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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • I have a '96 T&C, it had 45,000 miles when the symptoms were first noticed; long trips, engine under full or close to full load, climbing hills, going fast, etc...Replaced plugs, wires, leads everything easy and obvious. Finally replaced the fuel pump and it stopped 100%. We do the same trip about once every two weeks over and it used to do it every single time. It stopped the day we replaced the fuel pump. Approx $500 CDN
  • I replaced my power steering pump recently when it went out at like 70,000 miles, and now it's 2 weeks later and it's starting to go out again. Is there some kind or recall or any possible way to fix it so it won't fail again like that?
  • Well, this is a sure sign that our beloved minivans are desired by *someone* other than appears our '96 Plymouth Grand Voyager was stolen last night! My wife came out of the mall to discover that our van was gone (& yes, she and the security guards drove around for an hour looking for it...I asked the same question). Who in their right mind wants a 7 year old van with 115,000 miles on it!?!? The police told me a '98 was stolen two hours after ours about five miles away. Not sure how insurance will handle this but we're off shopping for a new van this weekend. It will very likely either be a new Dodge G.C. or a 1-2 year old one.

    - R
  • We bought a 2002 DGC last last summer for $16,589. It had 16k miles. These things depreciate so fast that you can save quite a bit by going with a 1 to 2 year old van instead of new.

    We bought through carmax, as we have a local outlet, and their system let me search for vans in the entire region. I was able to find the exact combination of options and mileage that I wanted and had the van transferred (via truck) to the local lot. The price ended up being about $200 less than Edmund's dealer TMV so couldn't complain there.

    Would have saved a few hundred more if I could have found one from a private seller but that's a lot harder to find and I wouldn't have had the vast number of vans from which to choose. I monitored the carmax web site daily for a week or two and there were always at least 12 or 15 vans in our region matching my criteria. I rated them by miles and price and had the salesman get detailed reports on the top few vans until I found the right one.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    This is spooky, I had exactly this problem with my '99 GCS, 46k miles, last Friday! Unfortunately, the van was parked at the entrance to a hospital emergency room, where I had just taken my wife (good timing). Anyway, I tried two different keys and no go. I called the 800 number for warranty service (have the DC extended warranty) and they told me to pull the wheel hard left, which I did but it was locked so it wouldn't move. The tow truck came and the driver was able to budge the wheel enough to make the key turn. I drove it to my local Dodge dealer, who replaced the lock cylinder under (extended) warranty--cost me the $50 deductible. Later my wife told me she had been having trouble turing the key for several days.
  • Hello. I'm new to this forum. So any help will be greatly appreciated. First, let me state that I know absolutely nothing about cars. I'm just trying to get a fix on what the problem is with my '96 Plymouth Grand Voyager (112,200 miles). I do know that it has a 3.3 engine. The problem that I am having is everytime I turn on my car and begin to drive it, it revs high and then jerks. It does this sequence three times. Then after this sequence of jerking and I try to go 40 mph, I can hear the engine as if it's trying to get power and the RPM needle is past the number three (3). If I want to go 35 mph, the RPM needle is between the two (2) and the three (3). The jerking sequence tends to happen after I turn the car off, turn it back on, and then begin to drive. Some are telling me it's my transmission not being able to get out of second (2nd) gear. Some are telling me it might be a clogged fuel filter. I'm leaning more towards the first because there seems to be a pattern to when this happens. I'm trying to narrow it down before I go to an auto shop/dealer so I can get a idea of the cost for repair.

    Anyone have any clue as to what the problem/cost would be? Thanks for any and all help.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    I assume that it is a 4-speed automatic (41TE). The issues may range from low fluid level (very cheap to fix, ATF+3 fluid about $3 per quart), bad speed sensors (cheap fix about $100-150) to a dying transmission (expensive - about $1500-2000). What is the service history and type of usage on the van?
  • Well, I bought the van used on 12/01. Aside from the basic maintenance (oil change, tune-up, etc.), a new relay switch, and the recent purchase of a new starter, nothing major. I use the van to go to and from work (approx. 20 min drive) and travel once a year (vacation), but that's it. I've had ATF added last week. Can the problem be diagnosed through computer diagnostics?

    Thanks for the possible fixes. :)
  • Pupadu did you have the transmission problem before or after you added ATF? If not, it might have been the wrong type ATF which would cause this problem. Check your owners manual for the correct ATF to use on your 96 Voyager.
  • Can you please explain what limp mode is? That is the term the mechanic used for my van when they did some work on the transmission.Thanks
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    As a couple of other posters have indicated, there are a number of things that could cause the symptom you are experiencing. At 112,000 miles, you should have had the transmission serviced with a new filter and a complete flush of the transmission fluid several times at least.

