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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • When my Korean-American neighbor won't drive a Korean label vehicle...that tells me something.
    She bought a Kia Sephia a few years ago but soon got rid of it for a Nissan Sentra.
    We test drove a NEW 2002 Kia Sedona EX and were quite impressed with the smooth, powerful, relatively quiet vehicle. However, it is NOT in the same class as the Odyssey, Grand Caravan, or Town & Country. Sedona feels smaller than the Voyager or Caravan and had wind noise from the luggage rack...something not noticed on many of the DC minivans I have driven.
    Reliability? Only 1 of dozens of DC minivan owners I know has had any problem. He had transmission failure on his 1996 T&C LXi at 150,000 miles. However, his wife said it was probably due to them pulling a heavy trailer all of the time.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    Actually, the Hyundai/Kia bumper-to-bumper warranty is 5 years/60,000 miles. The 10 year warranty is for the powertrain only, and is transferrable only within your immediate family--unless you buy an extended warranty from Hyundai, which extends the bumper-to-bumper to 10 years.
  • My 2001 Caravan Sport does the same...both fans come on and usually before it gets to the operating temp.(even in -20 celsius) this happens at first start-up or when it's been sitting for a few first I was worried but then my cousin told me his Intrepid does the same...I suspect the computer is controlling it (what's new these days) to make sure everything warms up quicker without over heating so that fuel burns cleaner(to meet emmissions). Once it's run thru it's cycle(give or take 10 minutes) I don't hear again...annoying since you might think it's a problem...maybe just a sign of the times?
  • gobaugobau Posts: 1
    I have '98 Dodge Grand Caravan and have a service light on. Does anyone know how to reset that?
    Help me.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I did not mean to imply that DC's quality is inferior to Korean's--I don't know about that nor do I care; I'm saying that a solid warranty is a sound way to retain customer confidence. The fact that DC will not transfer the powertrain warranty to a second owner doesn't help with resale value, either.

    I never had the major component failures on Ford or GM products that I had with DC, so I cannot say much for DC quality. Nor much for DC customer service, having had to return to the "five star" dealer 3-4 times before they agreed that the transmission was not functioning properly. Maybe that's why they call them five star dealers: it takes up to five visits before they can satisfy the customer!

    As far as other owners, all the DC owners I've talked to have had premature transaxle failure, and my independent mechanic says he has replaced lots of DC A/C coils, and the flat rate is about twice many other cars. As far as paint problems, I see it frequently on DC vans.

