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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    Brett: I added a Hayden cooler to my 99 GC Sport. Royallen's estimates of 1.5 hrs, a screwdriver and a knife apply here as well, but I ended up removing the front bumper to get proper access, not just the grill.

    I mounted the unit on the passenger's side and have posted the details previously at Edmunds. I think my circuiot runs from the tranny to the radiator cooler, then to the auxiliary cooler on the left, then to the additional Hayden unit on the passenger side, then back to the tranny.
  • wilsoncj6wilsoncj6 Posts: 10
    ok, now that i have that question answered, i have another one! it's been pouring all day (so i haven't gotten to the tranny cooler yet), so we decided to take the van instead of the jeep cj. well, we hop in the van and we have a big puddle of water at the passengers feet. i remember reading something about this before, something like clogged vent or something. i can't find the post though. anyone remember the post or what to do to fix this? thanks!
  • This may not be a problem inherent to the Caravan itself, but it is driving me nuts. I can only get AM radio stations, while the FM stations continually fades in and out. In the meantime, the radio dial has been fixed on Radio Disney. Personally, I think my kids are involved with this conspiracy. Any suggestions - besides me getting used to N'Sync and Britney!
  • blukensblukens Posts: 8
    Our new T&C is blowing hot air out of the rear floor vents in auto or manual mode. I'm betting that a valve is stuck open. Does anyone know if this rear A/C system heats with a hot water valve or does it just shut off the air flow to stop heating?
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116
    Just amazing. The best I ever did on a trip with the '94 3.8L T & C was 22.9 MPG, although the '94 did have AWD, which is expected to hurt MPG slightly.

    I've only had one highway trip with the '01 3.8L, and that got 19.6 MPG. Weight? No, 4 small kids and luggage, a total of maybe 600 lbs. counting the parents. Of course, there was one highway mountain pass and two metro areas with stoplights ... pure, flat highway would be better. But still, it's about 2 MPG less than the '94 on the highway, 1 MPG less in city, and nowhere near carleton's numbers.

    Any ideas, anyone? Is the 3.8L that much thirstier, despite EPA estimates that are similar to the 3.3L? Weak California gas? Sunspots?

    Our normal cruising speed is 70-74 MPG.
  • dewy1dewy1 Posts: 1
  • zac11zac11 Posts: 1
    I can not belive what im reading. My minivan has more power my mivivan has more power.The dodge has more tranny problems .......the honda is to much money . My M.P.V is better looking.
    Well stop and look we are putting down each others minivans. Can anyone see the real problem here .......well......WE HAVE MINIVANS what happened to craming every body into the little datson and going out to a bar or a night club to have fun we did not care about fold away seats or built in car seats or if the dam thing had doors on it .If it got us to the beach or the bar we where happy.
    So lets stop putting down each others car and look at the reel thing we are getting older and there is nothing we can do about it.
    And yes I have a dodge grand caravan ex and I love It

