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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • I third Shipo's comments. We have a 01 DGC EX with over 64K that we bought used back in September 2003. The only none maintenance problems we had was to replace both front power window motor regulators right after purchase, (Covered under warranty) and replace the gas cap in 2004.

    Although, unfortunate that you have had so many problems with your used 01 Plymouth Voyager, you did buy it used. Do you know how the previous owner/s took care of it? How about their driving habits? All this should be taken into account when you purchase a used vechicle. (Not to mention why they traded it in.)

    Regarding what you said about having to replace the battery. (I'm assuming this was the original battery being replaced). It was about time for it to be replaced. Most batteries need replacement every 4 yrs. (Depending on where you live weather wise). We replaced our battery in our 01 DGC just mid 2004 when in for a routine oil change.

    I'm not sure on our van when the brake pads were replaced before we bought it. But, we have not had to replace our pads yet and still have around 50 % pad life left. (We have put on over 27K on our van since ownership).

    Our trans. was serviced at 34K and 56K and no problems.

    Our air conditioning works well when over 90 degrees outside, keeping me and my family cool. You might want to check with your Daimlerchrysler dealer about this, but I was told by our dealer that we have a 75K extended warranty on the air conditioning compressor. (Although for us it doesn't matter since we have a bumper to bumper warranty to 75K or May 2007).

    I am very pleased with our van. It has been very reliable and fun to drive. I make sure that all scheduled maintenance is done, rather by me doing it or our dealer. Good luck with your van. :shades:
  • Certainly you are entitled to your opionon as am I. All I am doing is letting the consumers know the facts before buying. Here's the link to the Consumer Automotive guide regarding Voyagers. It lists the benefits as well as the known problems. owall/
    If you check out the problems section you will notice they mention the brakes and air conditoner compressor as both being known problems. If your Caravan is running great then I am happy you have a good running vehicle. Two other people I know both have Caravans as well and both have encountered similar problems with air conditionoing compressors, transmission, and brakes. Caravans do seem more reliable then Voyagers though. Like I said it's no big deal to replace batteries, brakes, tires, etc due to normal maintenace. However, at 50,000 all mechanics I have spoken to have said the same thing about the brake light switch, the a/c compressor, and the master cylinder...those should all last much longer then they have. And as far as the brakes wearing quickly, check out previous posts on this same forum and you will notice a lot of the same complaints. As far as mechanics go, yes they all have their own opinons about which vehicles are better as well, but when I have 3 different mechanics from 3 different places all say the same thing, then I listen to what they have to say. Even the mechanic at the dealership said the brake light switch should never have gone out and he admitted the air conditioner compressors do not last as long as they do on other vehicles. Most of our work and parts we have had done through the dealership except for the brake light switch which I installed myself and the brakes which were done by a local shop. Our brakes are still under warranty so we will have them replaced free of charge, but we have only driven about 3,000 miles on them so far. The brake pads came directly from the dealership, so they are not an inferior product. The delearship wanted to charge $200 to install the brake light switch, which took all of 15 minutes to do. Like I said though, I am glad you have had nothing but reliable transportation from your vehicle. But in my opinon and I have owned many, many vehicles over the years, and I have never seen a vehicle with only 50,000 miles on it have so many problems. Compared to someone I know who owns an Oddesy, our problems are overwhelming. He has over 100,000 miles on the Oddesy and he has never had the check engine light come on, he never had to replace a bad a/c compressor, brake light switch, or any of the other stuff. He even still has the original stock battery in the vehicle. The only maintence he has had to do is tires, brakes, and oil changes. Whereas all the folks I know who have Caravans and Voyagers have had a lot more time in the shop, including major repairs such as transmission and engine problems. The problems I had listed are just the major repairs we have done in 4 months. We have also done many minor repairs to the interior and exterior that were due to faulty equiptment. For instance the molding over the doors kept falling off and needed latches to be replaced on them, the plastic guard on the windshield wipers also keep coming off and needed to be replaced, a platic insert near the hood needed to be repaired etc. All those things added up together just let me know that the vehicle is poory my opinon. Our vehicle was inspected prior to us buying it and has never been in an accident and according to carfaqs only had one previous owner. So when we purchased it we thought it would be buying a nice reliable vehicle. So far it has been nothing more then a waste of time and money.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "All I am doing is letting the consumers know the facts before buying."

