How to Lower the Spare Tire on My 2004 Chrysler Pacifica

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Chysler's 2004 Pacifica was something of an odd duck; not quite a minivan, but not a station wagon either. Nonetheless, the Pacifica filled the family transport role to a -- somewhat pricey -- tee. The Pacifica's crossover body style reduces its ability to carry larger amounts of cargo, forcing Chrysler's engineers to mount the rear wheel under the chassis, where it held in place by cable-operated winch. The winch is operated by a drive nut hidden within the under-floor storage bin in the rear cargo compartment.

Lowering the Spare Tire

  • Open the Pacifica's rear liftgate and open the storage bin built into the rear cargo floor. A tool compartment is concealed within the storage bin, just below liftgate sill. Open the tool compartment and remove the jack and jack handle. Pull up the round trim panel, located on the right side of the storage bin, to reveal the spare tire winch drive nut. Place the jack handle over the winch drive nut, then turn the nut counterclockwise to lower the spare tire to the ground. Continue to turn the drive nut to create slack in the winch cable. Lift the spare tire up until you can reach the winch retainer on the underside of the wheel; tilt the retainer sideways and pull it out of from the center of the wheel.

Tire Change Procedure

  • Crouch along the side of the Pacifica, near the damaged tire, place the jack under the nearest engagement flange on the Pacifica's frame rails. The forward flange is located directly behind the front wheels, while the rear flange is just forward of the rear wheel. Loosen the wheel nuts, using the wrench included in the tool kit, then lift the wheel off of the ground with the jack. Unscrew the wheel nuts and pull the wheel off of the hub. Lift the spare tire onto the wheel hub, then screw the wheel nuts into place until they are hand-tight. Lower the wheel to the ground and tighten the wheel nuts, using a criss-crossing pattern. If possible, tighten the wheel nuts to 95 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench. Take the Pacifica to the nearest service station to have the damaged tire replaced immediately.

Stowing the Spare Tire

  • Once the damaged tire has been replaced, the spare tire should be returned to its original position under the car. Lower the winch cable and retainer, then slide the retainer through the center of the spare tire. Turn the winch drive nut clockwise to lift the spare tire into place. Push the round trim cover over the winch drive nut, then stow the jack and jack handle in the tool box and lower the rear storage bin lid.

Warnings

  • The spare tire is intended only for emergency situations and should be used only as a temporary solution. Avoid driving at speeds over 50 mph to reduce the possibility of overloading the tire. Additionally, a torque wrench should be used when tightening the wheel nuts to ensure that the tire is secured to the wheel hub. If you do not have access to a torque wrench, tighten the wheel nuts as much as possible and drive carefully to the nearest service station. Finally, the winch drive nut should only be operated with the jack handle included in the Pacifica's tool kit. Using air-powered tools can round off the drive nut, rendering it useless.

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