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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions

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  • Bought the van new 7/97. It has 68K miles on it now.

    Front brake pads at 53K, normal wear
    Leaky transmission solenoid 57K ($330)
    Frozen serpentine belt tensioner 59K ($135)
    Right now, I have very small on/off water pump leak. The power steering pump has started to leak and the front driver side strut has started to leak. TOO MANY LEAKS AT 68K!!!!

    For power steering pump leak, I have put one of those "stop leak" products in the reservoir.
    Will let you know if it works.

    No transmisson problem so far. I changed the fluid/filter at Chrysler dealer at 55K. On suggestion about the transmisson; make sure you make complete stop while changing gear from D to R or visa versa. And if you leave in icy /snowy area, do not let the wheels spin too much on icy roads.

    Our old '89 Mazda MPV with V-6 engine and 156K miles ( sold it in '97) did not have as much problem.

    At the time that we bought the Dodge, there was nothing out there that was comparable to Chrysler's vans. If the new Honda Oddessy was out at the time, we would have bought the Honda.
  • And we bought the GC after we had placed a $500 Non-refundable deposit on a GG 99 Ody LX-C in March 1999. Reason: Got many more nice comfort items for less money with GC.
    Go read in Odyssey and Sienna Problem Forums. There are more reported problems with Ody or Sienna than there are with Chrysler minivans... even though DC minivans have outsold either of the others by a margin of 4 to 1. The Sienna and Ody have not had the freedom from problems that the Camry and Accord have reported in the past.
  • At $25,700 that I paid for this Dodge GC, I should not have nagging leaks here or there. I very much doubt that Oddessy would have had these type of MAJOR mechanical problems.

    I have no trouble with the way the van looks or drives. In fact, I think '96-'00 Chrysler vans are the best looking vans out there. I wish they had the mechanical reliability to go with their looks!

    I am just not used to be nickle and dimed for repairs with anything I have ever owned, and $25K is the highest I have ever paid for a vehicle.
  • I recently purchased a 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan ES with 79,000 miles from a used car super store.
    I purchased an extended warranty with the vehicle for engine/transmission.
    Overall I'm extremely happy with the vehicle. It's a great ride, comfortable on long trips, and it drives much like a car. I love all the room, and the driver's position relative to the road.
    Being a used car, there are some minor things, notably:
    I've noticed a little slip in the trans, but at the next oil change am having the transmission fluid and filter changed. And if there is a problem I have the warranty(famous last words, right!!).

    I have been experiencing 2 problems that I have seen on another site Dodge has TSB's for. The first one is the ubiquitous windshield-wiper activating-on-its-own problem. The second is a creaking sound under the car when going over bumps; although there is also a knocking sound occasionally as well. They are both intermittent problems. Does anyone know what could be causing the knocking and creaking(sounds like a bed spring squeaking), as the WS's seems to be pretty well documented here? 2ndly, does anyone have any experience with getting TSB work done on a vehicle they purchased used? Did you have to pay for the repairs?
  • I bought a 2000 Dodge Cavaran Base for $14,000 thanks to Edmunds TV price. The mini van has only 2,000 miles. I would like to know if somebody has any early problems with this model.
    Thanks
    Frank
  • I live in Northern NY and my windshield wiper deicer does not work and we do need it in this area. I have been to the dealer 8 times, they even replaced the windshield it still does not work. The mechanics do not seem to know what else to do, is anyone else having this problem and if so how was it solved?
  • I own a 1995 Dodge Caravan with a 3.0 motor with 82000 miles on it. This past month, this vehicle failed the PA state emissions testing. The problem is that at idle, the hydrocarbons are too high and the hotter it gets the worse it is. However, at 2500 RPM the hydrocarbons drop down to an acceptable level. Since the first test, I changed spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, PCV valve, and replaced a bad fuel injector. On retest the same results were obtained. The idle is a little rough at rest but off idle it runs fine--no hesitation. Any ideas greatly appreciated.
  • axle59axle59 Posts: 28
    Possibly an O2 sensor?
  • Discovered this site tonight! Wish I'd found it sooner...like before I bought my Van! Good news / bad news to see others have the same problems I'm having...frustrating that the dealer acts like I'm the only one. Gone through transmission problems including failure to engage when shifting to/from reverse, failure to shift out of 2nd gear and finally stalling at an intersection that resulted in an error code! Dealership finally said the transmission control module had failed. $500 and 3k miles later and so far so good. Current problem is electrical related...wipers that run on their own, front blower switch that doesn't operate for about 10 minutes or keeps running with key removed (hell on batteries if you don't notice, rear blower works 4.0 in heat and A/C), and intermittent starting...haven't tried moving the wheel but will try that next! Already changed starter and investigated bypass switch for starting in gear. Seriously considering selling and leaving Dodge after 2 tries! Wife wants out of mommy mobile anyway...midlife crisis? May go back into SUV.
  • Scanner.. Ignition key would turn without glitches.. But when turning the wheel to one side usually it would enable the van to start.. Any comments are appreciated.. Again. this is related to not being able to start my 98 Caravan until moving the steering wheel a few times.. Some contact must be corroded of dirty.???