    Uh-huh, well right, wrong or misguided, your so called "facts" are anecdotal and backed up by your biased anger. As such, they should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

    Specific to your post, you said, "If you check out the problems section you will notice they mention the brakes and air conditoner compressor as both being known problems."

    Regarding the A/C: There was a reference to the A/C compressor failing if folks didn't use the rear controls. Weird, but it is what it is. I’ve never known an owner of a DC minivan that needed to replace the compressor. Did they always use the rear controls? I have no idea.

    Regarding the brakes: Sorry, but I read the entire page you provided a link to and there wasn't one single reference to any known problems with the brakes. I've seen a number of posts here recently regarding the brakes, however, as far as I can tell they are from folks who were incorrectly equating brakes that generate lots of dust with low quality brake pads, which if you are at all automotively aware you know is simply not the case. The fact is that every German built car sold here in the United States (and many others as well) has a difficult time driving 200 miles without suffering from noticeable brake dust build up. Saying that dust producing brake pads are of low quality is pretty silly, it is like saying that the very dusty brake pads that came on my 530i were cheap. Yeah, they were so cheap that when a motorcyclist pulled out directly in front of me on the Autobahn doing about 50 mph while I was doing more like 130, said motorcyclist lived to tell the tale, barely (like by one foot). The simple truth of the matter is that the higher the performance of the brake pad, the greater the amount of brake dust generated.

    All in all, I think that you are understandably angry about your purchase of a used (and probably poorly maintained and maybe even abused) vehicle and instead dealing with the issues that are inevitably going to pop up on such a vehicle, you are trying to pass the blame. The real fact of the matter is that DC minivans are considered to be some of the most reliable minivans on the market and most folks are able to easily drive them to well over 100,000 miles with just basic maintenance.

