2007 Dodge Grand Caravan 3.3 - Maintenance & Repairs

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This is a continuation of the linked thread, which started out regarding our search for an affordable used minivan, but morphed into a thread about maintenance and repair on the 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan we bought.

https://bobistheoilguy.com/forums/threads/checking-out-older-minivans.330390/

The van has just under 200,000 km on it, and the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual is based on a complete cycle of 200,000 km, so I thought I'd change out all the fluids and consumables (spark plugs, air filter, and cabin filter) and then continue on from there, following Schedule "B" (severe operating conditions).

Maintenance done so far:

- Spark plugs - Replaced NGK G-Power with NGK Iridium plugs.

- Coolant - Drained the rad and topped it up with approx. 6 litres of OEM Orange II.

- Brake fluid - Syringed a couple of fills out of the master cylinder and refilled with new DOT-3.

- Air filter - NAPA replaced with WIX.

Repairs done so far:

- Flaky spare tire winch - Replaced.

- Squawk on startup and loud hum thereafter - Replaced PSF reservoir. (This was a tip off the Chrysler minivans forum - sure enough, it worked. I can see that the screen in the old reservoir is badly torn.)

I think that's about it - to be continued!

Remaining maintenance to be done soon:

- Oil & filter (Mobil 1, likely 5W-30, and WIX filter)

- Transmission - Replace oil pan with new one with a drain plug. Do a couple of drain-and-fills with Castrol ATF+4.

- Bleed brakes at calipers.

- Change cabin filter.

- Lube ball joints. (Looks like the LCAs have been changed out at some point. I doubt the factory ones have Zerks.)

- Oil spray to protect against rust.
 
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Had a 2005 GC with the 3.3, I thought it was a reliable work horse of an engine I got 25 mpg on the highway. At the time all the critics complained how old and unsophisticated the 3.3 and 3.8 engines were in comparison to the competition. As far as the van itself there was always something that needed fixing and that was with less than 100,000 miles, the oddest for me was a broken flex plate.
 

JC1

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Had a 2005 GC with the 3.3, I thought it was a reliable work horse of an engine I got 25 mpg on the highway. At the time all the critics complained how old and unsophisticated the 3.3 and 3.8 engines were in comparison to the competition. As far as the van itself there was always something that needed fixing and that was with less than 100,000 miles, the oddest for me was a broken flex plate.
The flex plates on some FCA vehicles are a weak point. When I changed my torque converter, the tech suggested to change it whole they were in there, only an extra $100 bucks.
 
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The flex plates on some FCA vehicles are a weak point. When I changed my torque converter, the tech suggested to change it whole they were in there, only an extra $100 bucks.
That makes since, I never heard if a broken flex plate on a newer vehicle. It was more common on older cars.
 

Number_35

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Had a 2005 GC with the 3.3, I thought it was a reliable work horse of an engine I got 25 mpg on the highway. At the time all the critics complained how old and unsophisticated the 3.3 and 3.8 engines were in comparison to the competition. As far as the van itself there was always something that needed fixing and that was with less than 100,000 miles, the oddest for me was a broken flex plate.
I presume it will keep me busier than my Mazda vans have. Hoping that my ability to do most of the repairs and maintenance myself, and lower parts cost will keep it affordable.

Flex plate, yikes!
 
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There will be a lot of little things and bigger things. I replaced the egr, water pump, turn signal stalk, brakes multiple times, etc etc al before 100,000 miles. The ac was worked on every year from 2006 through 2010. Flex plate at 70,000 miles. That is the only car that literally scared me when the warranty was up. I actually liked the van but I told the service dept if I ever bought another Chrysler product my wife would divorce me. I never considered a toyota product until then. 2012 Corolla owned 9 years fluid and filter changes that's it.
 

Number_35

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There will be a lot of little things and bigger things. I replaced the egr, water pump, turn signal stalk, brakes multiple times, etc etc al before 100,000 miles. The ac was worked on every year from 2006 through 2010. Flex plate at 70,000 miles. That is the only car that literally scared me when the warranty was up. I actually liked the van but I told the service dept if I ever bought another Chrysler product my wife would divorce me. I never considered a toyota product until then. 2012 Corolla owned 9 years fluid and filter changes that's it.
This is the first domestic vehicle I've owned in over 20 years. I'm hoping for the best, but time will tell. Many of the Chrysler vans of this vintage are worn out by about 200,000 km here (this has been my experience in helping friends with theirs), so this may have been an unwise purchase, but I'm hoping it serves us well.
 
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Rear axles rust out keep and eye on that. The brakes front especially wear when the wind blows. The alternators get noisy it’s the decoupler on the pulley. The steering gears themselves leaked quite often. The transmissions in those weren’t that bad honestly.

we got several techs that still drive them daily though they are not terrible to keep on the road
 

Number_35

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Rear axles rust out keep and eye on that. The brakes front especially wear when the wind blows. The alternators get noisy it’s the decoupler on the pulley. The steering gears themselves leaked quite often. The transmissions in those weren’t that bad honestly.

we got several techs that still drive them daily though they are not terrible to keep on the road
Thanks Matt! The body is in very good shape for the age of the vehicle - it being from a rural area really helps. I plan to get it oil-sprayed at least annually.

