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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • petras2petras2 Posts: 104
    my 96, 3.8 had asimiliar problem twice in 100k miles, every 50k the pcm, (powertrain control module) went bad causing engine to suddenly quit with no warning...techs could not find an underlying problem for the pcm going bad...good luck with yours...
  • For Norwegians: Kan plukke frem Snap-on'en og scanne bilen din her i Oslo.
  • hello this is a god send
    My wife's Dodge Caravan was giving her major headaches, cutting off and then starting back up days after.
    We took it to the dealer and he said that it was the BCM cost $1000.00
    Well after they replaced the BCM they blew out the PCM which they are saying we are liable for, they blew the device and are saying that its our fault and that they have to replace the part they blew with our money.
    That does not sound like a fair exchange to me need some help on this one because I'm not biting on there negligence.
    Any ideas would ne helpful..
  • dootdogdootdog Posts: 3
    "every 50k the pcm, (powertrain control module) went bad "

    Thanks for the reply. I don't think my '93 3.0L has one of those. I'm not even sure "powertrain" was an auto industry buzzword yet when it was built.

    I did check the entire wire harness that clips to the coil, sensors, injectors, transmission & alternator. The insulation on the injector wires had melted & fused, but I pulled them apart, rewrapped them, and tested them all for electrical continuity. Still no start.

    I'm suspecting, like your problem, it's a sensor or computer control problem. I'm not sure what the auto shutdown relay (ASD) affects on this year & model, or even which relay is the ASD, since they all 5 look very much alike and their wires all bunch together.

    Anyone know if a broken timing belt would trigger the computer to shut power to the engine?

    I hope I can get a shop to test & replace the faulty part without towing the whole van in.
  • kcarter3kcarter3 Posts: 16
    I have had my 2001 in the shop at least 6 times. I now have 85000 miles and its still on
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Please post messages in English only - thanks.
  • donmahdonmah Posts: 1
    Am going to make first change of shocks and struts on 97 Caravan. Van has 148,000km, has been used for moving in the past. Leaf springs are rusty, look kind of flat.

    Is it recommended to change these things or am I wasting time, money?
  • pfutzpfutz Posts: 7
    Thanks for the tip. What I don't understand - is when I call Chrysler and give them my VIN # they say there have been no recalls or customer alerts for my vehicle.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    I doubt if you need to change the leaf springs, unless the van seems to be sagging lower in the back. Usually there is plenty of steel in these rear leaf springs to accommodate some corrosion. There are a lot of Dodge minivans running around older than yours in my area, upper Midwest where a lot of road salt is used, and I doubt if replacement leaf springs are required for most.

    You could ask the opinion of the shop replacing the rear shocks, but of course some shops will want to replace them whether needed or not, so take their opinion with a grain of salt also.
  • moose57moose57 Posts: 2
    I have a 91 Grand Caravan, the horn does not work. When I press the horn switch, I hear a clicking noise near the fuse box. I do not locate a fuse for the horn . . . is there a relay somewhere? If so, where is it and would that be the problem? Would appreciate any assistance.
  • Hi. I am bball mom.. the original poster. Perhaps my radio was replaced because of the recall. Not sure. I did buy the super/duper extended warranty but was shocked that the radio was covered. I checked Chrysler recalls on internet and did notice the radio shorting//water condensation recall. Since I did not have to pay for the new radio ($400 according to dealer), I did not ask alot of questions about it.
    Good luck.
  • I have owned my van for 6 this time it has done this particular thing only 4 times over 4 years.....always in the summer. While I am driving the engine just quits, it has always started again if I leave it for 10-15 minutes, it will not always start before that time allotment, it does not show that it it over heated, although it is always very hot under the hood at these times. Chrysler does not seem to know what the problem is nor can my personal mechanic find out what is causing this.....can any one help me.....this makes me feel very unsafe driving it, it did this the other day while I was driving 55km, no power steering then, and virtually no brakes. My fear is it will do it while I am driving highway speeds. Thanks for any help. I did have the fuel pump replaced last year, not for this reason, but needless to say it is still doing it, so it must not have to do with the fuel pump.
  • Same symptoms for my 1996 Chryler Town & Country. Stalls mainly in hot summer days. It's in the shop as I type. It stalled and won't restart. The mechanic says he can't get the ECM to talk. Another message board says M.A.P. sensor may be the cause. My mechanic says a bad MAP sensor may cause it to stall but it should restart. My isn't restarting. Last month I thought the problem was caused by the starter and for $375 for a new starter I now find out that wasn't the cause. I suspect it is a component in one of the computers (ECM or BCM) that is overheating. Poor design.
  • I fixed a problem like that by forcing some water into the pickup tube in the reservoir; it seemed to prime the pump. Good luck! :D
  • I have a 1999 Dodge Caravan and yesterday while driving the oil light came on and I lost all steering and the speedometer went down to zero. I coasted to the side of the rode and after letting it sit for a couple of minutes was able to restart the car and drive for a few miles before the oil light came on again and the car did the same thing. The oil has been recentley changes and the radio lights and all electrical stuff stills works while this happens PLease help before I take it to the mechanic????
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Sounds like two problems at once. If this is a high mileage '97, I'd strongly suspect the Camshaft Position Sensors for causing the engine dying problem. The goofy light problem could be the Central Timer Module. Both are somewhat common problems on the '97-'99 models.

