2012 Town & Country
2006 Dodge Grand Caravan. 317,000 + Miles. -SOLD-LEVY --UNKNOWN MEMBER--Current Minivans I own.
Great that your van is fixed! Makes me think about how greasy I got with all the work I've done. I wonder what that shop would have charged for what I've replaced? I'd have to refinance my home.
Here's a good reason to get your hands dirty:
-05' 3.3L engine ($200 @ junkyard)
-resurface cyl heads/hot tanked ($150)
-Valve job (free)
-EVERY gasket + valve stem seals replaced($90)
-tranny filter, fluid & pan gasket ($50)
- Timing chain set ($40)
-All tie rods and ball joints ($100)
-Control Arms ($60)
-Power steering res & pump ($80)
-New radiator and heater core ($100)
-Plugs/wires/ignition coil ($50)
-Junkyard 160 amp alternator ($20)
- junkyard IPM ($5)
-junkyard fender $20
-junkyard front struts $30
-New front wheel bearing set $35
And too think I spent this much on our van that is worth less than $1,000. But we have pretty much everything replaced. Holy crap...I **** myself when I saw $900 bucks for those 3 things.
For me, the issue is time. My job keeps me out of town during most of the week, I usually get to sneak home for ten hours on Tuesday and Thursday nights, but other than that, I'm out in a big rig. If I had a 9 to 5 job, I'd probably have a project car in the garage, but I simply don't have time for any of that. When I do get home, I'm listening intently for any strange noises, vibrations, or any of the like to catch breakdowns BEFORE they happen, so I can fix them on my schedule. The missus needs the van when I'm out on the road, so when it does break down, I usually have to call someone to take care of it for me.
Since John can plug his favorite shop, I'll plug mine. This guy has been awesome for me for the last five or six years. He started out as a mobile mechanic, he would come out and do the repairs at your house. I had used mobile mechanics in the past, and for the most part, they were all a bad experience. Not this guy. The first time he showed up at my house, he was extremely professional, and it was obvious that he knew what he was doing. The guy had at least a thousand dollars worth of diagnostic equipment in his truck. He's since moved up to an actual brick and mortar shop with two bays and a lift. Since I'm an old customer, he still takes good care of me, knowing the limitations my job puts on me. For instance, he has come to my house, picked up the car, and brougt it back repaired for me several times. And you're not grabbing your ankles when you hear his prices. The last repair he did for me, $400 for a brand new steering rack. I took it to a chain to get it aligned after, $100, and they told me he had it aligned pretty much dead on.
Here's his Facebook page. It's pretty entertaining actually.
What a coincidence that you ended up having the exact same problem as I did last month, on the exact same cylinder!
( http://forum.chryslerminivan.net/sho...still-no-spark )
While I can't say personally I would have wanted to pay a shop in this case (I would have at least read the code before running to the mechanics), I suppose we all put a different value on our time. Glad you got her fixed up!
Since we have two vehicles, I have the flexibility of doing repairs/maintenance on my own schedule. Most repairs I can take care of in the same time frame as the dealer or sooner. In our case, we save on time driving (2yrs), cost of parts and labor, doing repairs on my own schedule, me learning something new and buying a new tool sometimes.
01 DGC EX w/ 3.8L engine w/205K+. Bought used in Sep. 2003 w/36K
07 Toyota Camry w/2.4L engine w/112K+. Bought used in Nov. 2009 w/36K
Yes, for me, part of the thrill is seeing how much I can fix myself without too much effort or cash. It seems like the financial incentive for owning an older vehicle really is not there if you end up paying a mechanic each time something goes wrong. Or in other words, if you don't feel like at least doing some basic work yourself, I wonder if it would be cheaper in the long run to get a new or newer used car? Lots of variables I suppose.
Likewise, I also hate wasting a lot of time driving back and forth to the mechanic, waiting for them to do the work etc. Even if I didn't care about the money so much, I've been able to take care of most things within half of a Saturday or something. On the other hand, if the job is major (rebuilding engine, transmission etc) and would take days, I wouldn't dare to take on that sort of project at this state in my life (and at which point, I'd probably just go looking for another $1000 van on craigslist!)
It took about a month to replace everything. It was well worth it. In the end I received a free education on the 3.3L. The original engine needed lower bearings as it ran out of oil. I also have an extra set of parts out of the deal. The 3.3L is probably one of the simplest engines to repair. With having tore in to the Caravan with a fine tooth comb, I like to help others on this forum with repairs.
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