced with Sylvania PC74,

passenger side window switch replaced with Dorman 901-465 Right Side Power Window Switch.

Shocks replaced with (ACDelco 530-253 Professional Premium Gas Charged Rear Shock Absorber) last time they where replaced was at 70,000 miles, put on the new shocks at 219,478 miles.

Sway bar bushing replaced do to loud noise when going over bumps would make a loud clunking noise they where replaced with MOOG Chassis Products K7406 Bushing Kit at 219,478 miles.
(END).
Was it hard to replace the head gaskets? Nothing on my drive belt has been replaced except for the alternator. I have yet to replace the PCV value , front struts, inner and outter tie rods, ball joints, and leaf spring bushings. Would brands would you recommend?
 

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For body work, have you any experience with using fiberglass? Done properly, with some rust protection applied to prevent rust from working, it can last years.
 
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That’s a lot of work! I have replaced everything that I could think of that needed some work.
Parts:

Radiator 148,349 miles

Alternator 182,896 miles

top and lower radiator hoses replace with flushed coolant 215,678 miles

Cooling fans replced do to only one fan working replaced with (TYC 621370 Dodge/Chrysler Replacement Radiator/Condenser Cooling Fan Assembly).


Headlights replaced due to cracking and yellow haze replaced with (Headlights Set W/Xenons Driver Left Passenger Right Pair Assembly Fits 2001-2007 Chrysler Voyager/ Caravan Town And Country) ordered from headlight depot.

3rd brake light replaced with (Eagle Eye Lights CS331-B0000 High Mount 3rd Brake Stop Light) came with light.

Passenger side brake light replaced with (TYC 11-6027-00-1 Right Replacement Tail Lamp) also replaced all the rear taillight bulbs.

Rear wiper arm replaced because the spring did not hold rear wiper down, replaced with ( Anrddo Arm Rear Wiper For Chrysler Voyager PT Cruiser Town & Country Dodge Caravan Grand Caravan Rear Window Wiper Arm and Blade Set).

Rear Motor replaced with Mopar 4857931AD Windshield Wiper Motor

Front and rear value cover gaskets replaced because of major oil leak
(Fel-pro Vs50599r value cover gasket set)

Intake manifold gasket replaced do to very small coolant leak replaced with (Fel-pro Ms928081 intake manifold gasket set)

Fuel pump and tank seal replaced with (mopar fuel pump module 5175966AE)

The power steering was flushed do to a loud whining noise, was replaced with the Dorman 603-934 Power Steering Reservoir and with new mopar ATF+4 fulid.

Dash lights replaced with Sylvania PC74,

passenger side window switch replaced with Dorman 901-465 Right Side Power Window Switch.

Shocks replaced with (ACDelco 530-253 Professional Premium Gas Charged Rear Shock Absorber) last time they where replaced was at 70,000 miles, put on the new shocks at 219,478 miles.

Sway bar bushing replaced do to loud noise when going over bumps would make a loud clunking noise they where replaced with MOOG Chassis Products K7406 Bushing Kit at 219,478 miles.
(END).
Was it hard to replace the head gaskets? Nothing on my drive belt has been replaced except for the alternator. I have yet to replace the PCV value , front struts, inner and outter tie rods, ball joints, and leaf spring bushings. Would brands would you recommend?
It seems like you keep good records, I have a log book for each of my vehicles. It's an aviation thing to keep a logbook. I have one for my house too... Also a P-touch label maker for oil change sticker and various placards.
 

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Hey BJ(615),

Background/Issues: About 3 years ago we bought a 2006 Chrysler T&C 3.8L (nearly identical to the 3.3L, but just a little bigger) with almost 200,000 miles on it for our growing family. When we got it there was a small tick, but wasn't very significant.

What I did: Some of these pert number will very between the 3.3L & 3.5L but some are identical. Right out of the gate to help this engine run smooth for as long as I could, here's some key things that I personally did...
  • Head Gasket Set - Head Gaskets, Exhaust Manifold gaskets, Thermostat gasket, etc. (Fel-Pro HS9996PT2) = $92.78
  • Head bolts (Fel-Pro ES 72163) = $19.38
  • Exhaust Manifold bolts (Dorman 03413) = $10.65
  • Lapped the valves
  • Cleaned carbon up where I could
  • Intake Manifold Gaskets (Fel-Pro MS928081) = $18.50
  • New Harmonic Balancer - to help reduce engine wobble to run smoother (Dorman 594-103) = $28.95
  • New Tensioner Pulley w/ new belt (Gates 38185K Solution Kit) = $78.51
  • Idler Pulley (Dorman 419-610) = $10.39
  • Water Pump (Gates 42292) = $26.78
  • Flushed coolant and replaced (Zerex G05) - Around $40
  • New Thermostat (Stant 14789) = $7.89
  • New Radiator Cap (Stant 10331) = $6.42
  • Front Crank Seal - noticed a small amount of oil seeping from it (Fel-Pro TCS 46194) = $8.23
  • Engine Oil/Filter change (Mobil1 5W-20 Full Synthetic w/ FRAM Ultra XG16 Oil Filter) = Around $30
  • New PCV Valve (BWD PCV555) = $13.99
  • New Spark plugs - OEM Spark Plugs (RE14PLP5)= $34.94
  • New Ignition Wires - Standard Motor Products Ignition Wire Set (7703)= $26.58
  • New Power Steering Reservoir - Non-serviceable filter gets obstructed easily on these vans (Dorman 603-934) = $14.33
  • Flushed with new Power Steering Fluid (ATF+4) = Around $10
TOTAL = $478.32
With things like carb cleaner, grinding compound and tool for lapping valves, etc. it'll probably run closer to $500

