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Chrysler/Plymouth Voyager-Dodge Caravan Real World MPG

jay81jay81 Posts: 7
edited April 7 in Chrysler
I bought a 2006 Grand Caravan and have had poor mileage on two tanks now. I got 14.6mpg on the first tank and 17.8 on the second. The 17.8 was almost all freeway. My F-150 gets better mileage under the same use as this minivan. I have 21,000 on it and am ready to sell it. I took it in and Dodge says it is running as designed. I guess I know why friends told me to buy Toyota or Honda. My wife drove my F-150 in the same fashion she drives this and got better mileage. I have the 3.3l engine. My wife loves the look and the ride although a bit soft it is decent. We don't want to sell it, but at 14.6 I think a Sequoia could be a better economy vehicle. Has anyone else had this kind of mileage?
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Comments

  • sfitz3sfitz3 Posts: 3
    I have an 05 Grand Caravan SXT with the 3.8 and get about 18 average. I think the best I've done on a tank was around 21 being mostly highway miles at that point. Its got about 26k miles on it right now.
  • nvdfwnvdfw Posts: 3
    We do around ~18-19 in the city (driving kids to school, sports, groceries) and around ~22 when traveling.

    I found my wife does better MPG than I do :)

    We already have 45K miles in 30 months. Really pleased
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    We have a 4 cylinder 2006 Caravan. On the highway, we get between 25 and 30 MPG. Driving at a constant 60 MPH on flat roads gets us the 30 MPG. In the city, the mileage drops down to about 22 MPG. Overall, we're quite happy with the van.
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    34k miles on a 2005 T&C Touring w/ 3.8L. About 20mpg overall. Sometimes down to 17-18 on cold city cycles and crappy fuel and up to 25mpg at 70mph highway. Suburban trips/commuting yields 20-21 mpg for most tanks.

    1500 miles on a 2007 same drivetrain yields the same.

    @ 21k miles, I'd change the fuel & air filters if never done before.
  • jay81jay81 Posts: 7
    Thanks for the reply. Only problem about changing the fuel filter is it does not have one. It is now in the tank. I still continue to get bad mileage. I am going to clean the injectors. I also am a mechanic. I don't have a check engine light and no driveability symptoms. I just want to know if there is a 3.3l getting bad mileage or did I get a limited edition gas guzzler? I can't fix what is not broken. Chrysler e-mailed me after I initiated contact and gave the generic hope it all works out for you speech. I think maybe I should have bought a Sienna.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I have a 2005 Dodge GC with a 3.8 and I get right around 16-17 city. I get around 22 highway. The best I got highway was 23.8 mpg. This van also uses 5W20 oil, which is suppose to get better mileage.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Your mileage is actually slightly lower than our two 3.8 DGCs running on 0W-40. That said, ours are well broken in (read over 230,000 combined miles), and both of them continued to improve their mileage for at least the first 50,000 miles.

    According to my log of such things, the first trip we took in the 1998 started with fewer than 100 miles on the clock. That trip took us from Bergen County New Jersey up to Camden, Maine, and racked up nearly 1,000 miles. Total mpg for the trip was just over 19, and the single best tank was 19.7 (on non-ethnol gasoline no less). That van now has 141,000 on the clock and gets about 23 mpg on E10 over the same route.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • This probably doesn't help with the intial problem by jay81. But heres a story. I own a 1995 Plymouth Voyager SE with a 3.3 Liter V6 and overdrive trans. A few years back I had a 70mile each way to and from work, I was consistantly getting 25 mpg. All the sudden one day I get a check engine light. Code reveals it is an Oxygen Sensor ($70.00) for about 2 months I drove with that light on and my gas mileage dropped instantly to 5-7 mpg. I changed it and got my 25 mpg back. I would suggest having that sensor checked, Might be faulty and just not bad enough to kick the light on.
  • shagyashagya Posts: 5
    This might be helpful to some. I have a 1992 Caravan with the 3.3 litre, four speed automatic, 300,000 kilometres on the clock. Before I had the (single) oxygen sensor changed I was getting about 14 mpg [in American gallons but I live in Canada]. After changing the O2 sensor this almost doubled. The fuel economy readout on the trip computer is calibrated in American gallons or SI units but NOT imperial. Now it is about 11.5 - 12.0 litres/100 km or around 20 mpg American or 24 imperial. At moderate highway speeds I easily get between 9-10 litres/100 km.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    In message # 8 I reported that our 1998 typically gets about 23 mpg highway (on E10 fuel) now that it's fully broken in. What I didn't mention was that occasionally I've taken it real easy on long road trips (something that is difficult for me to do) and gotten as high as 26.0 mpg for a single tank of fuel (about 450 miles).

