This is a second car…driven maybe 2-3000 miles per year . Has 90,000 on it. Brought it in for AC work and oil change. Mechanic was kind enough to provide a list of issues. Need opinion on if any of these could leave me on the side of the road…or just run til it dies. Leaking steering rack, harmonic balancer “wobbling”’, lower intake seeping oil, oil pan rusting with bad gasket. Car runs fine, AC gonna cost $1200, not sure another $1200 to clean up the rest of the list is worth it.
Your list raises a few questions:
How bad is the steering rack leaking? Is it just wet with residual oil around a seal, or is it dripping? If it’s the former, you can likely top it off once/year (since you drive so little).
A wobbling harmonic balance, if true, is a concern. I would get a second opinion to verify it’s wobbling. If it is at risk for separating, then get it fixed.
A lower intake seeping oil wouldn’t bother me. How bad is it leaking?
Is the oil pan rusting such that it’s about to break through? Or is the pan gasket leaking such that it’s excessive?
If it were me, I’d go for a second opinion.
I have a 95 Caravan that I am still driving, which I bought new. I have 102000 miles on it. I have had to replace air conditioning condenser. AC works great now. The steering rack has been dripping a little bit and I put sealer in it as I filled it. After a bottle of sealer it seams to have stopped leaking. I put a new timing belt and water pump on it about a month ago because the water pump started leaking. It is the 3.0 engine. I think the bigger engines have timing chains. The old timing belt still looked brand new. I really can’t see why the harmonic balancer would be wobbling as it is held on by a pretty hefty bolt (on the 3.0 anyway). My van had a leaking head gasket a few years ago so I replaced that lower intake gasket that you talk about. It wasn’t too bad of a job. If it is not using to much oil I wouldn’t worry about it. The biggest problem that I don’t like with this van is the peeling paint. A lot of vehicles had this problem around that year because of something to do with the primer that they used back then. Haven’t had any issues with the oil pan. Again, if you are not using too much oil I wouldn’t worry about it. My van gets used for all of the running around town by my family to save on our other vehicles. Not the best looker but, runs great.
@friz, the harmonic balancer bolt being loose is typically NOT the problem.
What typically goes wrong is that these balancers are made of two parts which are joined by a vulcanizing process. And that fails. And then you have one part still held on to the crank, by the bolt, and the other part has fallen off, taking the belt and other components with it.
Mercedes-Benz 112 and 113 engines used to have this problem. The manufacturer eventually came out with an improved part and a service/recall campaign.
I worked at a Benz dealer for over 9 years. And I replaced LOTS of balancers. The bolt was never loose.