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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past Sunday the seasonal low temp oddly reached 9F. The daily drive to work wasn't pleasant enough for the heat output. Driving the van felt like the rear unit was blowing icicles. It reached the mid 40s today, so I spent 2 hours with the inside trim apart and tweaking the rear HVAC for more output and sealing off all of the open body cut-outs. Chrysler had a few of these large cutouts already closed off with 4mm poron patches, but left a handful still wide open. So I closed those off with aluminum foil tape.

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Behind the blow unit is a black bag filled with insulation. That has to be wedged up against the outer body wall and stuff to the tail light unit in a vertical position. There is a draft of air from the rear bumper fascia that will impede thru there. Yet, knowing about the draft, why didn't Chrysler close off the other body cutouts? That's where taping them closed keeps the cold air out in the above image.

Forward of the rear HVAC unit and around the wheel well and rear speaker are other cutout holes to seal off.

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Depending on the radio sound system in these vans, there is a tweeter speaker just above the HVAC blower suction area. My SE model didn't have the tweeter speaker, so I pulled out the foam plug behind it for more improved air to the blower.

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If time and weather allows, I'll open up the driver side panel and seal off those cutouts too. The kids complain how cold it gets back there at times.

One last trick. There is a HVAC actuator and flap door to direct where the air travels. I had a person turn the rear temp control knob and hit the AC button up front while the van was running. I then pulled the connector off the actuator. Now it's in a balanced 50/50 position to allow air up to the ceiling vents and to the floor vents. Nobody has to deal with hot heads and cold feet or vise versa anymore. :)

The 3.3L engine with less Hp puts out less heat. My old 2005 SXT with the 3.8L never had a limited heat output. The 3.3L for a dual system needs the extra care mentioned here to provide the comfort needed.

To remove the panels,
  • remove the speaker cover with a flat blade screw driver.
  • remove the 6 Phillips screws.
  • remove the rear panel next to the hatch. A bit of tugging.
  • remove the 3 Phillips screws on the long panel.
  • take off the rear most seatbelt bolts, bottom and top. 20V impact gun works fine.
  • weave the seatbelt thru the slot.
  • take off the mid-seatbelt lower bolt only. 20V impact gun works just fine.
  • pull the long panel out starting from the back.
  • place the rear most seatbelt behind the long panel
  • the HVAC unit has many ducts. Behind the long panel, the long duct has 2 Phillips screws.
  • the duct to the ceiling has 1 rear screw. it can be slipped out behind the metal vertical strap.
  • begin patching the cutouts.

For those wanting to adjust the HVAC actuator for a 50/50 split, remove the metal vertical strap. Take off the 2 10mm bolts holding the HVAC unit to the body wall. Tilt the HVAC unit towards the middle of the van. The HVAC actuator is at the top with the connector. You may need to take off 2 more short ducts to look into the hole for the door flapper. Its really simple. If you have really skinny hands, then you can leave the HVAC unit bolted to the wall. My hands are narrow, but not that thin.

My AC isn't fully charged since last year. If the AC system was kaput, being up north isn't too hot, I would of opened the rear HVAC and removed the EVAP for a huge gain in air flow. But, I hope to have the AC system working come late Spring.

Taking the vehicle out for a spin and warm up showed an improvement in the rear heat system. Mission accomplished.
 

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I remove those foam-filled pouches whenever I can and throw them away. They just cause rust. The rear has air vents to the outside underneath the sides of the rear bumper cover, so that's the draft you feel. If it weren't for those, ears would pop as you shut the doors with windows closed. All vehicles have vents like those somewhere.

Hmm, insulate the rear heater pipes underneath the van? They are aluminum, so easy to conduct heat to the cold outside air.

Underhood coolant flow restrictor acting like it should?

The later year vans (possibly as early as 2002 or 2003) lost air ducting to the rear for heat. The early vans have heat ducts going through the upper dash, through the front door panels, and out the rear of the door panel to blow on the 2nd row occupants. This was deleted on 2003, but the upper dash vent ducting is still there. I believe the passage on the top of the heater box that supplies air to it is blocked or something. My 2004 has the vents under the upper dash, but with the fan on I didn't feel much air coming out of them. I was going to check this out more thoroughly and enable it when I swap the blue dash in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I remove those foam-filled pouches whenever I can and throw them away. They just cause rust. The rear has air vents to the outside underneath the sides of the rear bumper cover, so that's the draft you feel. If it weren't for those, ears would pop as you shut the doors with windows closed. All vehicles have vents like those somewhere.