    Well, last week when there was 143,625 miles on the van I replaced the head gaskets due to a slow but annoying coolant leak. I finished that job last Saturday and then promptly fired'er up and took'er on a 2,000 mile road trip. On the way out I was delightfully surprised to see the OBC registering average mpg readings that hovered within a few tenths either way of 26.0 mpg, and I wasn't even taking it easy. Hmmm...

    Thursday as I was heading home I filled the van about fifteen miles outside of Port Huron, MI and then proceeded to drive 505 miles to Albany, NY before stopping again for my next tank of gas. Yes I took it easy (I kept the Cruise Control at about 67), even still I encountered a 10 mile long construction related traffic jam/bumper to bumper crawl and two international border crossings to negotiate. In the end the OBC registered an astounding 28.2 mpg, nearly 10% higher than my best reading ever. Not too shabby for an old 3.8 liter DGC with over 145,000 miles on it. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • jay81jay81 Posts: 7
    Wow!! I can't understand why anyone would buy a smaller lighter vehicle when you can buy a van and get the same mileage. I think Chrysler is doing a wonderful job. With the new OBD two systems if you had a bad o2 sensor you will get a check engine light. The computer tests o2 systems, both pre and post catalytic converter every obd2 drive cycle. If it does not see correct switching of the o2 pre-coverter or too much switching post converter guess what? A check engine light appears. But, as long as you defy everything fueleconomy.gov and window stickers state you should call them to correct what real world numbers are. My F-150 now gets 38 mpg pulling my trailer in rush hour traffic. So Coool. And my Grand Caravan gets better than a prius!!!!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    That is rather amazing, Shipo! Does yours have the reactive AWD system or just FWD? I have a '98 with 3.8L AWD and it is pretty consistent at 19 mpg with about 70/30 h/c. I go real easy on it for fear of the transmission going 'kaboom.' It is very consistent at 19 and I expect it might get as high as 21 on a strictly highway trip. Just shy of 174,000 on the ODO, but I have only owned it for 4000 miles.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Thanks. My 1998 DGC Sport was produced late in the model year and is one of the very few with both FWD and the 3.8 liter engine (an engine that was normally reserved for the optional engine on the FWD ES and all AWD models).

    Prior to the head gasket swap that van would typically deliver between 23 and 24 mpg during the summer on a long freeway trip, and more like 21-22 with your 70/30 h/c split. I only have about 2,500 miles on it since I did the gaskets, but so far it seems to be running about two mpg better in all driving environments.

    Given the rather astounding jump in mileage I find myself wondering if that van has had a head-gasket leak since we picked it up new in July of 1998. FWIW, when I pulled the heads, the front head had to be kind of cracked loose before it would give up its grip on the head gasket, however, the rear head simply pulled free, no coaxing required.