    Craig Wilson, Dallas, TX

    >>#566 of 579 Craigwilsontx by scanner Dec 21, >>2000 (03:06 pm)
    >>Does your problem also happen to coincide with >>not being able to turn the ignition key?
  • I have a 2000 dodge Caravan Base with only 2,200.
    While replacing the windshiled washer fluid, I noticed some oil coming from the left side of the engine. Should I take it to the dealer inmediately? Any sugestions? I cant believe this happened with such low miles. HELP
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    But based on reading in Town Hall Problems Forums, there are problems being reported on every brand vehicle. As I read the Town Hall, it appears that we are most lucky to have had zero problems in 22,779 miles and over 21 months.
    Our 91 Astro CL had no mechanical problems until 8 years old when manifold gasket leaket coolant. However, the damned digital dash worked intermittently after a few years...always worked when in for service. The oil pressure and coolant temp gages did not work at all after about 6 years. Would cost about $1100 for a new module and $400 labor to replace so we drove without those 2 gages until traded in March 1999 for new 99 GC SE.
    I preferred the rear panel doors to the liftgate on most minivans and also preferred the 27 gal fuel tank with very torquey 4.3L V6. Gas mileage between 23 and 24 on several trips to DL where 3.3L in GC gets 27.1, 27.0 and 26.0 (last one was driving about half the trip in a rainstorm that lowered the gas mileage).
    The Sienna has the most comfortable seats of the minivans (for my wife and I) with Odyssey being a close second in comfort. Wife did not like the front passenger leg room in Ody as glove box hit her knees. She also wanted the built in child seat for safety of the grandchildren. We planned to keep the 99 GC for 2 to 4 years...but would be stupid to trade it in and take a chance of getting a Sienna or Odyssey with problems.
  • Group commiserating (whining) can be good for the soul. Communicating and sharing problems is good, but it is time to contact people and organizations that can force change. Although the recent Firestone tire debacle is more tragic than the typical trans or a/c problem it shows that recalls are possible and corrective action can be forced. Several web sites offer extensive lists and suggested places to file complaints(e.g.www.wam.umd.edu/gluckman/Chrysler/cc/moreaddreses.html)
    I have filed complaints on my 96 Ply Grn Voy. Trans went out at 54,800; front axle went out at 58,600. Numerous other problems all do to low quality components. Our main vehicle is a 1994 Toyota Corrolla with 120,000mi. It had both front electric window motors go out. That's all. Nothing before 100,000mi.
    Most of the organizations have web sites and on line complaint forms that only take a few minutes to complete, probably less time than it takes to write a message here.
  • waltb3waltb3 Posts: 1
    We own a 1998 Grand Caravan SE with 57,000 miles. Went back for warranty replacement of power steering pully 27,000 mi and internal battery short. Since then nothing except front brake pads which I replaced myself. We have the 3.8L engine and pull, on occasion a 16 foot outboard boat (900lbs). Happy so far, but the trim quality could be better.
  • I have a 95 Caravan and the engine intermittently dies. As long as I constantly give it gas it will run but, if I pull up to a stop sign and take my foot off the gas it will cut off. The van will re start as long as I keep the gas pressed. In order to pull away I will have to keep some gas applied as I put the van in gear (with brake applied). This problem may not happen for over a month and then it happens all the time.
    The engine sounds like it is not getting enough gas or maybe oxygen. I don't have an idea what may be wrong but the dealer says it needs I happen while they have it on a computer. There is no indication that anything is wrong on the diagnostic. HELP ME PLEASE....
  • bigd01bigd01 Posts: 3
    I own a 93 Caravan and have racked up 93,000 miles on it. Problems with the van? You bet...I have had to replace the front motor mount 8 times and it's getting ready to go out again...just put the second set of transaxils in this baby three days ago, transmission was redone a couple of years back... I get a clunking noise everytime I brake, like I have a dead body under the van...no one knows why...replaced three starters, the electric motor for the driver side window and now the sliding door electric lock don't work.

