1994 Chrysler AWD Minivan transmission removal

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Ted Mittelstaedt, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. Ted Mittelstaedt, Aug 29, 2005
  2. Ted Mittelstaedt

    kmatheson Guest

    Interesting pictures Ted. Please keep us up to date. Are you having a
    local shop rebuild the transmission? I would imagine that you saved a
    bunch doing the R&R work yourself.

    -Kirk Matheson
    kmatheson, Aug 29, 2005
  3. Ted Mittelstaedt

    me! Guest

    You're not fooling me .. ... .... ..... you took those pics so you could
    get it back together !!!... I know,,, been there done that,,, LOTS of times
    !!! Gotta love those digital cameras...

    But really nice of you to share..
    me!, Aug 29, 2005
  4. Well, the primary goal wasn't to save money, the primary goal was to have
    fun with a project to work on. I've had several other project cars before
    but always
    before the car kind of turned into a project car but wasn't intended to be
    That is, I bought the car planning on driving it as a used car, then after
    getting it within 6 months there's huge amounts of things wrong, so I end
    up spending a lot of time working on it, rather than using it for what I
    it for. Then when I finally get everything fixed on it I've spent way more
    than I
    wanted to, and now I have so much invested in the car that if I sell it I
    take a bath. Plus that since I've been working on them under pressure -
    you need the car to go to work the next day, for example - there's little
    enjoyment in doing the work.

    This was the first vehicle where I went out and deliberately looked for a
    specific make and model vehicle in the "broken-down $100-$200" price
    range with the express intent on being able to work on it at leisure.
    I was particularly pleased with this find because for that price I had
    been expecting to end up with something like a late 80's early 90's short
    wheelbase Caravan that either had the smaller 2.5L engine or had a 3.3L
    engine but had massive body damage. I never expected to get a T&C of this

    It is actually quite difficult to find $200 vehicles out there that have
    little to
    no body damage but blown-up powertrains. Most of them when they
    get to be that price they have passed into the hands of owners who don't
    give a shit about them and use them for stump-pulling or plowing the
    back 40 or something equally bad, and when they finally bite the dust
    the seller is just hoping to get $50-$100 for the carcass, instead of having
    to pay someone $50-$100 to haul it off. We are talking vehicles with
    cracked winshields, big bashed dents in the side, collapsed bumpers,
    and rusted like a sieve. Most of the middle class people in society when
    they have an older vehicle that they have maintained well and it's
    powertrain blows up and is not cost effective (to them) to fix, they
    they don't think to sell it, instead they either trade it in to a new car
    or a high-end used car dealer, or donate it to the Kidney foundation.
    Once it ends up there it goes straight to the auctions where the leeches
    all fight over it, then it ends up getting picked apart in some wrecking
    And I don't have the time to devote an entire day to attending some auction
    of junked cars, then getting outbid by a wrecker who can take a van
    like what I got, chop the 3.8L engine out of it with a cutting torch, and
    sell the engine for double what he paid for it for.

    With this van I've been tracking the expenditures on it. My goal is to
    try to end up between $1500-$2000 total expenditure for everything,
    including consumables, replaced interior parts, the A/C system which
    needs repair, and the other nickle-dimey stuff. So far I think I'm doing
    very well to meet that. If I do I'll end up with a vehicle that is at least
    worth the same as what I put into it, probably more. And how many
    leisure activities are out there that you can say that about?

    I'm having Transmission Exchange Co do the transaxle:
    http://www.txchange.com I live about 3 miles from them. Once they open the
    trans up and see what's inside they will call me on it.

    Actually, I think the big cost savings on this is in all the subsidiary
    work. For example
    with the trans out of the way, changing spark plugs in the back of the
    engine is simple.
    Also I found a used driveline in a u-pullit that has intact seals for $35 -
    a shop would
    have probably wanted to put in a rebuilt driveline, and cost of that is
    $250. (there is
    only one driveline shop locally in PDX that rebuilds this style driveline)
    Also I've
    found the front motor mount is shot, the LH drivers half-shaft boots already
    have a bunch
    of surface cracks on them, one of the cast aluminum PTU support brackets
    bolts onto the engine is cracked, and the serpentine belt looks like a cat
    clawed it.
    Fixing all that piddly crap now means I can get the
    parts from a wrecker (like the bracket) or get remans on the axles (I'm
    going to do both
    sides) and you see, that is where the real money of these jobs is. A shop
    would charge
    a parts markup on all these parts plus labor. It's not cost effective for
    them to send a
    guy out to a wrecker for an hour to pull an aluminum bracket that the
    wrecker would charge $5 for. And it's not even worth calling the wrecker to
    do it since the wrecker is either going
    to want to keep the bracket with the PTU, or they are going to destroy the
    while removing it, and even if they didn't they are going to want to get
    paid for labor
    too. The garage would order it from the dealer at $50 a crack plus their
    markeup. And they
    would get reman axles from NAPA and charge me $80 (NAPA's retail price) per
    axle plus their markeup it would be more like $90-100 per axle. I can go to
    and get a Federal Mogul reman axle for $60 per axle. And this isn't even to
    mention the consumables like ATF, which would of course get shop markups on
    as well.

    And also, half the fun of bringing a vehicle like this up is running around
    to all the
    places and finding the parts you need. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, it's just
    instead of
    doing the puzzle at a table, it's a much bigger puzzle you do in the garage.

    Ted Mittelstaedt, Aug 30, 2005
  5. Heh - you missed the part at the beginning of the pictorial where I said we
    had an
    "existing '95 Chrysler T&C" I can pop the hood on that if I forget how to
    something since the engine compartments are identical.
    Thanks! I mainly put it together as what you might term performance art,
    and because
    someone else on the forum mentioned they had a AWD with the same problem,
    on the side of the garage. Besides, this is the kind of job that sounds a
    lot worse than it
    really is, hopefully someone out there who has one of these who is a bit
    afraid to jump into
    it, might reconsider after viewing.

    Ted Mittelstaedt, Aug 30, 2005
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