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Old 07-14-2019, 07:44 PM   #1
chrisjca
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Default New owner, basic upkeep question

I bought a 2004 2.2 FWD Vue recently and it's been a dream so far, I love it. Unfortunately I was in a serious bind to get a car and didn't have time to get it properly inspected before I bought it, and it was the only car I looked at that was in acceptable condition (actually it's in terrific condition).

I've gone and checked for rust and leaks and it looks good, the tire wear looks normal/even. I know the stock transmission these come with is a bit of a ticking time bomb and I'm gonna be getting the parts for an AF23 trans swap, but for now it's running great so I'm not too stressed about it (slightly paranoid though for sure).

I'm going to get it inspected professionally when possible, but I thought I'd ask if there were any particular points on this car that commonly need attention? I've searched online but all the noise about the transmission kinda blocks out the smaller details. I'm curious about things I can either visually check for or ask the mechanic to specifically look at when I bring it in.

Apologies if this is way too common of a question, I like to look things up on my own as much as possible but sometimes it's more helpful to ask. I really dig this car and want to take proper care of it. Thanks!

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Old 07-15-2019, 08:17 AM   #2
VUEmaniac
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1997 SC2
Default Re: New owner, basic upkeep question

Sounds like you have one with the VTi CVT transmission. Ticking time bomb is an understatement. When it fails (and it will), the car will be instantly worthless as the cost to repair will easily exceed the value of a VUE of that age.

My advice would be to get rid of it and start out with something that doesn't have such a high probability of both leaving you stranded and leaving you with a 2 ton paperweight once it does fail. Search through these forums and you'll see many folks that have been bitten. Converting to the Aisin trans is pretty involved and not really worth the effort unless you have the ability to do it yourself AND you have a lot of free time on your hands.

Best,

...
---
Don't blame a clown for acting like a clown. Ask yourself why YOU keep going to the circus.

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Old 07-15-2019, 08:18 AM   #3
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: New owner, basic upkeep question

Front wheel bearings
Brake hoses
Engine cradle (rust)
rear suspension links (toe and camber adjust bolt/nuts breaking)
rusted fuel lines that run from rear to front of car
timing chain tensioner changed to latest version (if rattles on cold startup)

...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

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Old 07-15-2019, 08:24 PM   #4
chrisjca
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Default Re: New owner, basic upkeep question

Quote:
Originally Posted by VUEmaniac View Post
Sounds like you have one with the VTi CVT transmission. Ticking time bomb is an understatement. When it fails (and it will), the car will be instantly worthless as the cost to repair will easily exceed the value of a VUE of that age.

My advice would be to get rid of it and start out with something that doesn't have such a high probability of both leaving you stranded and leaving you with a 2 ton paperweight once it does fail. Search through these forums and you'll see many folks that have been bitten. Converting to the Aisin trans is pretty involved and not really worth the effort unless you have the ability to do it yourself AND you have a lot of free time on your hands.

I recognize how dumb it is, but I'm not concerned about exceeding the value. To make a long reply short: I'm not a very practical person. I like the car and putting work into it is something I'd happily do. I figured for its age it would need some work either way so I wasn't too upset when I learned I'd need to do something about the transmission. I don't have major time constraints, though my ability to do it needs work but I have time to get more familiar with it while I gather the parts. Until then I've been limiting my time driving it to be on the safe side as much as one can with this transmission. I very much appreciate the grounded response though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by waiter21 View Post
Front wheel bearings
Brake hoses
Engine cradle (rust)
rear suspension links (toe and camber adjust bolt/nuts breaking)
rusted fuel lines that run from rear to front of car
timing chain tensioner changed to latest version (if rattles on cold startup)
Thank you, this is perfect.

If you don't mind another question: I noticed you did an auto-manual swap. Would you say that's a better alternative to the AF23 swap? Since I don't have anything invested in the project yet I'm open to other options, I mostly drive automatics out of laziness but if one option is technically more effective than the other I'm all for it.

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Old 07-16-2019, 07:38 AM   #5
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: New owner, basic upkeep question

Quote:
If you don't mind another question: I noticed you did an auto-manual swap. Would you say that's a better alternative to the AF23 swap? Since I don't have anything invested in the project yet I'm open to other options, I mostly drive automatics out of laziness but if one option is technically more effective than the other I'm all for it.
I didn't do the swap, the previous owner (PO) did it, but could never get it running after the swap. It sat in their driveway for 6 years and was on its way to the junk yard when I rescued it. During the swap, the PO had inadvertently swapped the Fuel Injector plug with the throttle body plug and nuked the ECM.

However, I'm very familiar with what needs to be done to do the manual swap.

The best way is to find a complete donor, i.e. something thats been wrecked, or a blown clutch, or even a blown engine.

Parts you need from the donor:
Transmission, clutch, flywheel, pressure plate, etc
Engine compartment wiring harness. You'll also need to make some minor passenger compartment wiring changes. i.e. jumper the starter/clutch interlock wiring.
ECM - The flash program for the manual tranny is different than auto.
Clutch pedal and hardware, master cylinder, hoses, etc
shifting cables and shift lever assembly.

Easiest way is to swap out the entire cradle, with engine tranny on the cradle.

Personally, Regardless of what you do, at minimum I'd split the engine tranny and replace the clutch slave and rear crankshaft oil seal on engine. You don't want to go to all this trouble then 500 miles later the slave takes a dump.

...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

Last edited by waiter21; 07-16-2019 at 07:49 AM..

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Old 07-16-2019, 03:02 PM   #6
chrisjca
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Default Re: New owner, basic upkeep question

Thank you waiter21, you've been very helpful.

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Old 07-25-2019, 08:44 PM   #7
oldmanina2005vu
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2008 SKY Red Line
Default Re: New owner, basic upkeep question

I am not sure where you are located since your profile doesn't have a location. That would tell us what rust issues you need to be concerned with. I have done several AF23 swaps and also done several timing chain and tensioner replacements. Those are the two most serious problems with the car you have purchased. It appears you have already planned on making the transmission swap. I would also suggest that if the car has over 75K miles you consider doing a complete timing chain and guide replacement. The guides and tensioners are the weak points in the 2.2L engine. If you replace them at 75k intervals they will last a very long time.

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