    Of course, there could be a bad connection somewhere, too. A punky ASD Relay, Speed or Distance Sensor, or bad spark plugs, plug wires and ignition components can cause problems as well.

  • I have posted several times on this board since purchasing my 2001 Voyager and the fact is that I wish I found this board before I purchased the vehicle. I have never before in my life seen a vehicle with so many problems. I have owned the vehicle for a total of 4 months now and when I first purchased it, the vehicle had just about 50,000 miles on it. I have found that most vehicles with only 50,000 miles on it will still last a good 50,000 miles before any major repairs are needed. Well, in the last four months here are all the repairs I have done and their cost.
    1. Brakes and rotors - Cost $400 (I expect to repair brakes about once a year or so, this repair I thought was no big deal. However, the brakes are already wearing and will need replaced again within a few months. After reading comments on this board, I see that this is common with Chrysler minivans, the brakes will only last 6 months to one year.)
    2. Battery Cost $75
    3. Brake Light Switch Cost $20 ( would have cost $200, but I installed it myself. According to most mechanics I spoke with, (including the dealership) this is an item you should never have to replace and certainly not on a vehicle that only has 50,000 miles on it.)
    4. Air Conditioner compressor pump Cost $800 (the part alone can only be purchased through the dealer and costs $500. According to a popular car magazine all Dodge / Chrysler minivans have this problem. Apparently the compressors just do not last and need replacing about every 2 years)
    5. Various bearings, belts, and filters replaced Cost $200
    6. Check engine light needed repair because it kept coming on for no reason Cost $65 to reset it.
    And to top it off, now the Master Brake Cylinder needs replacing. Those are just the major problems we have experienced. There are also several other little problems we have encountered, for instance the plastic paneling over the sliding doors keeps falling off. Before we purchased the vehicle we had it checked by a mechanic and we did the carfaqs check on it. Of course we found no faults or red flags so we went ahead and purchased the vehicle. We thought we would be purchasing a nice reliable vehicle that would last for years. We also researched it online and couldn't find any major recalls or any major problems. However, shortly after we purchased the vehicle and we encountered the brake light switch problem is when we found this board. Like I said I wish I found this board beforehand. In the past 4 months it has averaged out that we are spending $400 a month in repairs. I believe that this vehicle has many, many faults that outweigh it's advantages. And according to anyone I have talked to and according to all the posts on this board, I believe that these vehicles are poorly made. Also, talking with various mechanics while my vehicle has been in the shop being repaired, most have said it is common knowledge in auto shops that Dodge and Chrysler minivans have many faults. Most mechanics say their transmissions are also faulty and go out too soon. Thankfully we have a warranty on the engine and transmission, so if they go out they should be covered. But, I tell you from my experience with this vehicle, I would never buy another Dodge or Chrysler vehicle and especially not a Voyager. I would not reccomend that anyone purchase a Voyager or any other Dodge/Chrysler minivan. I would strongly suggest you take a hard look at all other minivans and options on the market.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    While it is certainly unfortunate that you've had so many problems with your (second hand?) Voyager, your rant is both unwarranted and filled with personal opinion that bear little resemblance to the facts regarding the reliability of DC minivans.

