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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

A few months ago my wife and I found out that our family is going to be growing by another member and the realization set in that we had outgrown our station wagon. We have been slowly going through the paces of purchasing a vehicle and I have just about driven my wife crazy so I think we will be making our purchase soon.

We started out exploring the 08-09 Dodge/Chrysler Vans since there are such great deals out there right now. We test drove a low optioned 09 SXT with the 3.8/6-spd and loved the powertrain but ultimately decided we wanted a heavilly optioned model which put the price up higher than we were comfortable with. We then set our sites on the used market and quickly narrowed in on the 06/07 Dodge/Chrysler models.

So after searching the surrounding areas, many dealer visits and a lengthy spreadsheet to keep track of it all we have eliminated all but two vans both of which are in our own small town of ~4000 people believe it or not.

The local Chrysler dealer has a very nice 06 Limited with 28k mi which both my wife and I think is a extreamly nice van. The only criticisms I have about it is a little corosion around the lips of the polished rims and some paint damage from rocks being kicked up off the rear tires. It was a program vehicle which was bought at auction but it appears to have been treated well. It is priced at the upper limits of our cash reserves and is just out of warranty so we would need to stretch the 90 day dealer warranty in order to regain the cash necessary to make an additional warranty purchase.

The Ford dealership (not as nice of an establishment or as trustworthy of place) has a 06 Touring with 27k mi which is optioned very well, has a $2000 price advantage over the Limited and has 6 months of factory warranty left. The condition of the van leaves a little to be desired a fair amount of paint blemishes, needs a new trunk carpet (spilled bleach) and a little bit of a funny smell (hopefully just the bleach). The other advantage it has over the limited is being equipt with the factory tow prep group. I don't plan on towing anything but I have overloaded my vehicles in the past and probably will again plus I buy into the extra cooling helping to extend the life of the powertrain.

We drove the limited today and will be driving the touring tomorrow. I would suspect that we will make a purchase in the next couple of days. I would appreciate any suggestions any of you have on trying to negotiate the prices down, or things to watch out for on the vehicles.

I should also note that my only previous experience with Dodge/Chrysler vans was with the 84 Caravan my parents owned when I was a kid and I learned how to drive in. Some memorial vacations in that van with a cargo carier on top and getting passed by everything else on the road in the Colorado mountain region. My parents bought that vehicle new and traded it in 8 years later at the dealership which has the limited.
 

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Mr. Suko,

Welcome to the forum! Your name is very familiar to me. You don't happen to own a Fiero or Vette do you?

I am not a seasoned vehicle negotiator at dealers. I bought a used Ford Focus at a dealer about 24 days ago and my negotiating technique was pretty simple. I drove the car, inspected it thoroughly, and made sure the salesman knew that I knew what its issues were. When he started the stupid dealer tricks (you know, he writes a number on a piece of paper and makes you sign, as if the signature has any power), I stopped him and told him what I would pay for the car out the door. I also told him as pleasantly as possible that if they wanted me to get lost, I would be pleased to do so. He turned beet red but went to see his manager anyway, who promptly accepted the offer, and I became the owner of a Ford Focus. The deal clincher? Two little words I uttered when I made my offer: "as is".

The ultimate power you have at any dealer is getting up to leave, knowing that you can always find another used car. That's the ultimate truth here: if you are paying cash, then used minivans are like fish in the sea. You may need to cast your net a little wider, or wait a month to cast it again, but you can always find another used car and dealers know it. I spooked the salesman by pullling out of my folder the autotrader.com listings for three other Focuses (Foci?) that I would be checking out if the deal fell through.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Your name is very familiar to me. You don't happen to own a Fiero or Vette do you?
Yes I own a couple Fieros and use the same username on the Fiero Forums. My Fieros are parked like yours, victims of a growing family. Just biding their time till they can come out and play again.

I like your strategy for negotiating. I tend to naturally do the same but my wife has a hard time walking out on a deal. She usually just wants to find a vehicle and then be done and she is currently at that point. If I can work out a deal before the weekend I will earn some points with her. I guess it becomes a delicate balance between getting the best deal and keeping peace in the household.

I do like to watch the sales people eyes bug out when I pull out a printout of my spreadsheet. I gave one guy a copy and told him to give me a call when he had something which rivaled the advertised deals I had listed. His responce "this is really thurough, could you send me an electronic copy? I could make use of this!"

