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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This fall I’ll be moving two hours south to a university in a rural area without any local junkyards that I know of. Ever since I bought my 07 T&C off my grandpa last year I’ve been tuning it up best I can to get me through college without any serious repairs (and to learn). I’d like to know what to expect to go out within the next two years that I should look out for.

Here’s what I’ve repaired so far in the last year:
  • sliding door wiring harness
  • sliding door lock actuator
  • new cat converter
  • driver side window motor
  • turn signal switch
  • new trunk hydraulics
  • oil filter adapter gasket
  • power steering reservoir (annoying whine b gone)
  • abs wire & sensor
  • new chrome wheels and near new tires for $200 total
  • rear bumper cover
  • instrument panel bulbs
  • rear wiper arm

Needed repairs:
  • oil pan gasket
  • sway bar bushings
  • headliner restoration if I’m ambitious enough
  • AC diagnosis, was told by gramps that the compressor is blown but it fires right up when engaged, likely just needs refrigerant

The transmission still shifts smooth as butter and I’ve done all the above repairs myself with the exception of the cat converter. Alternator is the original so I’m looking out for that to go bad eventually. Anything else I should be prepared for? Thank ya

(and here’s a side by side of why I wanted new wheels, the Ohio farmland was not very kind over the years)
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Pretty much take it from oil change to oil change now and hope for the best.
What's still OE?
What maintenance does your Owner Manual call for like serpentine belt, cabin filter, air filter and such?
How are the hoses and clamps, clamps likely a shorter life than hoses.

At 225,000 miles, my 2002 DGC Sport had original front struts, water pump, working AC (no recharges), control arms/bushings, transmission, engine, radiator, heater core, wiper motor, and a lot of other things. All those things have a life and are going to fail sometime, who knows when.

When I changed the oil I would think "will the van get me to the next oil change without any problems?" Then take a couple of notes as to my guess as to what might go wrong. One oil change at a time basically. Even new/newer vehicles can fail unexpectedly.
 

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I'd do alternator brushes and serpentine belt if it hasn't been changed in a while. Maybe even tensioner, as they get weak over time and lose tension. Struts could be worn out by now, depending on the roads they've seen. Rear brakes?

My parts van had 225,000 miles on it, and the suspension was shot! Lots of rust, too. Make sure the exhaust system is solid, especially the muffler (side seam blows out). Leaking exhaust makes the passenger side of the van rust out on the rockers, doors and even the floor. It melted one of the nivomats on my parts van, causing it to blow out. Radiators can start leaking on the end tank seams, but people have been able to fix them by recrimping the seam all the way around the tanks with a pliers.

Wheel bearings? Do the front joints (ball joints, tie rod ends, sway bar end links) have grease zerks so you can keep them greased? Otherwise they could be dry and might have some slop in them.

Second on the cabin filter! If it's dirty, it will cut down airflow needed to cool the fan speed control module and burn it up, and cause the fan blower to work harder and burn up the brushes. My blower motor went out at about 200,000 miles and is not that fun to change, so prepare for that.

Edit: My fuel pump on my 2000 died at 219,000 miles. I was going to replace it at 225K, but didn't make it. It wouldn't stay running with the "bang on bottom of tank" trick unless someone could have kept banging on it while I drove. Tore pump apart, and there was arcing on the spade contact connection of wire connecting to the fuel pump motor. My sister's 1997 made it to 236,000 miles.
 

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Fuel pump. My 3rd gen died around 225k. So if you're over 200k the fuel pump's days are numbered. If it does quit, I've been able to bang on bottom of gas tank to jar it into a position for it to start working again, but time left is VERY LIMITED. Could replace pre-emptively so you don't get stuck somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What's still OE?
What maintenance does your Owner Manual call for like serpentine belt, cabin filter, air filter and such?
How are the hoses and clamps, clamps likely a shorter life than hoses.
From what I can tell most everything’s OE still. I’m not an expert by any means but nothing looks or sounds damaged, just some worn suspension. Lil bit clunky but no squeaks or groans other than sway bar.