Hmm, insulate the rear heater pipes underneath the van? They are aluminum, so easy to conduct heat to the cold outside air.

Underhood coolant flow restrictor acting like it should?

The later year vans (possibly as early as 2002 or 2003) lost air ducting to the rear for heat. The early vans have heat ducts going through the upper dash, through the front door panels, and out the rear of the door panel to blow on the 2nd row occupants. This was deleted on 2003, but the upper dash vent ducting is still there. I believe the passage on the top of the heater box that supplies air to it is blocked or something. My 2004 has the vents under the upper dash, but with the fan on I didn't feel much air coming out of them. I was going to check this out more thoroughly and enable it when I swap the blue dash in.
Yes, I didn't block those body rear vents. The large one is at the floor behind the rear HVAC unit.

Yes, coolant restrictor or aka water valve like device is working just fine.

Yes, if temps fall lower, then pipe wrapping is needed. Oddly, the heater pipes are just behind the passenger siding door going to the front. The other lines are the AC running to the complete rear and up into the HVAC unit thru the floor.

Because the 3.3L generates less heat, I took out the front to mid-van duct work. Its time consuming as the floor carpeting needs to be pulled up. I then blocked the outlet coming right out from under the center console. Now floor heat works to front driver and front passenger very well. No frozen toes any more. ;)

Middle seating all last winter had no complaints for heat with those ducts removed. The 3rd row way in the back was the concern until this recent change.
 
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I'm thinking you need a new thermostat. The 3.3L and 3.8L are basically the same engine, except for displacement, the 3.3L should be working harder i.e. producing more heat.
What's showing on the dash gauge, where's the pointer?
Are your cooling fans working overtime for some reason?
The vans contain a big area to heat, it takes a while for them to heat up inside, i.e. displace the cold air.
Your engine will take 10 to 15 minutes to warm up to operating temperature as well, about 5 minutes before heat even starts to flow into the cabin. Putting the blower on too early doesn't help either.
To provide you with maximum comfort in the automatic mode, during cold start-ups the blower fan will remain off and “DELAY” will appear in the front ATC display until the engine warms up. Also, an estimate of the time remaining until the “DELAY” is over will appear periodically in the display. However, the fan will engage immediately if the defrost mode is selected or by rotating the blower control to any fixed blower speed.
You might be better off just using the front blower on a high setting rather than trying to displace/heat the rear most air for a short trip.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm thinking you need a new thermostat. The 3.3L and 3.8L are basically the same engine, except for displacement, the 3.3L should be working harder i.e. producing more heat.
What's showing on the dash gauge, where's the pointer?
Are your cooling fans working overtime for some reason?
The vans contain a big area to heat, it takes a while for them to heat up inside, i.e. displace the cold air.
Your engine will take 10 to 15 minutes to warm up to operating temperature as well, about 5 minutes before heat even starts to flow into the cabin. Putting the blower on too early doesn't help either.

You might be better off just using the front blower on a high setting rather than trying to displace/heat the rear most air for a short trip.
I'm not pushing the van to work harder, it's softer to keep the MPG numbers up.
Already have a new t-stat back when I changed out the water pump.
Dash gauge indicator points just a hairline below the 1/2 mark like it always does and matches that of my old 2005 3.8L SXT.
Cooling fans are operating normally.
Yes, large area requires time to heat up. On days of overcast with no sun and temps in the single digits, it needs all the help it can get. LOL

With the OBD2 live readout on the ScanGauge-2, when the water pump was shot, the temp had to reach 180F before mild heat was felt. Now with the SKP all metal impeller water pump, the heat on a 28F day to reach mild temps is now 122F. A huge improvement now.

Normal engine temp hovers around 193F to 202F. When temps get into the teens, its around 184F. When it's single digit temps, and the heater blowers are on high, it's 160F. When below zero or minus Fahrenheit temps, it's sitting at 141F with the OBD2 live readings on the typical daily 40min trip.

Coolant levels are the normal range and using the Prestone 50/50 mix for all vehicle types.

