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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions

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Comments

  • sxt4mesxt4me Posts: 7
    My 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT after 5,900 miles needs a brand new transmission. And, the dealer says the thing is most likely going to be a refurbished from an 03 model. Hey guys, listen to the wife and buy the Sienna. I may have saved $3,000 but the headaches are not worth it. Should I go on? Take a really close look at what you getting. Cheap Plastic, poor performing AC (fogs up easy) and smells bad with use of recirculation feature. Andy, who in the world sits with the seat in a complete vertical position, which is the only comfortable position for the arm rests. Recline the seats a bit and your arms are pointing towards the windshield. I had to take off the arm rests and use the 1/2" drill to grind out a bit of plastic so the arm rests are more ergonmically positioned horizontally. We have the DVD Video and 6 disc DVD/CD combo. The thing is clustered up so badly you need to pull over to figure out what you are doing. After 4,900 miles the oil was 25% gone and severly black. I was required to use an engine oil cleaner before changing the oil. Can it be that the engine is buring oil this badly with so few miles. I would not recommend that anyone buy a Caravan. Nothing has changed but the new fold down seats for 05.
    I can go on....
    Anyone interested in purchasing a Nearly New 04 Grand Caravan SXT Bright Silver Metallic with DVD and Power everything?
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    I would return the car to your dealer and ask for a full refund or a brand new van. No way, a new car should be like this...As for the DVD video and 6 disc thing, I don't think it is dealer's fault, you should've known this when you chose that option.
  • sxt4mesxt4me Posts: 7
    You know, you don't really look at these kinds of things until you drive off the lot and actually start fidling with the knobs and controls. I have owned a lot of cars and this clustered design is by far the worst in the way of ergonomics I have ever used. The layout does look really cool though.
  • thirdonethirdone Posts: 1
    My 2001 Grand Caravan's driver's side rear sliding door has begun to sag (front edge hangs lower than rear). I took it to the dealership and he proceeded to tell me that I needed sensors in both doors and that was the reason they don't open and close properly and that he would have to have a body shop look at the sagging problem. The doors open and close fine, however the sagging door tends to apply pressure to the trailing edge of the driver's door. Has anyone here had this problem? Can it be adjusted by me?
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Are they taking your van back?
  • May I ask what you paid for the SXT. Your scaring me, we're trying to buy a silver 2004 SXT Caravan. Dealer has one left on the lot, we are trying to get it for under $20,000 out the door with all costs included. Now I not sure I even want it.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My company has over 3000 '01, '02, and '03 Chrysler mini-vans and have had very good service from them. Our GMs and especially our Windstars have had more mechanical problems, especially of the costly type. The newer the Chrysler mini-van, the better they've gotten.

    I find it curious that a person with fairly extensive criticism of things like "cheap plastic" and other ergonomic complaints didn't know about them before the vehicle was purchased. A transmission failure so early in a vehicle's life either indicates incorrect assembly or abuse. Few people I know will ever admit to abusing a vehicle.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I generally trust Dusty on this topic. I used to run a small fleet, he runs an enormous fleet. That's even better than Consumer Reports! If Dusty says they're good, he oughta know.
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    I've been moonlighting in the Grand Caravan section because I may purchase a 2005 GC SXT in the next few months. I've been back and forth between an SUV and mini-van. In the final analysis I think generally better gas mileage, space utilization, ride, and seating are pushing me toward a minivan. In the "less scientific" arena...my daughter loves the extra seats!
       DustyK--Several of your posts have struck a chord with me and I compliment you on your cogent comments. Many of us have taken issue with CR and it's flawed methodology and the unending stream of "Chrysler haters". Some of whom have resorted to changing names, emails and tactics to post at Edmunds. In my extended family we have had numerous Caravans, Intrepids, Neons, and Rams. Never have we experienced a transmission failure or other catastrophic isssue of any kind. Perfect? No! Competitive and reliable? Yes!
        In particular I felt compelled to share an incident that-while seemingly isolated--gives me concern. At about 45,000 miles, I had maintenence performed on my 2000 Intrepid ES at a local shop. Although I mentioned it to two service managers in EXCEEDING detail--I managed to get a transmission full of ATF 3 instead of ATF 4. When I paid for my service I noticed ATF 3 on the receipt. I called the Dodge Service Manager at my local dealer and put him on the phone with the technicians. Although the car had already been driven, they PUSHED it back into the bay, drained and flushed the transmission and put ATF 4 in. I think that may be much more common that anyone knows and may contribute to transmission difficulties.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    Some of whom have resorted to changing names, emails and tactics to post at Edmunds

