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2010 Routan
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I kind of made an introduction with my first post but i thought i would add more info here.

We are a vintage VW family who owns a 1959 panel bus and a 1967 camper and up until recently, an 82 Vanagon camper. I was hoping the Vanagon would be our family fun and travel van but owning one is like owning a boat, meaning you can never shovel enough money into them. So when my wife said her mother is coming for two months and she wants to do a two week road trip to Yellowstone, I knew i needed to sell the Vanagon and buy something more modern and reliable. We are a family of four and our main car is an Escape that can only fit 4 comfortably with car seats so something bigger was necessary. Like a lot of families, we looked at Toyotas and Hondas first but quickly realized they were way out of our price range and the ones that were, were very old and with high miles. Chrysler/Dodge and Kias seemed to be our only options until i discovered the Routan. Being a VW family, there was no other option. We test drove several including a 2010, 2012 and even a rare 2014 from dealerships but all had some kind of issues and the dealerships are not keen to negotiate in this economy right now so we passed on all of them. Then this 2010 came up from a private seller that was significantly cheaper and with only 110k. It wasn't perfect but they did some work on it, including replacing the transmission and it was such a good value that we bought it. We've only had it less than a month so we are still getting to know it.

The van has a handful of issues that i talked about in my first post, but nothing that stops the car from being drivable. The 3.8 has plenty of power and it rides smooth down the highway. So far we've given it a good cleaning, replaced the front tires (previous owner never rotated them), replaced the transmission coolant lines, install a receiver for our little pop pop-up camper and a wiring harness. There's still plenty to do but we are pretty happy with it so far.

We decided to call our van VWINO (VW in name only) and i ordered a custom license plate frame to go with it.
Automotive lighting Automotive design Trunk Bumper Automotive tire

Automotive lighting Font Bumper Grille Gas

Automotive parking light Car Wheel Tire Land vehicle
 

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2008 Chrysler Town & Country Limited 4.0
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884 Posts
Welcome to the forum! These vans are great for road trips, our previous '09 GC made it to 32 states before we sold it last year.
 

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29,083 Posts
Welcome to the Forum. Many 3.8s use oil so check that with every fill-up.
 

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2010 Routan
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welcome to the Forum. Many 3.8s use oil so check that with every fill-up.
Thanks for the heads up. I'm surprised to hear that because from car shopping, i noticed a lot of 08-10's with high mileage which is a good indicator of their longevity. I found very few 2011's and up with the 3.6 that had more than 130k on them , which kind of worried me. And when i read about the rocker issues, it made me leery about them considering the 62TE is already problematic. I was hoping with this van that i would at least have a trouble free motor and because the price was so cheap, save up for the eventual transmission replacement.
 

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The 3.8s are still durable, just like to use some oil. The 3.8s in the Jeep Wranglers are well known for using oil. I was using Super Tech 5W-40 European Formula Full Synthetic in the 2007 DGC 3.8 eventually. 5W-20 doesn't help with oil consumption (or anything else for that matter, IMO).
I use the same 5W-40 oil in my Jeep 4.0L even though it leaks some oil (rear seal), doesn't use much, if any.
 
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2008 Town and Country 3.8L 170k mi
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258 Posts
Do the 3.8s use oil from the valve seals or the piston rings? Maybe both?

VWINO, the 3.8 engines are tried and true. They’ve been around for decades and I’ve seen them in taxi vans with 300k miles or more. The 62te is a good transmission, just a bit sensitive. Make sure you change the filter and fluid regularly (60k miles or so) and use only atf+4. I have the same engine and transmission in my van and neither have given a major issue.

The 3.6 is not a bad engine, in fact it’s considered to be extremely good by lots of people. Ticking is the main problem with them. Usually it’s just rocker arms. Not an expensive fix if the cams aren’t gone and you know how to do the work. Of course there are other problems but ticking is the one people associate with the pentastars.
 

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3rd gen > all others
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4,111 Posts
The 3.8's have used oil since 2005 when Chrysler decided to change something (probably to save money). My 3.8's that I've owned (2004 and older) haven't used oil if driven regularly (maybe add a quart between the 3-5,000 mile oil change interval).

Do something to get a transmission fluid dipstick, as there aren't any from the factory for the 62TE.

