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Chrysler/Plymouth Voyager-Dodge Caravan Real World MPG

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Comments

  • jay81jay81 Posts: 7
    There is no improvement. I was sarcastic and don't care what you post. My van has a whopping 25,000 on it and my F-150 gets better mileage that it does. The 12mpg in the city happened again during a cold spell we had. (29 degrees) It does not matter though as it always gets around 15 or less in the city. Our friend has a 2007 3.8 Grand Caravan and are about the same. The difference is they get on the freeway and we don't as we have no need to. If I do get on the freeway here and there I have seen as good as 18mpg. I just thought it would do better as I had a Quest that did 17 all the time and 23 on my freeway best. I am glad technology has allowed us to lose mileage as you vintage vans crush my best mileage. Dodge has looked at it when they did the steering rack warranty for me. The exact quote was" Fuel trims are goof on the DRB 3 and o2 sensors pre and post switch, nothing we can do". My neighbor and I must have the two gas guzzler editions though. I am an ASE Certified mechanic and Phase two cretified emmission specialist. I am not on a rant and speak facts. The fact is it can't get what is claimed in the city. Most cars don't. Pick up consumer reports and read the issue last year where they exposed many vehicles getting 30 - 50% less than claimed. In the meanwhile good luck to all with the great mileage you get and the future carbon tax you will get to pay. Let EPA know the correct tons per year you all put out so they can correct the error.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Well, you are on a rant, but that is okay. You can be on a rant and speak facts simultaneously.

    One thing about the Dodge vans that has come to light this winter is that they are not equipped with cold-weather friendly lubricants. At -40F, it takes an annoyingly large amount of effort to get my van to move simply due to the viscosity of the lubricants in the drive train. As this van is 10 years old and lived here during its entire service life, I would have expected the fluids to be changed to the climate. Apparently not, so I will do that this spring/summer.

    For the record, my economy is about 13.5 this winter - pretty awful compared to the 19.5 experienced during the summer. But, my old '96 Subaru Outback used to dip down to 16-18 mpg in the winter compared to 24-25 in the summer, so I suppose it is not so bad, but at least the Outback would move with relative ease in the extreme cold.

    Aside from maintenance concerns, driving conditions make all the difference to fuel economy - one person's city driving is not the same as the next, necessarily. Vintage. Hahahaha; I have a "vintage" van, a '69 Ford Econoline. Your mileage beats it. ;)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I cannot believe the mileage that the two of y'all are getting. The absolute worst city mileage I've been able to conjure in either of our 3.8 liter DGCs is high 17s in the winter and just a hair over 20 in the summer. I just filled up this afternoon after running errands all over the Boston area for the last couple of days, and the mileage was a relatively decent 18.7 mpg. A few weeks back I took our 1998 on a nice easy road trip up to Okemo Mountain in Vermont for a little skiing; with the cruise control set at a fairly conservative 72, I recorded 21.6 mpg for the entire trip (which included a fair amount of tooling around town). Sounds pretty reasonable for a van with over 154,000 miles on the clock. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • jay81jay81 Posts: 7
    First, I liked all my spelling errors in my last post. I was in a hurry. If you are honest on your mileage than you are rare. Most people I talk with in the great Northwest get the same as I am. The temperature is usually around the upper 30's to low 40's in the winter here. Temp as well as winter blend fuels destroy mileage as well as performance. As far as lubricants go I never have a problem moving the vehicle. ATF 4 is still the trans fluid they use. The newer van runs the 5w20 in the engine as it has tighter bearing tolerances and most manufactures are using it. Ford is one of the first American line vehicles to run it. I like the van, but wish it did better. I saw in the consumer reports article I referred to that the Honda got 12 in the city. So it is not just the Dodge.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yeah, we get the oxygenated winter fuels here too, unfortunately, now that the infrastructure is in place (as of about a year ago), we get winter fuel all year round. :( Regarding my mileage, I have a complete log of every fill-up both of our vans have been given, going right back to the day they rolled out of the showroom (which totals some 259,000 combined miles). Needless to say, I have a pretty good idea of how far they both go on a gallon of fuel.

    For both of our vans, their worst fuel economy was logged during the first 1,000 miles (geez, our 1998 got 17.2 on a road trip when it was new :P ), and their best fuel economy was recorded after there were six figures showing on the odometer. So far, the best the (heavier and more powerful) 2003 3.8 has been able to do on a road trip was 26.3 mpg while the 1998 3.8 managed that one 500+ mile tank last summer (immediately following the head gasket replacement job) that worked out to 28.2 mpg.

    As for the weather and the oil that I use, here in New Hamster we've been seeing morning temperatures that range between just below zero to a bit above freezing; and to keep everything nice and lubricated I've been running both vans on Mobil 1 0W-40 for several years now (0W-30 before that, and in the case of the 1998, 5W-30 before that).

    Regarding the mileage that other folks get, hmmm, well I'm fairly active on other Chrysler Minivan forums, and to be quite honest, neither of our vans are considered all that unusual by the other members. There is always a group that gets crap mileage (and complain about it a lot), a group of "hyper-milers" that make my numbers look pathetic, and then everybody else who manages to get decent but not stellar mileage from their vans (my category).

