John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/1/19 9:23 a.m.

Just moments ago I became the winning bid on this:

A dislodged headlamp and some wrinkled plastic. No front metal damage.   I expect that heat (hot water) applied to the removed bumper cover will bring it out of it's wrinkled state.  At worst it needs $100 worth of JY bumper cover.  

Shes a typical Ohio car that will be rusty but trusty.  It wears some previous rear damage too on the tail gate along with some scuffing at the tail lamp.   If I can come across the right rear gate, I might replace but probably just leave as is for a quick flip.  

Mechanically, she seems great.  Tires are great too.  It is generally a low option model but I did make sure that it has rear HVAC capability.   It is the 2nd row bench model but it does have the stow and go floor storage.  If someone really wanted the folding 2nd row, it should be as easy as just bolting in a JY pair of seats.  A local yard has them for $50 each.  

The interior is neat and not kid abused!  

Along with the low options, this one has the 3.3L engine which I think has a good reputation.  

The deer whistles on the bumper and the fuzzy seatbelt cushions lead me to believed that the van might have had an older owner.  

Interestingly, the van wears a sticker from my small town Dodge Dealer so this one was likely owned by someone right here in my town.  Should be easy to get previous owner info.  


Who needs a sub $2k minivan?  


Located in Sandusky, Ohio

Vigo MegaDork
10/2/19 4:26 p.m.

My suggestion would be for the next owner to cheaply fix it up, put some chrysler 300 take-off wheels and a GRM sticker on it, and drive the hell out of it.   GLWS!







John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/2/19 5:06 p.m.

Wow.  Mirror image...with less rust.  

Like I said, this one is location acceptable, rusty but trusty.  However there are things about it I really like.  

The Goodyear Viva 3 tires (sold exclusively at Walmart) were manufactured 42nd week of 2018.  That means one year ago.  They look great.  Rated for 60k miles.  

The oil change sticker says Mopar on it and is within the oil change interval.  Dealership oil changes!  

I see from documents in the glove box that it was bought 3 years old and about 30k miles in 2009.  This means probably off-lease.  Since that time it has been owned by the same person for 10 years and 83k miles.  They weren't exactly loading the miles on the car. 

Walmart sourced battery from 2015.   

I brought it home via tow-dolly but when I unloaded it, I drove it around the neighboring parking lot.  Drives great.   

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/2/19 5:13 p.m.

The worst parts...


Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
10/2/19 5:22 p.m.

Love Machine

Mazdax605 UberDork
10/3/19 8:42 a.m.

Wow that's some serious cancer for only 13 years old! Is that typical of OH cars of this vintage, or just poorly taken care of examples? I ask because while we certainly have plenty of rotted cars here in New England our 06 Sienna has nothing like that at all. It also has 180k on the clock. I wouldn't say it's been washed often , and it has been in daily use with us since January of 2007 with my wife driving it until July of 17, and myself since then. In my time driving it has been the primary hockey dad vehicle, so always out in the worst of the crap weather.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/3/19 12:51 p.m.

In reply to Mazdax605 :

Pretty typical around these parts...

Sure, some brands better than others.  My Prius of similar age has less rust.  I've sold Chevy Malibu that had similar, large amounts of rust.  As I pointed out, locally this would be a Rusty but Trusty.  



John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/3/19 2:51 p.m.

I wondered what Chrysler vans look like in Boston. 

Pretty much the same...



John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/3/19 4:46 p.m.



After one headlamp bolt and 10 minutes with the heat gun.  State legal for rebuild inspection.  


Then, a quick round with the hose and bucket to shake the "month long storage in a dirt lot" and she doesn't look too bad. 

Mazdax605 UberDork
10/15/19 8:40 a.m.
John Welsh said:

I wondered what Chrysler vans look like in Boston. 

Pretty much the same...



Must be a Chrysler/Dodge Caravan thing? Like I said we get heaps of rusty cars around these parts, but your van looked pretty crusty for relatively low miles. Maybe it sat a lot. Nothing worse than cars sitting around, especially over dirt/grass. I hate living in the salt belt. Hopefully I can fight off the rust/rot on the Sienna for a few more years, as another car isn't in the budget. Even though I really want that 06 4Runner V8 in the classified section in FL.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/15/19 10:13 a.m.

Funny this should come back up to the top.  Today is Tues and this upcoming Monday is finally my appt with the state inspection to go from Salvage title to Rebuilt Salvage title.  

I have done a little driving of this van and it has really turned out to be a great runner and cheap parts but first...

