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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...
They're stupid easy to work on. I can do HGs in them in about 6 hours start to finish. I kinda always regretted pulling my 3.0 out.
The 99 3.8 I had under the hood was fun, but it lacked any potential and couldn't handle the abuse the 3.0s just take without question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
They're stupid easy to work on. I can do HGs in them in about 6 hours start to finish. I kinda always regretted pulling my 3.0 out.
The 99 3.8 I had under the hood was fun, but it lacked any potential and couldn't handle the abuse the 3.0s just take without question.
Nice. I had the stock 3.8 in my 95 TC, and it never gave me an issue really. It was sluggish and stuff though I suppose. This 3.0 though seems like it wants to just go if you breathe on the gas.

I did manage to get the rear axle off today. Probably in the wrong order, in terms of removing the shocks after the shackles, but it did work out. I had wanted to put the jack stands in front of it, but I couldn't get the exhaust off and that was in the way of the frame, so I put them in the rear, which seems fine.

Automotive tire Wheel Tire Vehicle Car


You can see the snapped off leaf closest on the left. The shackle stayed stuck to the frame for most of the time I was workin the axle out from under the van too.

Vehicle Car Wheel Automotive tire Tire


Anyways, I think that's most of the major excitement for a bit. I need to wait on some parts to show up and the torch and PB blaster to work some magic on these rotten U bolts. Otherwise, I think I'll probably take the fuel tank down and either paint it or replace it, and just work on cleaning up rusty spots and painting the underside in the meantime.
 

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Our 93 T&C had the 3.3 in it. One time we were loaded up and ready to leave my parents' house in Oklahoma, to start back to Ohio when the water pump shelled out. Had to hire a tow truck to haul it to a shop to get it done as soon as possible. It was good that I had a service manual, because the shop owner wanted nothing to do with it at all - said he didn't work on Japanese stuff. (He must have accepted a job on a 3.0 at some point, and didn't like it for some reason.) Had to show him in the manual that the 3.3 is/was an American made engine. Later we had a 2000 T&C with the 3.8. More power on the hills through Missouri, but lower MPG to go with it. Now have a 2010 Dodge GC, with the 4.0.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
It was good that I had a service manual, because the shop owner wanted nothing to do with it at all - said he didn't work on Japanese stuff.
Chrysler... it does sound almost not at all Japanese huh? What a weird interaction that must have been... "git yur 'mericanese waygon on dawon the road hawss... tha'ain't whalcome hrr." Well, that about how I'd say it if I laid it on thick... lol

Anyway, the past 2 days I've been working on getting the leaf springs off. I actually didn't own my own breaker bar. I borrowed one from my neighbor to get the axle out, but I didn't really want to break my neighbor's tools. I felt that was a semi smart move when I started twisting these off, feeling like an Oxford rower or something:

Automotive tire Wood Gas Automotive wheel system Auto part


The first U bolt cooperated and came out in one piece, although slightly bent. The second one either completely screwed me over or did me a favor and snapped off. I still haven't found a suitable replacement for these, but now with something to compare to, I feel it will be a bit easier.

Automotive lighting Automotive tire Cloud Wood Road surface


The other side, I said screw it... if I can find 1 replacement, I can find 3. I snapped most of those threads clean off and sawed the last one off. I had both completed and created another job here. What a mess...

Gas Auto part Asphalt Metal Composite material


Yesterday I hit a few small spots with POR 15. I had one of those crappy black foam brushes and it started falling apart by the time I painted this section. Some of this was ground down, some wasn't really... but none of this rust was really like awful. Mostly light and some moderate. I'm not completely sold yet, but apparently it needs 2 coats, so we'll see.

Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Shade Wood


I'm hoping it does work decently. If so, I'm thinking I can pour some in the rocker(?) plugs or drains (whatever the bottom of the body's called.) Since her backside is jacked up, maybe I can just run it all the way down in there and coat the insides that like to rot out.

