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Discussion Starter #1
Had anther failure, so I thought I'd document it here for posterity. Cracked flywheel (yes, it's correctly called a flex plate). There was an instance of this happening on this forum in the early days of 2014, but unless I missed it I'm the only other one.

Story:
Driver cruising down the road lightly loaded. Suddenly engine hits the rev limiter. Won't restart because it won't spin, because the flywheel is cracked. It did give some warning as a few days earlier the driver complained of a rattling sound. I looked and thought it was the fan assembly, which does have some play in it and can rattle.

Confirming the problem was easy. There's an access panel at the bottom of the bell housing, and I could spin the flywheel with my finger. Plus I could move it side to side with a screwdriver. Flex plate failure has happened to me once before on a 60s vehicle, and research turns up that this was a common problem when the 62TE trans was introduced in 2003. I've had the engine out of this particular van, so I was was worried it cracked because of something I did, or some torque spec I didn't follow. Not so, as the bolts and area around the bolts was fine, it was the rest of the flex plate that cracked. Conclusion, confirmed by other mechanics, is that flex plates just sometimes fail.

Brand new OEM flex plate is $70 from the dealer. Can be had online for $50. Junkyard flex plate is $25. I went OEM.

While a simple fix, it basically involves removing the transmission. This books at 5-7 hours, but a friend and I did it with a few special tools. In short, you simply:

Put the front in the air
Remove both axles, which means undoing the lower ball joint, using a long bar to pry down on the lower control arm after unbolting the knuckle from the strut. Also involves a big impact gun and what I believe is was 27mm socket for the axle nut.

Unbolt starter

Support engine (floor jack) support trans (floor jack)

Remove ps axle carrier bearing to block support (3 bolts, easy)

Remove upper trans mount

Remove lower trans mount

Remove bell housing bolts and 4 torque converter bolts

At this point, the trans can move away from the engine block with a decent amount of room to get the old flywheel out and the new one in. Torque to 70lbs at the crank. If you felt like it, you could remove the shifter cable and electrical connector and take the trans out altogether. Also, there's one sensor (output speed sensor) on the back side of the transmission near the bell housing.

This job was a pain because we were lying on the ground, but indeed it took about 7 hours in total. I could do it again in 5 comfortably. Overall it was more of a pain than a RWD vehicle, but no different than any FWD vehicle.

Overall, I relearned two important things. Modern cars are tough to get apart, but they go back together super easy. This is the opposite of the 60s/70s junk I'm used to working on. It's because a car that easy to assemble on the line is cheaper to build.

And I also re-learned that not much on the PM is different from 60s/70s cars. The flywheel looks the same, works the same, and is replaced the same as on something from the Johnson administration. The newness/scariness of new cars is all in the fuel system and electrical unicorns. But a starter is a starter, a trans is still a trans, a bleeding knuckle is still a bleeding knuckle.
 

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Another flex plate adventure

Hello Kip-on-truckin

I have a 2015 Winnebago Trend with a 3500 Promaster chassis. Last year I noticed a irregular ticking sound from the engine compartment closer to the transmission side.

Dealer said that it was a cracked flex plate. I was lucky to be able to drive it to the dealer. It was fixed under warranty. I have only 8300 miles on it today.

Currently its at the dealer waiting for an instrument cluster replacement. Extra lights appear when the cruise control is turned on.

I thank everyone for their information and tips on things to be on the lookout for.
 

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I could try TIG welding that for you. ;-)
 

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Thanks Kip,
We did have more than one Flex Plate failure in 2014-2015 vans. They had low mileage so FCA fixed them. I couldn’t find all the posts but I think you are the 4th or 5th. It certainly is not an issue many will ever see.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
True, RD. And that flexplate had 290k on it when it failed. So whatever griping I do, at least we know it's not a pattern failure. And I also know I don't have to "worry" about it in the same way I worry about other things on the van. Nothing I do or don't do is going to make the flexplate fail. And now that I've done it, if it happens in the future it's a $50 fix.

And I think it's important to stress that if this was 10 years ago, I'd have failed a torque converter if I had an econoline, and I'd be on my 3rd transmission if I had a chevy. I'd have long been in the poorhouse if I had a Sprinter. So I guess I shouldn't complain.
 

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My van is at the dealer today, had a noise that I thought was alternator or a/c as it would change under load and when the fan would kick on. Yep, was the flex plate, been driving it for about two weeks that way, guess I lucked out in that department.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sarness: how many miles in the van?
 

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52k, 2014 model, bought it 3 years ago.

Funny, I stopped by the dealer today to pickup some parts out of it, but couldn't as it was up on the lift, even though I was told it was not. But everyone had gone home (computers down) so I was able to take a look at it.

Also took a pic of another flex plate that was on the bench, unsure of what it came from, looked the same though, albeit in worse shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The 3rd pic looks like it, but the other two have hex shaped holes to the crank. That's out of something else.

From personal experience, I happen to know that all tge 2011-up flexplates for all 62te vehicles are the same. And I know the dealer retails at $71 for the flexplate. Aftermarket is $50-55.
 

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Thanks all for sharing. Has anyone found a more robust (ie heavy duty) flex plate?
I bought a used Promaster and after purchasing got the service records and found that it has had the flex plate replaced at least twice in under 100k miles. Looks like I might have one with a chronically bad flex plate situation. Something in the engine or transmission is probably out of balance.
Unless anyone has some ideas for how to solve this at the cause, I'd like to find a burlier flex plate when this one goes out too.
 
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