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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • dixiepeepdixiepeep Posts: 3
    I tried to look at the a/c itself but unless it is written in words all this stuff looks the same to me. The earlier advice (on another site) told me the compressor should look like a big metal part with pipes coming out. well, it ALL looks like that to me. Where can I find a diagram of under the hood for this 96 Plymouth Voyager Minivan? Even a cartoon picture would help.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    There should be a serpentine belt routing diagram located somewhere under the hood. This will identify on the diagram where the AC compressor pulley is, which is where the compressor is also.

    I suggest you are going to have to get professional help in diagnosing and fixing your AC. AC systems are not all that user friendly for do it yourselfers to repair, and if you are so inexperienced you cannot identify the compressor, you likely will not be able to fix it either.
  • jcm35jcm35 Posts: 1
    3.8 motor, change plugs,wires,o rings and coil box.pulled wire off fuel inject no change still running rough.checked wire for break didn't see one. is there a gound or other thing i should check before buying a new computer?
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    I was the one who also had this code according to the dash readout. I went to the local library to look at the Chilton's manual abd wurubg diagrams for 2001 so that I could try to understand where the problem might be. It turns out that power for the computer doesn't go through any device such as a relay that might have failed. That left only a bad connection which, while possible, didn't seem all that likely.
    Interestingly, Chiltons didn't list P1684 as a valid code for 2001. I decided to let our local mechanic(a long time Chrysler mechanic) take a look while the van was in for a couple of other things.
    He called me back to say that the actual codes were evaporative in nature(one broken hose and another loose one) and that the dash readout doesn't read evaporative codes. Only a regular code reader will properly read these codes according to him. So, you might take it in and see what you mechanic's r code reader says and maybe it will be something simply like mine.
  • Hi Roy, thanks for answering! You have given me things to work on that make sense. It is the 3.3 6cyl, fuel inj. I am going to start with the fuel filter and dryer and go from there. I really appreciate your thorough and easy to understand comments. (For now, I just drive it as far as the store and back. But it has put me in a bind for taking my anywhere!) Sue
  • miker3miker3 Posts: 2
    Thanks, but I have tried turning the key in the lock, an that didn't work. It will move, but not enough to release to get the tailgate to shut.

    Does anyone have any other ideas?

  • thanks for the checking. It seems that the computer in my car has some problems with my park brake. Most of time I won't get a chime when I apply the park brake with the engine still running.
    My car is a Dodge Grand Caravan SXT not a Caravan SXT, so it comes with a overhead trip computer.
    Do you get any progress on your inaccurate gas guage problem these days?
    I thought about pursuing my problems with my dealer, but finally gave the idea up cause right now it seems not worth the hassles. I'd prefer the peace of my mind.
  • larry63rlarry63r Posts: 3
    I have a "94" Grand Caravan with the 3.3 V6. I am having the same problem with it. It stalls after about 20-30 minutes of driving. After it cools down for an hour or more it will run fine for another 20-30 minutes. I have no trouble codes. When I check it just reads 55(Completion of code display). I am just shooting in the dark with this one.
    I have 200,000+ miles on the van and the worst problems I have had are worn-out motor mounts and CV joints. I tow a small motorcycle trailer with dirt bikes to motocross races with it and I still have the stock tranny in it! (I never use the overdrive unless I am doing 65mph!)
  • Check your engine's EGR valve or ECT valve. Sometimes these can cause stalling after warming up, and a faulty ECT valve will not always come up as a code.
  • dixiepeepdixiepeep Posts: 3
    I have no intention of fixing it myself. I just wanted to see if the compressor was moving. I am more concerned about the cost of repair. My mechanic lives in the country and we are having really bad weather and it will be hard to get to his house with tornado watches so I was just trying to see if the compressor appeared to be moving. It does not smell like it is burning but it emits an odd smell and blows hot air. I have not used the A/C since the odd smell. I will look for the belt route. I just want to see. Thanks for your replies.
  • Well, you sure have been lucky with the tranny. I have spent $5000 in the past 5 years on trans! Which is why I want to keep this van running. When yours stalls do you get a 'check gauge' light and no other lights? That is what I am getting. I've never had any other big problems. sue
  • lil_lupelil_lupe Posts: 1
    I have a 96 plymouth grand voyager that shut off on me while I was driving. I did the spark test to see if it needed a new coil, and I ended up replacing it. Now, when I try to turn the car on, it blows the engine fuse. HELP!!!
  • larry63rlarry63r Posts: 3
    Today I went to my friendly CPD(Chrysler,Plymouth,Dodge) wrecking yard to talk to them about my problem. They told me to start by changing the crankshaft position sensor. I should then change the cam position sensor. I did the crankshaft sensor today and it runs 90% better. It still has a hiccup but does not die. Tomorrow I will change the cam sensor and see if that cures it.
    The crankshaft sensor is easy to change. You put the van up on jack-stands and you get to it from behind the cross member. It takes a 10mm socket. Don't over-tighten it. The bolt only takes about 10ft/lbs. Cost was $31 at autozone.
    When it dies I get the check gauge light because the oil pressure falls to nothing.
  • tmcashtmcash Posts: 1
    Yesterday, my car was working just fine. This morning I went to start it and it would not. I am sure that I did not leave anything on or a door open. I tried jumping it off and it turned over, but still didn't start. After messing around with the battery cords, it started with no problem. After it started, the lights were flickering somewhat inside the car, but I drove it around the block a couple of times and it still sounded kind of funny?
    What could be wrong with it? Alternator?
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Likely your battery needs replacing. Low battery voltage with these vans makes these minivans behave strangely.

