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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

Figured I'd share what I'm up to with, Bonnie, my new toy / winter project for the other 2nd gen enthusiasts out there who like this stuff. I bought her sight unseen from a charity auction, and she was provided by the Car Donation Foundation.

She arrived just as the big storms Thursday were coming in, but luckily the heavy rain waited until I was in the driveway. My delivery driver wasn't the easiest to understand, but he was a really good guy. She fired right up, sounded great, and drove off the trailer without any fuss.

Wheel Automotive parking light Tire Automotive side marker light Car


First looks around, she was smoked in, but not too much. There's no typical round burns in the driver or drinker's side door panel, thankfully. Just some ash in the visors. I think the radio cost half what I paid for her... Someone hauled some trees in the back and left a ton of the longest pine needles I've ever seen... The fluids all are in a great range and aren't suspiciously off color, smelly or clean like they're hiding a problem.

Vehicle Speedometer Car Plant Motor vehicle


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First off, let's remove what I feel like is an entire tree's worth of junk...

Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Fixture Vehicle door


Much better!

Wood Floor Flooring Composite material Gas


Let's get her in the garage to see how much weight reduction there is...

Wheel Tire Automotive tire Tread Motor vehicle


Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Bumper Motor vehicle


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Automotive tire Wood Gas Tints and shades Auto part


Overall, the back is a little worse than I expected and the front is better. It almost seems like she was parked on a hill for a while. The muffler and rear axle aren't surprising to me having owned a 95 T&C several years ago. The brake lines aren't inspiring much confidence...

But, that was it for Bonnie's first day. A good cleaning and look around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The past few days, I wanted to figure out why she doesn't want to stop and start dealing with the weight reduction.

I was planning to use this as a test patch, since it really isn't visible most of the time, but I quickly got impatient and started working on the bottoms of the doors, too.

Wood Amber Automotive exterior Automotive lighting Road surface


I'm sure there was a better way to do this, but... I don't overthink anything, and ******* everything

Tire Sports gear Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire


The drinker's door and slider have a bunch of rot where the metal was folded over, but the bottoms of the doors are still perfectly straight.

Wood Gas Bumper Automotive exterior Tints and shades


Wood Automotive tire Tints and shades Gas Automotive exterior


I'm grinding them with a wire wheel, scrubbing them with a wet S.O.S pad, cleaning them off with water / brake parts cleaner, and once dried I'll paint them. I'm trying this Rustoleum rust converter stuff. I've never tried it before, but I reckon it's worth a try before shelling out the money for POR15.

Wood Gas Tints and shades Shade Landscape


The color I got is... similar, but not quite right. It was the closest thing I could find at O'rilley's. I don't really care, honestly. As long as it's close and not rusting.

Window Hood Automotive lighting Sky Wood


Hand Liquid Cosmetics Finger Automotive tire


Bonnie's roof was also rusting through in a bunch of spots, so I started working on those, too.

Window Plant Tree Wood Door


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I'm spraying them with primer and the final color now, so we'll see how they look soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The brakes are the only major problem with Bonnie so far. One of the tanks on the brake cylinder was totally empty, so I filled it up and gave the pedal some pumps. It got stronger, but weaker again. Probably air right? Nope... I know it might be hard to see in the picture, but there's a tiny leak here.

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Tread


The rear brakes on both sides look pretty good, though.

Locking hubs Vehicle brake Automotive tire Wood Rim


I'm planning to replace a lot of these lines. Running and driving is great, but being able to stop is more important.

I was also starting to grind and spray the rust converter at the back end. I didn't really get pictures of that, because it's miserable... lol. When I got Bonnie, jacked up and the rear wheels off, I found a spot I never really knew about before behind the wheel well on the driver's side where the fuel tank filler tube is. I believe I've seen a few other vans rot from there, so I cleaned it out good and sprayed the rust converter and some primer in there.

