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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its already cold in OH, and i've noticed that even in the mornings around 20 degree when I let it run for a few minutes, it takes a while to heat up. Even after driving for 10 minutes its still not at normal running temperature. I was wondering if anyone else has attempted to use different viscosities of oil (currently using full synthetic 5w-30), or if this is just something normal with these vans?
 

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It's possible the thermostat is weak or stuck open.
 

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Its already cold in OH, and i've noticed that even in the mornings around 20 degree when I let it run for a few minutes, it takes a while to heat up. Even after driving for 10 minutes its still not at normal running temperature. I was wondering if anyone else has attempted to use different viscosities of oil (currently using full synthetic 5w-30), or if this is just something normal with these vans?
The oil will do nothing with the warm up, I vote for the thermostat too, if you are not using the heater it should warm up in about 3~4 minutes at idle even faster driving it, Don't you have a P1281 code? that usually comes up when the thermostat is stuck open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I actually haven't checked the codes. i'll scan it tomorrow and take care of it if i have time. I will get back to everyone about it, thanks for the info!
 

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Where is the temp gauge pegged at when you start to get any heat?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i usually start getting heat right below the 1/4 line of the temp gauge. But I was wondering if anyone else has replaced the thermostat before? AutoZone sells a duralast with 1yr warranty for $9.99. Was wondering if anyone has had problems with it before or should i just buy from dealer?
 

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Drivin' Maniac
2002 Grand Caravan ES 3.8L
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Our van has always taken twice as long as our other vehicles to warm up enough to produce heat.

I replaced the thermostat, with no improvement. :(

Turning off the rear heat helps a little but it's still SLOOOOOOW on a cold morning.

I've just accepted it as the way the van is. There is a LOT of coolant for the engine to warm up.
 

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OP, if you want really quick heat, you can use an oil dipstick heater, or a coolant heater. Both work OK, and you get defrost/defog really quickly.

Otherwise, and if you don't do much highway driving, a piece of cardboard covering the radiator is doable. Just don't block the whole radiator.

Trucks and school buses use a canvas cover with a zipper down the middle. You've probably seen them.

As a point of reference, my brand new 1969 Datsun 510, would blow cool/cold air on a -20 F day, even with the car warmed up. I don't think it had a recirculate button.
 

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My 2002 GC seems to take about 10 minutes to get up to temperature. There is some heat available in about 5 minutes. A new thermostat, a year back, didn't make much difference.

If heat is set in the defrost mode or floor/defrost mode, the air conditioning may kick in, causing the cooling fans to come on, hence providing too much cooling to the radiator. You might want to change to a non defrost setting if your windows are clear.
 

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My van takes quite a bit of time to warm up, I get the best heat at operational temp or close to that. The corolla doesn't take long at all to give heat, but then again, not a lot of coolant, the Sienna takes longer to warm up.

Come to think of it, slow heat at warm up might be a minivan characteristic? Sounds like you're van is working normally to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the responses everyone. I checked the codes yesterday and all I got was a code for an evap leak (been there for a while), but JEE34 said
he replaced his even though the light wasn't on and it was in fact the problem. The duralast thermostat at Autozone is only $10, so I don't think it'll hurt
to replace it. I'm not even sure when the last time is was replaced. But at the same time, it sounds like these T&C's just seem to heat up slowly for
everyone? It just seems odd because I have a saturn outlook that heats up insanely fast just at idle (even though its an 07').
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Also, this morning was about 11 degrees. I went out to start the van and let it run at idle for about 5 minutes. Came out and sat in it and the temperature needle didn't budge.
After about a 10-15 minute drive to school ranging from 25-45mph, the van was blowing warm air, but I was still not at normal running temperature. Just seems very odd to me.
 

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I've seen a couple where the thermo didn't stick open, but the spring had weakened to the point where it would open to some degree under the pressure from the water pump, letting cold coolant by. When you replace it, take note of how hard it is to compress the spring by hand relative to the new one.
 

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Also, this morning was about 11 degrees. I went out to start the van and let it run at idle for about 5 minutes. Came out and sat in it and the temperature needle didn't budge.
After about a 10-15 minute drive to school ranging from 25-45mph, the van was blowing warm air, but I was still not at normal running temperature. Just seems very odd to me.
That sounds a bit slow. Were you set on heat settings rather than defroster settings?

"Fail safe" thermostats can fail in the open position if you happen to have one of those notorious thermostats: http://www.amazon.com/Motorad-7200-180-Failsafe-Thermostat/product-reviews/B000C5CE0W

The OE thermostat is likely a Stant brand. If replacing an OE thermostat, it may be "staked" to the nipple. Might want to replace the nipple as well, especially if it is rusted.
 

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But at the same time, it sounds like these T&C's just seem to heat up slowly for
everyone?
No. I've had several of these vans and none were slow to heat.

Last night, 17F outside, got in the van, drove away, stop and go traffic, was blowing warm air after 1.5 miles. About 4-5 minutes. At that point gauge was at 1/4 mark.

This is a van with rear heat, so vans with no rear heat would be even faster.
 

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No. I've had several of these vans and none were slow to heat.

Last night, 17F outside, got in the van, drove away, stop and go traffic, was blowing warm air after 1.5 miles. About 4-5 minutes. At that point gauge was at 1/4 mark.

This is a van with rear heat, so vans with no rear heat would be even faster.
That's true, the coolant is circulating through the rear heater continuously, whether the system is calling for heat or not.
 

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Also, this morning was about 11 degrees. I went out to start the van and let it run at idle for about 5 minutes. Came out and sat in it and the temperature needle didn't budge.
After about a 10-15 minute drive to school ranging from 25-45mph, the van was blowing warm air, but I was still not at normal running temperature. Just seems very odd to me.
We have been in those situations many times in our travels and in less than 5 minutes is full hot and 1/4 in the gauge by the 2nd. minute, the thermostat did go bad about 3 years ago and put an OEM, it was about $14 or so. Now, the 4 cyl 3rd. Gen. fully warms up in about 2 minutes you can actually see the needle going up!.
 
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