1995 Plymouth Voyager

I hate to admit it, but I think I have been a stupid buyer. My husband and I bought a used 95 Plymouth Voyager. We bought it knowing that the AC will need to be repaired. It has a bit less than 122,000 miles on it, and seemed to run well. The price was right and we were a bit desperate for a vehicle. I checked the oil for metal shavings, no issue there. We (stupidly) did not really check anything else. Yesterday I noticed a very slight lag when I hit the gas, but then it drove great. So today, I was driving down the street and there is an aweful whine coming from the engine every time I press on the gas. The whine got louder, and finally it would not engage when I hit the gas. This lead me obviously to check everything. As I am checking all the levels I notice several things: there is virtually no coolant, and there is a rusty looking gunk in the coolant tower. The air filter has a rusty or burned spot on it (it was literally crumbling). I don’t think it has been changed in several years. I checked the transmission fluid, and it almost seemed as if there were too much. We will certainly be taking this in to a mechanic asap, but finances are tight right now. We will be putting in a new air filter and coolant. Do you think that will resolve the whining problem? Could a clogged air filter and lack of coolant cause that kind of issue? In addition, what services do you recommend us performing to save this vehicle. We have to have a running vehicle. Is it saveable?

It is really hard to say what the status of the engine and other things are without looking at it. I assume you meant the radiator when you mentioned coolant tower and it is good it had something in there. You may have to spend more than you want to on getting the engine and other things back to good running condition. One thing you have going for you is the low mileage on the vehicle considering its age. If you keep this vehicle you should consider replacing all the fluids to give you a base line on the replacement of them later on.

The coolant problem is the one most likely to be serious. The coolant has to have gone somewhere, and the rusty gunk could be simple corrosion (you best hope) or a sign of a more serious headgasket breech. Coupled with the other symptoms, all I can offer is my sincere best wishes.

Until you get this to a shop, keep a careful eye on your coolant and your temp gage if you have one. And watch the ground for puddles of coolant. If the engine starts to get close to the red zome of the gage, shut it down…don’t let iot overheat. It may have already been overheated and doing so again could ruin it.

Be sure you’re checking the tranny fluid as instructed in the owner’s manual. And wipe a bit on a clean white cloth…smell it and check the color.

Don’t “beat yourself up” over this. Everyone makes mistakes.

If the air filter was as bad as you say, that could certainly contribute to the problem. I’m thinking about the whining and the car not moving and I’m wondering if maybe the catalytic converter is plugged.

I think your best bet is the shop now, hopefully it’ll be something simple.