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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • dkrab/carleton1

    Thx for yr comments on exhaust. To clarify, the water is dripping in 'front' of the muffler where the engine pipe connects, and straight down from that spot is where there is a mighty large collection of soot developing. My wife typically loads the kids, starts the engine, pulls out of the garage and drives away. Local trips are ususally long enough (5-10 miles) to burn off moisture. But maybe they are not...Any thoughts on the soot?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I just find it shocking that you know so many people with Honda problems and only one with DC problems. Makes me wonder if you got more than just talk and can prove it.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    ....And very few Honda owners will ever believe there are reliable DC minivans. Odyssey owners can cast disparaging remarks about my integrity all they want. I post in the Town Hall for the benefit of readers who are unaware that Odyssey owners make a career of being a professional troller to trash DC at every opportunity.
    Apparently it is not common for others to trust people as well as I do. I always trust anyone until facts prove me wrong. Sorry that dmathews3 does not feel as I do.
    For privacy reasons I have NOT written the last names of the 4 Honda Accord owners who had serious problems...nor the 3 owners who had zero problems.
    One is Sue B. who is my niece. One is Omar S. who is my son-in-law. A third is Natalie K. who was the paid baby sitter for our grandchildren. The fourth is Judy W. who is a neighbor.
    I have also written that since that time, I have not met another Honda Accord owner who has had problems...and I have talked with many. Judy W. who most emphatically told me "Do NOT buy a Honda" in March 1999, traded her 1991 Accord EX in on a NEW 2001 Honda Accord LX so apparently her anger at Honda was tempered by the memory of her earlier Accord LX that had no problems.
    4aodge, swampcollie, myself and many other satisfied owners of DC minivans have tried to be reasonable and all of us admit that the Odyssey is a very fine minivan with distinct advantages of which the Magic Seat and the new, more responsive, more powerful powertrain is quite an achievement. On the other hand, DC minivans have many nice comfort and convenience features that can not be found on an Odyssey.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Anecdotes are fine - but the track record of the DaimlerChrysler vans isn't just in subjective opinion, it's in the:

    Recall of all the early vans with antilock brake systems, after years of court battles.

    Recall of millions of vans with defectively designed tailgate latches, after years of very public court battles and numerous injuries and deaths.

    Recall of almost all the 1996 models for leak-prone gas tanks.

    Recall of all the early vans with UltraDrive transaxles.

    Recall of 1.6 million vans with leaky fuel rails (delayed a year, after the recall of over a million LH cars with similar designs, years ago).

    DaimlerChrysler fans seem to forget that this line of automobiles was a history-making trend setter in terms of the market place - and that it is also history-making and trendsetting in that it's the most recalled line of vans in the industry. No other manufacturer of minivans has had so many battles with recalls, year after year, design after design - why is it that other manufacturers seem to be able to design safe vehicles from the outset, recall them where mistakes are made, without being forced to by the Federal government?

    Even if you forgive them their dismal repair history of most years until very recently, you've got to wonder whether the current generation will turn out as bad as the past generations where safety recalls are concerned.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Very well said but the DC boys will find some lame excuse for their point of view.
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    jjjbarb, if you are seeing smoke in front of the forward muffler, toward the middle of the car, I would have to guess you have an exhaust leak. Also, it should not be blowing that much smoke, even if it's still warming up. I have a hunch it's running much too rich, at least when it's cold. You'll have to take it in and have that looked at by the dealer. Could be something simple, maybe the throttle position sensor. The exhaust leak should be covered under warranty, too. Is it blowing smoke from between the catalytic converter and the forward muffler, or is it before the cat? Just curious; either way you will have to take it in.

