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Hi all,

Interested in your thoughts on a ProMaster I'm interesting in looking at to see if there are any red flags I'm not seeing.

2014 Ram ProMaster 3500 High Roof
Price: $11,448
Mileage: 197,635
Extended
Engine: 6 Cyl - 3.60 L
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Appearance: looks like it is in good condition, no rust (but I will get a better inspection when I visit in-person).

The CarFax on it shows only one owner and no accidents. I am going to visit the dealership next week to take a look and am hoping they can provide a detailed maintenance log so I can see what work has been done on it. I will also have a friend along who has been a truck mechanic for decades, so I'm hoping he can provide some assistance and ensure I don't get too taken advantage of by the dealer.

I've been reading a lot on this forum about problems people have had with '14's, but I've seen similar problems with Transits and Sprinters that I've looked into, and I do like the wider body of the ProMaster.

I'd be very happy if anyone could provide any expertise on this deal and let me know of any red flags I'm missing or specific questions to ask the dealer about the van.
 

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It’s a fairly reasonably priced vehicle and I have driven most of mine further than that. However your own use is a factor. If you are going to drive it a lot, say 25K/year then don’t expect to drive it for 6 or 7 years without considerable expense. The engine might be good for that far but when a cam wears out or the compression drops low enough to make it hard to start you are facing a rebuilt as major work on a high mileage engine showing wear is not prudent.
Does it burn oil, an indicator the valve guides or rings are worn? I’d suggest the following:
Get a compression check and spark plug inspection as both can be done at once. The pressures need to be even between cylinders and be about 135 psi but not less than about 100 and within about 25 psi each. You should be willing to pay for the test IMHO but sometimes the seller will have it done knowing it might sell the vehicle. Very low and very uneven means there is probably a leaking valve. Low on all cylinders probably means worn rings.
Has the transmission been serviced?
Secondly what use is it going to be put to. An occasional second vehicle that may be out of service sometime in the next 5 years is different than a lone business vehicle that puts you out of income when it needs service.
Earlier regular simple service is super important late in a vehicle’s life. Clean oil pays off, full synthetic and frequent changes is the gold standard. 5,000 mile is often, 8,000 is fine, 10,000 is marginal.
Most dealers and sellers offer 99 point inspections or something like that. Have they done that?
If I felt good about most of this I’d start the negotiations with a written offer of a figure I would be happy with. I have purchased vehicles for a bit over half the asking price and for as much as 80% but have walked away from a lot too. I would begin by privately discussing it with my friend and making a decision of what the price and considerations should be and if I didn’t get there keep looking.
You knew all this I expect. Good luck, it could be a great vehicle for a lot of miles.
 

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Wow. My 14 is only coming up on 22k miles. I need to get out more.
 

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Seeing this 5 days after posted, so maybe you've taken action on it. But for what it's worth, buy it.

Rd gives good advice about compression, but since you have to take the upper intake off it's probably not practical to check it before purchase. You also cant inspect the plugs, which were due at 100k. But that doesnt mean they are bad.

With that many miles, it means that the thing probably didn't sit. This is good - engines like to run. At only 3 years, you probably don't need to worry about anything coolant related, or brake related, or trans related.

Other than driving it to identify any problems, the only thing you are really looking for is misfires. The autozone reader won't read a misfire, but any decent indie mechanic will have the mopar tool and be able to go into something called mode 6, and read misfires. The check engine light won't be lit, even if it's misfiring.

If it has a misfire, it's possible good news. It'll need a head ($1500-2000) or an engine ($5000). You can not buy it, or beat the guy up on the price, buy it, bring it to me, and for $3000 I'll put an engine in it with under 40,000 miles. An engine swap is actually pretty easy on these.
 

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Kip, that's good news about the gasser being and easy swap. I'm hoping never to find myself in that situation but it's good to know that it's not the end of the world to swap in a used/junkyard/ rebuild.

