98 Dodge Caravan Help & Advice?

I just bought a used 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan 107000mi, and we love how
comfy it is inside... but the only thing is since we bought it we have had some trouble with a lot of things. When we first test drove the
car, it worked great accept for some weak breaks which my husband has repaired,.. there were no belt noises, no smell of oil leaking, etc.. he is a DIY.
After we brought the car home, within the first week,.. we realized there was a small oil burning smell when we would get out of it. He said he saw a drip while working under the car, but has no clue as to where it is leaking from.
We have replaced the belt to a gator belt, due to belt squeeling.
Then my husband fixed the breaks. We bled them, and they seem to be working well accept they squeek a lot now only when stopping. My husband says the fluid looks black, and he showed me what it is supposed to look like. Not cool,...
I wonder how much maintenance was kept up on the vehicle, (it's oil changes, lubes, tires etc.) as we found when replacing the breaks, they
still had the OEM pads, etc. The rotors were eaten alive and we have replaced those as well.
Current problems are as follows...
My service engine soon light is on, was before replacing the belt, and stays on consistantly now.
My breaks squeek more than I think they should when stopping.
*** (my biggest dillemma now) There is a slight vibration at the front of the car when stopping, or using the break, turning etc. and when at lower speeds seems to vibrate more in lower gear and lose some pick up until it reaches maybe second gear. We almost thought this was the belt
still slipping, but realize now that's not it.
We are about to change the trans. fluid out with the reccommended fluid, not a power flush, but we assume maybe the guy who sold it to us, may have used the wrong fluid and replaced it before actually giving us the car? Hence the problem after the test drive.
We are also anticipating giving it a tune up, but I hear the spark plugs (rear) are hard to get at. It is not an easy job compared to my Saturn, there is more of a tight fit to get at things in this one.
The engine runs hot, although you wouldn't be able to tell by the needle on the dash. But when I pop the hood and use the stick that holds up the hood,.. I can burn myself easy, it's so hot.
It's a V6, but I was wondering if it were normal that it uses so much gas?,.. seems excessive.
I'm wishing we researched this model more before buying it.
I just left an over 10 year old Saturn that we invested a lot of work into. I'm sort of disappointed with the new used Dodge since my husband
hasn't had a weekend off since we brought it home :(
Thanks for any advice, Juliet
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Assuming that you didnt have the vibration before doing the brake work tells me your problem is due to the work/parts installed. More then likely your husband purchased the cheapest pads on the market with a very high content of metal in them and thats where the squeaking is coming from. As far as the vibration goes.....did he purchase cheap rotors? You say the belt was squeaking, normally that is due to a bad tensioner, at the mileage the tensioner should be replaced if it wasnt already. The Tensioner has to be able to spring back freeely and cannont be crooked or you will have problems. As far as the engine lite is concerned your gonna have to get the fault code that is stored before I can give you any kind of info on that problem. Engines run hot......dont touch them!!! And why would you sell a car that you dumped alot of money into and buy another one with so many miles on it just to start all over again dumping money into it?
Glenn Beasley Chrysler Tech
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damnnickname wrote:

That's a possibility...
As far as the vibration goes.....did he purchase cheap rotors?

The belt seems to be doing fine now thathe replaced it with a gator belt. I believe he replaced the tensioner as well, and checked for it's springy action and alignment.

Just took it today tothe local shop, two codes came back.

I didn't actually put my hand "on" the engine,.. just the stick that holds up the hood,..
And why would you sell a car that

The Saturn I did not sell,.. it was a 91 with 280,000 mi on it. It went to the junk yard... after all the work we put into it, the motor siezed.
and buy another one with so many miles on it

I'm not rich! and don't have the money to get a "new" vehicle, I only had enough money to buy this Caravan for $2000, which ran fine when we test drove it, until the next day after we brought it home. This was going to be our reliable family vehicle, even though used. Such a dissapointment.
Thanks for your advice and comments.
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Here is the update from the mechanic down the road,..
Also,.. when i brought it home the oil smell and smoke coming from the engine is worse than before I brought it to him?
Has P1494 LDP failure, not to be concerned with at this time. Has a P0305 cyl #5 misfire code. Transmission doesn't shift out of first. Max
is 30mph. Misfire might need a tune up on it, but might also be valve issues that dictate new cylinder heads. Has timing belt been done?
Juliet
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Are you asking me if the timing belt was replaced? This should be a 3.3 3.8 engine without a timing belt. And it sounds to me like you purchased a vehicle with to many problems.
My opinion
Glenn
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Update:
I brought the Caravan down to the local Dodge repair shop and they gave me a list of necessary repairs totalling almost $4000.00! This included a rebuilt transmission and many more individual repairs at $200.00 or more. A small carfax check on the vin came back 21 items, but I am not paying for the report since I have returned the vehicle and got most of my money back.
As a result I brought the vehicle back to the guy who sold it to us for "a friend", and gave me his "as is" speech. I bought that van from him on 9/12/06 for $2100.00.
After arguing with him, he finally offered $2000.00 in cash back to us, after I threatened to contact authorities or courts... He also stated that he would change the tranny fluid out and was sure the van would run fine, and asked me if he could getting running right would I take it back. My father was with me, and he told the guy, your being unfair, and unreasonable.
I could not believe after I showed him the service report that he actually suggested putting the vehicle back on his lawn and would sell it for me? I hated the idea that this guy is going to sell this van off to someone else after changing out the tranny fluid... I definately refused that offer, and told him not to do that. Now he has it with new brakes, new gator belt, new tensioner etc,.. bet he'll try selling it for more.
This guy sells dodge from his front lawn, and I'm almost positive he knows these models and knows how to temporarily patch them to get the running just long enough to make the sale. I'm also almost positive that he does not have a dealers licence and uses the I'm selling for a friend excuse to try and not be in any trouble. He doesn't work, and we always see him walking the three mile several times a day. If this guy is a scam artist he is good, because he made new parts and money off of me. He also stated before giving the money back,.. if your going to believe everything Dadge says then I can't help you. Is the Dodge service center unfair? Could the car not have a bad tranny?
Now that I have my money back, less $500.00 that I also lost fixing and repairing the van, it's service diagnoses, and less the $100.00 from the sale, I am feeling like the way all this transpired and some of the things he said have me concerned...
The vehicle is still in my name, he has the title only signed by me and he had me put my phone number in the corner of the title. I can hear it now... "I'm selling it for a friend, if you have any trouble here is her number"
My husband drove by yesterday and saw him washing off the vehicle getting it ready for sale again. Is this guy running a scam,.. and have I done everything I can to protect myself? as I have nothing to show I no longer own this vehicle. He also asked if he could keep my Dodge service slip, and I let him, I don't know why. But I assume Dodge has it on record now, so anyone can get a copy with the vin, which I might do to try and further protect myself. I'm thinking of sending a friend over to seem interested inthe vehicle just to see what he says.
Thoughts...
Juliet
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