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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Although we were greatly impressed by the test drive of an Odyssey on March 16, 1999, the unreliability of 4 Honda Accords owned by friends was the primary reason we walked from our $500 non-refundable deposit on a Granite Green 1999 Odyssey LX-C and got a 1999 GC SE.
    We personally knew the owners of 7 Honda Accords in March 1999. Four had major problems and only 3 had been reliable. First hand, verifiable data is more significant to me when I spend my money than the anecdotal data in CR.
    In our area, DC minivans have a far better reliability record than do Honda Accords...When the flagship seller of Honda had proven unreliable for friends, I was not willing to take a chance buying an unreliable brand.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    In my family's case, it isn't even secondhand stories from friends that turned us away from ever considering a DaimlerChrysler product again - it was the ownership of two of their products, which were about as reliable as Consumer Reports' predictions would indicate - i.e., they were nightmares.

    So although CR's data wasn't relevant to your case, it sure was to mine - and I'm sure thousands of others who reported the problems they published.

    That, plus the DaimlerChrysler vans' recall history, should give one pause in considering a new one - there are plenty of better choices out there (or at least let your neighbor be the one to determine whether the 2001+ models are actually, finally, improved - unless you can afford to gamble with $25,000+.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    I know these 4 people who had Honda nightmares and I know the 4 vehicles. I personally verified the information.
    There was NO better choice for us in 1999 than the 99 GC SE which has MANY more nice comfort and convenience features than the nice Odyssey. We are considering the Odyssey along with DC minivans for our next new vehicle. Until or unless we have any serious problems with our DC, the comfort and convenience of the DC will keep us with DC instead of the extra space of the Odyssey.
  • Anyone tried the Bosch Platinum +4 in the 3.3L?
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Take a look at the next big winner that will have other manufacturers quickly copying:

  • when I said that the traditional minivan market would morph into different vehicles. I saw this vehicle in person at the auto show last month and it has an intriguing appearance. However, poor name in my opinion.....doesn't seem to match the personality of the vehicle.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    There's nothing quite as convincing as the extra-sour taste of one's own lemon - secondhand experiences, even of friends and family members, are something to sympathize with, but for anyone who's ever gotten stuck with a lemon, it's a nightmare to be endured.

    There's nothing quite so stomach-turning as driving down the road at 40 mph, hearing a metallic snap-clang, and feeling your engine race as your car decelerates - and at 18,000 miles. Then you've got the wonderful experience of being without a car for three weeks while it's repaired - and then 30,000 miles later, all over again - until - wait for it - you get laughed at when you try to trade the junk on a decent car where trade-in is concerned.

    If you've been through that, you never want to do it again - and fortunately, in the U.S., there are plenty of other automakers who show they care more about the consumer than they do about the sale.

    It's been 12 years now - and we've not had one unscheduled repair in all that time, on three vehicles - two Toyotas and a Subaru. Must be some kind of adjustment for the biweekly visits to repair this or that on the Dodge and the Plymouth that preceded them ...
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    That is precisely why I will NEVER drive or own another Volkswagen and Volvo. I had tried to erase the trauma caused by those foreign made lemons that left a very bitter taste in my mouth.
    I had driven Chevrolet and Buick and had been spoiled by having only routine Lubrication, Oil and Oil Filter changes until I got my NEW 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle. Not only did I get a vehicle without the comfort and convenience of a heater and power, but it and the NEW 1972 Volvo needed frequent, expensive maintenance.
    My 1971 VW SB caught fire for no apparent reason at Ft Lewis Washington July 3, 1972 at 19,840 miles and there I was 1200 miles from my home in Laramie Wyoming with no transportation for 8 days. I also learned 2 years later that the value of many foreign cars is not very good when we sold it when transferred to Germany in 1973.
    I have driven mostly Chevrolet and got my first new one in 1963. No Chevrolet has ever stranded me or needed unscheduled maintenance in the 42 years I owned them...and none ever stranded my father from the time he got one in 1936 until he died in 1991.
    Our GC had a leaky head gasket that was repaired under warranty. If it requires any unscheduled maintenance I will feel like you and buy another brand.
    Since people I personally know had been stranded by Honda Accords, I was not willing in 1999 to buy an unreliable brand vehicle and walked from our deposit on a 99 Ody LX and got the 99 GC SE instead.
  • I'm on this page due to these 2 or 3 "regulars" that visit the Odessey page. I think Honda owners probably know these folks are DC salesmen trying to salvage a few customers...

