The Chrysler Minivan Fan Club Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Bought my 2003 Grand Caravan 3.3L about this time of year in 2015. It had some rust at the doglegs at the rear wheels and the rocker panels. I cut out the rusted areas that I could, and sprayed Rustoleum, or some such, all over. Haven't checked the rust for some time. Yesterday, on impulse, I checked out the driver's side , back near the rear wheel, and was kinda surprised at how rusted it was. Got me to thinking, how far can the rust be let go, before retiring the van? I don't have a lot of extra money, and would like to drive it as long as possible. Any ideas? I took some pictures. Did not check the passenger side. I figure it's about the same.

IMG_2215.jpg IMG_2216.jpg IMG_2217.jpg IMG_2218.jpg IMG_2219.jpg IMG_2220.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,810 Posts
First, I'd also check the rear spring shackles.

Second, from the amount of rust you're showing, it would cost you as much to fix the van as to replace the van. I'd start looking.

Third, how is this van used? Local and low speed. Highway and high speed. Lots of kids and a wife.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I'm confident it is not going to get fixed. I was kinda surprised how the rust had progressed and wondered how much longer I would be able to drive it. Driven mostly local in a small town, with occasional 50 miles freeway to larger city. I am the only one in the van. Bought my first Caravan in 1989, and have had one since, except for a stretch of about three years. I have done more repairs/parts on this van , than all the others put together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
I have a 2005 T&C, I bought 4 years ago from original owner. It spent most of it's life in the Chicago area. There was a little bit if rust showing around doglegs and a few other spots but it didn't concern me too much.

Fast forward to this year - the frame was rusted so badly there was nothing holding the front of the left rear leaf spring to the car, it was resting on the floor board.

It was still driveable, but not very safe. Tire was extremely close to rear of fender. Although still goes straight down the road even without holding steering wheel, the steering wheel (when going straight) was cocked at about 45 degrees to the left.

Bought a 2005 GC SXT, and will migrate various features over to GC from T&C, which was loaded with almost every option. Sure will miss the sun roof!. Some items, such as powered back lift gate, will be considerably more difficult, mainly b/c I will probably need to run a bunch of wires as the GC wiring harness is lacking many wires and has no connectors for the control module.

This body design is problematic for rust in the doglegs. Keep it for parts or sell it for what you can get, which probably isn't much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I normally have two vehicles. That way, when one is down, I still have transportation. A few months ago, I got rid of my other vehicle. So now, I'm keeping my eyes open for another minivan. I would like similar to what I have had for so many years, but the rust factor on the Caravans and similar is causing me some concern.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
24,811 Posts
Yes, that's a lot of rust. Lots of rebuilding required. Fluid Film can't even save that vehicle.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Donal63

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Bought my 2003 Grand Caravan 3.3L about this time of year in 2015. It had some rust at the doglegs at the rear wheels and the rocker panels. I cut out the rusted areas that I could, and sprayed Rustoleum, or some such, all over. Haven't checked the rust for some time. Yesterday, on impulse, I checked out the driver's side , back near the rear wheel, and was kinda surprised at how rusted it was. Got me to thinking, how far can the rust be let go, before retiring the van? I don't have a lot of extra money, and would like to drive it as long as possible. Any ideas? I took some pictures. Did not check the passenger side. I figure it's about the same.

View attachment 58330 View attachment 58331 View attachment 58332 View attachment 58333 View attachment 58334 View attachment 58335
I guess it depends on what you consider too much??Ive had over 25 of these vans in my life of every model/option imagined and i live in wisconsin so rust is quite common in older vehicles..My current 2001 t+c i got for free 3 and a half years ago..they were gonna junk it n all it needed was a battery and coilpack..it was rusty when i got it n naturally its gotten worse over the years,but 2 things i look at are the front strut towers and rear spring mounts..as long as those 2 things are ok,then i dont worry about it
 

·
Registered
2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
Joined
·
977 Posts
It's ready to scrap now. You have severe rust damage near the rear axle mount. It's a pothole away from a really bad accident.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Donal63

·
3rd gen > all others
Joined
·
2,893 Posts
These vans can look rusty but still be solid underneath, where it counts. The rear forward spring mount bolts to the floor, which is right next to a "frame rail" that is usually pretty solid. I'd be more worried about the doors rusting away enough past the seals to allow exhaust fumes inside. That is what stopped me driving my 2000, caused by rusted out muffler. Keep good exhaust in these vans and they'll last quite a while.

