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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • The issue that caused me to be stranded goes as follows. I'm editing for length :) On a steep grade the lower power steering line blew completely out of the power steering pump spewing power steering fluid all over the engine bay and exhaust which created a huge smoke plume. The pump was still turning and the reservoir was emptied of fluid in a matter of seconds. Without any fluid in the system, no way to keep it in and no way to change the hose on the roadside at 8:00pm on a Friday night, I had no choice but to use the 24 hr roadside assistance to tow the van to the nearest dealership and attempt to arrange for alternative transportation. Driving without fluid for even a short distance would have critically damaged the remaining components in the steering system and created a dangerous situation which could have resulted in the driver losing the ability to control the vehicle adequately. We were in a mountainous region and I didn't dare take a chance with the lives of my entire family and their friends.

    Incidentally, the P/S pump and all the lines had been replaced previously under warranty due to grinding, shuddering, etc. The P/S pump failed at around 28K. All I can say is I have a :lemon:
  • ckmnacckmnac Posts: 12
    I'm a little confused right now. When we bought our van (1998 GC) the previous owners had a paper showing transmission work which cost them $1300. You guys all said that was way too little $$ for a rebuilt transmission.

    I took the van on Wednesday for them to drive it and give me an estimate. It needs a transmission and the guy said we can't just do patchwork again because the same thing will happen all over again (transmission started acting up only 23,000 miles after the first work was done). This isn't the same shop the original work was done at and this guy has been completely straightforward about everything.

    So today he calls and says he has the estimate and it is only $1442.46. Now I'm wondering if this is too cheap for a rebuilt transmission. I have the list he gave me and here is everything. Please tell me what exactly they are doing if you know. I want this transmission to last longer then 23,00 miles. Thanks.

    604 Master Overhaul Kit
    604 Up date kit
    Torque Converter

    Overhaul 604 trans axle and
    replace torque converter. One year
    or 12,000 mile warranty

    I am so clueless about all this transmission stuff. I also got an estimate from the dealership for $2613.18.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Assuming that all of the hard internal components are still in good shape (i.e. the actual gearing and such), I suppose that your $1,442.46 is possible. Never having rebuilt one of these transmissions, anything I say must be discounted as, "just so much noise". That having been said, the questions I would have regarding this "Rebuild-it" approach (as opposed to the factory remanufactured $2,613 unit) are as follows:

    1) Are the new kits and components that are being bought from the factory (i.e. MOPAR) or are they sourced through a third party? I ask because I've heard that non-MOPAR units are quite inferior.
    2) I've heard that fairly specialized equipment is required to properly set one of these units up. What equipment does your shop have?
    3) Does this rebuild bring the transmission up to the latest engineering build (i.e. model year 2000)? That coincidentally is the first and only year/build level that exists which allows our transmissions to safely run on ATF+4 (as opposed to the now apparently extinct ATF+3).
    4) What price warranty? 12 month/12,000 mile for $1,442 (i.e. $0.12 per mile) or 36 month/36,000 mile for $2,613 (i.e. $0.0726 per mile). Said another way, is the extra $1,171 worth it to you for three times the warranty?

    Best Regards,
  • gregmangregman Posts: 24
    Anybody able to tell me what a recall with F01 means? Wife says something in letter regarding a/c. I thought there was a recent recall for the windshield wiper motor. Any thoughts? Thanks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    you aren't really getting a "rebuilt" transmission or a remanufactured transmission--you're gettng an "overhauled" transmission, which in kind of over-simplified terms means that bad parts are replaced and still-good used parts (within specs) are left in. In a rebuild, parts are replaced to bring the transmission to an 'as-new' condition whether there are still good used parts in there or not. So on a rebuild if the pump has only 50% wear on it and working perfectly, it's still chucked.

    To put it another way, "overhaul" restores function, "rebuild" restores newness and function.


  • tjcintjcin Posts: 4
    A couple of weeks ago my Sirius radio stopped working. The subscription is paid for one year with the purchase of the van. The AM/FM portion of the radio still works as does the GPS and CD player. We have had it to one dealer for two days with no results. We also contacted Sirius and they were very helpful but were also unable to solve the problem. I was wondering if anyone has had any problems with theirs and can offer any solutions before I get frustrated with the next dealer. Thanks.
  • willemwillem Posts: 16
    Re: Lug nuts torque

    It depends on the wheels (steel or alloy)
    On my 97 T&C the required torque is 100lb-ft on the alloy wheels (I read that once somewhere, and it is an easy figure to remember).It is important to gradually torque them down. The pattern on 5 bolt wheels is 1,3,5,2,4and then #1 etc. again. For steel wheels the torque is lower, but I don't know by how much.
    It is convenient to have a Johnson bar in the vehicle in case of emergency, because the nuts can be very tight, and should be!