Gas Metal Electrical wiring Machine Wood


Next job though is probably replacing the brake lines at least up to that distribution block thing. That'll take me a few days, but I'll get some pictures. :p
 

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What you found - having more rust challenges toward the rear of the vehicle is the same thing I saw on my 93 T & C. I suspect that this is due to the road salt being thrown toward the back, where as from a foot and a half or so behind the front wheels and forward was pretty solid. (Mine was severely rotted out from there back. The rubber jacking point blocks just a head of the rear wheels had fallen off, and the undersides of the rockers were wide open. So I scrapped it out back in 2010, when it was still a young 17 years old. I grew up in Oklahoma, so 17 years is not old for a vehicle. I've seen cars twice that old that had almost no rust at all, brake lines that you could still loosen w/o rounding off or twisting clear off. Ohio, where we live at least, is a cruel environment for vehicles.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yea, the most important stuff looks pretty ok.

The rear metal crash bumper thingy is pretty bad, and I might take her plastic booty off to deal with that. There's one rot through spot up front that is really bad in one particular like 2x2 inch spot, but everything else around it is fine. I'll have to get a picture of that, but it doesn't look like it needs an immediate repair done, and like some drain down spot or drain hole in the frame was clogged there or something. That piece that the brake line distribution block thingy is mounted to is the worst rotted piece under there otherwise.

The fuel lines look like they're out of a horror film, but the tank looks worse than it is. I'm fixin to take it down and check the sock, pump and replace the lines. I don't feel good about using a wheel on it with it half full, either. Also, get up under there and clean and spray any other rust spots it might be hiding.

I'm going to go to one of the local auto stores today and see about brake line parts and tools. I haven't flared brake lines before, but I've flared other types of lines before and I'm not too worried about that. The fittings are all rust welded on, so that'll probably take me some time to deal with. My plan is to snip the line at the fitting and try to use a deep socket on it after oiling / heating it. I'm sure I'll snap something off I didn't want to... lol

My main goal in the short term is eliminate the weight reduction going on and make it safe to drive where ever... 5 or 500 miles, so if anyone sees something I should work on, feel free to let me know!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's a couple extra pictures I forgot to add.

Here's the fuel lines... I mean they work, but they're lookin a little crusty.

Wood Gas Fender Brick Metal


This one's a bit blurry I see, but some of what I started with the rust converter stuff is visible here, and especially the rear axle. I reckon if this Rustoleum I'm using is crappy and doesn't work, at least that's a pretty easy place to spot problems without climbing underneath. I did wire wheel and clean the painted spots, but the can ran out on me in the middle of doing this little spot.

Wood Gas Bumper Automotive exterior Metal
 

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After reading your latest post, and going back where you mentioned it before, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "weight reduction". I thought you were looking for things you could take out, to reduce the weight of the vehicle (to increase MPG). On that topic, I actually saw a difference in MPG when I removed the third row seats in my 5th Gen (2010) Grand Caravan. Also, when I was stripping out the 93 T & C, when I pulled out the rear carpet - Man, is that ever some weight right there! (Mine was the 3.3. Did I miss where you said what's in this one?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
After reading your latest post, and going back where you mentioned it before, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "weight reduction".
Oh, I'm jokingly referring to rust when I say that. But, you're not kidding, the rear seats in these vans are shockingly heavy... I know years ago when I had a 95 TC and was still in my teens, I carried the rear seat down the basement stairs myself, but wow I have no idea how I managed that then after hauling Bonnie's out.

Bonnie has the 3.0 Mitsubishi engine. I realized I forgot to mention it, but I also haven't really done anything to it yet, but clean of the fancy shiny valve cover and check for the oil leak I knew would be there...

Car Motor vehicle Vehicle Hood Gas


Yea, there's a leak, but from where I haven't really looked into yet. Maybe the valve cover? Not sure.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, crap...
Automotive tire Wood Tints and shades Gas Font


Brown Wood Tints and shades Gas Metal


Seriously, of all the metal parts on this old van, THAT's what's broken. I know others on the forum have posted about swapping the rear leaf's, and I'll look into that, but I'm open to suggestions if anyone has them. I'm not a mechanic, so this'll be pushing my abilities a bit maybe, but in general, I have no idea what I'm doing anyway. :D
 

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Hey all,

Figured I'd share what I'm up to with, Bonnie, my new toy / winter project for the other 2nd gen enthusiasts out there who like this stuff. I bought her sight unseen from a charity auction, and she was provided by the Car Donation Foundation.