We had a 2011 DGC Crew for 1 1/2 years and it got totalled. I like the VW wheels better than the ones our van came with! We replaced our van with a 2011 Toyota Sienna. It's had it's own problems, but nothing like the Chrysler 5th gens do. Look out for your undersized brakes when pulling a camper. Were the front headrests still a danger in 2010? (Sidenote: the spring-loaded headrests would "go off" unexpectedly because of old plastic becoming brittle with age, but I think this was in 2014?).
 

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2010 Routan
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If an affordable 2011+ van became available, I would have been happy to buy it but every one we drove had some kind of issue(s) that made us pass at the price the dealer was selling it for. And if I mentioned the issues and tried to bring up price, I would just get shrugs because they knew someone would pay it. Here are some examples in chronological order...

2014 TC with 96K for $8500 Big dent in driver's door and missing trim pieces. Was located on a farm and the farm lived inside the van. It was embarrassingly dirty and I couldn't believe the seller made no attempt at cleaning it. It drove well with plenty of power and the transmission was smooth but the brakes pulsated badly getting off the freeway.

2014 Routan listed in like new condition with 98k for $12.5k. I was really hoping this would be our new van because 2014's are pretty rare but alas. None of Fobiks worked, they had to open the doors with the valet key. Broken rear tail light, broken driver's window switch, lots of exterior scratches and a big transmission fluid puddle on the ground. All of this is easily fixable but the dealer wouldn't budge on the price. If they would have dropped to $11, I probably would have said yes because it did drive well. That was two months ago and they still have it listed for sale at the same price.

2010 Routan with a 4.0 (imported from Canada) with 110K for $9000. All of the rear seats were missing head rests and the transmission clunked so hard during the test drive that we quickly left.

2012 Routan with 100K for $9000 that was super clean with a black exterior that reminded me of my old 99 Passat wagon. On first start, the motor made very loud lifter noise until the oil pressure built up. None of the other vans did that. When shifting from P to R then D, the transmission made a loud solenoid sound then jerked into gear. When we tested the DVD player, it only played on the right channel, though the balance was centered and the radio was fine. They seemed like they would go down on the price and I seriously considered making an offer but I was too late. It sold soon after.

2010 Routan 3.8l with 120k for $8000 from a private seller. Another really clean van and I was impressed with the 3.8l. It didn't feel too much different than the 3.6 IMO but it had a hard shift in maybe 4th or 5th that worried me.

And finally VWINO. I actually saw the ad early in our search for only $6700 and asked if it had a roof rack and tow package and the seller said no and then I forgot about it. It was only advertised on Offerup and not too many people go there. A month later when I checked the site again, he dropped the price to $5700 so I went to message him again and realized I missed in our last conversation that he installed a "new" transmission. He was super nice and seemed honest and though the van had more issues that I wanted to deal with, he dropped the price even more so it was hard to pass up. Sadly, the transmission was just a used one that leaks profusely but it mostly shifts well, except sometimes it downshifts hard when cold while coming to a stop.

With limited funds, finding a vehicle that runs well for a good price can be difficult .Sometimes you just have to get close enough and save some more pennies for the inevitable.
 

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3rd gen > all others
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Look at the front calipers to see if they have two cutouts for twin pistons (heavy duty brakes). If they only have a single, they are the light duty brakes that need frequent replacing. I had to replace the front right brake caliper, rotor, and pads on our 2011 with 114,000 miles on it. It never even towed anything; they are just too light duty for the weight of the vehicle (like the tires). Our van had 114k on it and a dent after the driver's rear wheel, from a dealer and paid $11,500 back in 2016. Luckily never had any engine problems. Yeah, used car prices are crazy nowadays. Sounds like you got a fair deal though!
 

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2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT (3.8); 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan eL (3.8)
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2,359 Posts
Routans come with 17" wheels and I thought I read somewhere they have bigger brakes, but perhaps I'm mistaken. Mine work well and are vented.
I see from one of your other threads that your van is a 2010, that means you have the smaller brakes. The heavy duty brakes didn't exist until the 2012 model year. Maybe once the heavy duty brakes appeared all the Routons got them.
 

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2010 Routan
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I see from one of your other threads that your van is a 2010, that means you have the smaller brakes. The heavy duty brakes didn't exist until the 2012 model year. Maybe once the heavy duty brakes appeared all the Routons got them.
After more research, i think you are correct. I'll probably just let the brakes wear down then upgrade to the later bigger brakes later.
 
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