Thanks for the Welcome!
 

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Regarding the bleached out carpets - I bought some thin indoor/outdoor carpet and laid it right over the original. Cutouts for the seat anchors/spare tire winch; tucked under the interior trim panels/pieces. Ran it up to under the front seats. I use the van for hauling - so I can mess the carpet and easily pull it prior to selling (if needed).

Take a look, here...

-Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Regarding the bleached out carpets - I bought some thin indoor/outdoor carpet and laid it right over the original. Cutouts for the seat anchors/spare tire winch; tucked under the interior trim panels/pieces. Ran it up to under the front seats. I use the van for hauling - so I can mess the carpet and easily pull it prior to selling (if needed).

-Jim
Jim,

That's a great idea.:beerchug:

I wouldn't need to go through the same effort as you with the cutouts and getting it under the trim pieces as the stain is only in the bottom well of the trunk where the rear seat stows. I could simply cutout a piece of carpet to the bottom profile of that well, lay it in place and no one would know the original carpet is stained under there. That should appease the wife some with regards to that van.
 

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Welcome to the club!

I'd personally take a hard look at the Limited, and skip purchasing any additional warranty. You know that, financially, the dealer always makes money on warranties, so the odds are in your favor. Doing something I never do, I actually bought a warranty on my '07 Toyota Corolla last year, but check this out. I bought the car certified pre-owned, which gave it a 100k mile powertrain warranty. The dealer offered me a "wrap" warranty which essentially extended the bumper-to-bumper warranty out to that same 100k miles, for a "great price". $1200.

"No thanks," was my answer. As he went through the schpeel he's got go to through (offering underbody protection, all that nonsense), he'd invariably return back to the wrap warranty, and always at a lower price. In the end, I said I'd buy it for 500 bucks. He said $600, and we met at $550.

I say all that because the "value" of this warranty was $1200. I've heard before that you can expect to pay, on average, about half of the warranty cost on actual repairs, because the warranty company has to make money to cover their overhead and profit margin. But I question even that because this Toyota dealer already had the sale. They're not going to sit there and LOSE money on a warranty, after I've already bought the car. In the end, I'd be surprised if you'll even spend, on average, 25% of the warranty costs on actual repairs.

Ultimately, it's your peace of mind that you have to have. If you're not comfortable without a warranty, it's probably worth it to have it. In my case, my '07 has so little miles (only 16.8k when I bought it), I figured 500 bucks was probbaly going to be worth it, to cover it an additional 70k miles after the bumper-to-bumper runs out. But in the back of my mind, I still know that, on average, I'm losing money with the warranty.

If you are interested in a warranty, I'd negotiate hard on it. I'm not a negotiator, and it was pretty easy to get this guy to come down on his price. I'm sure it's the same situation everywhere...everything is negotiable. Either way, you're going to win because either 2006 model van will no doubt be a great ride for you.
 

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Just my 2 cents, but in 1 of my earlier posts, I explained an accident in which I walked away, don't know if another van would have protected me the same, but whichever you buy, you are driving a van in which your family will be protected, very well. I am on my second T&C now and have had other than small annoyances, no real dead by the side of the road experiences, the quality of these vehicles is amazing in my books, and third party warranties, at least those offered in my region, don't cost the dealers that much, warranties can be negotiated easily, from what I learned the dealer pays one price, no matter what and anything extra they can add on in terms of cost to you is a bonus for the salesman, have fun with your new van and congratulations on the new addition to your family
 

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Find out if you would be the 2nd owner of either vehicle. If so the 7/70 warranty would be transferable (at least mine was).

Just for comparison sake, I bought a 2005 Touring Signature Series maybe 18 months ago with 22,000 miles for about $17,000. I would say today it is probably worth $10-12,000 with 40,000 miles on it. These vans are a dime a dozen so give a low offer on the van you like and if you do not get it go find another one.

I personally hate rusty vehicles so check the fenders and underbody panels. My van was a rust bucket until last week when Chrysler repainted it under warranty.

Oh, and I would skip the extended warranty. I do my own work though.
 

