'09 Caravan, intro and newbie questions



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Thread: '09 Caravan, intro and newbie questions

  1. #1
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    '09 Caravan, intro and newbie questions

    Hello, good people! As you can see from my join date and post count, I am not a complete n00b. I've several posting for my '02 Caravan.

    Bought an '09 GC a few days ago, $6k, around 130k miles, 4.0 engine. I really like it, many more amenities than the '02. Stow n Go will make my life a lot easier, as my usual configuration is middle seats out, kids ride in the 3rd row, stretching out their legs

    Runs like a champ, have started doing some research here. Skimmed the first 10 pages of the Gen 5 sub-forum, nothing leapt out at me as common issues. PO was a smoker, so I have some cleaning and airing out to do.

    Have done a few searches, found the oversized oil filter part numbers for the next oil change (dealership does changes on all cars they receive, so oil is fresh but down about a 1/2 qt - I figure they put in 5 qts as standard procedure; I'll top off before I start driving it - have not insured or plated it yet, pending some preventative maintenance things)

    edit: no steering wheels on eBay, just covers. May have to hit the junkyards when I have time. Found something referring to the Routan as a clone of the GC; and other references here that say the two may share some parts
    http://www.aras360.com/Pdf/resources...lones-List.pdf

    I'll wait on the oil for a few months. I see this van has an oil change indicator light -

    Question 1: does oil change indicator need to be manually reset when changing the oil? Didn't see that mentioned, here or when I skimmed the manual.

    Question 2: What year steering wheels would be a direct swap? PO wore out a chunk of the leather. The wheel does not have any controls on it.

    Question 3: brake feels kind of mushy - car stops fine, though, just have to push a lot further than I expect before it engages. Normal?

    Plan is (in no particular order): clean and air out the interior, change ATF+4 & trans filter (sealed unit, no dipstick, will use the oil dipstick plus measuring what came out as suggested here), change the oil and filter in a few months, inspect/replace if needed air filter, change coolant (I may check strength with my refractometer and put it off for the summer, not sure yet), inspect/replace if needed spark plugs. Lube the crap out of anything that moves Replace leather steering wheel, eventually

    Though, on the ATF, I may send a sample to an oil lab for inspection first. Maybe I can put that off, as well.

    Thoughts, comments, suggestions? Any common issues I should be aware of, or can head off at the pass? As always, thanks in advance for sharing your experience and wisdom.
    Last edited by alordofchaos; 11-04-2016 at 01:14 PM.

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  3. #2
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    There must be a time limit to editing, hadn't noticed before (or I forgot). It seems that by getting the 4.0, I've introduced a car with a timing belt back into fleet

    pic from the dealership listing
    original.jpg
    Last edited by alordofchaos; 11-04-2016 at 01:38 PM.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
    There must be a time limit to editing, hadn't noticed before (or I forgot). It seems that by getting the 4.0, I've introduced a car with a timing belt back into fleet

    pic from the dealership listing
    Attachment 40274
    any way to find out if the timing belt's been changed before? It should have been done at 100K and might have been. Also the trans fluid was due at 120K... if you can find a record of either that would certainly save you some time. On your other quote, you asked about the brakes... the brakes on the older Gen 5 are a bit undersized. That might be what you are feeling with the brake pedal. I think the pedal feel is fine since I'm used to it, but often find other cars I drive are a bit more "touchy".
    2011 Town and Country Touring Black w/heated Cloth seats, Uconnect group
    2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L (Wife's car)

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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CampinMike View Post
    any way to find out if the timing belt's been changed before? It should have been done at 100K and might have been. Also the trans fluid was due at 120K... if you can find a record of either that would certainly save you some time.
    Thanks, CampnMike - going through the paperwork, I found something with the previous owner's mailing address (PO box). I'll send them a letter and ask about prior service. I'm hoping they took care of the maintenance items on schedule. That'd save me a few bucks and a lot of time. There's not a Chrysler/Dodge dealership in the city - there are a couple about 30-~50 minutes away

    On your other quote, you asked about the brakes... the brakes on the older Gen 5 are a bit undersized. That might be what you are feeling with the brake pedal. I think the pedal feel is fine since I'm used to it, but often find other cars I drive are a bit more "touchy".
    I don't think it's the undersized braking. I noticed the feel before I drove the car (while in the dealership lot - pressed the brake pedal a few times after starting the van up, still in Park, to get a feel for the pedal)

    From what you are saying about other cars being 'touchy', this might be normal for this generation van.

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
    There's not a Chrysler/Dodge dealership in the city - there are a couple about 30-~50 minutes away
    You don't need to go to a Chrysler/Dodge dealership to get the work done. Any independent garage can do it. Just make sure they use ATF +4 in your transmission and NOTHING else (that includes "universal" ATF or additives to convert it to ATF +4 and "conditioners").

    Generally independent garages are cheaper than dealerships.

    Or you can go the DIY route, youtube is a great source as is this forum.

    Was your coolant ever done? I think it's due every 5 years. That's an easy DIY and there's a post somewhere on this forum from Jeepman I believe. Just make sure distilled water and HOAT is used (not "universal" kinds) and DON'T mix different kinds of coolant or you risk jelling.

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    The PO never responded to my letter asking about prior service. I ended up taking the car to a dealership that used to be a Chrysler dealership, but they lost the franchise during the bankruptcy restructure.

    They're still a used car dealership - the guy that does most of the wrench turning actually owns the dealership. That's a bit unusual He started the place out as an indie garage back in the '50s and turned it into a Chrysler dealership.

    Anyway, he offered to do just the timing belt and leave the water pump contingent on the play in the shaft pump (with no guarantees as to pump longevity) but I had him do both the belt and pump. Totaled around $800. I inspected the old timing belt, and it looked new, so guessing PO had it done at 100k. But he said the timing belt was loose despite being new as the hydraulic tensioner had failed or was failing so it was a good call.

    I'll probably do ATF and filter myself when it warms up, during a school break. I've downloaded the instructions for checking fluid level in the 62TE sealed transmission - I understand the reasons why they did this, but it is kind of a PITA for DIYers. I replaced the pan on my '02 minivan with one that has a drain bolt, so that one will be easy next time.

    I gotta say, I really like driving this car.

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    Welcome!

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