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Discussion Starter #1
I'm seeing alot of 3.3L DGC Sports with "R" at the 8th VIN character...

Ethanol compatible, or no?

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I know E, G, 3 are good - I'm just asking about the "R's" - or if anyone has one to check...

-Jim
 

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Google "E-85" and in there you'll find the site that lists all the manufacturers and vin code numbers..you'll see if your van is one of them. My wifes 97' stratus is not one of them...guess only the v6 motor{not 4cyl} runs e85 on those.
A quick way to tell is by the sticker inside your fuel door...it'll say "e85 and 87oct fuel" or "87octane fuel only". I'm finding the gen 3 vans get different door stickers pending being built in canada or usa...mine has a yellow gas pump icon and no wording.{mines a "2" code built in canada..."1" code/1st vin number/ is usa}
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Let me re-phrase my situation, for better clarity.

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I'm looking to buy a used gen4 van, and am trying to determine from only the VIN #s - before physically inspecting the vehicle - if it's ethanol compatible or not. In my on-line search of used vehicles, I'm finding a lot of 3.3Ls with the 8th VIN character "R".

I'm fully aware of the ethanol VIN codes for DC 3.3L engines provided at e85fuel.com.

What I'm asking is: Does anyone knows of any exceptions to the "E, G, 3" coded 8th VIN, specifically "R"? (Essentially, I'm not willing to take one E-85 compiled list as gospel; Instead I'm trying to determine if any exceptions exist, or incorrect information posted...)

-Jim
 

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In my on-line search of used vehicles, I'm finding a lot of 3.3Ls with the 8th VIN character "R".
I'm fully aware of the ethanol VIN codes for DC 3.3L engines provided at e85fuel.com.
What I'm asking is: Does anyone knows of any exceptions to the "E, G, 3" coded 8th VIN, specifically "R"? (Essentially, I'm not willing to take one E-85 compiled list as gospel; Instead I'm trying to determine if any exceptions exist, or incorrect information posted...)
-Jim
Hi Jim,

When I was looking for a minivan for my family, having an ethanol accepted vehicle was high on my list since the recent turn for GO GREEN promotion for a cleaner earth. But having that said, you found exactly what I have read as the gospel at e85fuel.com. During our three month search for a Chrysler minivan, we came across many GC's and TC's with the R digit. As far as I can tell, R digit vans are not e85 compatible in the NC area. I seriously doubt e85fuel.com would intentionally leave out information whether this was the case or not.

We found a very clean '03 with the eighth digit as a "3". The owner's manual stated clearly the van could run on e85 and listed the procedure how to fill up between gasoline and e85. There is, too, a sticker on the fuel door that indicates its compatibility as well. I would not rely on an owner's manual, since they could have been replaced for whatever reason.

My wife and I have been very happy with the 3.3L V6. It has great manners in town with plenty of low end torque to propel and sustain speeds low and high. To date, we have been averaging around 20-21 mpg during the winter around town. Highway has been around 23-24 mpg with full-use of AC during those trips.

I may not have fully answered your question, however, I do encourage for you to continue your search using e85fuel.com as a basis.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
You nailed it.

Thanks, you've helped confirmed my thoughts. I don't doubt the site; I was just hoping for a larger qualifying pool to search...

I'm trying to figure out as much as possible from my desk chair, so I can most efficiently carry out my necessary field work. (It's like tracking prey on a hunt, in many respects...)

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Just out of curiosity, did you run into many early 4th gen 3.3L Sports with rear discs (an/or the nivomat shocks) on your hunt?

From typical online ads (listing "default" or "standardized" trim/option level info), if a Sport has fog lights/leather wrapped wheel/alloys - it generally means it's got rear discs. But positively identifying the tow package (or nivomats) online - is almost impossible (maybe I'd catch a pic of rear hitch...)

-Jim
 

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Thanks, you've helped confirmed my thoughts. I don't doubt the site; I was just hoping for a larger qualifying pool to search...
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Just out of curiosity, did you run into many early 4th gen 3.3L Sports with rear discs (an/or the nivomat shocks) on your hunt?