    So, the question remains, "Why does your van get such lousy fuel economy?"

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • jay81jay81 Posts: 7
    Are you an accountant? Just kidding! When I say I drive city only I mean it. I am stop and go all of the tank with no trips further than 5 miles. If anyone has a digital read out and sees the mileage on acceleration they see how bad it can be. I drive a lot of cars. I drove a 2008 Malibu with a 3.6 and when lightly accelerating it was getting 6-8 mpg. A Ford Fusion I just saw yesterday had an avg speed of 25 on the digital info center and the mileage on that little car was only 20.2. The best part is he drives strictly freeway in stop and go till he gets to the city. That city driving is better than what I do and that car weighs much less, thus needs less fuel to move it. I have hills out here as well most range from 6-12% grade. I am from the Pennsylvania area and remember the things I thought were hills till I moved here. Maybe your fuel grades are better there or I should have bought a 1998 DGC. There is no check engine light on, all pids are within spec, and tire psi, etc. are good. The driveability tech (both of them) looked at it and these gentleman know there stuff as I have known them for a long time. Tell me Chrysler only lets them check pids and general things under warranty. They did more for me than that and still came up with nothing. ( If you have a tip let me know as I don't claim to know everything). Again I have looked at it as well with the $5000 DRB 3 and came to the same conclusion. Fuel cells in the adaptive fuel stategy are within spec. There is not much else to do except complain at this point. I looked up the Honda Oddesey and found the same complaint. Some were amazed with their mileage and some were astounded. We have several Caravans in our fleet and I am going to check with the drivers on their mileage. We have an 08 and I was told by the driver of that one it is a thirsty vehicle. Well anyway. Take care.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    He-he, no, I'm not an accountant. ;)

    I think you've identified your problem (at least to a certain extent). Urban cycle trips of less than five miles are guaranteed to produce crappy mileage results, even on a new Civic or other car of that ilk. Even still, I find your mileage lower than I would expect. Could it be that you've been driving those short trips for so long that you've actually unseated the rings due to running rich all of the time?

    Regarding the digital read-out, yes, both of our vans have it too (although for 2003 Chrysler dropped the "instant" mpg display), and I have seen very low readings, however, I cannot remember a time when I saw less than 10 mpg with a fully warmed up engine, errr, unless I was at full throttle in first or second gear climbing a mountain. FWIW, I live on a street with a 7.5% grade and have a 12% grade in my long driveway, and when the engine is cold I've seen as low as 4 mpg displayed, even under light acceleration.

    Regarding our fuel, up until about a year and a half ago, we were getting 100% gasoline in the summer months and gasoline laced with MTBE during the winter. Now that New England has the necessary infrastructure to support ethanol, all of our fuel is E10 (10% ethanol) year-round. Needless to say, I noticed an instant drop of between 5% and 8% in the fuel economy of our cars. That said, I do admit that for my record fuel economy run last summer, I filled up in rural Michigan (about 20 miles southwest of Port Huron), which is an area where I believe they still use 100% gasoline. I then proceeded to wait in a line queue to pay the toll at the Blue Water Bridge, and then in another for Canadian customs. Following those two long delays (with lots of engine idling), I managed to get almost all of the way to Hamilton before road construction conspired to slow me to a bumper to bumper crawl (with lots of episodes of no movement at all) for about 12 miles. Then came U.S. customs in the Buffalo area, a toll booth or two, and then finally the NY Thruway.

    Even with all of the stop-and-go stuff and all of the idling, I managed to get over 500 miles on that tank. The weather conditions were mid to high 80s, moderate humidity, and little or no wind. I kept the windows open, the A/C off and the cruise control at about 67 for the entire trip. I'm thinking that I might have gotten at least one more mile per gallon (maybe even two) if I'd been able to set the CC and go the entire distance with no stops.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • jay81jay81 Posts: 7
    I have had the van for 6000 miles now so I doubt the ring issue is a problem. If my rings were bad I would also consume oil. I suppose if I were anal I could run a leak down and compression check, but I do not believe this is an issue. I have had tanks with mostly 60/40 hwy/cty and still only get my best 18mpg. Anyway, fuel, road, whatever. I have a friend who works for the state and he is currently checking the mileage on the GC's they have and they have to track the MPG on all there vehicles to the T. I will let you know what I find. In the meanwhile, I have no answers why it gets what it does.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    The couple of tanks I have had in the 13s (last night I filled up 14.985 gallons over 204.1 miles) are after cold spells. The temperatures over the last tank were no warmer than -30F. Most of the time it was between -40F and -50F. Most folks from down south can scarcely comprehend those temperatures, but the difference between zero and -50 is the same as the difference between +50 and zero. ;)

    It is not the transmission or engine oil that is the problem, it is the differential oil and the grease. After changing things out this summer, I hope it will produce a more tolerable 16-17 mpg next winter. As a reminder, this is an AWD van with 178,500 currently on the ticker.