    Best Regards,
  • Masterpaul, I am glad to hear you have the full bumper to bumper warranty. Naturally when you buy a used vehicle the thought always goes through your mind that you may have purchased a lemon, but when I heard other folks with the same complaints then it makes me think that isn't the case. For instance recently I met somebody who owns a 2002 Voyager. They bought the vehicle new in 2002 and it has only about 45,000 miles on it, but when we got to talking it turns out they had quite a few of the same problems we had. Their a/c compressor needed to be replaced. Thier check engine light also came on for no reason and needed to be reset and they too had problems with their Master Brake Cylinder. Most of their problems began occurring when the vehicle hit 40,000. They also had a few more problems that I haven't encountered yet, but needless to say they fell the same way I do about the Voyagers. They don't plan on purchasing another one anytime soon.
    But, I am glad to hear that you haven't had any of those problems, and I hope you never do. Luckily you have a full warranty so you should be alright. By the way, according to the delearship out here the a/c compressor isn't covered in most warranties and they only give you a one year 15,000 mile warranty on a new one. One of the reasons we bought our vehicle from the delearship in the first place was because it does have a warranty as well. But wouldn't you it, all the stuff that has gone wrong so far has not been covered by the warranty.
  • You said that you took the van to a mechanic to have it inspected before you purchased it. Didn't this mechanic know what the other mechanics knew about this type of van and give you a heads-up warning about what problems you might be facing?
  • Obviously if the mechanic who inspected it let us know what the other mechanics said, then we would not have purchased it. But actually the mechanic who inspected it did mention the fact that Dodge / Chrysler transmissions were notorios for going out early. He said a lot of mechanics still do not understand that their transmissions need to use the Dodge transmission fluid only and he said we just needed to have the transmission serviced regually by the Delearship and since it has the warranty on the transmission he said we shouldn't worry about that anyway. But right after we purchased it we had the delearship do all the routine servies including the transmission checkup, brake inspection, and fluid replacement.
  • Shipo, while I appreciate and respect your opinion, I just disagree with what you said. As to the post, of course my opinon is biased, as is yours. Obviously we both have different experiences with our vehicles, so our opinons are different as well. If you had all the problems we had with ours, then maybe you would feel differently, same as if we had the good experience you had with your vehicles, then we would feel differenlty. The facts about the bad a/c compressors are posted not just on that link, but on several other pages that review the vehicle as well. It is a known problem with the vehicles, which is why I pointed that out. Maybe that link will help others who have the same problem. As far as the brakes go, you must have my post mixed up with someone else, I didn't mention anything about the brake dust or the brakes being cheap. All I said is that we had bought the brake pads directly from the delear, so they are supposed to be the high quality ones. Now after only 3,000 miles they are already worn and need to be replaced. As far as maitenace we have had almost all our work done exclusivley at the dealer as to not void the warranty. While I am glad that you say most Dodge minivans are reliable and last well over 100,000 miles, I am just letting you know that I do not personally know a single person who owns a Dodge or Chrysler Minivan with over 100,000 on it that hasn't had to have the engine or transmission completely replaced. I know 3 people who own Dodge or Chrysler minivans and all 3 of them have had their transmissions rebuilt and one had their engine rebuilt.Thankfully we haven't had any problems with the transmission or the engine, but it is something that I know will happen and probably sooner then later. Honestly I am happy that you have had no major probelms with your vehicles, but then again you do not have the same vehicle as we do either. True the engine in the Voyager and Caravan are pretty much the same, but the rest of the vehicles are built differently and can have different problems. From what I have seen though in my expereince they do tend to have similar problems with the ac compressor, transmission and brakes. I myself am mechanically inclined, maybe not as much as you, but when I was younger I did all the work on my own vehicles and I actually worked in a couple automotive shops. Now admittably I don't know too much about brakes, but when it comes to engines and such I am quite experienced. So, my opinon is not just based on complete anger, it is also based on my experience and research. Since we purchased this vehicle I have done so much research on it, it has become quite ridiculus. This board is about Dodge / Chrysler Minivan problems, which is why I posted here. This is the forum where you are supposed to post your problems you are having and that's what I did. Like I said, I appreciate your opinon and I hope you do not encounter any of the problems we have.
    Best Regards
  • If your brakes need to be replaced in 3000 miles, there is a problem with the brake system or maybe the driver riding the brakes. If the rear brake are not adjusting as they wear the front brakes will be doing all of the work when you stop. You might have a brake caliper/slide not releasing, but you definately have a problem with your brake system that needs to be addressed before putting on new parts again.
  • Thanks for the tip Just4fun. We actually took the van into the shop today to have the brakes replaced and the master cylinder. They said there is a problem with the brakes because they appear to be melting. The said the pads are heating up which is causing them to wear too quickly. The also said they do not know what is causing this to happen so they are going to keep it and examine it some more. Well, I called the delearship as well to see if they knew what would cause the brakes to heat up and they had no clue either. They said unless you drive it up and down a mountain everyday then they shouldn't do that. Fortunately the shop is going to fix the problem for free because the brakes are still under warranty. But I'd appreciate it if you have any advice on what could be causing the brake pads to heat up and melt away. I am not that experienced with brakes and I have never heard of that happening before and we certainly do not drive our van up and down a mountain everyday, as we live in the city.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Compared to someone I know who owns an Oddesy, our problems are overwhelming. He has over 100,000 miles on the Oddesy and he has never had the check engine light come on, he never had to replace a bad a/c compressor, brake light switch, or any of the other stuff. He even still has the original stock battery in the vehicle. The only maintence he has had to do is tires, brakes, and oil changes.

    I had a 1983 Cavalier and put 190k very trouble free miles on it, worst thing was starter. I had to replace brakes, belts, battery etc...Sold it in 1991 with original clutch in it still! I've had 2 Dodge Caravans - 1996 and 1999, as company car. I abused them, and never had problems with either - putting 70k miles on each.

    I for one am tired of hearing about "superior" Honda and Toyota Minivans. One just need to check out this forum to hear similar problems with the imports - engine and tranny replacements. Just recently in Honda problem area, Honda had to install an entire engine in an Odyssey with only 600 miles! There's problems with AC condensers, power door, name it! The 2005 Oddys are a mess with problems and recalls. To top it off, price out a comparable Oddy and Caravan...the Dodge wins handily!!

    If you considering buying used, for the price of one used Oddy, you could probably buy 2 Dodges.