From typical online ads (listing "default" or "standardized" trim/option level info), if a Sport has fog lights/leather wrapped wheel/alloys - it generally means it's got rear discs. But positively identifying the tow package (or nivomats) online - is almost impossible (maybe I'd catch a pic of rear hitch...)
-Jim
I really didn't put too much emphasis for rear disc brakes or nivomat shocks. Our van has rear drum brakes and standard sport suspension. However, my thought would have been pleasing if the van did come with rear discs, since they are easier to service. The standard sport suspension it has has been fair, nothing out of the ordinary. Even though it says sport on the rear, we drive it fairly conservative. It still rides great and quiet compared to the Honda's.

Wheels, ours came with standard hubcaps for that model year sport. I very much rather have alloy wheels, but we settled. If I could have them for cheap I get a set like these: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/FACTORY-ORIGINAL-16-DODGE-CARAVAN-WHEEL-RIM_W0QQitemZ120099201631QQcategoryZ43956QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

We're considering a rear hitch for our van, something like a class I or II that accepts the 1-1/2" receiver to tow small loads. But I have not been putting much thought into it since we don't need it right away.

I used cars.com when searching for our vans, it is updated at least once a week with new arrivals to dealerships in the area. I'm able to haggle better with a dealer better than with a private citizen. Dealers usually do some of the necessary maintenance or some additional work to the vehicle if you ask them to seal the deal. Always check the latest trade-in values at kbb.com or edmunds.com, whichever is lower, work up from that number in your negotiation with a salesman. The original asking prices is usually too high.

Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks for the tips, Brian

As far as I've found scouting the data (and not the field, yet..), the "sport" trim line is in name only - and does not include "across the board" adds/upgrades to the suspension or brakes. (Possible exception: it might add a rear stabilizer bar... I'm unsure) The alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, the tow shocks - those are in option packages added to the "sport" trim line...

Someone clear my up if I'm goofed on this...

-Jim
 

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The "Sport" trimline was simply the middle-of-the-road Grand Caravan. It was the trimline above SE and below ES. It's confusing because you can have a relatively basic Sport (like ours) or a Sport optioned out the wazoo with the big engine, big wheels, rear discs, etc.

And it all changes by year, so what is one year isn't necessarily the same the next year.

In 2003, the basic Sport did not include any suspension changes. It's the exact same suspension as the SE and eL. The eX and ES and Sport Popular Equipment Package included the rear stabilizer bar.
 

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Hey there,
Boris here from France, proud owner of a 2002 Chrysler Grand Voyager (T&C) 3.3 Limited AWD (yes, 3.3 was available in AWD in Europe).
We started driving 100% E85 monday last week.
The 8th letter of the VIN is R.
So, as the question was actually not answered, can anyone elaborate on wether this type of car can properly run E85? what's the difference with the '3' or 'L' ?


thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In the states, the "R" is not set up for E85 - not sure about export models...

Physical clues to look for: E85 compatibility noted on fuel fill door; stainless steel fuel injector lines; larger, green colored fuel injectors...

Else, don't run E85.

-Jim
 

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In the states, the "R" is not set up for E85 - not sure about export models...

Physical clues to look for: E85 compatibility noted on fuel fill door; stainless steel fuel injector lines; larger, green colored fuel injectors...

Else, don't run E85.

-Jim
Thanks for the awser. Good to see the topic is still alive.
LEt me just expose the situation here.
France authorized on Feb 2007 the distribution of E85.
It took about a year to get gas stations to buy into the story.

Now, E85 is 40% less expensive than regual:
3.3 euros / gallon for E85 = $5.2 / gallon
5.4 euros / gallon for unleaded = $8.5 / gallon

Now that you know "why" I am switching to E85, let's see why I believe my 2002 T&C is likely to be compliant.

