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Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Voyager



  •'ve got people like me, who've taken all the seats out soon after the van was delivered - AND NEVER PUT THEM BACK IN AGAIN!

    Now, I'll be the first to admit I have unique needs as far as hauling goes, but it takes all kinds to make a minivan market, and I believe the DC vans are the most versatile on the market.

    And as an update, my 2001 Grand Caravan ES now has over 12,000 miles on the clock with not a hint of trouble anywhere.
  • geoduckgeoduck Posts: 52
    We like the flexibility in seating configurations that the DC vans provide. In the year we have owned a LXi, one half of the split rear bench has been removed about three times; both rear seats have been removed once.

    We have two little ones that sit in the rear row. 80% of the time the middle passenger side seat is out for ease of access and for keeping the endless piles of stuff we accumulate and shuffle throughout the day.

    For hauling larger items we will then remove the remaining middle seat. That is very easy and the amount of usuable space is impressive. I got a small wood chipper/shredder back there in August.

    The advantage over the Honda is that we can put one kid in one split rear seat, and the other in the parallel middle row seat. By removing the remaining seats we can haul long stuff like fruit trees, and bring the kids who love running around the plant nursery.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,047
    1,300 boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts! You're my kind of guy :-).

    I got spoiled with my base '89 Voyager, a 5 seater. When I got my Quest I (sorta like gcintender) threw away the middle bench and moved the rear bench to the mid-ships position.

    Everyone's needs are different - I suspect I wouldn't be as thrilled as most Ody owners with the disappearing "magic" seat since I prefer a big empty space in the rear of the van and we rarely have more than one or two passengers in the bench seat.

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 237
    I completely understand that many people configure their seats differently and remove them often.

    I'm just a little tired of the Long Term Road Test people always acting as if the Odyssey's seat is the end all be all and that without it being in the Chrysler vans, "They may not even get a TV box in the van without having to take the heavy obtrusive seats out."

    That, in my opinion, is being a little over-dramatic. The rest of my rant was really just me summing up the fact that in all the 14 years I've owned Chrysler/DC vans (3 to be exact), never once have I thought I needed to remove the seats for a new 31 inch TV, let alone the Whirlpool washing machine I took home 2 years ago.

    That's all. But I agree, I like the idea of the flexible split third if only they moved for an aft, I'd have them. Until then, I'll stick with the 110 pound bench seat in my Limited. :-)
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Honda does not offer a heavy duty rear suspension option as Chrysler does on the Town & Country and Caravan models. Thus, even when an Odyssey is carryinbg a heavy load of either kids or cargo, the back of the van will be sagging about an inch away from the ground. Just go on a road trip along highway 5 in California through the central valley and you will see tons of minivans (not just Hondas) with rear ends that are being dragged along.

    Just thought I would mention that...
  • paul164paul164 Posts: 11
    There was a thread about this time some time ago for 2001 models and someone was hopefully going to report back about what they found that made the problem go away with the 2002's - any more info out there? Thanks.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Wow 12 posts in a row without an Ody owner posting anything to argue
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hello gang, I just read the last 20 posts or so to get a feel for how thing are going here. It seems that you DC van folks are having to deal with Honda Trolls, I know the feeling. I am a long time poster on the BMW 3-Series board and we get the occasional Lexi lover trolling us as well.

    Anyway, the reason for my visit has nothing to do with my daily commuter, it has everything to do with our family hauler, which currently is a 1998 Grand Caravan Sport with the somewhat rare 3.8-liter option.

    As a bit if history, our van has 48,000 miles on it and to date, its only problem has been a dead battery at about the 38,000 mile mark (I replaced it with a Die-Hard, so I figure we are good to go for a while). Other than the battery, we have not even had so much as a burned out bulb, I guess they just don’t make them like they used to. ;-)

    At this point, my wife (the primary driver of the van) is tired of the cloth interior and wants a new van with leather. I assume that means that either a Grand Caravan EX or a Town & Country LXi. Do any of y’all know what the current incentives (if any) are on either of the two above vehicles? I checked the DC web sites and noticed that the incentives that they had listed expired on 8-Jan-2002.