Have you had someone you trust look it over?

What about rust?
The only rust is some really rotted lower sliding door panels and underneath where you jack it up using the scissor Jack, which is awful. Huge holes there. No fender or frame rust though.

Duly noted road ripper, drive belt is on the to-do list. Struts and shocks feel alright but no longer have a good bounce to them, they should be fine for a while. Brakes are good, and my van has the sealed slot for the cabin air filter so it gets dusty alllll the time. Terrible design.

Don’t know much about the fuel pump or even how expensive that is, but I’ll do some research this weekend and see what I can learn.

interesting feedback you guys, didn’t know about that exhaust issue but now I know. Cheers
 

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GS21, your van has no frame. It is a unibody. The jack points are supposed to be strong areas and add stiffness to the structure, which is why I strongly suggest that you have someone look at it. When they have it up on a lift, you and the mechanic can examine the underbody for rust and rot.
 

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The rocker panels are only intended to be used to deal with flat tires using the OE jack, which is notched for lateral stability. They aren't proper jack points. Proper jack points are made of more substantial material and often have a horizontal lip for reinforcement. For example, a 2004 Acura TSX that I work on, has a separate piece of metal, about 5" long, at four spots. The rear jack points for the 5th generation minivans are similar.

The hoist points (designated by a triangle shape hole or stamp) are the ears on the spring box (in front of rear wheel, has a triangular cutout)) and the stub frame in the front (in the area of the jack point, but inside, frame is stamped).

Lots of rusty rocker panels out there, especially when they have foam at the pillars trapping water. A common solution is to install preformed covers (readily available).

Corrosion Protection with Fluid Film, Krown, Rust Check, Rust Block or an almost same/identical product is a must to arrest corrosion from progressing further. Paints, any product that hardens, or waxes over, will crack and trap moisture. Rubberized products look good, cover up a lot of sins, but are a short term (awful) solution as they trap moisture real bad.

As for the cabin filter, the one on my 2002 wasn't changed for 15 years, didn't know I had one until the motor started acting up, but didn't fail completely. A touch with a rubber mallet to the motor would jar it into action. When I took the filter out, there was pine needles, dust, hay, whatever in there, helping it to filter better. :) Air volume was fine, not a problem.
 

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If you have corroding concerns, you'll want to check hard brake lines, heater & a/c lines and especially retainers for said lines.
Also, the heater return line to the "back side" of water pump tends to rust...

If that van hasn't had valve cover gaskets done, it'll probably seep oil (if not now, then in the next 2 years).
Might want to check those spark plugs, the schedule is 75Kmi for double platinum though they are said to last 100k with extreme procrastinators going as long as 120...
 

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On the 2002 DGC referred to in a previous Post, I replaced the steel pipe from the lower radiator hose to the water pump, the steel heater return pipe along the back of the engine to the water pump, as a preventative measure, knowing they can rust out.

The lines for the rear heat, if you have it, can be bypassed easily, by looping the hose, underneath, front, then double clamp both ends with worm type clamps..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I’m still rather a novice with car repairs so any valve covers, pipes, or exhaust are far beyond me right now. Dont actually know the difference between a frame and a unibody either lol, still learning. Spark plugs however I would like to learn how to replace and if I ever have the spare money and time I’ll do that too.

When I say the rust is bad I’m referring to the sliding door paneling in particular. The actual body and metal on the underside and for jacking (OE jacking points aside) is fine.
 

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Just check the sliding door rust on the inner part of the door, where the weatherstrip seals. My 2000 rusted beyond that and I was getting exhaust inside the van. I had to stop driving it and bought another van to drive, while I slowly fix the 2000 up.

Don't ignore the spark plugs for too long. The front ones will rust from salt spray in the winter, and snap off leaving only the threaded part in the hole. There are several good threads on here for changing spark plugs.
 

