Be careful rocks hurt vehicles

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Well-known member
May 15, 2021
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I am living off of the worst road in Taos County lol...

One neighbor and friend who lives another Mile up the hill is evidently more wealthy than I am as they are paying out of pocket to repair about 2 miles of the washed away rock laden road up to them. It is finished about 3/8 mile from the turn to me.

My grand caravan is fully loaded and heavy and I have scraped bottom God only knows how many times as you can see in my photo.
I had Dr appointment on May 30th in Taos and coming back up the hill I heard a bang... I didn't see the rock but it hits bottom all the time so I wasn't worried.
2 weeks ago I got van ready for town started the van and put in reverse and it would not move... 😭😭😭😭

It was raining a lot and I didn't notice that the van was leaking transmission fluid in my driveway. When I looked under the van there was a pool of fluid...

I then found the pan had a hole or hitting the rock moved the gasket. Maybe both.

You can see in the photo that it was scraping all the time. What a mess.

Tried to find a shop to fix it but nobody would return my calls except one guy wanted the van for several days which would put me in an expensive Taos Tourist lodging in June and dog needing to go to neighbors... I have towing with my insurance.

Finally realized I was going to have to do it myself... In the Adobe dirt driveway.

So after buying a low rider professional floor jack, jack stands, sealable drain pan, 12 bottles of Mopar ATF+4, gaskets, (bought 2 just in case), gasket stick dressing and some tools. In total about $375 of stuff. But I have now for the next disaster.
I was able to get it replaced. I was worried about jack sinking in the Adobe but between the new floor jack and the vans jack I got it up high enough to do it without raising the front wheels off the ground. Luckily the pan is all the ways in the front of van.

I am a Daytona Beach Motorcycle school grad. I did it to learn how to work on my GSXR race bike so I knew I could do the job. It's sealed as I drove to Taos yesterday after 2 weeks down and not a drop dripping and trans is fine.

Maybe 3 weeks the road crew will finish the road up to my turn off (I am maybe 300 feet off the main road on corner lot) from US Hwy 64, they had another job to do before they could finish.

Not bad though.. I have 169k miles (bought 1 owner van well cared for with 158k,so in 2 years only driven 10k) and no issues and have replaced starter and paid while camping on DNR land the pan gasket replaced last year as it was dripping fluid.

So be careful out there 😉....

Glad that you had the training and confidence to do the repair.

What year is your GC? If it has the 4 speed fortunately they aren't too expensive when the time comes to replace yet the 6 speed… probably a grand more at least.

A quick internet search revealed this: (
“For example, there are two very common models of replacement transmissions for the Dodge Grand Caravan – the A604 for model years earlier than 2008, and the 62TE for those produced after 2008.”

Cost Estimates by Transmission Model and Retailer

A604 (Pre-2008 Models)62TE (Post-2008 Models)
Advance Auto Parts$1,550$2,900

Progress has its price. Imagine what the newer 8, 9 and 10 speed automatics would cost to replace…
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The problem is you'e too overloaded. (as you know). This is why its important to be aware of your vehicles weight and GVWR.
Yes, another advantage of the e150 type full sized van over the minivan.
I would prefer a minivan for the gas mileage and looking more “accepable” yet there’s some real advantages to the full sized van, most everything except for availability and fuel economy.