    Maybe I fall into the "Honda Lover" category, but I have to say that there is some merit to the argument that past performance of a make of vehicle is a legitimate predictor of future performance. I think where everyone gets tripped up here is that some readers here take comments to mean ALL of one brand or another are BAD because of this or that problem. I don't think anyone here really believes that. There are many very reliable Chrysler vans out there. They don't all catch fire. They don't all have bad trannys, etc. (Unfortunately, my Chrysler van had both the tranny and fuel leak problems, but I am lucky that way). Taken as a group, though, the Chrysler vans have not had a stellar record. You do take a bit more of a chance when buying a DC van over a Honda or Toyota or some of the others out there. But it isn't a huge gamble, by any reading of the data. The current DC vans are very good. The 96-2000 models were better than their predecessors. And so it goes. Statistically, if you buy a DC van, you are much more likely to get a good one than a bad one. And if you like it, you are much less likely to be annoyed with the little things that do go wrong (this happens to ALL cars) than you would be if you bought a van you don't really like. Buy what you like! Be Happy!
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I really don't care anymore about how much "dirt" you bring up about Chrysler's past, regardless of whether it's fact or fiction. You can continue to use past safety issues with a company that has obviously undergone serious restructuring within the last few years as a reason not to buy a current Chrysler product. I'm glad that makes you feel better about owning a Honda or whatever it is you drive as peace of mind is a very valuble and healthy thing.

    I don't care about how long Chrysler took to fix it's transmissions, breaks, door locks, or whatever else you want to throw out there. Why? Because I know that if you were to go out now and buy a 2002 DC minivan, all of the previous issues that were of concern have now been resolved (at least to the extent of my knowledge). I don't care how long it took Chrysler to fix it's transmission. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FIXED.

    Some Odyssey owners here can continue to badmouth Chrysler and claim they havent improved quality and they build "deathtraps" or whatever, but they do so knowing that is far from the truth. Just look at Consumer Reports, people here on this board, or even your own friend or neighbor who has a DC minivan. No one here has said Chrysler hasn't struggled with past safety and reliability issues. What car maker hasn't? But is that a reason not to buy a car from a company that builds some of the best products on the market (minivan market at least)? No.

    Bottom line, do whatever makes you feel best about driving an Odyssey. Just get the info straight and come to terms with the fact that Chrysler has changed along with the rest of the auto industry over the last 15 years. Whether you like it or not.

  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    one thing you all have to remember is that eneth=ralph nader.

    he (she) brings up some good points...but the trying to warn the masses against chrysler products is getting old...

    i say do your homework and get whatever the hell you want. there are no guarantees on anything...
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 221
    For those readers interested in data rather than argument, check out Edmunds used car reliability ratings, Consumer Reports subscriber repair reports published each April (from surveys done the previous April) and
    Interestingly, all three rate the '95 Caravan more reliable than the '96. On Edmunds it is 6.6 vs 5.2.
  • My '90 Ply GVLE died yesterday. The original transmission was replaced at 68,500 mile (fortunately under the old 7/70 warranty). The replacement trans went out yesterday after another 71,500 miles. It is, at the very least, "interesting" that these two units, manufactured several years apart, had nearly identical lifespans. Had it towed to the dealer....find out today if its repairable or the vehicle is "totaled".
  • enetheneth Posts: 285

    Given that the engineers who designed this round of minivans are substantially the same as those who designed the earlier ones, unless the cut-costs-at-all-costs mentality changed, you've still got to wonder about the current generation of vans. Had the 96-2000 generation remedied the poor safety record of the prior ones, there might be some reasonable projection to make - but it didn't; given the recalls for leaky gas tanks and now fuel rails, and all the publicity surrounding the very public fires that resulted (one of which killed an elderly woman in the South of the U.S., with a 3-day-old, $35,000 Chrysler Town and Country van), it's put up or shut up time - if this generation of vans has problems, Chrysler will finally have to throw in the towel (or rather, the German stockholders will force it to do so).

    Ford didn't learn much from the Pinto fiasco, and history repeated itself with the ignition lock fires, the Explorer and other issues - and it's on the ropes as a result.

    Chrysler's bad times aren't the result of foreign competition so much as its own past sins where safety and quality are concerned.

    For all those that during the 80s crowed how Chrysler and Ford re-invented themselves and were thriving while GM languished, there were those at GM who were actually doing something - quietly, behind the scenes - to improve things. I've not seen the same sort of widespread safety issue with GM vans - or GM SUVs (remember it's the Liberty that is rolling over in media reports, not the Envoy/Jimmy).

    Chrysler is being squeezed at the low end by the Koreans, and will be very pressed by GM in the mid-range - it's got a lot of ground to make up for before it sees daylight again. The Chrysler management who foresaw GM as its biggest threat, were GM to finally awaken, were absolutely, positively correct - and though they recognized the danger, they did too little, too late about the problems that produced all the safety-flawed minivans - and the company is paying the price right now.