  • shepherd5shepherd5 Posts: 35
    Had squeak problem during my first month. A loose screw (near the passenger visor) was the culprit. Took less than a minute to fix but a few days to find. While I was driving it, it sounded like it was deep within the dashboard.
  • mrl859mrl859 Posts: 168
    Was the squeak a very high pitched chirp which seemed to be eminating from the top of the right side of the dash/RF speaker area over bumps? If so, which screw did you tighten to fix it?
  • magic27magic27 Posts: 1
    We have our 1998 Grand Caravan ES for almost 4 years now with 50K miles. We had our first problem with it just after the 36K warranty expired. It over heated and the radiator fan had to be replaced. And just recently when it reached 48K miles, the radiator is leaking and it had to be replaced. It's good that we have extended warranty. I would suggest to anyone buying Dodge Grand Caravan to get an extended warranty if you're planning to keep the it for more than 3 years.
  • fgastonfgaston Posts: 1
    Have a 3.3L with 57,000 miles. Engine makes loud ticking noice at idle only. Dealer says he hears problems both in lower end with a rod and in top end with valves. Bottom line: minimum 15-25 hours to tear engine down locate, & rebuild. He's prepping me for rebuilt Chrysler engine at $4,500. Since problems just seem to be beginning should I keep the car & do the work, even though I don't know what I'm up against or trade in. Have also been told that tranny is guaranteed to go on these before 100,000 miles. Thanks in advance.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    Fred, I'd suggest a second opinion from the best independent mechanic you can find. In regards to the transmission, what measures have you taken to keep it healthy? One prior poster has recommended spectrographic fluid analysis, however his '96 tranny still failed at 65K but he knew it was not in normal operating condition and because of good maintenance records was covered by CC except for $250.
  • mfemfemfemfe Posts: 1
    96 Voyager at 64k miles has transmission fluid leak, no other symptoms of transmission problems YET. Is Chrysler offering any type of assistances to fix transmission? E-mail back to also. Thanks
  • shepherd5shepherd5 Posts: 35
    i personally thought the squeak came from deep within the dashboard. the actual location was actually above -- i guess the sound bounced off the windshield -- who knows. however, there are "star screws" tightening the ceiling liner to the ceiling. one was loose. all i had to do was find a star screwdriver and pushed it back in. noise went away afterwards. i think you can get away with pushing it in with a pen or other pointy object. i don't recall actually having to screw it back in.

    i started hearing windows rattling on the driver side now (towards the rear). my sister's '96 has a severe rattling problem in the same area.

    i supposed this may be moot once the door flies off!
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    If you were the first owner and the vehicle has had NO problems before this one, it may be worth repairing. If you got it used, you have NO IDEA of the abuse it received before you got it.
    It took a few years to discover the best remedy for the annoyance of a problem vehicle. We kept the NEW 1972 Volvo for 3 years but had learned our lesson with it. We kept the NEW 1975 VW Rabbit for 18 months, the used 1977 VW Bus purchased January 1979 (with 20,000 miles) for 18 months, and the NEW 1980 Chevy Citation for 15 months.
    We learned that a bad vehicle will start having problems within 1 week to 10 days and the problems just escalate. My sister-in-law inherited a 1986 Caravan that her father got at a fly-by-night used car lot. When it started having engine problems, I suggested she get rid of it as she did not know how badly it had been abused nor the real, actual mileage. She did NOT listen and had the engine rebuilt. The mechanic who rebuilt the engine said it had at least 187,000 miles and not the 87,000 indicated on odometer. It has never run properly even after rebuilding the 4 cyl engine. The money spent on overhauling the engine was wasted.
    In 1991, my brother-in-law got a used 1990 Ford Taurus "Program Car" with just under 10,000 miles. When the transmission went out in 1997 at 130,000 miles, he said it was not worth the cost of transmission repair so he just gave it away. He got a used Nissan King Cab that has had zero problems. His wife (my sister) inherited our mother's 1979 Impala in 1996. When they got their NEW 2001 Odyssey EX last week, they gave the 79 Impala with 99,500 miles to their son-in-law who plans to drive it for a long time.
    Our friend had a rear axle seal replaced the 2nd time under warranty on his 1999 Tracker (Suzuki Vitara clone)at 30,000 miles. I suggested he get rid of it. We got an e-mail yesterday that he did...traded it in on a 2001 Blazer.
    When we got zero problem vehicles (after the Volvo, Rabbit, VW Bus, and Citation problems) we gave them to a daughter when we got our new vehicles. Good vehicles seem to run indefinitely with no problems. Bad vehicles will just keep having the same and new problems.
  • tkenny53tkenny53 Posts: 41
    Changing the fluid and clean/replace the filter is not doing a complete trany service. The dealer has it recomended at 12k miles, which is ok, BUT...unless the entire trany fulid is removed including the t-converter does any of the 12k service means anything,my dealer says at the 12k service they just drain the pan and add fluid and not completely pump out the t-converter. I'm on my 3rd (and last trany) for my 92 voyager with the 3 speed trans. I did a lot of bitchn' to the dealer(and Chrysler) about replacing the reman of only 37k miles for another reman.( I did get it for cost plus 10%. and free labor. Out the door for $1100.00) 'll never own another chrysler again!!!
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    My co-worker got a used 199? Grand Voyager when it had about 10,000 miles. He had over 110,000 and ZERO problems when I retired May 31, 1996. He had NEVER changed transmission fluid, NEVER had a tune-up, etc. The only maintenance he had was an Oil and Oil Filter change. Same with his wife's 1994 Cadillac Sedan de Ville he got NEW.
    Question: Do the driving habits of the owner have a greater effect on vehicle reliability than does costly, un-necessary, too frequent maintenance procedures?
  • viczoo1viczoo1 Posts: 2
    In 1998 we bought the van with an extended warranty because it was used. That in itself has been one of the best purchases we made!

