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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions

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  • you would think we would have learned our lesson after the first one. Now on our second Voyager/Caravan transmission (same as the other one) went at 50,000. Dealership and DC Corp says, "Sorry, not covered".

    Unless you have plenty of money to spend - save it and buy something else. Those that have had no problems are few and just very lucky.
  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    hey engineergirl,

    the new ones have a 7yr/100k powertrain warranty...now you can get that tranny fixed for a small deductible...
  • gallygally Posts: 3
    It is a Grand Caravan SE with just over 60K miles on it.
  • What a struggle!! OK you Honda lovers, bring on the badgering. Even after our '98 Grand Caravan SE broke down in the FAST lane of the 405 freeway in LA, I still like the van. Trans failed at low speed (25 mph)-basically seized and halted the van. Kinda scarry on the freeway in LA, but knowing who to call made the situation less traumatic. DC told us that any repairs are our responsibility, since vehicle is out of warranty @ 75,000 miles. We previously owned 2 Ford Aerostars ('87 & '93). The Dodge by FAR is more reliable and COMFORT and DRIVEABILITY is unsurpassed. The Toyota had bad blind spots, Honda was WAY too cost prohibitive. (I could have replaced the broken trans 5 times with the money we saved buying a used Dodge vs. a used Honda). Plus, my wife loves it!! I have to admit, though, DC MUST so something about this transmission. Has anyone had any luck getting blood out of the DC stone?? Sorry for the bad cliche'! Web
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    If the 4 speed automatic in our 2000 Town & Country went out tomorrow, I would still want to come back for another Chrysler van. They have too many useful features that the others just don't have. I guess that makes me a slave to Chrysler...
  • Too many people questioning DC minivans for me to sit idly by. We know dozens of people with DC minivans of all sizes and shapes with all various engine/transmission combinations. ONLY 1 transmission failure and that was on a 1996 T&C LXi with 150,000 miles on it. Guess what? The owner had transmission repaired and is AGAIN using the T&C to tow a rather large trailer. He and his wife are not worried about DC transmissions.
    Meanwhile, I have a 2002 T&C eL AND a 2001 Ody EX in my driveway. The Odyssey was treated very well by the first owner and is in mint condition with only 11,507 miles on it. Each has nice features that I wish could be had on both minivans. I like the Magic Seat and clever seating arrangement of the Odd EX BUT I like the Triple Zone Temperature Control of T&C eL where driver, front passenger and rear passengers can each select the preferred comfort level. I also love the complete overhead console of the T&C eL with compass/outside temperature/Trip Computer.
    It is fun to drive the T&C eL and then switch and drive the Ody EX. Each is quiet, smooth, comfortable, etc. I find it very difficult to notice any difference in the driving and handling of the 2 minivans....or with my prior 1999 GC SE. All 3 are great minivans. Our daughter purchased our 1999 GC SE from the Chrysler dealer at the time we traded it in with 37,240 miles.
    I have also driven a 2002 Odyssey EX-Nav-Leather with added RES with MSRP $34,000. We do NOT buy a minivan with all the features offered by either DaimlerChrysler or Honda.
  • AND the facts are, Adam's family does own a 2000 Town & Country that he drives daily. His father drives the 2001 PT Cruiser.
    Here is the post repeated for convenience:
    ...."If the 4 speed automatic in our 2000 Town & Country went out tomorrow, I would still want to come back for another Chrysler van. They have too many useful features that the others just don't have. I guess that makes me a slave to Chrysler..."

    It would REALLY be nice if Odyssey owners would stop trolling in all DC minivan forums to justify buying an Odyssey. My wife and I own a DC minivan and I drive a 2001 Odyssey EX quite frequently. Both are nice minivans. I do not have to trash the Odyssey to be satisfied with our DC minivan.
  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    carleton1,

    i doubt half those dc minivan trashers own anything other than a bicycle...
  • Have you checked the motor mounts, specifically the top end mount? On transverse mounted engines there is typically a top end mount to limit and cushion the pitching that occurs when the engine shifts into forward and reverse. It sounds like the rubber seat within the top mount on your vehicle has failed and that may be causing the clunks you are hearing when shifting into reverse.
  • The logic of the average minivan buyer seems to be "bigger is better". The newer Honda and DC minivans seem to be getting close to Expedition size. Is paying $25 - $30K for a minivan that has the same motor and transmission as a smaller and lighter $15 - $20K sedan make any sense ? Of course the motor and trany are not going to be as reliable in a larger truck as they will in a sedan. DC knows how to make a long lasting transmission, their trucks don't seem to have any problems. At one time luxury makers like Jensen and Auston Martin bought transmissions from Chrysler.

