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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,
05 T&C owner here. My local mechanic recently brought these mounts (former mounts) to my attention. Apparently, they used to be supported by the frame. He suggested I bring it to a fabricator to see if I could get it welded.

Does anyone know what these mounts are called? They are on both sides of vehicle. I figure at least if I have the name I could see if someone else has tried to address this issue before.
I'm just looking to get a few more months out of this vehicle. They are important months.

I've watched the I've watched a couple YouTube videos about replacing all of the engine mounts and removing the engine completely. I don't think that they are engine mounts.

Thanks in advance!
 

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fix it if you can
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Welcome aboard,
what you have in the picture is a rotting out front frame rail:

Unfortunately, unless you can DIY, that repair is going to cost more than the van is worth.

Welding a reinforcement plate on it might help short term, but you really should be looking for another vehicle (this one is not safe to drive at this point)
 

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2005 Dodge Grand Caravan 2013 Chrysler T & C and a few more
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Thanks for the photo Peter-05. That's a very vulnerable area for these vans to accumulate road salt because of the rectangular access opening.
I had inspected my 2005 GC in that area and treated it with RustCheck Red and later with Corrosion Free Formula 3000.
Looks like it might be too late for your van to be repaired at a reasonable cost.
Rusty.
 

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Wow, I live in MN and even here I've never seen rust that bad at that specific location.

"Dude, where's my frame?!" :ROFLMAO: :cry:

Yeah, that needs a new frame section to be grafted in. Then there's no telling what other rust is on the vehicle in critical support areas like the front struts. It's time to retire the van.
 

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2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
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Don't waste the money trying to fix it. Pull the good parts and sell it for scrap. You're a hard bump away from dropping your engine and trans on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for the input. Much appreciated! We're mostly on the same page here. I agree I'm in need of a new vehicle. I also think it will be expensive to engineer a short term fix - the only kind for a vehicle in this state. Still I feel I need to at least inquire what the cost will be so that I can make an informed decision. To that end, I would like to understand as much of the engineering as possible so I can get the fabricator on board - so he can just concentrate on fabricating and install. He's a family friend - so might take care of me.

Why does this van still seem driveable? More directly what else is holding it together? I'm interested in what the other stress points are so we can inspect those as well. Road Ripper mentioned stut towers - they are fine. I did my struts this past January. (btw had a really good experience with inexpensive Unity brand struts on Amazon. I also did my mom's 2011 T&C with them.)

The aluminum part that has the bolt in it seems connected to the lower control arm. I guess as part of the suspension, I would imagine that the missing frame part would be pressing down on the aluminum to hold the body up. Does that sound right? As a failure mode, maybe instead of the engine and trans falling out, perhaps it's more likely the body would fall on the ground? Sienile, either way, I agree I'm a hard bump away from something horrible happening!

Oddly when I jack it up, nothing in this area moves, so it's hard to get any clues about what's supporting what.

Sorry for the weird questions, I appreciate any brain power you put into this. It means a lot! Thanks.
 

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There are 4 subframe mounting points, at each corner. Chances are the others are almost in the same shape. I would not advise even a temporary fix. It would need to have a frame grafted on and welded in solid. To do all that you would be looking into easily $20k at a shop. The amount you would spend on a temporary fix would be much better spent on a different car, might even cost less to buy a car than fix that.

edit: Forgot this was a 4th gen thread. Mount points in different spot than originally said.
 

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Struts and spring hold the body up via the strut towers; however, that aluminum cradle being attached to the body structure keeps everything in proper position/alignment as the control arms attach to that lower cradle. Allowing the lower cradle to move with respect to the body structure allows the control arms (and other stuff like the steering rack) to shift around with respect to the body. There are four large bolts that hold that sub-frame (cradle) to the body structure... the two there at top of the wheel well and two down low behind the front wheels. Some engine mounts (front, left, right) attach to body and/or other frame members, and I believe one engine mount (rear) attaches directly to that cradle... so it's unlikely to just fall out, but things may be shifting around inappropriately with higher probability of structural failure and less operational integrity.
 

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Good to hear that the struts were replaced. I had a rusty parts van that had original struts, and the clevis bracket at the bottom that attaches to the knuckle was cracking because the metal was so thin! There was a hole in the floor right above the absent, rusted out muffler location that could potentially allow exhaust gasses inside. The frame was still fine.

That part of frame rusted away holds the forward part of the engine/suspension cradle to the chassis, so it's darned important! The whole front end is connected by only those 4 points (and you now only have 3). The aluminum cradle is not flexible like steel, so it will crack if enough force is applied to it. What is likely happening when you drive, is acceleration is fine. Stopping though, the front cradle will want to pull away from the frame and roll under the van, pulling at the rear mount on that side. That rear mount ear could crack off, and then the whole side of the cradle would be loose.

In a front end collision, that part of the frame will crumble and anything forward of that will roll downward and under the van. You could get broken legs or a broken hip. Depending on the population of where you drive, a collision like that might be less likely, but it is a risk. This is a case of risk assessment vs. finances. Sure you could graft in some steel to fix it, but no shop would touch it because of legal implications if it's involved in an accident later. The DIY fix is not a factory engineered process, with no crash tests to gauge the safety of the vehicle with those repairs. I mean, Toyota is replacing people's Tacoma frames because of rust instead of fixing them (or junking them outright) because of the unpredictable results of repairing. If you're trying to limp it along another month in a rural area I can see repairing it with steel/welding, but for several months that may drag on I'd just find another van and transfer the good parts to it.

I'll admit I'm kind of practicing hypocrisy here, but I broke a rear mount bolt trying to loosen it and am driving around with 3 cradle bolts holding it in. It's a rear passenger bolt, so only stress on it is when on the gas (pulls away from frame maybe?). The rest of the bolt is still in there, and the frame is solid. I'll get it out and replaced one of these days, but it will take some cutting and maybe welding.
 

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Oddly when I jack it up, nothing in this area moves, so it's hard to get any clues about what's supporting what.
Front springs hold up the unibody, unibody has these two extension "frame rails" which hold up everything in the engine bay (via the "cradle" and lower cross member plate).
By the time you see any detectable movement, it will be too late - it'll only take an inch or two of movement to bind / break the tie rods and send you sailing off the road with no steering control...

Front end impact won't be good, either (everything in front of the cross member (aka cradle) will collapse rearward).

That "frame rail" used to be a box beam, you now only have a partial angle iron left of it.
Take a look at the rearward body mounts - they hold together the lower cross member, the main cross member (cradle) and "frame rail" in that order bottom up. Look from underneath at the semi-triangular bolt access hole on inner side of the frame rail box beam, if it looks anything like the forward mount access hole park the van and walk or borrow another vehicle.
 

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I got my broken cradle bolt out yesterday, through a hole I had to cut through the floor. Now I can put a replacement bolt and nut plate back in there.
 
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I replaced the steel nut plate inside the frame rail and put in another bolt. Front is held in with all 4 bolts again! Here's a couple of pics of the hole I cut. You can see there are multiple layers of steel in the frame rail that I had to cut through to get the plate out.
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Plant Bumper Tire

Automotive tire Gas Bumper Auto part Automotive exterior
 
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