2005 Chrysler Town and Country 55k repair issues


#1

Should this van need an egr valve and swaybar bushing at this mileage? It is driven 300 miles a week 98% highway.



Oh and the throttle body flush to fix the sticky throttle first came up at about 28k, I was told that it is a 30k maintenance item, then again at around 42k and now needs it again at 55k??



I had a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan that went 170k without all this crap…I am very disappointed in the problems with the T&C.



Any advice and/or empathetic sharing of experiences will be appreciated. TIA


#2

Sadly, bad anti-swaybar bushings have plagued the Chrysler minivans since the 1996 redesign, so that one is legit. Have them replaced with Moog thermoplastic bushings, which last a lot longer than the originals.

HOWEVER:

If you check your owner’s manual, you’ll find that a “throttle body flush” is part of absolutely NO regular maintenance stop. A sticky throttle can usually be fixed with judicious of aerosol throttle body cleaner, available for around $5. A fairly easy DIY job, too. A faulty EGR valve would be very unusual at that age and mileage. Why are they saying it’s bad? It’s probably covered by your 7year/70K mile powertrain warranty, BTW. Is your “Check Engine” light on?

I’m going to guess that this is a dealership feeding you this malarkey. Find another dealer for warranty work, and an independent shop for everything else.


#3

If your check engine light is not on then chances are the EGR is not bad.


#4

It could need anything at that mileage, or nothing. There are a wide variety of expectations for the whole Chrysler line. It could be that the work isn’t needed but it doesn’t sound really awful. Chrysler stands for good quality from other companies.


#5

with that much highway driving you should not need an induction system cleaning every 30k miles unless you’re prone to driving around with a poor running vehicle with the cel illuminated, etc. that does not sound like the case here.
with a complaint of a sticky throttle the original cleaning could have been justified. i assume this cured the sticky throttle problem.

if your vehicle appears to be running well then pass on this. it won’t hurt but it’s not a necessity.

i don’t know about the egr fault. how was this determined? any check engine light on, surging while going down the road, etc.


#6

my '01 T&C needed sway bar links at around 45K. so yes, they could be necessary. i am curious about the throttle body cleaning. when you took it in, was it suffering from some problem? or did they just come up with this idea to “clean” your wallet as well as the throttle body?

you mention a “sticky throttle” what was going on?


#7

Thanks for the feedback, this looks to be a fairly active forum…Yes, this is a dealer situation, I have gone to the dealer for the 10 buck oil change deal from the time I purchased the vehicle, knowing of course to beware of any other thing they tried to sell me, several of which I have declined. I am an engineer by nature, work in the field and am mechaically adept if I have the proper tools and guidance. I always ask techinical questions which of course they can?t or won?t answer, I love the look on their faces when I start hitting them with this stuff( a 50 yo woman is not supposed to know these things, heehee) so I always research to look for information before making a decision?.that?s why I am here.

Regarding the EGR valve: yes the engine light was on, I was on my way for said oil change when the engine light came on; yes the engine is surging, mostly at speeds between 25-50 mph. They tell me that the EGR valve is not covered by 7yr/70k warranty which only covers mechanical drive train components…and the 3yr/30k just ran out, of course. Hmm but I wonder, does the 3yr warranty start the date you purchase the vehicle?? If so I may have them there as the 3 yrs does not end until July

The throttle body flush first happened at around 24k, the accelerator pedal was sticky at the top. Had to give it a little more push than normal to get it to move initially. I asked them to look at it, again during an oil change visit, and that was the diagnosis and they told me it was a 30k maintenance item. $90 later it was fine…until about 40k. Now at 52k it’s doing it again. I’m sure it?s a design or manufacturing issue, but of course Chrysler is not going to pay for taking care of it.

I have read that a faulty EGR and or PCV can foul the throttle body and the injectors?(oh did I mention that injector cleaning was on the estimate also?)…which kind of makes sense, but don?t mean it?s right. Like pleasedodgevan said …it could need anything or nothing?.my 98 grand caravan needed none of this crap for 170k.

So?I need to look for a reputable independent mechanic?.difficult for me to trust anyone in that biz. I used to be able to fix almost anything back in the day before things were jammed in with a shoehorn and run by computers. I know I can?t do the swaybar bushings?but maybe the EGR valve is accessible and needs nothing to special to install. Detailed illustrated instructions for throttle body and injector maintenance is my next quest.


#8

http://www2.partstrain.com/store/?D=sway+bar+link&Ntt=sway+bar+link&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=Main&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&N=10008+1589+4294966999+799&Nty=1

go here. see what the sway bar link actually is for your car, what it costs, and now that you know what it looks like and can readily find it, look to see if you can do the swap. they are really easy. (provided you can lift the vehicle, and supprot it correctly.)

compare the price from the chryco garage parts i think they are around two and a half times higher.


#9

sorry, i forgot the other part of your question.

were you having a “clunking” sound over bumps? the sway bar links are susceptible to failure. they are a plastic bushing on a steel rod, (who knows why chryco made a plastic bushing in this application, oh well.

the next thing to go will be (IMHO) the sway bar bushings. you can look on that parts train web site under body parts i think for sway bar bushings http://www2.partstrain.com/store/?N=10008+1589+4294966999+11921+9314 , to see what they are, and then look under the front to find them.

do you live in a dusty area? buy a spray can of carb and choke cleaner. find the elliptical cam that the accelerator cable runs to on top of the engine. (if you need help have someone else push the pedal, and look under the hood for the movement) spray all the moving parts. THAT is the throttle body cleaning your car needed i would be willing to bet. but at 2.99 for the cost i would think the dealer needed to make more profits, thus the cleaning of your wallet too.


