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Plymouth Grand Voyager - Fix or Junk?

mjf623mjf623 Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Plymouth
We were just told today that our minivan has a cracked crankshaft -- in other words a terminal illness. It has 123,000 miles. The million dollar question is to find an old one to put in ($4000), rebuild ours ($5000), or try to buy something else. We were trying to get more life out of the car in order to save more money for a downpayment.......this day just came sooner than we were thinking. Any thoughts?


  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    $4000 to replace a crankshaft? That sounds like quite a fleecing right there. I would think you could find a used engine for one of these things and have it installed for less than $3,000. Caravans/Voyagers are not particularly rare in the US.... Granted, that is not going to make the possibility of a transmission failure or some other catastrophe any less likely, but still cheaper than a car payment.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Echoing the comments of xwesx, I'd recommend looking for a used engine in a bone yard. There was a guy on a different board who went some 360,000 miles (yes miles) on his original DGC engine when it developed a problem, and he was able to buy a good condition replacement engine for a couple hundred dollars.

    With the above said, what in the world makes you think you have a cracked crank shaft? I've seen many engine failures, but never have I seen a cracked crank. I'm thinking time for a second opinion.

    Best Regards,
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    True - odd to "crack" a crankshaft on a stock vehicle.

    Not that this has anything to do with the topic at hand, but when I replaced the oil in my 175,000+ mile DGC (3.8L) a few weeks ago, I did put in synthetic. So far, I have noticed no problems and it runs smooth as silk - I have not filled up with fuel for about a week and a half now which is longer than normal, so I suspect a slight increase in mileage as well. I put Amsoil Series 2000 0w-30 in it, ~4.6 quarts.

    Keeping my fingers crossed,

    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • mjf623mjf623 Posts: 3
    The mechanic originally thought it was the crankshaft pulley that was defective. When the part arrived for him to install, he realized that the crankshaft moves back and forth between 1 to 1 1/2 inches and said that the crankshaft was ready to go at anytime as it has a crack in it. He compared it to a terminal diagnosis and gave the engine 5 minutes to one week before it goes.
    The local dealer wants $6400 to replace the engine.
    The original mechanic cautioned against using a used engine as the history would be unknown-- perhaps it was involved in an accident with damage that won't show for a few months. Does this sound reasonable?
    btw, the transmission was replaced at 45,000 miles; new air conditioner compressor and rear brakes in last few months.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Which engine do you have in your van? While I have not heard great things about the longevity of the 3.0 liter Mitsubishi engine, the 3.3 and 3.8 liter Chrysler engines are typically good for at least a couple of hundred thousand miles, even with regular maintenance (i.e. 7,500 mile oil changes and 100,000 mile tune-ups). Buying a used 3.3 or 3.8 liter engine is (in my mind at least) a pretty good bet. Open the oil filler cap on the front valve cover and check for any crud in there. If it's clean, buy it.

    Best Regards,
  • mjf623mjf623 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the info. We have the 3.3 l Chrysler engine.
  • Financially, it should be sold or junked. Some backyard mechanic may buy it for $500 and the most a 1999 is worth fully repaired is probably about $2000. You could then take a portion of your repair money and go look for another different $2000 van.
  • well my opinion is this the 3.3 and 3.8 are very reliable the odds of a crankshaft breaking are rare unless it has been driven like a race car (no pun intended) id be getting other opinions and usually you have to tear down the top half of the motor to really check if it did fail. a good milages 3.3 will be a cheaper bet id say you could get a motor ant trans for under 500 if you find a u wrench it there motors are 100 and transmissions are 125 id buy a spare trans anyways. you will get different estimates no matter who you call. btw the mechanic who told you about the history of the motor from a junkyard that is shop talk they want to charge you 150 bucks a man hr to build it than for you to save money and do it yourself they dont want competition or to lose business and (most) boneyards will either prove milage on a motor or trans and i know one that even offers a carfax. dont be scammed or swindled into costly expenses from shady mechanics and they even exist in dealerships.<a href="
  • and another thing i have seen dealerships even do is overcharge the consumer for repairs that were not done and replace the trans or motor with a junkyard item so if it cost them 500 there still going to charge full price of the part and labor. this happens every day
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    A couple of suggestions:

    1) Responding to old posts (especially ones over a year old) will usually not get much of a response.

    2) Please type in complete sentences using proper capitalization and punctionation. Many of us are too old to be able to decipher a stream of internet lingo. I know it's our fault for being old, but you'll have a larger audience if you cater to the foibles of us old farts. :P

    Best regards,
  • hixbhixb Posts: 2
    We bought the 96 in the spring of 2006. It has the small 4 cyl engine w/the three speed automatic. Not the overdrive. Around 115,000 miles. It has always had some whine under the hood but within 14 months we parked it because it has gotton so loud. It follows the engine rpm. Noisey at low rpm and louder as you drive or rev up. Changed the oil to a higher weight. While that didn't help I found no metal in the oil I drained. Pretty sure it isn't the alternator or the compressor. Still runs and drives well and has cold air; so would like to figure this out and not be afraid to drive the van. Any suggestions? Thanks; hixb
  • jhrsrjhrsr Posts: 1
    My 1997 Plymouth Grand Voyger
    SE with a 3.0 V6 started loosing power on the interstate untill I was so slow, I pulled over. It died and wont start, no spark to plugs and fuel pump only runs about 1/2 of a second.
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