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Old 11-20-2017, 02:52 AM   #11
SBJ
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Just crawled under there and had another look. The block looks fine. I don't think I can get a good picture of it though. It even looks like there will be enough room to swing a small ball peen hammer in there without having to pull the CV. Unfortunately I gotta travel for the holidays so next weekend will be the next time I can work on it. I'm frickin' stoked! I love minivans.

EDIT: I should add, I'm putting together a parts list for it. At this point I am not convinced the head gaskets are bad, but I'm going to buy an upper engine gasket set anyways (parts for this thing are dirt cheap). It blew a lot of steam while it was running but that might just be because of all the water that has built up in the exhaust. We shall see. There is another identical van as part of the deal which I am going to get the tires and wheels off of and probably the front seats too. It's getting stripped for good parts and then junked. The second van has a bad transmission so it's getting towed to the crusher afterwards. It's going to be a real babe magnet once it's fixed .

Last edited by SBJ; 11-20-2017 at 04:24 AM.
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:40 AM   #12
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Bought another freeze plug for it. Total comes out to a whopping 97 cents. I might try and crawl under there and install it later if I got time. This van doesn't actually look that hard to work on, just a lot of things have to be done from underneath instead. Steering/suspension are set up like any other FWD Mopar product of that vintage, just bigger and heavier. I'll have to wait until after turkey day to really start wrenching on it. This is a vehicle that has grown on me quite a bit over the past few years... parts are cheap, its incredibly useful, the engine is actually very simple in design and these things depreciate like nobody's business. I have found that older American vehicles will accept cheap shitty parts more readily than others, probably because that's what they are built with in the first place. I'm hoping to take it out camping once I get it back up to snuff. No more wet tents for me.
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Old 11-26-2017, 08:33 PM   #13
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Ordered some new parts for it...basically all the gaskets on the upper end of the engine plus a water pump, thermostat, drive belt and a transmission filter and pan gasket. I got one of those rubber expanding freeze plugs and put it in, then filled it up with coolant and burped it. I drove it around for about half an hour before it started getting hot. I'm pretty sure at this point that it has a blown head gasket. Weirdly enough it runs just fine (even with 2 year old gas in it) but there's a lot of steam in the exhaust and there was almost no coolant left in the radiator when it started getting hot. Murphy's Law dictates that the blown head gasket will be on the rear cylinder bank against the firewall. The front 3 spark plugs look OK, haven't checked the back ones yet. It looks like the path of least resistance will be to take off the upper intake manifold. This is gonna be fun.

Also, the transmission shifts into drive pretty harshly but shifts fine once it goes into gear. Allpar suggests that I take the solenoid pack apart and replace all the little filter screens in there as well as the 2 rubber gaskets. There is another van with the same transmission so I may grab the one off that transmission and rebuild it, that way I can still have a backup one.
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Old 11-27-2017, 12:54 AM   #14
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You gotta be shitting me.

I tore off the plenum (what a chore that was) and checked the back 3 spark plugs. They are all fine, no indication this vehicle has a blown head gasket after all. As old and nasty as this engine is I couldn't see any obvious leaks anywhere and it's gotta have a pretty big leak going to be losing 2 gallons of coolant in half an hour. While I was driving it earlier today I noticed there was a lot of steam coming out of the rear wheel well on the passenger side. I thought maybe it had an exhaust leak and thought nothing of it until it hit me a few hours later: this van has another heater core in the back. So I crawled under there and BOTH of the heater lines that go to the rear heater are leaking. They run right above the muffler, which explains all the steam. I was looking in the wrong place the entire time. I feel like a fucking idiot now but whatever. At least I know what the problem is now.

The good news? You still have to pull the plenum to bypass the rear heater lines. And they are getting bypassed, not fixed. This is a hundred dollar vehicle and it's going to be carrying a lot more stuff than passengers. The only other people besides me who will be riding in it can always drink a few road sodas to warm up (dark windows FTW). The rear seats have been removed for a long time and are in surprisingly good shape.

Still, I plan to do everything short of the head gaskets at this point. This engine is filthy and I'm thinking the valve covers and intake are going to get the pressure washer soon. And that smell coming out of the vents (heat works great btw)...I may see if there is some kind of a mold bomb, similar to a flea bomb for pet owners. Otherwise it's getting bleached until the upholstery has no color left.



It should be a good runner once all the new parts go in.
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:01 PM   #15
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On the to do list:

Replace all the upper end gaskets
Serpentine belt, water pump and thermostat
Bypass the rear heater core and lines entirety.
Change the oil and transmission fluid.

I sprayed the shit out of the dashboard with bleach water yesterday and sprayed a bunch in the air ducts too. As far as the interior goes the only things I actually need to save are the dash, door handles, window switches, front 2 seats and the seat belts. The rest of the interior is going to the dump and I'll put some floor mats down in place of the carpet. Basically going to turn it into a cargo van.
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBJ View Post
And that smell coming out of the vents (heat works great btw)...I may see if there is some kind of a mold bomb, similar to a flea bomb for pet owners. Otherwise it's getting bleached until the upholstery has no color left.
We used this at a shop I worked at. Not sure if it is available to consumers, tho.

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It's going to be a real babe magnet
Only if you're Lemmy Kilmister
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by highest_vision View Post
We used this at a shop I worked at. Not sure if it is available to consumers, tho

Only if you're Lemmy Kilmister
A buddy came over yesterday after work and we gutted everything from the front two seats back. Only saving the door handles, interior lights and the seat belts (passenger seats are actually in really good shape since they have been removed from the van for a long time). Right now the intake is torn off and I should have all the parts I ordered by tomorrow. The plan is to crank the AC and empty a can or two of Lysol into the air intake vent. Supposedly it kills mold, we shall see. I may end up ripped out the AC if I can bypass the compressor without changing the rotational direction of the water pump.

Oh, and that reminds me... I'll have to remember to crank up the metal in there next time I drive it.
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:58 PM   #18
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I know you like it fast and loose.
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Old 11-30-2017, 07:05 PM   #19
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More like slow and clunky.
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Old 12-01-2017, 04:22 AM   #20
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All the nastyness except for the dash has been removed from the interior. The headliner still needs to come down but I'm not sure I'll rip all of it out. It's pretty nasty right by the driver and passenger doors, so that's going to the dump as well. Then it's time for the shop vac and an abrasive cleaner on the dash and steering wheel. The rest of the parts should be here tomorrow so I'm hoping to start putting it back together this weekend. Once the plenum goes back on I think I'm going to hit the engine bay with the pressure washer before I get under there to replace the water pump.



And here's the old truck, gearing up to do what it does best:

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