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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions

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  • jfd3rdjfd3rd Posts: 6
    My 1992 Toyota camry has 186,000 on the clock and requires far less TLC and *MASH* Time then the Caravan!! I have never required oil additions on the Camry between changes (2.2 liter), the Caravan requires 1/4 quart add every 1,000 miles since new (3.8 Liter Engine).

    Caravan:
    Valve taps and piston slaps on start-ups.
    That's one of the reasons for the 5-W30 to get the oil flowing faster to quiet that loose engineering!
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 221
    After 20 years in Denver, and a couple of scary slides, I now have a second set of tires for winter use that have snow tires and a half set of studs. A front wheel drive van will handle well if driven prudently. If I need to get through a pile of snow, I have cable type chains. These have not been used in the 2 years I've had a Caravan.
  • tbone14tbone14 Posts: 10
    Looking at the Grand Caravan and the Chevy Venture, have want I believe is a decent deal on the GC. Can anyone lend some advise on the reliability of the "00" product. Can anyone give me a benchmark on any deals recently received, Mfg currently offering a $3000 rebate on the GC.

    I also notice that the GC is below others in engine HP, the 3.3 has 158, the others have an average of 185. Is this van under powered? Any help would be appreciated...
  • I really like the 3.8 in the DC vans better.. the 3.3 is a very durable engine and will last a long time, but I think it is under-torqued for a van. a lot depends on the terrain you will be driving.. at 3000 rebate you should be able to get very close to 3000 under invoice...The initial quality on my 99 GCS has been great.. one year and 14k miles and never been back to dealer... not one problem..none.. can't speak to the Venture... friends who have one seem happy, though..
  • mrubartmrubart Posts: 1
    Hi everyone!!
    I have been reading for awhile and am a bit wary now of the Caravan. I am in the market for a minivan and have found a 1995 Caravan SE with 79,977 miles on it for $6,995. The milage seems low for a minivan, does anyone have any comments or tips they could give me to see if this is a good deal? (Don't worry I will have a mechanic look at it first)

    Thanks!!
  • shawnh1shawnh1 Posts: 1
    I have a '95 Caravan 3.0L and 3 speed transmission. Currently, the van has about 41,000 miles. I bought the van used about 2 1/2 years ago for just about $11,000. The van had 14,000 miles when I bought it. I don't know what equipment the SE has on it for that year. My van has the normal pb, ps, cruise, tilt, cd, and ac. If I sold today, maybe I could get $6,000 or $6500 I am not really sure. $7000 seems a little hight for a 6 year old van that has about 80,000 miles on it. I would try to get the price down a bit and have a mechanic check it out. This is just a gut feeling, I haven't checked the KBB or Edmunds prices. Just a guess.

    Hope it helps
    Shawn
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    What's new on the oil analysis front? I've had my 300M tranny serviced (sorry-just the traditional dealer filter and fluid-haven't found a trustworthy independent flusher yet) and my 2000 GCS will be getting its 2nd engine oil and filter service at 3,000 miles soon (in my garage).

    Since my local Autozone has been running a month long special for 5 qts of Exxon with generic filter for $5.99 (!!), I've stocked up. Why test when I can just change it for less than the cost of the test?

    Also-what are your opinions on oil weights? Do you think it makes a difference to run 10w-30 rather than 5w-30? Interesting differences in recommendations between the 3.3 van and the 3.5 300M. Van says use 10w from 0F to 100F+. 300M says do NOT use 5w above 32F. Obviously, much different engines, rev ranges etc., but still seems odd that the recommendations are so different.
  • Yeah, recently we got our 2000 GCS Inferno Red Pearl less than 2 weeks ago. Just to be safe, we got an Ext Warr for 100,000 miles since the powertrain warranty is only up to 3/36. We currently have 1520 miles on it. And our cross country trip next week all over the south and to D.C. will definitely add up. I'll post up while we are on the trip. We got rid of the 1996 GC LE after 141,000 miles and a 2nd rebuilt tranny. Hopefully our luck with this 3rd DC van will be just as good and reliable as the old 90 Voyager SE w/the mitsu 3L and 275,000 miles we had. Both the 90 3.0L and the 96 3.3L, we always used 10w30. A mechanic friend of ours said to stick with the 10w30 because of the climate we have here in SoCal. 5w30 is suited for winter climates. We only use Castrol GTX...and we usually buy it when there are rebates! =)
  • tbone14tbone14 Posts: 10
    We picked out a "00" GC with the 3.3 and are thinking about the extended Warr. The deal I was given is 5-yr, 75K for under $1000. Is this a good deal or should I just go with the power train only for 2 bills less? The good plan covers the power train along with AC & electrical. I have never owned a Dodge and don't know if I should roll the dice. It's nice amount of money, but it might be worth it.. Any thoughts or experience with the Ext Warr ???
  • I have a 1995 Dodge Grand Caravan SE that I've really enjoyed until the really hot weather hit. The last few times I drove it for quite a distance and the air conditioner was on it stalled out on the highway. I sat with it off for 20-30 minutes and proceeded towards my destination only to have it stall out 50 miles later, and I did not have the a/c on. 30 minutes later and on the road again, it stalled again. It took me 7 1/2 hours to go 250 miles! I took it to my mechanic and he said unless the "check engine" light is on it would be very costly for them to find the problem. It seems to only happen when the temperature outside gets above 95, and the temp gauge in the van is well within the normal range. Has anyone had similar problems???
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    Print the following then take your van to another mechanic.

