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Hello... First post, though I've been reading Allpar occasionally for a long time, just always found answers to my questions by searching prior posts...

I'm a paraplegic, with a 2010 T&C that has a Braun "Entervan" conversion - essentially a lowered floor between the firewall and 3rd row seats, and a fold out ramp on the rear passenger door. The front drivers seat is removed and replaced with a lockdown system for my power chair, and hand controls are added (low-tech in my case)

Currently I have about 30K miles on it, I purchased it as a used rental w/ just shy of 18K, before having it converted (Used van was about $22K, conversion cost over 40K!). At least while I've had it, the tires haven't been rotated.

I recently had to replace one of the OEM tires after clipping a curb with a rear wheel, I had been having trouble with the van always pulling to the left, so I had the tire place (Town Faire Tire, which is supposed to be pretty reputable) do a front end alignment. They said it was a little off, but not badly so. Also that there was some extra wear on the left front tire, but not enough to justify rotating it. I replacd the tire with the same brand / model since the other three tires were still in good shape.

The alignment helped, but it is still pulling pretty badly. At highway speeds if I let go of the wheel it will do a fairly fast lane change (assuming I let it go that far...).

According to Braun tech support, the alignment specs for the conversion are the same as for an unmodified vehicle, the only thing possibly slightly off is that since there is no normal drivers seat, I have to be the one that drives the car onto the alignment rack, which puts me far enough off the ground that I can't get out... Thus I was sitting in the drivers seat position while they did the alignment, which between me and the chair is about an extra 500lbs or so... I don't know if this would have any impact.

Braun suggested that if the alignment was OK, that I check with a Chrysler dealer to see if there were any other issues. Do you know if this is likely, or if there are any known problems to look for?

Any other suggestions on how to fix this - its annoying to drive, and I doubt that it helps my mileage any...

The other question I have, is whether there are any modifications like reprogramming the engine computer to get better gas mileage? I'm not a performance addict, and I do a lot of driving, mostly highway speeds, and am willing to sacrifice some performance to get better fuel economy. I notice the engine seems to want to downshift a lot, and when it does the fuel economy average display drops like a rock... I currently get around the high 19's to low 20's most of the time, while trying to drive as "gently" as I can. I do tend to run around 70mph, but watching the ECO display, this seems to actually get me better mileage than 55-65 does... I am running synthetic oil (Mobil 1, 0W-30 IIRC) but that doesn't seem to have helped much if at all.

Thanks,
ex-Gooserider
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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14,685 Posts
In regards to the alignment issues, I suggest going to another shop for a 2nd opinion. Not all alignment techs are the same.

Fuel mileage - I don't think there's much you can do other than to drive like an egg under the accelerator. 19-20 mpg with a converted van such as yours is pretty good IMHO. Most aftermarket chips are for increased power/performance and not fuel economy.

We use to average 15-16 mpg with our old '00 T&C Ltd AWD (3.8L) in local driving. On the highway it was 25-26 mpg easily.
 

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Radioactive
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My first thought is that is a lot of miles without a tire rotation.

Second thought is replacing one tire in a 30 000 mile set may be the root of your issue.

Tires on the same axle should be within 2/32nds.
 

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Could be a binding strut mount.
 
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