How much of the front needs to come off to get it out? Or is it done by dropping the whole lower subframe down while it's up in the air?

I was always Leary of vans because of the need to take interior and dash bits apart to service.

But considering, say, a Ford f250 diesel that needs the cab lifted or pulled for most engine related repairs makes everything else seem easy.
 

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You take the grill off, you pull the radiator/fan assembly out, and then basically the whole engine is just sitting right in front of you. It just walks out the front on a floor jack. One decent mechanic with no special tools could do an engine swap in 2 days.

The engine is identical to every chrysler 3.6 2014-17. Low mileage junkyard engines are $1500.

So yeah, in the grand scheme it's pretty easy to work on. So what you are looking at is $34,000 worth of van for around 10k, even if it needs an engine.
 

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Yes. Engines are $1550 at LKQ. I'm quite happy to make $1000 for two days work, but it will go faster with a skilled paid helper. We'd do it in my driveway.

I'm also happy to give advice to anyone who wants to attempt this. It's a big job, but there's nothing really special or fancy about doing it. You need ramps, 2 floor jacks, a cherry picker, and hand tools. The exhaust is the hardest part, but it's just nuts and bolts.

The specialized thing you really need is someone to re-charge the A/C after it's complete. This cost me $50 at a local garage. A smarter guy would have them evacuate it before I crack it open.

With a new motor going in, you get low mileage plugs, coils, and injectors, plus the low mileage water pump, thermostat, belt tensioners, and oil cooler. But if you want to be pre-emotive, I could see putting a belt on it. Now would be the time for a new alternator and put your good one on the shelf, but I've got an alternator with 330k on it and no problems. Also replaced one at 360k on the other van.

Other than the upper intake and oil pan, everything comes with the new motor.
 

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Don’t believe you need a new(er) engine at <200K. That rig you are looking at will go 60-90 K more with perhaps plugs, alternator, and starter. Drive it. Relax now you know it can be extended. All my nearly 200K vehicles have been driven cross country* some 10 times, and none has failed!
* well NH-AZ or back=3000mi.
 

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Phil - Transmissions are a slightly different story. As an assembly, bought from chrysler brand new or bought from a junkyard, they are promaster specific. Junkyards get $1500 for pm trans and there's not much selection because there aren't a ton of wrecked pms. Minivan, journey, avenger, etc have the same trans, and to me they look basically identical except for the output. Those non-pm transmissions are in the 500-700 range. I'm in the process of figuring out what needs swapped over from a pm trans to a non-pm trans to make it work.

But for now, you would have 1500 in the trans, and labor at any shop might cost you 600-800. There is nothing special about removing and replacing the pm trans. It's the same as any fwd car. Ramps and a transjack, the rest is hand tools. I've done it twice.

FYI - the PM, like any fwd car, has the transmission, transaxle, and diff all in one unit. The diff is lubricated by trans fluid, so you don't even need to worry about special gear oils. Many (but not all) trans problems can be solved with a new valve body, which costs $125 and can be replaced without removing the trans in about two hours. Many many poor souls have been charged for a trans rebuild or replacement, when all that was needed was a new valve body.
 

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So has anyone tried a transaxle from something other than a promaster? I'd love to hear that tranny from a minivan works. Much cheaper and very available!
 

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So has anyone tried a transaxle from something other than a promaster? I'd love to hear that tranny from a minivan works. Much cheaper and very available!
I don't know, I would have to think there is a reason it is different, probably a different final drive ration to accomodate the much higher gvwr. My 3500 has a 9350 gvwr and 11500 gcwr, I doubt those other vehicles do. It may physically fit, but I'm not sure how it will hold up to the load.

I also have a 2019 pacifica, same engine, but 6055 gvwr with a max towing of 3600. Final drive of 3.25
My 2018 Promaster 3500, 9350 gvwr, max towing 5000, Final drive 3.86
 
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