    In 1999, we had to have the seals and gaskets in the transmission replaced because of leaking. Until now, we've not had any further transmission problems. Three weeks ago as I was coming home with my son, I turned on a street about a block and a half from my home and all of a sudden there were no gears. I had it towed to a nearby dealer who eventually ended up telling us that the warranty company was only going to cover the cost of the Torque Converter, the rest would be on us. Why? Because of something they called a pre existing condition. One of the clips on the core was broken. Two weeks and $1800 dollars later we have the van back and it runs great. The van is not driven hard - it goes to and from work (4.9 miles each way), soccer games, periodic camping trips and maybe a road trip once a year. It has 70,000 miles on it. Part of that includes a move from Ohio to Florida. The usual stuff.

    My question I guess is how were we to know something was broken when we had no external indication that anything was wrong. There were no leaks. The information center above the steering column never gave a clue anything was wrong. Does DC offer any assistance? Has anybody else had problems.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    If it was a Chrysler warranty, it should have been honored with no questions asked for the reasons you stated.
    Looks like the party that issued the warranty is unethical, crooked, or liars. We have discovered that a warranty is only as good as the party that issues it. Examples:
    #1. We bought a used 1977 VW Bus with 20,700 miles from a VW dealership in January 1979. It had a written 30 day or 1000 mile warranty. We drove it on a 220 mile round trip and had to refuel 3 times...only a dismal 11.1 MPG at 50 MPH. Took it back and the dealership would do NOTHING to fix it. That was our 5th VW and I will NEVER own another Volkswagen (JUNK in German) as long as I live.
    #2. The 2nd gear in our 4 speed 1980 Chevy Citation would not stay engaged after the factory warranty expired. Took it to the closest Chevy dealership and gave them the facts. The Chevy dealership rebuilt the manual transmission and did NOT charge us anything.
    Chevrolet provide excellent warranty service. Some Volkswagen dealers will do anything to avoid honoring their own written warranty. Does anyone wonder why the sale of Volkswagens is in the toilet?
    NOTE to DaimlerChrysler: Honor your warranty and provide repair at NO COST the problem automatic transmissions that are caused by poor or cheap design.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    Actually Volkswagen's sales are in anything but the toilet. Volkswagen has made a big comeback, especially with the new Jetta and Passat, with the Jetta being the 12th best selling car out of 69 family cars and the Passat being number 28 out of 69 cars. While I own a Chrysler, if I had to choose between the two, Chrysler is definitely the one who's sales are in the toilet. The Concord is number 51 out of 69, the Sebring coup is number 51 out of 69 and the Sebring sedan is number 43 out of 69. Volkswagen was definitely crap in the '80's but they've done a complete 180. I should know since I just bought my daughter the new Jetta which is packed with even more quality than my Avalon. This is going to be her car for a long time and I want it to last....precisly the reason why I didn't go out and get a new Neon with $3000 of MSRP. Here are the sales figures for all the cars.

