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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions

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  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    If you go to the IIHS site and look up the DC tests, you will see the picture of the leaking tank.If you look closely at the enlarged version, you will see that the tank is removed and tipped at what appears to be a 45 degree angle to show the leak area. They stated that the flange that leaked is on the TOP of the tank. Unless the laws of physics change liquid cannot flow uphill! So the tank could only leak under the following conditions: 1. Full tank (including filler neck) and a 40 mile per hour crash. Just pulling out of a gas station or within 20 miles of a fillup. 2. 40 mile per hour crash with van on its side or roof. And remember in the first test it did not leak. The government mandates that on a rollover crash no fuel should leak. Let them make the decision. You should not top off your tank if you are worried until this is resolved.
  • I have a 1997 Grand Caravan Sport. Occasionally, during driving the service engine soon light comes on for a few miles then goes right back out. It may not happen again for a week or two. I just had a MAP sensor, belt tensioner, and a fuel sending unit put in it. Van only has 54K on it and runs great. Anyone else out there had an problems with a periodic service engine soon light?

    Brooks
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    I suggest you look up capillary(sp?) action in a physics text to understand how liquid can flow upward. Additionally, if the van turns on side in an accident you are at a 90 degree angle. Two ounces a minute add up pretty fast if you're injured and cannot free yourself or others in the vehicle.
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    You must have flunked Physics, look up capillary in the dictionary. Can you explain what happened to the 2000 Honda Odyssey shown in copartfinder.com?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Ya got to do what you got to do.
    Carleton1 says: door armrests, Triple Zone Temperature Control, Trip Computer
    Door armrests-- I'm so sick of hearing about those stupid arm rests. If that's all it's got going for it than buy it. As far as they go I drove a 01 and at 6'3" and the back tilted as I like it all they are goof for is to look at, since I sit back to far to do any good. Triple Zone, Odyssey has dual zone, our Caddy STS had temp control for both front passengers and we kept it on the same temp. Advertising gimmick. Trip computer, what a joke, I have never seen one that tells accurately what's going on. Now to me a trip computer tells me where to turn, how far to my destination, directions, where to cash my check, get gas, eat, hospitals in case I'm in an accident with a DC van and it catches on fire and a host of other important things. Now thats a real trip computer.
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    not a dictionary. It is capillary action; not capillary. It is the principle used when you get a blood test and they fill those little tubes/straws off the droplets of blood they force to the surface of the skin without any suction.

    Sorry, I don't have a physics transcript for you I CLEP-ed out

    Carlton1 - Aren't you getting an '02 Odyssey?
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    use their navigation systems to help them locate the Odyssey topics?
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    You have a great post in #753. Without the fuel leak this van rated only marginal in safety. Everyone is concentrating on the fuel leak and ignoring overall score. It takes the addition of side airbags to bring it up to acceptable.

    Is there anyway to speed up safety findings? Seven years before they recalled a steering wheel that could separate in an accident? How many of these vans are still on the road seven years later? I don't think NHTSA will act quickly on the pre-July '01 D/C vans due to how critical IIHS is of the NHTSA testing. Personally I look at the two test as complementary.
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116
    dmathews3 -- yes, I get tired of seeing the same features repeated in posts almost every day. But I disagree that the temp control and trip computer are gimmicks. Depends on your situation. Like many couples, my wife and I prefer widely different temp settings. She'll even put turn the heated seats on the high setting on a warm day, while I will use the low setting only rarely. For us, the dual zone is a nice feature. The kids get a third setting, which prevents having kids on the left from freezing while the right side kids roast.

    Is this feature essential? Of course not. But it's the sort of feature that you get used to and want in your next car. Same with the trip computer. I admittedly don't use the computer functions that much except for compass, outside temp, and distance-to-empty, but I do use the others occasionally and would miss them if they weren't there. In fact, I miss the user-programmable computer functions I had on my BMW in Germany 10 years ago.

    Now padded armrests and suede-backed seats are meaningless to me. But steering wheel radio controls are another gimmick I love. My last car had them as part of a package. They turned out to be so useful I put them on the "must" list of options for the minivan. And the DC minivan implementation is just outstanding ... within a day or so you're perusing your cd changer without taking hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.

    Another gimmick that's nice to have is memory seating, a fact I realize whenever a mechanic or car wash attendant screws up my seat position in my non-memory seat car.

