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As you all know, I've been working on & off on my '90 Grand Voyager.....Well, one of my wife's uncles told me today that he's cleaning out his place in preparation for a move down to Fla, and his car's gotta go, he's not taking it with him.....It's a '96 Grand Voyager LE, with the 3.3.....The price is right (FREE) and to be driveable, it only needs a power steering line going from pump to rack (15 bucks) So, here's the question: I remember some people griping about the newer ones are even less user friendly, repair wise, than my '90 (tighter clearances, more BS to go wrong, etc).....Is a '96 an entirely different, more complex & costly to fix unit, or is it pretty much my '90 in a newer body? It has 115k on it, and from what the wife says, the guy was a fantatic on maintenance...Part of me says go for it, but the other part still has that nagging something for nothing, potential black hole thought......Comments, criticisms, and other ideas & feedback welcomed!! Thanks guys!!
 

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I'd say Go for it, the Basic Powertrain Mechanicals did not change from your '90, but the body, the electronics, and the HVAC are a Wholly different Animal due to the 6 years of advancement between 1990 and 1996.
 

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The engine compartment is tighter in the 1996. But removing the wiper tray gives pretty decent access.

Having gone from a 1991 van to a 1999, the 1999 was better in so many ways. The seats may have been a little more comfy in the 1991 but the 1999 wins on all other accounts.
 

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valiant67 said:
The engine compartment is tighter in the 1996. But removing the wiper tray gives pretty decent access.

Having gone from a 1991 van to a 1999, the 1999 was better in so many ways. The seats may have been a little more comfy in the 1991 but the 1999 wins on all other accounts.
and when we had our 1999 SWB, it had the Flat Topped 3.0 6G72 V6, which helped with access. (and made a very handy platform on which to set tools on!)
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Yeah, it's a new animal compared to the '90, which was the last of the original generation, but probably worth the hassle. My in-laws had a '98 Caravan in the Boston area for about twelve years before they stopped driving and it suited them very well in a suburban and urban area.

One important difference from a layman's perspective is that the wheel bolt pattern changed, so winter wheels or spare wheels won't bolt up. That generation is 5 on 4.5" like the Intrepid and other LH FWD cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's one of the things that struck me immediately, and I know it's a very shallow and unrealistic way to look at it - I look at the interior in my '90 and compare it to the '96, in those six years, there was clearly a huge round of cost cutting interior-wise.......Granted, I'm only 43 (with the tastes of my grandfather) but I happen to like all that fake wood they used to put in cars.....To me, the NYer Landau & especiall the 5th Ave of the early 90's were Chrysler's "Last Great Stand" so to speak.....
 

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One important difference from a layman's perspective is that the wheel bolt pattern changed, so winter wheels or spare wheels won't bolt up. That generation is 5 on 4.5" like the Intrepid and other LH FWD cars.
If the 1990 has 15" wheels it also has the 5x114mm bolt pattern.
1990 was the first year for the larger bolt pattern but only on 15" wheels.
 

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valiant67 said:
The engine compartment is tighter in the 1996. But removing the wiper tray gives pretty decent access.

Having gone from a 1991 van to a 1999, the 1999 was better in so many ways. The seats may have been a little more comfy in the 1991 but the 1999 wins on all other accounts.
+1! I had a 2000 T&C Ltd AWD and yes, the engine bay us much tighter, but other than oil changes, I didn't have to do much maintenance. When it did need a "tune up" I surrendered it to a mechanic. I just didn't have the time - we were going on vacation or something.

The seats in the T&C were the most comfortable seats I've ever had in any vehicle. Back in 2004 I aggravated the sciatic nerve in my lower back 4 days before we headed to Florida on vacation. I was most comfortable driving the 16 hours to my sisters house in Tampa than I was walking or laying down!

Keep in mind 1996 was the first year of the Gen III (1996-2000) minivans and there were teething problems. Quite a few had "issues". Sounds like this one may be a good one though.
 

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MoldyOldy said:
That's one of the things that struck me immediately, and I know it's a very shallow and unrealistic way to look at it - I look at the interior in my '90 and compare it to the '96, in those six years, there was clearly a huge round of cost cutting interior-wise.......Granted, I'm only 43 (with the tastes of my grandfather) but I happen to like all that fake wood they used to put in cars.....To me, the NYer Landau & especiall the 5th Ave of the early 90's were Chrysler's "Last Great Stand" so to speak.....
lucky for you, the 1996-2000 Chrysler T&C DID Have Fake Wood Trim!
 

