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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions

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  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    We have done the same thing. Gave our 81 Chevy C-10 pickup to oldest daughter when we got our 87 R-10. Gave 80 Impala to 2nd daughter when we got our 91 Astro CL. Got a nice used 78 Impala for our youngest daughter about time we gave 80 to 2nd daughter. Last year we gave our 87 R-10 to our youngest daughter.
    Was stupid to trade 91 Astro on 99 GC as our oldest daughter got a used 91 Astro RS 2 years later and her 91 had 186,000 miles in 2001 whereas our 91 had only 61,000 when traded in 1999.
    We have had only 1 problem with our 99 GC. It had a coolant leak at 35,002 miles but dealer replaced both head gaskets the next day under warranty with no hassle, no fuss, etc. A very painless experience. Will probably give it to one of our kids when we decide we want a new one as I hate to see the dealer make $3000 to $5000 on our trade in.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    I also own a 1990 Grand Voyager which until last year had been pretty reliable (except for the inevitable transmission failure). In 2001, I put over $3000 into it (including another tranny rebuild), far more than it's worth. Every time I dropped another $300 or so, I'd say "that must be it, what else can go wrong?" My 19 year old is driving it so I keep fixing it.

    At this point, it's the reliability I'm concerned about more than the cost of repairs. My son is in college 200 miles away so every time he wants to come home, I worry about him getting stranded along the way. Fortunately, he's made 5 or 6 trips since last fall with no problems.

    To answer your original question: it depends. I think most cars today will easily go 100K miles without major problems if they've been well maintained. As Indydriver said, it's nice to drive a few years without a car payment. If one had the discipline to continue saving the car payment amount after the payments to the bank ended, one would have a nice down payment saved up when the next purchase came along.

    When shopping for another vehicle, look at lease turn-ins. You should be able to find a low mileage (<30K), 2 year old vehicle at a considerable savings over a new one and still have the piece of mind of a year and 6K miles left on the manufacturer's warranty.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Recall campaign starts January 25 for the 1996 vans - later model years to follow:


    http://www.detnews.com/2002/autosinsider/0201/20/a01-394001.htm

  • Anyone have an idea about my problem. My caravan will give an overheat alarm--and the temp gauge is high. I can turn it off or turn on the heater or both and when I restart the trouble clears. I have had the radiator flushed, the fan unit replace, the sender and the sender unit replaced. My mechanic can't seem to find the trouble. My maintenance manual shows a sensor at the base of the radiator but cannot find it. It is a 4 cyl.--any help or suggestions?????
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Thermostat checked lately or replaced?

    Any other symptoms (blown head gasket - oil leak, coolant in oil, etc.)?
  • ace37ace37 Posts: 1
    just had van towed to dealer with 56K miles and a dead transmission. Have had a leak in transmission since 35K miles but the dealer service shop has never been able to locate the leak. Well guess what, 21k miles later the transmission is shot. Symptoms were the transmission started with a winding sound, then would not engage in any gear, this all in the same morning within 20 minutes of driving time. Will update once repairs have been completed by dealer service shop. Thank god for the extended warranty. Don't get stuck without one especially on a Dodge/Chrysler product.
  • We have a 96 Grand Caravan that started shaking at 40-45 mph around 60,000 miles. It only shudders when we try to maintain that speed going up an incline. Mechanics haven't been able to solve the problem, even though they've done fuel injection service, fuel induction service, tune-ups, new spark plug wires, fuel filter, air filter, etc. Has anyone else experienced this? Any ideas? We have not had any transmission problems yet- hope that's not it.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    How about the frontend like alignment, wheel balance worn frontend parts etc. Going up hill is shifting the center of balance of van and causing the problem. Again just a thought.
  • We replaced two tires in June and the other two in Sept.with wheel balancing, although we can check it again, especially after reading the above posts about axles and out of round tires. However, the shuddering feels more like the engine isn't getting enough gas - sometimes it's difficult to accelerate when it's acting up. If we continuously accelerate going uphill, instead of trying to maintain steady speed at 40-45 mph, it's alright.
  • If we continuously accelerate going uphill, instead of trying to maintain steady speed at 40-45 mph, it's alright.