#10

You can get the scheduled, and unscheduled, maintenance performed much cheaper at an honest (yes, Virginia, there are some) independent repair shop. Get only warranty work (and recalls, if any) done at the dealer.

Fuel injectors:
Gasoline has fuel injector cleaning agents in it (required by law). The only thing which fouls injectors is in the gasoline which passes through them (waxes, varnishes, etc… which most fuels have). Unless there’s a bonafide problem with the fuel injectors, they DON’T need any more cleaning. If they do, there are products at the auto parts stores that you pour into your gas tank to do that (Sea Foam, is one).

PCV valve and intake tract:
When fuel is burned in the combustion chambers, some of the burnt gases pass by the piston rings into the crankcase (bottom of the engine). These burnt gases are drawn back into the engine through the pcv (positive crankcase ventilation valve). The gases carry carbon, ash, and oil particles which get deposited (over time) on the walls of the intake track, throttle plate and body, intake manifold. They pass into the combustion chambers, and out the exhaust. Use a carb/throttle body spray cleaner to clean these (internal) deposits. These deposit can make the throttle (plate) stick at idle.

EGR valve and intake manifold:
Exhaust gases contain carbon, ash, incompletely burned oil and fuel. Some of this gas is sent back to the engine through the egr (exhaust gas recirculation) valve, and on, into the intake manifold . The particles of stuff get deposited in the passages to the egr valve, in the egr valve, and in the passages after the egr valve.
For the dealer (and some shops) there is much more profit in changing the egr valve than cleaning it and the passages. The same thing (deposits) will happen to a new egr valve in X # of miles. EGR valves, and their passages, CAN, and should be cleaned. Of course, you’ll be lied to that it can’t, or shouldn’t, be cleaned. Here is an egr valve: http://www.partsamerica.com/productdetail.aspx?MfrCode=NIE&MfrPartNumber=FE3582&PartType=282&PTSet=A
This stuff is simple enough (with the Haynes, or Chilton’s Repair Manual) for a neighborhood novice mechanic to do.


#11

3/30 does not equal 3yrs=55k miles??? re-read above.


#12

the new car warranty as provided by the car maker begins on the date the vehicle is placed into service. if the vehicle begins life as a dealer demo or rental car in july and you buy the vehicle in december then the warranty period actually began in july. since you’re over on mileage it’s a moot point.

your comments about being an engineer and one-upping whoever you you’re conversing with at the dealer raises a bit of a red flag. at the dealer you’re probably having your conversations with a service advisor. the najority of serv. advisors have no experience as a mechanic and may have little mechanical aptitude so not a lot of weight should be given to the “i’m smarter than them” part of this.

chronic problems with the throttle body, idle air valve, and egr system means there is a root cause for all of this. consider maintenance habits, or lack thereof, as possibly contributing to the problem.

if you intend to repair this yourself i would strongly advise that you do some serious reading about the subject first.
“dirty injectors” are seldom the cause and having an egr code present does not automatically mean the egr valve is the problem.

since you’re an engineer, may i ask what branch of engineering you’re involved with?


#13

Yes, you are absolutley right! DOH!..My Bad. Wishful self delusion on my part.


#14

If you happen to live in California and the van has the CA emissions package, the EGR valve is covered under the “long-term emission control system DEFECTS WARRANTY” for 7 years/70K miles, as per the warranty pamphlet for my '05 Pacifica.

But I’ll bet you don’t live in California.


#15

Yes, there was clunking over bumps. They said sway bar bushings for $11parts + $80labor, which seems reasonable.
Not much dusty, 99% asphalt driving…but I will look for that cable cam.


#16

Today I think I got a line on a good mechanic…we shall see.

Good explanations, thank you…I covet the chilton manuals.


#17

Yup warranty issue is moot?.I fessed up above.

I realize that the service manager is not a mechanic, sorry for not being clear, it was the mechanics that I have dealt with over the years that I was talking about. I’m not looking to “oneup” anyone, more like “I’m not as dumb as they thought”. If someone lies to me while trying to take my money, I surely will gleefully grin over them finding out that I am not as dumb as I look, and it has happened more than several times over my years. I have dealt with good mechanics too, ones that once they understand that I have some knowledge are more than willing to explain the situation more technically.

Could well be the issues have a root cause…and it could be lax air cleaner changes…good point.

These days I don’t tackle any job over my head without guidance and backup, but I will still research to understand what I am paying for someone else to do and decide if I am not up to the job or can’t do it cheaper…

I am not a degreed engineer, I am a design detailer. I take the engineers (or my) concepts for an improvement or problem solution and detail them in real size and shape on the tube and in situ …then follow with fab, install and debug. I have worked in the parenteral pharmacuetical equipment field for 18 years.


#18

Nope, I’m in Michigan…“defects” warranty huh? Interesting.


#19

So if I change out or clean the EGR myself, will the engine light go off by itself or will I have to go to someone who can get into the computer system to shut it off or reset it??


#20

Many auto parts stores will scan and read the trouble codes. The scan tool they use should have a code erase function, which turns the trouble light off. They do this for FREE. You can use carb/ throttle body cleaner on the deposits. Spray. Soak. Scrape. Wire brush. Spray.