    The automatic rear hatch? The jury's still out on that ... we used it a lot, but not clear if I'd cry over it if my next minivan didn't have it. The removable console? Jury's also out on that .. it's very well designed, and nice to have the flexibility of removing it for cargo or rear access.
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    Pertaining to the attraction of liquids in narrow tubes to above normal levels..NARROW as in a blood pipette, NOT a 2 1/2 inch fuel filler tube. TRY it some time. You still flunk Physics! Stick to trying to find out why the 2000 Odyssey caught fire and burned up in the collision on the site I mentioned earlier!
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    Hayneldan,


    Instead of being involved in a collision, perhaps the owner of that Odyssey did something even more dangerous like parking out in the sun too long.


    Honda Odyssey spontaneous combustion theory

  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Let's get back onto topic here....which is "Dodge/Plymouth/Chrylser minivan problems".

    Thanks,
    Drew
    Host
    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,990
    steve_ "MY2001+ Chrysler Voyager/Dodge Caravan" Aug 29, 2001 6:52pm

    Steve
    Host
    Vans, SUVs and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

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

  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 396
    The cruise control on our 97 Dodge with 84K went out the other day.

    At start up, the cruise light comes on in the dash, and goes out. The "on" botton does not turn the cruise on. I checked in the owner's manual. There is no separate or combined fuse or relay for cruise control. Or is there one and I missed it? I checked the electrical connection and the vaccum lines to the Cruise control unit, and did not find anything unusual.

    Does anyone have any idea what is wrong, or where I can start looking at.

    Although we still like the look, the room, I am thinking that it is a shame that Chrysler is incapable of making more a reliable van.

    With 83K miles, we have gone thru belt tensioner, trans. selonoid pack, water pump, and a starter. Knock on wood, transmission has been holding up OK.
  • I have a 2000 SE GC and have nothing but problems with the passenger sliding door. Anyone else had problems? Our dealer seems incapable of fixing it. Thanks!
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    I was referring to the cracked parts not the filler tube. It is pretty obvious the internal combustion using gasoline as a fuel would have never even got started if that was the case.
  • Fluids cannot be attracted to a tube (pipette) or crack unless they are touching it. If the tank is not full, and the gasket is at the top of the tank, it CANNOT HAPPEN! Honda trolls should stick to things they understand like disapearing third seats,like my 1969 Chrysler Town and Country had.
  • DTKWOKDTKWOK Posts: 131
    hayneldan and odd1,

    You guys have been on this issue for way toooo long. But anyhow, I think the real issue is not that of liquid, but of vapor. A chemical reaction is partially driven by surface area, a substance in vapor form has much more surface area than a liquid or solid. With that said, capillary action or not, the real danger would be in released vapor, not as much as the liquid itself. (Why do you think it's dangerous to have a flame source near your gas filling hole?)
    As for the flamed kiss Odyssey, who knows? Could have ran into a gas tanker, faulty wiring, etc..? (I've seen weirder things happen before.) With this logic, I apply it to the DC vans too.
  • Check out the Sept 2001 issue of Popular Mechanics. It shows the differences between the IIHS and NHTSB tests, and why the ratings are different.
  • The flange in question is maybe 3 1/2- 4 inches across. If it cracked all the way across, and the crack were 1/128th wide, it gives an area of .0135 square inches. Do the math!
  • jodar96 - it sounds like you own my 97 grand voyager! Same exact problems, just in different order. I think the cruise control problem is related to a connection between your steering wheel and your steering hub. I believe there is a spring connector that connects the functions on the steering wheel to the hub. I had this problem because the cruise, horn and air bag did not work. The repair cost $190.00.

    I have just had my water pump, belt tensioner and belt replaced for just under $400. WOWWW! That hurt! How much was your repair?

    Never again will I buy a Chrysler.
  • DTKWOKDTKWOK Posts: 131
    Wow, do I sense some hostile feelings? I just meant to clear up some of your (and odd1's) arguments, not to pass judgement on this whole DC crash test thing. As for the area, yes it seems small, but do you know what conditions (i.e. quanitity, density, temp) free vapors will or will not ignite (I sure don't)? The study of open area fluid flow (as opposed to constrained flow - flow in pipes, Reynolds number) is not perfected by the way, so I don't think there is any "math to do", per se. (The biggest area of open flow is done in wind tunnels to find drag coefficients, and for nozzle/diverger design for jet propulsion, btw.) So given the miniscule crack as stated in your message, would you dare light a match (or even have anything remotely "hot") in the vicinity? Some say yes, some say no, who's right? It's your guess I suppose.
  • .0135 sounds like about the orifice size of my propane torch and produces a good hot flame due to some pressure on the fuel side.
  • We own a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport and a 2001 Mazda MPV. I was fairly happy with the GC but after a year of MPV ownership and not once having brought it in for anything other than an oil change, I think back to the many times and multiple visits to my dealership's inept service department to repair loose interior panels, defective speakers, broken locks, and other assorted rattles, and I realize that my expectations were so low, that anything short of a transmission blowing up was acceptable.
    The reason I'm writing though is to warn those contemplating protecting their purchase with a DC extended warranty service contract. We bought one but when I learned nine days after the 60 day cancellation period was up, that the one service manager who actually cared, quit, I decided to cancel the contract. DC, took close to 25% of the $1272 I paid as a penalty (even though it was a 7 year contract and we were still covered under the new car warranty), but when I called to complain, I encountered 20 minute hold times and the most arrogant people I have ever dealt with anywhere.
    I have run customer service departments and my goal was to always try to please the customer. These guys have either sold DC shares short, or they have no respect for us because we actually purchased their products.
    After many years of buying Chrysler products in my family from my Dad's 1964 Dodge Polara 500 to this van, we're done with these clowns. I'd rather walk than buy another DC product.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    Where is the fuel filter on the 1990 long wheelbase vans with 3.3 liter engine? Is changing it a do-it-yourself job or does it require special tools or a hoist?
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116
    Problems & issues to date:

