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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • I have a '97 Grand Caravan with 58k miles on it. I am trying to decide when to replace it. I am trying to assess the risk that I will be in for a lot of repairs. Is there a particular mileage when serious or frequent problems start happening?

  • 1) Steve, I feel like I'm in the twilight zone! Last night when I posted my message I SWEAR there was a whole new look/format to Now this morning it's back to "normal". Perhaps I was in there when they had the Beta version up? Anyway, I know I'm not imagining things (I think! alcohol-induced hallucinating days are over). So if the edmunds folks are moving ahead with a muted blue/grey format (and the buttons and everything HAD changed) tell them you've already heard one 'no' vote.

    2) To "scottandkimr", I don't think you have many major things to look forward to if you're at 58,000 miles. At about that mileage - with our '96 - we had a few minor electrical problems and a head gasket. Total cost of both was maybe $1200. On top of that expect the little stuff: sway bar links, tune-up, brakes, tires, etc. Some on this board will convince you that your transmission is about to tank (this IS the "problem" board after all) but if it's running well at 58k and hasn't given you any problems you'll probably be ok. Our van just hit 97k and our only trans. problem is a minor leak that I'm having looked at this Friday...think it's just a bad pan gasket as the trans. still runs fine. Are there some lemons out there? Yes. But given the vast number of Chrysler minivans on the road I'd say if you're treating it right and it's not giving you any bad signs you should ride it into the sunset.

    Happy New Year,
  • arnejarnej Posts: 9
    i'm not an expert with mechanical problems, so any help is appreciated.

    our '94 GC with 3.8 engine emits a high-pitched whine. I don't really hear it when driving, but when it's parked it I can hear it outside the vehicle. it doesn't really sound like it's coming from the engine compartment-it sounds more like it's coming from the middle or rear of the vehicle. it doesn't seem that serious because it's been doing it for awhile, but it just bugs me!

  • I have a 93 DGC w/150K that was making a loud whining too. I wouldn't hear it at highway speeds, but usually just when in the parking lot. Turned out to be a squeaky belt. A cheap bottle of belt dressing fixed it right up. You might want to double check and rule this out first.
  • arnej

    It is most likely your fuel pump.
  • doobiedoobie Posts: 5
    I recently purchased a NEW 2002 T&C LXI. I notices a distinct fan/humming sound coming from the right rear climate control section. Blower motor area. Is this a normal sound? Is the fan in the rear of the vehicle always audible?

  • fdrekfdrek Posts: 7
    i have 85,000 miles nad did that done this, new trans, new hinges on all the doors, cooling system replaced............ so now i am buying a 2000 voyager or 2000 venture, my wifes emotions like the voyager, WHY because inertia. anyone with any suggestions
  • fdrekfdrek Posts: 7
    how many miles on the sucker
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 221
    Fred, Consumer Reports reviewed these in the Jan 2001 issue - might give you some helpful info. Also the April '03 Car issue will have useful reliability data from their April '02 survey - if you can wait that long. Another good web site is
  • Help me out here. Bought used '99 Caravan. Love it so far. However, when it is raining, or I take it to a car wash, the overwhelming smell of musty mildew overcomes me. Is there some product I can buy to fix this, or is there some sort of interior air filter I don't know about? This happens with the heat or vents on. Any suggestions?
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,286
    ....on the AC evaporator. If blocked, it can cause moisture to build up and thus encourages mildew growth.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Turn the AC on high, use a can of Lysol and start spraying to the area where the air intake..should be around the base of the windshield wiper that should clear the smell
  • I also have a '96 Voyager van and also have observed the rusting and cracking around the front suspension towers. I have no rust anywhere on the van except in this area under the hood. I have not seen any replies to your posting by anyone else. My opinion is that over time (how long, I can't tell) that the front strut in my van will come through the housing. It could take 2 more years or it may never happen....
  • I have noticed over the years that my wife's vehicles always had this mildewy smell from the A/C that mine never had. I finally figured out that she set the A/C on max (recirc) in late spring and never took it off that setting until it got cold in the fall. The vent (fresh air) was never opened. One summer and her car would develop this odor regardless of make or model. If you study owner's manuals like I do, you'll find most of them instruct the operator to use recirc only for short periods of time to overcome a very hot or cold interior, then return to the fresh air setting. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Chrysler programmed this into my 2000 Dodge GCS. When started, the air handling system always defaults to fresh air no matter where it was left when previously driven. Wal-ah, no mildew smell.
  • I believe this has been addressed in a past post. Does anyone know why the lock on the sliding side door would not lock? And, more importantly, can an "average Joe" correct it? This happened to us once before (@ 40,000 miles?) and the dealership fixed it. Now we're at 97,000 miles and it's deja-vu all over again.

    In case anyone is following my minor transmission leak's been repaired. And you won't believe this. A small local shop fixed this problem (they had to tighten some bolts on the pan and did something with a trans./radiator hose) AND recharged the a/c...the total charge?...$87. When the Chrysler mechanic just glances at our van I think he charges us $87!!!

    - Rob
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,949
    Try an Advanced Search (linked on the left) for "sliding door lock" and you'll find messages like this one:

    mfahey1 Sep 3, 2002 2:18pm

    And take that mechanic some doughnuts :-)

    Steve, Host
  • leo27leo27 Posts: 1
    When I put my car in reverse the backup light does not come on. If I (carefully) adjust the shift lever slightly toward neutral the light will come on. I pulled the switch out and it appears that in the "normal" reverse position, the gear or whatever that is inside the case is not centered in the hole, which means that it does not contact the switch properly. Only by adjusting the position of the shift lever does the inside portion come into the correct position. The car is due for inspection and I'm not sure if I can convince the inspector to play around with the shift lever. My question is, can the linkage cable be adjusted to correct this problem, or is there any other adjustment that can be made without tearing into the transaxle?
  • tccmn1tccmn1 Posts: 278
    I have a DC Shorty with 170K miles on it. 3.3 engine and it has been a descent vehicle; heck with that many miles I can't complain.
    Well, lately our weather finally turned cold and now it seems to kill at stop signs and run rough sporadically. Other times it runs smooth...? It cruises fine, but when I come to stop signs it MAY kill at times. I've checked the pcv, air cleaner, spark plug wires, etc. Any ideas? Is this a computer or electronic switch deal? I plan on selling the old buggy in a month or so. So money IS an object. It has a newer tranny in it and I've had new axel shafts put in to eliminate vibration I was having.

    Thanks, TCC
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    Suggest you check for trouble codes and if none disconnect the air cleaner and spray the throttle body intake with Gumout TB cleaner with engine running. I find that this procedure keeps my 3.3 from stalling out.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 221
    I second Robert's(pluto5) recommendation. Other possibilities are discussed at Also look under the hood at sundown or dark for plug wire arcing and/or put a timing light on each wire to see if any are misfiring. Roy
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