    Regarding your van, your mileage sounds just about spot on for an AWD model. 174,000 miles huh? How long before you figure you'll cross 200,000 miles? ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    We put about 20,000 miles a year on our vehicles, so I would expect to cross that line by the end of next summer, given no catastrophes in the interim. Overall, it runs very well and was well maintained by its previous owners. I am constantly leery of the transmission though, because I do not know any owners who have one with more miles (and on original transmission), so I am basically traveling uncharted territory. My '96 Outback had 220,000 on it when it was destroyed, and was running well, so I have little fear of high miles.... but this is a Chrysler product! :surprise:

    The only problem that I can see currently cropping up is the dash gauges went dead on my wife and I twice since we purchased it. Both were of short duration (about 2 minutes on me, 5 or so for my wife). I am sitting on it for now until I can either get more information on a real fix or until it gets bad enough that I must address it.

    I think the sway bar bushings are getting worn and allowing some suspension noise, but it is not bad by any means. I am actually very surprised that this engine does not leak or burn any oil. I check the oil with every fuel fill up (about 320 miles between fills) and it has not even wiggled since I purchased it. It is due for an oil change, so now I have to decide what to run in it. I really liked the Amsoil 0W-30 I put in my 07 Outback, but I do not think I want to swap it over to synthetic at 174K - that is probably asking for a gasket leak to develop in short order, but it really depends on the condition of the gaskets. I check the engine over regularly, and I do not see any other leaks (coolant, transmission, etc).

    Unfortunately, when asked, the prior owner said he did not have any maintenance paperwork because "all the maintenance was performed by him." Now, he is a certified Chrysler mechanic, so he was likely telling the truth, but I am surprised he did not at least keep a log of when he did what. Maybe I was just supposed to take it on faith that the maintenance was performed at the factory intervals. He did specify that he had done the maintenance on this vehicle since new, and he would change the transmission fluid every 15-25K miles, depending on when the 1st owner would bring it to him.

    The hardest thing to get used to with it is the FWD torque steer, which is very noticeable. This is the first (primarily) FWD vehicle I have owned. Oh, and the ground clearance is very minimal, which also causes surprises on the rough roads I drive daily. :blush:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    FWIW, there are a few high mileage vans (i.e. over 200,000) out there with the original transmission. Two things seem to be key, changing the fluid early and often and having a tranny cooler added to the cooling lines that run to the radiator.

    Regarding the sway bar bushings, yeah, I think I hear ours getting a little loose as well, not terribly surprising given the miles. That said, the bushings that Chrysler used on the Gen 4 vans (we have a 2003 too) were junk and needed to be replaced. When I did that job I was delighted to find that it is a relatively simple task with the parts costing only about $11.

    Regarding your oil, I switched our vans over to Mobil 1 fairly early in their respective lives, and am currently using Mobil 1 0W-40 in them with stellar Used Oil Analysis (UOA) results. After pulling down the top end of engine I'm fairly confident that if you were to switch over to synthetic oil you wouldn't develop any oil leaks as there are basically zero of the old style gaskets that might swell or might be inclined to leak due to being washed off..

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • akburbakburb Posts: 3
    I have a 97 GC, 3.3 that appears to be leaking coolant from the right rear corner. It looks like it is coming from the head gasket. Where did yours leak? Is this a common problem? How difficult was it to change the gaskets?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    See my initial response to your other post here:

    shipo, "Voyager/Caravan leaking coolant" #5, 9 Oct 2007 2:17 pm

    I'll respond about the head gasket job over there as well. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Jay,

    Is your post a typo? You say your mpg improved on your F150 and your Caravan? What exactly did you do to improve mpg in both vehicles?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I think Jay's post was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying that he didn't believe my post regarding the jump in my fuel economy following the head-gasket replacement job I did on our 3.8 liter 1998 DGC last summer. Said another way, I don't actually think he was claiming that the fuel economy on either of his vehicles changed one bit. ;)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    Yep, you can never please everyone's sense of doubt. Frankly, I see no reason why a well aged, well maintained engine should not provide better efficiency than one that is green. People spit out the word "van" like it is contemptuous, but these are not big, boxy Econolines that push more air than they let pass. *rolls eyes*

    Funny enough, I never even noticed that post (by jay) prior to now. Really, it added that much to the topic. ;)
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