92 Caravan - when to give up

Just curious what you folks consider as time to pull the plug on life support and let an old friend go...
I've got a 92 Caravan with 188k miles on it. 3.0 v6 and 3-speed automatic.
Bought it used 9 years ago with 84k, and it has treated me very well over the years. The last 20k miles, it has gradually gotten a worsening, resonating noise, only at moderate accelleration, and typically after it has warmed up a bit. And rarely (but increasing a bit in frequency) when you put it in drive first thing in the morning, it won't catch gear. Put it in park, rev the engine a few times, then it works just fine. I had it in the shop last week to get new brakes and state inspection. It did the trick of not wanting to catch gear first thing in the morning (cold day) and then they of course noticed the noise also. They're saying it's a bearing (bearings?) in the transmission getting warn...which can also cause some vibrations, etc. (I think the problem is yet another bad rebuilt front axle, but that's another story) The not catching gear is supposedly the hydraulic pump not working well first thing in the morning. They tell me one of these days it just won't catch gear at all. But...overall, it still seems to be doing quite well... I know about zero about transmissions...
So...not wanting to let my old friend go, I cross my fingers and call a reputable local transmission repair place. They quote me roughly $1900 for a rebuilt. :-( Not sure the old girl is worth it....
What would you do? Sell it quickly before it goes out? Wait till it dies and have someone haul it away? Put a rebuilt tranny in it? Another option I've not thought of?
I hate to see it go, but I don't want to keep throwing good money away...cost me $300 to get brakes, exhaust, and a few other things done so it would pass inspection... I'll drive it at least a while to get my money out of that. :-)
Thanks in advance,
Wesley
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"pinion" or carrier bearing apparently went bad. It got noisy. Then the shifting got erratic - with delayed engagement. A fluid change with conditioner helped for a while, but it continued to get worse. I started looking for a replacement tranny. Mine was a 3 speed. The wreckers wanted over $800 for a tranny with 200,000 km on it. I finally found a very low mileage tranny from a late model spirit 3.0, and I snagged it for $300. two years later I started getting suspension noise and steering rack problems - so I sold it with 242,000 km on it. I'm now facing the question with my '94 TransSport. It has 340,000km plus on it now - new engine went in at 275, rebuilt tranny at 295,000. The driver's floor is weak - fibreglassed a few holes last month - and inner rocker panel is also perforated. I'll continue to drive it for the winter for sure - will likely patch the rocker - but the next indication of "major" repair requirements will get me looking for another vehicle. We have 2 vehicles, so if and when it dies, I'm not totally stuck, but I prefer to be able to buy a vehile on "my terms", not when my old one dictates.
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On Fri, 15 Dec 2006 03:49:54 +0000, Wesley wrote:

Go to KBB and look up the value. I know for a '92 Ply Grand Voyager with AWD and 127,000 the value is $1,830 in fair shape, $2,500 excellent. Which means I couls sell it as is for about $400. The difference from $400-1830 is $1400. So, I COULD dump $1,400 into it and have it where it should be, but then it would be in Good condition, which would be $2,245. Should I do it? Nah...I bought a Mazda for $150 and put $500 into it. The car is worth $680 in fair shape, but I would say after the work it is in Good condition, which is $1035. So, I'm ahead of the game, and the van would have been too much for me. Needs an engine, ABS controller, doors and suspension work. Too bad, I REALLY liked the van.
So, weigh it out and see what you get. If the body is in good shape and doesn't need anything and isn't rusting and the thing is worth it to you, then go to a boneyard and try to get a good tranny.
If you had a 3.3 liter I'd sell you my tranny...it's the only GOOD thing on the van!
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Wesley wrote:

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Wesley wrote:

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O

Try to buy a used car off the lot for $1,900. You replace cars when they are crunched in an accident, not when the need wear repairs.
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