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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • Hello:
    I just bought a 2000 Chrysler Voyager SE and recently got hit on the front end by a driver that ran a red light. Since then it seems that the van hydroplanes a lot even in light rain. I know it needs a front end alignment, but I am wondering if I need to look for something else like change tires? Please help!
  • One thing at a time. If you know it needs aligned, then do that and see if it improves. You did say it began hydroplaning only after the accident suggesting that you were ruling out other, traditional causes.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    Hoofer: Interesting information and links - much more informative than the usual opinions. Your concern about the '00 isn't what many of us would have expected.
    indydriver: I saw a discussion of lifter noise on the Cartalk site that is partly contrary to my earlier comments. The gist of it was that startup lifter "ticking" results from oil leaking out and air in its place causing abnormal function until it is replaced. Delayed return of oil prolongs the ticking and can lead to damage and failure.
    So your use of 5W30 oil may contribute to loss of the lifter oil (when cold). It might be worth returning to 10W30 to see. It still seems abnormal, even if it improved with the 10W30 oil.
  • Good to see you back on this board, Hoofer.

    Thanks for the info Royallen.
  • Keep us all posted! Our 4 month old GCS now has 13,450 miles. We are currently in Northern California for the weekend. Anyone experiencing a very rough shaky feeling when going in reverse especially with a load in the car and on a slight incline? It feels like the tranny is slipping. I first noticed this problem the night we brought our van home and I wanted to back the van into our driveway. We only 23 miles on the ODO at that point in time. We had the van when it only had 5 miles on the ODO. I thought this problem would eventually wear out since i figured the van had to be broken in as well as the tranny. 13,450 miles later...i feel this thing shuddering again! What's up?!

    DC Minivan Club
  • abaltoabalto Posts: 22
    Rodney here is that site...

    Here is that Dodge site I mentioned. It has over 75000 posts on Dodge!
  • Hi to all. Hope we are posting this in the proper place.

    We to have a Dodge Caravan 2000 and have been having enough problems to warrant arbitration. We are about to start this process. We have been checking out this board off and on, now we are ready to post.

    Here is the list of the problems We began experiencing these problems at around 8,900 miles:

    First we were mysteriously loosing radiator coolant.(We still have not really found out what was up with that.)

    Then our transmission was leaking fluid, it needed a new pump seals.

    After that all of the lifters had to be replaced.

    After the lifters and transmission pump seals were replaced we experienced the shuddering that was mentioned in a previous post.

    There was another leak that could not be identified even with pressure testing.

    That leak, we think, was a radiator plug gasket that needed to be replaced.

    Comments and advice please.

