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Hi all,

My neighbor has a 2003 Sedona that is in relatively poor cosmetic condition, but the interior is nice and it only shows 80,000 miles on the odometer.

I'm a disabled guy and I need to be sure anything I get is good for the long haul. My current Dodge Caravan has 189,000 miles on it -

I have some questions:

1. Do the engines and transmissions on these have any chronic problems I should be aware of (ie: head gaskets, trans failure, other major problems)?

2. Are there any other chronic problems that would prevent the van from lasting a long time if well maintained?

3. What should I be careful to inspect/look out for when viewing and driving this van before purchase?

Any other advice?

Thanks

John H,
Indiana
 

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Hey John, The Sedona is a dohc system which they recommend the timing belt be replaced along with water pump and all pulleys and tensioners every 60,000 miles, IF THE BELT BREAKS WHILE RUNNING _IT WILL RUIN THE ENGINE> If you don't have a lot of money to pay a mechanic, I would look for a different type of vehicle with a different engine. If I knew what dohc really meant before I bought mine, I would not have bought it.
 

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2003 Sedona 2.9 CRDi, 1992 2.5 Mitsubishi Pajero LWB, 1998 Toyota Corrolla, Suzuki GSXR600
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The water pump doesn't need changing at the timing belt interval as it is run off the alternator belt, as for being DOHC, almost all engines will suffer damage if the timing belt breaks. Modern engines run with such tight tolerances that there is no room for error. But fear not. As long as they are regularly maintained then they shouldn't cause a problem. Check that the transmission oil has been changed at the specified intervals as this is often overlooked and is a big expense when it goes wrong. Engine wise I don't think they are renowned for any problems. The heater pipes to the rear heater are prone to corrosion. I have found ours to be quite heavy on tyre wear, but this may be down to the nutter of a wife that drives it.
I have to admit that cosmetically they don't wear very well. Ours is a 2003 model with only 66000 on it but nearly all the plastics have lost the lacquer and the wiper arms are looking shabby. But then they are a cheap car to buy from new, so you shouldn't expect the same sort of build quality as a top German or Japanese car.
 

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Hey John, The Sedona is a dohc system which they recommend the timing belt be replaced along with water pump and all pulleys and tensioners every 60,000 miles, IF THE BELT BREAKS WHILE RUNNING _IT WILL RUIN THE ENGINE> If you don't have a lot of money to pay a mechanic, I would look for a different type of vehicle with a different engine. If I knew what dohc really meant before I bought mine, I would not have bought it.

An engine doesn't have to be a DOHC setup for this to happen. SOHC engines, or even engines that aren't over head cam at all can also be interference engines. An interference engine is one that, when the timing belt or chain breaks, internal engine components "interfere" with each other and collide causing severe damage to the engine. I saw the aftermath of an old GM 307 V8 (from a 69 Chevelle) with a broken timing change. The valves and pistons collided when the chain broke, requiring a complete engine rebuild.
 

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1999 Hyundai Elantra Wagon, 2003 Kia Sedona, 2012 Kia Sedona, 2007 Hyundai Tucson
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I don't know why you just don't stick with a Dodge Caravan. There's a rather plentiful supply of them for cheap, and you're already totally familiar and happy, are you not? I like my Sedona, but it's not easy to work on and has as many problems as anything else.
 
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