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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • johnhei1johnhei1 Posts: 1
    I had the same problem with my 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan with a 3.0 L engine. I ended up replacing the throttle position sensor and that solved the problem. Might work for you.
    John H.
  • My 2002 Voyager A/C, pw, radio stop working as the car starts. When the key is on ACC, everything works fine. When the car warms up, everything starts working fine. Transmission is also a little eratic when these gages are not working. The dealer wants to replace the console cluster as the poster above. I hate to spend $600 on this. Any advice?
  • tnormantnorman Posts: 1
    I have a 96 T&C with same problem. Also looses power momentarily at speed with no change in rpms. Replaced cam and crank sensors and computer and ingition switch. Problem persists. There are no codes on computer. Anybody have an answer?
  • appieappie Posts: 2
    Thanks for the advise Shipo. Replacing the rad cap did not solve it. Further testing revealed that one of the cylinders leaks to the cooling system via the head gasket. The leak is so small that it does not affect engine performance, but I still need to replace a whole bunch of gaskets at considerable cost. Is this a common problem in these engines? I sure hope it does not happen again.
    Best wishes,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    For a definitive answer to your question, you might want to search the TSB database (sorry, I don't remember the link, anybody?), that having been said, I've been active on these boards since late 1998 and you're the first to report a head gasket leak on a relatively young Chrysler V6 that I can remember. While that statement isn't definitive proof that your leak is a very rare occurrence, it is at least a very good indication. Good luck and keep us posted.

    Best Regards,
  • ledfordledford Posts: 2
    I have not had a response to my posting yet. Just wondering if anyone had any suggestions? Much appreciated!
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    Question #1. Does anyone know if there is any maintenance you can do for the sliding door chain?

    The only thing that I can suggest is to keep the well clean from debris. Vacuum the well and plastic chain whenever you vacuum the inside of your van. This way the plastic chain can move freely when the doors are opened and closed. Also, I had noticed with our kids, they would use the well as a step by putting the front part of their foot inside the well, which could mess up the chain by stepping on it or putting dirt and stuff in there. Not to mention, they would kick the snow off their boots in the well. (I had a talk about this with them and they no longer do it.)

    #2 The lighting on my instrument panel is fading from about 0-40. The dealer said I needed a new Instrument Cluster and quoted me $552.00! Any advice?

    We had the same problem last year, but between 40-60. I did not have the dealer look at it, but was told it could be a few hundred dollars just to pull the dash out to see what the problem was. Well, I prayed about it and the problem is fix. Just cost me a little of my time and faith. :)
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    The only reason I mention this is that I also wondered whether the Silverstars simply seemed brighter because the old bulbs were shot.

    I've put Xtravisions in several cars. They are brighter but don't last as long as standard bulbs.

    They cost half as much as SilverStars, which are designed with that HID look - wallet vacuums for young males.
  • oogyoogy Posts: 1
    Sometimes you get tire noise and "thumbing" when the lug nuts are bolted too tight. :cry:
  • 5bucks5bucks Posts: 10
    It was nearly a year ago that I found the solution to my dead instrument cluster - gauges problem... well I thought I did! To solve the problem, I removed the dash panels and undid then reconnected the modular electrical plug at the top of the cluster. I always did this with the ignition on and engine running. Well, it worked like a charm every time I did it for about 9 months. I'd do it and the cluster would work fine for a few days to a few weeks. When it happened again I'd just disconnect and reconnect the connector. Then 9 months later this technique stopped working. Every once in awhile the cluster would come back to life all on its own for a few days to a few weeks then go dead again. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to when it would come and go. Sometimes it would go out while driving; sometimes it would spring back to life while driving. Other time it would be working one day only to start it up the next morning and find it dead.

    While going through this problem I noticed a few other things happening. Whenever the cluster goes dead, the check engine light comes on. After the cluster starts working again, the check engine light would clear itself after driving 50 miles or so. Also, it seems as though the engine loses performance when the cluster is dead. Performance loss is not very noticeable unless I'm doing something like passing uphill at highway speeds. Also, on a separate yet possibly related issue, the little indicator lights on the center console pushbuttons for a/c, rear wipers, air recirc., and rear defroster all blink in unison in a steady on off pattern. This happens whether the cluster is operating or not. The blinking lights stop blinking after 10-20 minutes of driving whether the cluster is operating or not. When the cluster is not operating the automatic door locking when you reach 17mph no longer functions. As soon as the cluster starts working again the automatic door locking works again.

