Tune up 1997(changing plugs) Dodge Caravan



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Thread: Tune up 1997(changing plugs) Dodge Caravan

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    Tune up 1997(changing plugs) Dodge Caravan

    Hi everybody. I just had my firsts experience with the Chrysler Dealer. I had the service engine light on and couldn't get it through inspection. The dealer wanted to charge me $350 for a basic tuneup and $78 for putting the computer on it to tell me the codes. They pushed hard to get me them to do it.

    Does anyone have experience replacing the 3 plugs (3.3 liter) in the back. Also replacing the air filter. Do you use a screwdriver to open the casing after you take the two screws off in the front that holds it to the frame.

    Thanks guys, this is my first posting, I just got the van and don't have any experience with it.

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    The air filter is NOT where you think it is. You need to take that top housing off and there is another under it. THAT's here it is.
    As far as the back plugs it's a pain but if you use the right ones only needs to be done every 100k miles. Heck I just sold my 94 GC ES and it had 150k on it's plugs and they still looked fine and it ran perfectly!

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    In regards to changing the plugs. I have put two sets in mine, and there is a way to get the back three without removing the intake, and the wiper tray. You have to get them from underneath.
    If you have more than a standard set of sockets and extensions. You will need things like a shorty handle, or flex head ratchet short and long extensions etc..
    If not, just pop off the wiper tray (easy and fast) and then the intake spider (easy, but not fast). Then swap the plugs, rear valve cover gasket etc.. and off you go..
    I have not been as fortunate on the 100k plug life. Each time I swapped them there was significant degradation of the electrode.
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    The rear plugs are removed from underneath the van. It's not as hard as it sounds. Like mentioned above, just need a couple different extensions.

    $78 for pulling the codes is ridiculous as you can do it for free by simply cycling your ignition switch 3 times and watching the "Service Engine Soon" light blink. Or you can go to Autozone and they will do it for free.

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    Yeah, $78 for pulling codes is absolutely ridiculous, if that is indeed what they planned to do, since you can get a cheap OBDII scanner that will do the same thing for about $100. You can cycle the ignition to get the codes as well. For some reason, I thought the scanner was a little more specific in some cases, though I could be wrong on that. The dealer is just trying to pay off that $6000 scanner that they have (can find on ebay for $3-4k) Now if they were planning on running a full diagnostic scan on some particular system that was having a problem that was not otherwise easily isolated, then $78 is a bargain, as no generic scanner can interface with your engine and have it, say, activate the ABS system, or get the number of IAC valve counts, etc. Useful for troubleshooting the really pesky problems.

    As far as removing the plugs - I will have to see what kind of access you can gain from underneath - I'm doing it from up top, although that does require removal of a LOT of extra stuff. In my case, I'm changing valve cover gaskets at the same time.
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    If it's not too much trouble, post pictures of how you got access to the plugs from up top. I'd love to see. I'm very wary when it comes to removing the wiper housing now as I don't have the proper tool to remove the wiper arms. I have to use a pair of vice-grips and I don't want to damage the arms as I have no idea what they must cost to replace.
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    Removing the wiper arms was pretty easy - pop off the nut holding them on, and use a small gear puller. I think I did that part while carrying on a conversation with my neighbor.

    Also, you DON'T have to remove the wiper mechanism at all - just the bolts securing the wiper cowl to the body.

    I removed the air intake plenum as well. Hardest part of that was reaching a couple of bolts on the back side that weren't even structural. Had to use a a box wrench on the end of the ratchet to get some good leverage, but geometry wouldn't allow a straight cheater bar.

    I have some pictures, but I'll try to remember to snap a few more shots as I put it back together and show them in reverse order.
    2003 Honda Odyssey EXL (3.5L)
    1997 Town & Country LXi (3.8L)
    1992 Honda Accord LX (2.2L)
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    Thumbs up

    Rear plug change; My son has a 2000 GC Sport with 3.8, he changed his from top, it took about 10 mins after he loosened a side engine mount, placed trans in park, rolled van against chocks[that's what I was for]. This tips the Engine trans-axle forward about 3 ins.. I asked where he heard to do this and he said dealers do it all the time, shortcut to flat-rate!! Anyone know what a dealer charges for plug change??
    OD

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    What happens to the remaining mounts after you shift the engine well outside the normal range of motion? Will they warrant them? Don't think so. What about AC hoses, wiring harnesses etc? Reason #256 to DIY.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alvin View Post
    What happens to the remaining mounts after you shift the engine well outside the normal range of motion? Will they warrant them? Don't think so. What about AC hoses, wiring harnesses etc? Reason #256 to DIY.
    Best to ask dealers that do this. At the motor mounts it's likely not moving much, AC hoses moved almost nothing, and wire harnesses had a lot of slack left. That was 11 months ago and everything is running normal.. He did gain 4 mpg, and engine runs smoother. A 2000 GC has no warrantee left, unless one has a 10yr package. Motor mounts are often only warranteed for 5 years.
    OD

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