    http://www.allpar.com/fix/stall.html
  • We now have 1800 miles on our 2000 GCS and we have no problems or any complaints and no rattles. Compared to our the 1996 GC LE we bought brand new back in 95...it had a few small problems and defects. This 2000 van is great. We have averaged about 21.5 MPG with 87 octane mixed freeway/city driving by caluclations and not the overhead console. This van is definitely built way better than the 96.
  • mikem25mikem25 Posts: 1
    I have a '99 GCSE (in service 15 months) and have noticed surface rust on the underside of the car (not limited to the exhaust system),as well as on, of all places, the top of the radiator. Anyone else encounter this? How can this be happening after only a little over a year?
  • I have a 99 GC SE, I'd like to change the air filter but can not get the cover off! Anyone know the secret? Friends and neighbors have the same problem - their solution is to take it to the dlr for svc. There should be an easier fix. Please let me know.
  • The air filter is not in that top box in the engine bay. You must remove the 2 screws, then remove/loosen the clamp in to the intake. Then after you remove that top box and removed/loosened the hose, then you should be able to unclamp the cover to the air filter box and remove the filter out. The filter sits vertically. It is more work than it is and if you read the fine print on that air intake box, it mentions the air filter is located underneath the box.
  • We are now in San Antonio, TX. We now have about 3045 miles on our van. We will take it for it's first oil change tomorrow. We have averaged about 19.5 mpg from SoCal into Arizona. From Arizona to The Texas border, we got 21.5 mpg. We made it from Exit 0 to Exit 400 on I-10 on one tank of gas. It is exactly 400 miles and we averaged exactly 20.5 mpg driving an average of 75 mph, a/c on, some wind, a few good hills and temperatures ranging from 92-98 degrees. We did notice that this van's Cruise Control is erratic at times. We always set it on 75 mph but on even a short gradual or sometimes long grade, at the most dropped 15 miles less than what I originally set it on. And where the cruise usually downshifts the tranny to speed up after a 2 or 3mph drop, this one just lags and slows down. Our past 96 GC LE with the same 3.3L never had this problem traveling this same stretch of I-10 several times in the summer, winter and spring seasons with no problems. As soon as we get back home, we will get this checked and possibly the a sensor or whole system could be faulty. Anyone ever have this problem? Tomorrow it's off to Dallas.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,286
    RBACSAFRA: There is a TSB for cruise controls that loose speed on uphill grades, and involves replacement of the valve control body built into the battery tray. I believe I posted the number in this forum quite a while ago.

    The problem is that the valve leaks, resulting in loss of vacuum, which leads to drop in speed as there is no vacuum to increase engine speed when required on an upslope. Sometimes it is a small leak, so the problem manifests itself only if the upslope is after a long steady level drive and not in continuously sloping terrain.
  • Thanks for the info. I did know about the TSB, and i did believe I read your post about it a while back before we got this van. I was kinda surprised it happened to us on a van that was just made in June. Oh well, otherwise a great van...much better than our 96. =) We are in Dallas and we got 21.8 mpg from San Antonio to Dallas w/the A/C, full load, 100+ weather and 75 on I-35.
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    I have now changed the engine oil in my 2000 GCS with 3.3L 6 times in 7,000 miles. Still have abnormally high silicon, although the ppm is falling. Waiting until 10,000 to change and resample.

    After speaking to engineer at Equilon (Texaco/Shell and makes the fluids for Chrysler) and the lab tech at my spectrographic analysis vendor, I am convinced that the silicon is sand tailings left over from casting and the lab tech indicates that some is leeching from gaskets and sealants. States that this might not be just a Chrysler problem - sees on other OEMs too.

    I have been unable to contact a DC engineer in QC or other area.

    The engine of my 1996 GCSE with 3.3L continues to have clean analysis at 67,000.

    Both transmissions have been powerflushed again. The 2000 at the dealer and the 1996 at Penske (to get out the Mercon/Dexron they put in by mistake).

    I now have about 1,000 miles on the new transmission fluid and will be taking samples tomorrow. When I get them back in about 10 days, I will be sending a letter to the President of DC with all the details and asking for an explanation for the high silicon levels.

    Why do spectrographic analysis when you can change oil for less $$$? If you have a coolant leak (e.g. head gasket going) or fuel contamination in the oil (e.g. bad injector) or an internal, lubricated part going (e.g. bearing, valve guide, etc.) you won't know until too late unless you do periodic analysis.

    Also, transmission power flushes are $80-160 depending on who does it. Just one flush would pay for 12 analysis kits.

    I am all for prompt oil changes, but what you don't know can hurt you.

    $7.50 is cheap insurance

    best of luck

    PS My next crusade once I get the silicon figured out is to determine why my 1996 gets 20 mpg mixed driving and my 2000 gets 16 mpg for same.
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    please keep the updates coming.
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