    It could also be you have a loose or bad battery cable or something else wrong in the charging system, but 9 times out of 10 it will be the battery. Three years on a battery is not unusual, fortunately they are pretty cheap to replace.

    Go to an autoparts chain store and they will likely be able to give you a free test of your battery and charging system, and their battery prices will be much less than a dealers, so buy your replacement there also.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Between my wife and I we've had a dozen new cars over the last couple of decades, and the longest I've ever seen an OEM battery last was 47 months (on a car with a 48 month lease). If your battery is 36 months old or older, then it ain't a matter of "if", it's a matter of "when", and the "when" ain't too far off. My advice, change it now before you get stranded.

    Best Regards,
  • joeyen5joeyen5 Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Grand Caravan with 75K miles.

    The other day, my driver side power window would not roll back up. I took off the door panel and without doing anything else, I tried the window switch and the window went back up. Today, the window got stuck again. This time, we just fiddled with the switch and eventually the window went back. up.

    The second problem happened twice this morning. My wife went to start the van and it wouldn't turn over. She said there seemed to be no power. She left the van for about 10 minutes and tried again and the van started right up. She had an auto tech from our local college take a look and he didn't find any errors with his diagnostic computer. However, the no power thing also happened to him.

    I'm wondering if anyone has the same issues and or suggestions.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    As far as the no start goes, I would begin by cleaning and tightening both ends of both battery cables. Also, as mentioned above, if you are still on the original battery, you are on borrowed time. It may not be the source of the problem but may be worth considering replacing it anyway.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    If it intermittently does not turn over, it could be that your starter or starter solenoid is beginning to fail. These days the solenoid may be mounted integral with the starter. Sometimes when they are beginning to fail, the starter will not turn over the engine then later on will engage properly, depending on what angular position the starter last stops at.

    It usually is not a real difficult do it yourself job to replace them, but you will have to judge your mechanical aptitude and desire to save a few bucks. Rebuilt starters are not all that expensive.
  • Hi - new to the forum, would appreciate any help anyone can offer. I actually have two issues.
    2005 DGC SXT 3.8 12K miles
    1) After the vehicle warms up, the transmission gets "sloppy" when up shifting from 1st to 2nd gear (under light to normal acceleration) . I would describe the feeling and sound as a shudder and thump you can really feel.
    2) Occasionally I see steam coming from under the hood but the temp. sensor shows everything is okay.

    Any help anyone can provide would be much appreciated!
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Since the Van is still under warranty, take it back to the dealer and let them figure it out.
  • I have. They claim there is nothing wrong, but I think that's because a) they are too impatient and b) the van is still under warranty!
    I have driven other GC's and we owned one before this one, so I know there is something going on.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Then go to another Dodge dealer, they all have to honor warranty work even if you did not buy it there.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Because the van is still under warranty, is no reason not to fix the problem. The dealer gets paid either way. If it's under warranty, the manufacturer pays, if no the customer pays.

