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Hi,
I've owned a 99 Grand Caravan for a few years and it's been a good car for the family. Had the transmission rebuilt last year at about 130k miles. Now my wife tells me the check oil light comes on after driving for a while. This is after a couple episodes of overheating due to low coolant. That along with many other problems with the car tell me it's time to look for something else.

There's a 98 Grand Caravan on Craigslist with 191,000 miles. The guy admits that it has a cracked flexplate and is asking $1200 for it. I had a couple of questions for the pros on this forum:

-How many hours of work is involved in the flexplate replacement for an amateur like myself?
-Are there any other things I should make sure to look for when checking out the car?
-Will my nice transmission fit in this van in the case its tranny goes out?

Thanks!
Jason
 

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Changing the flexplate isn't an easy job. You really need a trans jack because there isn't any flat area parallel to the ground to rest it on a regular jack. You didn't state if it is a 3 or 4 speed transaxle or what engine either has. It took me about 4.5 hours to R & R the transaxle on my 97. But I have air tools and a trans jack and I am also not an amateur working on cars.

If the transaxle is the same model you could swap them easily. But it needs to be the same engine as well. the 3.0 has a different bellhousing bolt pattern than the 3.3 & 3.8. the 3.3 has a different final drive ration than the 3.8 so the TCM would need to be re-flashed with the correct ratio.

You should check the strut towers for rust. This can be repaired but it would be another thing to do. You should drive it and check the things you would on any used car.
 

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The price is high. $1200 for a van with a broken flex plate is too much, try to negotiate the price down. If it's in good condition and has no rest, it should be a win, well that is if the price gets knocked down a fair amount. If your going to be taking your transmission from your old van out, and keeping it. Why not look at vans on craigslist which are selling for like $500 with a bad tranny, and swap the tranny with yours. That is, if your willing to go through all of that.
 

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I agree with petet on everything except the TCM reflash. I put a 3.3 trans on my 3.8 engine, and yes the ratios are different, but it only really effects the speedometer. But it is only a 3% difference so its not even too wrong until higher speeds. No reflash required unless you want the speedo 100% (which they never are even from the factory).

I swapped my trans on a 5 degree day in january and it took me 9 hours to drop and install my replacement trans. Not a job for the faint of heart, or the person lacking in tools, but it can be done at home.
 
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