    The instrument cluster has been an ongoing problem on this van for more than 3 years now. I've read every post I can find about it during that time. People have replaced body computers for hundreds of dollars and still have the problem return. I'm very wary of taking this to the dealer. Every post I've read people have spent hundreds with the dealer only to have the problem re-occur.

    So what I finally did was buy a used instrument cluster of ebay. I ended up with a '99 cluster for my '98 grand voyager. It was only $29. I was kind of bummed when the cluster arrived and the modular connector was slightly different than the one on the original cluster. Lucky for me the cluster I bought included the female side of the modular connector with pigtails. The wire colors were exactly the same on both the original and replacement cluster. It was a simple matter to cut off the original female side of the connector and solder the wires together to the pigtailed harness that came with the ebay cluster.

    Before I cut my old connector off, I did try the new cluster by temporarily sticking the pigtails into the original connector. I was a happy guy when I saw the replacement cluster working. As just disconnecting and reconnecting my old cluster used to be able to bring it back to life I then tried reconnecting the old cluster and it was still dead. This leads me to the conclusion that the problem is in the cluster itself, and not in the body computer as many have suggested on this and other forums.

    So, now I have a working cluster. But, my wife called to tell me that now the radio and automatic door locks were not working when she started the van this morning. When I first drove off with the new cluster yesterday I did not try the radio, but I did hear the automatic door locks go when I hit 17mph. When I tried the door locks a second time yesterday they did not lock at 17mph. Today the wife says not even her key fob or the all lock switch on the door is working to lock the doors. I'll check fuses when I get home today. If they are good I'll try disconnecting the battery for 30 minutes and see if that doesn't reset something.

    A few other notes:
    The '99 cluster I put in my '98 Grand Voyager has the same circuit board number as the original. But the harness connector was slightly different.

    The cluster I bought from ebay was $29.96 and that was all shipping and handling. I won the bid for $.01. It was listed by He had tons of instrument clusters listed. It came fine to me but he shipped it about 5 days later than promised. If you buy one of these make sure your getting one with the right connector or are getting the female side of the connector also and are comfortable with attaching this to the wire in your dash. I'm kind of anal so I soldered the wiring from the new connector to the bare leads left after I cut my original connector off. Also used shrink tubing on each soldered connection for insulation and strength.

    Prior to all this I have tried: disconnecting the battery, reseating all under dash connectors, talking to the dealer – It was an intermittent problem and working when I took it in. I’ve spoken to them a few time over the years and they say they no of no easy cause or fix…i.e this is gonna cost some bucks to have them fix it.
  • drmax2drmax2 Posts: 3
    I have same engine, had slightly different problem. I was overheating and losing coolant. Dealer first tried the new radiator cap to no avail, and with less than 400 miles left on my 60,000 mile service contract, he ended up replacing the entire top end of the engine because he couldn't stop the leak by simply replacing the head gasket. This is only one of many many problems I've had with this engine.
  • drmax2drmax2 Posts: 3
    I have a 2002 Dodge caravan. The oxy sensor is sending faulty signal to the ECU telling it I'm burning high-ethanol fuel. As a result, engine runs rich, the plugs foul and I see black smoke for a day or two until it dies. I had it towed to the dealer 4 times in the last 16 months before they figured out the problem. They switched plugs twice, wires once, drained the gas tank once, replaced the oxy sensors twice, and now my dealer says I should dump the van (duh), he's never seen this before. Anyone have this problem? Can the ECU be reprogrammed to disregard the faulty signal? This is driving me crazy, I have payments left and was counting on driving the van till it died, but I really thought I'd pay it off before it died.
  • You might find the answers you need on these minivan specialty forums
    good luck
  • Could anyone tell me where the horns are located? The high note horn has quit and I want to check the wiring.
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    Horns are located behind front fascia (Bumper) forward of the left front wheel. Accessed from underneath.
  • lastwraithlastwraith Posts: 350
    Cool, thanks for the feedback!
  • Yesterday while inspecting the new Goodyears I just had put on my van, I noticed a black tube hanging. It is attached to somewhere under the battery, but then the other end is hanging down. It is a thin black plastic tube with nothing on the end that is hanging down. It can be seen from the wheel well on my front driver's side. Nothing is leaking from it or anything, but I have never noticed this before. Also, everything seems to be working as it should. Any ideas? Thanks
  • Have a 98 Dodge Caravan. Emergency Brake is stuck. Wont release. Has somebody run into this before. Is there a quick fix?
  • I fixed my power sliding side door on my 2001 for about $95. I put together a web page detailing the repair.

