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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • tony17112acst
    I have a 1989 Probe GT with ABS. Being an early application for ABS, I get that pump sound and sometimes feel it in the pedal whenever I start the car. I don't hear or feel anything like that in my '97 Town & Country. I wouldn't doubt if you get this on your '93.
    However, you described it as "violent". Again, I would need a definition of "violent". The pedal vibrating against your foot is not violent. If the whole van is shaking and you don't feel safe, that's violent!

    A brake rotor or drum is a hunk of iron exposed to the air without any corrosion protection...... that spells R-U-S-T. When it is damp, and you leave your car parked (even for a few hours or overnight), rust starts to form on the braking surfaces. When you drive the car again, it will take your brake pads a few applications to rub away this small layer of corrosion, which is why your problem goes away.
    This is normal.....don't worry about it.

  • With all the concern about transmission failures on the 4-speed electronic transmission, I am heeding the advice to change fluid and filter according to the severe service schedule. I do this stuff myself, it is cheap to do, and I enjoy the work. The other recommendation I've seen is to add an auxiliary transmission oil cooler to supplement the in-radiator cooler. So, I started out to buy one at the local parts store but I decided to take a look before I left to make my purchase. Lo and behold, my '99 base Grand Caravan with 3.3L HAS an oil cooler at the top of the radiator on the drivers side with dimensions of about 4 inches by 13 inches by 3/4 inch deep. It is a little smaller than the add-on coolers I've seen but then those are recommended for use with heavy towing. How many people out there have factory installed oil-to-air coolers? Maybe this is a recent modification DC has done to help improve transmission life. Take a look at your van and let me know what you find.
  • I have a 1997 dodge se caravan. On many trips ( no mountains - Bakersfield to Sacramento), my best gas mileage is barely 21. Although it is within their range ( advertised), I have always exceeded the expected ranges on all of my other new car purchases. I have the 3.3L engine. I know of 2 grand caravans ( 3.3L and 3.6L )that get over 27 mpg. My van runs rich as there is a lot of black soot at the tail pipe. The dealer says the vans all run rich. The oxygen sensor has been check and seems ok. The 2 vans mentioned do not run rich. Other wise the van's engine starts and runs well. On some trips I have babied it and still not much better. I heard that the caravans are known not to get good mpg. The japanese vans seem to do better. Is this the norm. My van has 24k miles, so it is broken in. Comments , any one .
  • ehlouie,

    I just traded my 97 GC ES with the 3.8L engine (I'm not familiar with the 3.6L). While I occasionally saw highway gas mileage in the mid-20's, I more typically got highway mileage in the 21 mpg range. I typically drove 70-80 mph, and was not shy about moving it along to pass in traffic. I'm sure that if I had kept to the speed limit and been more gentle in accelerating, I would have seen better gas mileage. People I know who claim to get significantly better mileage than I get drive at a slower pace. In comparing your GC to the Japanese vans, you should remember that your GC is bigger, and catches more air. The front and rear profile of a GC is smaller than a full size van, but not by a large margin. While you may get poorer mileage than the average GC, my experience says that you are within the "norm."
  • tony17112acst, your ABS brakes are normal, weird as it may be. I had a 1991 GC with ABS from 1991 to 1995. On a regular basis (especially first thing out of the garage in the morning), they would set up a "thumping" sound that continued for two or three seconds (as best I recall)and I would feel the vibration in the pedal. I always thought it was strange, but was told it was normal. I also experienced something similar during a test drive of another new van, so I do believe it was normal. And it was unique, because my subsequent vehicles with ABS did not do it (a 93 Concorde, 96 GC, 97 GC & 99 300M). The ABS unit did fail after the van was out of warranty, but Chrysler paid for the repair. And it thumped after the repair also. Don't worry about it.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 223
    Check topic 639 Post your Mileage here.
  • jcho4jcho4 Posts: 1
    I am considering buying a 1990 Dodge Caravan. Overall, it is in good mechanical shape...with one exception: The engine rocker arms are doing a lot of clicking. I've understood this to be "normal" as cars get up into this mileage range (150k). It is not burning oil but I am wondering what problem(s) may be lurking because of the noise and what could be done to elminate or reduce the noise. Engine oil is full and clean.
  • Those ABS brakes you had were likely the Bendix 10 system which had a high failure rate.
  • Hello there,

