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2006 Chrysler Town & Country
5-Door FWD Touring Edition

75K miles
3.8 Liter V6/5-speed Overdrive Automatic
Zero-Effort Steering Conversion
4-wheel Anti-Lock Disc Brakes
Power Side and Rear Doors
Alloy Wheels/215/65R16 Radials
AM/FM/CD/Cassette Stereo
Leather Interior, Stow&Go Seats
Front/Side Air Bags, Heated Front  Seats
Dual-Zone Climate Control
Full Power Accessories
Cruise Control/Roof Rack/TPI Sensors
DVD Entertainment Screen

January 13, 2022 - The van's brake lights have been staying on after I turn it off, requiring a lift of the brake pedal to shut them down.  The culprit was a $20 switch readily available from the auto parts store, and rather amazingly, just a few minutes work to install.  The switch has an interesting feature - once you install it, you trip a lever on the back to 'set' the plunger to the correct location.  This automatic adjustment feature is only supposed to work once, but I opened up the old switch and reset it just out of curiosity.  Then threw it away - I am not going to put in an old electrical part just to save $20!
December 24, 2021 - My Xmas gift to myself was getting the hatch replaced today - beautiful weather (sunny and mid-60s) gave me the opportunity to swap out a hatch I bought last weekend from Foss Brothers for $68!  They had just gotten the silver 05 Chrysler in the day before, which I had seen thanks to watching their daily inventory posts.  A perfect match for color and the power lift with rear wiper/washer.  Long-suffering friend and neighbor John came over to help remove the old hatch and install the new, which lined up perfectly the first attempt!  After getting the wires hooked up, I found that all of the replacement hatch electrics worked fine, so I buttoned the inside up and cleaned off the old Hall decal, then cleaned and polished the paint. The old latch, wiper motor, and lights were pulled for spares. I do have a bumper cover ready to install, but it will require painting, so I'll leave the only slightly beat-looking original in place for now.  Those of you with sharp eyes will note the van got an upgrade from being a 'Touring' model to the slightly more upscale 'Limited.'  Thanks to John, and also to Best Bud Chip, who helped me get the replacement hatch at the junkyard!
December 8, 2021 - While I do not like modifying a vehicle, I love picking up original factory accessories.  These Mopar storage bins fit in the Stow-And-Go seat wells, providing a finished storage container.  They even have gray carpet to match the interior!  So when I saw them cheap on eBay, I naturally had to have them. They look very nice in place - and I may never see them again, as I do not expect to fold the seats back into the floor again.  But I know they are there!
December 3, 2021 - Not long after I bought the van, I came across a NOS factory trailer hitch setup for the van on eBay for less than $100 and bought it.  However, when I read the instructions, I found out I had to pull the bumper cover and rear support, and figured it was too much work.  Since I now have to replace the bumper cover and rear support anyway, I installed the factory hitch assembly.  The directions were very easy to follow and as the only structural damage was to the rear bumper support I was replacing, it all went together well.  While I may never actually use the hitch setup, it is nice to have the flexibility.  All that is left now is to find a good silver rear hatch - I already have the replacement bumper cover ready to install and get painted. The hitch even came with 'Mopar' hole cap!
December 1, 2021 - Liberty Mutual did total the van, but we had an adjustment today to the estimate to include the Zero-effort steering and setup for the Harmar lift.  Final settlement was just over $6,000 already deposited to my account, plus I keep the van with no title issues. As you can see, the van has some cosmetic damage to the rear bumper and the rear hatch, and damaged exhaust system mounts.  I have a NOS factory bumper hitch setup that includes the bumper inner assembly, so all I need to replace are the bumper cover and the rear hatch door. The bumper cover does have to be replaced, but I was able to get most of the damage out with a heat gun, so it looks mostly OK.  I should be able to get the right color hatch and a bumper cover from local junkyards. The hatch is common to all power-lift 2001-2007 Dodge and Chrysler vans, but the bumper cover is unique to 2005-2007 long wheelbase models with the stow and go seats. Even so, I should be able to fix everything better than it was before for about $500. Case in point, the exhaust system I fixed in five minutes with a pair of pliers was estimated at about $700 in repair costs.
November 26, 2021 - The body shop for  Liberty Mutual, the driver's insurance company, was finally able to do the repair estimate today.  For just 28 cents shy of $4,000, including a discount, they will make the van good as it was before.  The explanation is that they have to use all new parts, which also means a lot of labor and expense.  I have already researched the parts needed and can get the repairs made for a fraction of the estimate if used parts are located.  Looks like another Totaled vehicle, though I have to wait for Liberty Mutual to make the call.
