The Chrysler Minivan Fan Club Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
3rd gen > all others
Joined
·
2,620 Posts
Our family had two. First one had a bad transmission (common on these vans) that my dad rebuilt with no experience. Had to replace some hard parts because it had been overheated and warped things. They were too light-duty of a transmission for these vans. It had the 3.0 V6 with the common tick noise. It eventually blew up because the tick was a loose wrist pin that ate through a cylinder wall and flooded the block with coolant. Transmission was still good yet, so we got $200 from the junkyard for it.

Second one was an AWD Eddie Bauer Edition, red with gold bottom, with a cracked windshield and the common slipping transmission (was on it's way out). Also had the 3.0 V6. It did okay if you didn't use overdrive, so that's how we used it. It had a digital dash and beige seats with a design embroidered into the backrests. I put a stock radio back in it (had none when we got it) and replaced a couple of wheels, center caps, and steering rack bellows. We bought it to use as we were rebuilding the transmission in the 1994 Grand Voyager we had. When that van was finished and driveable, we sold the Aerostar for $600 with the still slipping transmission and cracked windshield.

The vans had coil spring suspension (except the AWD that had front torsion bars) and tiny 14" wheels. They almost felt tippy and topheavy. The sliding rear side windows were kinda neat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Road Ripped what year were the Aerostars, why didn’t your dad replace the transmission in the Aerosta?
 

·
3rd gen > all others
Joined
·
2,620 Posts
The first one we bought from friends, and the transmission was already shot. We only had to drive it 3 blocks to our house. I think it was an 86, silver rwd. Think we had it for 2 or 3 years, and replaced it with a 91 Dodge Grand Caravan. Rust on the bottom had started to show on the Aerostar again, and the Grand Caravan was pretty clean.

The red/gold AWD I think was a 92? We bought that one so my mom had something to drive while we rebuilt the transmission in her 94 Grand Caravan. I mistakenly thought there was something wrong with it because of the "buzzing" noise when shifting into gear (turns out it was normal!). We only had it for a summer and into fall. We lived in a town obsessed with getting rid of blight and we had a lot of cars on our little property, so sold it as-is to get rid of it fast. We knew another transmission rebuild would be expensive, as the first one cost $750 just in parts back in 1994.

My dad was a auto body repairman, and I had just gotten out of tech college as a mechanic. I did a lot of the removal/installation work and he handled the benchwork. We rebuilt the transmission in the 94 and not knowing better, used Dexron 3 fluid. When we first fired it up and put it in gear, the engine labored because something in the transmission kept it locked up. Suddenly it gave a big clunk! and the wheels were moving. Drove okay for 4 or 5 years, until the transmission went - it gave another clunk and would barely move, like something was binding up the transmission inside again. Reverse wouldn't work either. Luckily it happened across town and my dad was able to limp it home. They sold it to someone who buys junk cars and sometimes fixes them. They haven't had good luck with Chrysler minivan transmissions, but mine have kept on working for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,196 Posts
We had one as as shop vehicle with a 5 speed it was the first minivan i drove too bad the caravans weren't rwd they would be more fun in the winter!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The first one we bought from friends, and the transmission was already shot. We only had to drive it 3 blocks to our house. I think it was an 86, silver rwd. Think we had it for 2 or 3 years, and replaced it with a 91 Dodge Grand Caravan. Rust on the bottom had started to show on the Aerostar again, and the Grand Caravan was pretty clean.

The red/gold AWD I think was a 92? We bought that one so my mom had something to drive while we rebuilt the transmission in her 94 Grand Caravan. I mistakenly thought there was something wrong with it because of the "buzzing" noise when shifting into gear (turns out it was normal!). We only had it for a summer and into fall. We lived in a town obsessed with getting rid of blight and we had a lot of cars on our little property, so sold it as-is to get rid of it fast. We knew another transmission rebuild would be expensive, as the first one cost $750 just in parts back in 1994.

My dad was a auto body repairman, and I had just gotten out of tech college as a mechanic. I did a lot of the removal/installation work and he handled the benchwork. We rebuilt the transmission in the 94 and not knowing better, used Dexron 3 fluid. When we first fired it up and put it in gear, the engine labored because something in the transmission kept it locked up. Suddenly it gave a big clunk! and the wheels were moving. Drove okay for 4 or 5 years, until the transmission went - it gave another clunk and would barely move, like something was binding up the transmission inside again. Reverse wouldn't work either. Luckily it happened across town and my dad was able to limp it home. They sold it to someone who buys junk cars and sometimes fixes them. They haven't had good luck with Chrysler minivan transmissions, but mine have kept on working for me.
Do you have any pictures of the Grand Caravan?
 

·
3rd gen > all others
Joined
·
2,620 Posts
The Grand Caravans were my parents' vans. They may have pictures of them, but they are old photos not able to share digitally (if I could even find them).

The silver 86 wasn't too bad. It was used as a family hauler and for pulling a small boat by our friends' other family, then left at their house when the transmission was so bad it couldn't be driven. When they tried to pull it (when the tranny went) they damaged the front end by hooking the tow strap to the sway bar, which ripped that end off and broke the plastic under the front bumper and bent some metal.

The mistake was, they TOWED with it. Those Ford transmissions in the Aerostars and later the Windstars were notorious for needing a rebuild every 40,000 miles. The Windstars barely made it out of warranty! It was too light duty of a transmission for the vehicle, just like the Honda Odyssey and Ridgeline.

The 3.0 engine was known for ticking. A friend's girlfriend had a Ford Taurus wagon with the same engine and the same tick. The shop where my dad worked took in a Taurus on trade that made the same tick. When torn apart to see what the noise was, a deep gouge was found in a cylinder, with the wrist pin sticking out from the piston. Evidently Ford had some problems on the assembly line of the 3.0, if wrist pin clips were either not installed correctly or not at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
The Grand Caravans were my parents' vans. They may have pictures of them, but they are old photos not able to share digitally (if I could even find them).

The silver 86 wasn't too bad. It was used as a family hauler and for pulling a small boat by our friends' other family, then left at their house when the transmission was so bad it couldn't be driven. When they tried to pull it (when the tranny went) they damaged the front end by hooking the tow strap to the sway bar, which ripped that end off and broke the plastic under the front bumper and bent some metal.

The mistake was, they TOWED with it. Those Ford transmissions in the Aerostars and later the Windstars were notorious for needing a rebuild every 40,000 miles. The Windstars barely made it out of warranty! It was too light duty of a transmission for the vehicle, just like the Honda Odyssey and Ridgeline.

The 3.0 engine was known for ticking. A friend's girlfriend had a Ford Taurus wagon with the same engine and the same tick. The shop where my dad worked took in a Taurus on trade that made the same tick. When torn apart to see what the noise was, a deep gouge was found in a cylinder, with the wrist pin sticking out from the piston. Evidently Ford had some problems on the assembly line of the 3.0, if wrist pin clips were either not installed correctly or not at all.
I think AWD was 4.0 V6
 

·
3rd gen > all others
Joined
·
2,620 Posts
Yes it was. The 86 was 2wd and had the 3.0 with the tick, and the 92 AWD had the 4.0 and nothing wrong with the engine.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top