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Discussion Starter #1
This is a nice looking van with 200K miles.

What do I need to look for problem-wise for this year?

I have a nice '88 which I plan to keep but am leery of most later models because Consumer Reports never gives them a good review, especially related to transmissions.

Did this year have the rusting strut tower problem?

I've read about these things over the years but never really paid attention because I wasn't planning to get one. This one is white and from the original owner - an opportunity that doesn't come up often - if he is honest!!

I know you guys are up to speed on this so I'm depending on you!
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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gusc said:
This is a nice looking van with 200K miles.

What do I need to look for problem-wise for this year?

I have a nice '88 which I plan to keep but am leery of most later models because Consumer Reports never gives them a good review, especially related to transmissions.

Did this year have the rusting strut tower problem?

I've read about these things over the years but never really paid attention because I wasn't planning to get one. This one is white and from the original owner - an opportunity that doesn't come up often - if he is honest!!

I know you guys are up to speed on this so I'm depending on you!
First of all, I don't pay attention to what CR says. They are biased and their data collection and analysis is flawed.

200,000 miles is a lot of miles for $3,000. Depending on how well it's equipped, I'd offer no more than $2,500. Did you check Kelly Blue Book or NADA? They usually give a good indicator if the price is in the ball park. Is the vehicle clean with just a few wear items or is it beat all to $#@%^& ? Does the owner have a record of all service? Has the transmission been serviced with ATF+4 only?

Generally speaking I think the '03's were okay. The '01's were the worst of the Gen IV minivans ('01-'07) as that was the first year of a major redesign.

Any pics? Or at least a link?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I haven't seen it yet, a buddy called me about it.

Not on the internet.

i already have two Dodges with 200K+ so this fits right in!!

He first asked $3500 so I'm getting there.

I'm not hot on this but like the looks of these models which I think are the best looking minis, it is white which is my favorite color.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I just talked to a 2003 owner today, 140mi and the only problem he has had is steering link bushings. This agrees with the online problem reports so, it if looks good I will take the plunge.

This will be my newest vehicle if I buy it, now it is my '94 Dodge 3500 Cummins dually.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I finally took a drive. It is in very good condition interior and ext wise.

Things I noted and ask for your opinions;

The PS has a slight whine when turning, not a belt squeal though.

There are a couple of rattles in the suspension on a dirt road, sounds like shocks or struts to me but hard to tell.

The brakes work fine with no pulling; however, the brake pedal can be slowly pushed all the way to the floor? . The brakes hold in that condition even when it gear and/or on a steep hill. The rear brakes are either out of adjustment or worn out because the park brake only catches very near the bottom and will not hold under power.

Trans works fine with and engine has plenty of smooth powerl, no sign of any problems there.

Driver power window doesn't work. He said if often won't come down but will always go up! It didn't go down for me but that I can easily repair. (Famous last words)

The rear DVD player doesn't work! I could care less about.

Tires are fair to good.

The mileage is 217,000

I offered him $2500 and think he will take it.

I like that this is an SE without so many gadgets to go wrong.

OK guys, what do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Bought it for $2500 and have spent $2500 getting it in tip top shape. So, I now own a $5000 van with 200K miles! I expected to spend about $1000 to make it ready. This would have been about right if I had done the work but I'm just too old to do this stuff any more and we are going to be making a 1200 mi trip beginning Wed so I didn't have time to do it anyway.

Three new tires, new struts, new stabilizer bushings and links, new inner/outer tie rod ends, alignment, valve cover gaskets, rear brake adjustment, some paint touch up,

One weird thing was the struts. One of the old struts wouldn't come down enough for the alignment. Long story short; short strut was two inches longer than the new ones. The other one was SIX inches longer than the old shorter one! The mechanics had a heck of a time removing the longer one. I can only imagine how this happened!!

The amazing thing is this didn't seem to affect the leveling or driving. The front tire radial belts were loose so that did make the steering twitchy, I though it was just that the newer steering was more sensitive than my '88!

The good thing is that this van now drives and looks like a much newer one so I have no complaints. However, we'll see after the end of our trip.

The upside is that the body and interior are in amazingly good condition, even the seats/armrests/carpets show little sign of the wear you would expect from a family owned van. The kids are teens so that probably helps. I just can't find the usual signs of wear from such a high mileage vehicle.
 

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Sounds like you got a pretty good deal there - that strut problem is really goofy, though.

Here's hoping you get many more miles out of it.

Are you now the second owner? If so, after a year you can enroll the van into Chrysler's 200000 mile club. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, I'm the second owner.

I feel guilty at joining the 200K club though even though I have two other Dodges with 200K plus that I didn't drive for most of those either!
 

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Sounds like a good deal, glad it all worked out well!

The struts, that is the first I have heard of stuch a thing.
 

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It is still a total mystery to me that those struts didn't cause major suspension actions?

My guess is that neither was the correct strut and probably that they were replaced one at a time from a salvage yard!!

My mechanic said that even the springs didn't have the correct number of coils. This guy owns one just like mine and I feel fortunate to have him around, saves a lot of guesswork.
 
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