    The sub 5-mile trips of stop and go are the culprit. In those conditions the van is scarcely even warmed up by the end of the trip. Just as an example, my Subaru has an instantaneous MPG readout. When the engine is cold in the morning, the readout will max out at about 20 mpg driving at a steady 55. When it is warm, it reads out about 35 mpg over that same flat stretch of road. The average economy over a tank is right at 26 with that car. If I was running it on short errands every trip, it would definitely be under 20.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yeah, when the mercury goes-a-hidin', short trip fuel consumption goes through the roof. That your van is an AWD version just compounds the consumption issues with significantly higher drive-train loss in the diffs.

    I learned to turn a pretty fair wrench from a dude that did his apprenticeship before WWII, and he told me that back in his time, the transmissions (all manuals in those days) and differentials were all treated to two fluid changes per year, one for the summer months and one for the winter months. Geez, I was even tempted to do that to the New Process 4-Speed in my 1970 Challenger after I moved from San Diego to north-central Michigan back in the late 1970s. I remember wrestling with that sucker when trying to switch gears following a cold start was lots of fun. ;)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • I've been reading the posts on this forum with interest! We just purchased an '06 Grand Caravan at the beginning of January, with 23,000 kms on it (approx 14,000 mi), and have found that we are only getting 10 mpg with city driving!!! We traded in our 2000 Chev Venture for the Dodge, and the increase in fuel consumption has blindsided us. Our Chev got 18 mpg in the city and around 25-28 mpg on the highway. We haven't had the Dodge on a roadtrip yet, so have no idea what the highway consumption is - but, as I type this, the Dodge is at our mechanic (who we bought the van off of) and he is running diagnostics on it today to see if he can figure out why our fuel consumption is so poor. From what I've read, it sounds like there is a good chance that he won't find anything - but, should I suggest that he check/replace the oxygen sensor, even though the light isn't on? or will his diagnostics pick it up if it is "weak"?

    Love the van, but going from $50 in gas a week to $70+ is going to break the bank!! :(
  • xpatchxpatch Posts: 1
    This is my 1st post.
    Next week, I am getting an '06 Dodge Caravan SXT to use for courier work. It has 50,000 miles on it. Carfax shows regular maintenance was performed. Are there any tricks I can do to improve gas mileage? I mean, is there a chip or any aftermarket device?
    What other mods can I do to improve the performance?
    Thx,
    Todd
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    For mileage and performance mods, you'll find none, zip, zero, zilch, nada when it comes to mods that will net you any benefits at all.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • dinsledinsle Posts: 3
    Howdy,

    We just bought an 08 caravan and we're wondering about the city mileage. We're only getting around 13.5-14.0 mpg. The van has less than 2500 miles on it, but it's been consistantly around that. Is that to be expected? We would have seriously reconsidered it if we knew that was going to be the mpg.

    Any thoughts or tips on improving the mpg?

    Thanks in advance.
  • I am new to this forum and just read your post on MPG improvements
    My previous van was a 93 with a 3.3 and the mileage computer
    When my muffler went I replaced it with a Dynomax super turbo and my mileage at a steady highway speed increased in the range of about .5 mpg. I know that this is very un-scientific but I am planning to do the same to the 03 that I currently have which now gets just under 24mpg highway.
    mcondon
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    What you're suggesting is that your old muffler had a rather significant blockage; there simply is no other way for a new muffler (Dynomax or otherwise) to have much of a measurable impact on highway mileage.

    Think about it, when you're tooling town the highway your engine is operating at something like fifteen to twenty percent of its rated output, and that means that the demands on the induction and exhaust systems of your vehicle is extremely low. Personally I'll bet that the pressure difference inside a good condition OEM muffler and that of the Dynomax when at highway cruising speeds is virtually non-existent, and that means that the difference In fuel economy will be virtually zero as well.

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • You have a good point there but the muffler I replaced was the OEM stainless muffler at 150,000 miles and the only problem was a small hole in the end cap. I also tried to use a complete 2 1/2" tailpipe without the resonator which seemed to get even better mileage but the noise echoed so badly inside the van that I quickly put the resonator back on and never tried to get an acurate mpg reading.
    Also, although the motor is only putting out fifteen to twenty percent of it's rated output it was still turning 2000 to 2500 rpm at highway speeds which seems to me to be putting out a significant volume of exhaust.

    Am enjoying the conversation

    mcondon
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Also, although the motor is only putting out fifteen to twenty percent of it's rated output it was still turning 2000 to 2500 rpm at highway speeds which seems to me to be putting out a significant volume of exhaust.

    Actually, the RPMs of the engine have very little to do with the amount of exhaust. In fact, if you're descending a hill and have the throttle closed, the engine will shut off the fuel injectors and there will be virtually zero exhaust coming through the exhaust pipe, regardless of the engine RPMs.

    What does determine the amount of exhaust is the throttle setting, and that's a pretty linear equation. If you're running at about 20% throttle, then your engine will be producing about 20% of its max rated amount or exhaust regardless of engine RPM.

    Best regards,
    Shipo
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