  • willemwillem Posts: 16
    I'm on my 3rd set of Monroe premium pads (Since you're Canandian: Can. Tire has them on sale for another 3 weeks at $44.95 Cdn. I'm considered gentle on the brakes and they will last me about 30,000Km's (18,000Mi) If you have them installed they have a lifetime warranty, or in my case DIY it's 3 years 60K's.Recently replaced the rotors with premium Monroe because they started to warp after unknown mileage (at least 100,000 Km's).
    They do their job nicely but have no idea how long they will last. Price being the same (?) I think my preference would be Wagner.

  • willemwillem Posts: 16
    Try a spraybomb of 'belt dressing'
    It makes the sound go away for a few weeks or a few months.
    Available at automotive parts supply stores

  • Every time I put on the brakes the dome light comes on, is there an easy fix or is this a costly problem? The head lights also flash on and off while driving, I am thinking that it could be a loose connection.
  • jnovicejnovice Posts: 3
    Thanks for the thoughts, Shipo. I have completed the change as described by changing back to 10w30 and I'm waiting for the results. I plan to change oil and filter again at 1000 miles. I'm thinking about going back to 10w 40 from the 10w30 that I have changed to. I also am planning to go to a high efficiency filter at that time. I did remember that just prior to the low oil alarm coming on, the RPM's dropped to about 500. I discounted that as not a part of the problem. Thanks again for your info.
  • gino45gino45 Posts: 52
    I asked for Monroe's at Can Tire and they gave me Wagners (rotors). According to them, they both have the same product number. The parts guy said that Wagner makes Monroe brakes parts. I got the Wagners for $59 CDN. Can't complain about that. I held off from buying the Monroe pads since I am debating on whether to put on Ceramic pads instead. The ceramic's are about $20 more than the Monroe's, which I believe are semi-metallic. Have you ever put on ceramic pads? Would I get considerable more mileage out of them than regular semi-metallic pads?
  • My 2002 Dodge Caravan is dropping into a "fail-safe mode" (not sure if that's the correct wording). This is indicated by the service engine light and the van will not exceed around 2K RPM. Also, the squares around the gear letters light up and stay there. It appears to happen when it is raining heavy or a substancial snow. After it dries the van runs fine but the service engine light stays on. Dodge can't tell me what the code means exactly. Anyone else experience this?
  • recently purchased a used 98 dgc w/95xxx mi. anyway the the rear heater/ac will only blow out of the very back outlets, not the ones right behind the front seats. does anyone have any idea whats up with this?
  • almokalmok Posts: 1
    Any luck with the mechanism yet? I just had the identical situation happen last Friday. My 1997 Town & Country had a flat and the tire wouldn't release, so I went to the 96 Caravan to get the spare and it was stuck too! Finally borrowed the spare from a LHS, but I still have two stuck spares. Tried the up and down thing with both of them and got under and pulled , turned, shook and cussed, all to no avail.
  • On my 98 the heat only blows out on the r/s forward of the rear wheel well across from the first row of rear seats. If you adjust the air to the cold position it only comes thru the upper outlets.
    The very rear vent is an air inlet and should always be clear so incoming air is not restricted which can cause the fan motor to burn out.
  • I am having a groaning issue with my 2003 T&C LXi. I took it to a dealer and they replaced :

    Left front hub bearing
    both front sway bars, links and bushings

    the power steering reservior (it was leaking)
    power steering return lines

    Well after all that the cars is still whining/groaning at slow speeds and worstens in the damp weather. Of course the shop had it today (sunny and 75) and claims that they canot replicate the noise. I really want to scream. :mad:
  • My 2003 is visiting the shop for this exact sound. I keep telling the guy that it sounds like to heavy pieces of metal rubbing; he can't replicate the sound.

    My Mother had this same sound in a 1997 Lumina and it ended up being a bolt in her rear axel that sheared in half.
  • dogleg1dogleg1 Posts: 4
    sometimes I get no heat. Suddenly it will decide to come on. When I rotate the heat control I hear the valve working or trying to. Any ideas as to what I can do to resolve this ? Thanks.
  • aprendizaprendiz Posts: 17
    Where is located the "radiator fan relay" for a Chrysler Voyager 2000, L2,4. My fans do not works (individually tested -ok)
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