Result: Took me a few evenings after I got off work. Of coarse there's other general maintenance things I've done later (steering/suspension, brake fluid, brakes, filters etc) but this has helped keep the running like new for us. A lot of people may disagree/agree with some or all of the list above but it's what I've done with my money at home. I'm just relaying what I personally have done and the van runs great. I really like our van and has given us very few issues.

As for the transmission you'll definitely want fix the leak. Since you've been adding 2 quarts brand new fluid a month I wouldn't think that getting the system flushed with a new filter would cause any additional issues at this point. I don't think it would be a bad idea. Just my 2 cents.

I like having a nice looking vehicle but ultimately doesn't matter as much to me if I have a little rust here and their. Ultimately I try to base my maintenance decisions on cost and reliability.
A waste of resources for just a little ticking noise.

I would recommend not to follow his advice, use that money and time to fix things that needed to be fix. Or for real P.M. that needs to be done.

There are P.M. items that you can work on, but replacing a head gasket is not one of them.

Up to the harmonic balancer, none of those are P.M. items, water pump is not either.
 

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2005 Dodge Grand Caravan C/V
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138 Posts
I’m no mechanic but I never changed auto trans fluid in my 44+ years of driving and never had a failure. I learned including on this forum that many people who change their tranny fluid contaminate the transmission and in a while poof...
I'm the opposite. I have regularly changed the ATF in every vehicle I've owned. Never had one fail (or go "poof"🤨) . The manufacturer tells you to change it at a certain interval for good reason.

I find it odd that nearly everyone knows to change their engine oil for maximum engine life, but most don't know to change their ATF, and then they have a cow when their poorly maintained transmission fails.

My mom's car recently rolled past 30k. You better believe I'll be changing the ATF like the manual says. At least it has a drain plug and no filter or pan to drop.
 

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I'm the opposite. I have regularly changed the ATF in every vehicle I've owned. Never had one fail (or go "poof"🤨) . The manufacturer tells you to change it at a certain interval for good reason.

I find it odd that nearly everyone knows to change their engine oil for maximum engine life, but most don't know to change their ATF, and then they have a cow when their poorly maintained transmission fails.

My mom's car recently rolled past 30k. You better believe I'll be changing the ATF like the manual says. At least it has a drain plug and no filter or pan to drop.
If you catch the PM on trans fluid change at 30k miles, then yes, perhaps... the problems seem to happen at 120,000 miles and you change it once. AND BTW, dropping the pan and replacing 4 quarts that fell out is NOT a transmission fluid change. It is merely a dilution. The transmission and torque converter hold closer to a case of atf+4 so after three maybe four fluid drains / refills/ you MAY be getting close to having fresh transmission fluid in your unit.

BJ(615), that is why atoman (I think I remember was he who first said it) said that having leaked two quarts a month for a few months is pretty close to a complete fluid change and that when you fix your leak, you should be done with the drain / fill cycle.. (I paraphrase)

And why I don't recommend that you get a drain plug transmission pan because if it is there, you are going to be tempted to drain it again...

Look, if you are hauling overloaded trailers down to Tabasco, perhaps.... but even then, El Bato, he says no. El Bato been haulin trailer ass for years and never changed no stinkin fluids....
 

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2005 Dodge Grand Caravan C/V
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If you catch the PM on trans fluid change at 30k miles, then yes, perhaps... the problems seem to happen at 120,000 miles and you change it once. AND BTW, dropping the pan and replacing 4 quarts that fell out is NOT a transmission fluid change. It is merely a dilution. The transmission and torque converter hold closer to a case of atf+4 so after three maybe four fluid drains / refills/ you MAY be getting close to having fresh transmission fluid in your unit.
I am quite aware of all that.

I still say that changing the fluid on a highish mileage and poorly maintained transmission won't hurt it a bit. If it does, the transmission was very near death to start with.

Example:
I change the ATF on our old rust bucket Ford Escape at ~160k. It looked like it had never been changed. It was pretty dark, but not totally burnt. I drained what I could from the drain plug and refilled it. I unhooked the cooler lines, put them in a bucket, started the engine, and slowly added about 3 1/2 gallons as it pumped through. I shut it down, reconnected the cooler lines, restarted the engine, and topped off the fluid. The transmission shifted noticeably better, and lasted until the vehicle was scrapped due to rust.
 

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Honda Civic responds well to what the call on the Civic forum "Three drain and fills" Shifts noticeably smoother and all that. Gotta use the Honda fluid though, so they say.