I tow dollied the van home and then drove it around the parking lot a little.  All seemed great.  It was not until I took it out for a loop around the neighborhood that I realized that the speedo didn't work and the trans does not shift.  Was throwing a few trans codes but at the heart was a code for bad speed sensor.  There are two sensors.  Input shaft and output shaft.  Sure enough, the output shaft sensor had broken wires.  Here is the picture of the new one.  It is generally just a bit larger than a spark plug.  

On the old one, the black top portion had separated from the white bottom section.  Access is super easy, just turning the front wheel gives you plenty of room to reach.  Jacking the one side of the car up makes it just that much easier.  Amazon $13 for Dorman.


In the process of this repair I also discovered the the front engine mount was cracked.  Cracked in the metal, not cracked in the rubber.  Given the location of this mount being front and low, this could have been a product of the hit that distorted the front bumper but I really don't think so.  Any parking lot bump-stop curb could have been the culprit.  $14 from Amazon and super easy install. 

Some more driving threw a code for EGR.   New Dorman for $45 on Amazon and no more code.  

With this deferred maint out of the way and now feeling that this minivan will be a great runner, I also sprung for 2 new aftermarket headlights.  Again, Amazon and $70 for 2.  The current driver's side headlight is only held by 2 of 3 bolts and the passenger is is foggy and holds water.  At $35 each is was just cheap to buy both.  

dculberson MegaDork
10/15/19 10:15 a.m.

I feel like you could work some magic on that tailgate and get it looking way better. Nothing to be done about the paint, but that big dent looks easy enough to flatten out most of the way.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/15/19 10:20 a.m.

In reply to dculberson :

At a local you-pull-it I found a green van but it's rear gate has damage too.  Here is a picture of that one.  Really just a lesser problem...but still a problem.  

I may source another gate if I can get one cheap enough and right color enough.  


The yard wants $35 for their front bumper cover.  The yard wants $20 for headlights but none are really great so I went $35 for new

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/15/19 10:36 a.m.

I had also held off on the headlight purchase for another reason.  

The T&C vans offered on some years/models a different headlight as can be seen here on Vigo's van.  This different headlight also makes for a different front bumper cover even though the hood is the same for both.  

On I had found that there was a Chrysler bumper at a yard about 1 hr away in the right color.  I had considered that I might be putting a Chrysler bumper on my Dodge.  The same yard has a good tailgate in the right color.  This could result in a car with Chrysler badging on the front and rear but Dodge on the title (and on the logo of the steering wheel.)  

Vigo MegaDork
10/15/19 11:03 a.m.

Yeah, i put new lights in ours too and the slight difference in the Chrysler lights, and over a small year range, meant they were basically double the price of the more common lights on your van. Not that any of them are expensive! I saw your style for ~$50/pr cheapest and bought mine for ~100/pr. 

Sort of bad timing on the headlight thing since if you found a good Chrysler bumper, you could have just bought the chrysler lights to go with it. They mount and plug in the exact same. 


These things are exceptionally cheap to work on. I splurged for an OEM Mopar version of that front mount you replaced and it was all of $50. I bought a cheapie rear mount for ~$14 sometime later.  This one has ~217k and recently took 6 people to the top of Pikes Peak with a large amount of WOT time. I would drive it across the country tomorrow. I think for a DIY'er these pre- 'TIPM-era' Chryslers are a real sweet spot. Very cheap and very easy to work on. Reliability depends on how you interpret it but what i like about these vs later chryslers is there are not a lot of electrical issues that require you to do surgery on soldered components or have replacement modules programmed/initialized by a dealer to get the car running again. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/28/23 12:16 p.m.

Update:  Back in Oct of 2019 (39 months ago) I sold this van to a nephew of mine @$2k.  He has no kids but two big dogs and wanted the van for dog and home depot type stuff.

I just heard from my nephew today.  The van seems to have thrown a rod.  He's not really sure but something went through the oil pan.  Ironically, they were delivering the car to his other half's aunt at the time who could use a cheap vehicle.  They bought themselves a new Mazda CX-50.  A tow truck arrived and offered them a free tow and $200 cash, salvage so they took it.  

He said that over the 3 years they added 40k-ish miles going from 113k to 150+k.  In that time it needed a power steering hose, an AC pump and brakes due to a sticking caliper.  I'm sure he had a shop do the work but that's still likely under $2k in work.  So, $2k purchase and $2k work = $4k
$4k over 39 months is $102 per month average.  That's some cheap driving!  

It was still on the same tires which were pretty new at the time but now 40k miles later they were "old" but not completely dead.  

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