    On another subject, our town here in northern New Jersey has what a neighbor calls “Nazi Recycling Rules”, and we buy LOTS of stuff over the Internet and via Mail-Order. As such, the amount and size of cardboard that needs to be recycled requires me to remove both the second and third row seats about once a month. We have also bought a couple of 4’x8’ book cases which fit perfectly in the van (and I do mean PERFECTLY), not to mention plywood and drywall for the basement refinishing project. Needless to say I have LOTS of experience in taking out our seats, and after almost 4 years of doing so, I can perform the entire operation in less than 3 minutes. The only thing that I would wish for is a slightly lighter rear bench, that thing seems to be somewhat heavier than it needs to be.

    Sorry for the long post, MOPAR Rules…

    Best Regards,
  • lsherlsher Posts: 29
    For Shipo -
    Since incentives are sometimes geographically specific, you will do best to inquire at a local dealer.

    Taking out the separate seats in the third row is really easy. I never dealt with the third row bench in DC products but did in an Aerostar. It wasn't fun.

    My '02 T&C LXi AWD is really wonderful. Good luck in your purchase decision!
    Naples, NY
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Glad to see another MOPAR fan on the boards here at Troll Hall. You are right when you say that it is rare to get the 3.8 liter V6 engine option on a 1998 Grand Caravan Sport but I'm sure you are glad you did. Our 2000 Town & Country LX has the 3.3 liter engine which is ok, but more punch is needed sometimes when you have more than 6 people in the car and/or the A/C on. What do you think about your 3.8 liter V6?

    Anyway, good luck with your buying decision. I'm glad you are going to stick with Chrysler as they make excellent vehicles (we also own a 2001 PT Cruiser Limited which we love).

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Thanks for the welcome, the story behind our GC Sport sort of goes like this:

    In 1998, we decided that our Neon Sport was just a little too small for our growing family, so off to the local Dodge dealership we went. Given that my eye did not like the look of the gray bumpers of the non-ES versions of the van, I was feeling a little unsure about spending the extra money for an ES. I mentioned this to the salesman and he asked me if I had considered the SE Sport. I was honestly not aware of the “Sport”, however I was pretty sure that the only FWD model available with the 3.8 was in fact the ES, and I told him that I wanted body colored bumpers AND the larger mill. He said, "You are in luck, Chrysler is currently running short of the 3.3 and for a limited time the '29N' package will include the 3.8 for only $200 extra." Sold, we simply looked over his list of allocated vans, picked one and the rest is history.

    Given that my daily driver is a 328i, I cannot call our van FAST, however, it is more than adequate for our purposes, which by the way includes a trip or two per year into the West Virginia mountains, loaded to the gills with adults, camping gear, empty fast food containers and Dunkin Donuts bags. ;-) It is also fast enough to beat up on unsuspecting Broncos and such that see our ubiquitous Green Metallic Mini-Van and just assume that they can beat us from a light to the 2-lane to 1-lane merge point.

    True story; last summer, a few noisy Lexus IS300 lovers Trolled over to the 3-Series board and started blasting away at all of us “Idiots” who wasted our money on German trash. Needless to say, I developed a bit of an attitude toward most IS300s and their drivers. During the height of the Troll Barrage, I was driving in NYC on my way to my usual Thursday evening appointment. While I was sitting at the light at 56th Street and 11th Avenue, I saw an IS300 in the mirror squeezing past a whole line of cars on 56th, just barely avoiding the parked cars on one side and our line on the other. I was first in line in the Caravan and he eased up next to me, confident that I would be no problem to beat across 11th Avenue. I do not know if he was asleep, or if he was just a little too complacent, however, the 3.8 got the Caravan across first. I could seen in the mirror that he was just a little more than Really Annoyed, given that he was sawing left, right, left behind me, looking for enough room to pass between me and the parked cars. I of course did not help him too much, by just easing over a foot or so to close the door each time he tried to pass. As I pulled up to the 10th Avenue intersection, I noticed one of “New York’s Finest”, out directing traffic; apparently he noticed the antics of the IS300, because as we pulled to a stop, Mr. Officer strolled back to have a little chat with Mr. IS300, and during said chat, I noticed Mr. Officer motioning for our boy to pull over to the curb. Green Light, SEE YA!

