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2006 T&C SWB -- timing chain change interval?

Old 03-14-2012, 03:51 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Statesville, NC. ZIP Code EIEIO
Posts: 8
Question 2006 T&C SWB -- timing chain change interval?

Hiya, all.
Honest, I did a search before posting, but depending upon how I set it up, I get either zero hits or about 6,000....
Also, if I ever had a knack for mechanical stuff, it's lost to the years of being around high power radio wave fields. These days, if I turn the ignition key and I don't hear a satisfying "Var-roooom!", then it's "broke", and I call someone who knows what they're doing with moving parts.l
I got my 2006 T&C short wheelbase (3.3L v6, no ABS or cool stuff) at 30K miles, and it's now got 68K.
The owner's manual doesn't mention anything to do with the timing chain & gears, and the appropriate Haynes manual shows *how* to change them, but not *when*.
I understand the timing chain isn't something one casually checks, like an oil dipstick, or the rate of decay of Cesium, or similar.
The last (and only) time I ever attempted something like this was back when I was the original owner of a 1976 Dodge Club Cab "Power Wagon" with the 318-1 engine, and even *then* it took me three days. All I can remember was that if you could hold the chain along its two "long sides" and get the links to touch, then it was too slack, and so I changed it along with the plastic (nylon?) gears.
I don't know if this engine is what has been explained to me as an "interference" engine, wherein a broken timing belt (or chain) will allow the camshaft to get out of time with the pistons, and try to defy the physical law of impenetrability, occupying the same space at the same time with two or more objects.
When the wife's Mitsubishi Spyder (v6) got to around 70K miles, its mechanics told horror tales of flying engine parts and small explosions and such, so we had hers changed along with other stuff that already entailed pulling out the engine to fix.
So, my current buggy, this T&C 3.3L -- if the chain in this breaks, will I simply be stranded with a non-running soccer-mom van, or will I be in for a new engine?
If it *needs* to be changed, or if I'm already in the neighborhood for, say, a water pump, can this be done without pulling the engine from the vehicle, or is it so difficult to try on this type engine that it's easier just to have it hoisted out?
And is there a specified interval at which I should have it done, even if it's not yet symptomatic of failing?
Thanks for the time (and patience of anyone who's gotten this far...)
-- Zygoma --
Old 03-14-2012, 05:50 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: California
Posts: 722

Timing chains on these wonder wagons are supposed to last the life of the van. There's no scheduled change. That said, if you're pushing 200K and planning on setting a mileage record I would probably consider changing it. In many years of cruising Chrysler forums I've read of very few timing chain problems (2?) on the 3.3 / 3.8 ltr. Course I don't turn wrenches for a living either. The 3.3 is a non-interference engine. If it breaks you'll be stranded but your engine will be fine - so they say.

Last edited by Raptor 07; 03-14-2012 at 05:57 PM.
Old 03-15-2012, 09:12 AM
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Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Statesville, NC. ZIP Code EIEIO
Posts: 8

Many thanks. It's always a little unsettling to know there's sumpin' inside there that's a really big deal on lotsa other modern-ish cars, and doesn't even get mentioned in the owner's manual.
And being stranded here in the Piedmont of North Carolina isn't as lethal as it would have been in my 30 years in Alaska.
Thank you for the quick response. Ye Olde Buggy is in the shop today getting the obligatory (and it seems almost criminally premature) replacement of the rack and pinion assembly, and the power steering reservoir/filter.
Hopefully no more big things to anticipate, although the book does talk about tranny & coolant flushes about now.
-- Zyg --
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