spare tire winch malfunction !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


jcarndt
04-09-2005, 07:47 AM
I would be interested to know how many people have had a problem with their fullsize spare not winching down, and what you have done to correct the problem. I have a 99 Grand Caravan. I have needed to use the spare twice in five years, and both times it has FAILED me. The first time was last summer. If I remember correctly, it had nothing to do with rust or corrosion, but was due in my opinion to a horrible design. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? After much swearing and beating on the spare, I got the thing to let go, and the tire came down. Contacted the dealer before putting the spare back, he said grease everything up real good and it shouldn't be a problem, and NO SIR, we've never seen this problem before!
So this weekend, my daughter and some friends drive up to Niagara Falls for the weekend ( 150 miles ) You guessed it! As soon as she rolls across the border into Canada, flat tire! Not to worry, I'm thinking, she's with a large group of friends, one of whom even has tools. I try and talk them through the lowering of the so-called useless spare tire, and the cable unwound, but the spare would not let go. Good thing I put all that GREASE on there , huh ? Sorry about the long rant, but I am really, really cheesed off right now. I know, I SHOULD have checked the operation of the so-called spare before sending my daughter off to Canada, but really, it was the last thing on my mind.
That's all, just wanted to vent. Thanks

DEBUCR
04-09-2005, 09:26 AM
I would be interested to know how many people have had a problem with their fullsize spare not winching down, and what you have done to correct the problem. I have a 99 Grand Caravan. I have needed to use the spare twice in five years, and both times it has FAILED me. The first time was last summer. If I remember correctly, it had nothing to do with rust or corrosion, but was due in my opinion to a horrible design. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? After much swearing and beating on the spare, I got the thing to let go, and the tire came down. Contacted the dealer before putting the spare back, he said grease everything up real good and it shouldn't be a problem, and NO SIR, we've never seen this problem before!
So this weekend, my daughter and some friends drive up to Niagara Falls for the weekend ( 150 miles ) You guessed it! As soon as she rolls across the border into Canada, flat tire! Not to worry, I'm thinking, she's with a large group of friends, one of whom even has tools. I try and talk them through the lowering of the so-called useless spare tire, and the cable unwound, but the spare would not let go. Good thing I put all that GREASE on there , huh ? Sorry about the long rant, but I am really, really cheesed off right now. I know, I SHOULD have checked the operation of the so-called spare before sending my daughter off to Canada, but really, it was the last thing on my mind.
That's all, just wanted to vent. Thanks

Boys at Sears stripped my spare tire hoist out installing new tires. The owners manual says do not use air wrench to raise or lower, they mean it!! I took mine apart to try and repair, no luck. Hoist is cheaply and poorly designed. Gears are made of plastic and strip off if you turn to tight or loosen to much. New $90-$100, used 4 hours in junk yard $25. Make sure you tell them Grand Voyager. It has different hoist than other Plymouth vans. That cost me 2 hours more wait for junk yard to go out and find correct one. Very easy to replace. Four bolts and you are back to being an owner of a fully working Plymouth van. That as I am coming to find out is a very temporary membership of a very small club! My van is always having a problem of some kind! Good luck

jcarndt
04-09-2005, 01:25 PM
Boys at Sears stripped my spare tire hoist out installing new tires. The owners manual says do not use air wrench to raise or lower, they mean it!! I took mine apart to try and repair, no luck. Hoist is cheaply and poorly designed. Gears are made of plastic and strip off if you turn to tight or loosen to much. New $90-$100, used 4 hours in junk yard $25. Make sure you tell them Grand Voyager. It has different hoist than other Plymouth vans. That cost me 2 hours more wait for junk yard to go out and find correct one. Very easy to replace. Four bolts and you are back to being an owner of a fully working Plymouth van. That as I am coming to find out is a very temporary membership of a very small club! My van is always having a problem of some kind! Good luck

Thanks for the info, DEBUCR. Looks like I'll be heading to the junkyard.
For the most part, this has been a pretty good vehicle, but stuff like this just drives me nuts. Whoever designed this needs to be horsewhipped!

