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Will She Make It ?

Old 05-20-2009, 02:10 PM
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2
Arrow Will She Make It ?

Our villager has 400,000 on it & still runs strong, no oil leaks...engine seems strong, the only issue is that when you come to a stop you have to put it in 2nd gear before you take off to prevent stalling...other than that she runs great to have so many miles !

What could the problem be ?
We are on the west coast & need to get back home to the CAROLINA's, do you think she is safe to drive still or should we sell the van for scrap & lease a car?

Would love any thoughts & TY.
Old 05-20-2009, 04:52 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 1,361

Sounds like the transmission is sticking in 3rd gear. The action of forcing the trans to kick down to 2nd seems to allow it to go into 1st for take-off. When was the last time the transmission was serviced? if it's been a long time (at least 100K miles) I'd wait until you get back to the east coast to service it since it may be the gunk that's built up in it that's holding it together. Just keep using the downshift trick to get it to cooperate. If the transmission has never been rebuilt, it probably is in need or at least clutches. You'll definitely want to go easy on it as much as possible though until you get it serviced.

First thing though... with the vehicle off, check the motion of the cables around the throttle body (accelerator cable, cruise control cable - should be on the same side, and transmission cable if it's old enough) If it doesn't have the transmission cable (should be on the opposite side of the bracket from the throttle cable) then it may be a dirty/bad throttle position sensor, speed sensor, or other sensor that may be confusing the computer that's controlling the transmission. Then again, the trans may just need new fluid. I'd put some transmission additive in it just to see if it will help, but again, you may not want to if the built up gunk is what's keeping it running unless you are willing to do the full rebuild before making the coast to coast trip. Transmissions can be finicky that way.

Some other folks may give some clues too. The more I think about it the less I think it could be a shift control issue and the more I think it's a gunk issue. Definitely make sure the fluid is up to the right level. With the vehicle running (and in the warmed up state - like after driving around for a while), pull the transmission dipstick and make sure you have enough fluid. if not, just top it off. If the fluid is amber or smells burnt, you'll probably have to rebuild the transmission before the trip or during the trip. But the van should give you many more years of service after a rebuild.

You definitely have an amazing van there. I've never heard of a villager having that many miles on it. 200K maybe before overhauls/rebuilds/junking. So as my mantra goes, if it ain't broke, don't replace it, but if it is broke, fix it. I like to drive cars until they start rusting through or until the cost to repair them is more than a new (to me) car.
Old 05-20-2009, 11:30 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 543

i would check condition of trans fluid and also think about cleaning up some of the bolt ons connected to the upper intake. so many miles worth of buildup in the throttlebody and accessories could cause issues along with fuel filter and other things...

to make the trip, i would get a few thing checked out and cleaned up prior to a trip 3000 miles.
Old 05-21-2009, 01:04 AM
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2

Thank You Guys,

I was wrong on the milage, it has 306,000.
My wife really wants us to drive this van if we can make the trip safely.
I'll check out everything & let you know what we decide, we can't afford to have the tranny rebuilt if that became an issue so that is why we said it may be best to just sell it local, lease a car & buy another van when we get back to the Carolina's through craigslist just as we did this van...we only paid 600.00
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