Vans

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Vance G
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Vans

Unread post by Vance G » April 24th, 2015, 7:06 pm

2009 Dodge/Chrysler Van. I have family in the car business and bought a 2009 Caravan over the phone new and it was a trim package too far! Seats are not comfortable and the defrosters do a terrible job of clearing the windshield. I keep threatening to take a needlenose pliers and see if I can bend the louvers to point at the winshield instead of blowing parallel to it. Mechanically it is sound but I would not buy the one I have again and how in hades are you going to get to that spare tire when you have a flat on a muddy day? Buy a can of fix a flat and stow it permanently. Since 1987 I have worn out two caravans and two were killed by deer but my loyalty has about come to an end.

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Allen Dick
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Re: Vans

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 24th, 2015, 7:15 pm

Geeze, Vance.

You must have bought a lemon.
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Re: Vans

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 25th, 2015, 1:30 am

Continuing...

I currently have two Mopar vans plus this one, a 1998 Grand Voyager and a 2002 Grand Caravan. I also have a 1998 Toyota Sienna. Each has its pluses and minuses, but on the whole I very much like each of them and each has gone about 300,000 km. All carry the spare under the body.

Now that I think about it, I have never had to drop a spare (touch wood), although I do make sure they are full of air occasionally and have had to go to a tire shop for slow leaks -- and I have put on 100 or 200,000 km in vans.

This van has seventeen inch wheels and I have not even considered looking for the spare. Am I in for a surprise?

Can I even change a spare on the road anymore? I think so, but everyone had roadside assistance and a cell phone these days and I never see anyone changing a spare at the roadside. I do see the occasional tiny wheel on a car, so I'm guessing that it happens.

As for the defroster, it has to be better than my Toyota. Even with cardboard over the rad, that machine frosts up a lot below minus fifteen or so.

Anyhow, I'm not arguing, and thanks for the heads-up. I'm just hoping that this one is at least as good as all my previous vans. So far, it is a cool and quiet ride.

I have some older, well experienced vans for sale, BTW.
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Vance G
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Re: Vans

Unread post by Vance G » April 25th, 2015, 9:15 am

I live in Montana and there is more area that I travel with no service or more to the point, no servicing auto repair within several hours. You live in a heavily populated area compared to here. Your 2009 has a tire right under your right hand as you drive. I have had great luck with them it is just the 2009 I last bought after a deer killed its predecessor is far inferior to the one it replaced in many respects and that spare placement infuriates me and I have been told the new ones don't have a spare at all but that is probably rumor.

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Re: Vans

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 25th, 2015, 9:26 am

That is interesting. A spare under the driver. In the past they were under the rear of the vehicle.

As for caravans changing over successive models, I still like my 1998 and think that most "improvements" in design after that are actually just changes, not improvements. It has a seating position more like a car and I like that.

Nonetheless, in recent years, there are improvements in safety, drive-train and gadgets, and rust never sleeps, so we have to take what they offer.

I'm off for a long drive to the Rockies, so I'll probably have a better idea whether I made a good buy or a goof after I get back.
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Re: Vans

Unread post by Colino » April 25th, 2015, 10:41 am

We bought our 91 Caravan about 8 years ago for $3000 bucks and it had 160,000Km on it. We've driven it for 8 years, twice to Mexico and back and it is now near 400,000Km. We have decided to replace it this year because the cancer has started by the back fenders and peeling paint is making it look plain ugly. If it wasn't for that we would keep it because it is such a nice vehicle to drive. We want to get another Caravan so we'll have to look at some of those short comings you mentioned.
Narcissism is easy because it's me or I, Empathy is hard because it's they or them.-Colino

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Vance G
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Re: Vans

Unread post by Vance G » April 25th, 2015, 12:30 pm

Somewhere under your right hand on your new van will be a little plastic cap that will expose a nut that when turned counterclockwise lowers your spare down right there in the center of your vehicle! If one had a front flat tire when as fat and thick as I, I have no idea how I would get it out of there. So I carry a can of fix a flat and a bag of jerky in case I have to camp out til help comes by. I dislike the vehicle but this sinking asset has already sunk and getting rid of it is pure folly financially when it owens me 150,000 miles yet. They do last well if maintained and not driven stupidly. The weakest part is the transmission but if you change the trans fluids every 30,000 miles they will last forever if one does not shift to a different direction before completely stopping. That will kill the tranny. A new wrinkle on the rear while doing a brake job is the calipers cannot just be compressed to put in new pads but have to be turned in! I assumed the calipers were frozen and took it to a shop where they raped me. I just did the front, new rotors and pads for less than $100.

