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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    I am considering the purchase of a base Caravan with the 2.4 liter engine. I do not plan on carrying heavy loads. Any comments on the reliability of this engine would be appreciated.
  • Unless there is a great difference in price, I would opt for the 3.3 V6 in the base model. The MPG is almost identical, and no timing belt to worry about.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Yes, most of the time you can get by without a working AC compressor. The only time you could have problems as a result of a bad compressor is if the electric clutch or bearings in the compressor pulley drive system failed, then the serpentine belt might have issues as this pulley is rotating all the time the engine is running, whether the Air conditioner clutch is engaged or not.

    The squeek during engine acceleration could possibly be a result of problems in the compressor clutch/bearings, however, as this could indicate a slipping serpentine belt. There can be multiple sources of serpentine belt squeel, however. I would get a second opinion about this before going to the expense of replacing your compressor, if you really can live without AC.
  • i realize some time has passed since you posted this, but my van is doing the same thing, oil light with warning bell comes on when i brake. Can you please tell me what the solution to the problem is? thanks
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Check your dipstick, I suspect that you don't have enough oil in your engine. When you brake the oil sloshes forward inside the oil pan and uncovers the oil pickup allowing it to suck in air. When that happens you will have an instant oil light.

    Best Regards,
  • not only did I check the oil level, but i also brought it back in to the shop where I just had it changed and they checked it as well. Everything checks out fine. There is no leak. Somone suggested perhaps the oil sensor needs to be changed.
  • I had the same problem. I tried many fixes, including changing the oil pickup, changing the oil viscosity, changing the connector that connected the sensor and changing the oil sensor. I changed the sensor twice and the second change, I changed the connector as well as the sensor. It worked the second time.
  • hi! from what my mechanic has explained to me is you will need to have this compressor replaced and reason being is that it controls your defroster. Mine is shot to and is being replaced. But since owning my car I've put thousands of dollars into it for repairs. my brake caliper on the passenger front is seizing. this is the 3rd time I've had this addressed. my van eats through brakes as it was explained to me that the rotors are too small for the van because it takes more force to stop the van. I've gotten brakes on this van about every 16 months. I've only owned it for 4 years. :sick: I will have it paid off by next september and trust you/me, I'm not getting another chrysler/dodge product. the only positive thing I can say is that I've never leaked oil.
  • that's really odd. my odomitor/instrument panel (which is electric) totally went dead. I couldn't tell how fast I was going, nothing. I was told that there is a sensor that would need to be replaced and is rather expensive because of where it's located. :cry:
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    We had a 1996 Dodge Caravan and did't have to do anything to the brakes until well past 65,000 miles, then finally replaced front brakes and discs. Sold it at 89,000 miles and bought a new GC SE. Rear drums were still original when we sold it! Obviously something is going on in your front brakes that has not been properly diagnosed, like perhaps a caliper that is locking up and not fully releasing, causing premature repeated brake failure.
  • I agree, you have an undiagnosed problem with your brakes. I have enough problems with my 2001 GC but brakes have not been one of them. I just replaced all four when it hit 85,000 miles. They still had a few miles left in them then.
  • Yes the compressor is used in the "defrost" mode to clear your windshield quicker. That said, if your compressor is not binding or seized, you do not need to replace it if you can live without AC. Cars had "defrosters" for decades before they became AC equipted.
  • I have a 98 gcv with 115k and get about 45k from the front brakes. You might want to check your rear brakes to make sure the self adjusters are working. Improper adjustments will cause the front brakes to worker harder causing premature wear.
  • what sensor was it that you were told that needed to be replaced. i have the same problem that started 4 days ago.
  • I was told that it's located in the steering column under the hood. This doesn't make sense to me. My husband couldn't exactly remember what it was. :sick:
  • My check engine light is on because I need an oxygen sensor replaced. my a/c compressor is also going in my van and my instrument panel also blinks out on me. When it first happened it kinda freaked me out, but I was assured that it wouldn't hinder the operation of my vehicle, it's just annoying at this point. I could honestly answer the officer when I would reply I didn't really know how fast I was going. My transmissions seems to be fine and has always been, it's just that I've gone through brakes like mad ( got a nice tip to check the rears) I've had calipers replaced 2 times since I've owned the van, rotors, brakes, etc., on the front end. I say just take it out back and shoot the damn thing.
  • yes, there has to be a more underlying problem that isn't being addressed. Has to be beyond the calipers if this is a reoccuring problem. Just this past weekend, my husband had both calipers replaced and new brake pads put on. I just get rather frustrated because I can't seem to get a solution to the problem.
  • live w/o my a/c? don't think so. prior to be diagnosed with the compressor going, my belt would snap. This happened twice. so I had the (forgive me I don't know what it's called) wheel replaced that the belt ran over because I was told that was seizing. now when I turn the fan blower/a/c on, it will give this deep sounding squeel.
  • Don't bother with any of those repairs, don't seem necessary. Your car will run fine w/o them. Since you are getting a new car next summer, don't dump any more $$$ into your van. I was told I need an a/c compressor, oxygen sensor, and I have electrical problems. I have to keep my car for another year. so I'm just going to drive my car only fixing the sensor. It won't pass emissions otherwise.
  • I have a strange problem with my Dodge Grand Caravan 2002, 3,3 Sport. After I start the engine A/C fan shuts off, the windows don't open, and the radio doesn't turn on. Sometimes they turn on after a while. Seems like the car does not know that the engine is already at work and keeps some of the instrument off for the iginition. Any idea what it may be?
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