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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • mikew58mikew58 Posts: 10
    I have a 2001 Grand Caravan with 90,000 on it. Its been a very reliable vehicle but lately the speedometer has begun to fluctuate and the check engine light is on. I did the on off on off on check with the ignition switch and got a P0601 code from the computer. I took it to my local mechanic and after checking it over he says the PCM needs replacing. I believe this is the module I know as the ECM. Are these the same thing? By the way I have also had the intermittent failure of the drivers window to operate. I will have to read the previous posts on this problem.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    You can look the CR "Detailed Reliability Ratings" (the tables with red/open/black circles)where you will find these models have higher than average problem reports from the member surveys done the previous year. Roy
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hey Gang,

    As many of y'all know, we have a 1998 DGC 3.8 with the Touring Package (heavier suspension and 16" wheels), and ever since the van was new it has suffered from a Pulsing Brake pedal. This van now has over 115,000 miles on the clock and as such has been through three sets of 11" MOPAR rotors as well as two top of the line NAPA sets. Each set has developed a light pulsing in the brake pedal within a few hundred miles of installation, with the problem gradually getting worse over the next 20,000 to 30,000 miles. In every case I was forced to perform a complete brake job even though the pads were far from gone. :( Now however, I think (hope is more likely) that I've solved the problem once and for all.

    Sliced and diced every which way I could, the failure mode of the previous sets of pads and rotors led me to believe that our 1998 has been suffering from heat related warpage of the rotors, and so about a month ago I launched my quest for cooler running brake components. Here's what I found:

    Rotors: Power Stop: High-Performance Cross-Drilled Rotor (about $70 per)
    Pads: Performance Friction Brakes: CarbonMetallic (about $41 per axle)

    Total cost for the parts (with shipping) was just under $200.

    I installed them last weekend and now have just over 500 miles on them. So far at least, they stop as smooth as the brakes on our 2003. Note: by 500 miles on the previous sets I could already feel the early vestiges of the warping problem.

    To see the results check out the "Caravan Stuff" folder on my Yahoo! photo page:

    FWIW, the 11" brakes that are on our 1998 only came from the factory on minivans with 15" or 16" wheels, a smaller 10" rotor was standard on vans with the 14" wheels and I have no idea how well those deal with the heat generated from stopping these vehicles.

    FWIW #2, as illustrated by a couple of other pictures in the Caravan Stuff folder, the 11" brakes on our 2003 are substantially thicker and as such have a much greater thermal mass which is better able to deal with the heat generated from stopping. With over 66,000 miles on the 2003 we've pretty much confirmed that the heavier components on that van don't suffer from warped rotors under the very same driving conditions.

