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Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Voyager

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Comments

  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    According to my advanced driving school instructors as well as many other driving/racing books I have read, 10 and 2 used to be the recommended position because there was no power steering and drivers needed the leverage to turn the wheel. While technology has progressed, unfortunately driver skill/training has not. 9 and 3 o'clock is the correct position. If you look at the steering wheels of BMWs and MBzs (though other cars have them), they all have spokes right around those positions, so that you can hook your thumbs around them. This allows you to use your thumb to assist in turning the steering wheel in a certain direction. Holding the wheel at 9 and 3 (especially when combined with shuffle steering vs. hand-over-hand) helps to decrease the likelihood of overcorrection in an emergency situation.

    Holding the wheel at 9 and 3 can be tiring over an extended period of time, so I usually bring hands down to the 8 and 4 positions. Since I can look further ahead in the distance on a highway, I'll have time to react if there is an emergency, and bring my hands up to the 9 and 3 positions when needed. I do rest my arms on the armrests, if I'm driving the van, when my hands are at the 8 and 4 positions on the wheel. This is mostly only because my van is not very wide, and I have enough room to do this. This is not possible in my other vehicle due to its width, and lower armrest position. In normal situations though,the 8 and 4 hand position is a bit low.

    The only way (for certain) that your hand can be thrown back into your face when the airbag deploys is if you grab the steering wheel at the 10 to 2 o'clock positions with one hand. I've seen many many drivers do this and not only is it incorrect, but dangerous.

    A great book to read if you want more information, is "Drive to Survive" by Curt Rich. Check your local library. It may very well have a copy. The one in my area had 4 copies!


    Drew
    Host
    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Well guys, stay away from me. I am one danger driver. I don't remember the last time I drive with both my hands on the steering wheel. I know, it is not the right way, but I guess I am just too lazy to put both my hands on the wheel. Actually, I think my left hand drives better than my right hand after all these years with my right hand resting on the shift.
  • dparis1dparis1 Posts: 45
    I purchased a fully loaded ES for my wife.
    The MSRP was listed at $35,015

    I let them know I had nothing to do but talk with other dealers in the area. They came back with the invoice price at $32,351. I used the rebate and drove off at $30,351. Used First Fininacial Credit Union for a 6.25% loan. This is our first Mini Van purchase and it has been a great driving experience.
  • dsoiamdsoiam Posts: 32
    OK, I have a question.....

    I'm in the market; looking very seriously at D-C minivans. I've pretty much ruled-out 2000 vans (see previous post), but I am trying to keep the cost down. I'm waiting to see if D-C sweetens their incentives next week. I think so anyway.

    But, I have a question, and perhaps those of you who watch things mini van will be knowledgeable in this area. Especially dealer-related people may help.

    I've been search cars.com around the Wash-Balt area. And, I see a lot of used 2001 Grand Carav.s out there. But, no 2001 Voyagers or 2001 T&C (maybe only one). Why are people bringing back 2001 Caravans (incl Grands), but not Chrysler vans? Or, is it that Chrysler vans are not selling enough to be brought back?

    Or, some of you may say that people are so happy with Chrysler vans (T&C and Voygr) that they are not bringing them back? This is where I'd like some salesperson comment. It just may be that people are not buying Chrysler vans but are buying Dodge-- even though that are essentially the same product?

    I'm just wondering what I'm seeing.

    I see many used 2001 Grand Caravans and no used 2001 Voyagers. A few used 2001 T&Cs.

    Are the Grands really selling (and being brought back) and the T&Cs not selling very much?

    Also, when I see a present model year van being sold used (on cars.com) with about 20k miles on it, what is that? Did they bring it back because they didn't like it, trade it in, or do about 5k miles over their lease allowance and panic or something? Why are those vans (the Grands) even there after just a year?

    I'm glad this is the D-C board because it would get distracting to have the Honda people say that those vans were traded in for Odysseys. I don't think so.

    Thanks,

    D
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    And they have probably been ABUSED. Stay away from these dogs that have been abused.
    Probably see more Grand Caravans as they are the most popular configuration for rental, fleet, and government. They do NOT have many of the nicer features.
  • geoduckgeoduck Posts: 52
    Carleton is correct regarding why 20,000 mileage current model year vehicles are being sold. They are most likely fleet sales being expensed. Fleet customers include rental agencies, government,delivery firms, and larger corporations. They are generically configured.

    The wear and tear may not be worth the cost savings to you as a consumer, but I do have friends who have liked their rental agency van purchases.