    Here's the link.

    Hope it helps.

  • I had a problem with my power sliding side door. I put up a web page detailing my repair. It saved me a bunch of money.

    My symptoms were the door would start to open then immediately close before it started moving backwards. It also wouldn't close if it was already open. Replacing the latching mechanism did the trick. It's good as new.

    See the repair

  • peteepoopeteepoo Posts: 1
    Did you ever get an answer to this.... I'm having the exact same problem. It's under warranty, but I'd rather take care of it myself if it's easy
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    Don't know what it's for, but I've got one too.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    My guess is that it is a drain coming from the battery tray. Haven't checked either of ours yet to confirm.

    Best Regards,
  • chuckgchuckg Posts: 69
    I enjoyed reading about your door repair. I'll bet a dealer would want $400 anyway to fix the door. And you did it for under a $100. BTW, these doors sure do make all sorts of noises when they open and close, don't they?

    Nice work.
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    The hose hanging down is indeed a drain for the battery tray. Its purpose is to keep water from collecting at the bottom of the battery tray.
  • Thanks! Major relief! :D
  • gino45gino45 Posts: 52
    I am thinking about putting on new front disks and pads on my 01 Caravan and was wondering if I should use semi-metallic pads or ceramic pads. I've had problems with the rotors getting warped every 15K and thus am considering changing the rotors with after market rotors. Has anyone tried Monroe or Wager rotors? I don't want to buy a set of rotors and have them get warped in less than a year. Any advice would be welcomed.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    How have you been having your wheels mounted? I ask because a very common cause of warped rotors is from having the lug nuts put on with an impact wrench. The only acceptable method for mounting tires should be to use a torque wrench and tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern to about 90 lb-ft of torque.

    FWIW, I'm most likely going to try a set of NAPA Ceramic pads next time around, I've used their semi-metallic pads for a number of years on both of our Caravans, and while they've served us well, they are a bit dirty. I'm hoping the ceramics will not generate as much dust.

    Best Regards,
  • gino45gino45 Posts: 52
    Thanks for the input Shipo. Unlike my car, where I always tighten my lug nuts with a torque wrench, the van has principally been serviced at the dealer. I doubt very much that they use a torque wrench for putting on wheels. Is 90lb-ft sufficient? I saw a chart at Costco that indicated a range of 85 to 105. Regarding Ceramic pads- will they last longer than semi- metallic?

    P.S. Sorry to hear about your tranny. It kind of scares me in thinking that even with proper maintenance your tranny failed.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Is 90lb-ft sufficient?"

    As a point of reference, my BMWs came from the factory with a lug bolt spec of 72 lb-ft, which was then retroactively upgraded to 87 by BMW. I think that I heard somewhere (maybe here) that the DC spec was something like 85 to 92, as such, 90 should do quite nicely.

    As for ceramic pads, I believe that they will last longer than the semi-metallic pads simply because of how much more worn a set of rotors are when subjected to ceramic pads. Given that I simply replace my rotors at every brake job anyway, I really don't care that the rotors will be toast after doing 40,000 miles of battle with new pads.

    Regarding the tranny, well, thems is the breaks. ;-) As for being properly serviced, I'm still wondering about that. True, it had been serviced by a dealer as recently as last October, however, those here at Edmunds who are "in the know" have been saying for quite some time that ATF+3 is effectively extinct, and while ATF+4 is supposed to be "backward compatible" with ATF+3, there are two Chrysler TSBs that specifically prohibit using ATF+4 in 1999 and older minivans. Mine is a 1998. Coincidence? I have no idea.

    Best Regards,
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