    I agree, take it to another dealer.
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    True, they get paid the warranty rate from the manufacturer, which at best case is a break even deal for them. When a dealership has a backload of non-warranty service work, they rather not do the warranty claim and make a lot of profit. I would stick with the selling dealer, be polite but persistent and save all documentation of problems so if by chance the same problem occurs a month out of warranty, and of course then they can find the problem, you can say "I told you so"
  • sc00bssc00bs Posts: 87
    Im not sure were exactly to post this but I guess here will do since you all are familiar with problems. I was looking at the GC used, and when I went to do some research in Consumer Reports it says Used cars to avoid, Dodge Grand Caravan for years 2000 through 2003. It doesn't say WHY, but that people should avoid them.

    Can anyone tell me what typical problems occur with these years and why CR would list it as a used car bad bet?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, I find that kind of odd. Our 2003 has suffered exactly three faults (itemized below) in its first 66,000 miles.

    1) A dead OEM battery, which I replaced with a DieHard
    2) A failed wheel speed sensor which disabled the ABS and the Traction Control, fixed by the dealership for about $200
    3) A failed bulb in the center brake light at the top of the tailgate, replaced during the mandated annual New Hampshire inspection

    The sum and total of all unscheduled repairs on our 2003 has yet to hit $300, so by my standards, that van can well be called Extremely Reliable.

    Best Regards,
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    There are a lot of faults with Consumer Reports surveying methodology, too numerous to get into in detail, the most glaring of which is the inherent bias in most of their subscribers, and subscribers are the only database from which they draw surveys.

    I do subscribe, mostly to get their non-reliability evaluations, so I do get and fill out their annual survey.

    The worst part of the survey is they do not discriminate in an objective manner between severe and minor issues, do not ask any information about the cost or down time of the particular issue, etc. Their reliability question is only a very vague to paraphrase "Did you have any repairs that you deemed serious" and then have you list the various components. Check out and click on the "Think Pieces" section for some good essays.

    Our 1996 Caravan (Yes horrors the first model year of a major redesign!) has served us well (AC repairs has been its only significant downfall) and it is now too old to even be considered in the CR survey.

    Bottom line, they are good vehicles, and a bargain when purchased used, because they are so numerous.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    We have a 01 DGC EX that was purchased used in Sep. 2003, w/37K for just under $16,000 before taxes etc. Our van has been very reliable and we have never been stranded or inconvenience To date this is what we have had done both regular and non regular maintenance.

    1) Replaced both, front driver and passenger, power window regulators and motors. (Right after purchase and covered under warranty) Total cost was around $600. Only paid $100 deductible.

    2) Gas cap. This only cost $12.00 for the part, but close to $90.00 to read the code. Total was just under a hundred to which we paid out of pocket.

    3) Replaced front link, sway bar; link-sway eliminator; bushing-sway eliminator and cushion, front sway bar at 52K. Total in parts was $173.12. Don't remember total bill, but everything was covered under warranty. We only paid $100.00 deductible.

    4) Battery replaced for just under $100.00 at around 55K. Paid out of pocket.

    5) Had latch on liftgate replaced, upgraded computer software and adjusted the liftgate. Also, had outer tire rods replaced on both wheels at 74K. Total price was $451.25. Everything was covered under warranty, so we just paid $100.00 deductible

    6) Complete brake job including turning all four rotors for $450.00 at 74K. Paid out of pocket.

    7) Complete trans. flush for $89.00 at dealer at 45K.

    8) Regular oil changes every 3K.

    So, we have paid around $1,039.00 for all routine and none routine maintence. (This doesn't include oil changes). We definitely got our money's worth by purchasing the extended warranty. Our van has been very reliable, especially since it was the first year new model. :shades:
  • brenerdbrenerd Posts: 1
    Need some direction with a problem with turn signals. First I need to state that 4 way hazard lights work all the time and all the bulbs are good. My problem is that from time to time, with no noticeable pattern, the turn signals do not work. Sometimes they do not work at all, at other times they work but stop. Usually, if I turn on the 4 way hazards and then turn them off, the turn signals will work the next time I need them. Sometimes this trick does not work. I have 108,000 miles on car and do not want to spend hours of labor to solve problem. Anyone familiar with this problem? Thank you! David
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