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Discussion Starter #1
As many of you know, strut tower corrosion affects many 1996-2000 minivans. (These are also called Generation III and platform NS.)
Chrysler (Mopar) recommended a way to repair the problem.

There are many posts in allpar and other forums where an owner tried to help the community by describing how they repaired the problem. I am grateful to them. But few followed the method recommended by Chrysler (Mopar). Most just improvised. I wondered why. Maybe the owner lacked confidence in Chrysler's method, or felt it was difficult or expensive.

Or maybe the owner improvised because the Chrysler instructions are not online, or because the Chrysler instructions could be worded more clearly. Maybe some were misled by the Dorman instructions which have a serious error. That would be a shame. So I gathered some information to clear the air.

1) The Chrysler instructions are included in the kit with fasteners. I bought that and scanned my hardcopy and added comments to it. I posted it here:
http://home.comcast....ithComments.pdf

2) Dorman sells a kit. They sent me their instructions, which seems derived from the Chrysler instructions, but omits the adhesive step. When asked, Dorman admitted their mistake. I commented on their instructions and posted it here:
http://home.comcast....ithComments.pdf


In a week or two I plan to follow the Chrysler method on my 96 Caravan.
http://home.comcast....osionPhotos.pdf

If you have followed the Chysler procedure I welcome your advice.
 

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Wow, this makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. According to your pdfs, the @##$%^&s at that bodyshop that repaired mine did the repair half-assed and then lied to my face about it.

What I have are two caps that are riveted on, that will be prone to water and road grit and probably aren't as strong as the factory towers. And I went here on Allpar, and spouted off these stuffhead's half-assed approach to the repair as the correct approach.

I guess if it is any constellation, I already stopped going to that shop when they tried screwing me by lying and claiming that my temperamental check engine light was caused by bad fuel injectors. And I planned on buying a Ford Focus in six months anyways, once I have enough saved for a down payment. I am so angry right now that I feel like marching down to that shop with an aluminum bat and well, you get the picture.

I feel like such an idiot right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
... bodyshop that repaired mine did the repair half-assed and then lied to my face about it.
... I feel like such an idiot right now.
Don't blame yourself. I'd blame Dorman, for printing flawed instructions for their kit. Also, the Chrysler instructions were not on the web; that is why I posted them. It doesn't help that Chrysler can't or won't answer any technical questions about the repair over the phone. For that you can call Lord Fusor - they answered all my technical questions competently.

Given the prevalence of this problem, many body shops have seen this problem. But none of the reputable ones would perform the Chrysler repair. ( "Reputable" = mentioned at AAA.com or at www.collision-insight.com). Two body shops (not on the reputable list) that have done it would not discuss adhesive with me.

So I'll have to do it myself. The TSB says it should only take 4 hours (one side). The most expensive part of the job is having the pneumatic tools, especially the $500 pneumatic riveter.
I hear from another forum member (djcarr274) that a long-handled manual riveter one can't get to all the rivets. Also an ordinary electric angle drill won't reach all the holes, but that plus a long (e.g. electrician's) drill bit will help finish the job.

I haven't seen the Dorman kit to compare the quality to the Mopar kit. The cap from Mopar weighs 1.2 Kg = 2.64 lb. The rivets look very strong.

Beware. Do not buy adhesive past its shelf life (18 months from manufacture). Ask before placing your order.
 

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Don't blame yourself. I'd blame Dorman, for printing flawed instructions for their kit. Also, the Chrysler instructions were not on the web; that is why I posted them. It doesn't help that Chrysler can't or won't answer any technical questions about the repair over the phone. For that you can call Lord Fusor - they answered all my technical questions competently.

Given the prevalence of this problem, many body shops have seen this problem. But none of the reputable ones would perform the Chrysler repair. ( "Reputable" = mentioned at AAA.com or at www.collision-insight.com). Two body shops (not on the reputable list) that have done it would not discuss adhesive with me.

So I'll have to do it myself. The TSB says it should only take 4 hours (one side). The most expensive part of the job is having the pneumatic tools, especially the $500 pneumatic riveter.
I hear from another forum member (djcarr274) that a long-handled manual riveter one can't get to all the rivets. Also an ordinary electric angle drill won't reach all the holes, but that plus a long (e.g. electrician's) drill bit will help finish the job.