As mentioned prior, the 3.8L had no troubles making the needed heat. The smaller 3.3L, in steady 50mph country roads is a smaller workhorse. When the Alberta Clipper weather comes into our area, the temps drop into single and minus ranges. My area is where the G is shown in the word General below. Dang it's cold with high winds. Those high winds find every little body cutout panel and enter the van. I had an hour trip during an Alberta Clipper just over a week ago. The passenger door panel facing the brunt of the 37mph cross wind to the van was definitely cold like ice compared to the driver door panel. And the sun was on the passenger side too. I had all the center console vents pointing at the wife in the passenger seat. On the return trip back, I became the cold one. LOL

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So, any improvements for heat are plus in my book.
 

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Highway cruising last evening, with temperatures around freezing, my coolant temperature was 85C pretty much all the way, which coincidently is equal to 185F. The OE Thermostat is rated at 203F I believe. Also consider that my 3.6L is likely using less energy at highway speeds than your 3.3L.

At highway speeds your 3.3L is running about 200 higher RPM than your 3.8L
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Highway cruising last evening, with temperatures around freezing, my coolant temperature was 85C pretty much all the way, which coincidently is equal to 185F. The OE Thermostat is rated at 203F I believe. Also consider that my 3.6L is likely using less energy at highway speeds than your 3.3L.

At highway speeds your 3.3L is running about 200 higher RPM than your 3.8L
3.3L at 200rpms more with a shorter stroke vs. the 3.6L Pentastar engine isn't warm enough.

At a glance, a 60W light bulb generates more heat than a 40W bulb. That's how I would compare it in easy terms. LOL

BUT, with the 3.8L TB on my 3.3L engine, the rpms dropped about 200 in highway drive gear. hmmmm
 

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Two thoughts. You didn't mention if the force of air coming out the rear vents was good. If not, it might not be the blower motor, but the airducts separating from the headliner. This happened to our van and after hot gluing the airducts back on the headliner board, the force of air coming out the rear vents was much better.

I use a coolant mixture of 60/40 (60% coolant/40%water) I find this works best in the winter months. I start having front heat in about a few minutes at idle, below 32 degrees. The rear takes longer since we have the Tri-zone system.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Two thoughts. You didn't mention if the force of air coming out the rear vents was good. If not, it might not be the blower motor, but the airducts separating from the headliner. This happened to our van and after hot gluing the airducts back on the headliner board, the force of air coming out the rear vents was much better.

I use a coolant mixture of 60/40 (60% coolant/40%water) I find this works best in the winter months. I start having front heat in about a few minutes at idle, below 32 degrees. The rear takes longer since we have the Tri-zone system.
Roof vents are just fine. :)

OK, for the 60/40 mix, what are your lowest winter temps then? And yes, you have the 3.8L that keeps the heat.
 

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Just a thought, How about doing like I've seen on Ice Road Truckers and put a slip of cardboard in front of a portion of the radiator. If it is extreme cold out, heat is going to waste off the radiator very efficiently. A cardboard baffle for a few months in the extremes should be considered.

Cheap, easy, and easy enough to reverse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just a thought, How about doing like I've seen on Ice Road Truckers and put a slip of cardboard in front of a portion of the radiator. If it is extreme cold out, heat is going to waste off the radiator very efficiently. A cardboard baffle for a few months in the extremes should be considered.

Cheap, easy, and easy enough to reverse.
Been there and done that already. ;) I just didn't allude to it because it becomes a huge debate here on the forum.

Taking the 2X 10mm bolts off the radiator top cover and the 5X black screws, one can access everything in front of the radiator.

At the very bottom is a the lower fascia scoop. I have a 2x4 filling the entire width opening. It fits perfectly and no rattles.

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Then in front of 1/2 the radiator on the passenger side and offset by 1-inch from the face of the radiator tubes and fins is a square piece of luan plywood.

Last year whilst replacing the water pump, T-stat, hoses and such, I did a complete system flush too. All of the work made a huge improvement for heat. Coming from the south and moving up here to the north the cold is awful. If it were possible, I would like to have a woodburner stove in the van to keep it nice and toasty. LOL
 

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So you DID move! I was a little confused for a while, since I remember you used to be in Illinois. Welcome to the frigid North! LOL I actually had to go up to Fargo/Moorhead to buy my 2004 AWD, which started out in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You're farther north than me.