    Dodge minivans (and the former Plymouth Voyager models) have always been aimed at the low-to-mid level budget markets, as well as fleet sales. They outsell similar upscale Chrysler (not counting the 2001 Voyagers)models by factors of at least 2-3.

    There are websites that list monthly auto sales by model, but I lost the link (sorry) that will give you the data.

    We test drove a similar Dodge prior to purchasing a T&C. The Dodge seemed a little noisier, less refined, and less attractive and the slight cost difference didn't matter.
  • ed12ed12 Posts: 100
    Am I the only one who would like to see options such as traction control, dual zone ATC and power lift gate available on the Voyager? I would like to buy the Voyager as a versatile sedan, I do not need or want the extra length.

    EK
  • dsoiamdsoiam Posts: 32
    geoduck, I sure wish you had that sales figures links. I've been looking for something similar. I've found "numbers manufactured" figures, but no sales figures. Anyone else know? I'm wondering how sales are doing.

    So, those are returned fleets? That makes sense. I don't usually see Chrysler rentals, so that must be it. They get abused, huh?

    OK, I'm down to seeing if D-C sweetens their incentives so that I can swing a new T&T or Voyager.....
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    No, I wouldn't say all of those vans were abused. Some people just don't drive those rental cars the same way or take care of it if it's their own. You probably would see small scratches and water spots all over the car, you might also see more stains in the interior. As for the engine, do you think people would drive these rentals under 60mph to let the engine break in the first few thoussand miles? I guess you have to do the math to see how much money you really save by buying those vans as to a new one and ask the dealer what kind of warranty they would provide.
  • geoduckgeoduck Posts: 52
    Ok,I actually did a search on sales figures here and found this:


    http://www.autosite.com/editoria/asmr/svolva.asp

    As you can see, Caravans outsell T&C 3:1, but compared with last year, overall T&C sales are up about 50%. I am sure there are several reasons for that; subjectively, I bet that many others share my feeling that the T&C this year is a far better product over the prior model type.

  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    Looks like DC is headed for another half million plus in annual minivan sales as usual . Meanwhile it looks like Honda is going to have to dedicate a memorial to all the prospects who will and have died while waiting on the Odyssey waiting list.
  • dsoiamdsoiam Posts: 32
    Now thats information that I can use! It looks like Voyagers are moving slowly, but, as you noted, T&Cs are going briskly.

    So, I have more leverage with a Voyager. I actually like the Voyager (although, from the posts here, and the sales numbers, it seems that not many people have bought one this year). I like them because they seem to be better suited (torque-wise) to the 3.3 engine (becuase of lower weight), as well as I know that other things (the air conditioning, heating, and even sound system) are actually designed for the T&C and are really "over-suited" when in the Voyager (I like having too much power sometimes).

    But, I would like more space. If I could just get those incentives down....

    Thanks for the info!

    D
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Since the shorter wheel base vans do not have rear air conditioning and rear heater, they do NOT have the optional Triple Zone. We love the Dual Zone Temp Control on our 99 GC SE and also the Trip Computer....items unavailable on anything but DaimlerChrysler minivans.
    Swamp Collie got a Grand Caravan Sport after owning the short wheel base. For most applications, he prefers the short wheel base if I remember correctly.
    I agree with you that many people would like the shorter minivan with ALL the options available on the longer versions.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Very interesting: Had Chrysler called the Voyager a Town & Country Voyager, Chrysler would have held #2 sales spot ahead of Windstar.
    Also significant is the fact that Caravan sold more than double current #2 Windstar.
    Total DC minivan sales of 243,421 are down from the 280,940 of last year (just 86.6 % of last year thru May). BUT, Windstar sales of 74722 are only 68.2 % of last year. The Odyssey sales are ALSO DOWN from last year. ALL minivan sales are less this year than last.
  • bettygbettyg Posts: 9
    I would also like to see DC offer a SWB minivan with all of the options available on the long mini vans. We just traded a 1996 T & C LX that had all options for a 2001 Dodge Caravan Sport. Ordered the vehicle with every option available... but no trip computer or optional automatic hatch. Have the 1 sliding door on the right, but as far as I am concerned, it should I In the driver's side... thats the door you use to put in groceries or other items. If you're alone, why would you go to the passenger door to put in your items? We do have the overhead temperature control. I love the split rear seats and the tumble feature. We are retired and love be minivans for their room and versatility but do not need the longer version. They should offer one equipped like the pt cruiser limited. I think there would be a market. We also ordered the HD suspension and transmission cooler,trailer hitch from the factory and had the dealer install it. We have 1300 miles and no problems so far. Our '96 T & C was trouble free except for general maintenance for 63,000 miles. Hope this one will be as good...
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Car and Driver had an article on driving techniques with airbags. the 10 and 2 is not suggested anymore as an exploding airbag would send your arms upwards towards your face. They advocated the 8 and 4 position.
  • dwgutwirdwgutwir Posts: 60
    I'm sure most of the regular visitors to the forum know that DC was supposed to offer the 3.5 liter motor from the 300M in the T&C this year. Those plans were axed when DC sales/revenue tanked earlier this year.

