Grandma's Van

Messages
97
Location
Maine
My grandmother sadly and suddenly passed away and left her 1993(ish) Dodge Caravan. It's been parked in her driveway for almost 10 years. It's only got 80k miles on it, so I'd like to try getting it going. I don't remember how much gas is in it but I've heard people say anywhere from gas is junk and must be removed after 3 months, and I've heard gas in a sealed fuel tank won't go bad ever. What would you do in this situation? The van is an eyesore. It's white but the roof is brown from the sun, and overall just not good looking. Yes, it's the sentimental value. I don't want it for any other reason. I can't imagine it'll fire up with a tune up and new battery but who knows. Also, it would help if i could find the key ;)
 
Messages
10,167
Location
Birmingham, AL
I'd check fluids, put a battery in if needed, and try to crank it. I don't think there's any harm in trying to start it on old gas. If it won't run on the gas that's in it, the whole fuel system probably needs to be cleaned anyway. You're not going to mess anything up that isn't already, the old gas is already in there.

If it does run, do an oil change ASAP and try to run through the old gas as quickly as possible. If it runs rough, siphon the old gas out, or if it's low anyway just top up with fresh gas.

Don't drive it further than you'd have it towed until you can do a thorough shakedown.
 
Messages
4,710
Location
Southeast
You might get lucky. Even if it sputters that’s a good sign. We just revived a couple of old crown vics. The fuel was varnish BUT it was liquid. We added a few gallons of fresh gas and both ran after being in a barn for an untold amount of time. Both needed new fuel pumps. I understand sentimental value. You can also try your hand with sandpaper, primer, and quality rattle cans on the roof which can be rewarding.
 
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Nick1994

$50 Site Donor
Messages
13,028
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Drop the tank and drain it, check for crud and clean it out. Change the fuel filter and put some fresh gas in it.

I wouldn't run that crap through the fuel injectors.

Also check the rubber hoses while you're down there, make sure nothing is cracked and could start a leak.
 

JC1

Messages
5,841
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Given the amount of caravans on the road (even old ones), I'm sure someone will buy it.

I would try to get the old gas out and put fresh gas in. Maybe you'll be lucky and there won't be a lot of fuel in the tank. Hopefully the tank doesn't leak. And of course you'll need a new battery.
 

Rochev

Thread starter
Messages
97
Location
Maine
All good points. Unfortunately being in the rust belt, it wouldn't be worth trying to remove the tank. Still need to find the key first. If we don't find it I'm not sure if I can get one made or not. I have a syphon I'll use to remove what's in the tank. I really hope it's not full. I also wouldn't know why she stopped driving it. I'm almost positive it's because she couldn't drive anymore, but it could be that something went wrong with it too.
 
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Messages
1,084
Location
Pacific Northwest
After 10 years, it's going to be nasty. If you can siphon most of it out, that would be best. Another option would be to disconnect the fuel line and letting the fuel pump do the work. You might have to turn the key on and off a bunch of times if the fuel pump is on a timer.

Diluting with some premium would be second best.
 
Messages
5,324
Location
Roanoke Virginia
Try to drain it out. If that’s not an option then get fresh gas and it will dilute the old gas. Sorry about your loss. I have always wanted one of those caravans lol. My sister has a 1997 but it’s not the same body style I love the squared off ones. A locksmith will be able to make a key so you don’t have to hot wire it or anything.
 
Messages
5,979
Location
Suburban Washington DC
Reminds me of my fathers 72 Dart I got in the early 80's and drove until the late 90's. Still have it and it's an eyesore too after sitting 20 years. Before you do anything mechanical, is the paperwork in order? I mean, you don't want to go through all that if you don't have title or can't get it registered and tagged so you can drive it.
 
Messages
868
Location
New Hampshire USA
HF and others have a siphon that can be used to drain the tank which will answer gas condition question. The battery will be useful only as a core. Chances are some hoses and wiring have been snacks for rodents. With the mileage posted I would be all over this thing to see what it could be. Then again it wouldn`t make sense to invest more than scrap price into it.
 
Messages
10,167
Location
Birmingham, AL
sorry about your grandma. She let the van go years ago , maybe you can too?
It's a free van with sentimental value. Unless there's a pressing need to get rid of it right away, why should he?

People leave things in garages and driveways. Some of those things wind up selling for more than their original MSRP, sometimes a lot more. This probably won't, but it's free and I don't see any harm in OP trying to get it running and enjoy it some.
 

Nick1994

$50 Site Donor
Messages
13,028
Location
Phoenix, AZ
sorry about your grandma. She let the van go years ago , maybe you can too?
Sometimes people let things go without it being their choice.

My Jeep was my grandpa's. Luckily he's still alive, although his health isn't the best. But I hold a ton of sentimental value in it, we took a lot of trips in it. He couldn't get in it anymore 4 years ago, so I bought it from him.

I will never get rid of it. Mark my word, I will be his age in 57 years and I will still have this Jeep. If it gets totaled in an accident, I'll rebuild it. If the engine blows in it, it'll get a new crate motor. It has the same peeling white paint as the OP'ers van. One day I'll have it stripped to bare metal and repainted, it'll cost way more than what it's worth, but that's ok.
 
Messages
5,034
Location
Ohio
Gas lasts a lot longer than 3 months but ten years, no. Don't even try to start it with that gas, drop the tank, drain the old gas and clean it up. You might want to check the fuel pump at that time. It can't be in very good shape after sitting 10 years. Good luck with your project.
 
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16,531
Location
...
If possible I would siphon the gasoline and get some new stuff in there. If this engine has been sitting that long it might be prudent to pull the plugs and put a little oil down into the combustion chamber to help those rings out.
 
Messages
5,979
Location
Suburban Washington DC
Think I've had cars sit up to 5 or 6 years before starting and they ran fine after I did start them. Some I have started occasionally but the gas in the tank was at least 8 years old and it ran fine. I would check the oil, pull the ecm fuse, and crank it a good 15 seconds to build up oil pressure. Then put the fuse back and give it a shot. Have a can of starting fluid on hand as an aid and as diagnosis tool if it won't start.
 
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