    I’ll keep y'all posted as to the continued smoothness and pulse free driving that I expect to get out of them. I suppose this post will be worth it if even one of y'all have been dealing with the same issues and it helps solve them for your too. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    My folks are empty nesters, and are on their second minivan. Dad has a lead foot, so he burns through brakes like there's no tomorrow. First brake job, and he just puts Brembo blanks (rotors), and high-perf brake pads. I suspect a lot of these companies undersize brakes, not taking into account that a van that's loaded down with a thousand pounds of people and gear NEEDS huge brakes.
  • leisa2003leisa2003 Posts: 3
    I have a 1997 plymouth voyager, it ran sluggish, and finally died. As i was driving it I thought i needed new spark plugs. We changed them still wouldnt start, we changed the fuel pump still wouldn't start. The only other problem besides this was my radiator would boil,the gauge would never show hot, but when i would turn the key off you could here it boil. Dont know if these 2 problems may go hand in hand with why its not starting at all now. Won't even start when cool. It turns over but just wont start.
  • shortdjshortdj Posts: 1
    $th set of fronts and 2nd on rear in less than 36000 miles
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    Hey guys,
    We have an '02 GC, this morning my wife got in it to go to work and she said the instrument cluster lights lit up across the dash. Funny electrical stuff going on...drivers side window would'nt go down also. I know Dodge vehicles act like this when the battery is going bad but I just replaced it with a new, good battery less than 2 years ago.
    Any suggestions on what to check or do? Thanks.
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    I just had very similar bizarre issues with my 2000 Bonneville which I took to calling Christine for those of you who saw the movie. I also had recently replaced my battery just as I had done on other cars many times. However, at the suggestion of several people on a Bonneville forum who thought it sounded like a bad ground, I went back and cleaned the battery connections and used dielectric grease this time. All's well now so it might be worth a shot.
  • funroadsfunroads Posts: 49
    Finally got resolution to my 3.8L misfire problem (codes P0300, P0306). Turned out not to be plugs/wires, or EGR valve, or vacume leak, or intake leak. It was a broken valve spring (cyl #6). Thankfully it was covered by the powertrain warranty.
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    Well...took the van to a local Autozone and they checked the battery and the alternator. The battery was between 11.5 and varied up to 13 volts. The alternator however was only reading about 74, it should be reading about 120-130. So, I'm having it replaced as the van has 108K miles on it. The battery is good and the terminal posts are clean so I don't think that is the issue but thanks.
  • mikew58mikew58 Posts: 10
    As I mentioned the other day I have a 2001 GC that had developed some problems identified by my mechanic as a fault in the ECM. I picked up a salvaged ECM and changed them out. The problems I had are gone but I now find that the air bag light is on. I suspect that the air bag was deployed in the previous life this ECM spent. Is it possible to have this reset so the light is not on?
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    Previous life or not, if the condition no longer exists, the light shouldn't be on. I know this is true for Pxxx fault codes, after power has been removed and the condition no longer exists, maybe it's different for the air bag light. Coinsidence that your clockspring decided to go at the same time?
  • My turning signals and backup lights are not working on my 1998 Dodge GC. There is no fuse marked for these things in the fuse box. Would anyone know which fuse is the one to replace? Or maybe it's another problem. I do have an appointment tomorrow at the Chrysler dealership shop. Thanks for any info.
  • I also have trouble with the air bag light always on. I read somewhere that this is not a good thing and could cause problems with the air bag function in time. Yet the dealership did not fix this when asked.

    My auto door locks also went into rapid fire mode and were constantly locking as the van sat turned off in the driveway---24 hrs. a day. That quickly ran my battery down and I had to replace it. Why the dealership didn't just recharge it, I don't know. But now I have no auto locks as we took the fuse out. The dealership says it can't be fixed, and that I will just never have auto locks. That seems unbelievable. I would like to add that I don't have a 1998 manual, just a 1999 one and the fuse box is different.
  • catarinuscatarinus Posts: 1
    I a proud owner of a 2000 Chrysler Gr.Voyager 2.5 turbo-diesel since new. It's popular in Europe diesel versions. The engine is a noisy Italian V.M. unit. I say noisy because I think it is not normal even for a diesel. I know all Turbo-diesel 1996/2000 models make such noise. However 2001 CRD and later models are much more quiet. Is it because of common-rail injection or the noise is due to other system eg. gearbox?Any suggestions?
  • tlsn4tlsn4 Posts: 3
    New member here and I hope someone will be able to help me out, cause I don't have a clue.

    Got up this morning and the wife couldn't start the van. Checked it out and when you turn the key to start it, I get a loud clicking/ticking noise and all the interior/dash lights flash along with the ticking. The battery isn't dead and the starter doesn't engage to even try and turn the engine over. I just get the clicking and light flashing. We got a good rain last night and I'm thinking it may be moisture in a connector, but other than that, not a clue. Does anyone have any idea what this could be? It was running fine and starting without issue all day yesterday.

    If someone has an idea, please let me know.