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Welcome to the Forum :hi2:

We're ALL here to assist each other. Happy motoring.
If you're as lucky as I am, your wife will allow you to drive the van, only when it needs gas.
:lol:
 

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Yes I own a couple Fieros and use the same username on the Fiero Forums. My Fieros are parked like yours, victims of a growing family. Just biding their time till they can come out and play again.
HA! I knew it. I use my real name on Pennock's so if you can coordinate the location and writing style, you'll figure out who I am. However, I am no longer active there except for an annual post about the Swap Meet at Ed Parks' Fiero Factory in Toney, Alabama. I've been to every meet and I'll be attending this year's as well during its traditional dates: the last weekend in April. Love Huntsville!

I like your strategy for negotiating. I tend to naturally do the same but my wife has a hard time walking out on a deal. She usually just wants to find a vehicle and then be done and she is currently at that point.
Ah, the scourge of effective car buying, and the salesman's best friend! 27 days ago I bought a Ford Focus that my wife had never set eyes upon. Now that's a trusting wife! But I seldom screw up a used car purchase and honestly, she doesn't care. She even declined my offer to drive it when I got it home. She didn't drive it until five days later.

I do like to watch the sales people eyes bug out when I pull out a printout of my spreadsheet. I gave one guy a copy and told him to give me a call when he had something which rivaled the advertised deals I had listed. His responce "this is really thurough, could you send me an electronic copy? I could make use of this!"
If I may digress... In mid-2008 I purchased a 46" television to fulfill a Christmas present to my wife. A regional chain was having a sale and I talked with an eager beaver salesman about the TV. He said, "If there's anything I can do today to sell you this TV, you let me know." I then went back to the office and built a spreadsheet after consulting two competitors to discover he wasn't the lowest price. I walked back in after work and said, "Remember how you told me that if there's anything you could do? Well there is." I showed him the spreadsheet and he just gawked at it. I said, "Beat that price and I'll buy it." He was glum about the whole affair for reasons I can't fathom; I even bought the extended warranty. Sure, he tried to sell me a cable that costs 10x what it would on the web, and a mount that cost 6x what I actually paid, and a Bose system that isn't worth the plastic it contains, and of course I rebuffed him. But come on!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, as of Saturday morning at about 8:30 AM we are the new owners of an 06 T&C Limited. This is the one we were most interested in. The Touring turned out to not have the adjustable pedals (my mistake) so Thursday night I sorted my spreadsheet I had been using to keep track of all the vehicles we had looked at to show the top 4 limited models. Friday I started making phone calls letting the dealers know that I was making a purchase this weekend and got a feel from them on how much they were willing to deal.

I walked into the local dealership late that Friday afternoon, without the wife, and let the salesmen know what other vehicles/dealerships he was competing against. He asked what it was going to take to make a deal that night. I gave him a dollar amount and he talked about the money they had invested in the vehicle for a little bit but I stood my ground and reinforced that I had several other places which I could go the next day. He came down to within $100 of my offer (rounded to the nearest $100 amount) and I told him I would head home to get the checkbook. I wrote him a check to hold the van and made agreements to see him the next day.

DSCF7424.jpg
They had our van sitting right out front the next morning and as you can see I was able to pull right up along side it with our VW for some pictures. The wife and I were able to spend some time getting used to it that Saturday without the kids on our way to pick them up from their grandparent’s house. On the way back the kids enjoyed watching a movie which is a real treat for them as we would only get out the portable unit in the VW for much longer trips. The distance between our house and the grandparents is just about right for a kids length film as we pulled in right as Nemo found his dad.

I am sure there will be something we will miss about the VW but the big winner with the van was when I was putting the car seats in it during a rainstorm Saturday night. With the VW I would have been leaning in the car with my back getting wet. With the van I was able to climb inside close the doors and take my time getting the seats positioned right.
 

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Congratulations on the van... Looks really nice, from what the picture shows. I bet you'll love it. (get a set of sway bar bushings on order, though! :))

Sounds like you did well at the dealer, too. You set your price, and held firm -- the right way to go.
 

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:hi2: and welcome to the Chrysler Minivan Fan Club Forum.

Good luck with your new purchase. A 2006, being a latter year in the Generation 4 model run, should have all the bugs worked out. My 2002, being in the second year of the Generation 4 model run has served me well. It was a Budget Rent-A-Car with 30,000 kms on it when I bought it (small bleach stain on the back of the third seat included but treated with matching dye prior to buying - imprint is still there but don't notice it normally).

