The thing was one it's way out, anyway, but I tried to change thw water
pump, and broke the tensioner bolt off...also broke a bolt off on the
Well the steering was getting wonky, so I think I'll take this as an omen.
Now, does anyone know of an AWD Caravan/Vger available in New England for
about $500 or so. It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to run halfway
Oh...the damn water pump was OK... :(
LOL! It ain't worth it! The thing has a bad head, and was running on
borrowed time anyway! Besides, where the bolt broke requires removing the
engine to get a drill in there, and if I were going to remove the engine,
I'd get a different engine!
It had this problem:
Rocker arms / rocker arm pedestal breakage
One problem - relatively common but still rare overall - with the 3.3 and
3.8 is rocker arm pedestal breakage.
John "Auto Tech" wrote,
"I honestly don't know of any way to prevent it from happening but I do
know of a repair that can be done 'on the car' and it works without
replacing the head. (To begin with it needs to be understood that the head
is "already ruined", the proper repair procedure is to replace the entire
That being said, this make shift repair has worked on 6 or 7 heads that I
have seen with my own eyes. You need to remove any existing threads from the
broken pedestal (so a longer bolt will pass through) and drill out the head
below to make new threads. The drilled hole WILL break through the head
casting so the helicoil installation needs to be precise. I don't recommend
this head repair for your average do-it-yourself person and if you have any
doubts then fix it right and replace the head.
1.. Remove the rocker shaft and the broken tower.
2.. Drill out any threads in the tower.
3.. Drill out the head below the broken tower and install a Heli-Coil in
the head. Now you can install a longer bolt through the rocker shaft and
tower that will hold the entire assembly to the head.
This repair is a cost cutting way to get the job done without having the
expense of replacing the head. This is NOT the proper fix for this problem
and should only be attempted by someone who's skilled in drilling, tapping,
and installing helicoils. Since the area is not only subject to high heat
levels but is also a high stress point on the head (thus the original
pedestal breaking) this repair needs to withstand extreme conditions daily.
I'm sure you will understand the proceedure in full once you remove the
valve cover and verify that this is the noise your hearing. One final tip,
be sure to consider how long the engine has been run since the noise began.
I've done this repair with great success but only if the engine hasn't been
run once the pedestal breaks. The clattering noise is created when the
pedestal is being slammed into the head at it's point of breakage. Every
time it hits the head it causes metal particles to break off and enter the
engine. If too much metal has gotten into the oil, the engine will not last
very long after the repair is complete.
The name-withheld engineer wrote: "if a mechanic reinstalls the rocker shaft
on an engine that still has the lifters 'pumped up,' he must allow for them
to be bled down or he risks breaking the shaft. Maybe in this instance the
pedestal will fail."
Karl Williams wrote: "if they drill the hole deeper and tap for the original
metric tap in the rocker tower, you can use the small head bolt for the fix.
It is long enough and has the same thread as the original rocker shaft bolt.
Chrysler recognized the problem and beefed up the rocker tower casting in
the later model years. "
Jim Gathmann wrote in 2003: "I hear a lot about the rocker arm breakage
problems on early 3.3s.... (even though such problems are rare and can be
fixed forever by increasing the bore sizes on the top end oiling system...)
guess what? CompCams makes a "ProMagnum Rocker Arm" which comes with a
lifetime warrenty against breakage and is made of chromemoly steel.
The thing sounded like a DIESEL that was in need of repair. It kept on
running nonetheless. but then there was a problem with an inner tie rod end
that I was afraid was going to wind up being a new Rack and Pinion. There
were also some other 'issues' with the thing.
I paid $300 for it and put about 10,000 miles on it. All in all, it has
probably cost me another $150 in repairs. It needs doors, the rear axle is
making a CLUNK going around corners, and it smells like a goat because the
former owner smoked about 2 packs a day with the windows closed.
I can get better examples with low miles for <$1800.
Too bad it PASSED Emissions...if it didn't, the state would give me $750 to
get it off the road!
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