    Sounds to me the torque convertor could be hanging up. Has the trans ever been serviced ?
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    DC paid for new part on '94 GC but not labor. Apparently AC failures are common across the DC lines but this secret warranty still seems to be a secret. Unfortunately, labor cost is high for this part, 5-6 hours. Cheaper at an independent garage but you may have more difficulty in getting DC to pay for the part ($250).
  • pnh21pnh21 Posts: 10
    Have the motor mounts and transmission mounts replaced, may solve the problem.
  • 2000 Dodge GC Sport After 19,172 miles I started to have tranmission fluid leaking. Brought in for service check and had one line and new clamps installed all under factory warrantee. No charge.Wonder if this is going to be a constant problem at another 20000 miles. Lines use to be metal, dont know about this rubber hose stuff. it's like taking a whipping with a rubber hose. Watch for Red Tranmission fluid leaks. Two of these small rubber hose lines run from the radiator to the tranny.This probably could have caused the failure of ACE 37 s transmission failure or could be one of the leaks in Zimm04 T&C
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    I don't know how long ago it was that these lines were metal, but on my '91 Grand Voyager they were rubber. They never leaked once in 139K miles. But I did have a trans go out at about 58K. I am sure they are rubber on most cars because they run between the engine/transmission assembly, which moves around, especially under load, to the radiator, which is mounted to the chassis.
  • If the problem was truly a leaking line and the dealer replaced it, this will not be a recurring problem for you. As dkrab states, those lines should last the life of the vehicle. You either got a very rare defective line (no doubt purchased by DC from an outside supplier) or it wasn't installed/tightened properly during assembly (unlikely or it would be a common problem).

    The good news is that this was a very minor deficiency in your very complex automobile. Kudos to your dealer for identifying the problem and fixing first try and to Chrysler for standing behind their product and paying for it under warranty.
  • Ok, I'll try to keep this short and I looked for another topic like this and could not find one, so, I'm sorry if it is somewhere else. Just point me the right direction and I'll move the discussion there. Also, I whine a little bit followed by questions.

    Anyway, this past December, my wife and I decided to trade my '99 Dodge Dakota 4X4 for a new minivan. We searched and after many dealerships and test drives we found the dealer and vehicle we liked. Obviously, we decided on the 2002 GC ex.

    The dealer worked with us and we were comfortable withthe deal. We drove the vehicle around town for about 50 mi or so before taking a trip home for the holidays. The van functioned fine and we are really pleased with it. It ran fine all the way there and while we stayed there. It was the trip home that we began to have trouble.

    We experienced 3 issues:
    1.) the left power door stop responding
    2.) during transit, the vehicle began jerking intermittently.
    3.) after the latter, the engine malfunction light illuminated.

    Now, when we arrived home we drove the vehicle to the service department(they have Saturday hours)and they returned it to us the following Monday, all errors corrected as follows:

    1.) the door: worked for them and still works. Ok, chalk it up to a 'triangle experience'.

    2.) Engine light a result of a 'loose' injector.
    3.) 'jerking' or loss of engine power due to misfire as result of the latter.

    The van drove fine until the following Saturday:
    1.) Door still works fine
    2.) 'loss of engine power' or 'jerkiness'
    3.) engine light came on.

    They have had it for 3 weeks now and tell me that between thier technician and Chrysler they can't agree what the issue is or how to fix it. No options to resolve it either. The van only has 1700 mi(started with 11 mi) on it.

    Frankly we are disappointed, we really like the van and if we were to replace it, we would get another. I understand that these things happen but how hard is it to see that this will not work for me?

    So, what am I asking for here?

    1.) Has anyone experienced a similar problem with a 2002 Grand Caravan eX that maybe I can point these guys too?

    2.) Suggestions on how to help someone see the solution for me? Which is get me a new van! (I think at 1700 mi I'm entitled. Maybe I'm wrong, let me know that too!)A lawyer has told me I can't do anything about lemon law yet.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    Have you tried your idea about a new van with the dealership yet? That seems a reasonable request to me given that they have had the van for three weeks and cannot find the problem. I am assuming they loaned you (at no charge) a comparable vehicle during these three weeks. If not, I would request one immediately. If the dealer does not agree with your request for a new van, you could take it up the chain at DaimlerChrysler. What does the lemon law in your state say? Usually it's three occurrences of the same problem. So you already have two. You might try offering them a per-mile fee for the 1700 miles you've driven, say 10-15 cents/mile, or offer to take a demo van with comparable miles, if they won't budge and you want to get it settled without lawyers and further aggravation.
  • mcl7mcl7 Posts: 3
    I have a T&C Limited 01,with 7000 miles, about a month ago
    I noticed a humming noise coming from below the middle section
    of the van,loud enough to be heard above the idling engine;
    The dealer replaced the fuel pump, the noise was gone for about
    a month, now it is back, I took the van back to the dealer, now they say
    there is nothing wrong with the car. I took it to another dealer and
    was also told it was the fuel pump.
    Please all of you out there,can you hear your fuel pump above your
    engine noise during idling? also, the noise was not there when I bought
    the car.
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    Shovey0, you need to get as much information as you can about the lemon law in your state. It varies from state to state, but most have provisions for number of repair attempts and percentage of time your dealer had the vehicle compared to total time of ownership. Your state govt. should have a website for lemon law information. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING, KEEP ALL RECIEPTS. It wouldn't be a bad idea to write conversation details down right in front of the service manager, while your talking to him. He'll get the point. Not to get ugly, but just to let them know you are aware of the lemon laws, just in case you need to pursue that avenue. Also, sounds like the lawyer you spoke too just wasn't really interested in a lemon law case. I guess they don't pay much. Good luck.
  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    mc17,