    Like everyone else I bought into the advertisements and even the Consumer Reports recommendations this was the best thing on the road back then...if it was the best I would hate to be the owner of the second best or worst.

    Will I buy another one....NOT!!!!!! Right now I'm looking for a replacement and they all look about the same and they all have their problems....I guess the big question is which one will be the least problem and who will stand behind what they build....I already know DC won't.

    BigD01
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 224
    jdowens: My Haynes manual has the following sources for "Engine Stalls": 1. Incorrect idle speed, 2. Fuel filter clogged, 3. Distributor components damp or damaged, 4. Faulty fuel system or emission control system sensors, 5. Faulty emission components, 6. Faulty or incorrectly gapped spark plugs or plug wire faulty, 7. Vacuum leak at throttle body, intake manifold or vacuum hoses. Your case is complicated by intermittent malfunction and apparently no sensor error codes. So it is not a typical failure of a distributor, sensor, etc. It could be a clogged fuel filter or maybe a fuel injector malfunction or an intermittent vacuum hose leak. I would be sure to be up to date on preventive care such as PCV and fuel filter replacement as well as inspection of distributor cap and rotor and vacuum hoses. When the problem is occurring, inspection of the plug wires for arcing under low light. If the fuel level makes a difference, the fuel pump is suspect, usually with low fuel allowing the pump to get too hot and drop fuel pressure. You may ultimately need a continuous diagnostic computer and a problem that can be expected within a reasonably short time. The following is an interesting discussion of fuel injection function and diagnosis:
    http://www.motorage.com/edindex/0699028.htm
  • Bought a Plymouth(Chrysler) Voyager last month. The Van is very smooth and has great handling. However on most of the roads it pulls to the right when I take my hands off the steering momentorily. Is it normal? What could be the reasons for this? Any thoughts/experiences?
  • I'm finally giving up on this vehicle. 1997 GC (3.8L 4spd) is just back from it's sixth unscheduled maintenance at 54,000 miles. Two transmissions, whacky wipers, radio problems, two oxygen sensors, speedo problems, several recalls, and now an abusive dealership.

    I've been a staunch supporter of this product because of good ergonomic design and excellent driveability. I really wanted to buy a 2001 GC or T&C, love the styling, but I can't stomach the idea of living with a product from a company producing notoriously poor reliability products.

    The dealership (Nalley Dodge, Lawrenceville, GA) broke the camel's back. They charged me $20 for EPA related costs (fluid disposals). That's now their standard policy. And they charged me $35 for two wiper blade replacements! Abusive pricing on the blades aside, I had just changed the blades three weeks prior, and did not ask them to replace them. When I brought that to their attention, they made me wait another 20 minutes so they could take the wipers off and put my removed blades back on.

    It's one thing to have an unreliable vehicle. It's another to have the dealership try to ream you while you are dealing with the poor product quality.