GC1999
04-09-2005, 05:07 PM
Anybody still uses the spare tire ? I remember the last time we had one I convinced my GF instead of replacing the tires to go to 7-Eleven and get this Flat-Be-Gone spray (not sure about the exact name nut you can get this almost anywhere). Works like a charm and every car now has a bottle in it.

vipergg
04-09-2005, 11:24 PM
Anybody still uses the spare tire ? I remember the last time we had one I convinced my GF instead of replacing the tires to go to 7-Eleven and get this Flat-Be-Gone spray (not sure about the exact name nut you can get this almost anywhere). Works like a charm and every car now has a bottle in it.
Oh yeah I swear by them , more than once I have had to use the spare . We travel a lot and if I get a flat I don't want to be sticking a 50 mph donut on there and then have to worry about finding someplace to repair the tire , I can then wait until I get home, chances are you won't get 2 flats in one trip . If my cars come with a donut , it's history and I go out and buy a full size wheel and spare tire .

jcarndt
04-11-2005, 05:09 AM
anyone else care to comment?

Larry H
04-15-2007, 06:44 PM
I had the same problem with my 2002 Grand Caravan a week ago. Had never used the spare before, sure enough, had a flat and when I went to lower the spare the cable came down but no tire. I called AAA, the tow operator came and tried to get it down and he couldn't get the stupid thing to release either, but he did have a compressor and managed to get my tire reinflated, which got me home. Of course this happened Easter Sunday when all the garages were closed, but first thing Monday I went to visit my favorite mechanic and he put the car on the lift and after a LOT of monkeying around finally got the stupid thing to release. The spare is now in the back of the van, where it will be ready if needed, but who wants it using up all that room inside the vehicle?

So I had him remove the winch so I could take it home and put it on my workbench and figure out why it didn't work and see if I could fix it, before spending $216 on a new one. I had the same reaction as the poster who started this thread - it was the most insanely designed thing I have ever seen! It relies on some indeterminate amount of force, based on friction, to move a lever intended to pull out a latch which locks a nylon shaft into place until you turn the winch. The tire hangs on a "Tee" on the end of the shaft.

The problem is, the latch itself is designed with a "step" so that (apparently) it cannot wiggle free. But the step also prevents the latch from coming out, even if a lot of force is applied to it, a lot more force than the friction-driven lever will apply. Even on the bench I couldn't get it to release.

So I filed the "step" off the latch and will put it back into the van and try it, but I expect that before I have driven many miles the latch will slip out on its own, leaving the tire supported only be the cable, whereupon it will drop lower and lower until it starts to bounce off the road. (I will closely monitor the situation and hopefully if that DOES happen I will have the chance to crank it back up before it does any damage.)

If anyone knows if there is a better-designed replacement available from Chrysler or an aftermarket supplier, please post!

Meanwhile, I remain amazed by the stupidity of Chrysler's so-called engineers.

Thanks,

Larry

ronmar1
04-15-2007, 11:22 PM
My answer to the problem comes with my insurance. They call it "emergency road service." They fix it for me, and if they can't fix it, they pay the tow bill. I had a blow out on a trip to SC, and my do-nut spare was flat. Not only did they pay road service to fix it, they paid for the new tire also. I guess it was because I was farther from home than the 50 mile do-nut was recomended for. It costs me $35 a year, but darn well worth it.
Ron

RIP
04-16-2007, 01:14 AM
Good info but, you guys are opening a two year old thread. Best to start your own.

caravan96
08-28-2007, 08:49 PM
All Caravans 96 and newer seem to have this problem. Granted it is a poor design. With the spare down, grease the locking mechanism well. Also, tie one end of a cord to the locking mechanism and the other loosely to the rear bumper. If the spare does not lower when needed but the wire does, rewind the wire until tight, unwind the wire about 1/2 turn, and pull on the cord to release the locking mechanism.
If the spare stays up, a professional with a hoist is needed to get that spare down.

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