    The stinkyroses in middle CA
  • Sorry to hear about your multiple major problems. I too have a 2000 GCS, so it hits close to home. Its unfortunate that manufacturers let defective products out into the marketplace, but they all do to some degree and unfortunately for you, you got it. It does sound like you have a dealer that is helping you work through the problems and that Chrysler is standing behind its product. Short of getting into a lemon law situation, this is a machine and as such, can be returned to mechanically sound condition when deficiencies are identified and properly repaired. You should document everything thoroughly and keep making them fix any problems. If you don't reach lemon levels on any one thing you might want to consider buying an extended warranty or just get rid of the thing.
  • Has anyone had a problem with van pulling to the right? We have a 2000 Grand Caravan Sport that is doing this and the dealer is having problems fixing. Any suggestions?
  • any thoughts on arbitration?
  • I am the owner of a 96 Dodge caravan. While traveling over the hoiliday weekend my transmission failed which left me stranded 300 miles from home.I was able to get the van to a Chrysler dealer and finished my trip with a rental car. THe situation didn't leave me in a postion to argue with the dealership but I would like chrysler to pay for this repair. The van has 48000 miles on it and the trans had to be competely rebuilt. Is there anyway to get Chrysler to pay for this?
  • Anyone interested in tethering child seats in the Caravan (I own '00) w/captains chairs can just move the captain chair back one position and use the anchor bolt already in place to tether too. The tether (if rear facing) should fall right onto the worked out good for us...just watch out when you recline and go back with the drivers seat, it may losen the tether it your seat pushes on the child seat. Remember, moving back the captains chair gives you a lot less leg room (none really) for the third row bench.
  • I am considering buying a third-party warranty for my '00 GC. Anyone out thier willing to tell me that it's money well spent? And, would anyone comment on third-party warranty companies (like warranty gold or warranty direct) versus Dodge?
  • Stinky: Sorry, no experience with arbitration on cars. Just be aware that arbitration (as opposed to mediation) means a binding decision by a third party.
    Robnwindycity: I think it depends on your usage. I bought one from the dealer on my '99 300M since it was a new model and I planned to put 100,000 miles on it in three years. I bought a 2000 GCS for my wife in June and did not buy an extended warranty because she will only put 12,000 miles/yr on it in mostly around town driving. I judged the former to be a higher risk of a major failure and the latter to be lower. FYI, on the 300M, I paid $900 at the dealer for the Chrylser mid-range plan (I forget what they're called). I have had one claim to date outside the 3-yr/36,000 bumper to bumper where the repair cost $600 and I paid the deductible $100. So, with one year left on the extended, ChryCo is still ahead $400 on me. We'll see where we end up.
  • me and my wife recently (mostly wife) 3mos bought a 2000 caravan we paid 2000 for a stripped down floor demo when we had a voucher saying that we would pay 15,588 before trade in we traded in a 93 loaded dodge intrepid long story short we actuall paid 19 thousand all told with trade in we owed 15hundred on intrepid and the dealer told us he'd give us 3000 for trade in. he gave us 1900 for trade in and deducted the owed 1500= which left us with 300 for the trade in he never gave us the dealers rebate and with all this we still owe 19000 on a 19000 car is there any recourse for us thank you mad in milwaukee
  • swobigswobig Posts: 634
    why did you take delivery?? Probably too late now, but maybe somebody can say differently.

    I've also had the reverse shutter on my 2000 GCS. It was going up a steep incline in reverse with a full load, but none the less it was still bad enough for me to stop. I just figured it was too steep to be going up in reverse, but I'll have to test it again...
  • I noticed that reverse shudder when we first brought the van home. I backed in the 00 GCS in our driveway and thought that shudder was part of the brand new tranny that needed to be broken in. We picked up the van when it had 5 miles on the odo and and had 22 miles when we got home that day. Now we have well over 14,400 miles and the shudder is very eveident with a load backing up on an incline. Tell me what your results are. Our van was made June 00. How about yours?
  • The kid's driving it now, so I have to do all the maintenance. Is it just me or is Gen Y (or whatever they're called now) not interested in fixin' cars?

    Anyway, replaced the battery. Called around and thought the best deal was at Autozone. Got 700 cold cranking amps for $50. Junior damaged one of the wiper blades by trying to run them when they were frozen to the windshield-got the cheap Anco blade assembly=$5. I kind of accidently found struts for the rear hatch which have been dead for years. Only $14 each. Anyone out there done the strut replacement? Anything special to watch out for?

    All: I notice I'm the first poster since they changed the software. Don't let this board die just because its different! Play around with subscriptions and marks--you'll figure it out.
  • dovey1dovey1 Posts: 13
    I don't think my middle row capt chairs move back or am I not understanding your post. Are you using a Britax rear facing tethered to the front? Thanks for any help you can give me-I can't find an anchor bolt anywhere and was told I'd have to have it installed when I turned the seat forward facing.
  • Popular Mechanics has an article about replacing these - see - look in the Automotive section, Saturday Mechanic, "Hood and Hatch Strut Service", June 1997 I think.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    When replacing the tailgate strut, be careful of the bolts holding it (the struts) in place. I remember that my '94 Grand Voyager LE AWD had a recall a few years ago for the strut bolts. Apparently the bolts holding the struts in place could come apart, leaving the strut unattached and causing it to spring open and break the rear window when the tailgate was closed. In any case, they replaced the bolts and the struts for me, even though I didn't have any problems with them.