She arrived just as the big storms Thursday were coming in, but luckily the heavy rain waited until I was in the driveway. My delivery driver wasn't the easiest to understand, but he was a really good guy. She fired right up, sounded great, and drove off the trailer without any fuss.

View attachment 69784

First looks around, she was smoked in, but not too much. There's no typical round burns in the driver or drinker's side door panel, thankfully. Just some ash in the visors. I think the radio cost half what I paid for her... Someone hauled some trees in the back and left a ton of the longest pine needles I've ever seen... The fluids all are in a great range and aren't suspiciously off color, smelly or clean like they're hiding a problem.

View attachment 69785

View attachment 69786

First off, let's remove what I feel like is an entire tree's worth of junk...

View attachment 69787

Much better!

View attachment 69788

Let's get her in the garage to see how much weight reduction there is...

View attachment 69789

View attachment 69790

View attachment 69791

View attachment 69792

Overall, the back is a little worse than I expected and the front is better. It almost seems like she was parked on a hill for a while. The muffler and rear axle aren't surprising to me having owned a 95 T&C several years ago. The brake lines aren't inspiring much confidence...

But, that was it for Bonnie's first day. A good cleaning and look around.
hmm ! old betsy has a younger sister. those pine needles usually come from the high country ? do you know what part of the country ? with some of that heavy corrosion i i think it was somewhere they used road salt ? old betsy is like that all over. top and underside. the one think i'll point out to you right away is if that van has been sitting for a while ? is you pointed out it has the 3 litre engine it doesnt have a regular timing chain. it just has a big rubber band and the engine is zero tolerance meaning if you're driving it at any speed and it breaks ? guess what ? not good news. so be sure not to drive it much before you look at that. so onward
 

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Here's a couple extra pictures I forgot to add.

Here's the fuel lines... I mean they work, but they're lookin a little crusty.

View attachment 69827

This one's a bit blurry I see, but some of what I started with the rust converter stuff is visible here, and especially the rear axle. I reckon if this Rustoleum I'm using is crappy and doesn't work, at least that's a pretty easy place to spot problems without climbing underneath. I did wire wheel and clean the painted spots, but the can ran out on me in the middle of doing this little spot.

View attachment 69828
and you replaced that back axle. so did you have to remove the shackles and everything to do that ? the tube looks new where did you find that ? i figures our last spring my axle had i big hole in it about a foor away from the drivers side so i just patched it up and luckily mits holding better than i thought it would. and looking yours from this anble you have to watch the corrosion on the gas tank the walls are pretty thin and if you start scraping rust off with a wire brush it will develope a leak. so a heads up there to. as far as the gas tank i've had to patch it every summer now. what i do is just use a rag to wipe the rust off the tank and use undercoat to seal it the best possible and if it develops a leak then i patch it back up again. so onward
 

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The brakes are the only major problem with Bonnie so far. One of the tanks on the brake cylinder was totally empty, so I filled it up and gave the pedal some pumps. It got stronger, but weaker again. Probably air right? Nope... I know it might be hard to see in the picture, but there's a tiny leak here.

View attachment 69806

The rear brakes on both sides look pretty good, though.

View attachment 69807

I'm planning to replace a lot of these lines. Running and driving is great, but being able to stop is more important.

I was also starting to grind and spray the rust converter at the back end. I didn't really get pictures of that, because it's miserable... lol. When I got Bonnie, jacked up and the rear wheels off, I found a spot I never really knew about before behind the wheel well on the driver's side where the fuel tank filler tube is. I believe I've seen a few other vans rot from there, so I cleaned it out good and sprayed the rust converter and some primer in there.

View attachment 69809

Next job though is probably replacing the brake lines at least up to that distribution block thing. That'll take me a few days, but I'll get some pictures. :p
if theres a leak in a brake line you're wasting brake fluid it wont pump up again until you fix that leak
 

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The past few days, I wanted to figure out why she doesn't want to stop and start dealing with the weight reduction.

I was planning to use this as a test patch, since it really isn't visible most of the time, but I quickly got impatient and started working on the bottoms of the doors, too.