November 6, 2021 - I was stopped at the same light where the truck got hit just over a year ago when - 'BAM'!  A girl in a 2018 Sonata ran into the back of me. No injuries, and no air bags went off, but the rear bumper and hatch are both toast.  Her car's hood, grille, bumper, and headlight were ruined.  We got an officer out, who told us to handle it through our insurance companies.  :sigh.  Now the fun part comes - while the van is 15 years old, it is in excellent condition throughout with only 75K miles AND has the handicapped accessibility for Mom with Zero-Effort steering and the currently removed rear lift for her scooter.  I haven't tried to open the rear hatch yet in case it doesn't want to close.  That will come when I take it to get the repair estimate.  Figures - one week after I got the last of the bugs out of the vehicle!
October 31, 2021 - One of the only annoyances with the van has been intermittent excessive power steering noise.  The pump would howl like it had low fluid, but levels were right up to the mark and no leaks have been found.  Despite the low miles, I was considering having the power steering pump replaced, but found a post online saying the noise is often caused by a clogged filter in the reservoir.  Turns out the PS reservoir is a $14 part that can be replaced with relative ease, so I ordered one and put it in today.  So far, no howling, and as a bonus, a new cable clip came with the reservoir.
October 23, 2021 - I replaced the headlights back when my parents first bought the van, and have tried to keep them polished and clean.  However, they are starting to cloud up, a fact that became really obvious when I installed new lights today.  The units were not only on sale with free shipping for $106, but included the bulbs which cost about $45 if you buy them separately. The old units are still good and may polish up again, and the bulbs are all good, so they go in the boxes and join the hundreds of other spare parts for my cars.
October 4, 2021 - Some down time at work gave me an opportunity to clean up and install some side trim on the van.  The original chrome inserts were going bad along the top and I had snagged some nice pieces at the junkyard.  I also cleaned and painted the grille and front splash guards.  The van is pretty much ready for my big trip to Hershey on Thursday.  I'll be transporting the EV Warrior to the show, which will be a great use of the van as a road car and cargo vehicle!
September 13, 2021 - A pulsing in the front brakes during harder stops indicated slightly warped rotors, so I ordered a good set of Raybestos rotors and pads which arrived Saturday.  I didn't have time until this afternoon, and only after I had started the installation did I find out that front pads are different on 2006 Chrysler vans with the optional 4-wheel disc brakes. Not something even the vendor knew, apparently, as it was not a factor mentioned in the ad.  I was able to get a good set of pads at O'Reilly's and get the job finished up in short order, including bead blasting the mounting brackets.  The van has smooth stops now with no pedal pulsing.  As a minor fix, I also installed the driver's seat lower cover, which appears to be a weak point.  In all the vans I have found in the salvage yard, the front screw mount which also serves a spacer has been broken.  I had used a long screw and washer as a fix for the van a few years back, but found an intact cover yesterday on a visit back to Pic-N-Pull.  A few more minutes today had the good cover on. September 15, 2021 - FOLLOW-UP: I didn't go anywhere yesterday, so today's trip to Mom's was the first real drive since I installed the new rotors and pads.  And guess what?  The calipers were apparently corroded inside and started to lock up.  The van began to drag as I got close, and I parked in Mom's driveway with smoke and bad smells coming from both sides.  I had already scheduled a serpentine belt and idler pulley/tensioner pulley replacement at Great Bridge Service Center for next Wednesday, since I don't have a lift.  They told me it would be Friday before they could look at it, so I dropped it off with instructions to also put in new calipers when they got to the van.  I was pleased to get a call this afternoon that it was all done.  Not cheap, but reasonable for the work and parts, and it looks like there was no damage to the new rotors or pads.  So I should be all set for the long drive to Hershey!
September 10, 2021 - A shift in work schedule has me off in the morning and working through 7 PM, so I made a trip out to Pick-N-Pull to see what I could dig up for the van.  One of the few items showing wear in the interior were the skid pads for the rearmost seat - you can see the gouges and scratches on the old (darker) skid.  I picked the entire set in perfect shape and replaced them. While there, I also snagged a spare overhead storage bin thinking it wouldn't hurt to have a spare, only to discover that the rearmost bin that I thought was good actually had been broken along with the front two when the headliner was installed!  So that is all fixed as well.  The last item was a warning of a low tire from the tire pressure indicator (TPI) system.  I had thought it might be the spare, since the main tires were all within a few pounds of 32 PSI.  So I picked up a great spare that looked like it had never been lowered, much less used, and which was still holding pressure after 16 years. While that did not solve the issue, as neither spare had a TPI stem, the van's spare was nearly flat and rusty, so I was glad to replace it.  And bringing all the tires up to an even 32 (one was a big 2 pounds down) shut off the TPI warning. A very productive day for just over $11 and an hour's time.
