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Bought a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan with 98,180 miles on it

Bought a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan with 98,180 miles on it. Had it inspected by my mechanic and he told me it was good to go. Took the family on a long road trip and put about 2,000 miles on it. About 8 hours away from home the engine light appears and I take it to an Autozone and get the code checked out. Its and EGR code, no big problem according to the attendent.

I take a look under the van and notice transmission fluid leaking. I decide to stay in town since I have family there and have it looked at in the morning. The transmission shop owner told me it was could be the hoses, common problem. He called ma back and told me that the pan gasket needed to be replaced. So he replaced the pan gasket, new screws and the leak stops. Cost $148 and the engine light is gone. Big relief, or so I thought.

Back on the road

About 1 hour from the house the engine light comes back on, I'm thinking it has to be low on gas since it is almost empty. Wrong. filled the tank and the engine light is still on. what to do? I see no other visual problems, van runs great., transmission does not slip. no more leaks. What else to do?


  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Read the ODB-II diagnostic code fist, then get back to us. CEL could be any of several hundred things.
  • I performed the majic trick of disconnecting the battery cables this morning and the CEL went away. Drove around town, got a car wash, fixed my dvd player (ground got disconnected) and drove the family to coach my son's baseball team.

    No problems, Van is running great. I hope it was just a false alarm since I was close to running on empty when the CEL appeared.

    ! added over 2,100 miles on this recent road trip and am very impressed.

    Current mileage: 100,350.
  • scoutllscoutll Posts: 40
    I had a 2003 GC and the light came on at around 90,000 miles. It would go off periodically, but always came back on. It would stay off for a couple days when ever the battery was disconnected for a while. The code always came up as a vac leak in the emissions system. Never could find it (the leak) or get the light to stay off permanently.
    The van is now owned by a good friend, has about 150,000 on it and the light still comes on whenever it feels like it. Never had any other problem with it other than a new ignition switch at 110,000.
    I have a1996 Town & Country(selling it now) that has 155k miles on it and the CEL comes on every now and then and don't know why. But recently for some odd reason we switched to using name brand fuel stations(BP, Exxon, Shell) it seems to run better and the CEL hasn't come on for past 2 months. Wierd
  • The message light is gone now, it could be because I only use ExxonMobil gas. It is one of the perks since I work for them.

    It's a great van and the whole family loves it.
  • 2003 Grand Caravan, low mileage. Check engine light came on for the same reason as previously posted. No luck with the "replace the gas cap solution." My friend the mechanic used nitrogen to try to find the emission leak with no luck. Live in California and can't get new tags until I clear this up. Any suggestions? Looking to do a "smoke test" next, but not optimistic.
  • Sorry no luck on my end either, the light comes and goes as it pleases.

    Disconnect the battery and see if that will work. Other than that your going to have to replace the egr valve. Don't know how much it wil cost, but I was told that they had to remove the exhaust manifold to get to the EGR valve.
    The only suggestion I have is to take to the nearest dealer to have looked at if you haven't already. They probably can take care of the emission test for you too, I know that some dealers perform an emissions test.
  • My wife has the same car 2005 dodge grand caravan about the same mileage. her check engine light just came on today. Question i have i want to get a code reader to find out what the code is. what is a good code reader to get. i was at autozone and it seems like there are so many different types. not too sure which to get then once i get the code reader where would i find out what the codes mean. i had a lot of experience on obd1 but not obd2 type of codes.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Unless you do a lot of work on cars, a basic one that will 1) read out and display the codes and 2) allow you to reset them, is all you need. With the code in hand, there are plenty of resources on the internet that will tell you what the code means, so you don't need an OBD-II reader that does that for you.

    I have a ~$50 Accutron that does those two things, and it's worked fine for my uses.
  • Our local mechanic has a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport, AWD, with 96,000 miles on it. I'm wary about buying a Dodge with that many miles on it. Advice?
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    If you read through this forum, you will see that owners' experiences with Dodge/Chrysler minivans run the full gamut, from "total POS, I'll never own another DC product as long as I live" to "Best vehicle I've ever owned; have 200,000 miles on it and it's still going strong".

    I got 174,000 miles on our '94 Caravan. Except for a transmission rebuild (which thankfully happened when it was still under warranty, which was 70,000 miles at the time), there were no major problems - just normal maintenance.

    We have 60,000 miles on our 2007 DGC, and, except for one set of front brake pads and oil changes, it's hasn't needed any other work (know on wood).

    That said, I would be hesitant to buy any vehicle with that number of miles on it unless 1) it was a really good deal, price-wise, 2) I had a good sense of how it was driven and 3) how it was maintained. Also, it's good to know why someone is getting rid of an ostensibly good running vehicle.

    I bought a Merc Tracer for $2500 for my boys some years ago that had 125,000 miles on it. My wife worked with the owner who was going to for Africa for couple of years. I also bought a 10 year old 87 BMW with 125,000 miles for around $2500 who's owners were being transferred to Key West. Again, my wife knew the owners, plus they were able to provide many of the service records. I still have, and drive, the BMW.

    So yes, miled-up vehicles can be good deals. You just have to be cautious and go into the deal with eyes open to fact that you may have to lay out a thousand dollars or two to fix something major or even just to catch up on neglected maintenance.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,689
    Excellent advice. I echo those sentiments and cannot really provide any additional advice!
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Thank you for taking the time to reply in such detail! Advice well-taken.
  • 2004 grand caravan emission problem/ vacuum leak ... remove air cleaner whole assembly, vacuum lines from purge canister are right there, after my father spent 400 bucks at a mechanic , i found the problem right there.. vacuum line cracked.. problem solved
  • rob2013rob2013 Posts: 1
    edited May 2013
    hey scrat1 if you want to find out the codes on the 2005 dodge grand caravan turn your key three times on and off after the third time leave the key on but dont start it in your odometer your codes that are present will show up and once the codes are read it will say done just cause i also have a 2005 dodge grand caravan and when i do that it shows the codes let me know if you have success getting the codes thanks
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