    The buying public has a right to be skeptical about Chrysler Group's products - for every fan the company has, I'd venture to say there are five more people who fall into the skeptic category. And if the company doesn't do something about its poor image, it'll follow AMC into history.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    ..."For every fan the company has, I'd venture to say there are five more people who fall into the skeptic category..."
    ...Doesn't Chrysler/Dodge have about 16 % of the market share of all vehicles sold in the USA?
    Why can't some people move on? People seem to have forgotten the sorry little underpowered rolling junk cans made in Japan and now gladly buy Nissan, Honda, and Toyota. Why won't the trollers who trash DC forget about the past as they do with Nissan, Honda, and Toyota?
  • You grossly overstate the reaction of Chryco fans to the occasional mechanical problem. A generation of boomers have become brand-loyal to Chrysler because of their minivans not in spite of them. My wife doesn't care how much money I sink into keeping a 12 year old vehicle on the road...if her 2000 GCS was totaled tomorrow, she wouldn't even look at another product.

    Brand loyalty is an interesting and strong human emotion. Witness your fantasy of a GM renaissance. I left the auto show last week shaking my head and muttering, "poor Bob Lutz, he doesn't have enough years left to fix this mess." The styling (remember, people have to be attracted to a vehicle enough to buy it before they can experience mechanical problems) at every single GM booth (including and especially Saturn) was so pathetic as to embarrass me as an American. Oldsmobile? Why bother being there. Buick? Can you spell b-o-r-i-n-g? Pontiac? They think the Aztec is so cool they're coming out with more models copying that admittedly unique look. Chevy? The Vette is a knockout winner for everyone who can spend $50K on a two seat sports car but their idea of an original idea was to put Aztec styling on the Silverado and call it "Avalanche". They had one concept there that, I swear, looked like a miniature hearse. Cadillac? Have you seen the CTS in person? They are betting the farm on the "creased edge" look and, you heard it here first, it will fail miserably. If they stick with it too long, they will be the next Oldsmobile. To be fair, I did like the Tahoe/Escalade/Denali big SUVs but they're not going to gain market share with $50,000 trucks and Vettes. Did I miss something?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Carleton1 says: Why won't the trollers who trash DC forget about the past as they do with Nissan, Honda, and Toyota?
    Could it be because of the fact they are tired of the few "DC fans" who lurk at the other boards and continously trash the other brands? Could it just be payback? Of course carleton you wouldn't be one of those..........would you?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,936
    Indydriver, you (and others) may be interested in's recent "Running the Numbers on Market Share" article.

    On the other hand, I suspect most here aren't interested in a bash war between members about tin can cars :-)

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    As a friend, I have to stick up for Carl on this one. I have never seen Carl trash the Odyssey the way I have seen many owners, such as yourself, trash DC minivans. In his defense, Carl was actually going to buy a 1999 Honda Odyssey LX before he was intrigued by the many comfort and convienence features offered in DC minivans.

    There are some people here who bash DC minvians either beceause they want to feel better about owning something else or because they are just ignorant. Those are the ones who say Chrysler builds "death traps" and havn't changed their transmission over the last 15 years. Whatever Carl says, he always has either a personal experience or fact to back it up.

    Also, I would just like to say that Carl probably has more car buying knowledge than anyone else in the Vans message board. I don't think I've ever known anyone who has owned more cars than he has. And while he is only 67, it is true that you only get smarter with age. That is one thing I've learned for sure with living with BOTH of my grandparents.

    Anyway, Carl is not a troll. If Carl is a troll then I could name about 5 Odyssey owners who would also fall into that category. I mean common, didn't you read his nice review of the 2002 Odyssey EX he test drove and how much he said he liked it? Would a DC troll say that about an Odyssey? I don't think so.

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Here is part of the article "marketshare":

    "....while leaving the low-grade leftovers (like three-speed Dodge Neon automatics) for the Chrysler brands..."
    Last time I looked inside 2002 Neons, the automatic were all 4 speed. But, Edmunds loves to bash Chrysler so what can we expect?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,936
    To see how other members take issue with our editorial content, please check out the December Letters to the Editors.

    (Point well taken about the 3 speeds, Carleton1).

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
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