    - Had the air bag warning light problem. They've ordered a part to fix it.
    - Still having crackling noises with the left front strut area. We unfortunately got one of the minivans that had the steering arm recall from April, and it looks like the recall wasn't applied correctly. They will look at it again when the air bag light part comes in.
    - Left sliding door making noises ... looks to me like chain needs lubrication.
    - Fuel usage is a disappointment. It's about 1-2 MPG less than our old '94 T & C w/ AWD. My guess is that the "efficiencies" with the new 3.8L engine and the improved aerodynamics are outweighed, literally, by the additional vehicle weight. However, I've never seen the real mileage differ this much from EPA estimates, so wonder if something else is wrong???
  • Lee: The fuel filter should be underneath the body at the right rear near the fuel tank. You will need a way to get the rear up, such as maintenance ramps and be able to loosen the filter bracket bolt and a screwdriver for the fuel line clamps. Haynes manual recommends opening the gas cap to relieve tank pressure and grounding a fuel injector to relieve fuel line pressure (no more than 5 seconds however). In any case be careful of fire hazzard when the fuel line is loosened from the filter and have a rag to catch the fuel that leaks. When I did this I opened the fuel filler cap but did not ground the injector, instead waited 2 or 3 hours after driving to allow pressure to decline. Roy
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    I too was shocked with the disappointing mileage, but that was in my 1996 LXi. My 2001 Limited around town gets about 15 miles to the gallon, which is exactly what I got for 5 years in the '96 LXi.

    But I even asked the guys at Chrysler when I had the '96 if I had a fuel problem, because it was such worse mileage compared to the previous 1988 Grand Voyager. All they said was that it was normal and they couldn't really do anything about it.

    So if you're getting around 14-15 mpg, don't be too shocked. I guess after Chrysler switched from the 1984-1995 vans to the now 1996- ? vans, mileage was not one of the areas they decided to improve on.
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116
    Makes sense to me ... good to see it confirmed by others.

    And yes, referring to an earlier post you made, I've decided that there is a lot less usable room in the cargo area. Slightly more room from the top of the seat on down, but much, much less cargo room above the top of the seat.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    As I said before, my '88 Grand Voyager had much more usable space behind the third seat because of the boxy setup trunk opening.

    The '96 van was great in that it had more shoulder room up front, and much bigger windows all around, yet the very curvy setup of the rear cargo area left something to be desired.

    Plus, the rear air compressor was moved to the passenger side of the already crowded cargo area of the 1996 vans. That was because the rear air compressor in the 1988-1995 vans was behind the driver in the middle row. But in the '96 vans, they had to find a new place to put the rear air compressor, since the new driver side sliding door took up its old place.

    And now I have my 2001 van that is VERY similar in many ways to my 1996 van since Chrysler didn't change too much. My new van isn't all the different to my 1996 van in terms of cargo space or looks, but I will say the power lift gate motor in the cargo area does take out more usable space that I even had in my 1996 van.

    Not to go too far into my rant :-) , but I find it amazing that Chrysler can keep on increasing the lengths of the vans, the widths of the vans, the luxury of the vans, etc., but can't seem to increase the real cargo area behind the third seat in terms of cubic feet. It just keeps on shrinking and shrinking. Oh well, I've come to terms with the fact that it can't carry a bike behind the third seat without folding the seat down and scratching the top half of the cargo area. At least my '96 and '01 van had and have more passenger room and luxury features than my '88 van. Although, my '88 beat both in terms of 3rd row cargo...BUT I think I've already gone over that one enough today :-)
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