1. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    Ever start a project that you knew was a mistake right from the beginning, but you did it anyway? Here's one of those projects:

    A long time acquaintance of mine is pretty much an expert at destroying vehicles, whether it be by crashes or mechanical abuse. Two of his latest victims have been sitting at my house for at least the last two years after the township made him get them off his property. He was considering junking them, but being a person who can't stand to see things that still have life in them go to waste, I ended up purchasing the pair.

    I've done quite a bit of work to both vans since he purchased them. Both are model year 2000, a Town & Country LXi, and Dodge Grand Caravan Sport. Right now I'm working on getting the Dodge back up to snuff. It's been off the road for at least four years now, after he ran it out of oil and spun a bearing. That wasn't too long after I did a total brake job, front and rear, along with a timing chain, oil pan, and a bunch of other work to it. Earlier this year my father's '92 Custom Cruiser was retired due to a rusty frame, so I figured I could get the Dodge into the shop and have it back on the road in fairly short order. I already had an engine and trans sitting in the shop that we got at a u-pull-it a couple years ago, so I ordered up a truckload of parts from Rock Auto that I knew that I would need for the job.

    What I didn't plan on was how much the van deteriorated from sitting for four years, two of those parked over grass. This van had been much better than average when it came to rust, and I was quite shocked to see how bad it had gotten from sitting. All the brake parts that had been replaced were now junk and needed to be done again. I'm pretty OCD when it comes to rust, so something was going to have to be done about the mess underneath the van, and now it's become a restoration project.

    My father's '94 Town Car is on it's last year due to frame rust, so the Dodge will be replacing that car, and I'm hoping that we can get ten years of mostly trouble free driving out of it. Here we go!

    vans.JPG

    Crusty and rusty front end parts
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    Rusty in the back too
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    Brake lines at ABS pump
    mv abs pump.jpg

    Rear axle out for clean-up
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    Not sure how well ABS would work with this much corrosion on tone wheel
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    Brackets off for blasting mv brackets.jpg

    Blasted and painted. Much better!
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    Rear axle cleaned up
    IMG_7686.JPG

    Painted
    IMG_7688.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
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  2. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    Drivetrain out. That rusty booster is going to have to go.
    IMG_7402.JPG

    Steel lines for rear heat rusty and leaking. Wouldn't want to do these with engine in the van.
    IMG_7471.JPG

    Engine is actually still pretty clean inside.
    IMG_7399.JPG

    Fuel pump failed while I was using it to pump out the tank. Add that to the order.
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    Original knuckle next to eBay knuckle from California.
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    Rock Auto to the rescue!
    IMG_7408.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
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  3. odcics2

    odcics2 Active Member

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    PA road salt works!!

    Looks like you are taking care of all the needed updates!

    :thumbsup:
     
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  4. Rapidtrans777

    Rapidtrans777 Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    You must really love mopar minivans.
     
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  5. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    I do like the design, and they are comfortable to drive. Before making the purchase, I did go out and look at one of the many $1500 vans on Craigslist. Even though it looked great in the pictures, it needed a bunch of work and had more rust than either of these, so I decided it was best to just stick with what I had.
     
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  6. BIGBARNEYCARS

    BIGBARNEYCARS Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I'd guess you already know those wheels are 5X114MM? I scoured the country to find 4 Silver Snow Flakez that would fit my 2000 Grand Caravan. Think I don't like hubcaps? Good luck with your swappin' out Jeff. I like what I see happenin', OH Yeah? You do know you can buy 3/16 line in 20'- 25' lengths that'll bend like ah pretzel without it crimping don't you? Or you can pick up a length of 3/16" shielding and do the same thing old fashioned way if you can't find the 3/16" flex line, Jer
     
  7. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    Thanks for the info! I think you'll be surprised at how the brake lines will be handled. Saving that for a future episode, once I see how things go.
     
  8. MarPar

    MarPar FA1 FCBO Gold Member

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    Still in Dry Dock
    :wideyed:
     
  9. mrfury68

    mrfury68 Well-Known Member

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    Here in SW Pennsylvania the body panels rot away before the rust has a chance to start on the hard parts.
     
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  10. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    Haven's spent as much time as I would have liked on the van project, but here are the latest progress pics:

    Decided to replace the ball joints and control arm bushings. Bushings are a real nut buster to get out. I recommend just buying the complete new arm assemblies.
    IMG_8019.JPG

    Bushing had to come out in pieces and outer sleeve cut with saw to get it to loosen in the control arm
    img_8020b.jpg

    Blasted and assembled arms ready for paint.
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    Blasted knuckles, subframe bushings, and hardware.
    img_8039.jpg

    Bought four new hub assemblies. I had four used ones that felt fine, but figured that the grease was probably pretty dry by now and it was worth the $100 investment for new ones.
    img_8041.jpg

    Some of the finished parts. IMG_8165.JPG

    Resealing power steering pump
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    Finished unit ready for paint.
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    Rusty coolant lines and booster.
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    New coolant line assembly and nicer used booster installed.
    IMG_8085.JPG

    Jeff
     
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  11. 71Polara383

    71Polara383 Kid with ballcap FCBO Gold Member

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    I don't know how many of those I ripped apart and fed to the crusher while working at a local boneyard. Feels good seeing some get some loving and being saved. Nice work!
     
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  12. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    The '96-2000's are getting scarce in the junkyards these days. Five years ago there would always be at least 20 of them in the big u-pull-it near me, now there's usually only 3 to 5 at any one time.