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Rear Heater Pipes
06-22-2007, 01:17 AM
Post: #1
Rear Heater Pipes
Just picked up a 06 Grand Caravan ES on a sweet deal and need to replace the leaky pipes (rusted through) that supply coolant to the rear heater. This pipe assembly wasn't cheap ($150) at the dealer so need to get it into place without bending or butchering it in the process.

This assembly is fastened to the firewall and to the front passenger floor and is shapped in such a way to clear the rear exhaust manifold and head pipe, which is what I need to get past in order to install the new parts.

Sooooo, do I lower the engine or drop the exhaust? Anyone have experience with this repair? Looks like it would be a cinch to do with the engine out but I'm not willing to go that route.

Rupe
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06-22-2007, 10:41 PM
Post: #2
RE: Rear Heater Pipes
I have never replaced the heater lines to a rear unit. Only A/C lines. But I would think they should R&R without any major disassemble. If not, I would choose the exhaust.

Cary Joe York
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06-23-2007, 11:25 AM
Post: #3
RE: Rear Heater Pipes
Thanks for the help guys.

What I found is since the heater lines are roughly 4 feet of solid pipe and cannot be flexed you must do a serious disassembly so they are not damaged. Removing the exhaust doesn't give enough clearance due to the exhaust manifold and the ABS unit, although combined with tilting the engine forward might make enough room if I had a lift to work on.

I removed the wipers and cowl asembly completely, then I started to see what I was up against. Not sure about the smaller engines but with the 3.8L I removed the cat heat shield (4 screws) and then the intake manifold, plus the left, right, and front motor mounts. This allows the engine to be lowered toward the front and gives you about 6 more inches of working space in the rear. The pipe assembly slips right out at this point.

The reason to remove the cat heat shield is to clear the AC / PS lines and you need room for the floor bracket to pass because it's welded to the pipe assembly. (it catches on everything!)

I suggest replacing the rear spark plugs at this time because you can look right at them!

BTW, Chilton's book time on this job is 3 hours per a local gas station. It took me about 6 hours with only jacks, stands, and hand tools.

Rupe
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06-24-2007, 12:00 AM
Post: #4
RE: Rear Heater Pipes
Another quick up date to correct a typo....

This was a 96 Grand Caravan, not an 06. I suspect that if it was an 06 the pipes would not be rusty yet!

BTW, I also spent the few extra bucks to replace the other heater hoses with high temp silicone instead of the standard grade. (about 5 feet total) I got to thinking about the routing near the exhaust system and that just made sense to me in the long run as I'll probably keep this one till it rots away.

Another observation here..... in the process of doing this job it looks as if much of the hardware had been removed before. (some was missing) The dealer tells me it's not uncommon for these heater lines to go bad in 5-7 years in snow / salt country so maybe they have been done before? I suspect you need to go through a similar proceedure for the AC lines at the firewall as well so maybe that was done previously. Not sure but everything is looking good now!

Rupe
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02-23-2017, 11:57 PM
Post: #5
RE: Rear Heater Pipes
Was poking around in the archives tonight (nothing else better to do) and saw this thread from almost 10 years ago. Still have the 96 Grand Caravan and it's looking like I should replace this heater hose manifold again. (hand slapping forehead) Also looking like I need to replace the muffler / tailpipe for the third time. Damn car is 21 years old but it's been good to me! How can I complain when I bought it for $450, spent another $500 to get it "almost perfect" back then, and probably haven't spent another grand on it all total in 10 years? (including 2 brake jobs, 2 muffler / tail pipes, fuel pump, batteries, a set of tires, and misc) Yeah, I did have some brake lines rust out but that was like $50. Wish I could find another gem like this.
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