First of all I did not look for any sticker or whatever on the fuel fill door or wherever. There were no E85 on the continent in 2002 AND it was not legal so it wouldn't have made sense.
So I started investigating replacement parts # from the tank all the way to the injectors comparing a 2002 3.3 T&C Flex Fuel with a 2002 Grand Voyager "export" using mainly http://www.rockauto.com/ web site.

My conclusions are simple:
- same tank Part Number
- same hoses (at least from a replacement part # standpoint)
- SAME INJECTORS for sure

- different part number for the Fuel Pump.
Now there it's a little more complicated:
The replacement PN for the 2002 'R' type I drive in Europe is the same PN as for a '3' type in the USA. Interesting, right? However, an 'R' type from the USA would have a PN for the pump different from the one the '3' type gets. Even more interesting, right?

http://www.airtex.es/ The European importer of Airtex fuel pumps (one of the 3 pump makers I know that build fuel pumps for the 3.3 engine) states that only Flex replacement pumps are available for cars made from Jan 01 to Dec 02... very interesting.

Now I'm trying to have a discussion with the fuel pump manufacturer to understand the difference between E7144M (non flex) and E7146M (flex)

SO, guys, thoughts, comments?
Have a look at the attached picture of the European catalog (Spain) of AixTex (FairField, IL), and tell me what a 2002 3.3 AWD would be?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Looks like you're you're doing some interesting research... Good luck - I'd still be quite hesitant.

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I think the fuel price differential over there is perhaps fogging up your logic.

You say it would have not have been legal or made sense to label e85 compatibility on the fuel door in 2002, as there was no e85 available in Europe. OK. But then, you presume it was built with E85 compatibility, and they're just not telling you about it? Why would Chrysler bother to invest the extra parts/$$ in an export vehicle that may never see E85?

Or if this van was built to US spec and shipped over - then you have the same issues with the "R" vs "E, G, 3" (ie, yours wouldn't be set up correctly.)

Sure, you can keep piping E85 through your van, and it probably still runs, too, for a while. (I've know folks to accidentally fill up with a tank of e85 without damage). But I think you're looking at long term degradation (seals and piping/tubing materials), performance (inadequate flow from pump/injectors), and safety (leaks and fire!) issues down the road.

This, of course, assumes no changes are needed to the air/fuel map, and the O2 sensors and their calibration (as part of the factory E85 mods).

-Jim
 

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Hi Boris,

Jan from Sweden here! I have a 2003 (Manufactured 12.2002) Grand Voyager with the 3.3l engine and "R" in the vin. I am curious how your car is performing on E85. Did you figure out anything else?

Regards
Jan
 

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Hey Jan.
first of all this is for you: http://www.etanolbil.eu/

second of all, we drive the van 100% E85. No problem.
I analyzed the O2 sensor sinusiodal. perfect. which means from a ECU/injector standpoint it's ok.

cheers,
boris
 

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But....does the Sport have the In-Cabin a/c filter? :) I bought my '03 Sport used and it has the 16 inch alloys,rear a/c, power passenger slider and rear deck, package shelf, removable center console, 3.8, power driver's seat, cloth 2 + 2 + bench, 4 wheel discs and rear sway bar. Pretty standard fit-out from what I read. In addition - it is the RARE Butane Bleu. Also, it came with the anti-theft spare wheel (which I read is pretty much standard equipment). Unfortunately, it is not E 85 compatible. That was a big oversight on my part because it spends much of the year in Moonshine country and currently the price of gas is more than moonshine. If the price of corn keeps going up....there might be another Whiskey Rebellion?
 

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not sure about your question here...
Is that related to E85? or have you had too much Whiskey before typing?
Anyway as far as I know 3.8 has never been sold as E85 compatible.
 

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Sorry...no offense intended. I was actually responding to BWinkler and JCamasto posts re: their Sport models. I sometimes forget that this is an international forum and some readers/responders may not have the same cultural biases that I have. If I had typed Calvados in lieu of Moonshine (as a source of ethanol for fuel) would that have been acceptable? :beerchug:
 
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