Why don't you just go buy one with a V6? We own two and while we have had our own headaches, we certainly have not had as many as yours.
Got suckered into getting a 89 Grand LE 3.0V6. The owner mostly gave it away. Up to this point, I have mostly owned import cars. So figured I own this to not be biased and be patriotic. Boy was I in for a rude awakening. Aside from cheap interior and peeling paint, I figured it can't be that bad. Well heres of list of things done already:
(1) Replaced 3.0V6 & transmission with a 3.3V6 and transmission because the 3.0 smoked constantly and will not pass emissions.
(2) On the 3.3V6 replaced water pump because it seized.
So far so good, but I am nervous. Good thing I know a thing or two about engine work & swap or I'd be broke from paying "professionals". They say the 3.3 is better (more reliable) because it is push-rod, but looking at design I doubt it. The wiring is substandard compared to imports. The water pump has no external ribbing for strength like imports. The oil pan has no baffles. The serpentine belt is a disaster waiting to happen because if one thing seizes, you are pretty much stranded. The vehicle is a good invention for its day, but everything is so poorly made. I doubt Chrysler can stay in business now since imports have copied the basic minivan idea, but have much better engineering.
We have a 1989 Voyager with 208,000 miles on it. It has the 2.5L engine and a 5 Speed manual transmission. We regularly drive 4.5 hours to our camp up in Northern Maine with no problems, getting 25MPG with it. We got the car for free and love the room in it. It is simple to work on, if you have to work on it. I had to replace the radiator, struts and brakes once so far. I replaced the original sliding door due to rust along the bottow edge. The AC was fixed three years ago for $500 and works perfectly with the R34A conversion. It has great heat too and is pretty good in the snow and ice. One thing to watch out for is the front engine mount (near the radiator) historically is a weak part of the mounting system. I had to replace ours as it had literally broken away from the engine, resulting in scraping and grinding noise. This is probably what has happened with the author of this report too. Wish we had the turbo version with the 5 speed. A guy on the internet has one which he has upgraded and regularly blows Camaro and Corvette owners off the drag strip with 1/4 mile runs in the 10.9 second time!
I just bought an '89 Voyager with 165,000 miles. It runs great, except it burns and leaks oil with the 3.0 liter. You guys criticize American engineering? It is widely known that the 3.0 liter is a Mitsubishi motor, the crappy one, and the 3.3 liter is Chrysler, the good one. I've owned many Chrysler products and I've been very happy. Complainers love to complain. Happy people don't usually say anything.
Oh, and what do you people expect from a car that is 17 years old? Peeling paint? Whoa! I see a lot of these old vans on the road. That says a lot.
It is 2 years after I initially posted the review, and what do you know I still own and drive the car. I have since had to replace a wheel bearing, heater core, timing belt, valve cover gasket, lift gate shocks, radio, all 3 motor mounts, and some other minor stuff.
The van now has 235,000 miles on it, about 100,000 in the Mitsubishi 2.5L engine. However, the front end is so shot that it failed inspection for safety reasons, and the oil pump/engine bearings are shot leading to insuffiecent oil pressure. The engine is almost shot too with little power on the highway. Obviously, there are going to be issues after 230k. However, all of my 3 vehicles have over 200k, and my '85 BMW with 220k still has original engine, trans and runs like new.
If you can perform maintenance yourself, go ahead and buy one of these vans because they're dirt cheap, but do so expecting many headaches. If you like spending your weekends working on your car this may be the van for you.