    As far as the service engine light problem, try disconnecting the battery cable. That clears the trouble codes on some cars, but my DC shop manual fails to impart that bit of useful information.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    Maybe I'm very lucky. I had no problems with a '91 base Caravan I drove for eight years (I had some recalls done, but they never caused me any trouble before the recall work). I've had two minor problems on my '99 GCS in nearly three years: a defective sensor and a rattle in the side doors, both fixed under warranty. I guess I should knock on wood. I've also been extremely satisfied with the service I've received from my dealer, Walser Dodge (formerly Freeway Dodge) in Bloomington, MN over those 11 years. That more than anything may influence my decision of which minivan to get when the lease is up on the GCS in two years. It's easy to run into poor dealer service these days, so when you find a good one it's worth sticking with.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    Although I did not have the same problem I found that I had to find another dealer to get initial problems fixed the first time. Dodge and Chrysler service dept. personnel do not seem to be concerned about where you purchased your vehicle so try another service department which may be able to correct the problem. I found that my selling dealer did not have an adequately staffed service department so was not in a position to fix anything of even moderate complexity. So, I stopped going to the Dodge service dept. after 2 visits and went to a Chrysler shop which did most of my warranty work without a return visit.
  • ian18ian18 Posts: 133
    As backy spoke so highly of his Dodge service department in Bloomington, MN; can anyone give a similar recommendation for a dealer in the Naperville, IL (suburb of Chicago) area?
  • Yes have all been checked--3 weeks ago the mechanic said the exhaust was leaking into the radiator--and installed thick copper washer between the block and the head--cleared trouble for 2 weeks.
    today the radiator was replaced with a used one from salvage--hope this fixes it but I don't have much hope
  • My 2001 T&C LX emits musty/moldy air when I turn one the defroster. It usually lasts for couple minutes. The dealer has tried to fix it a few times, but no luck so far. They "solve" the problem by spraying a freshener into the system. This just hides the smell. Has anyone, or is anyone experiencing this? Do you know how to fix it? Chrysler has not issued a bulletin on it however I know they recognize it is a problem because I received a survey and the last question asked was" Do you experience a musty smell when you turn on the defroster". My 2 year old daughter has asthma and we have to open the windows when we turn the defrost on. Not a good thing in the middle of winter. Any help would greatly appreciated.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Back before we decided on which mini-van to buy I hung out on a bunch of them including the Toyota site. This seemed to be a big problem over there and was as I remember it from using the recirculate instead of the fresh air setting on the air conditioner. It was found that if you use the recirculate or what ever they call it on DC vans that you should run it on fresh air for a while offen so it introduces fresh air into the duct work keeping things clean. How they found this was it was only happening to the users who always used recirulation. Don't know what you do but could be the answer.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,286
    Check the ac condenser drainage tube for blockage.
  • I agree with dmathews. I always keep my ventilation system set on fresh air, unless I really need recirc, then I use it for a short period of time and put it back on fresh air. I never have problems with musty smelling ventilation system. On the other hand, my wife uses the "set it and forget it" method, typically leaving it on "Max" (recirc) all summer and her vehicles would stink. However, her 2000 GCS Sport automatically resets the A/C system to fresh air every time it is started up (a great feature IMO) so no problemo. Bgood2day, I would think DC would still have this feature on the 2001s?
  • I just got my transmission replaced. Reverse gear went out and I limped home. Just as I was going into gear and moving, chirping sound would go off and the van would go into limp mode so I could limp home. I was coming back from the store (same day I got the van back) and I heard, what I thought, were four chirps like a switch. What is this, and should I be concerned?
  • gallygally Posts: 3
    Among the numerous problems I have had with my '96 Grand Caravan, currently 2 are bugging me:
    1) Fuel Gauge: When the tank is between full and 3/4 full, the "out of fuel" bell rings and light comes on intermittently and the gauge drops a little momentarily. It happens at different rates but it can be as often as every few seconds. Very annoying!
    Dealer wants $400 for the "module" plus labor including dropping the gas tank and is not sure that will fix the problem.
    Has anyone experienced this same problem?
    Is there any way to fix it cheaper?
    *** Is there any way to disconnect the "out of fuel" bell? ***
    2) Front-end "clunk": When I put the van in reverse and back out of a parking spot or my driveway, I hear several clunks or thunks coming from the front end. I have already has the bushings on the stabilizer bar replaced and the alignment done.
    Has anyone experienced this problem?
    If so, what else needs to be fixed?
  • Go through the salvage yard. I got an ABS master cylinder for $100 compared to the $450 the dealer wanted ($450 for core charge). I believe very highly in getting used parts from reputable recyclers.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    What kind of 1996 Grand Caravan do you have? How many miles does the van currently have?
  • I have to say that after spending a few hours (on work time thankfully) reading thorugh the past few hundred posts, I especially enjoy posts by: Carlton1, 4adodge, and indydriver (among others). As well I enjoyed the part about Chryslers future under Mercedes. If Chrysler products share hardware with Mercedes products, then we will all benefit. And for whoever it was that said that twenty somethings wont be driving vans, I beg to differ. I am 29, and am on my second van, the first being a 96 Ford Windstar, and the current being a 01 DGC. Past cars have included: 87 Dakota, 91 Z24, 94 Probe GT, 96 Windstar, 99 Malibu and now the DGC. I chose the DGC strickly for styling and comfort reasons. I prefered the way it looked to all the other minivans, and the interior rocks! I will never be without at least dual zone climate control again. The imports always end up looking akward the exact moment that their replacement model comes out, and the new Windstars interiors have gone down hill and their styling has turned clunky. The DGC may not be the best minivan out there in every category, BUT overall I feel it was the best choice. And aside from 1 very minor warranty repair, there are no problems with this car. And even if there is, so what? Its covered by warrantly. As for Chryslers future, there are many models that I am looking forward to getting: Liberty, Grand Cherokee, Concord LXI, future Durango models, as well as more vans. So I am doing my part to ensure Chryslers continued vitality!!
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    jimmeh, anyone who is in their twenties and feels secure enough to drive a minivan rocks, in my opinion. I am a teenager who enjoys Chrysler minivans for the same reasons as you. They are the most comfortable and attractive yet functional minivans on the market. Enjoy your new van!

  • I have really one problem with this van (which I like alot and am basically very happy with). The problem is an annoying squeaking/creaking noise coming from the floor area near pillar B on the passenger side. The exact area is in front of the second row seat. And the noise is noticeable when any pressure is placed on the floor or when driving. I thought the creaking was from the power door track but cannot really tell. Has anyone experienced such a problem?
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