  • mikew58mikew58 Posts: 10
    It certainly sounds like you are not getting enough power from your battery. The clicking is likely the starter solenoid clicking but not enough power to engage the starter motor. Try cleaning the battery terminals. If you can get another battery try to start it on that one. Batteries can and do fail rather quickly. What happens when you turn the headlights on? Are they dimming when you try to start the car?
  • tlsn4tlsn4 Posts: 3
    Thanks Mike. I'll try cleaning off the terminals. Wife is at work with the other car so I can't get around town right now to get a brush and some cleaner. Also, not sure about the headlights, since I'm the only one, can't see what they are doing when I try to start it. I'm guessing if they are dimming, then battery is crap, right?
  • mrbizness1mrbizness1 Posts: 93
    I am on my third battery. The OEM lasted 8 months. Replaced under warranty the second battery lasted seven years. Just replaced it with a Walmart battery. Both batteries failed without any hints they were getting weak. Started losing the tach and speedometer intermittently for a few days. Load testing revealed a weak battery. The dash battery light never came on in either case.
    If your battery is good you might also check the starter connections.
    good luck.
  • tlsn4tlsn4 Posts: 3
    Well after a little bit of sitting back and thinking about it, I'm thinking I got a bad battery. Its a Mopar battery, so its either OEM or one replaced under warranty at some point. I bought it used in January of 05 so I'm leaning toward its a bad battery. When the wife gets home, I'm gonna try and give it a jump and see if it starts, if it doesn't start, then that should lead me toward the starter. Thanks for all the help guys, I appreciate it.
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    One thing to think about is that on our older Caravan, when the battery died(totally without warning), it died so completely that we couldn't even jump it to start the van.
  • mikew58mikew58 Posts: 10
    Follow up to the problems with my 2001 GC. I had a check engine light on and the code it gave me was P0601. The symptoms were a fluctuating speedometer needle and a rough shift between first and second gears. According to my mechanic this indicated a fault in the ECM so I purchased a salvage one through eBay. Chrysler dealer wanted $600+ just for the ECM while I paid $150 on eBay.I removed the original and installed the replacement only to have the airbag light remain illuminated. Today I talked to my local mechanic and found that I will have to have the original VIN programmed into the replacement ECM. Seems this is the symptom when there are two VINs stored. So next week its off to the local Dodge Boys to get the ECM flashed. Dang thing sure runs better with this salvage ECM. No error codes and no operating problems. I did change the battery while I was doing this after realizing I still had the original Mopar in there and this is over 5 years of service. So some of them last.

  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    I second that. We have a 01 DGC EX and back in mid 2004 had to replace the original Mopar battery. We had no warning, it just died while at the dealership for an oil change. They tried jumping the battery and charging it. Nothing worked. They did test the charging system and starter and all was fine. ;)
  • leisa2003leisa2003 Posts: 3
    Well, we checked the spark plugs and wires, all is fine their. Tried to jump start it, and no luck. Brother ran code on it, and he said it was nothing electrical. It fires, but just wont start. Any Suggestions?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    It fires, but just wont start. Any Suggestions?

    Sounds like fuel starvation to me.

    Best Regards,
  • I have a 2001 grand caravan and recently after unlocking the door with the remote all the doors are fine, but when I try to open the driver's door the lock goes down as I pull on the handle. I am forced to time my pulling to just after the lock first goes up.
    Has anybody else had this sort of problem. I think it is mechanical, but I have not had a chance to look at it. I have no problems getting out of the car. It seems like the exterior handle and the lock are not working together as they should be.
    Any ideas?
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    This sounds really strange, like there must be a short in the electrical wiring inside the door.

    Unless they changed the design since our 1996 was built, Dodge and Chrysler minivan front doors can be opened from the inside without unlocking them, the inside door handle overides the locks.
  • leisa2003leisa2003 Posts: 3
    Well we changed the fuel pump, not that, and my brother put fuel in something on top of the engine, to see if it would start then, and no luck. He said it was getting fuel. Could it be the timing belt? This van studdered when it would idle for about a month before it finally died and wouldn't start. :cry: link title Any suggestions??? Thanks, Leisa
  • On wednesday went out to try starting the minivan and it would turn over and run for a second and then immediately shutoff - also noticed that dashboard lights were out and that speedometer and fule gauge would not work either. Took vehicle to repair shop, they couldn't determine the issue of the problem, but after messing around have the vehicle running(not for sure how long), but all dashboard lights remain out as well as fuel gauge and speedometer. Any thoughts on what could be wrong and a possible solution to fix?
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