    Like I said, the 3.8 has more than adequate power for our purposes. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    It makes me happy to see rude, arrogant drivers get pulled over for reckless driving.
    I am happy with the 3.3L of our 99 GC SE but would have opted for the GC Sport with 3.8L had one been available March 20,1999. My friend Kurt has owned 3 DC minivans. First had the 3.0L, the next a 3.3L and now his 2000 GC LE has the 3.8L. He says the 3.8L "feels comfortable" with cruise set at 83 MPH on I-15 between SLC and LA and still delivers between 24 and 24.5 MPG for the trip.
    My 3.3L gets between 26.0 and 27.5 MPG on the same trip at the lower speed of 65 to 75 MPH. I think the 3.8L will deliver better fuel economy at speeds over 75 than will the 3.3L but the 3.3L will do better with stop and go or lower speeds.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Given that I live in the NYC metro area, it is rare that we ever find an open stretch of road for a good fuel economy run. That said, our 3.8 routinely delivers about 18mpg in around town driving and about 24mpg on the highway (understanding of course that “Highway” around here is still a lot of stop and go, tolls and such). Not as good as you or your friend, however, we are also saddled with the NE States pollution controls (similar, if not exactly the same as California) and the silly oxygenated fuels (better pollution characteristics in some area and MUCH worse in others) that the states around here force on us.

    I am assuming that our new van (assuming that we get a new one) will have at least comparable mileage numbers (once again, assuming that we can resist using the extra power). ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Back in 1973 we drove our 1972 Volvo from Laramie, Wyoming to Bayonne, New Jersey to have it shipped to Germany when the Army transferred me. I was not very bright to arrive in metro NYC on Memorial Day weekend. We drove cross state to Fort Dix/McGuire AFB and then back to Bayonne on the New Jersey Turnpike.
    One very pleasant surprise was the large amount of open space in New Jersey as you enter from the west at Easton. I had the erroneous idea that New Jersey was like Paterson-Newark-Bayonne everywhere.
    I enjoy reading your comments. Carl
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Are you the guy who drove a black bimmer and flying around Northern State Parkway?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If I was seen "Flying around the Northern State Parkway", it was probably in a rented Cessna. ;-)

    My BMW is just a conservative Green Metallic with a sand colored interior, no performance add-ons, no tinted glass and no radical stereo, just your basic run of the mill 328i 5-Speed. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    I used to hang out in the Bimmer board. I remember one guy talked about how he went against a Lexus/Acura on NS Pwky. I guess you were not the one who gave bimmer driver the bad rep...
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    No problem, to be quite honest, before I got the 328i, I was very concerned about becoming one of "THEM" (Hairy eyeball and all). After driving the new 3-Series in late 1998, I found that I did not care what others thought of me, the car was just so much of a pleasure to drive. As it turns out, it seems that based upon the 3-Series board here in the “Town Hall”, there are MANY folks who felt as I did. Oddly enough, several of us over on that board also have a DC van for our family hauler. Maybe there is a new generation of “Kinder and Gentler” BMW driver out there; then again, maybe I’m just delusional. ;-)

    On the other hand, I have been known to do “Ground Reference Maneuvers” in the vicinity of the Northern State Parkway on a windy day, just not in my 328i. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    I remember the wide open twisty area at the interchange of the NS Pwky and Meadowbrook Pwky, wish I had the bimmer then...
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