    But to suggest that Honda Accords are junk just is INCREDIBLE!

    Next to Toyota/Lexus, Honda (all models) blow away anything else on the market. Only a true sucker would look at a DC product, no matter what size rebate they offer. Can't believe there are still folks out there buying these "fine DC products."

    I'm a Previa owner (one lamp problem in rear seat area in 9 years and 145,000 miles) looking to get something new. Gee, guess what I've figured to be the best value for my $28K? NOT a DC van, yep an Ody. Seinnas are nice too but just too small for 4 kids in my case. Can't wait for the revised Previa to get here, so Ody it is.

    Anyone reading these do yourself a favor and check out the Honda, even at MSRP its value (check out trade in value!!) is a world ahead of any DC pile.

  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    You say you know someone who had problems with a Accord so you would never own one as they are junk. Well I know someone with a DC van (newer one, can't off hand remember if it was a 00 or 01, you could check my previous post) who had it towed in with trans problem. So I have come to the same conclusion, that all DC vans are junk. Thanks for helping me sort this all out.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    No profanity please, masked or otherwise. This isn't a comparision topic either, but a forum to discuss any problems with these models and how to fix them. Thanks.

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • Thanks brucevr for your uninspired generalizations of DC product owners. Since you say that you are a Previa owner and the Previa was discontinued several years ago I will assume that you do not now own a DC product and probably haven't for some time. That means that if you have any personal experience with DC products it was probably with a much older vehicle. Believe it or not things can improve.

    As for why anyone would buy a DC product I can tell you my story. I currently own a '95 Cirrus that I have had for over 7 years and it has been extremely reliable. I am planning on purchasing a 2001 Grand Caravan used because I like the styling and features and I can save more than $5000 over a comparably equipped Oddysey. I will use part of the savings to purchase an extended warranty with $0 deductible and not worry about the reliability.

    So, you can label me a sucker but I don't have enough money to buy a new van right now and the prices people want for a used Oddysey just crack me up.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I think both dmathews and brucevr should stop making these rediculous generalizations of DC products. Honda is one of the world's best and most reliable car manufactureres, there is no doubt about that in my mind. But, has the Honda Odyssey had more problems than what is typical for a Honda product? Yes. If you don't believe me, go read of the problems here at Troll Hall or simply look at Consumer Reports.

    Secondly, I don't think the Odyssey is an unreliable car. In fact, despite all of the problems they have had, i would still choose an Odyssey over a DC minivan if reliability was the ONLY factor involved in buying a minivan. But everyone looks for different features in their cars, especially mininvans, and the Honda lacks in some areas that are obviously very important to many people.

    What areas could those be? How about comfort, convienience, and luxury. Just sit inside of a new 2001 or 2002 Town & Country Limited and you will get my point. After sitting in a Town & Country the Odyssey interior looks bland and spartan. Features such as heated leather seats with memory, leather/suede interior, power doors and hatch with obstacle detection system, rear split bench seating, powered center console, overhead trip computer, tri zone climate control, more than decent sound system, cd changer, tire pressure monitor, fog lamps, all wheel drive, heated auto mirrors and windshield, and ajustable petals are very important to many customers.

    Oh, and I dare not forget one of the most BASIC comfort features offered on ANY car that the Odyssey lacks...PADDED ARMREST. Yes, that's right. PADDED ARMREST. I mean common, I think it's pretty cheap for ANY car maker to put hard plastic armrests on the doors instead of something of a higher and more comfortable quality. Thats just plain CHEAP.

