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Discussion Starter #1
1 have 175K and I engaged the passing gear one too many times it seems.


Does anyone know what this may be and if it can be repaired? I don't have high hopes for the engine but I absolutely LOVE this AWD van and want to keep it running as long as possible. I can't afford $5K for a rebuilt installation and am considering a wrecking yard motor. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with motor replacements with these vans. I absolutely love this van and my heart breaks. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
 

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Sounds bad, but I'd pull the valve covers and see if you have a broken rocker arm shaft or other valve train issue before making a replacement decision.
 

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What year van is this 2001-2004? Cause their was som changed to the engines and computers between those years.
 

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Some wrecking yards will work with installers and warranty both the motor and installation.

If you can find a low mileage motor, I'd do the trans at the same time.

That said, if van will run, I'd start looking for a newer vehicle.
 

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1 have 175K and I engaged the passing gear one too many times it seems.

Does anyone know what this may be and if it can be repaired? I don't have high hopes for the engine but I absolutely LOVE this AWD van and want to keep it running as long as possible. I can't afford $5K for a rebuilt installation and am considering a wrecking yard motor. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with motor replacements with these vans. I absolutely love this van and my heart breaks. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
Just curious, why do you think you need a new engine? I ask because even after many-many-many excursions down into the realm of "passing gear", all three of our vans were running as strong the day we sold them as the day they drove off the showroom floor. Said another way, the engines are so robust that even if you drove exclusively in "passing gear", you probably wouldn't shorten the engine's life by all that much (different story about gas mileage though).
 

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Sure sounds like top end noise. As ajosepg said pull the valve covers and closely inspect the rocker arms and valve springs. I had a valve spring break on my 2003 3.3L that sounded really noisy. Wiggle the rockers and compare the movement of one to another. My repair cost me about $5.00 for the new spring and $30.00 for the valve compressor. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Many thanks to all of you. I'm very happy with hope about the top end may be all that's wrong. I've been very busy at work since Monday and I'm going to pick up a truck from my son tonight but I will pull the valve cover tomorrow evening and let you all know what I find.

Thanks for the second opinion on the aggressive driving shipo. It really do (did) have faith in these vans and engines and hope to regain it again. I really do enjoy the power that the 3.8's have and one the the things I've noticed when I first started driving the van was that nobody wants to be behind a van. After being cut off at the last minute 1000 times, the 1001st one tend to set me off. Thats when the pedal went to the metal and THAT gave birth to this new noise. :)

Thanks again to all of you for taking the time to let me know what you think.
 

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I couldn't even begin to say what that noise is, however it does sound like "Marble like" sound I hear on many 3.3/3.8 only amplified by about a hundred decibels. These vans usually last a long time and 175,000 miles is a lot of miles for any vehicle, you can't say this van owes you anything. However, all good things do eventually come to an end. You're smart by not wanting to invest $5,000 into a rebuilt motor. I'd do a good search of the web and this forum to see if anything turns up. Wish you the best of luck!
 

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My opinion? You spun a rod bearing. If it was a valve train breakage making that much noise it would be running rough and it wouldn’t sound just a spun rod bearing.
I would be looking for a good used engine. 2001/2003 SPEC PCM engines. 2004/2007 NGC engines. You can make either engine work if you swap out the timing gears and flex plate.
Sorry for your loss :(
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well it looks like there's nothing wrong with the valves, springs, or rods unless I'm missing something. Has anyone every attempted to replace a motor in one of these themselves? I've removed the wiper cowling a couple of times and it looks like I could pull the engine from the top but it looks but I'm not sure if there is anything else I would have to take into consideration to be successful other that swapping a bunch of parts.



Head.jpg
 

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Well it looks like there's nothing wrong with the valves, springs, or rods unless I'm missing something. Has anyone every attempted to replace a motor in one of these themselves? I've removed the wiper cowling a couple of times and it looks like I could pull the engine from the top but it looks but I'm not sure if there is anything else I would have to take into consideration to be successful other that swapping a bunch of parts.



View attachment 11545
Here's a thread about replacing the engine on a Gen 3 van which should be pretty close to your Gen 4:
 

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Why are you disassembling to find the source of the noise? Put the valve cover back on an use a mechanics stethoscope and track down the noise before you take it apart any further. The noise does sound more like rod knock than top end to me, but do verify the source before junking the motor.

That said, I have the 3.3 which is identical in every important way to the 3.8 and I frequently wind it up past 5000RPM. Probably 4-5 times a trip every trip - these are generally really robust motors. What oil was in it and what change intervals do you run?
 

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Did you run it with the valve cover off? That would help in confirming that the noise is not valve train. The noise does seem to be more of a rod/bearing knock or even piston slap. I would pull the oil pan and check connecting rod clearance...you probably can install new a new bearing from below without pulling the engine...just need to know where/what the problem is. Is the noise different when the van is under load?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I used Mobile 1 since I've owned the van and changed it every 5K miles but I bought it @ 160K miles. I think it was too late. Thanks for all the advice guys. I've decided to take it to the shop and have them look at it. There's a guy I trust just down the street. I've looked a few wrecking yard motors and newer vans. I even thought about leasing and electric car (for the same price as monthly fuel) but I just like this van so much. If I have to replace the motor, It sounds like its going to cost me $5K. I should probably change the transmission too while the engine is out. I already have new tires, struts, swaybar bushings, battery, alternator, brakes, rotors, felpro gaskets, sensors, ect... that will be used with the new motor. So $7K out the door. Am I crazy to put this in a 2001 van. I can't get over having a brand new engine that nobody has every neglected. I believe the previous owners did neglect this engine.
 

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Everybody seems to want to step around this, but since you asked, I think you're crazy to do this. Part it out as best you can, then scrap it. Or find somebody desperate for any transportation. Or find somebody who can slip in an engine and transmission in their driveway in half a day (several of them post routinely here) and make the best deal you can. It's a lost cause; Putting $7k in a vehicle worth, generously, about $1500 in it's current state, will leave you with a vehicle worth about $3000. You'd have to keep it a long, long time to get the cost-per-mile down to something reasonable.

Time to say bye-bye.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the advice Sam. I have some time to decide what I'm going to do. I have an old smelly Chevy I can drive for a while. :) I'll make sure to update this post when I'ts all said and done. I really appreciate everyone taking their time to give me their advice.
 

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I used Mobile 1 since I've owned the van and changed it every 5K miles but I bought it @ 160K miles. I think it was too late. Thanks for all the advice guys. I've decided to take it to the shop and have them look at it. There's a guy I trust just down the street. I've looked a few wrecking yard motors and newer vans. I even thought about leasing and electric car (for the same price as monthly fuel) but I just like this van so much. If I have to replace the motor, It sounds like its going to cost me $5K. I should probably change the transmission too while the engine is out. I already have new tires, struts, swaybar bushings, battery, alternator, brakes, rotors, felpro gaskets, sensors, ect... that will be used with the new motor. So $7K out the door. Am I crazy to put this in a 2001 van. I can't get over having a brand new engine that nobody has every neglected. I believe the previous owners did neglect this engine.
Kinda crazy for the year and everything, you can buy a nice low mileage 2006 or 2007 with Stow-N-Go for that kind of price (before taxes). You say you already have new parts, but do you physically have the parts or are they still on order. If you are determined to do this then make sure the alternator you order/buy has a decoupler pulley, a standard pulley can damage other belt driven pullies/parts.How is the body and interior holding up? That is another factor as to whether or not it is worth it. To me, just do as Samc said and part it out or something.
 
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