    That's what makes this discovery so interesting (funny, perhaps). When I was checking the oil on our 2 week old LXi yesterday I saw the belt diagram stickers (on the bracket over the radiotor). There are diagrams for all the motors (3.3, 3.8 and 3.5).

    Makes one wonder if DC will reconsider the 3.5 motor for next year, or if it was cheaper to leave the sticker even after they pulled the plug on the option.
  • dsoiamdsoiam Posts: 32
    I posted this in the T & C forum, but have to be honest and confess it here too. Afterall, I just said a few days ago that I liked the Voyager.

    Well, yesterday I bought a T & C. Here're the details:

    I got a 2001 T&C LX for $500 under invoice (Dealer's rebate of $500) plus $2000 customer rebate. Total financed came to something like $19k (I threw in some $$ to get the payment down). It is a simple Steel Blue LX with 25h pkg and rook rack. I like it a lot (color and smoothness). We're all taking it on a 100 mile trip today to see some relatives.

    Wife did complain that it didn't have the "oomph" going up a hill. But, I really don't see the problem. I do think that I recall someone saying here that the engine gets better after break-in (it only has 55 miles on it).

    Oh, and the dealer found me a 6.3% rate for 60 mo! The best I saw on-line was 6.4% or 6.7%. I couldn't get Chrysler's special 3.9% rate because I took the $2000 rebate.

    Dealer was very nice (though they skimped a little on my trade-in; they're going to make a lot of money off of that car). I got a 7yr/100k miles bumper to bumper warranty from the insurance company tacked onto my regular ins pymnt for about $7 a month. (Insurance actually went down between 2001 T&C and my 96 SUV!)

    All in all the van costs less than my old RAV4. And, insurance went down (crash test results from what I understand).

    Somehow I ended up with 10 speaker even though its not supposed to be on the car. And, I can go back and get about $200 of parts for free. I'll probably get mudguards, rear net or organizer, and wind visors. I may want a spoiler later (they handed me a dealer-priced accessory catalogue that they said they didn't need any more because the 2002 one would be out soon).

    I tried to get 2100 rpm rattle to happen on the test drive. I couldn't. I couldn't hear any roof rack wind noise either. But, I wouldn't know what it'd sound like. To me the car is quiet.

    Only negative that I know of now: how do I go back and figure out what TSBs to haggle over?

    Lessons learned:

    I mis-calculated when trying to figure out what my financing would look like. You take dealer cash off the top (it lowers what you are paying for the car so the IRS doesn't need to see it). Then, you do the taxes/tags and add that the cost. Then, you take off the customer rebates. Thats your financed amount. I made the mistake of adding dealer/customer rebates together, then taking that total off of the car cost, then doing taxes/tags, then calculating pymt from that. It makes a difference (taxes slightly higher) when you do it my way.

    I used carsdirect as a guide, but I couldn't get them any lower (to get them to the 5% below carsdirect price that I've seen mentioned before). I tried but he told me that I was eating into the dealer holdback and they couldn't do it. So, I just settled.

    Anyway (sorry for the long post), I like the van, and will check back with updates. I'll also try to remember buying experience tips to share with those who are thinking about buying (I found some things here really helpful as I was considering but some more things may help others).

    Oh, I did find that the tires were under inflated. I added air. Does everyone else have 45 psi pressure? Am I reading that right? I only inflated UP TO 40 psi for now to be safe (I think the dealer had it down to about 35 psi; that can really affect mileage). Should I go up to 45 psi? I have goodyear something or other.

    Thanks for all your help.

    D
  • dwgutwirdwgutwir Posts: 60
    Yeeps. 40-45 PSI is way to high.

    On my '01 LXi the recommend pressure for our tires (Michelins) is either 35 or 38 psi.
    There's a sticker inside the glovebox (against the back) that lists appropriate tire pressure. I believe there's another sticker with the same information on the driver's door jamb.

    45 PSI is probably very close to the maximum inflation on the tires themselves - not a good thing if you drive long distances in hot weather.
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    that will tell you the inflation pressure for your tires.

    The MAX PRESSURE listed on the tires is not the proper pressure.
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