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Discussion Starter #1
OK, I think it's time to dump my wife's Odyssey...my first and LAST Honda, talk about an over-rated piece of cr^p....So anyway, I have my eye on a couple of the older Caravans with the 4 cylinder engine. One is a '93 with the 2.5 and 35K on it, and the other is a 2000 with the 2.4 & 65k on the clock......I'm a little more inclined to go with the 4 cyl, because they have the 3 speed automatic, so I'll be avoiding the whole Chrysler overdrive fiasco (I'm still not 100% convinced they ever fully addressed all the issues) So the basic question is, which is the better engine? I know the 2.4 puts out more power, but I always thought of the 2.5 as one of those "reliable dinosaur" engines, like the slant six....Thanks!
 

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2.5 TBI did not have multi-port fuel injection, had less power than the 2.4.
 

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I'd probably vote for the 2000 with the 2.4. My 2nd son drives one in a mini-van and it performs easily as well as my van with the 3.0.
The Gen 3 minis also ride a bit nicer than the Gen 2 models.

On the other hand, the 2.5 Gen 2 van setup is far less complicated and is pretty easy to work on. It may end up being cheaper to maintain in the long run.
 

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KOG
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The better engine is the 3.3. We've got 604s with over 200K on them now. Changing the fluid every year ($20) seems to deal with any problems they might have. Both the 2.4 and the 2.5 are alright engines, but they're just like a /6 in a pickup. Overmatched by too much weight in a minivan and they don't like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, the rationale for the 4 is that it'll be the wife's car, and 95% of the time, it's just her and our 2 1/2 year old son, so I don't think weight or acceleration will be an issue. The Honda it'll be replacing is the 1st gen Odyssey, with the 2.2 and power has never been an issue for her.....For real grunt work, there's my old Grand Voyager with the 3.3......my only grumble about the 3.3 is the near total lack of access where the belts are, and who ever designed the oil pump in that thing should be shot!! If the oil pump in my van ever goes, it'll probably have to hit the yard, because the labor would eat you alive & I don't want to get involved in that level of a teardown!
 

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The 2.4 is a more powerful engine, and a V6 would probably be your best bet for power, but forget about trying to do maintenance and repairs on a 3.3. I don't really know much about the 2.4 in terms of reliability, I know one of my uncles has a 2.4 Stratus that has had a couple of issues, can't remember exactly what with, but I recall that he was underwhelmed with the car as a whole. Then again, it is a Dark Age (Daimler) model year. The 2.5 is bulletproof. It's not a performer, it has little power, and with a vehicle of that size, you may have to push it harder than it wants resulting in lower gas mileage, but parts are cheap and it's the sort of motor that you feel like you could fix with a roll of duct tape, a ball point pen and a pair of vise grips if you had to. 35k is extremely young for a 2.5 as well; when maintained properly, they can and will clock over 200k. The 3.3 is also a very nice engine, very solid and dependable. Again, not a power beast, but it will feel nicer than driving a 2.5. Packaging is a major concern though, you can't access anything in the engine bay of a post-96 V6 van. I probably wouldn't hesitate to buy the 2.4 either; with the exception of some sludging problems on the 2.7 V6, Chrysler builds good engines, and have built good engines for a long time (think /6 and 318...). I would go for the 2.5 simply because I have no experience working on the 2.4, but neither one is a bad engine.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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KOG said:
The better engine is the 3.3. We've got 604s with over 200K on them now. Changing the fluid every year ($20) seems to deal with any problems they might have. Both the 2.4 and the 2.5 are alright engines, but they're just like a /6 in a pickup. Overmatched by too much weight in a minivan and they don't like that.
Very much agree with this! The 3.3/3.8 engines are just as bullet proof as the 2.4/2.5's. One factor to consider, the 2.5 uses regular copper plugs that need servicing every 30K or so. Not sure what year Chrysler started using double platinum plugs - I know my '00 T&C Ltd AWD with the 3.8 had double platinum plugs. Recommended interval was 100K and I went 148K. I agree the V6's are not easy to service from '96 on, but the servicing intervals for belts/plugs/wires are significantly longer.

Fuel mileage wise the 4 cylinder engines are only 1-2 mpg better than the V6 equipped van's. The minivan's are simply too heavy for such a small engine to get significant better fuel mileage. The 4 cylinder engines have to work harder longer to do the same work as a V6.

FWIW - I haven't heard of many oil pumps on the V6's failing.

As KOG stated, I wouldn't be worried about the 41TE/A604 - keep the transmission fluid/filter changed on a regular basis and they'll last. Mine had 161K on it when we traded it - wish I'd never traded it in. For the 3 speeds being "bulletproof", the only transmission I had fail was the A413 in my '92 Acclaim - at 191K the clutches wore out. Go figure. Oh and my '06 Ram 1500 with the 545RFE (electronically controlled) has over 170K and is performing fine. Chrysler must have figured something out.

A 4 cylinder minivan may work for you, but IMHO, a V6 version is just far better.

And yes 35K is rather young for a 2.5. Even 65K is not old on a 2.4.

Another factor to consider is your family is young. Even if you don't have more children, your son will grow... Mine's 6'1" and in college now.

Good luck in your decision.
 

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The 2.4 in the minivan is similar to the 2.4 used in the JA cars, like my '98 Stratus. It's got 188000 miles on it (as does the 41TE transaxle) and has gotten basic maintenance to get it this far.

The head gasket has been replaced, as has the timing belt. Those are the only "major surgery" items.

The bigger thing to watch out for on the 2000 minivans is the strut tower rust.
 