    I used to change the engine oil myself and want to change the transmission oil on my own also. I looked at the transmission fluid pan underneath of my 98 Dodge Caravan (Sport model), it seemed that I have to unscrew all the screws there and take out the whole pan cover, not like the pan for the engine oil tank. Is that correct? If that is the case, will that make dirt everywhere when the pan cover is losed? I appreciate if you can give some advise and instructions! Also, what transmission fluid should I use, Morpar from the dealer or other brand? Thanks a lot!
  • Changing the transmission fluid can be a messy job. You have to loosen all the pan bolts and then remove those to the rear of the pan. Place a container underneath the back of the pan and carefully break the seal. The fluid then comes gushing out hopefully streaming into the pan. That is the theory. Half of the transmission fluid normally ends up in my driveway. One word of caution, if the pan has never been removed before you will have a hard time breaking the seal which is RTV sealant. I had to carefully pry with a pry bar using a convenient thick aluminum casting on the transmission to loosen the pan. You have to replace the transmission filter and most aftermaket filters include a nice gasket to use that makes removal of the pan much easier next time.
    Use ATF+ fluid only. I have used Quaker State as it is cheaper than the Mopar and meets the same specifications. When you refill, start with 4 qts for the 4-speed transmission and then add additional fluid in small quantities so that you do not overfill. My change took about 4.5 qts. Best of luck.
  • An update on the $29K 1996 GCV-ES

    The horn, airbag, and cruise control were fixed by replacing the clock spring under the steering wheel ( $250.00 )
    The leaking transmission fluid was fixed by tightening them fancy clamps and rubber hoses Chrysler's been using for 4+ decades ($29.00)
    The Wipers were fixed by replacing the control stalk ( Number 3 ) Extended Warrenty
    The CD Player and Radio had to be replaced

    Thanks for listening and thanks for the horn tooting lessons boys!
  • The 2000 Caravan I have the transmission is slipping/jumping on the freeway at about 60 MPG while maintaining speed. Anyone else hade this happen? Do you have a clunking noise in the LR of the van? It sounds like a bottle rolling in the tire and goes away at acceleration. Please let me know. I am taking it in the Dodge on THURS. and telling them to FIX IT!
  • (Updated with proper spelling... :-)
    The 2000 Caravan I have the transmission is slipping/jumping on the freeway at about 60 MPH while maintaining speed. Has Anyone else had this happen? Do you have a clunking noise in the LR of the van? It sounds like a bottle rolling in the tire and goes away at acceleration. Please let me know. I am taking it in the Dodge on THURS. and telling them to FIX IT!
  • yeah..that is normal...
  • I have a 96' GC SE with 38k miles and have not had any major problems. One brake repair, two sliding door roller repairs and two recalls for items that were working fine at the time, all under warranty. Transmission seems fine, no noises or slipping at varying speeds. The van is quiet at most speeds below 90 mph. (gets noisy at 110).
    Suppose I should have the transmission fluid and filter changed soon but beyond tires, brakes, oil and wiper blades I haven's spent any major time getting to know my local Dodge service dept. Some of you folks have had so many problems I think you could have solved a lot it with a rural untraveled road, a match and a long walk to the nearest telephone. Good luck with your new manufacturer!
  • I have a 96 Grand Caravan LE with 46,000 mi on it and we have had numerous problems. We have had the turn signal stalk and turn signal itself replaced. The whole radio replaced. Two recalls. One on the rad. fan. Another on the fuel pump. The transmission jerks heavily. Horrible in the snow. Suspension sounds as if it going to fall off from underneath the car. Ohh yeah one day we were at the shore and the window wouldnt go up. I was fuming. They saw no problem but just banged on the door and It was fine. After 6 months of banging on a door you can get really annoyed. They had to replace the window switch twice ans then found out that it was the motor. That had to be replaced. The same thing happened on the back vent window. Both on the same side...drivers. We have had the CHECK ENGINE SOON light on and they said that the emissions computer had to be reaplced. We have had two sets of brakes. And the thing eats oil. We have to put a quart in every month. We really take care of it and use only Chrysler Products. Oh yes we have so many noises comeing from the steering wheel you might as well have the radio on. The back seat also jerks too. Our from cupholder/money tray jingles all the time too. We are really sick of it. We have a 91 Honda Accord with 99k on it and have had only routine maintinence(hope i spelled that right!). I would never buy anyhting but a honda again.

    I went to the auto show here in phila and I tried closing te doors of the honda and they felt like a mercedes. Closing the door of our van is like smashing garbage can tops together. Tin ones nonethless. When we go into our Honda everyhtin is so quiet. Go into the CHryisler and it sound like you are at a football game.

    Despite all of the problems we still love our van. But an oddessy may be coming soon!
  • than Tayalynn had with her 1999 Odyssey.
  • Get a life, carletonl, will you please. Are you paid to do this? They say Paxil works well for obsessive-compulsive disorder, you know.:-)
  • Sounds like your 96 Caravan is a lemon did you know that. If I were you, you would take it bact to the Dodge dealer and get a refund beacause I have never heard of so much problems in your Caravan.
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