Strut towers in this generation usually aren't a safety concern. Focus more on the front struts, particularly the lower spring mounts, springs, and the bracket attached to the knuckle where they rust, crack and can break off! I've seen several vans in the last couple years junked because a front strut spring or spring mount broke. Also, keep a lookout on the rear brake lines by the gas tank and rearward, and also rear axle tube.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
24,811 Posts
Do a load test on it. How many sand bags to bending? ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Donal63

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
These vans can look rusty but still be solid underneath, where it counts. The rear forward spring mount bolts to the floor, which is right next to a "frame rail" that is usually pretty solid. I'd be more worried about the doors rusting away enough past the seals to allow exhaust fumes inside. That is what stopped me driving my 2000, caused by rusted out muffler. Keep good exhaust in these vans and they'll last quite a while.

Strut towers in this generation usually aren't a safety concern. Focus more on the front struts, particularly the lower spring mounts, springs, and the bracket attached to the knuckle where they rust, crack and can break off! I've seen several vans in the last couple years junked because a front strut spring or spring mount broke. Also, keep a lookout on the rear brake lines by the gas tank and rearward, and also rear axle tube.
Yes, I looked at that spring mount, and felt better for it. No rust anywhere near it. I did not look close at the axle but looked from under the front end, and did not see any reason for concern. I will do a closer inspection when I get my water pump issue resolved. I had a 1999 T&C that had rusted strut towers. An icy road and a ditch took care of that. Had not thought of the strut spring or mount. Have to check it out.I had intentions of doing something with that door since before it looks as it does now. I think the time is at hand to do it. Think I'm gonna cut out all the rust that I can, and get busy with some sheet metal and rivets. I just had a brake line replaced. Went back along the drivers side and made it's way to the passenger rear wheel. Had a garage take care of that. My first Caravan was a new1989 4 cyl turbo. Got over 310k miles from it and my brother sold it to a guy for not much. Don't think it had any rust at all on it. My next was a 1994 Grand Caravan that had 125,000 on it when I bought it. At about 312k miles, I figured it needed a head gasket, so I loaded up my bicycle and drove the van to the junkyard. Rode my bicycle home. It did not have any rust on it either. I figure I'll get about 300k miles out of what is left of this van.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
I have a rusty 2005 that I'm starting work on now. I've already fixed the tailgate, which had rusted edges on the bottom, and surface rust around the license plate. Next is the rocker panels, which are largely gone, but the inner panels look pretty solid. I already have the parts, just a matter of "some" cutting and welding. I use as little bondo as possible. Matching paint for these vehicles is insanely expensive, I've found.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I have a rusty 2005 that I'm starting work on now. I've already fixed the tailgate, which had rusted edges on the bottom, and surface rust around the license plate. Next is the rocker panels, which are largely gone, but the inner panels look pretty solid. I already have the parts, just a matter of "some" cutting and welding. I use as little bondo as possible. Matching paint for these vehicles is insanely expensive, I've found.
I've got a panel, I think, for the passenger side door. I've been carrying it around for years. Never opened the package, and don't expect to. I would probably give it to someone who wanted it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
My old girl (2002 DGC) had a LOT of rust on the rockers and doglegs too. Bottoms of the front fenders were gone as well. But I bought her new and couldn't bear to part with her, so, I took her to the body shop. Using replacement panels and 2 new fenders, they repaired her and painted all the parts to match (Patriot Blue). Total cost: $3000.00. The thing is, you know what you have regarding the drivetrain, etc. on your van, so if it's good otherwise, just fix the body correctly and keep on vanning. You go buy another one and you're basically starting over, not knowing what issues come with it. Everybody told me to scrap her as she has 241,000 miles (yes it's the original transmission), but I had other plans. Go for the repair, but do it properly, no shortcuts. Good luck to you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,244 Posts
Wow, your van looks just like ours on the drivers side. (01 DGC EX w/283+K miles) I successfully repaired the passenger rear dog leg, rocker and bottom sliding door back in 2014. As far as supplies go, I believe I paid around $300 for the metal, but well over $1000 for the different tools. (Welder, compressor, HVLP gun, cutoff wheel, etc.) I've added a lot more fabrication tools to my collection since then, which paid for themselves with the repair I bought them for. I plan on doing a complete rebuild with welding in new metal and panels.

My advice would be if you can't fix it yourself, It might be time to depart with it. Our van is our daily driver, but we do have a second vehicle to drive which allowed me to do these types of repairs. Also, If you don't have great lighting in your work space, it will be more challenging. (I have upgraded our garage lighting since then)
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top