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Re: Vans

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 25th, 2015, 6:50 pm

> Somewhere under your right hand on your new van will be a little plastic cap that will expose a nut that when turned counterclockwise lowers your spare down right there in the center of your vehicle! If one had a front flat tire when as fat and thick as I, I have no idea how I would get it out of there.

Yeah. Good question. I suppose the plan is to jack up the vehicle first and pull the tire out the side. Harder with running boards like mine has, though.

> The weakest part is the transmission but if you change the trans fluids every 30,000 miles they will last forever if one does not shift to a different direction before completely stopping.

Yup and if you use the actual Mopar fluid. Lots of shops use Dexron and that does not meet the standards for Mopar transmissions, assuming these 6-speeds are like the previous 4-speed electronic versions. The previous transmissions don't like a full change either and the rule is to change 1/3 each time. That amounts to what can be gotten out of the pan without a flush.

> A new wrinkle on the rear while doing a brake job is the calipers cannot just be compressed to put in new pads but have to be turned in!

Good to know. Exchange calipers are usually not too much money, though. Also, this van just had the rear done before I bought it.

After a machine is five years old, the parts get cheaper as the after-market items become available.

So far I like it, but then I paid pennies on the dollar and it is like-new -- except for the 150,000km on the clock.

I don't have the service manual yet.

I realize that there is a lot to go wrong with a machine like this, but that is part of the plan: buy cheap and budget for repairs.

It is hard for us old-timers to accept, but people don't so much buy cars these days, as subscribe to one.
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Re: Vans

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 28th, 2015, 8:19 am

the defrosters do a terrible job of clearing the windshield.
Have you changed the cabin air filter? If it is plugged, you will have poor airflow.
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Vance G
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Re: Vans

Unread post by Vance G » April 28th, 2015, 10:16 am

I bought the vehicle new and it has always been bad. Where is the cabin air filter BTW. I am sure it needs changed.

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Re: Vans

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 28th, 2015, 11:00 am

2008-2013 Chrysler Town and Country Cabin Air Filter Check - 2008 Chrysler Town and Country Touring 3.8L V6
http://www.carcarekiosk.com/video/2008_ ... abin/check

How is your fuel mileage? I just discovered that my trip computer may lie, unless it is remembering past mileage and averaging forward as the manual seems to imply.

I am now wondering if the former owner used premium gas. A friend said he had noticed a significant improvement in economy with premium but last time I did a test of premium vs. regular, there was no difference, but that was with a 1998 3.8, not a 2009 4.0.
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Vance G
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Re: Vans

Unread post by Vance G » April 28th, 2015, 3:10 pm

I do not have the option package with the mileage computer but when I checked it last, I could get 26 mpg if I went 65 and 22 if I went 75. Premium gives higher mileage but it does not pencil out with the higher price. When I can get gasoline unadulterated with alcohol I get better mileage as well. The recommended plug change interval is 30,000 miles but it is ridiculous as mine have 70,000 and the mileage has never changed appreciably. A far cry from the change points twice a year and plugs every ten thousand miles to maintain any fuel economy. My feeler gauges just don't get much use anymore.

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Re: Vans

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 29th, 2015, 6:45 am

Premium gives higher mileage but it does not pencil out with the higher price.
That has been my experience with other vehicles. I'll have to see with this one.

I'll also have to check my spreadsheet for an 'Excel Hell' sort of error. Maybe I had brain fog.

Deciding between the spreadsheet and the trip computer, I'd rather believe the trip computer, but litres are litres -- I have to trust the gas pump readout, don't I? -- and the odometer tells the truth. I checked.
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