    Ok, so my point is.........taking a can get a lemon in any make! Buying used is risky regardless of make....a carfax report doesn't tell the whole story of the car.
  • I just want to be sure that I'm understanding you. The dealership didn't do the brake job, it was a brake shop? If the brake shop and not the dealer did the brake job, how do you know that the brake pads came from the dealer? The brake pads might not be made from the correct material for your van causing too much heat build up. The reason that I am asking about the pads, I once did a brake job (pads/rotors) on my Buick and the brakes overheated within 2 miles of driving. Turned out to be the wrong pad material. I wouldn't expect much help from the dealership when it comes to answering your questions about your problems if they aren't getting paid to do so

    Could be a bad master cylinder that is causing your problem. I just hope that they aren't just throwing parts on hoping that this or that will fix the problem. I hate to warn you, but with enough heat to melt the brakes that soon you might be looking at replacing the wheel bearing sooner than expected. Just keep in mind that if the wheel bearings need early replacement it was probably brought on by the part that caused your brakes to melt.
  • Thanks for the info just4fun2. We purchased the brake pads directly from the delearship ourselves and then had another shop install them. The only reason we had another shop install them is because the dealer was too busy and couldn't get around to doing them for about a week. The dealer warrantied the brake pads and the shop warrantied the work, so those are being replaced free of charge. I don't think the dealer would sell us the wrong brake pads, so I can't imagine the pads being the problem, unless somehow they were just defective. The shop is also in the process of examing the vehicle to see if there is some other problem that is causing the pads to heat up. We trust the guys at the shop, as we've known them for years and had them work on other vehicles in the past without any problems. While searching online I did find somebody else with the same problem, they said their pads were getting hot and grinding down to nothing in a short period of time. They had posted a message on one of those mechanic repair boards looking for an answer, but they haven't received a response yet. The post was a couple months old, so I am guessing they probably won't receive a response. Anyway, right now we are just twiddling our thumbs waiting for the shop to figure out what the problem is. If they can't find out what's wrong then we'll have to schedule a visit to the delearship, but from talking with them, it sounds like they don't have a clue what's wrong either.
  • I've never posted anything to a forum before so please bare with me....I have a 99 caravan, which so far has been a really reliable van.

    Today I noticed a smell when I turned on the ac....either like something's burning or a sulfer smell....has anyone had this problem or know what could be causing it..any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • Unlesss your 2001 Voyager is a 4 cyl, your AC compressor is warrantied 7 years or 70,000 miles which ever comes first, regardless of ownership. Why did you pay for this repair?
  • Not according to the 2 delearships in our area. We bought the compressor at the delearship and had the delearship install it. They said the compressor was not covered and in fact they said it is a part that is not covered under most warranties. As it is we only have a warranty on the engine and transmission though. Also the new one they installed only has a one year 15,000 mile warranty on it. So if it goes out after a year, it will not be covered again. And to top it off neither one of the delears in our area had the part instock so we had to drive 100 miles to get pick up the compressor ourselves and then take it back out to the dealership out here for them to install it. They claimed that even though the dealership that was only 100 miles away had the part in stock that it would take them over a week to have it delivered here. That's another problem we have had with the delearships out here is they have been very unhelpful.
  • If you have a link to a website or some paperwork showing that the a/c compressor is supposed to be under warranty for 70,000 miles, please forward it my direction though, so I can take it to the delearship and see about getting a refund.
  • I have seen other similar posts on this board about this problem. If you do a search for it, I'm sure it will pull up those posts. But from what I remember I heard several people say they needed to basically deodorize thier a/c by using a lysol spray in it. Like I said, you may want to seach the forum if you haven't already, but I know I have seen this same problem posted on here before.
    Best of luck
  • Thanks for the info...but I'm going to contact the dealer now. I went to try the ac again today to see how it was "doing", and instead of a smell the whole thing cuts off and goes back on by itself. I checked all of my paperwork and it should still be covered THANK GOD, the van has less than 50,000 miles on it. Thanks again for the input.
  • I don't have a scanner, and I can't type, but I will highlite the letter sent to affected vehicle owners: "This letter is to inform you that the warranty period on your minivan's AC compressor has been extended to 7 years or 70,000 miles, which ever comes first." It then states applies only to certain 2001, 2002 and 2003 DC, DGV, CV, and C T&C minivans equipted with a 6 cyl engine. It gives the reason for the extension, and then states: "If you have already experienced an A/C compressor failure and have paid to have it repaired, you may send your original receipts and/or other adequate proof of payment to the folowing address for reinbusment:

    P.O. Box 610027
    Port Huron, MI 48061-0207
    ATTENTION: Reimbursment

    Good Luck, I'm sure there's more info out there, and this applies to the compressor, parts and labor, but no other A/C components
  • The dodge dealer wants 4 hours to install a fuel sender. I think it`s a pretty easy job and I told them I would bring the vehicle in with very little fuel in the tank. It`s covered under warranty. I think I`m getting jerked around here.
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