    After all, it is true that Chrysler has essentially created a segment within a segment with the Town & Country. No other minivan currently on the market offers these types of features with the luxury content of the Chrysler.

    All Chryslers are junk? You Honda fans wish as it would be perfect to keep telling yourself that to keep yourself driving an Odyssey. The old excuse of not buying a Chrysler because it will fall apart is getting old, fast. We have owned two Chrysler minivans, one of which went to 70k miles without any problems. Many Honda owners haven't even driven their vans past 50k. We also have a 2001 PT Cruiser which already has 12k miles and also hasn't had any problems.

    Bottom line, the Odyssey isn't for everyone. And that is quite obvious by looking at the sales of DC minivans. The Town & Country alone outsells almost every other van on the market, including the Odyssey. If you want luxury, comfort, and convienence the Town & Country is hard, if not impossible, to beat.
  • for several months....lots of grandstanding and very little information. This topic is supposed to be about problems experienced by DC owner so that they can more effectively deal with issues that arise. If you own a Honda or Toyota, go to your own boards and leave this one alone.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Apparently there are not enough nice features of other minivans for their owners to be happy unless they troll in DC forums to bash DC that continues to build the most satisfying minivans.
    Maybe DC minivans had problems in the past. However, any one who reads in all Town Hall Forums will realize the current DC minivans do not have as many owner reported problems as most other brands.
    I am disappointed that the Hosts do not delete the posts in DC minivan forums made by the professional Trolls who get thrills from posting old data about old DC minivans.
    When my 99 GC SE had coolant leak, that fact was reported as was the fact the dealer fixed the problem by replacing both head gaskets the next day under warranty with no hassle. If my minivan had been made by another manufacturer, the head gasket replacement would have been called "routine maintenance".
  • . If my minivan had been made by another manufacturer, the head gasket replacement would have been called "routine maintenance".

    You bring up a good point, I worked at a multi car
    franchise and many families owned a foreign and a domestic vehicle. The service mgr. told me when they brought in their domestic car with a problem they would be very upset and carry on, but if they had a problem with their foreign vehicle it was considered a fluke in their minds and they were very low key. It's hard to figure out.
  • and it seems to run good. Apparently the first re-manufactured trans they put in didn't work right so they ordered up a second one from Chrysler and did it over! They asked for permission to replace the rear main seal for $85 while they were in there...why not? Also had them drop a new set of plugs in to sharpen up the cold starts. I asked for and got a 10% discount off the bill (I'm finding that most dealerships will do this if you ask nicely on bills over $400 and act like they're earning your return business). Total bill....$2,020. Blue book.....$1250 in good condition, which this one ain't. Oh well, four months and it will be less than a new truck payment.
  • mulfomimulfomi Posts: 56
    Both posts hit the nail on the head. I bought my T&C after driving an Odyssey because of the factors in post 974. Plus I traded in a 94 GC that only had one problem that wasnt considered normal wear and tear. I was very happy with my Chrysler/Dodge products. Also had a 94 Concorde for 7 years with no significant problems.
  • zimm04zimm04 Posts: 1
    We have a 2000 T&C that began leaking transmission fluid at 10866 miles. 1st leak was at differential cover. 2nd leak just below input speed sensor--replaced transfer case. 3rd leak at solenoid pack. Currently on 4th leak scheduled to go into the shop in a couple of days. Anyone else have this problem? Anyone else out there try to collect from Chrysler under Lemon Law or been through their arbitration program? We are in NC and if it leaks again after 4th repair, Lemon Law says they have to replace it w/a new van or repurchase it. Just curious about other's experiences with transmission fluid leaks and/or collecting from Chrysler. Thanks.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    zimm04, you are the first person I have heard in a long time complain about a Chrysler transmission leak in a 1999-2002 model minivan. We have a flawless 2000 Town & Country LX and I am curious what model you have? Our LX has the 3.3 V6 and we have not had any problems regarding the engine or transmission in the 34k miles we have driven the car.

