1997 dodge caravan issues



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Thread: 1997 dodge caravan issues

  1. #1
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    1997 dodge caravan issues

    Hello everyone..

    I just bought a 97/98 caravan that has new tires and great suspension. We got a good price I think $1100 and only has 130k on her.

    issues we have found.

    1. Mechanic says we have a major oil leak from head gasket seals said will cost about 300 to fix.

    Help and comments I need.
    2. Steering wheel cruise and horn do not work why is this?
    3. AC don't work appears compressor is locked up as belt won't turn it just burns rubber. "Was told would take about 700 to fix"

    What should I do???? Do You recommend I get the steering wheel problems fixed?

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    1. What engine do you have? the 3.3/3.8's don't leak oil out the head gaskets, usually the valve covers. The 3.0, I don't know.

    2. This is a recall item that a dealer should replace for free. There is a part behind the steering wheel called a clockspring that fails and causes the cruise, horn, and usually air bag to go out.

    3. The a/c compressor can be replaced if you are handy. You have to swap it out, flush the system out, and evacuate and recharge the system.
    Candy the van. '98 Sport 3.8L 132,200 miles. Used trans at ~96k. Great piece of my life and a fine van.

    '69 GTO drop top
    www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Greif/1410438927

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    Everything Andyg said. Actually 700 to fix the AC isn't too terribly bad, just be sure that includes a new compressor, receiver/dryer, expansion valve, and a good flushing plus the evac and recharge. If the current compressor seized up, it most likely spewed debris throughout the system. If that isn't cleaned out it will cause problems down the road. Also see what kind of warranty they'll back their AC work with. A decent warranty is good insurance. These vans don't do so well without AC, especially if it gets over 90F where you live. Two vent windows and two open front windows don't make a very good 4-70 air conditioner.
    Daasch Blitzco
    -1999 Plymouth Grand Voyager SE. Factory Emerald Green, with aftermarket rust accents ("What rocker panels?!") 192,000 miles (and counting) with the 3.8L and ORIGINAL 41TE. The Spinach-Van!
    -1996 Plymouth Grand Voyager SE, Factory Rosewood paint with ZERO rust, 3.3l, 175,000 miles. The "new" van. It's a baby. The Eggplant-Van!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotslot View Post
    1. Mechanic says we have a major oil leak from head gasket seals said will cost about 300 to fix.
    2. Steering wheel cruise and horn do not work why is this?
    3. AC don't work appears compressor is locked up as belt won't turn it just burns rubber.
    "Was told would take about 700 to fix"
    1. I'd take a much closer look. The valve cover gaskets and cam plugs are known leaking issues on 3.0l engines.
    2. The clock spring is the culprit in the column. Factory free replacement, but it must be done at the dealership = one complete day at most places. But the job only take an hour or so.
    3. A/C parts prices vary greatly depending on where you shop. The labor is the issue. If you have the tools, you can do the job yourself. Otherwise......

    I use wXw.techchoiceparts.com for a lot of my needs. Met the local owner once and he turned out to be a co-workers neighbor. It pays to wear the company uniform at times!
    Change the X to w.

    (mod, please delete the link reference if this is prohibited)
    2006 Caravan - 3.3l - 4 spd auto - 99k
    1997 Caravan - 3.0l - 3 spd auto - 88k miles - TOTALED on 8-31-12

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    Update...


    Before I could come back and read everyone's suggestions this is what I did.

    1. Fixed oil leak from front. "cost apx $300"

    2. Replaced spring in steering wheel "cost apx $175"

    3. AC/Nothing yet to expensive for me to fix at this time "apx $750"

    Now this is where it gets shady from the local mechanic. I told him while he was fixing the oil leak if there was any other leak that was shown or needed to be changed while he was in there to go ahead and do it so it would save me labor cost down the road.

    After he gets the seals fixed he fails to mention there is a few seals in the back that are also leaking and it would cost me $400 more to fix them. I went off, I told them man wtf Im not paying 400 more to fix 20.00 worth of seals. He said it was a totally different area and would not have saved me any money if he would have fixed it while he was fixing the front seals.

    Another concern, now I have a belt or something making a sorta annoying squeaky noise.

    Bigger concern, when we drove the van into the mechanic shop it drove very quite no noise from within the motor or cylinders. After the mechanic fixed the front leakage from the bad seals and did a fresh oil change we didn't even get the van out of the mechanics driveway and its making an annoying click click noise from within the motor section near the cylinders. I took it back a few days later cause I couldn't do it that day even though we had not even went 1 mile out of his mechanic shop. He popped the trunk and said he thinks its from the cylinders and claims the 97 dodge caravan has a poor oiling system and that's probably the fault why. Do You guys think they did something wrong or just freakishly started to knock right out of the mechanic shop? I swear these guys screwed my van up, maybe even worse swapped something.

    I need some suggestions on this.
    Last edited by hotslot; 07-23-2010 at 08:29 PM.

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    I wanted to edit but will not let me edit after 15 minutes. The knocking is coming from the rod bearings i think??
    Last edited by hotslot; 07-23-2010 at 08:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotslot View Post
    The knocking is coming from the rod bearings i think??
    a lot of things go knock, knock or tic, tic in an engine--need to know for sure what it is, listening tube etc., if sound comes from down low on engine time to pull oil pan and have a look, if from valve covers pull them and look also

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotslot View Post
    3. AC don't work appears compressor is locked up as belt won't turn it just burns rubber. "Was told would take about 700 to fix"

    What should I do????
    Well my AC didn't work when I bought my '96, however it doesn't really get that hot up here in the Northwest during the summers, so I just cut it out and replaced it with a bypass pulley. I'll attach a few pics.

    CIMG1270.JPGCIMG1269.JPGCIMG1268.JPG

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