I also plan to syringe out the PS reservoir regularly- I hope fresh fluid helps with the steering rack.
 

JC1

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This is the first domestic vehicle I've owned in over 20 years. I'm hoping for the best, but time will tell. Many of the Chrysler vans of this vintage are worn out by about 200,000 km here (this has been my experience in helping friends with theirs), so this may have been an unwise purchase, but I'm hoping it serves us well.
My Caravan was my first venture to a domestic model. I was looking at a Sienna but prices brand new are over 10k Canadian more than a caravan. Just had the tranny go (torque converter) at 88k kms. I had towed with it before (hauling shingles a few times). Repair wasnt too bad $1800. In planning on not doing any more towing with the van and seeing how long it will go for. Even if I had to pay another 2k to repair it in 5 more years, I got my money's worth from it. Parts are plenty in the Junk yards as well.

You should be ok with your van since most guys know the issues/weaknesses with that model year. Big issues are rust and rust around the "dog leg" which is that area to the front of the rear wheel well. Apparent on your van a lot of water can collect in there. Some guys drill the underbody in that area to create drain holes. They are amazed to find a lot of water pouring out. FCA used some type of spray foam which also causes issues with rust forming underneath.
 

Number_35

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Orange anti freeze in a 2007 Mopar? Hope you got all the original coolant flushed out.
Yikes! I didn't flush it - rather, I plan to do a series of drain-and-fills. For what it's worth, the old stuff I drained out looked to be orange as well. It sounds like orange wouldn't have been the colour for the factory coolant; therefore I assume someone's serviced it previously.
 
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Hopefully any residual has been flushed or so diluted that it won't matter. You can see some horror videos where non Mopar coolant is added and the result is like gelatin. Sounds like you are in good shape.
 
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Number_35

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Hopefully any residual has been flushed or so diluted that it won't matter. You can see some horror videos where non Mopar coolant is added and the result is like gelatin. Sounds like you are in good shape.
The rad looks extremely clean inside. The OM specifies Mopar HOAT or equivalent. The OEM Orange II coolant is stated to meet Chrysler MS-9769, so I hope it's fully compatible with whatever the existing coolant is/was.

https://oemantifreeze.ca/oem-orange-ii/

One thing I don't like is the orange colour; it looks fine as you pour it in, but in the rad it looks too much like old rusty coolant!
 
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The rad looks extremely clean inside. The OM specifies Mopar HOAT or equivalent. The OEM Orange II coolant is stated to meet Chrysler MS-9769, so I hope it's fully compatible with whatever the existing coolant is/was.

https://oemantifreeze.ca/oem-orange-ii/

One thing I don't like is the orange colour; it looks fine as you pour it in, but in the rad it looks too much like old rusty coolant!
07 should be orange ish it’s the 5 year mopar stuff. Some called it red some bottles were different shades than others

I have never seen coolant gelatin like they claim on mixes and I have seen all kinds of stuff mixed. I put a 50/50 5 year and 10 year in a measuring cup for 6 months on top of my tool box when they told us that in 2013 and nothing happened
 

Number_35

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07 should be orange ish it’s the 5 year mopar stuff. Some called it red some bottles were different shades than others

I have never seen coolant gelatin like they claim on mixes and I have seen all kinds of stuff mixed. I put a 50/50 5 year and 10 year in a measuring cup for 6 months on top of my tool box when they told us that in 2013 and nothing happened
That's great to hear! I plan to do a 2nd drain-and-fill later this week.
 

Number_35

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Progress earlier today:

Was able to remove the old transmission oil pan, and installed the new one with the drain plug.

No gasket on the old one, just black silicone. It's funny, I could smell that distinct ammonia-type odor when removing the bolts, as though the material hadn't fully cured where trapped by a bolt. Not leaking at all though, so they did a good job, either at the factory or somewhere else subsequently.

The old pan had a small puck-like magnet that I transferred over to the new pan. The magnet had some gunk on it, but not a huge amount.

Changed out the filter, of course. I'd be interested in cutting open the old one.

Cleaned up the bolts (13 of them, all M8 x 1.25) with a die, because they had dried black silicone on them. In one of my old Mazda FSMs, they stressed how important it was to do this; the silicone won't compress much, and can crack the fitting it's being forced into on the end of a bolt.

Instead of silicone, I used a gasket and a tacky red Permatex spray. It's worked well for me in the past. No leaks so far.

Measured what had come out, and poured in four US quarts of Castrol Transmax ATF+4.

It's likely my imagination, but I think the shifting feels crisper now. Even if not, I've got more peace of mind, knowing I've done what I can for the tranny. (Well, not quite - should do another drain and fill in a few days.)
 
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