View attachment 69793

I'm sure there was a better way to do this, but... I don't overthink anything, and *** everything

View attachment 69794

The drinker's door and slider have a bunch of rot where the metal was folded over, but the bottoms of the doors are still perfectly straight.

View attachment 69795

View attachment 69796

I'm grinding them with a wire wheel, scrubbing them with a wet S.O.S pad, cleaning them off with water / brake parts cleaner, and once dried I'll paint them. I'm trying this Rustoleum rust converter stuff. I've never tried it before, but I reckon it's worth a try before shelling out the money for POR15.

View attachment 69797

The color I got is... similar, but not quite right. It was the closest thing I could find at O'rilley's. I don't really care, honestly. As long as it's close and not rusting.

View attachment 69798

View attachment 69802

Bonnie's roof was also rusting through in a bunch of spots, so I started working on those, too.

View attachment 69803

View attachment 69804

View attachment 69805

I'm spraying them with primer and the final color now, so we'll see how they look soon.
paint color is the least of your worries at that stage of the game
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
the one think i'll point out to you right away is if that van has been sitting for a while ? is you pointed out it has the 3 litre engine it doesnt have a regular timing chain. it just has a big rubber band and the engine is zero tolerance meaning if you're driving it at any speed and it breaks ? guess what ? not good news. so be sure not to drive it much before you look at that. so onward
Yea, timing belt is on my list of things to do. It started and ran great, but I only drove her down my driveway and into the garage. I've heard people say they're interference and not, but I'm just gonna replace it anyway and not take chances.

and you replaced that back axle. so did you have to remove the shackles and everything to do that ? the tube looks new where did you find that
Nah, I was just fooling around really with a wire brush and some of this poor man's POR15:

Liquid Bottle Mammal Drink Font


My intention was to spray there because it's pretty easy to see how it's holding up without climbing under, but I decided I only want to paint it once, so I bought the real stuff.

you have to watch the corrosion on the gas tank the walls are pretty thin and if you start scraping rust off with a wire brush it will develope a leak. so a heads up there to.
So far, it feels alright. It looks probably worse than it is in the pictures because I had both a headlight on and the flash from the camera. I've found replacements for around 100 bucks, so if I see anything that looks too bad, I'll just junk the tank.


if theres a leak in a brake line you're wasting brake fluid it wont pump up again until you fix that leak
Yea, I had no idea it was leaking that bad. Usually out in my shop I have hearing protection on all the time because I got ones that play music... I took those off and heard the "tttsssssssssssssssttt" and then saw the brake juice carnage under there haha.

paint color is the least of your worries at that stage of the game
That's mostly just me looking for excuses to stay outside longer. At that point, I knew the brakes were shot, didn't know why yet, and figured they'd be easy to deal with. That's mostly true, but then I saw those fuel lines and figured they're getting replaced, too... Then, I saw where the leaf on the drives side is snapped clean off, and that's what I'll consider a major repair. I'm no mechanic. I work on tractors and stuff, but not cars till now.

do you know what part of the country ? with some of that heavy corrosion i i think it was somewhere they used road salt ? old betsy is like that all over. top and underside.
That I don't know. I bought her from an auction held in upper Kentucky, and had her shipped here to Tennessee. I was too cheap (AKA stupid) to run a Carfax or similar, but I reckon she's been around that general area. Some salt probably, but there's a lot of places having owned a 95 T&C I expected to see rust that there wasn't much / any. I bought her for a winter project mainly, but I intend to drive her for my forever, at least. So, as nuts as it sounds, I'm probably going to go through and remove every spec of rust I reasonably can. The short term goal is to be able to get in and drive 1000 miles without being worried about anything really, and so far I think that's totally realistic after I deal with the fuel lines, brake lines and busted leaf spring.

Speaking of... I managed to get everything at least ready to remove the rear axle. Those parking brake lines are tough though, wow...

I decided it'd be easier to take off the rear brakes and pop them out where I wasn't on my back on the floor
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Gas Vehicle brake Machine


I found out that a 14 M&M's wrench... whatever that is in American... works pretty good to get these out if you tug on the cable and twist the wrench around.