    My wife and I own two GCs, and we know many other folks who own any number of flavors of DC minivans. As a rule these vans have been nothing short of stellar as far as reliability. Regarding your various complaints:

    1) Brakes and rotors, the worst mileage we've gotten from a set was a little over 30,000 miles (lots of driving in and around NYC), and our 2003 had over 45,000 miles (with an easy 5,000 left on the pads) when I did the brakes on both of them earlier this summer. Regarding the cost numbers you posted, I'm at a loss as to explain them because I was able to do the front brakes on both of our vans for less than $150 combined (new rotors and pads for both). As for your comments about brakes lasting only 6 months to a year, yeah, I suppose that could be true if you were driving at the rate of 5,000 miles per month.

    2) The battery. Geez, you've never had to replace the battery on a car before? I'm thinking that four years on an OEM battery is pretty damn good, regardless of what manufacturer built the car.

    3) Brake light switch. It's a fact of life, switches fail. Both of ours are original, however, if either fail I certainly wouldn't use it as an indictment against the vehicle or the company. It failed, you fixed it, move on.

    4) A/C compressor. Both of our vans have the original A/C compressor, one is over seven years old and has nearly 100,000 miles on it, the other is over two years old and has nearly 50,000 miles on it. So much for only lasting two years.

    5) Four years on the life of belts and bearings? I'm not hearing anything earth shattering here either.

    6) With the advent of the ubiquitous OBD-II (On Board Diagnostics), all cars from every manufacturer occasionally get the "Check Engine Light". Reasons for this are quite numerous with the most common being a loose gas cap (which by the way is self-correcting once the cap has been retightened and driven for a tank of gas or so).

    7) Master brake cylinder. The fact is that brake fluid absorbs water, water that can eat away at brake components. That's why many manufacturers recommend that you fully flush your entire braking system every other year. My bet is that your van didn't have that service done.

    8) Your "poorly made" comment is pretty funny. On the whole, my bet is that the DC vans are the best made in the world, Honda and Toyota not withstanding. In our neighborhood the owners of the DC vans have a MUCH higher level of satisfaction than the Odyssey owners.

    9) Your comments about mechanics making bad comments about these vans is also seeming to be a little bit of an exaggeration. I'm a former mechanic and as such, I usually chat it up with those who I hire to perform work on my cars, and so far at lease, I've never heard anyone mention anything bad about the DC vans except for the transmissions. Which brings me to your next point...

    10) ...the transmissions. These transmissions require proper care and feeding. Going the cheap route and using anybody except the dealer for transmission service is roughly akin to playing Russian Transmission Roulette. Entirely too many non-dealership service based personnel wrongly believe in the concept of "universal filters" and "universal fluids" or "compatible fluids". Wrong! Use the dealership for transmission service or be prepared to replace your transmission.

    11) Recommending the DC minivans to others. Our 1998 will cross the 100,000 mile threshold in the next month or two. Other than routine maintenance I've spent considerably less than $100 for unscheduled repairs, ditto our 2003. The sum and total of said repairs are as follows:

    a) Replace the battery on the 1998 at about 45,000 miles. Got a Sears DieHard Gold.
    b) Replace the battery on the 2003 at about 45,000 miles. Got a Sears DieHard Gold.
    c) Replace the drivers' side door light switch at about 88,000 miles.

    That's it. Guess what? I have no problem in recommending DC vans to any and all who ask.

    Best Regards,
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,286
    MY van is a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport, now with 81000 miles. It has been more reliable than my other much more expensive cars from "premium" brands. It is still my vehicle of choice for long journeys.

    The only repairs covered under warranty were the battery vacuum tray and the EGR valve. Otherwise, I have routinely maintained it, perhaps fairly meticulously, and it has rewarded my family with cheap, reliable and comfortable transportation, exactly what is was designed to do.
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