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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Big junk, bigger junk, and biggest junk. Maybe DC is making them better like starting probs by wilsoncj6. If they won't won't start than they won't fall a part.
  • Remember what Thumper's father told him in the movie "Bambi."

    Most people are here to either find solutions to problems with their vehicles or to find out what to expect from a certain vehicle. If you have something constructive to add please do so.
  • It really sounds like you have a problem with the contacts in your solenoid. The contacts transfer the electricity from the solenoid to the starter once the solenoid has engaged the starter gear with the flywheel. The contacts themselves are pretty inexpensive but unless you are doing all of the work yourself it will cost you about the same to just have the whole starter replaced.
  • We had a '94 Voyager, pretty good van, no major problems except trans. was leaking and engine was leaking toward the end, always started and ran just fine with 90,000 miles on it,then we traded it in on a 2000 Venture, worst mistake I have ever made. I wanted a new Caravan, but our Neon was in and out of the shop and was getting me very upset, and the wife liked the Venture a little better. I also figured, OK why should I 'reward' a company that I just gave $14,000 to for a Neon Sport that is a piece of junk with buying another vehicle. Maybe I should have... the Venture has been a horrible nightmare, towed 3 times, sometimes won't start, struggles to start intermittely, minor electrical problems, cheap plastic parts... don't know.... I really hope the quality on the 2001 + models goes up... I will be watching.. OR maybe a Toyota will be next...
  • I have a 1997 Dodge GC with 215-65/16 tires. The van has generally provided outstanding service and with the exception of the brakes I have no serious complaints. Unfortunately, I live in a fairly hilly area (actually mountains) and I'm getting tired of turning/replacing the rotors. Does anyone know of a brand of rotors and/or disc pads that would cure this problem?
  • changed the starter/solenoid today...starting problem gone! thanks for the help!
  • i know i've read about it in here before. the connection in the steering wheel for the airbag/cruise control/horn that goes bad and causes the air bag light to come on. well, mine just went out. is this a do it at home fix, or something we have to take to the dealer?
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    There is a TSB on replacing the clock spring for the air bag light problem. If not covered (you might be, so check first), the part is about $90 and can be replaced if you have a generic steering wheel puller ($20). Just be careful with the air bag! If not comfortable, the dealer can do it for about $60-100 labour.
  • I have an 01 T+C LXi with 3500 miles. Ever since we drove it off the lot at night, the instrument panel buttons (radio presets, A/C controls, etc.) don't light up when the headlights are on. My 96 T+C's buttons lit up at night. I took my 01 to the dealer, and they said the buttons aren't supposed to light up. It's impossible to see what buttons you are pushing. If it's a cold, stormy night, and the windows are fogged up, I won't be able to find the defroster switch. Is this my dealer's fault or Chrysler's? Does anyone else have this problem? Please help!
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    Most of the buttons don't light up, unless the control is working eg when the rear wiper is on. However, there is a small light that cast a glow on the panel. I think it is situated behing the cup holders. See if that is working properly.
  • I have a 1999 GRAND CARAVAN. the head lights HAVE ALWAYS appeared to be to dim at night,is there an upgrade light package i can get to replace the current headlights that may help improve the situation.

    thank you in advance
  • Hi,

    Has anyone changed and flushed their coolant system in this van. I tried to do it by turning
    the draincock valve on the lower left hand side of the radiator about 20 times and nothing
    comes out. The van is cooled down and I have the radiator cap removed as specified in the Hayes manual. The coolant just don't want to come out. Anyone one have any ideas before I try
    to take the lower radiator hose off ?

  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    I've done it on my 99 GCSport, and it worked out just as the Haynes manual said to.
  • hey wilson,

    i too am having the same problem on my van. WHat year is yours ?

    It makes a click instead of starting. Sometimes it takes 5-10 cranks before it starts. I know it needs the starter and solenoid.

    Question is: how much did it cost you, and how hard was it to put in. I looked at the chiltons manual and it says its around by the cross member. Is it easily accessible when you raise the front of hte car ?

  • Thanks for the tip vcheng. Small light doesn't work, nor do buttons light up when used. Will have it looked at. Thanks a bunch!
  • I don't recall seeing this mentioned here before. Have any other owners of 96-2000 DC vans experienced problems with the seams of their headlamp housings opening and allowing water to get in?

    I recently drove the 99 T&C LTD I bought in May up north and for the first time drove in the rain for an extended period. When I arrived, my right headlamp housing had a great deal of water in it.

    Use of my low beams while I was there dried out that portion of the housing, but the high beam area remained water fogged until I returned to the sunny south.

    The right outboard amber running light below the headlamp housing wasn't working at all, but must have dried out before I found a replacement bulb because it was working again when I went to replace the bulb.

    My dealer service department gave me the impression that this problem was not uncommon. They put some sealer on the seams of the housing and stated that this usually (but not always) did the trick. A replacement headlamp housing will cost over $400.