Enjoy your vehicle and the convenience of the sliding doors with the kids. Works great for groceries too and for those oh so narrow parking spaces. Animals seem to like the vans also. We just completed our 4th annual ski trip to Quebec (7 hour driving time each way) with my Son, his Wife and two Grandsons (8 & 10). The Kids watched DVDs mostly all the way and Tigger, the cat, meowed for about 10 minutes and then toured the rear of the van for the rest of the trip, checking out whatever limited space she could find. She was the best traveller of all. :thumb:

Here's some info tips that may be of benefit to you if you are into doing work yourself on your vehicles.

Haynes Manual:
- inexpensive, about $30.00
- gives replacement / repair procedures
- gives maintenance schedules
- gives torque specifications
- gives fault codes
- gives information on regular maintenance
- gives information on tires
- gives information on body work
The manual is a worthwhile investment.

Library Information (ARRC):
Another good source of information can be accessed as follows:
- Go to http://www.oplin.org/databases/proxy2/proxy.php?doCardCheck=1&txtCardNumber=123456789
- Go to the following Library from the drop down list and submit it.
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
- Go to ALL EBSCOhost Databases and click on it.
- Go down to Auto Repair Reference Center (ARRC) and click on it.
- Submit your YEAR and take it from there.
Note: If info isn't there for your year / model, try another year or similar model.

Signature:
Including your vehicle model, year, engine size and odometer reading, with your signature, will help tremendously with getting good feedback (less guesswork).

Again, best of luck with your purchase.
 

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Towing Package Comment

I agree with your reasoning regarding the presence of the towing package. However, you should be aware that the Nivomat rear suspension system includes self-leveling shock absorbers (large diameter, compared to the normal rigs) which are very expensive. If you decide on that vehicle, check those rear shocks to make sure that they are not leaking fluid. If they are leaking, I recommend that you get the seller to replace them as part of the deal.

On the towing package vehicles, the spare tire is full-sized. This is the quickest way to check for the presence of the towing package.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, first major problem today with the van. It got up to 80 degrees and the A/C system is not working. It is just blowing warm air, I didn't check if the A/C compressor was cycling or not. Will probably make a new thread later when I have a chance to look into it further. I am not experienced in A/C repair so I will probably end up taking it somewhere.

FYI: We are just past 37K miles and have now owned the car 1 full year and have put 9k miles on it ourselves. Before the winter the A/C system was working quite well.
 

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Glad to hear your van is serving you well. Have you experienced any issues with the defroster during the winter, not clearing the front window quickly? The AC runs whenever the front defroster is on, so you may just need the refrigerant topped off.
 

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Have you experienced any issues with the defroster during the winter, not clearing the front window quickly? The AC runs whenever the front defroster is on, so you may just need the refrigerant topped off.
I don't recall any performance issues with the defroster. I don't think it will be a simple refrigerant refill as there is not a single hint of cold air at all. I think it is either completely lost all the refrigerant from some kind of failure (ie. road debris in the condenser) or the compressor is not being commanded to kick on. I have all day tomorrow off so hopefully I can stumble onto something.
 

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We've had an '01 T&C EX since, uhh, '01, and have loved it. This forum has been priceless.
Any possibility you're related to the Suko's of Warden, Washington State?
 

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I don't recall any performance issues with the defroster. I don't think it will be a simple refrigerant refill as there is not a single hint of cold air at all. I think it is either completely lost all the refrigerant from some kind of failure (ie. road debris in the condenser) or the compressor is not being commanded to kick on. I have all day tomorrow off so hopefully I can stumble onto something.
You can rent some A/C manifold gauges from AutoZone and check the refrigerant levels. If the system pressure is too low, the A/C compressor won't kick on (so there will be no cooling). But as you add refigerant, the pressure will rise and all of a sudden the A/C compressor will engage and it may start working again. There are pressure switches in the system that allow or disallow the compressor to operate. Had that on an old '87 Buick Regal. "No A/C", but the system was all there. I put in a few cans of R12 and as I was adding the 2nd can, the compressor clutch kicked in and it started cooling!

To be sure, it sounds like there's a leak somewhere. An A/C shop can add dye to the system and use a black light to find the leak. Could be a simple o-ring somewhere.
 
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