2003 dodge grand caravan spare tire mount?

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Old 08-07-12, 02:05 PM
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2003 dodge grand caravan spare tire mount?

the spare would not come down. did research and a common issue. I got it down now, but in the top of wheel there were two parts-a small rod and a clip/spring. see photos:





can anyone give me idea how it is to go together? photos would be great or a diagram of parts perhaps. I may be missing some parts but not sure.
 
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Old 08-07-12, 09:37 PM
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OK, found this:

"The design of the spare tire winch has been the same from 1996 up to now, perhaps excepting Stow&Go minivans. It works as follows. The nylon "stem" of the wheel holder has a collar that gets caught by a spring latch inside the square tube protruding downward. This is the tube which the cable comes out from. The latch itself is a stamped piece of metal with two "claws" that extend into the tube through the slots on its rear-facing side. That piece is attached to the tube by means of a flat spring, whose one end is riveted to the latch and the other one to the tube, some 3" upward. To operate the latch, there is a rod which pulls it away from the tube (the claws have tabs on their ends so they cannot come out completely). The other end of the rod is hooked to a looped flat spring. The spring is shaped like a hose clamp with two long straight "ears", and the round portion is pressed onto the bottom end of the winch's main shaft. So, as you begin to unwind the cable, the clamp/spring should turn together with the shaft and pull on the rod, thus releasing the latch. And this must happen before the weight of the wheel transfers to the latch through the plastic holder (which would occur if the latch fails to move on the first few turns of the shaft). Apparently, when the latch claws get stuck in their slots due to dirt or rust, the shaft just slips inside the spring. It could be a fail-safe feature to prevent the parts from breaking, but it also easily prevents the latch from releasing. Recently (as of this writing), I inspected the winch on my minivan and the wheel was found to be stuck. The previous inspection was two years ago. Back then, the latch did work and I sprayed it with silicone grease. A stuck latch should be easy to release if you lie down on your back and support the weight of the wheel by pushing it up. If you can hold the wheel close to the floor pan, there's enough room to reach the latch with a finger, through the center hole of the wheel. If it's too difficult to hold the wheel up, you can insert a long screwdriver through one of the holes in the wheel and unhook the latch with it. It still helps to at least partially support the wheel so its full weight is not resting on the latch. This time around, I cleaned the mechanism with WD-40 and then brush-painted the claws and their slots with anti-seize, and also applied it between the flat spring and the square tube, to make sure nothing holds it there. Do not lubricate the spring itself, and the machined neck on the shaft where it is clamped on. Now I believe that the winch has to be inspected and serviced at least annually. Don't forget to pump up the spare tire at the same time. Hope this helps."

so after reading this and playing around I found how I think the parts are supposed to go. Here is photo, sorry for out of focus



when I turn the winch from in trunk, the clip does pull on the rod and the rod pulls on the release. but it does not unlock it cause the two locking tabs have notches on them that prevent the tabs from coming out far enough to release. things have to be pushed up first and then out. see photo:



can't figure any other way to put parts to make it work though? and nothing seems broken and rust is not culprit. so can't figure out why it won't work?
 
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Old 08-08-12, 04:36 AM
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I wish I could add some wisdom, but my only experience with spare tire winches is dropping the spare to do a tire change for a customer. I don't think I've ever had one not function, even on northern road salt-rotted units. My only comment is that in the first picture it appears as though the loop in the wire should be seated all the way on that stud - assuming that's where it goes. Have you checked junk yards for a replacement unit?
 
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Old 08-08-12, 04:57 AM
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And just some additional thoughts on spare tires etc. from a tower's standpoint:

1. Spare tires nowadays (especially donuts) are nearly useless for the consumer to do a roadside tire change. Reason? Nobody ever checks the air in the spare; this is especially true of those carried like on a Caravan. I see and deal with this on a fairly regular basis where the customer has changed a flat with a donut and 5 miles down the road the spare fails from under-inflation; donut spares can fool the eye as far as how much air is in them. When I do a tire change the first thing I do is air up the spare and the donuts generally have 20 psi or less in them; well below their 60 psi requirement, and I haven't even mentioned the crap they put in cars for jacking and lug nut removal.

2. There are cars on the road now that HAVE no spare tire; instead they are equipped with a can of fix-a-flat and a 12v inflator:

No spare tire is a new-car trend - Philly.com

SOOO, one option would be to simply skip the spare tire, although I'm not really a proponent of this since fix-a-flat and an inflator doesn't help much if you have a complete tire failure. Then you get to call a tow truck .

I did a quick check on a replacement winch and it looks like it runs about $150 . I'm guessing it would be a pretty easy find at a junk yard.
 
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Old 08-09-12, 06:07 AM
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My 07 Grand Caravan has a slightly different setup which really isn't much better.

It's a spring loaded "V" clamp that goes through the center of the spare and the plastic cover. The one time I had to use it, I couldn't get the clamp to close as it was seized.

I now drop the tire twice a year to and grease the crap out of it and check the pressure while it's down.
 
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Old 08-09-12, 09:30 AM
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tow guy, I just put the parts where I think they go. I did not press that piece onto the shaft yet and didn't put the rod into the lock mechanism. I had them all where they should go but it didn't work like I said. so wasn't sure I got it right cause there isn't any rust and nothing appears bent so I thought it should work if I had parts in right place.

I check my spare occasionally and have used donut on numberous occasions without incident. Although I have plug kit at home and pump and think maybe I should just carry that and plug tire if I have puncture. on my motorcycle I care a slime kit with pump. have never needed it. not crazy about the slime cause then you have to get all that crap off the rim when you get new tire. is it hard to get it all off?
 
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Old 08-09-12, 01:54 PM
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Not sure, but I think it will come off with solvent. Think my first choice would be a used winch unit.
 
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