    does is sound like a high pitched noise/whine? if so, that is pretty common and i wouldn't worry too much about it, unless it is really loud. both of my dad's chryco minis had a high pitch wine emanating from the fuel pump...and neither of those pumps ever failed.
  • I have a 1997 Plymonth Voyager Minivan that has the following problems: 1. Does not shift easily into second gear (automatic trans 3.0 engine)2. the gas sensor and the air bag sensor randomly go on and off (no real pattern) 3. power steering is gone (the power steering unit was replaced under warranty about 2 1/2 years ago). Car is no longer under factory warranty. The vehicle is leased with expiration due in mid-March, 2002. Current mileage is 48,200k; no body damage or dings. Questions: Will the manufacturer replace the power steering unit again as it is obviously a problem on this vehicle? Should I purchase vehicle ($5,000 offer from lease company)? What could be my transmission issue? Finally do I need to make all these repairs before returning the vehicle
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Since the power steering unit was replaced under warranty 2-1/2 years ago, it is obvious that your van has a defect that causes the unit to fail.
    Based on what you wrote, I think you got a bad Voyager. A bad vehicle (often called a lemon) will continue to have the same problem and develop new problems whereas a good vehicle does not develop any problems.
    Many friends own DC minivans and do NOT have problems such as you had nor have they had transmission problems.
    I recommend you walk away from the 97 Voyager at the end of the lease.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 396
    Our 97 Dodge GC Caravan with 93K miles started having the problem this morning. Any idea what might be the problem? My wife drives the van, and I can't wait till I get home and see it for myself. She was saying that the light flicker, and the door ajar chime come on, and doors lock and lock!!!!!!!

    I thought maybe the light flickering has some thing to do with the voltage regulator that is probably built into the alternator.

    Has anyone seen this before?
  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    could be the body control module. i know these can occasionally go hay-wire...
  • jackojacko Posts: 6
    I have similar problem that shovey0 with power sliding doors, seems like the buttons on side panels don't work all the time, you have to use the overhead console or remote to close/open the sliding doors. Dealer replaced switch but that's not it, did not go back yet to have them dig deeper, just curious if anyone out there has experienced this and knows the solution.
    Besides that, it's a great van, we have 8,000 miles on it and enjoy driving it. Wife wanted an Odyssey, but it could not match the style and equipment offered in Grand Caravan.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 396
    After seeing what my wife was talking about, The INTERIOR lights were the flickering lights, not the headlights! I guess it was my mistake to assume it was the headlight.

    When I pushed the light switch in the door frame, I heard a clicking noise by the parking brake release peddle, which is an indication of a some type of relay down there. When I pushed/released the door switch several times in a row, at one point I heard 3-4 clicks off the relay instead of one. I know the problem is the sticky relay.

    The owners manual does not say there is a relay there, just a few fuses. Now, does anyone know what that relay is called, and if anyone has had any problems with it. I was not able to dublicate lock/unlock/chime, and interior light flickring. It almost sound like what it is supposed to do when you get in a roll over accident.
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    You would have to be driving it to get the chimes and door locks to go off along with the interior lights. It chimes to let you know a door is not closed, and the doors will lock every time the contact is broken and the lights go back out if you are going over 12 mph. Sitting still in the driveway, you'll just get the lights. A possibility is the dome light switch on the dashboard. If you turn on the dome lights in the back of the van using this switch while the van is in motion, then turn them off again, you get a chime and door lock action. I don't know about the relay, but if you can hear it clicking, you can easily locate it by the sound.
  • mcl7mcl7 Posts: 3
    Thank you emale for your input; yes you described it better than I did.
    It is a high pitch whine from the fuel pump, and it is very annoying. I wish it
    was a defective pump, that way I could have it fixed. I guess I'll have tu turn
    the infinity system louder.
  • phkckphkck Posts: 185
    Don't you love rebates. Chrysler just downgrade value of my Limited T&C by offering another $1000 in rebates since I bought mine in Dec. Oh well, what can you do.
  • The left side sliding door motor/lock went dead AGAIN!!! It's happened twice before when the van was still under warranty. The worse part is that the door cannot be locked manually!!!

    Just too many problems with this van over the past 5+ years:

    Left side sliding door
    Transmission dead at 44,000 miles
    New water pump at 47,000 miles
    New brake pads every 6 to 8 months

    This piece of junk is a money pit. Never again will we buy a chrysler vehicle.
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