I really like my van. Kids are growing but I still have lots of them to taxi. So, I am not ready to go back to a 5 seater. Im afraid my van has always been a bit of a lemon but I have patiently dealt with it and am up to 106K woohoo! The thing is, it has become a gas guzzler at about 12mpg - 14 mpg. I replaced the catalytic converter twice like the dealer suggested but still no improvement. When I add LUCAS fuel conditioner, it improves to about 16 mpg but thats the top. What else do you recommend? I am not really in a position to change the car (or really want to, the minivan is really confortable for the family)
If your driving is around town, your miles per gallon might not be too bad. You might check the simple things first:
Check to see that the tires are inflated properly to the tire pressures which are usually listed on the left door frame.
Make certain that the odometer is registering all the miles that you have travelled. Interstate highways used to have an odometer check–a measured distance by which you could check your odometer.
Is the thermostat allowing the engine to warm up quickly to operating temperature? Look at your temperature gauge and see if it is in the normal operating range when the engine is warmed up.
Gasoline is often blended differently in the winter than in the summer. The winter mixture doesn’t provide the mileage of the summer mixture. You also might try another brand of gasoline on the off-beat chance that this is the problem.
…and check out your owner’s manual to make sure that all of your maintenance is up to date - things like spark plugs, filters, etc. Simple things like a dirty air filter can make a noticeable difference.
What was the fuel economy before? What year was the minivan made?
Without knowing the specifics, I can’t verify that your fuel economy numbers are not ordinary.
We have an '02 T&C and really like it also. Along with the other suggestions you may want to have the exhaust analyzed and see if the engine is running rich. If it is, then perhaps the coolant sensor for the engine isn’t working like it should be and is causing the engine to run a rich fuel mixture.
[b] I replaced the catalytic converter twice like the dealer suggested [/b]
That makes me thing of two things. Mileage problems seldom are caused by a catalytic converter and you certainly should not have needed two new ones in 106K.
Running rich can damage the converter and it can cause poor mileage. The Lucas treatment is interesting. I would suggest that at best it is hiding the problem but not fixing it. That said all the other suggestions tend to make sense as well, but two converters is not normal.