On a Chrysler 3.8 in a minivan, the back 3 spark plugs and difficult to reach. Anyone have tips on how to change these hidden pieces of porcelain?
What year is this minivan? Most of the 3.8 Chryslers are pretty easy to change the plugs in. The last one I did took 20 minutes for all six plugs! The older ones with the big aluminum plenum are a bit tougher to do. Removing the intake snorkel and, sometimes, the throttle cable brackets may help. Other than that, you could get a plenum gasket and pull the plenum to get to them, but you then run the risk of getting junk in the intake that doesn’t belong there and damaging the engine. Many transverse mounted V6 and V8 engines are difficult to work on, but if you learn to just “go by feel,” they are not so bad.
It is a 2000 model. It took me hours the last time I did this on a '97. I ended up removing a little support strut on the driver’s side and could reach 2 of them. On the passenger side, I had to take off the alternator and all the mounting hardware to reach the last one. . Hence, this thing has 107K on it - original plugs, to my knowledge. I’ve been driving it since 37K. It starts and runs fine but fuel economy is suffering. I’m debating the wires. What do you think?
I would think there would be misfiring and a check engine light if the plugs or wires were bad enough to affect fuel efficiency.
I would suspect the air filter, wheel alignment, tire pressure, thermostat (>4 y.o.), dragging brakes, proper oil viscosity.
Has a new fair filter, just a couple weeks back. I use 10W30 oil. It hasn’t been aligned forever; since it tracks straight, I hadn’t bothered. I do watch the tire pressure but had a brake problem about a year ago. I installed new pads on the front and cleaned up a caliper.
The 96-00 generation is the worst as far as work space. Some have changed it with removing the wiper crawl. Some do it from underneath with a lot of extensions, but you will need good stands.
I took it to the shop for the rear 3. The guys were first surprised why I only changed the front ones myself. Two hours and $100 later they learned.
I’ve considered your solution - paying somebody to do the back 3. I told the guy I bought the '97 from (as well as all the others I have had) that I had changed the plugs. He looked at me kind of funny and asked, “All of them?” Yea - all of them!
Oh, I took my book with me and watch them do it. Actually he ripped one wire, and agreed to split the price of the new wire set with me. Mine had 75KM at the time and I wasn’t planning on changing the wires, but then thought maybe they are old enough to be changed.
On the 2000, it is suggested to remove the wiper motor assembly and access the back row from the top of the engine. I was able to get 5 of 6 without doing this from below. A bit of advice…don’t pull the plug wire unless you are SURE that you can reach the plug. You can count on the plug wire coming apart, so you might as well buy a set of new wires and do the plugs and wires at the same time. My 2000 Caravan was the most reliable car that I have ever owned…bullet proof. Every time that I opened the hood and looked at the engine, I got the heebie-jeebies thinking that one day I might have to actually fix something in that jumbled up mess…I feel so sorry for wrenchers having to work on this nightmare.
Just because it tracks straight doesn’t mean it doesn’t need an alignment.
Interesting. I guess the one behind the alternator is the worst. I say that and knew that I won’t be able to get to it, so I said let them at least do all three so they can charge me and feel good about it.
On the reliability thing I couldn’t agree more. We bought this van with 60KM and I had to change the rear shocks the 1st week, mostly because the bushings were gone but also because the shocks weren’t great either. Other than that I have just done regular oil/ATF and coolant change and now we are close to 100KM. The roof and hood paint is starting to fade under the CA sun, but at half the price of a foreign van it was well worth it. I always buy used and have had a lot of Japanese cars but this has been the most reliable so far and it gets a beating from wife and kids. I am knocking on wood.
Yes, the one behind the Alternator is the bad boy…
I thought that removing the alternator would be the key, but once I saw how much of a booger it was to do so, I surrendered.