Side little experimentation. I bought this Rustoleum rust delete spray today and tried it out. I've never heard of it, but I wanted to try it out. I put an old impact socket in a shopping bag with some on it, and this is the result 45 minutes or so later. (there's another socket that is about what this one was.)

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That's super fast, but maybe too strong. I left the socket on the right sitting in it, and we'll see if it's just slime tomorrow or something.

Worth mentioning, I washed that socket on the left off really good and sprayed some wd-40 on it, but I think some of the dissolver was still on my nitrile gloves. I'm pretty sure they were smoking. I didn't think phosphoric acid would react with nitrile... maybe it was something on the gloves. Also, I had the shop closed up because it's cold out, but I think I felt a tinge of burn when I was breathing, so I opened the doors. I'd say respirator with the pink/red-ish filters(i think), acid proof rubber gloves and goggles are a smart idea with this stuff, especially if you're using it inside.
 

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There are places online that you can have U-bolts made to order.

Here is an example


No need to get something that “works” when you can get something that works right.

I have also known auto part stores that offer this service in the past.



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U bolts are a pretty universal item.
So long as the diameter, length, and width are correct, they're the right part. If it "works" in this instance, it does work right.
 

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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
when working on the brake lines or fuel lines u can avoid flaring them by using compression fittings if u run into a length issue. only use the flare ends at the wheel cylinder or the junction block. and in the back if the line is a little long u can put a little bend in the line to shorten it. and u dont have to use a bend tool u can bend it by hand just use alittle patience but u cant bend it too tight of a bend either so onward
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I didn't get a chance to measure it yet. My back was done after that "rowing" exercise and getting a few of the shackles loose.

General Spring has a size selector thingy I was fixin to try for actual leaf spring U bolts. Tractor Supply had something that looked close, but I didn't have the whole U bolt in hand at the time to compare and the measurements on the package were crappy. Either way, I'll document exactly what I settle on so others can track them down if needed, since the original Mopar number doesn't seem to cross or be available anywhere.

U Bolts

when working on the brake lines or fuel lines u can avoid flaring them by using compression fittings if u run into a length issue. only use the flare ends at the wheel cylinder or the junction block.
I'm fairly good at working with small, soft metal lines, actually. I've never done brake lines, but I've done plenty of refrigerant grade copper pipe for over 400 PSI of gas pressure systems. (Mini splits have very small, thin lines that can carry a ton of pressure when doing heating)

I bought a few rolls of the copper-nickel line, which sounds pretty similar to what I'm used to. I bought a bender, because copper loves to kink, and I reckon I'll have to fasten it down a bit better to the frame/axle to avoid metal fatigue at the fittings and stuff, though. I don't know for sure though. I'm no white coat metal scientist.

Anyway, I'm planning to do all full runs from the rear brake power reducer block thingy to the soft lines, then to the cylinders. I reckon, less connections, less points of failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
DO NOT under any circumstances (except dire emergencies) use compression fittings on brake lines. Period. Use only proper double flair connections.
Yea, that's where the rear brake problem started was that kind of fitting. I want to be able to get in and not "what if" myself to death before taking a drive, so they'll all be solid runs.

I'm just disappointed I didn't try this to at least drive her around the yard and stuff a bit more... lol! (this is just a random internet picture. not my cars!)
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That's a limp it home hack if I've ever seen one, or maybe to do burnouts.
 