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Have over 260,000 miles on the 2.4 and 40TE 4 speed in my 2004 PT Cruiser. Great engine AND transmission. Only thing I've changed on the transmission is the fluid and filter. The oil pressure swicth failed on the 2.4, so that and a belt tensioner are the only non-maintenance items I've changed on the 2.4L. My wife's Concorde had the 3.3 and that was a great engine.
 

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I would have to go with the 2.4 also. The 2.5 is good and strong and all that, but it is getting to be an older design and all that, but the 2.4 has been quite the good design, reliable, not too bad to work on, less tune-up parts on top of it to boot. Belts get changed, so that washes on both engines. Impress the wife with the newer of the two vans, little things impress them when they are worth it.
 

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Some 2.4 powered minivans got the 4 speed auto, some got the three speed auto so shop carefully.
In the real world, the 2.4 probably won't save you much gas.
 

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I prefer the 1995 down minivans with the 3.3L but; they are getting old with parts availability starting to become sketchy. Of the two minis the OP is looking at; I'd also go with the 2000 MY with it's 2.4L assuming it's in decent shape :)
 

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The minivan powertrain charts here on Allpar list is as available for 1996 and 1997 then going away for 1998-2000. I glanced at the EPA site and it lists the same as well.
 

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At this point I would say, since both engines are good, you can move away from that concern and and deal more with the amenities, handling, overall condition of the van itself and how your wife likes the way it fits her needs, no?
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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I never really had problems with my A604 either. I had problems with the head gasket on the 2.4 in my '97, but those problems were probably attributable to a botched under-recall repair. My in-laws had a '98 with the 2.4L and the overdrive and didn't have any problems with it.
 

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I think a majority of the transaxle problems can be attributed to the wrong fluid being used.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The overdrive in my '90 Grand Voyager has been working well (FINALLY!)....when I first got it, it was acting up and the dealer put SEVEN new ones in....I finally got so disgusted with it, I just parked it at my dad;s house and left it to rot.....Until a couple years ago, when out of desparation I took matters into my own hands & re-investigated it...New solenoid pack off of eBay for 70 bucks, a good flush & fluid/filter change, and a speed sensor, and it's been going good since....until it started making a noise that may or may not be the differential output bearing (see my other post "Weird Intermittent Noise" for details) After my miserable experience with that Honda, I told my wife if it's gotta be another minivan, it'll only happen if it's an Aerostar, Astrovan or older Chrysler.....I don't know how much of the Aerostar's bullet proof nature comes from the fact that it's a Ford, and how much is due to it being rear wheel drive.....
 

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My parents had a new short length '93 Aerostar, their transmission had to be replaced not long after the factory warranty expired. Fortunately Dad had bought an extended warranty on his own that covered it with a very low deductible, first time for him that such a warranty actually paid off.

I found the van borderline dangerous. I had an incident where a little bit of water on the road from a yard sprinkler was enough to break loose the rear tires on a right turn and leave me facing almost 180 degrees around. Granted I was not a massively experienced driver at the time, but it was never sure-footed in wet conditions and the topheavy eighties Isuzu Trooper was preferable in the rain even though it was significantly underpowered.

Now, for a time at work I drove an early model Astro, it was much more roller skate like. If I had to have a RWD minivan I'd probably go with one of those, but would be inclined to upsize to a Dodge B-series van at that point if the wagon-type body was a real requirement. It is unlikely that I'll ever be in this situation though.

For what it's worth I've driven Dodge full size vans at work every day for a decade now.
 

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MoldyOldy said:
The overdrive in my '90 Grand Voyager has been working well (FINALLY!)....when I first got it, it was acting up and the dealer put SEVEN new ones in....I finally got so disgusted with it, I just parked it at my dad;s house and left it to rot.....Until a couple years ago, when out of desparation I took matters into my own hands & re-investigated it...New solenoid pack off of eBay for 70 bucks, a good flush & fluid/filter change, and a speed sensor, and it's been going good since....until it started making a noise that may or may not be the differential output bearing (see my other post "Weird Intermittent Noise" for details) After my miserable experience with that Honda, I told my wife if it's gotta be another minivan, it'll only happen if it's an Aerostar, Astrovan or older Chrysler.....I don't know how much of the Aerostar's bullet proof nature comes from the fact that it's a Ford, and how much is due to it being rear wheel drive.....
Our first minivan was a '93 Aerostar 3.0L V6. Picked it up used with only 44K on the odometer. It was what we could afford at the time. Had 3 kids at the time and God would soon send a 4th one (God has a wonderful sense of humor) and we needed something bigger than the Acclaim we had.

I'll admit the Aerostar was a major pain to service - had to jack the front up and remove the tires and work through the wheel wells to service the plugs. It was bullet proof in that the engine and transmission never failed, but it felt like the rest of it was falling apart around it. Had to replace the radiator at one point, pinion seal leaked (dealer fixed it and it still leaked), fan clutch had to be replaced, and the most aggravating thing was the interior panels (held by screws) were always coming loose. I serviced the transmission once and the fluid came out black - thought it was toast. Buttoned it back up with a new filter and fresh fluid and it went fine to 203K miles - fluid never got that dark again. We called it "The Beast" due to its truck like driving. The '00 T&C Ltd AWD we had next drove like a dream compared to the Aerostar.

The only thing Ford did right on that vehicle was the heater core. If you need to replace it (I never did though I though I needed to), the heater hoses had quick disconnects at the firewall, then remove the glovebox and the heater core was in a panel behind it. Remove 8 screws and the core was right there. No having to tear the entire dash apart to access it.

Comparing the two vans, the T&C was just more user friendly - not necessarily easier to service.
 
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