Cliff it or Keep it?

I have a 1994 caravan/ 5 speed / 2.5 / 240000 miles – The problem is – it’s still running ! Over the last few years I’ve replaced the exhaust, brakes, tires, shocks, ball joints, etc. The car just passed inspection… The bad news is the head is starting to leak… The last owner replaced the head and gasket, but the job failed. I realize this is a disposable car and mopar has stopped making some parts … but it still runs … Any thoughts ?

Well, it’s clearly your call, but if you can keep a vehicle on the road (and safe, or relatively so considering the safety devices built in) for less than a new car/van payment, then you’re ahead, money wise. Couple other advantages: If you wreck it, heck, it’s a 94 caravan, oh, well; and insurance is cheaper than on a new vehicle.

The repair is clearly more than the Caravan is worth. Do you need a van? Can you find a replacement vehicle that doesn’t need as much work for the money you would put into the van? If you can afford a newer car and you are tired of the Caravan, get rid of it. Otherwise, you should keep it if you think the rest of the van is in good condition.

Parts won’t be hard to get so don’t let that be an issue. How much do you think it’ll cost to keep driving it? I wouldn’t put a lot of money into a Caravan with 240,000 miles. It’s lived a full life.

I would “run it into the ground”, as they say. Keep driving until it gives up the ghost. Putting more money in is sending good money after bad. It’s led a long and useful life.

Keep driving till it breaks down or are uncomfortable with that feeling.

ANY vehicle will run forever with a luck, easy driving style and an owner who keeps maintaining/repair it. At this point though its personal decision.

Thank you,
I’ve already run it into the ground, crashed it into a tree, and left it sitting all winter; and it still runs… I put bars 3 step stop leak in last year till I discovered the head bolts had not been torqued or re torqued from the last repair.
The van isn’t worth much, but the body is all one color, no dents or rust, all it needs at the moment is a head gasket…

How much is the head gasket repair going to cost? A '94 with 240K miles is likely only worth a few hundred dollars if resold, but if everything else is in good mechanical condition and you are planning to continue to use it until it wears out it may very well be worth the cost of the repair. For what it would cost to have the head gasket replaced you’re not likely to find a car that’s not going to need repairs either when you buy it or shortly afterward. If you’re mechanically minded, got tools and don’t mind getting your hands dirty it wouldn’t cost much to make the repair yourself. If you’re not familiar with how to do the work a repair manual such as Haynes or Chilton’s could probably lead you through the repair.

I have a 2000 with 130K miles and as much as these have solid engines, the rest of the car is somewhat needy. Now you also have a bad engine. When you factor in the cost of repair vs buying another car, also do the math on extra gas burnt by this car. Unless you are buying another large car, if you replace this with a regular sedan your gas use would be less. It will depend on how much you drive. Also depends on how inconvenient a breakdown would be. Is the vehicle able to serve its owner’s needs?

You ran it into a tree, and yet, the body is all one color, with no rust or dents? Good job!

You have a durable old vehicle that is cheap to drive and keep running. Unless you just want a new or different car, you may as well keep driving this one. Replacing a head gasket on this vehicle will probably be cheap as far as head gaskets go (I would guess a few hundred bucks and definitely well under a thousand, including a new timing belt and other incidentals). Since it just passed inspection, I suppose it’s fair to guess it’s solid enough to drive for at least another year. If you fix this issue and drive it that much longer, the repair will have more than paid for itself. These really are simple, durable vans. I knew someone who had one with the 2.2L Turbo, and it also wouldn’t die. The 2.5, by the way, is tougher but weaker than the 2.2L Turbo, and the five speed will last forever if driven reasonably.

This sounds to me like a prime candidate for giving the mechanic in a bottle a shot - liquid, head gasket repair in a bottle. Although, I must admit that my suggestion has a lot to do with me wanting to hear of the results if you try it.

If you have no coolant in the oil I’d just keep driving. But at the first sign of coolant loss, I’d be giving it a whirl.

Whats gone bad???The head or head gasket? You may want to do a home head gasket job if thats what it calls for. You wouldnt be out much…Then drive it till it dies

Thanks! When the van hit the tree, the damage was just to the rear hatch, and I found anothe for 75 bucks.
I bought the van @ 160,000 because the engine had a new head and gasket, but it failed. I used the 3 step bars stop leak and it has bought another year.

Did you try re-torquing the head, that would cost you next to nothing. I think these head bolts are supposed to be one time use, but on a van with this age and mileage I wouldn’t worry about that.