    Most unlikely. If you suspect someone of doing this, email a host. It only takes a minute to track down IPs, not to mention it's pretty easy to spot a clone when people have come back under a new name after being asked to leave.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    Apparently you've never ventured into the Intrepid board. As a whole we have one member who changed identities at least twice and have had several "posters" who would drop in once or twice--make fairly catastrophic claims about the product--and then disappear. I don't recall the sedan host ever asking anyone to leave. In fact the tendency was to censor conversations where the offender was called to task. Ah well...
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    Like I said, it's pretty easy to spot a clone, as you've just indicated.

    This is a problems board so it's natural for people to complain here. Hopefully the rest of us can offer up some solutions now and then too.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • jboehmjboehm Posts: 44
    I would be calling Chrysler to discuss the issues that you are having with the vehicle. I have owned Chrysler vehicles for the better part of 14 years and have had very few problems. The only vehicle I had major problems with Chrysler took back. My '01 GC has almost 50k miles on it with no problems (except for being rear-ended by someone going 60 mph). My wife and I are looking at getting an '05 sometime next year. Even then it may be a battle since she keeps telling me she LOVES her current GC.
  • dustyk - Thank you for you comments. We bought the 2004 Caravan STX on Thursday and its now sitting in our garage. I love it. Its silver with quad seats, popular equipment package, alloy wheels, cd player. We got it for 18,898 plus tax, tags and dealer fees for $20,500. We traded in our 1998 Caravan Sport with 77,000 miles for $3100. We bought the van because the price was what we could afford and with a little luck it should serve us well for the next 7 years. It drives like its on a cloud. Thanks for you input. I'll be posting a review of the van on Edmunds after we've had it 6 months. Love this town hall site!
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Jason, I suspect that 80-95% of Chrysler automatic transmission failures are directly attributable to lack of maintenance, incorrect fluid -- or both. I have seen too many of them go 150,000 or more miles without having anything done to them but routine maintenance.

    As to Consumer Reports, there is no one more critical of their "reliability" reporting system then I. I have witnessed hundreds of people who have experienced significant and costly repairs yet believe they've had "no trouble" with a vehicle. Much of it is based on the religious-like allegiance to a particular brand.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    There is a family here in my little town outside of Rochester, New York, that has a something like ten or eleven Chrysler mini-vans in their immediate and extended family with an approximate total of 1,500,000 miles on them. They've haven't lost a transmission yet. Other problems (power window regulator motors - made by GM, by the way; air conditioning & heater components), but no transmissions. Even those problems have not surfaced on the newer versions.

    I think your chances are "much better than average" of having excellent service from your new van. Enjoy.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • antonioantonio Posts: 12
    Hey y'all!

    I just yesterday purchased a '97 GC with 67k. I just today noticed when I have the air setting on Defrost and I am sitting stationary with the car running, a somewhat load hissing sound comes from the dash - almost like a tire is deflating. I also noticed when driving this noise is there but it goes away like a compressor is turning on and off or something. Is this normal on this minivan? I have never owned a Dodge or any domestic vehicle - ever. This is the 1st!

    Thanks in advanced!

    Antonio (^_^)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Sounds like your HVAC switchgear has a vacuum leak in it. Will probably need to be replaced.
  • antonioantonio Posts: 12
    What the heck is a HVAC Switchgear and can you give me an idea of what a repiar like that costs? It is a difficult repair? Any additional info will help!

    Thanks,

    Antonio

    btw I jsut went out and checked the tranny fluid on the van, when doing so I noticed about a 1/2inch diameter black hose on the right side of the engine compartment that was just sitting there not connected. I could also see another un-attached hose that looks like it was it's mate and they came apart for some reason. One side also had some tape on it with a zip tie. Could this un-attached hose be the problem?

    Thanks again,

    Antonio (^_^)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Could be, hook it up and see if the noise goes away.

    The switchgear is just your A/C controls. Usually, an integrated unit hooked to either vacuum, or electric in the newer ones.
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