    Last year I bought a Maxima with 65K miles on it, Do I worry about the transmission exploding ? No.

    Why do minivan owners care so much about about size and not about repair bills ? The smallest minivan still has way more room than the average sedan. Why do they want them bigger ?
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I looked an an 02 DC/GC this week and it's the same size as my '94 GC. Overall, it's the same length as a Lumina sedan which is probably a foot longer than the Maxima.

    The DC trans issue does not appear a major concern anymore since DC replaced so many under warranty including mine, which by the way did not explode; the shift quality just slowly degraded.
  • have you ever tried to put a 32" TV set into your Maxima? Or pick up 6 people from the airport and each of them have their own bags?
  • Gotta agree with tomtomtom in that when it comes to people moving, there's nothing like a minivan. A Suburban or other SUV could get the job done. For us, smooth ride, and ease of entry/ exit are important. After owning 2 Aerostars, both short and extended (happily), moving up to a GC was going light years ahead. The creature comforts/ride and overall room have me convinced to stay with DC. I'm not into bashing Honda, Toyota, or any other make. I do like to BUY AMERICAN whenever possible.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I owned a '91 Caravan (short wheelbase) for 8 years. When I had two small kids, it was plenty big enough, and I really appreciated the small size (about the length of a compact sedan). But then child #3 came along, the other two grew and got into Scouting (meaning camping trips with lots of gear), and all of a sudden the Caravan got a little small. So instead of getting a '99 CS (my plan), I got the GCS for about the same payment (due to bigger discounts on the GCS). And now that I have it, I really appreciate the extra room inside--leg room and cargo room. And as has been noted, the GCS is still only the length of a mid-sized sedan. But I prefer a small car (I have an Elantra) for personal use, as I don't like driving a bigger car than I need.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,016
    Let's stick to the topic and let the flames die down please.

    Steve
    Host
    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

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    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • A intrepid is 113" wheelbase with 3487 Lbs. A Town and Country is 119", 4358 Lbs. That extra 1000 Lbs. has got to take its toll on the drive train. I love the idea of a minivan and I have owned vans. But as long as people buy a product that breaks, the manufacturer will sell them. Yes you can haul people and objects with a minivan that you can't with a sedan, but so can a pickup or SUV that usually have a motor and transmission designed to handle the extra loads. Chrysler had a great idea with the minivan, but I don't like the way they have executed their idea. Why not make them smaller or design a power train that can handle the extra load ?
  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    maximarocks (sounds familiar),

    we all buy vehicles that are gonna break, eventually, doesn't matter what brand it is. in late '99 or early '00 dc upgraded the differential on the 41te (minivan tranny). that was the last remaining weak link in the powertrain. this info from a dc tech friend of mine. i have no doubt that the dc minivan tranny is now fully competitive (performance/reliability) with any other likestyle tranny out there.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    Point is that with the DC you know there's a good chance the trans will break before 50K so you get the 70K powertrain warranty and let DC pay for it.

    If you must have a vehicle that will go gazzilion miles without breaking you probably would have to buy a manual trans sedan with overhead cam engine like the Accord.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Why single out Chrysler for the powertrains they put into their minivans? All minivans (except Astro/Safari) use basically the same design--the design Chrysler pioneered almost 20 years ago. Other vans like the Odessy, Windstar, Sienna, and GM vans are similar in size and weight to the DC vans, and have powertrains used also in cars. Yes, a truck or full-sized (truck-based) SUV can handle heavy loads better than a minivan, but with a huge penalty in comfort, handling, and fuel economy.
  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    pluto5,

    what evidence do you have to support your 50k mile theory?? my dad has a 96 t&c with 80k...no tranny work except for fluid/filter change. electronics tech at my office has a '92 gc that had it's original tranny til approx 120k...same van now has well over 200k with no other major parts replacements. and of course both vans have the 41te tranny.
    i know some folks had early (low mileage) failures, both those have been mostly limited to the late 80s through early-mid 90s tranny. a blanket statement saying the current tranny is only good for 50k is utterly ridiculous...and shows that you have no idea about all the changes that have occurred to the 41te since 1995.

    as for accord ohc engines...timing belt failures have zapped a number of those engines...!
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