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re: compression fittings on brake lines:
Some years ago I bought an off-topic used PU (98 S-10) - one of those deals that I should have left on the car lot right where it sat. But actually was an alright vehicle, after I did some work on it. Some years later it developed a brake fluid leak about half way back on the side. It was rusted through. I saw then that it had compression fittings where someone had already patched that same area before. I didn't think you are supposed to do that, but hey, the parts store guy said it was fine, and it hadn't leaked at the compression fitting. So I did the same thing going back together. Then not long before I sold it, it had rusted in two again. Still, the compression fitting hadn't been leaking. Went back to the parts store, and they wouldn't sell me any compression fittings (once they knew what I was going to do). So I ended up replacing everything from the front to the rear, because every time I tried to loosen a fitting, it just twisted off. It was just all that rusty already. But I'm also waiting for an excuse to buy a good quality flaring kit..... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
But I'm also waiting for an excuse to buy a good quality flaring kit.....
The one I got was pretty cheap at Advanced Auto. It's almost certainly crap, but flaring isn't a new concept to me, so I'm sure I can get something decent out of it. The flares I've done for mini splits, I test with nitrogen around 200 PSI and then pull a vacuum as low as my pump can go (usually 50-70 microns)

Anyway, I haven't tried it, but if I think it's decent, I'll post a part/item/whatever number.
 

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The one I got was pretty cheap at Advanced Auto. It's almost certainly crap, but flaring isn't a new concept to me, so I'm sure I can get something decent out of it. The flares I've done for mini splits, I test with nitrogen around 200 PSI and then pull a vacuum as low as my pump can go (usually 50-70 microns)

Anyway, I haven't tried it, but if I think it's decent, I'll post a part/item/whatever number.
So you’re in HVAC also?
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
So you’re in HVAC also?
Hmm... Let's just say "jack of all trades, master of just a few..." and I'll know if Bonnie's AC is leak proof soon enough.

Mini splits and simple central units aren't rocket science. I look at it like, if you know basic plumbing and electrical work, you're about 1/2 the way there already, and a lot of the rest is common sense. The "DIY" mini's anyway have a lot of bad information on the U tube. You really need to pressure test with nitrogen and vacuum the lines. I saw one guy splice a plug on a 120 volt unit, not shorten the lines to the right size, and worst of all, not even vacuum the lines at least. Poor compressor and awful information for others considering installing one.

I mean, if it was your own, wouldn't you want to test the crap out of it? :D
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I am the estimator for an electrical/HVAC company is why I was askin'. We've already got the same taste in vans I was starting to think I'd found a long lost brother, or maybe doppelganger! I've got 20 years hands on with electrical, only a few with HVAC. We only started that side of the business after I had attained my lofty desk jockey position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
We've already got the same taste in vans I was starting to think I'd found a long lost brother, or maybe doppelganger!
Well, you know what someone said... great minds think alike... but I doubt he knew of lemmings.... jk

I reckon most people can honestly say they've loved riding in or owning one of these at some point. I loved my 95 T&C because of how unbelievably comfortable it was driving that thing. One of the end goals with Bonnie is to kind of reinvent that, and have a comfortable, reliable van that I love to own and drive.

I mean, let's face it... usually vans are exceptionally boring, in general. So enjoying driving them comes with the bonus of always having all your stuff with you too :D
 

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I mean, let's face it... usually vans are exceptionally boring, in general. So enjoying driving them comes with the bonus of always having all your stuff with you too :D
You're just doing it wrong.....

Had a spare set of 17" wheels with sticky tires, was leveled with bigger front and factory rear sway bar, modded 3.3. Used to AutoX it all over.
Wheel Tire Land vehicle Car Vehicle


2" lift, 3.8 swap, Grabber ATs.
Used to toy around off road in places people only talk about taking their AWD/4WD vehicles.
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Then I dropped it, had the transmission built/regeared, and used it for ripping back roads.
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Vans are only as boring as their driver ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Vans are only as boring as their driver ;)
Haha, you called it... I'm rather boring :D

Anyway, a little research this morning came up with some possible candidates for replacement U bolts. I reckon I just have to throw money at something and try it to know for sure. I'll try the local Napa first though.

5U-1209S 1/2 X 2-1/2 X 4-3/4S 12 Square U-bolt with nuts and washers (1 U-bolt with nuts and washers)

5U-1208S 1/2 X 2-1/2 X 3-3/4S 10 Square U-bolt with nuts and washers (1 U-bolt with nuts and washers)

Anyone have any opinions on these, though?
 
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