    Good luck with your install!
    Drew Townhall co-host
    Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories conferences
  • While driving down the run the other day in our wonderful 15 degree weather my heat suddenly went out. None of the defrosters or floor heating vents work anymore. The blower is still working and its blow extremely cold air. I'm thinking its my thermostat that went out but there has been no change to my coolant guage to indicate that. Its within the normal operating range. The hoses look okay too. Does anyone have any ideas. My van is a 1998 Plymouth Voyager. 3.0l engine.
  • My 1998 Caravan - Won't Start until I move Steering Wheel from side to side while attempting to start.. This is intermittent only.. I have seen cars do this before..

    Can someone suggest part I need.? I can do most anything there is to do to a car..

    Dallas, TX
  • My 1996 Dodge Caravan's transmission failed at 48,000 miles.Is this a common problem? The dealer not only would not do anything but wanted to overcharge me so I had it fixed elswhere. I have all my records
    but this happened 3 years ago and I no longer have the vehicle (DOG).
    Do I have any recourse?
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Yes, it's common that these units fail around that mileage, and yes, DaimlerChrysler knows about the problems and has since this transaxle was introduced (for the 1989 model year). And yes, many people have success getting DaimlerChrysler to reimburse for repairs - but it is not likely you'd have any success if you've since dumped the vehicle.


    for some links about this problematic trasaxle.
  • axle59axle59 Posts: 28
    I don't know if it works the same way in DC vans but I had the same problem with my 91 aerostar. The HVAC controls work off of a vacum line system that open and close various pathways to the vents. You may a vacum leak in one of you hose thus causing no heat. If you are not getting any heat at all then it would probally be the main duct by your heater core not operating.
  • Has anyone had electrical problems like the ones I have been having with my '99 Grand Voyager SE (twin of Grand Caravan)? Currently I have 26K and have had a another electrical type of problem now twice; the second time tonight?

    I will try to be accurate, but brief.

    At about 6K miles, I pulled onto our street and the entire vehicle just died. Turned the key and nothing -- no click, no sound, no lights, no radio, etc. DEAD. Turned out to be a electric command module of some sort, but it took over 4 days to diagnosis, get the part and fix.

    Everything was fine until tonight, when a somewhat similar -- but not exact -- electrical problem happened. When I inserted the key, it would NOT turn. However the steering wheel was NOT locked. I was able to turn the steering wheel until it indeed did engage in the lock position. Ironically, I held the steering wheel to one side, and I was able to turn the key and start the car! Great I thought...

    Until I realized that my BRAKE, AS, and AIR BAG warning lights STAYED LIT. I also did not have any power to the center portion of my dashboard -- no radio/time light, nor did my fan or defroster work (I live in central WI and tonight it was +3F degrees.

    I quickly drive home and backed the vehicle into the garage incase I could not drive it to the dealer on (yikes) Tuesday.

    Again -- anyone have similar tales or adventures? Although it may seem quite minor to a few, I am somewhat frustrated at 26K miles.

  • The problem that I listed above was simliar to the question you asked -- in being that I could not start the my '99 Voyager minivan without as the key could not turn...(for details see my question on Electrical problems)

    What has been your experience?

  • Just wanted to share some problems we are having with our 99 Caravan E. Now at 27,000 miles have had the following problems: Ringing noise in engine, brought in 3 times, changed belt, said will continue, only hemp fix, brought in two more times for same noise; transmission went out at about 20k miles, sensor needed to be replaced; panel circuit board went out which controls odometer, etc gauges ; loud moaning noise when turning steering wheel, replaced rack & pinion and steering column; now my cruise control went out on the highway, works when it wants and also my rear a/I vents sound like they are blowing, but no air coming out. Will bring in again! Not happy at all. Anyone having similar problems?
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