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Jeepman, I don't normally disagree with my elders, but on a unibody vehicle, the rockers are stiffness members, besides being jack points. A unibody vehicle without rockers will fold up like an accordion in a frontal, or rear, accident.

The rules may be different for Canadians, who until recently, would drive on the left side of the road.:)
 

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Jeepman, I don't normally disagree with my elders, but on a unibody vehicle, the rockers are stiffness members, besides being jack points. A unibody vehicle without rockers will fold up like an accordion in a frontal, or rear, accident.

The rules may be different for Canadians, who until recently, would drive on the left side of the road.:)
Ever seen a minivan with a broken back? or that had the sliding doors crushed shut? from rust? The rocker panels add to the integrity, especially the vertical sections, which are slightly heavier metal. Unibody construction means distribution of forces.

Any safety bulletins out about rusted rocker panels like there are about rusted suspension components? The concern about rocker panels seems more about fumes, than structure. Rocker panel covers are used here, spot welded in place, sealed with body panel sealant, and they pass safety inspections.

Give me a rusted minivan over a Smart Car, or motorcycle, in an accident. :)

Having said all that, you are right, I'm not disagreeing with you. :) o_O
 

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Can be either. It has a unibody construction, but still has an integral frame. The vans are classified as "Chrysler Truck" in part catalogs.

Rockers for jacking points? They're a joke, don't even try. Best places to lift from are the front frame rails or bolts that hold the subframe to the body, and the rear leaf spring mounting boxes. Never trust the body. Even when new, the Neon/PT Cruiser body would flex so bad the doors couldn't be shut once opened on a lift/frame jig. Wonder why the Neon was redesigned with doors that had full frames around the windows? Because in frontal crashes (even somewhat minor ones) the body would flex enough to shatter the front windows if they were shut, and the glass would be blown into the driver's face with the airbag. Too flimsy!
 

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This string reminds me of an acquaintance of mine who, in 1996, bought his 16 year old daughter a 1966 Mustang convertible to drive around in, because she wanted it. I wanted to both puke and cry!

Now regarding rust, which is Fe2O3, and heavier than steel, you might even be safer in the rusty van, as it is heavier.

Regarding a unibody, all of its parts make up the whole, and take away major portions of its structural members, you're left with too many unknowns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Rockers for jacking points? They're a joke, don't even try. Best places to lift from are the front frame rails or bolts that hold the subframe to the body, and the rear leaf spring mounting boxes.
Rockers? What rockers? You mean the holes under the doors? :’)

The leaf spring boxes are precisely where I jacked it up yesterday, good to know that’s the best spot. I tried the bolts as a front spot but it almost seemed as though the bolt head was beginning to bend as I raised it so I opted for another spot.

General consensus on this? Pics in order are passenger side sliding door rocker, drivers door rocker, driver sliding door, and passenger sliding door.

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I would inspect the motor mounts carefully. 2 of them are very easy to replace, the other 2 aren't but my van smoothed out when I replaced the right and front ones. The rubber had deteriorated badly. Luckily for me the other 2 look good.
 

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I’m still rather a novice with car repairs so any valve covers, pipes, or exhaust are far beyond me right now. Dont actually know the difference between a frame and a unibody either lol, still learning. Spark plugs however I would like to learn how to replace and if I ever have the spare money and time I’ll do that too.

When I say the rust is bad I’m referring to the sliding door paneling in particular. The actual body and metal on the underside and for jacking (OE jacking points aside) is fine.
When gramps owned the van, did he ever have the water pump changed? If so, how long ago?

As for the body rust, trim the loose stuff off. Shop-vac all the rust, grim, dirt, etc. Keep it all DRY. Then get a few cans of the low-expanding foam-in-a-can. Spray that in the big hole areas. Once it dries, use a WIDE metal plaster spreader to carefully trim the excess foam back. There are YT vids on the proper procedure. Sure beats a collision shop price doing it yourself.
Start at 1:30 min mark
 
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