Wood Gas Automotive tire Plumbing Wire


The leaf's I'm fixin to get so far are these 1100 pound rated ones from Rock Auto:

More Information for DAYTON 33377

I'm looking for a smooth enough ride, but I might want to put some heavy-ish stuff in there once in a while. Nothing too crazy though.

After looking through the forum though, predictably the U bolts are a problem. I can't find them anywhere, which I expected, but tried anyway. I reckon I have to take them off and get measurements to get anywhere, but I really want new ones. This picture is way zoomed in and crappy, but the threads on some are just absolutely shot...

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Well, down another rabbit hole, but if I find anything useful out about the U bolts, I'll post it here because I know others have been looking for them.
 

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re: the leaf spring rotted in two
I found the same thing on my 95 T & C. I already sad that it was badly rusted in the rockers. So I decided that I would cut it up and build a trailer out of the rear section. (I built one out of a 68 Dodge Polara back in 82-83, but that was down south of Dallas. Very little rust there.) Then I realized that the rear internal quarters were really bad, so then it was going to be a flat-bed trailer. Then I found that rusted off leaf spring. (And that's spring steel!) So I still have the rear axle, with the drums and wheels on it. It's standing upright in a corner of the garage in my rented space (where I run a small business). Figured I'd build a low flat bed trailer still, w/ no springs, sort of a farm trailer, just for hauling stuff on the back roads here, and to haul our zero turn in to the shop when necessary, or up to my wife's Dad's place to use there. But then my wife said to just buy a "real" trailer, so I got a 4 x 8 open box all aluminum one that tilts (not powered). I did haul a zero turn in it a couple of times, but it's not easy getting it up in there, the low flat bed would be much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I could totally see making a trailer out of these rear axles, yea... Cool idea.

My van, I reckon, if I completely fail at getting it back on the road, at least I have a new mobile chicken coop... haha. I don't plan on failing, though. I see General Spring has a U bolt thing based on dimensions... does anyone happen to know the dimensions of the leaf spring U bolts?

U Bolts

I'll search around to see if I can find anything before I take them off to measure myself, but mine are so bad it's going to take a while to crack them loose I reckon.
 

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is you pointed out it has the 3 litre engine it doesnt have a regular timing chain. it just has a big rubber band and the engine is zero tolerance meaning if you're driving it at any speed and it breaks ? guess what ? not good news. so be sure not to drive it much before you look at that. so onward
False. The 3.0 is a non interference engine on the Chryslers, it's only the Mitsu variants that are interference, that's due to the Chryslers only having 8.9:1 compression instead of the 10:1 the Mitsus have. The factory belts on these can easily go 2-300k miles so long as the water pump doesn't start leaking or the tensioner fails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
False. The 3.0 is a non interference engine on the Chryslers, it's only the Mitsu variants that are interference, that's due to the Chryslers only having 8.9:1 compression instead of the 10:1 the Mitsus have. The factory belts on these can easily go 2-300k miles so long as the water pump doesn't start leaking or the tensioner fails.
Good to know.

I'll get to the engine and transmission soon, but nothing major has jumped out at me yet. Just a small oil leak which I'm guessing is the valve cover gasket. There was a 2 inch spot on the garage floor the day after I brought it in, but it hasn't leaked anything since. So, I reckon some leaked out and the rest drained back down to the pan, but I'll find out more once I'm done working on the rear suspension stuff.

Anyway, about an hour ago I got a really important delivery for the van. I need all kinds of rear suspension parts, so I did the right thing and ordered a driver's seat from a 94 TC instead...

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Jeans Comfort Waist Thigh Knee


It's in great shape, and my bony butt and crumbled back are already in love with it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Valve covers are notorious for leaking on 3.0s, it's pretty much a 30k mile maintenance item.
Yea, I thought so.

A buddy of mine had white 3.0. At the end, our start-up procedure for it was dump a quart or 2 of old lawnmower oil in and fill the radiator back up with water. It had head gasket problems too... It must have burped out a good 3 foot wide steam cloud as we drove around and oil drops every few inches. Hahaha...

Anyway, he ended up selling it to a mechanic who apparently fixed it in a couple hours and felt bad enough he tried to give my buddy more money for the van, lol...
 
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