    And for those of you who say "all vehicles have problems", well, I had one unschedule maintenance for a faulty light switch in about a quarter of a million miles driving various Hondas. The GC has problems at a rate 30 times higher than that.

    Bye bye, DaimlerChrycoDodge. You've lost me forever.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Had your wheel alignment checked?
  • 1. Check tire balance
    2. Check wheel alignment(all 4)
    3. I had this problem on my 1996. I did all of the above several times over the years. Problem was confirmed by test drivers, but vehicle and tires were always in spec. On Christmas day 2 weeks ago the axle broke. Guess what! The new axle does not pull!The right axle assembly broke, but it is a complete unit so the whole thing was replaced($200.00). Vehicle had 58,000 miles when the axle broke. Good luck!
  • bigd01bigd01 Posts: 3
    Hoosierdaddy

    If you are getting a slight wobble feeling in the front wheels I'ld venture to bet it's your transaxils...mine did the same thing anf both transaxils were out...I replaced them and the front stopped pulling and the wobble disappeared. By the way that was my second set of transaxils in two years and I don't drive my vehicle hard.

    Good Luck
    BigD01
  • mikezakmikezak Posts: 95
    Craig -

    I posted a problems similar to your (late Dec). My was corrected by the replacement of the Ignition cyclinder. My syptoms were a little more serious in that I had some electrical problems associated with it -- but the Service Manager said that the Ignition and Steering column was so complex, it can affect alot of things.

    Previously I had a vehicle (non-Chrysler) that also had problems like yours. It was a defective Neutral Switch,...could be somewhat related as it too is based in the Steering column / Ignition.

    Hope my experiences help....good luck.
  • It seems our 2000 Chrysler Town and Country, 3.3L V6, has developed a coolant leak where the intake manifold meets the cylinder head. There is crusty red and white coolant residue all along the back side of the intake, and along 3 inches in the front near the driver's side. It seems there are a couple of small wet spots, but it's hard to tell for sure since the coolant boils off the hot engine right away. This seems quite odd for a vehicle with only 15,000 miles on it. Has anyone else had this problem, or are we just lucky?
  • 2000 Dodge Caravan Base with only 2,400 miles. Oil is leaking from top of engine. Low wash light came out indicating that the windshield washer fluid was low even though is full. Took it to the dealer yesterday. Let see what they have to say this week. I am wondering if they sold me this van with rebuild parts. Any suggestions. Thanks
  • tr1199tr1199 Posts: 1
    BigD01,
    I had the same problem. Done alignments and added chims, serviced 4 times for the same problem, and changed 2 tires. All before 12000 miles. Problem still exists every time I rotate the tires every 6000 miles and then eases down without disappearing.
    Does this qualify for a lemon case?
  • nwbsrnwbsr Posts: 2
    My 2000 GC-LE bought new in 4-00 now has 10K on the clock. Problems noted so far: a. Transmission fluid leak from a hose with loose clamp at 8K b. The auto lock solinoids in the two sliding doors had to be replaced because they were making a weird noise when they auto locked at 15 mph.
    c. The left side sliding door has a noticable creaking/rattling sound up around the door handle that is heard when going over bump roads. It did not do this until after they fixed the door lock solinoids. The dealer had it for a day with their guy who handles the squeaks and rattles and even after pulling the door panel and foaming certain things it is still not completely gone. and lastly, d. The steering wheel smells bad. It is a chemical like odor and it drives me crazy. It is just in the rim of the wheel, not the center where the horn is. I have wiped the outer rim down with everything I can think of that won't harm it, and no relief. Tried S.O.S. neutralizer, Simple Green, Quick-in-Bright, Lemon Joy. Can anybody suggest some fixes for the door and the steering wheel. Thanks.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,280
    That's an odd one. Have you tried one of those vinyl or leather covers that you lace on to try to mask the smell? You may want to look into an aftermarket wheel, esp. since those cleaning products you've tried haven't helped.

    Good luck,
    Steve_
    Host
    Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

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