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Back from road trip - FL to New England

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We just got back from a vacation to New England. I took the 96 Grand Voyager and took it from about 218,000 miles to about 223,000 miles. For the most part, the mini performed well and used about 2-1/2 quarts of oil on the trip. Average mileage was about 20.5 MPG. I can get 22+ on the country roads going about 50-60 MPH and it seems to get about 20 on the Interstates when we are going 75.

I had only one problem. Occasionally, when pulling away from a rest park after the vehicle was parked for about 15 minutes, I get some momentary cut-out or hesitation, sometimes followed by a lean backfire. By the time I'm near the end of the acceleration lane, all is back to normal power. No codes are ever indicated. It never does this in stop or go traffic, but only with a 15 minute (approximate) rest after high speed driving.

I know it is not the EGR valve since I replaced it before the trip. I'll probably replace the engine coolant sensor. The TPS was replaced about a year ago with a Wells after market unit so that is also a possibility. The spark plugs, wires, rotor cap, and distributor were all replaced before the trip.

The vehicle is a 96 Grand Voyager with the 3.0 and a 3 speed. This is a very comfortable and smooth riding vehicle which is great for long trips.
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· Registered
42 Posts
I had a similar problem with my '90 Turbo Spirit. Seemed to be a case of bad gas that I bought at a discount station. I drained the tank and refilled with fresh gas at the station I usually use. The problem eventually disappeared. Just some anecdotal information. I've got a 2002 T&C with 80,000+ miles. It's been to Tampa and back around 10 times (from Arlington, VA), and also a few trips to Michigan without any trouble. Great highway vehicle. Last year it began cutting out on me once it warmed up. It would restart and then quit until it cooled down. Then it would start up and run for 10 minutes and cut out again. This kind of symptom made me think of a bad PCM. Rather than spend hundreds for a dealer to troubleshoot and then screw me on parts, I decided to take a chance and throw a part at it and see what happened. I bought a remanufactured PCM unit off the Internet for $150 with a one year warranty. I was lucky. Now the van runs better than ever and has a smoother idle. The supplier said that their remanufactured PCMs have all the latest upgrades and were actually gone over and tested to gurantee quality and performance. He claimed that they were better than OEM. Sure beats the $600 that the dealer wanted. I'm thinking of buying a new 2013 (at my age I could really use Stow an' Go) but it's a hard decision when the old van is running so well with 80,000 miles.

· Living in RV heaven. You think cars are bad!
363 Posts
John, glad to hear you had a great trip. Is that the van a fellow Allpar member had for sale several years ago? I was pondering on buying it but before I could even get my brain in gear you had it. I know you've given it a lot of TLC and it's serving you well. I have no idea about what your backfire might be.

Look at the thread I posted about Sugar's '02 GC sport with the 3.3L. It's titled P0352 and P0353 or something like that. If you recall I replaced that coil pack about 10 months ago. The replacement came from AAP.

· Virginia Gentleman
8,694 Posts
John - that's not bad fuel mileage for a 3.0L/3 speed combo.

In 2004, we traveled to Tampa from Virginia to visit my sister while my older daughters (then 17-18) attended the National Youth Gathering (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) with our '00 T&C Ltd AWD 3.8L/41TE. We were heavily loaded with a car top carrier. Cruising at 70 with the AC on the van was averaging 21 mpg.

On your travels through VA, did you take I-95 or I-81? I'm about 40 minutes from Fredericksburg and live off another major artery - US 301.

As to the hesitation, I'd check the TPS as well as any associated wiring and connections. Sounds like the early stages of the TPS going haywire. Just a thought.

· Registered
1,147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Doug, On the way back we stopped at a few historical places. After Gettysburg in PA, we went to Montpellier (near Orange) and Monticello near Charlottsville. This is after we stayed at Skyland in the Shenandoah NP. For those historical places, we did not take the expensive tours. It now costs $48 for 2 people to visit Monticello. We were there in the 70's and it was just a few bucks to get the tour and walk the grounds. We stuck around the visitor centers and probably learned as much as a full tour (my wife is a history buff). That put us on the west side of VA. As we headed south, we stayed in S Boston, VA and worked our way down to the Raleigh NC area before hitting the Interstates again (I 40 to I 95 and S to Jacksonville). We often like to get off the Interstates and enjoy the country roads when we have the time. On the way up to New England, I went up I 95 and cut over to I 81 via I 64 (trying go by memory here), so I was probably near where you live.

The trip was a bit complicated with me taking off on my own and driving straight to Vermont (27 hour drive), parking the vehicle in Killington for a continuation of a backpack hike on the Appalachian Trail. Later (10 days after I got there), my wife flew into Manchester, rented a car and stayed with a couple of friends in Maine. After 14 days on the trail, I called my wife to pick me up near Gorham, NH. After a couple of days in the area,including the trip to the top of Mt Washington (in the rental), we drove back to the parked van in Killington, VT and caravaned the two cars back to Manchester to return the rental. The rest of the vacation which included some camping in the good weather, and some motelling when it looked like rain was all continued in the 96 mini-van with the back seats out and all our camping gear in the back. It was a truly adventerous trip that we won't forget, but we did a similar trip last year. I'm trying to finish the entire Trail within a couple more years, so we will do it again next year. I will be well into Maine on the trail.

My wife is getting a little leary of the high mileage on the mini for these trips so there is a slight chance we could be buying a newer vehicle some day, or perhaps just rent one for the entire trip.

Ray... its the same vehicle we were both interested in back in the early 2000's. I have put over a 100,000 miles on it since I bought it. I can say that the 3.0 is a solid engine even if it is a PITA to work on at times. :)

Cass.... We want the the stow and go version too! The occasional strange cutout occurred through a few fill ups so I don't think it is bad gas in my case. I'll probably do the coolant sensor since it is cheap and easy and then move on to the TPS if necessary. I'm also going to spray all the connectors with contact cleaner and inspect the wiring harness. It is pretty weird situation that this only seems to happen with a slight cooling of the engine from fully warmed up.
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