You'll be closer to the arctic polar vortex, the cold mass of air swirling around the top of the globe like a big bowl on top of a bowling ball. Now and then the edge of that bowl will "wobble" and bring some arctic chilled air down your way. Then we get lows in the -20*F and below, with windchills that can feel like -45*F - - BRRR!! I already have a block heater in my van, and added a heated battery wrap/blanket that helps with the cold starts. 0W-20 full synthetic oil helps the engine a lot in those temps, too. The transmission fluid could use a heater in that cold, though. My van has struggled to engage drive in that cold after barely rolling down the driveway! I have a magnetic heater I can try on the trans pan to help with that.

I haven't had a problem with the heat in the van, once it FINALLY gets up to temp. :LOL: A tank heater instead of a block heater would work better for heating up coolant faster. I've never had the thermostat out of my van yet, so it still has whatever it came with. I haven't flushed the cooling system either (yet), but will next year. The thermostat regulates the engine temperature, so maybe you just need a hotter thermostat? People around here used to ask for a 195* T-stat back when I was in votech, so it must work. My van does have the oil filter base oil cooler, so some engine oil heat gets dumped into the cooling system too.

In the winter, we put blankets in the back of our van to help keep the kids warm. Even though that van also has rear heat (the Sienna), it still takes a while for the engine to get warm. The blankets help keep their legs warm in the back seat, since the warm air comes from the top. Also a good idea anyway in case you get stuck somewhere.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So you DID move! I was a little confused for a while, since I remember you used to be in Illinois. Welcome to the frigid North! LOL I actually had to go up to Fargo/Moorhead to buy my 2004 AWD, which started out in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You're farther north than me.

You'll be closer to the arctic polar vortex, the cold mass of air swirling around the top of the globe like a big bowl on top of a bowling ball. Now and then the edge of that bowl will "wobble" and bring some arctic chilled air down your way. Then we get lows in the -20*F and below, with windchills that can feel like -45*F - - BRRR!! I already have a block heater in my van, and added a heated battery wrap/blanket that helps with the cold starts. 0W-20 full synthetic oil helps the engine a lot in those temps, too. The transmission fluid could use a heater in that cold, though. My van has struggled to engage drive in that cold after barely rolling down the driveway! I have a magnetic heater I can try on the trans pan to help with that.

I haven't had a problem with the heat in the van, once it FINALLY gets up to temp. :LOL: A tank heater instead of a block heater would work better for heating up coolant faster. I've never had the thermostat out of my van yet, so it still has whatever it came with. I haven't flushed the cooling system either (yet), but will next year. The thermostat regulates the engine temperature, so maybe you just need a hotter thermostat? People around here used to ask for a 195* T-stat back when I was in votech, so it must work. My van does have the oil filter base oil cooler, so some engine oil heat gets dumped into the cooling system too.

In the winter, we put blankets in the back of our van to help keep the kids warm. Even though that van also has rear heat (the Sienna), it still takes a while for the engine to get warm. The blankets help keep their legs warm in the back seat, since the warm air comes from the top. Also a good idea anyway in case you get stuck somewhere.
Yes, my next leg up to the -22*F lows in dead of winter would be investing in a oil pan heater.

Yes, we too have the blankets in the back, yet with the mud and snow keeping them clean is an added shore. Thus the reason for this thread. I wanted to seal off those inner body panel cut-outs, improve the air flow, and improve the blower intake.

In the winter I run syn 5W30 in the little 3.3L. 30 weight holds the heat longer over 20 weight. Jeepman has posted over the years info why we shouldn't use 20 weight oil.

It was 18*F this morning. The van after full warm up reached 193*F.

I got this Gates 195*F T-stat from Rockauto.com
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YES YES YES, the transmission behaves like this when it's very cold around single digits or lower. I typically down shift to 3rd on the indicator and drive without exceeding 42mph for about 1 or 2 miles, depending on how cold it really got. Only then can I place it in drive and hope for a smooth shift. It's like this for either engine, 3.3L and 3.8L.

Our RAM 2500 HD Quad has a pan heater. I've not used it because the Hemi heats up just fine. I may have to find an Ag pan heater for the tiny oil pan these engines have.

Jumping over to the 2006 T&C and 3.3L, Rockauto.com shows an Engine Block Heater.
rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=13065037&cc=1432097&pt=2108&jsn=671
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The Mopar link shows where it goes, yet it looks like a 2nd or 3rd gen engine with the manifold. hum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You sure you don't already have a block heater from the factory?
Nope, not on my current model. I looked. :)

It's possible for your country of Canada to be factory standard equipped. Some US states have mandatory rear window defrost to be standard equipment.
 
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