Took Moby Dick to the lake - Fuelly Forums

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Old 07-20-2008, 08:32 PM   #1
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Took Moby Dick to the lake

Took Moby Dick (the Great White Whale aka 97 Grand Caravan) to the Lake of the Ozarks this weekend. Distance is 156 miles. Blew an opportunity to calibrate the ScanGauge because I squeezed the tank when I got back. But lacking accurate data, it still provided relative data.

Conditions: Few parts of Missouri are really flat. There are just little rolling hills and big rolling hills. First 100 miles is I-70 and mostly little rolling hills, last 56 is four lane US highway though Ozark 'Mountain' (more like big hills) country.

Observations:
Did not see a noticeable advantage following trucks. I stayed at least a truck length behind or more. Problem is trucks were changing speeds differently than I was. I needed to speed down hills and coast up. The big trucks were generally holding speed. Trying to power up the hills cost me more than I saved.

Actually did slightly better in the hillier country by letting the average speed fall by keeping 70 as the highest speed and letting the speed vary more. It was dark, winding and unlit and road conditions didn't lend themselves going faster. But big hills were deadly. When Moby downshifted, it cut the instantaneous mileage in half.

The back end of Moby Dick is suffering, making for some shaky driving which adds to the challenge when trying to maintain speed in traffic. Jounce bumpers are gone and springs are soft causing the back end to bottom out hard on bumps. I have hard rubber jounce bumpers to replace the urethane bumpers that rotted away. But like everything on the bottom, I have to cut the bolts off. I've ordered helper springs to stiffen the springs some. I changed the shocks a couple years ago.

I'm still getting a Cat Low Efficiency code. But ScanGauge said it's still running closed loop and I don't think the cat is plugged. But will probably have to plan on changing it at some point.

This was the dry run before the Florida run in about three weeks.
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Old 07-21-2008, 06:36 AM   #2
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I had to google "jounce bumpers", I've learned a new term today. I've always called them "bump stops". Anyway, where are they that you have to cut bolts off to install them? It should be easy enough to rig up a less invasive installation.
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:26 AM   #3
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There is a flat pad on both sides of the rear axle that the jounce bumpers land on. The jounce bumper itself is screwed to a hat section on the bottom of the floor panel. The hard rubber bumper has a hook on one side that catches a hole and then is bolted on the other side. I believe (hope) that all Caravans were set up for either the foam or solid rubber bumpers and that there will be a second threaded hole to mount the rubber bumper to. Because if there isn't, after I cut off the old bolt head, I'll have to drill and tap through the old bolt shank to mount the new (from the junkyard) bumper.
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:57 AM   #4
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Surprised your springs are gone already, still have original springs and bump stops on the back of Marvin, seem good still. Can't remember last time I bottomed it anyway. Not too thrilled about the shocks I've got on, new last year monroe "yellow peril" gasmatics... I thought they were great at first but now I'm not so sure, they're rusting like hell and really kick going over sharp bumps. If I'm one one of those curved overpasses with expansion joints, I have to keep the speed down, because I keep thinking it will kick out the backend. I got 'em for $30ish the pair on sale, guess ya gets what ya pays for

I guess that's why I keep Marvin going though, more issues on the newer minivans than he has. He's looking a little the worse for wear but I've seen '98s that are rotted out worse.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowbridescape View Post
Took Moby Dick (the Great White Whale aka 97 Grand Caravan) to the Lake of the Ozarks this weekend.

The back end of Moby Dick is suffering,
Moby Dick is not a social disease.
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:49 PM   #6
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There I went and tried to raise the cultural depth of this forum with references to classical literature. <sigh>
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:54 PM   #7
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If I'm one one of those curved overpasses with expansion joints, I have to keep the speed down, because I keep thinking it will kick out the backend.
I've got that plus it's starting to porpoise and sway. I'm hoping that stiffening the springs will cut a lot of that down. I may have to consider stiffer shocks, too. I'm running out of time to do things before the trip.
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:58 PM   #8
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Whew.... Finally got one of the old jounce bumpers off (three days of nibbling with a Dremel tool). New/old rubber bumper is on. Next one should be easier. The screw isn't very big. I may try drilling it out.

I am concerned about the springs. The are almost straight rather than curved under normal empty vehicle weight. And they sure give easy. There's only a few inches between the axle and new/old jounce bumpers. I wonder if they broke or were sprung when the original jounce bumpers rotted away and the axle was free to move an additional four inches. If they are broken, they are broken in the clamp on the axle. I can't imagine the clamps holding the loads of broken springs ends. But if I open them and find them broken, then I have to fix them.

Letting the mechanic next door deal with it is starting to look more appealing. (No Luke. Control your feelings. Don't let your anger take over. Don't turn to the Dark Side. )
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:26 PM   #9
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What a silly goose. It wasn't the springs. It was the shocks. I put cheap shocks on a few years ago. They must have worked better at some time because they've been to Florida multiple times. I think they just wore out quickly. Put on a pair of Monroe Sensatraks. Whoah! It rides like some of the new Caravans I've rented recently. A small victory for the home team.
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:54 AM   #10
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Yeah I was thinking it was shocks as soon as you said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowbridescape View Post
I've got that plus it's starting to porpoise and sway.
The cheap ones don't seem to last very long.
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