September 4, 2021 - Unlike the Sonata wheels which were designed to be easily cleaned, the van's has lots of swoops and sculpted inserts that gather grime and brake dust.  I sat down with aluminum wheel cleaner and a toothbrush and got to work.  It took some elbow grease, but the shiny wheels really look good.  I just hope they don't grime up again quickly.  Not so much luck with some new factory floor mats - I bought a set that looked gray and turned out to be the neutral beige. They -almost- work, but the color difference jars me too much.  Looks like Chip is getting a new set of mats for the Dodge Caravan!
September 3, 2021 - My new daily driver is really working out well.  I have been going through fixing the various issues that have cropped up over the years it sat in my parent's driveway.  Some, like some slight warping of the front brake rotors, are good to take care of before they become more serious.  Others, like a slightly cosmetically damaged taillight lens might be considered silly.  Nevertheless, I got a set of new lenses and installed them in a few minutes today, boxing up the old ones as spares.  One big advantage of the van is that parts are very cheap - the new lights complete with bulbs were $63 delivered.  And I have new front disc rotors and ceramic pads coming for $125 delivered.
August 15, 2021 - The van started some unsettling behavior recently, with an occasional 'ding' from the warning buzzer and the gauges and lights flickering.  The engine stumbled a couple of times during this display as well.  Reading up, I found that some of these vans had issues with the instrument cluster, so I found a NOS one on eBay and just got it in.  However, one of the other issues was improper grounding, and when I went to remove the last of the added power cables from the now-removed lift, the negative cable turned freely!  This was despite the bolt being fully tightened.  Turns out that the clamp itself had deformed.  I reshaped it with lockjaw pliers, retightened the cable end, and so far no further issues.  I hope that is the solution. (August 27 2021 - Follow Up - The distorted cable end was the issue - no further problems.  So I have a NOS gauge cluster to put aside for the future.)
August 8, 2021 - Definitely NOT a lunchtime activity - I removed the rear lift today to free up the rear area.  I can always reinstall it if I want to take Mom somewhere. Now I have full use of the van's space, pretty critical if I plan to haul scooters/etc. to Hershey in a couple of months.  The stow-N-go seating is all pretty much as new.  I got everything vacuumed and treated, and other than the zero-effort steering which I need to maintain for Mom anyway, the van is pretty much back to normal.
July 27, 2021 - Another lunchtime fix - the driver's door handle had lost most of the inner paint and the grip edge was also worn to the black base.  I took a chance with rain promised this afternoon and did a quick sand and repaint - Dupli-Color ACC0410 provided a good color match for the factory Bright Silver, and I put clearcoat on it after the color had dried. Not a big deal, but it is something I see every time I get in the van.
July 8, 2021 - The otherwise excellent headliner job was marred by two broken storage bins - one cover was actually split where they must have pried the wrong area trying to remove the bins.  I went online and located someone selling a bin on eBay that had the installation/removal instructions on the back.  I decided to make a lunchtime run back to Pick-N-Pull, as only one of their vans had the gray overhead bins.  This turned out to be a wise move as that van is slated for crushing tomorrow!  The bins were only $7 for the pair, possibly because the latches were all broken off (red circles).  The ones in the van were fine (green circles) so I just transferred the lids, which cleaned up like new.  You would only know about damaged bins if you looked up, but this is the kind of stuff that makes a vehicle 'old' if it gets overlooked.

July 7, 2021 - One very obvious issue with the van has been its badly sagging headliner. All that held the fabric up was the center console and light fixtures.  After getting prices of $750+, I decided to risk using a local fellow who was working out of his house.  He had done a similar van for himself recently, and quoted $400 for the job.  I did make sure that he had a chance to see the van and all its ceiling consoles first.  We picked out the matching fabric color, and set tomorrow as the sate.  However, with a tropical storm due to hit and him being outside, I texted him to reschedule.  Luckily, he had a cancellation today, and was able to get the headliner in early.  I got the van back tonight, and the headliner looks great.  The color matches perfectly and it is all tight and clean.  Two casualties are the overhead storage bins - hinge pins broke, but I can pick up replacement bins cheap at Pick-N-Pull.  Now all I have to do is sell the rear lift so I can get the back row of seats out and cleaned up!
June 29, 2021 - The last part of the month was usually the worst time to hit DMV, but I was able to score an appointment at my old favorite DMV Select in Poquoson in just a week!  No line, no waiting, and done in five minutes.  All of the local full DMVs were booked solid through August, so it was a big plus to find the Poquoson site separate from the DMV appointment web. Insurance and tags all taken care of.
June 26, 2021 - One of the little things for the van was cleaning and protecting the glass and repainting the wiper arms, which had lost most of the upper paint.  I ended up playing tag with rain clouds which rolled in a few hours earlier than expected and dumped on and off.  I got the windows cleaned the first time, the wiper arms sanded and prepped the second, and then fresh paint and Rain-X late in the afternoon.