    Just another reason why I think I will look elsewhere for a replacement when I get rid of this van. The headlights are marginal enough as is without water and/or dirt getting into them. And if this problem began with the 96's DC should have noticed and corrected the problem by the 99 model year.
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47

    Make sure the wheels are torqued to 80 lbs./foot and the rear brakes are properly adjusted. As for brake pads and rotors you want to investigate the cross drilled rotor and pads at


  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    our 2000 town and country lx has never had any problem like that with our headlamps. while the headlamps could be brighter, you won't find me complaining. i usually drive with the low beams and fog lamps on to put more light on the road, and i find this helps a little.

    it seems to me as though it was just a small glitch that was made in assembling your van at the factory. i remember our 98 grand caravan se leaked small portions of water from under the dashboard right above where the front passenger's legs would go when it rained.

    just curious, what other problems have u had with your van that might make you want to look somewhere else for a replacement when you decide to sell or trade in your current t&c limited? both of our chrysler vans have been flawless and we have liked them both very much.

  • See my post #815, my van was shuddering when cold. You gave me the idea it might be the belt tensioner. I took it in, told my mechanic to check out the tensioner and the mechanic was cool to the idea because it didn't make sense to him (also he didn't like a layman making suggestions). Well, the tesioner was bad, and he replaced it and the belt and the problem has disappeared. GE did cover the tensioner with no hassle, so with a $50 deductible I saved $60. That's only a fraction of what I paid for the warranty, but I still have another 4 years to go on it.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Anyone know how the filler tube is connected to the gas tank on the 1990 Voyager? I had my fuel pump replaced Friday and today, after filling up the tank, it's leaking at that joint. All I can see is a large rubber seal which covers the connection. I took it back and parked it in the shop's lot (it was closed but I wanted the gas to leak in their lot, not my driveway.) I'd like to know what's what before I take them the keys on Monday.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    My guess is it's held on with a large hose clamp that they forgot to put back on. Wasn't there any other vans around you could have looked at? I doubt that the procedure changes year to year.
  • Drop your transmission down to a lower gear when decending on steep hills, this will enable the motor to take some of the load off the brakes.
  • Raise your headlight adjustment slightly, this will greatly improve your visibility.
  • fhohiofhohio Posts: 10
    Regarding the Odessey, just note that in Consumer Reports Annual Auto issue, the 1999 model made the hit list of "used vehicles to AVOID." First year for the new version, obviously, had its share of problems reported by that magazines's subscribers. My 1999 Caravan has been almost perfect-one minor repair in the first 3 years. But low mileage. Yes, I bought an extended warranty only because of the transmission history, which is unfortunately a continuing concern for some folks.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Thanks for the reply. It was raining and almost dark when I noticed the gas leak so I wasn't inclined to do any more than look underneath to see where it was coming from. Had it been dry and light, I would have attempted to fix it myself although it's a real pain in the [non-permissible content removed] when a "full service" repair shop misses something basic when putting something back together. I'll probably not go back to them for any future repairs.
  • Does anyone know if the O/D in the 4 speed auto can be turned off ?

    I've heard a few people mention that turning it off would help going up hills or something.

    I have a 91 grand voyager 3.3L and a 98 grand caravan 3.8L. Both with 4 speed o/d. Neither of them seem to have a way to pull the tranny out of o/d once it gets upto speed.

    On the 98 there is a light by the gear label light part saying "O/D OFF". Like it can be illuminated, but i can't find a button anywhere or how to do it. ???

    what's goin on ???

  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    On alot of automatics they have L/1, 2, D/3, and OD/D. So is there one of those combos availible? Also on some Ford trucks 3rd gear was not a direct drive 1 to 1 and made it run at higher RPM's than it should have. Forced you to use overdrive even if you didn't want too.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    Rich, My '95 Caravan has a cluster of pushbuttons to the left of the gage cluster that on top are 2 buttons controlling rear wiper and washer. Below these is a button labeled "O/D off" which lights when activated. Its use is discussed in the owners manual, stating to turn O/D off when conditions would cause frequent shifts in and out of O/D. For me that is city driving. Roy
  • plrodplrod Posts: 13
    to my list of automakers of "cars I will not buy again"; Ford is the only other on my list. We've a 95 Grand Voyager with just over 60K on the odo and a very thick file of stuff that's been replaced under warranty. While this van has served it's purpose, the list is just too long of what went wrong with this van. I will not buy another and cannot recommend it. I'll now hold out to see what awaits in a new era of non warranty repair. They can keep their D Neon rentals for people who own them.
  • Hello all,

    I have a Dodge Caravan with approx. 23000 miles on it. It is a 2000 and we bought it new at the end of Aug 2000. We had it in for inspection in May (around 17000 miles) and no problems were found. In the beginning of October the brakes grinded to a halt and the vehicle was towed to the dealer. The problem was the inside, front driver side brake pad was found to be worn. The inside brake pads do not have squealers on them so there was no indication that these were failing. My question is, is this normal for the inside brake pad to go without the outside brake pads even reaching the level to set off the squealer. Also, is it normal for this to wear this bad in the 6000 miles since inspection? Our dealer had to replace the rotors and brake pads which cost almost $300. I realize that 23000 is a lot of miles but the car is only 13 months old (when this occurred) and it seems to me that for this to happen there has to be a problem with the caliper. I still owe the dealer the money and, based on the feedback I get from this post will determine if I pay them or not. Dodge has not been of any help either because they said there was nothing they could do since my wife had given the dealer permission to fix the vehicle (as if she had a choice.)
    Needless to say I will never buy another Chrysler product or will I buy a vehicle from Reedman in Langhorne, PA. Thanks for your replies.
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