87 Dodge Caravan - moisture problem?

Hello, My son drives our old Grand Caravan - it’s running like it needs a new distributor cap, especially in wet weather (stalls then too). Cap, rotor, wires, plugs, etc. new. Last rotor lasted about 6 months & was melted. Mechanics can’t find where moisture would be getting in, or why rotor melted. Can anyone please help? I am afraid to let him drive it but he needs to get to college classes. Thanks! Kathy K

Just A Thought, My Older Dodges (cars) Had A Factory Installed …

… black plastic “distributor splash shield”. It covered the front half of the distributor, including the plug wire boots on top of the distributor. It didn’t really seal up anything. It was a deflector held on by 2 screws at it’s base. Dodge must have thought these were needed or they wouldn’t have gone through the trouble and expense to put one on each and every car.

I’m not sure if the Caravans had one or not. Your’s may have it still installed, maybe never needed one or came with it, or maybe had one and during the last couple of decades, it got removed, misplaced, or thrown out. The part would be easy for someone lazy to decide it was “not necessary” and difficult for a mechanic to realize that it was missing. Maybe your son or mechanic knows if it’s there.

A dealer may be able to tell you if they show one in their parts catlog for your van. They will want to know what engine you have like 2.2 or 2.6 or 3.0. An Auto Salvage yard may have a van with one on it, for next to nothing.

I don’t know if any of this helps or not, but there it is!
Good Day!

Thanks very much - I will definitely look into that. It does seem water must be getting in - I don’t recall seeing any such thing in there when I looked under the hood - but you are right in stating something could have been removed somehow.

This is a great idea - and I appreciate it. The van has just over 100K on it and other than that (and no cruise, no air, and no radio!) it should be able to run for at least another 50-100 (we keep 'em til they fall apart, & usually keep things fixed, but the cruise & AC were cost prohibitive - the radio has a cassette stuck in it & I can’t get it out, but that’s a minor problem!). I hope this kid graduates someday & gets a car of his own, but in the meantime, this is it. Thanks again.

You’re welcome!

I got thinking about that shield. It has to come off to access the cap, rotor and spark plug wires. It is held on by 2 little screw that go into a flange on the aluminum distributor housing, I recall. One time those screws fought me (corroded) and finally came out. I can see where if they were a decade or two old, they may break off or have to be broken or drilled out, or the shield broken off to access the distributor. If that’s the case, and if it needs the shield, it wouldn’t be too hard for someone to come up with a method for attaching it.

I hear you! I’ve got a son just finishing college this year. I had to help him get his own car.