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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I read somewhere that one year of the third-gen series short wheelbase got the 3.8. Anyone know what year that would be?
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #4
Normally I use the discount auto parts websites to figure out engines, but Autozone lists the 3.8 in very small production numbers (like 3%) for each year '96-'99, but not 2000. I just don't entirely trust that.

I'm just keeping it in mind. Sometimes one can find extremely low miles vehicles, and when it's time to replace the wife's Integra we might also have to deal with kids, and I like the look of the third-generation van best. I like the Caravan Sport in particular as they styled the bumper covers a little different than others, and I've seen a red one with black wheels with machined-off metal-finish rims that looks particularly sweet.
 

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The 3.8L was standard in the AWD which was LWB only. I've only seen 3.8L's in LWB and I would have to consult a sales brochure to see if it was even available as an option or special order for SWB. No doubt that one could be fairly easily retrofitted into a SWB.
The 3.5L H.O. almost made it into the RS minivans, but was nixed along the way. Many underhood serp belt routing labels in the 2001-2002 era have belt routings for both engines. Maybe some were built.
The 250 HP 3.5L wouldn't be the ordinary grocery-getter minivan. It fit in the engine bay, but the rear bank would have been probably hard to service (spark plugs). The 3.5L was also a different engine family (and wider) than the 3.3L/3.8L engines which made it more difficult. The 3.5L was the common Pacifica engine and the 3.8L was the only other engine choice for a couple of years.
The new 3.6L Pentastar minivans are pretty quick.
 

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Vaguely badass...
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Having owned both 3.3L and 3.8L minivans, I have to say that for some reason I prefer the 3.3L. It might be that the power differences between the two didn't seem to translate into much in actual driving, and the extra fuel used seemed to be a waste in that regard.

I still prefer the Grands over the SWBs, but I will admit to looking recently at SWBs. I like the space, and the SWBs fit in the garage. Been looking at Pacifica's, too.

With the kids, I'd definitely go minivan, though.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #7
We don't have kids yet so actually finding a van isn't high priority, but I like having information.

My in-laws had a '98 Caravan with the 2.4. It honestly did feel a little underpowered, but in the greater Boston area was adequate for retirees. It usually had the middle seat pulled, rear remaining at the back, and cargo put in between.

When I was a teenager my parents had a Ford Aerostar. At work for a time I drove a Chevy Astro. If towing isn't needed then the Chrysler is definitely a better van than the other two, even with the four cylinder instead of the six...
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #9
Eh, I'm at a point in my life where I can afford the fuel exchange for the power and style I want.
 

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I remember seeing the 3.8's in the standard wheel base minivans in 1998 when my 1998 Town and Country was purchased. It was in a 1998 Caravan LE. Never drove it though, wasn't looking for a SWB van. But saw the sticker, I was like is that right? Looked under the hood and there was the 3.8. To be honest though I haven't seen one since.
 

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To AJ Schreiber. I have had three 3.0 L engines. 89 New Yorker, 93 Caravan and a 97 Caranan. They were all very reliable,and had a lot oif miles on them. No smoke or leaks.
 

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I've had 3.0s 3.3s and 3.8s all with a lot of miles. There was a lot less work getting the 3.3 and 3.8 to that mileage, even ignoring the 3.0 smoke issues.
The only advantage the 3.0 had was being available with the three speed auto in some years/vehicles. But I've had better luck with the 4 speed autos than the 3.0 engines.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #13
I remember seeing the 3.8's in the standard wheel base minivans in 1998 when my 1998 Town and Country was purchased. It was in a 1998 Caravan LE. Never drove it though, wasn't looking for a SWB van. But saw the sticker, I was like is that right? Looked under the hood and there was the 3.8. To be honest though I haven't seen one since.
Maybe they introduced the 3rd gen with the 3.8 in the SWB but found sales so poor that in the interest of streamlining the order process they just dropped it...
 

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If I were to buy another 3rd gen van I'd look for a 99 or 00 LWB with the 3.3 or 3.8 with the 4 speed, and once I received the van I would immediately change the transmission fluid and filter with MOPAR ATF+4
 

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The shorty kinda became nothing much more than loss leaders. When the Grands first came out and for several years afterwards you could find loaded short and long vans. Then people who wanted the lowest cost vans seemed to be the major market for the short vans. once you got past a certain point, there seemed to be plain short vans and then plain and loaded long vans.
 

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I have (still) one long wheel base '92 PGV SE and one shorty '05 Caravan SXT. Both are 3.3 with the 4sp auto. While the '05 has a few more bells and whistles, neither is what I would call "loaded". Great vehicles, both of them, but not loaded.

[sub]Right here on good old Allpar, there 's a set of tables with engines by year, at least up to 2000.[/sub]
[sub][sub]http://www.allpar.com/model/m/minivan-engines.html[/sub][/sub]
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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So it looks like for the 1996-2000 Caravan (Short wheel base) the 3.8L was available as an option for some trim levels :

1996 - optional on the Caravan LE and also optional on the T&C LX (SWB)*
1997 - optional on the Caravan LE and also optional on the T&C LX (SWB)*
1998 - optional on the Caravan LE and also optional on the T&C LX (SWB)*
1999 - optional on the Voyager SE, Caravan SE//LE
2000 - optional on the Caravan LE

*3.8L not an available for Plymouth Voyager 1996-1998. T&C LX was the short wheel base - LX/LXI was the long wheel base versions

Not sure but for 1999-2000 T&C not available as a SWB (LX).

So in answer to the original post, yes, some SWB minivans had the 3.8L as an optional engine. The question is how many were produced and survived.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #18
Yeah. I know. Basically I'd be looking for a big-V6 version of what my in-laws had- when they stopped driving a couple of years ago due to age their '98 Caravan I4 had only 28,000 miles on it. If it hadn't had the beginnings of rust developing at the tops of the shock towers in addition to being the four cylinder then perhaps we'd have had more interest.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #20
Well, if it's a native-Arizona, southern California, New Mexico, or Texas-sourced van I'm not expecting it to be that difficult. Obviously with the number of transplant retirees here though, I have to be careful if the vehicle was brought in from out of state.
 
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