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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. I want to start off by saying thanks to everyone on here who have posted tutorials on makeshift fixes for heater pipe issues on these vans. It's insane that Chrysler/Dodge has not done something better with this design, but we make do as we must.

Anyway, I have a Dodge Grand Caravan Sport that I purchased this last winter here in Iowa, and I thought it would be a feasible fix. I figured I could just remove the wiper cowl and crimp off the pipes leading to the rear of the vehicle. Unknown to me at the time, this particular model has an engine almost too big for the compartment it is in, and even with the wiper components removed, the back of the engine is completely unreachable. Worse yet, the design stupidly mounts the alternator to the top of the engine block, so even trying to remove the head of the engine means undoing the serpentine belt. I got the van for 400, but I am still feeling bad about the decision to buy it as it has been sitting around for months now.

I bought the van for scrapping/can collecting. We recycle things and then use them to pay our bills and help rescue abandoned cats. We basically dig through trash for a living, so paying someone to fix it is not an option. I also am having trouble getting the vehicle off the ground enough with ramps to safely get under it. I am considering getting a auto transport trailer from Budget or U-Haul or something and using that as a makeshift lift. I have some stainless steel pipes I got off some scrapping work, and they're probably just a bit bigger than the coolant lines. I'm considering putting some JB Weld around the inside rim of these pipes and then sliding them over the rusted section like a sleeve, but I'm not sure how good an idea that is. I need to do something though. Right now we're using a 99 Ford Taurus which has no rear brakes and is getting 8 miles a gallon due to an out of control idle speed issue(4 thousand RPM without touching the gas petal, or sometimes it drops so low it dies).

If anyone has some advice on how to proceed, I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
 

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To get good access to the rear heat piping you need to remove the intake plenum. The simpilest permanent fix would be to bypass the rear heat all together. To do this you need to get to the front heater core. The rear heat pipes have the y connection on them so you need to remove the heater hoses from that that are connected to the heater connections on the firewall from the rear piping. Then find the two hoses connected to the engine pipes that come from the rear piping. They would be under the throttle body. Disconnect those and then connect the hoses from the front heated core. it is a little difficult but you should be able to do this without removing the plenum.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the reply. So are you saying that from the cabin side of the firewall, I can remove the front heater core, and disable the rear heater lines from there? If this is what you mean then that is exciting news!

Also, is the plenum the part that the alternator is mounted to? That's the top cover for the engine block?
 

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I'm talking about the engine side of the firewall. The plenum is the large aluminum part that has 3.3L or 3.8L cast on it. You cannot get to the hoses from inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh ok I was worried about that. So I am assuming I need to disconnect the serpentine belt? Is there anything in particular I need to be concerned about when I go to do this?
 

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What about sawing a hole through the firewall? Has anyone tried doing this? I mean at this point the van is useless scrap metal, so I'm not sure what the downside to taking extreme measures is.....
 

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You can get to the heater core hoses easily enough without taking extreme measures. Remove the battery. Remove the air intake rubber hose, silencer box, and short rubber hose under it to the air filter box. With all that out of the way, you can get your arms in there to disconnect the heater hoses and reroute them, bypassing the rear heater pipes.
 

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Road Ripper in post #7 has the right idea. You don't need to rent a tow dolly to get the van off the ground, all you need is your jack and some wooden blocks so it don't fall on your head if you need to raise it.
 

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Iowa winters huh? In that case it would be a good idea to slide under the van, right about where the driver door is, and look at the inside of the frame rail at the rear brake lines. There is sometimes a stainless steel flexible section that meets a regular steel line (2 of them, one for each rear brake). Since stainless doesn't rust, the regular steel that it's bonded to acts as a sacrificial anode and rusts a lot faster. The steel brake lines blow out because they are too weak from rust, and is a safety issue. There is no safety recall for this, so it is up to the van owner to be aware of it and make repairs if necessary.

Also, check the condition of the strut towers under the hood for rust. They are known to rust and buckle, and require the van to be scrapped if they are too bad to fix. It's another safety issue that should've had a recall, but didn't. There have been some serious accidents with these vans because of the strut tower collapsing and sending the van rolling. Hope yours is a solid one!
 
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