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Intro/Questions

PostPosted: January 5th 2021, 8:01am
by kjkato
Well first of all let me introduce myself. My name is Kato. I seem to have an affinity for purchasing vehicles that for some odd reason hate me. I have a 1997 AWD LS that is referred to as Ron because it is burgundy inside and out (no I don't like Anchorman). It has 172k on the ticker and is having some problems. Before I get into the drivability problems I will tell you what the engine error code says. The error code comes back as a bad evap vent valve solenoid. So, I haven't done much research (been really sick with two viral infections and covid) but I did find out that sometimes putting am OEM gas cap back on the vehicle can correct this? It has a locking cap on it when I bought it. maybe someone can show me where the part is located via picture as I am learning my way around the van.

Okay now onto the real problems. When I drive the vehicle it is getting terrible fuel mileage (less than 10mpg). My first step (despite owner telling me they were changed) is to change the plugs. I have the plugs I just haven't gotten them done yet as I have been pretty sick. Is there anything else I should change at the same time other than the cap and rotor? I figured I would do those anyhow while the doghouse is off.

When I drive the vehicle it runs fine when I give it gradual throttle and let it pick up speed as if grandma is driving but when I mash the throttle it just bogs down and wants to hit 30mph and not shift unless I let off the gas. If I have the cruise control on and climb a hill it kicks down from od but unless I release the cruise and re=apply it wont go back into od. THe transmission seems to be working okay without cruise but could the tuneup possibly fix this issue?

Coolant is mysteriously being used up little by little. Most of the overflow container when properly filled will deplete down to the 1/4 full mark every 3 months or so. I have no coolant in the oil, no leaks of any sort on the vehicle that I can see, no bad hoses. Not even a water pump leak. Thoughts? Could a failing thermostat cause it to evap some coolant? I was going to try and replace that anyhow due to old age.

Now, the heater controls. The heater controls only work on defrost no matter what setting you place it on. Now as grateful I am that the heater works to a certain degree (It was 1 degree yesterday), I would very much like to get this issue sorted. I was told it was more than likely just a bad vacuum leak due to a cracked or faulty line. If this is the case where is the line located that would be the culprit? I want to get these issues sorted.

Now the fun stuff. Last but not least the barn doors. No broken handles or hardware but the left door wont open using the handle. Everything is connected and nothing is broken or damaged. The door opens when the panel is off and you grab the rod and pull up. How in the heck do you adjust this thing or what do you replace? Pics please!

Ok and lastly just a simple question, what is the average mpg you could expect from the van on the highway and in the city?

Thanks in advance for all of your assistance in keeping another wonderful van on the road and in good health!

Re: Intro/Questions

PostPosted: January 5th 2021, 3:44pm
by MI_Ghost
kjkato wrote:Coolant is mysteriously being used up little by little. Most of the overflow container when properly filled will deplete down to the 1/4 full mark every 3 months or so. I have no coolant in the oil, no leaks of any sort on the vehicle that I can see, no bad hoses. Not even a water pump leak. Thoughts? Could a failing thermostat cause it to evap some coolant? I was going to try and replace that anyhow due to old age.
The telltale sign of the intake gasket going bad. Look for dampness at left front and right rear corners of the intake.

kjkato wrote:Now, the heater controls. The heater controls only work on defrost no matter what setting you place it on. Now as grateful I am that the heater works to a certain degree (It was 1 degree yesterday), I would very much like to get this issue sorted. I was told it was more than likely just a bad vacuum leak due to a cracked or faulty line. If this is the case where is the line located that would be the culprit? I want to get these issues sorted.
Rotted vacuum line between throttle body and vacuum ball on right side of frame.

kjkato wrote:Now the fun stuff. Last but not least the barn doors. No broken handles or hardware but the left door wont open using the handle. Everything is connected and nothing is broken or damaged. The door opens when the panel is off and you grab the rod and pull up. How in the heck do you adjust this thing or what do you replace? Pics please!
Most likely a broken handle. Can you feel the rod moving inside when you try the handle with the door open?

kjkato wrote:Ok and lastly just a simple question, what is the average mpg you could expect from the van on the highway and in the city?
I recently noticed a significant change in mpg just by a change of driving distance. A change in distance from 25 miles to 90 miles one way resulted in a change from 19-20 mpg to 24-25 mpg. I am sure the up/down city driving will have a serious effect on mpg the opposite direction.

Re: Intro/Questions

PostPosted: January 5th 2021, 3:57pm
by tungtide
Search box at the. Top right of the screen. Will take you to multiple threads with pictures on a variety of subjects. If you find that overwhelming you can use google. Google often directs you to Astro safari web site with the subject narrowed down. Best luck moving forward and welcome.

Re: Intro/Questions

PostPosted: January 5th 2021, 8:45pm
by dramey
I have a 97 Cargo van awd and I get between 16 - 20mph.

Re: Intro/Questions

PostPosted: January 5th 2021, 11:14pm
by Rod's Trucks
I do a LOT of mixed driving.
90 miles on the highway and 50 miles of mountainous forest roads might be a common outing.
My average ('98 AWD) with stock sized (Lt215/75R15) tires and 3.73 gearing, was pretty consistent around 15-16. A longer trip, mostly on the highway at 60-70 was split between two tanks so both showed a bit of an uptick at 17+. That was a pleasant surprise. I expected the box would be working harder to push through the air. I did not have it loaded to the max, but I did have a lot of lightweight, but non-aerodynamic antenna stuff ( think large old fashioned TV antennas) strapped down on top.
Now that have the bigger LT235/75R15's, it will be interesting to see how that might impact the average.
This is not a daily driver, so it takes a long time to go through enough fuel to calculate anything meaningful.
Rod J

Re: Intro/Questions

PostPosted: January 5th 2021, 11:22pm
by kjkato
In regards to the rear door handle nothing is broken at all. The rod moves but it’s just not moving enough when you pull the handle.

In regards to the fuel mileage issue I’m getting about 9 miles per gallon no matter what. I’m going to give the vehicle a full tuneup because the issues I’m having while driving it. It’s on the to do list but I have to get over the coronavirus first.

I have the manufacturer specified stock tire size on there but they’re all season. I’m sure that probably has a little something to do with it but I would at least like to get 13 or 14 miles per gallon. I just need to start getting some maintenance done that the previous owner has failed to do.

Re: Intro/Questions

PostPosted: January 6th 2021, 12:37am
by SportsBoy
There is a lot there - some of those are well known and easily fixed problems, some are potentially many things and very involved fixes. I'd say go after them one by one and read a lot of relevant threads on here, then come back and make threads about specific problems.

Seems like the van needs a decent amount of work - you should expect to get in the upper teens mpg without any difficulty on a stock van.