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Old 01-13-2004, 09:12 PM
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Dodge 1987 mini ram van (cargo) - info help?

Hi,

Does anybody know about a 1987 dodge mini ram van (3.0L, v6)?

I have one of these (cargo van) with 196k miles on her and it's been running damn well. It's only required a water pump and a new tranny since I'v e had it.

I want to KEEP her running well and learn about it - but can't find a mini ram van service manual. I'm VERY impressed with this cargo van and I've decided to run her till she decides it's over before I move on (hell, I may buy another dodge cargo again based on this longevity).

Anyways, I wanted to know:

- I'm getting poorer fuel mileage all of a sudden, as well as getting faint smells of gasoline every now and then (which isn't normal since I've had it). Besides fuel line leakage, what other items should I inspect that might be the cause of this?
I'm thinking it's either a o2 sensor issue, or fuel inj problem (so far). Any ideas on possible causes and cures?

- where is the o2 sensor on this?

- where is the fuel filter?

- what type of spark plugs and cables do you reccomend?

- what type of tranny fluid and filter is correct for this vehicle?

- Oil: I'm using castrol high mileage 10w-30 now for regular oil changes (although there are no apparent leaks for it's age incredibly). Is this a good choice? Or do you recomend other?
Oil filter recs?

- I just got new struts recently and $ is tight, but what kind of rear shocks do you reccomend knowing it's been consistently hauling my hammond organ around town (500+ lbs musical instrument)?

- It needs new motor mounts. Is it possible to do new motor mounts myself? Or definitely get somone else to do it?
Dealer only...or can most places do this?

- only other real outstanding problem is heat related (heater inside the car). It takes a while to warm up, and it never really gets that warm. I have to keep the fan on med to low as the high fan speed makes it even cooler.
Can anything be done about this? Tips?
I suspect a bad heater core and suspect it to be a ***** to replace...true?

- heater pt 2: Of course, I only would care or notice this in the wintertime, but I'm wondering if it could lead to serious cooling issues during the summer.

thanks a ton and sorry for all the q's,
JD
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Old 01-13-2004, 09:33 PM
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You're kidding ....Right???
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Old 01-13-2004, 10:50 PM
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I think they are just caravans with less windows,mechanically identical methinks.
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Old 01-13-2004, 11:00 PM
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r u sure its fuel injected? It might have a carburator, in fact, probably does. Likely one of your fuel lines is leaking, check all of them.

Follow your fuel lines from the tank to the motor under the car, you'll find the filter either close to the tank or close to the motor, not in between.

Ask the guys at the parts store about shocks

If it has an O2 (again, make sure) its in the exhaust somewhere close to the front of the vehicle before the cat. It will be actually threaded into the exhaust with wires coming out, you can pull it with a wrench.

you can do your motor mounts yourself... no offense, however, but I'm not sure you have the experience nessisary, its not too hard but it takes knowhow. Be safe too.

CHeck with the parts store about plugs and tranny stuff. Don't use champions

Oil is fine

Filter: STP are good, dont do fram.

stock cables are fine, just get any cheap one, you're not putting out enough spark to make it matter.

heater: flush it with a radiator flush and replace the thermostat, should improve.

K
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:28 AM
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LOL, actually I'm not kidding, but that question had me laughing.

Yeah,I'm still a noob having fun learning while i've been fixing up a rescued s-10 and needed to ask about this dodge. I wanted to run by all I want to take care of.
And no, it's not anything fancy other than it's the hammond work horse.

I thought it was a caravan as well, but some garages claim there are some differences. I don't know.
It is fuel injected and has an o2. Fuel lines seem ok as I looked at it today, but I'll check again cause that was my first guess. You can only smell gas at times while running, but I'm not seeing a leak in the lines or smelling any fuel odor when it isn't running.

I would most likely need to lift the engine a bit to install those motor mounts...correct? This is why I ask.

Yeah, any decent shocks will do I guess (this instrument is always in the vehicle btw).

Spark cables: I've heard some brands are more reliable than others, I'm suspecting a set of low cost cables I just bought at shucks. Just looking for quality (lasting) cables and wanted to ask you gurus.

I think there might be more involved with the heat other than the thermo (it was replaced about a year ago). I'll flush the radiator and see what happens, but I'm suspecting a plugged heater core.
Let's say it is, is there anything I can try to unplug a heater core?
How easy is it to get out the heater core?

thnaks
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
I'm getting poorer fuel mileage all of a sudden, as well as getting faint smells of gasoline every now and then
Check your fuel pressure regulator seal and your fuel filter. I had the same problem on a Ford it only smelled for a short period when the engine was cold. Then everything would seal with heat.

Regards
Mark
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Old 01-19-2004, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jag Daddy
Check your fuel pressure regulator seal and your fuel filter. I had the same problem on a Ford it only smelled for a short period when the engine was cold. Then everything would seal with heat.

Regards
Mark

So I am going to replace the fuel filter, and the service manual states I must depressurize the fuel line before removing anything.
How important is this? Will i just get a bit of fuel leaking if I didn't do this first and no biggie...or is it really important.

What fuel filters do you reccomend (a mopar or a shucks\fram filter or other)?


I'll check that seal as well. This thing is due for new sparks as well.

thanks,
J
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Old 01-20-2004, 05:40 AM
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a word of wisdom from someone who's been there,don't invest too heavily in this vehicle.
I have a 94 in excellent condition, at 185,000k.m. I started having heating problems.(before this I spent several thou, paint struts sway bar, bearings tie rod ends , you get the pic)there was no water in oil or vise versa,just poor heat, two thermostats later(seem to help some), (but not).flushed the system, no avail.
at about 205,000 km. going out the highway she ***** the bed,
warped the heads, the motor is toast.
I bought an 89 because it had a fresh built motor,(with slips). the owner had it replaced and only went abut 1000 miles and the tranny went.he told me the exact same story of how the motor failed.(my same story).
my van (until the last day)ran like a top , you could hardley hear it run.dont let this fool you.
have the heads checked before you put any money into this vehicle,I didnt, and i wish i did. mike
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Old 02-04-2004, 11:33 AM
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rsm vsn

that was supposed to be "ram van"

yea, you have to lift th motor up. I used a short 2x4 lol, a hydro jack under the pan, and a smaller bottle jack from frame to block.
loosen both up or disengage them, then adjust block to reassemble. get all threads on before you tighten anything. and be prepared to work your *** to deth.

my dodge smelled like fuel recently and then all the sudden was not starting come to find a fuel inj. broke seal and was leaking. 85$ at napa. If you remove nany of the inj. the o rings need to be replaced. the ones towards the intake burn/harden somewhat. get those at napa for $1 or pay the dealer 15$ a set.

If there is no leak you need to look at a severe maintainance cycle for the rest of its life. you can do a compression check at the helicoil to make a quick check of the heads.

you can service your fuel inj. for about 50$ that will help some you can also check resistance on them to see if the circuitry is there. the dealer has a service manual for abuot 100$ it has every stock spec. worth the money!

otherwise, fuel comsumption is just one of the many signs that an engine is in need of an overhaul.

r4r
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