2007 Dodge Grand Caravan 3.3 - Maintenance & Repairs

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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.)
Sounds great. Hope the gasket method you got works. I have seen tons of those black flat gaskets leak real soon after the independent shops use them on a service then the poor customer has to pay again to get it sealed properly. They used to make a metal/rubber mopar gasket that I would use on all the rebuilds but I haven’t had one of those apart in quite some time for warranty purposes and not certain they make it. I used to have that part number memorized but that was a lot of years ago

you did good !
 

Number_35

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These vans eat sway bar bushings. I bet you're due.
That's something I'll be checking! Thanks for the heads-up.

**************************

Did the first drain-and-refill with the new transmission oil pan (which is equipped with a drain plug). Unfortunately, the drain plug is at the wrong end of the pan, if one's intention is to drain as much ATF as possible. The triple whammy of the natural orientation of the pan on the engine, the mild elevation of the front end caused by the slope of my driveway, and the more severe change in elevation of the front end due to the front wheels being on ramps, mean that most of the ATF is pooled downhill of the drain plug.

As a result, only about 1-1/2 quarts drained out.

I think next time I'll back in, with the nose facing downhill, and back onto the ramps. There should be room for me to get under with the drain pan anyway, and I should get the expected 4 quarts out.

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I am getting a hand me down 2005 Grand Caravan without of rust around the rockers and doors. Are they known to rust beyond the rockers and weren't the leaf speing perches?
 

Number_35

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I am getting a hand me down 2005 Grand Caravan without of rust around the rockers and doors. Are they known to rust beyond the rockers and weren't the leaf spring perches?
Brian, I'm not sure where they rust - I will keep an eye on the 4th-gen ones here, and pay extra attention to those areas on mine. I plan to get ours oil-sprayed in the next few days. I like Rust Check. I think your closest one is Koopman's Autobody in N Battleford:

 
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Thanks!! I will be giving it a good clean and then seeing what should be sprayed in there. My price was right so if I can manage a few years I am way ahead.

Its a shame they rust out so bad. I beleive this is a 3.8L. It runs great, shifts great and all around drives great.
 

Number_35

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Time for an update after six months of ownership.

I've done two oil changes so far, and plan to do a third one before winter. The oil goes down slightly, but I haven't had to add between changes.

We've put about 11K km (7000 miles) on the van so far, including a trip to the Rockies in August.

No mechanical problems since I replaced the spare-tire carrier and the the PS reservoir early on.

The van is harder on gas than I'd anticipated - on our long trip, it was averaging 10 to 11 l/100 km. I expected closer to 8. I have an O2 sensor on order.

The tranny works fine, but it could sure use an extra gear or two. The spread between gears is simply too wide in certain situations.

The utility is very good. The middle- and rear-row Stow N' Go is very handy. It's great being able to haul 4x8 sheets of drywall and plywood with the hatch closed. When the rear seat is up, the resultant tub is very good for hauling groceries.

I can see where rust is trying to break out. I had the van oil-sprayed back when we got it, and may have it done again before winter.

I picked up a good set of used winter tires, mounted on steel rims, for a good price. They were off a Dodge van of the same generation.

Overall, the van has been good - it's done exactly what we expected of it.
 
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Glad you love it!! We have really grown to love our rusty, sky blue Mormon van. Can't beat the utility. My mileage has been hovering around the 10.5 to 11.5L/100km range. I too expected a bit better so I checked and it looks like it could use fresh plugs and the O2 sensor is getting lazy.
 

Number_35

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Glad you love it!! We have really grown to love our rusty, sky blue Mormon van. Can't beat the utility. My mileage has been hovering around the 10.5 to 11.5L/100km range. I too expected a bit better so I checked and it looks like it could use fresh plugs and the O2 sensor is getting lazy.
I did the plugs early on, so now it's O2 sensor time. I ordered the Bosch, as recommended by BITOGers for this vehicle. Should be here in a few days.
 

Number_35

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I read that same thread and will be ordering a Bosch as well. What plugs did you choose?
I replaced NGK basic plugs (G-Power, if I recall correctly) with NGK Iridium plugs.

I usually like to go with the OE plug manufacturer, which would have likely been Champion for a Mopar, but I've had good results with NGK in my other vehicles, and the Iridium plugs were readily available. I think I bought them at Canadian Tire.

If the ruthenium plugs had been readily available, I might have gone with them instead. No matter, the iridiums may be the last set of plugs the van gets.