I haven't seen the Dorman kit to compare the quality to the Mopar kit. The cap from Mopar weighs 1.2 Kg = 2.64 lb. The rivets look very strong.

Beware. Do not buy adhesive past its shelf life (18 months from manufacture). Ask before placing your order.
Hi HJ-

I agree with you that this repair is done best when using the Chrysler endorsed method. I did so last summer and my results have been quite satisfactory. A few observations from my experience- You'll need a full large tube of the Fusor Adhesive for each side. They sell small and large tubes- one large or two small per side would be my recommendation. The thicker your coating of adhesive, the tighter the bond. Whatever squeezes out after riveting can be easily wiped away. Also, I used a long handled manual for the first side riveting job and, you're right, you can't get to all the holes for the rivets. However, for the other side, I purchased a manual angle riveter from Ace Hardware for ~ $30 and it worked perfectly. From my reading, the rivets are there to hold the cap in place while the adhesive dries, and the angle gun got the rivets in place nice and tight. Also, the adhesive gun I bought for ~ $60 and it worked ok, but it's a little messy. All in all though, it does the job and I'm real satisfied with the repair. I'd be willing to sell the adhesive gun and the angle riveter if you're in the market for either one. Best of luck with the repair!
 

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HJ,

Thanks for the detailed post and instructions! I'm getting ready to tackle this on my 2000 GC and there is one thing I'm not clear on:

Did you drop the strut out of the tower to make the repair? I've read other boards/posts and I was under the impression that the strut had to come out first, however the instructions make no mention of dropping the strut.

Thanks again for taking the time to post this.

-Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As I said, I have not done the repair yet. So it is very good to hear from those who have.

mmcpher407 for example did the Chrysler endorsed method. He found that one large tube is enough. (Because the instructions say 1.5-2 per side, I'm going to have 2 at hand). He added that a manual riveter can do the job. That is good news - the best pneumatic ones can be expensive. So I ordered a Marson 39005.

djcurd asked whether you have to drop the strut out of the tower. He correctly noted that the instructions do not mention that, but some members choose to drop the strut. It is clear to me that you do not have to drop the strut. I think that some members dropped the strut because they chose to weld.

Lord Co told me that Fusor 112B is acrylic, not epoxy. Acrylic sticks better to metal than epoxy, and has the right strength and hardness for this particular repair. Remember to remove paint and rust down to shiny metal because the adhesive is designed to bond bare metal to bare metal. Also, never weld near the adhesive - it cannot take the heat.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I put the instruction back online - my mistake - sorry. I also realize I had given the wrong URL for the Dorman instructions. I corrected it below (I could not fix my original post above)

1) home.comcast.net/%7ENSminivan/forAllpar/MOPAR-StrutTowerCorrosionRepair-withComments.pdf
MOPAR instructions (with comments by HJ)

2) home.comcast.net/%7ENSminivan/forAllpar/Dorman-StrutTowerCorrosionRepair-withComments.pdf
Dorman instructions (revised by HJ)
No bodywork shop would touch this project due to liability and to lack of familiarity. So a friend and I implemented the repair on my Caravan two years ago. The process was fussy and awkward but only took a few hours. The result is perfect even after two years. I am very impressed by the Fusor adhesive and by my friend's patience.
 

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My drivers side tower was way beyond the "cap" fix. There is an OEM complete tower part available just so people know. For some weird reason the passenger side is more than twice the price as the drivers side ( drivers seems to be the more common to rot). Approx. $324 vs $138 @ Chrysler Parts Direct.

These cars are getting old and long in tooth now but a fix is available and a good body shop can do it or if your a really good do it yourselfer you might be able to do it and even by possibly using just a portion of the complete tower piece. I chose to have the complete tower replaced but my car was still in really nice condition with low miles for the year.

See my post here http://www.allpar.com/forums/topic/124272-rusted-caravan-strut-towers-and-how-to-fix-them/?hl=+2000++t#entry11083890
 

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I know this is resurrecting an old one, but what size (in ounces) are the "large" and "small" bottles of Lord Fusor? I see you reference them but I don't want to order 4 large ones and find out I only needed two (or order two small ones and need four). Thanks!
 

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Just my thought about the whole tower issue..........I think Chrysler should step up and warranty EACH and everyone of those vans. Seen many with this problem! Poorly and cheap metal. Just giving my 2 cents worth.
 
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