    Oh and if we want to about talk great companies horning warranties, try me trying to have GM honor my two year old Chevy Vega's warranty after it rusted out only after two years and its rear end back fired and caught on fire, almost killing my dog. Stupid me for believing Motor Trend's car of the year was really a good reliable car. After two years and fighting with GM in the courts, I was done with them. See we all have different experiences with cars. I see you have had no problems with GM, where I on the other hand was dragged through the mud by them nearly 30 years ago.
  • fawkesgfawkesg Posts: 9
    Your Chevy Vega lasted two whole years? You shouldn't complain. Most Chevy Vegas melted after only six months or so.

    God Bless those aluminum block engines.
  • viczoo1viczoo1 Posts: 2
    carlton1: our warranty company is National Auto Care out of Westerville, Ohio. We bought the van in Mansfield, Ohio. Up until this point, we've had no complaints about what they cover. We'll probably have a brand new van by the time the warranty runs out in about 23,000 miles.
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    as I just sold my minivan to a family member, and purchased myself something different with the winnings from my recent vacation to Las Vegas.

    I'll check in on all of you from time to time, but I'm sure that I won't miss a thing. Good luck to all, even those who don't own Chrysler superior minivans. ;-)
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    We need your valuable information. We love our 99 GC SE which has had ZERO problems...just like the experience of the many DC minivans owned by people we know.
    Because of the overwhelming sales success of the DC minivans, there are more DC minivans with problems than other brands. BUT, the percentage of unreliable DC minivans is no higher than the others. In Troll Hall, the current Odyssey reigns supreme as "The minivan with the MOST reported reliability problems". Just read in all forums what the current owners of each are reporting.
  • fawkesgfawkesg Posts: 9
    Owning a Dodge or Chrysler can be very trying unless you understand the basic concept of "Dodge Years." Essentially, this works much like "Dog Years", except the ratio is about 3:1 instead of 7:1 for dogs.. In other words, a 1-year old Dodge is the equivalent of a three-year old Toyota or Honda.

    I, too, was very frustrated with the numerous failures in my 1996 Plymouth Voyager. Oil leaks, head gaskets, bad computers, bad starter, etc. were very hard to understand in a 3, 4 or 5 year old car. When I finally realized that my "1996 Voyager" was actually 15-years-old in "Dodge years", it all made sense.

    I have much more patience with the old girl now.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Of the GREAT number of Caravan/Voyager/T&C, only 1 has had problems. That 1986 Caravan was inherited by my sister in law from her dad who got it used from a "fly-by-night" used car lot.
    Honda reliability? Ha Ha...Big Joke. 4 of 7 Honda Accords owned by people I knew (early 1999 when we were minivan shopping) had MAJOR expensive repairs like engine replacement, transmission replacement (and both for 2), electrical problems.
    Go read in the Odyssey Problems Forums to read of all the numerous problems with the 1999 Honda Odyssey.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Bear in mind that this survey was conducted by a Chrysler enthusiast site - and is of Chrysler fans, not of the general public. Note that the top question about quality and service remains "why are the transmissions still failing in such large numbers, and what's being done about it"?

  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    say the trannies were fixed in 1998 and I believe everything they say.
  • fawkesgfawkesg Posts: 9
    Response to carleton1 Jun 13, 2001 (04:43 pm)

    You are right about the Honda Odyssey. All the data I have seen indicate that it has a "below average" reliability rating. It also appears that Chrysler minivans now have an "average" reliability rating. In fact it was that average reliabitliy that led me to buy an American car after 20 years of a "Japanese-only" buying policy. (I left American cars in the age of the Chevy Vega, Ford Pinto and AMC Gremlin--back when American cars melted in the rain.)

    But my decision was a disaster! This Voyager has been a major headache and has screwed up 4 vacations in a row due with problems. It is also true that the major failures have been due to the crappy Mitusbbushi engine in the car, so the problem is not that it is an "American car."

    In fact, I just bought an "American car" (85% at least) that I believe I will be able to depend on--a Toyota Sienna. It was cheaper and nicer than the Dodges and, after the last experience, I am not gong to take a chance that Chrysler didn't get it right again.

    It should also be more reliable than the Honda minivan.
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