Our Ultradrive transmissions with clutch plate stacks only and no bands... different animal. More like a motorcycle.
I rebuilt mine, myself, first time and it seems to have gone well [touch wood]
My shop was as close to a surgical center as was possible. I observed a whole bunch of places I could imagine a spec or shaving getting lodged and causing a world of trouble. I even wore a hair net while rebuilding resealing the valve body assembly. Clean room and practice.

Now beat_truck, don't know if you read from the beginning but our OP is a new mechanic, driver, and custodian of this first vehicle.
And BJ(615) I'm not saying that in the near future you'll not aspire to cracking into a transmission and disassembling it to the point where your friends find you balled up in the fetal position ''what have I done?? '' but I just don't think it is prudent to encourage the man to open up his only working transmission when he has likely less than thirty oil changes under his belt.

BJ(615) I hope you clean that greasy mess of an oil stain up, find the leaking transmission (hopefully) hose, and if not the hose, then the transmission cooler assembly. TAKE pictures and ask how to attack this leak here before you take action. Take some advice from some knowledgeable folks here who are not interested in getting what is in your piggy bank. (In contrast to some well meaning auto parts clerks and managers)

I learned how to fix cars when I was your age because i couldn't afford to pay a shop to do it for me. Years later, more than I care to admit, and now that I can easily afford it, I know more that most professional mechanics and I really don't think they care about the quality of the job as much as I would... SO I AM STILL STUCK WRENCHING ON MY CARS, boats, motorcycles and aircraft... And the way I drive sometimes, my life depends on it working right.
 

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2005 Dodge Grand Caravan C/V
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Now beat_truck, don't know if you read from the beginning but our OP is a new mechanic, driver, and custodian of this first vehicle.
Yes, I've read the whole thread. I wasn't necessarily responding to the OP. I was more responding to the folks basically saying "OMG, Don't change your ATF and/or filter, your transmission will instantly croak." or "I never changed my ATF, so you should never do it either." Both of those are BS statements.

To the OP specifically, in my opinion, if the ATF looks nice and pink/red, it'll be fine to leave it alone. If it is dark looking, I would personally change it. It's entirely up to you, though.
 

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Since the OP is new to maintaining his vehicle, we should tell him the correct things to do to maintain his vehicle. The owners manual as well as trans. experts all say to change the fluid and filter at certain OCI's. Now, there is the correct way and the wrong way to doing any type of maintenance. I believe in serving the trans. just like the other fluids on our vehicles.

I've shared this story a few years back when our 01 DGC EX had a flush done at the dealer every 35K to 40K miles. Never a pain drop or filter change. At around 169K miles the filter clogged starving the trans. of fluid. I still drove our van for about a week with the noise until one day she started shifting through the gears while cruising at low speeds. I was a few block from home when this happened. I found one YouTube video with the same noise which turned out to be a clogged trans' filter. I changed the filter a fluid in the pain and that did fix the problem. Then the torque convertor started slipping around 10K after I changed the filter. Again I drove it for about a year before doing something about it. At 189K the dealer wanted to charge us $1900.00 to change the TC and trans. pump. I did my research and changed the TC, trans. gaskets (2), put a Dorman trans. pain with a drain plug on and changed both in/output speed sensors for about $600. She now has over 283K and the trans. shifts smooth and great. I even sent in a test sample to Blackstone Labs to test the health of the trans. and fluid and it came back with great results.
 

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Since the OP is new to maintaining his vehicle, we should tell him the correct things to do to maintain his vehicle. The owners manual as well as trans. experts all say to change the fluid and filter at certain OCI's. Now, there is the correct way and the wrong way to doing any type of maintenance. I believe in serving the trans. just like the other fluids on our vehicles.

I've shared this story a few years back when our 01 DGC EX had a flush done at the dealer every 35K to 40K miles. Never a pain drop or filter change. At around 169K miles the filter clogged starving the trans. of fluid. I still drove our van for about a week with the noise until one day she started shifting through the gears while cruising at low speeds. I was a few block from home when this happened. I found one YouTube video with the same noise which turned out to be a clogged trans' filter. I changed the filter a fluid in the pain and that did fix the problem. Then the torque convertor started slipping around 10K after I changed the filter. Again I drove it for about a year before doing something about it. At 189K the dealer wanted to charge us $1900.00 to change the TC and trans. pump. I did my research and changed the TC, trans. gaskets (2), put a Dorman trans. pain with a drain plug on and changed both in/output speed sensors for about $600. She now has over 283K and the trans. shifts smooth and great. I even sent in a test sample to Blackstone Labs to test the health of the trans. and fluid and it came back with great results.
Seems like we're getting off course here, the boy is asking for help. I suggest that he fix the transmission cooler leak and be done if it ain't broke don't fix it. Especially the trans fluid

Mike S Grand caravan 3.3
 

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I've wanted to say this since this string has started, the van will last until the last bit of steel is converted to rust.

Now, southwest vans probably have infinite life! Pay head, Levy.
 
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