The plug change on the 3.3 was not as at all. Some people recommend removing the cowl, but didn't find that necessary.

As I've done for many years now, I used a small bit of anti-seize on each plug.
 

Number_35

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I read that same thread and will be ordering a Bosch as well. What plugs did you choose?
BrianF, I hope your O2-sensor change goes smoother than mine has so far!

I was able to get my O2-sensor socket on the sensor fine, but needed to string together a U-joint and a bunch of extensions to get past the cowl. Because it's not a straight shot, I am unable to apply enough torque to break the O2 sensor free.

Plan B is remove the cowl, to allow a straight shot down to the sensor. Unfortunately, the wiper arms are seized on. I applied lots of AeroKroil, and have used the appropriate little puller, but no joy. I've hammered on the wiper arm while it's under tension from the puller, with no success. The plastic cowl is too close to allow the use of heat.

Plan C may involve sacrificing the wiper arms, using a grinding wheel to cut them free, which should then allow me to remove the cowl. I sure wish the PO had pulled the arms at some point and added a dab of anti-seize. I could apply that thought to many car parts in the past.

Who else has had fun removing wiper arms? What worked?
 

Number_35

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Got 'em. (The wiper arms, that is.)

Watched a few YouTube videos, and tried these methods:



The 2nd part, where he increases tension on the Vice Grip, was what I tried. No success until I added a 2nd grip. BOING! Wow, does it ever let go. Nothing gradual like you might expect with a puller.

So tomorrow, if the weather holds, I'll remove the cowl and try for the O2 sensor.
 

Number_35

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Well...... I was wondering how that O2 sensor was going to work. I had been eyeballing it for some time and full well expect it to be a PIA.
Done - it could have been worse. Once the cowl and wiper motor/linkage tray were off, I had pretty good access.

Couldn't break it free with the breaker bar shown. Twenty or thirty seconds with the impact gun finally got it.

The new sensor came with the anti-seize compound already applied.

I filled up yesterday @ $1.429/litre. I think that motivated me to get this done sooner rather than later. Hoping this gets us a few extra km per tank. Good luck with yours!

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This looks pretty carbon-fouled, but who knows? Maybe the new one will look as bad after a few minutes of running.
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This is the bung, with the old O2 sensor removed.
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Side-by-side comparison - it was nice to have something that fit exactly.
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Nice!!! Ok so cowl should be removed, regardless. Did you remove anything when doing the plugs?

On a side note, what calculated mileage are you getting? In good weather, mostly highway I float around 10.5 to 11L/100km.
 

Number_35

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Nice!!! Ok so cowl should be removed, regardless. Did you remove anything when doing the plugs?

On a side note, what calculated mileage are you getting? In good weather, mostly highway I float around 10.5 to 11L/100km.
I changed the plugs a few months ago, and did not remove the cowl. The ones on the rear bank were surprisingly easy, given that I was working by feel only.

You might want to see if you can budge the O2 sensor with the cowl in place. If I had to change it again right now, I'm sure I could remove it easily given that the new one is tightened to perhaps 50 lb-feet rather than the 200 or so that the old one took to break free. I think that even with the U-joint in there, the new sensor would come out fine. It's possible yours was changed in the last few years, and won't be too bad.

If you do have to remove the cowl to change the O2 sensor, then you might as well wait until then to do the plugs on the rear bank.

I filled up yesterday - did about 15 l/100 km around town, which is not terrible - about 19 MPG (Imperial)/15 MPG (US).

On our highway trip in August we did anywhere from 9.5 to 11 l/100 km. I expected better from the 3.3 - we were doing the speed limit (110 kph) across the Prairies, which should have yielded good mileage. This was running the AC about half the time, and with two bikes on the back. I expected 8 - 9 l/100. Looking forward to the next highway trip now to check out how the van does with the new O2 sensor.
 
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8 to 9 liters per 100 km or 31 to 35 imperial mpg , i think might be a bit of a long shot in a 3.3 ....
 

Number_35

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8 to 9 liters per 100 km or 31 to 35 imperial mpg , i think might be a bit of a long shot in a 3.3 ....
Likely so - although I know three families with 5th-gen Grand Caravans with the 3.6 l Pentastar and 6-speed transmission. All three vans routinely turn in 8 l/100 on the highway. I guess the DOHC vs. pushrod engine helps, plus lower highway RPMs.

But given how black the old O2 sensor was, I think the mileage will be better than it was.
 
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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.)
Did you notice the PS cap doesn't fully seat on the reservoir and spills over.
 
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