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Discussion Starter #1
Question for y'all -

Can the compact spare be replaced with a full size one on the LWB 3rd gen minivan? My compact spare is now 9 years old, looks terrible, and with the kind of long trips I do.... Anyhow, I saw a thread here where someone had put a full-size spare on a 4th gen van, so is there hope? How much might I expect to pay for the rim, assuming I get one from a salvage yard?

P.S. - not sure if it makes a difference; my van has steel wheels, P215/65R15.

TIA!

- G
 

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Call me an idiot, but I stumbled upon this salvage yard earlier this week and found a '97 Town & Country with the same rims that my '96 has. The steel pattern ones *without* the gold finish. I swiped one to try that very thing and I got it for $50.

I'm an idiot because my '96 van is 1800+ miles away in southern Connecticut, and I swiped it in Greeley, Colorado.
 

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I ordered my 96 with a full sized spare. It came on an OEM steel wheel and not an alloy wheel to match me OEM set.

Richard.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info, Chris & Richard.

Richard - did you ever have any trouble with the spare on your '96 scraping the ground when you were backing down a steep driveway into the street, or backing up into a steep driveway from the street, esp. with a decent sized curb?

I did some measuring, normal wheel is 26" diameter and 8 3/4" cross section width. Spare is 25 1/2" diameter and 6" cross section width.

It looks like a full size wheel will certainly fit. But it only leaves 9.5" of ground clearance beneath the tire, and that is 33" behind the axle. Only leaves room for about 16 degrees of slope. Compare to front, which is 7.25" clearance 26" forward of the front axle - 16 degrees of slope allowed. And that plastic piece is scraped up a fair bit! So I would expect the full-size spare to occasionally get scraped.

Richard, did you have a cover for your full-size spare tire, or something to protect the sidewall from getting scraped up from the occasional ornery driveway or mountain road?

- G
 

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I have seen plenty of DCX minivans from all generations with fullsize spares. They will fit. I have never seen a cover, but that sounds like a good idea, and I can't imagine it would be too difficult to obtain. The hardest part would be snugging it up.
 

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The full sized spare should fit in all the vans.

The fun part is when you drive a car or other vehicle on a trip with a mini spare. If you have the vehicle fully loaded (people and luggage) and have a flat, WHERE DO YOU PUT THE FULL SIZED TIRE THAT WAS ON THE ROAD?
This does not happen with the van, as you can slide it up and under and crank it up.
 

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That's exactly what happened to me while I was driving my family in my Dad's old Honda Civic. The spare is stowed inside the passenger cabin in the floor, but its a donut mini spare. The Civic was loaded, or rather, overloaded with things and people and we couldn't find a place to put the normal size tire. I had to put a towel down on the roof and lash the darn thing to the roof of the Civic.

...I'm not really a fan of the Civic. Great gas mileage, but there's nothing else to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yup... my Buick had a compact spare, and when I had to use it this past summer out on a road trip, I had to dig to the bottom of the trunk to get it out, then make room to store the original tire in the trunk. Yuck. BUT I will say that GM put a high-quality donut in there. Good for 3,000 miles and no 50mph speed restriction. It was a 4-ply Uniroyal. A much better tire than the compact spare on my minivan.

- G
 

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Good for 3,000 miles and no 50mph speed restriction.
You are a better man then me IF your drove for 3,000 miles and over 50 mph with a mini spare on your vehicle. I do hope it was on the rear.
I see people doing 70 MPH on the highway all the time with minispares on the front end of full size vehicles. I back off and let them get away from me. Reason I have full sized spares on full sized vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You are a better man then me IF your drove for 3,000 miles and over 50 mph with a mini spare on your vehicle. I do hope it was on the rear.
I see people doing 70 MPH on the highway all the time with minispares on the front end of full size vehicles. I back off and let them get away from me. Reason I have full sized spares on full sized vehicles.
:)

I only put about 400 miles on that spare from the two times I had to use it (120 miles the first time, close to 300 miles the second - I was in the middle of nowhere). It was the owner's manual that said it was good for 3000 miles ("just finish your trip, and get the tire repaired at your convenience"). And yes both times the spare was on the back. If I had a front tire go flat, I'd put a compact spare on the back and move a good tire from the back to the front.... not just for handling but also to save the wear on the transaxle's differential. The Buick still handled quite well with the spare on it, and there was hardly any treadwear noticeable on the spare.

Donuts are not all created equal - most compact spares are not of that kind of quality. But I wouldn't trust the compact spare on the minivan like that (not just because of its age). Thus the reason behind this thread :)

I did keep the speed to 60mph tops, but there was no speed limitation written on the spare tire, tire changing instructions in the trunk, or in the owners' manual.

- G
 

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I put a full size on my 96. And the 4th generation 2002 AWD had one std. But you can't get fit one a 4th gen with stow & go..
 

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The only issue I had was that the cable broke and the tire spilled onto the ground. I was pulling out of the drive at the time. Would not want to see the mess caused if it happened on the open road. Not a great design.

Richard.
 

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The only issue I had was that the cable broke and the tire spilled onto the ground. I was pulling out of the drive at the time. Would not want to see the mess caused if it happened on the open road. Not a great design.

Richard.
I have always wondered how many of those have ever done that.

Our 98 seems to be in good shape with the cable but it is kind of stupid with no 'backup' plan if the cable fails.

My old Caravan had the tire mounted to the inside wall. :)

Chas
 

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It seems to be a pretty strong/durable cable. I'm surprised that they seem to break on such a regular basis for people. In light of that behavior, apparently that design is going to go down in the books right along side the sway bars as BAD, VERY BAD ideas.
 

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So what if it scrapes a little?

I have a SWB G3 so I don't have much room to talk here...

I bought my full size spare for about $25, shipped, from an eBay store. You can't find one in a junk yard around here at that price. Given how often I've needed it in my travels, I think it's well worth the cost. If the edge of the rim gets scraped up a bit, that's life, I think - so long as it is only light scraping.
 

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I have a full size spare on my van, so I know that they fit.
 
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