    I know that didn't help your situation much, but I personally have never had a problem with a Chrysler van so I wouldnt be much help anyway. Sorry.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    My '99 GCS has been leak-free so far, but I am very curious as to how this lemon law thing will come out--whether they will give you a new van or repurchase yours, and at what price. Please let us know how it goes.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    My 1990 Grand Voyager (135K miles) has developed a front end shake/shudder between 20 and 35 mph. Feels like an out of round wheel. It bobs up and down noticeably but smooths out above 35 and is completely unnoticeable above 40 or so. The tires are new and look fine. What else could it be? Axle shaft maybe?
  • Since I bit the $2K new trans bullet on my '90, I am now becoming determined to refurbish this vehicle into a keeper. The 5* observed that the front brake pads were worn out so I took it to Midas this morning as I have a "lifetime" system with them. They replaced front disc pads for $30 labor. The $89.95 pads were "free". They tried to sell me a rotor turning for another $30 but I declined as these rotors are only two years old and I feel no warping through the pedal.

    Next up is paint. This vintage minivan is notorious for peeling paint, especially on the roof and hood. Since the van was moved outside, the peeling has accelerated, and now its starting to rust through the exposed white primer. I took it to Maaco today for an estimate. $227.50 labor to strip the hood and roof (6.5 hrs x $35/hr) then $250 for their "Supreme" paint service which is supposedly half the normal $499. What do you guys think about this price? Anyone had experience with Maaco or other auto painting franchises?
  • Definitely front axles. As you can see from my posts, I have the same vintage-1990 GVLE. I had the front axles replaced about two years ago by my dealer (although others, like Midas will do it). I was told new factory parts were no longer available...only rebuilts. The rebuilts that were installed made the shake better but didn't completely eliminate it.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Did your van have a front end shake before you got the new tires?
    Some NEW tires are "out of round" and can not be balanced.
    We got 4 new UniRoyal Tiger Paw AWP for our 91 Astro CL to replace the 4 Tiger Paw Plus that were original equipment. The van had a shake after we got the new tires. I took it back and told them it feels like one tire is defective. They re-balanced the wheels twice before I finally convinced them one of the tires was out of round.
    Once the defective NEW tire was replaced, the van rode as smoothly as it did with the original tires.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    My axles were replaced less than a year and 7K miles ago so I'd be pretty annoyed if they've gone out already. The front tires were done about 1 month and less than 1K miles after that and all was fine until a couple weeks ago.

    Looks like we're in the same boat on these old vans; got so much into them (over $3K last year) you hate to give it up. My 19 year old drives mine and I told him he'd better be looking for his own car next summer.
  • We kept the old van when we bought momma a new 2000 GCS. Junior's been driving it since then. The last four years or so, I've had to put about $1K/yr into it to keep it sound....guess that beats a new car payment.

    However, I REALLY want one of those new RAM 1500's as our third DC vehicle.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    I would like a PT Cruiser as our 2nd vehicle. However, with less than 37K on our 99 GC, it is not cost efficient to get another vehicle.
    When is it best to get rid of an older vehicle? At what time do repair costs make it unwise to keep the older one operating?
  • I don't have an analytical answer for you. My strategy has been to buy new and keep for 10 years or more. Obviously, you have little or no trade-in value at that point, but you've enjoyed 5 or 6 years without payments. Now that my kids are reaching driving age, I am not trading in my old vehicles, but handing them down to my kids. All I know is, you can spend an awful lot on repairs before it comes close to a new car (or truck) payment. If I decide to ditch the '90 GVLE and buy a RAM, I'll probably donate it to my church and take a tax write-off rather than suffer the indignity of the dealer's trade-in offer.
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