When to replace radiator hoses on a 2002 Town and Country minivan

happy19happy19 Member Posts: 12

Does anyone know the recommended mileage when the radiator hoses have to be replaced. I have 118,000 miles on my minivan now with the original hoses. Never had a problem with the heating system with the exception of having to replace the rear heater lines.



  • primemoverprimemover Member Posts: 4
    My advice is that you should consider replacing your radiator hoses at the same time you change your timing belt and water pump. That is around every 60,000 miles, but if you are well past that, I would do it 100K or greater. Also recommend you change out the thermostat and the serpentine belt(s) at the same time.

    You do NOT want the timing belt to break on you. And there are no obvious clues that it is going to break. Since the water pump is located so close to the timing belt, it should be replaced, too.
  • srs_49srs_49 Member Posts: 1,394
    Let's see now, 7 years and 118,000 miles... It certainly wouldn't hurt, especially if you're planning on keeping the van longer. I don't think there is a recommended replacement interval. The owners manual probably just says something like "inspect and replace if necessary", if it addresses radiator hoses at all.

    Have you done a coolant change-out yet? If not, it's time for that too, and would be the ideal time to replace the hoses.

    Me, I usually don't replace hoses until they look like they're ready to split, which you can sometimes tell just by feeling the hoses, particularly where they make bends. Or, I wait for a small leak to develop, which usually shows up around one of the clamps.
  • happy19happy19 Member Posts: 12
    Thanks to both of you guys...

    I did go out and have the hoses replaced. And the coolant. Now that you mentioned it, I have to look into having the timing belt replaced. Any body have any experience with this item? Is it a costly procedure?

    Again, many thanks,
  • srs_49srs_49 Member Posts: 1,394
    I think your 2002 has a timing chain, not a belt. If so, then there is probably no maintenance needed. Usually, if the chain stretches a bit, it may start hitting the side of the timing chain cover. But, I think there's a tensioner on the chain to take up any slack (at least there is on other engines with timing chains on them).

    BTW, you never said what type of engine you have.
  • happy19happy19 Member Posts: 12
    srs 49,

    The engine is the 3.8L version.

    Thanks, Steve
  • primemoverprimemover Member Posts: 4
    srs is correct. This vehicle does have a timing chain, not a timing belt. My apologies for the error. I defer to experts, but believe that needing to change the timing chain is far more rare, compared to vehicles with timing belts (which also have the water pump hidden behind that belt.)


    If you click on the (safe) link above and then find the Timing Chain, you will see said chain.
  • primemoverprimemover Member Posts: 4
    So, since changing the timing chain is no longer an issue and since the rear heater lines have been replaced, to error on the side of caution, I would say consider doing the following:

    -Flush the cooling system and replace the antifreeze.
    -Replace the Serpentine Belt.
    -Inspect the Serpentine Belt Tensioner and replace as needed
    -Replace the upper and lower radiator hoses
    -Replace Thermostat

    Consider replacing water pump

    Consider changing Transmission filter (and as much transmission fluid as you can)

    Have brake pads and rotors inspected

    Have the CV boots inspected for cracks/grease leaks.

    I do this level of repair on my own, so I can't help with repair / labor costs. But I recommend you sign up for http://repairpal.com/ and you can track your service and get pricing too.
    Good Luck!
  • married2deathmarried2death Member Posts: 1
    edited November 2013
    OK i have the exact same car as you, a 2002 chrysler town and country, non stop issues right now. There is a serpentine belt and it takes a special wrench to fit between the firewall and the tensioner pulley to loosen it so you can pop off the belt. I know because i just dealt with that. The wrench is essentially a 1/2 inch socket male end on a long flat rod. I tried fitting my breaker bar in there but it was too big to fit. Now i am dealing with heater core issues which i learned it is so much quicker to replace a heater core than it is to do the water pump because the pump is smooshed against the wall and if yo udon't drop the engine or put it on a rise, you'll be there for hours getting nuts off. this is all on the 3.8 v6 engine.
  • joepeterson56joepeterson56 Member Posts: 95
    It's not the best way, but the easiest, if you support the engine on a floor jack, then remove the left & front motor mount thru-bolts from the front and passenger side mounts.

    Then you can tip that side of the engine up by slowly raising the floor jack until you have enough room between the engine and fender to get your hands in there to work with wrenches.

    I have done many repairs & replacements on these engines this way. When you are finished, you may need a 3 to 4 foot length of pipe or suitable type of pry bar to jiggle the engine back toward the passenger side for proper alignment of the motor mounts to get them & the engine back into proper position to re-bolt the mounts.
  • seaphotoseaphoto Member Posts: 1

    On my 2002 T/C Limited there belt tensioner has both a square opening and a stub on it. The stub is 19mm / 3/4 inch and can be accessed from below with a combination wrench to loosen the tensioner. The forward splash shield needs to be removed; jack up the car, put a jack stand under it, and then remove the passenger tire and wheel - now you can get to the splash shield - three zip fasteners and one 10mm bolt to the forward frame held mine in place. The tensioner requires a bit of force but I was able to do it. Putting the belt on is a lot easier if you have a buddy help you - one person loosens the tensioner, the other sllips the belt off of the forward lower pulley. Hope this helps anyone who finds it.

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