June 25, 2021 - When the center mobility lift was installed, the company removed and threw away part of the Stow and Go folding floor section.  Since this is unique to the optional Stow/Go seats, and is also color matched to the interior, finding a replacement was expected to be a challenge. Even eBay only had the left side available, with no right side units.  I found the floor part when I got the cup holder, but discovered that I was also missing a critical hinge portion.  And of course, the van I got it from was crushed before I could get back. Some more vans came into the yard this week, and I made a quick run to see what I could find.  Although three of the four new 2003-2007 vans did have the Stow and Go seats, they were all brown. However, I spotted a 2008 with the new styling and checked it out.  Stow and Go seats plus a gray interior, and the floor part looked the same.  So I pulled the section and tried installing it in one of the earlier series vans like mine.  A perfect fit! So I was able to get the part after all!
June 21, 2021 - With the big things (tires, inspection, battery, A/C) out of the way, I could spend a little time on the little things - they are usually what really ages a vehicle.  One of the stow-and-go seats had a missing latch for the folding cup holder, and I was lucky enough to find one at Pick-N-Pull yesterday in the right color. It was the only one with stow-and-go seats, and it got crushed today!  Then I discovered that the van has a cabin air filter, which I replaced today.  Not a fun job, but it solved the mystery of what some parts I found in the back were - the cover and retainer for the cabin air filter!  I also made another pass at cleaning, this time scrubbing the inside of the doors and pressure-washing the engine. As a bonus, I removed the power lead for the auxiliary steering pump, which I do not need and made an annoying whine when you start and turn off the vehicle.  All quiet now.
June 19, 2021 - Lots of activity today - I started off with a recharge of the A/C R-134 which got things nicely cooled down.  The power steering has been noisy at start but quieted down after warming up - indication of being a little low.  I used a turkey baster to suck out as much of the old fluid as I could and topped it off with Lucas Power Steering Synthetic, which is supposed to be good.  The noise is gone, at least so far.  Then I took the van back to get its inspection sticker.  When I got home from that, I took photos and video of the middle mobility cart lift and then removed it so I could pull up the Stow & Go seats.  As expected, one was a little mildewed, but it cleaned right up.  Towards the end of the day, I cleaned up the rear lift and was puzzled when it would only work a short distance and then stop.  Turns out the battery was mostly dead after being fully charged this morning.  Being a two-year battery that was now three years old, and given the van's recent history of needing recharges, I made a quick trip to Sam's Club tonight and got a new one.  Once that was installed, I pulled the carpet mats and ran my ancient Bissel cleaner over them - looks like they came out great!  Other projects included getting some old adhesive off the dash, treating the leather, and pressure-washing the engine bay. Whew!  I am making a trek to Pick-n-Pull tomorrow to look for a good fold-out cup holder for the right middle seat and a floor cover section that was removed to allow the lift to be installed.
June 18, 2021 - This Chrysler Town and Country van was the product of a long search about six years ago when my parents decided to look for a van that had a power driver's side sliding door, and would also accommodate mobility cart lifts in the front and back.  Although ten years old, the Town and Country only had 61K miles on it and was in beautiful condition.  Best of all, it was almost identical to their existing 2003 Dodge van so there was no learning curve, and was loaded with just about every option available.  After a conversion to 'Zero-Effort' steering and the addition of the lifts, the van was driven less than 10K miles over the next six years.  It has sat mostly idle for the past couple of years, and it flunked inspection yesterday due to dry-rotted tires.  My mom decided it was time to sell, and I went ahead and bought it from her so we had at least one vehicle she could still drive.  First order of business was a new set of tires so the van would pass inspection - Discount Tires in Chesapeake had the best deal on nice Falken radials and got them installed with new pressure sensors. The van gets re-inspected tomorrow, which should result in a sticker.  I spent about three hours today doing 'deep cleaning' - scrubbing out the crevices around the windows and rear hatch which had green moss or algae and lots of old pine straw and dirt built up. Then on a ladder to attack the really filthy roof.  After that came a general wash which will have to be repeated, but made a huge difference. A good cleaning, compounding, clay bar, and final waxing should get the paint shining again - it is amazing condition considering.  I plan to pull out the side exit lift this weekend, but will leave the rear lift in place in case I need to use it for Mom's scooter.  The Stow & Go back seats have been folded away for a decade, but should be OK with some cleaning.  And the A/C needs a recharge, hopefully just a can or two of R-134.  Once both lifts are out, I'll get the headliner replaced - happily, it is not sagging onto my head, though it has fallen down just about everywhere else. I think it will be a great primary car for me.  The stow-and-go seats will allow it to carry cargo or people without removing anything, it has half the mileage of any of my driver vehicles, and it is more luxurious than all but the 86 Buick Electra!

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