    Also as mentioned, the use of Dexron/Mercon ATF will inevitably cause you a problem, either minor or major.

    The "limp in mode" describes a transmission default mode in case of certain failures. Basically the transmission will start and stay in second gear with the transmission shift lever in the "DRIVE" position.

    There are a number of reasons why the transmission will go into the limp mode. Low or high hydraulic pressures are the primary reason. Low hydraulic pressure could be caused by a clogged transmission filter or a failing transmission pump.

    Based on the description of your symptoms the transmission is slipping and it could be something as simple as an exceptionally dirty transmission filter. The problem with this is that usually by the time a clogged filter shows up as a problem the transmission has already experienced damage from previous poor fluid flow because of it.

    If there's anytime that you needed a real, real honest service repair place, it's now. Many transmission shops will seize upon the opportunity to sell you a complete rebuild when it may not be necessary.

    Best of luck,
  • My van was acting strange, the motor was racing but the van would not respond and the tach was flickering around. I took it in to the dealership. (they had just serviced the van and done a transmission flush for the extended warrenty) Gas consumption went way down, I was using a tank every 374 KM.My usual was 650-700 km.
    We also were feeling a shudder on stopping and deceleration.
    They replaced valve body and pan. ( this is what the invoice says)
    I asked why after just having the transmission flushed but no one could tell me.They also said the transmission had gone into limp mode.
    We bought the van(2002 Caravan) in May 2003 with 34,000 km and it has been a big problem all along.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    If they replaced the valve body I would be strongly suspicious that it was because of a solenoid failure or it had become clogged. Since your's is a 2002, I'd be more likely to believe it was residue from the flushing that clogged it. The valve body is basically a cast metal assembly that contains many small passages and valves. If a transmission becomes extremely dirty and then flushed, this is a thing that could result.

  • purpose of the transmission filter if it doesn't filter out the particles in the fluid? I think that this transmission flushing thing is something that the dealers like to do to increase profits.

    I've seen the inside of a transmission ,it has a lot of small passages and check balls that could cause problems if they get clogged up. Maybe, we should just change the fluid and filter and forget the flush.

    We might be creating more problems by doing "over" maintenance on our transmission. Remember, if you change the filter and fluid, you have to make sure to keep everything clean. If you get some old gasket material or lint from a shop rag in the transmission pan, you can mess up a transmission.

    If it isn't broke, don't fix it!
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 223
    Here's a variation on maintenance I like for my wife's '95 Caravan, 4 speed - every 30,000 I have the fluid and filter changed (no flush) and once a year I siphon 3.7 qt from the pan and replace with new. The unit is doing well at 102K. I also keep it out of overdrive in city driving which substantially reduces the number of shifts per trip. I also added an auxiliary cooler which I think became a factory installed item in '99. Roy
  • Since Day one, Late 2000, my DGC has had a clunking/chugging problem in Reverse, only. When I took for service the dealer, of course, would say "unable to confirm the problem" on the work order. Then just before the warranty ran out this year I took it to another dealer who had a tech who understood transmissions. He said there was a problem and the dealer "rebuilt???" the tranny.

    But,,, less then a 1000 miles later, I now have some severe shifting issues, and the check engine light comes on. Also, since the car has 37000 miles on it, the dealer who rebuilt the tranny said I need a new one and I have to pay....

    Anybody know what the procedure is to get Chrysler to make good on one of these transmissions that has been problematic since under warranty?
  • The fuel gauge also has been a major pain/point of concern. It says I the tank is empty, when it was just filled. It has been back numerous times and still is not completely fixed. Now it only says I am empty with around a 1/4 of a tank. :-((

    Who knows what the fix may be??? I have had the sender replaced once.
  • Regarding #2010 Steering noise,
    Thanks wijoco. I took it to a different Dodge dealer (West Covina Dodge). They replaced the idler pulley and solved the noise problem.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Check the work order for the transmission rebuild. Often dealers will warrant their work for a certain period and mileage. Because the tranny they rebuilt is acting up again after just 1000 miles, you may have a good case.
  • My 97 Voyager 3.0L is giving a PO134 error code. The official shop manual describes this as:
    "Right Rear (or just) Upstream O2S Stays at Center" with the explanation "Neither rich or lean condition detected from the oxygen sensor". I assume that this means one of the two oxygen sensors is malfunctioning. Which one is it? The manual references a Downstream Heated Sensor and an Upstream Heated Sensor. The later is pictured as installed on the exhaust manifold. I can find no description or service procedure for a Downstream Sensor. Is there only one?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
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