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MoldyOldy said:
As you all know, I've been working on & off on my '90 Grand Voyager.....Well, one of my wife's uncles told me today that he's cleaning out his place in preparation for a move down to Fla, and his car's gotta go, he's not taking it with him.....It's a '96 Grand Voyager LE, with the 3.3.....The price is right (FREE) and to be driveable, it only needs a power steering line going from pump to rack (15 bucks) So, here's the question: I remember some people griping about the newer ones are even less user friendly, repair wise, than my '90 (tighter clearances, more BS to go wrong, etc).....Is a '96 an entirely different, more complex & costly to fix unit, or is it pretty much my '90 in a newer body? It has 115k on it, and from what the wife says, the guy was a fantatic on maintenance...Part of me says go for it, but the other part still has that nagging something for nothing, potential black hole thought......Comments, criticisms, and other ideas & feedback welcomed!! Thanks guys!!
How can a freebee car be anything but a no-brainer? If it proves to be no good, you can always sell it to salvage yards for quick cash.
 

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Look at what the cost of "free" is going to be. You have identified the "on the road" repairs, but what about...

1) Insurance?
2) Drivability repairs? (suspension, brakes, tires, etc.)
3) Parking?

It can turn into a money pit, but not if you go into it with eyes open.
 

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I would go for it. It's always nice to have a second vehicle just in case. My '95 Spirit has been very reliable so far (when I'm not being a moron and repairing things incorrectly), but when a 20 year old car goes down, it tends toward a major repair. Giving yourself some wiggle room with a job is always a good thing, i.e. it's good to know that you have alternate transportation when you're trying to do something like a front suspension so you can take your time and do the job right rather than trying to cram it all in in a day or two. Even if the second car turns out to be in a condition such that it really shouldn't be driven more than a few hundred miles at a time, that can be all you need to get the better car going again.
As for packaging, the Gen III vans are much tighter due to the "cab forward" design that came in with the LH and cloud cars. The A-pillar was moved forward, and the windshield given a shallower slope. From what I understand, the packaging was so different that it required a change in how the vehicles were put together at the factory. However, a '96 comes with OBD-II and a whole generation of experience and refinement to the A604/41TE. There IS more to go wrong, but parts are more common and the computers are sophisticated enough that they can point you in more of the right direction if something does go wrong than the primitive OBD-I computers you've been dealing with.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
" lucky for you, the 1996-2000 Chrysler T&C DID Have Fake Wood Trim! ".........Yeah, but even then it's not enough for me......and the leather interiors, when compared to the diamond pleated ones they used to put in the 5th Aves, is decidely "blah"........Not that it makes a difference anyway, because this one is either a Plymouth or a Dodge....I'm hoping it's the Plymouth, even though they're the same, because at least Plymouth has that "orphan / they don't make them anymore" cache.....

" I would go for it. It's always nice to have a second vehicle just in case. My '95 Spirit has been very reliable so far (when I'm not being a moron and repairing things incorrectly), but when a 20 year old car goes down, it tends toward a major repair. Giving yourself some wiggle room with a job is always a good thing, i.e. it's good to know that you have alternate transportation when you're trying to do something like a front suspension so you can take your time and do the job right rather than trying to cram it all in in a day or two. Even if the second car turns out to be in a condition such that it really shouldn't be driven more than a few hundred miles at a time, that can be all you need to get the better car going again.".........That's pretty much my exact reasoning.....we have a Honda Odessey that's the car from hell, I NEVER had a car that needed the level of work that thing had.....and it's a '97, the last year for the real Japanese ones with the "bullet proof" 4 cyl engine.....thing hit 100k (which is NOTHING for them) and it was just one thing after another.....Thankfully, I'm self employed & do the home office thing, so on a GOOD week, maybe I'll put 75 or 100 miles on it.....I mostly go over to the town highway dept to pick up their free firewood, so that's about the harshest duty it'll get......Which is why I put my '90 back on the road...I'm not gonna drop that kind of cash for a new(er) car just to use it as a hauler half the time.....
 
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