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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • I've owned a 2000 Toyota Sienna XLE since new and was wondering what you Dodge minivan owners have to say about warranty service for your vehicles. So far, the two Toyota dealers in my area have steadfastly refused to fix even the simplest problems I've had with my van. These problems include engine sludge, an irritating steering pull, numerous door and seat rattles, a leaky rear window washer, and loud clacking brake noises. Anybody interested in buying a very reasonably priced superior Toyota product? It's been driven less than 17,000 miles. :)
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    If I'm not mistaken, Toyota has changed their tune on the engine problem. See Auto Week:

  • mendez1mendez1 Posts: 4
    Hey, Edmunds die-hards, I got some news. You can receive a free car rental every time you leave your car at the dealer (over night or for up to 5 days. How? well under the warranty contracts, if your car is being repaired for any warranty work, the warranty company will get you into a rental car for up to $30.00 a day, for 5 days( depending on incident).
    When the mechanic representative tells you that the car will not be returned to you until the next day, just remind him that you need a car rental (again, it's paid by the warranty company). Have him call the warranty company and get the purchase order number. That's all you need.
    There is no out of pocket money since the dealer has a direct payment plan with the car rental companies.
    The best company out there is Enterprise rent a car. They specialize in the replacement car business.
  • This is for pluto5. Actually, Toyota is sticking by its guns when it comes to the cause for engine sludge. It is always, always the owner's fault. This is the position the company took yesterday (Apr 3, 2002) when it released its latest lawyer- crafted revised statement on what they euphemistically refer to as the "oil gelling situation". Also, we are all convinced that Toyota has made a "slight" modification to its new V6 engines not because of a design defect in the old ones. Aside from these little quibbles, it’s fair to say that all products made by man, including those made by the vast and mighty Toyota Motor Company, are less than perfect. Machines break down. This is not news. The question I have is, who does the best job of standing behind their products when it comes to warranty work? If it isn't GM, DCX, or Ford, whom can we look to for fair and honest treatment?
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    The "its the owner fault" isn't new with Toyota's use of it. Just ask those DC owners with transmission problems.
  • Yes, odd1 you are absolutely correct when it comes to Toyota not being the only car company to use the, "It's all your fault" approach to customer complaints. In fact I rank this right up there with, "Gee, we can't seem to get it to do that", and "Golly, we've never seen one do that before". Most service department personnel appear to be trained to assume that the customer's IQ falls somewhere between the size of his shoes and his belt size. That's too bad because it definitely makes having an intelligent conversation with these people difficult. My original question; however, remains largely unanswered, and perhaps it should be the subject of a different topic. Which car company's dealers give the best service under warranty? I realize that service varies considerably from dealer to dealer, but surely somebody has done a study on overall satisfaction with dealer warranty work. If nothing else, I'd love to hear from DC owners regarding their experiences with their dealer's service department.
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    I agree it would be interesting to know who has the best service overall. I can only say that owning several different makes and researching many on the net it seems to me that it really boils down to the ownership of each individual dealership.

    The surprising thing I'm hearing more and more of is people being refused service after giving a service department a negative survey.

    I hope this is more urban legend than truth. If it is the truth the review system is broken. Maybe the problem is in giving the dealership the name of the client of was critical of the service they received. The other problem could be how much incentive money is tied to the surveys. It is going to be coached or bribed(free oil changes is becoming the norm for good surveys from buyers) just like the buyers surveys are. I have read that some of the manufacturers are changing the survey system due to the coaching, since they aren't learning anything about the dealers.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a clear answer to your question about which manufacturer gives the best warranty service. I think you now have to change the question to which dealer will go to bat for you if you have a problem. If you have a service director on your side it's likely that you'll get satisfaction regardless of the manufacturer. Otherwise, I would consider mechanical breakdown insurance from GEICO since you pay a small premium every six months for the coverage with your property coverages and you can keep it up to 7 yrs. like an extended warranty but you don't pay big bucks upfront. Also, you can go to independent shop or dealer for the fix.
  • Thanks guys. All good answers. There's so much hysteria over in the Toyoata Oil Sludge/Oil Gelling topic heading that it's hard to find anyone with rational answers. Thanks again and good luck to all you DC owners! I may be joining your ranks soon.
  • I have a 1992 Plymouth Voyager. Every time I touch the brakes, I get a clicking sound coming from the front. About 20 mph, the clicking stops, and it does not click when I am stopped. Any ideas on what this is so I have an idea when I go to my mechanic?
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    Sounds like your front brake sensors telling you that the front pads should be replaced soon.
  • iaameeiaamee Posts: 4
    Has anybody successfully replaced the gas cap on 1996-1999 DCs with aftermarket locking gas cap? I heard that faulty locking gas cap will cause the 'engine service' light to go on. Does Mopar have this locking gas cap?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Don't know about the DC vans but when I went to get a locking gas cap for my new motorhome I had to return as there were about 4 different kinds and the part that had the treads on it were all different. I think if you take your cap to a good auto supplier like Pep Boys and compare the different kinds you can find one that works. Worst case the light does come on just put the regular one back and the light should go out.
  • monaco2monaco2 Posts: 7
    What do other owners of 1996-2000 Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler minivans think of not having a Brake Shift Interlock on these vehicles? This requires the brake pedal to be depressed before it can be shifted out of Park. You may recall last year Primetime had a show on this issue; reporting how very young kids (2 & 3 year-olds) can shift them out of Park. Older kids, and even adults can inadvertently hit the shift lever and have it roll away.

    I know it's the parents responsibility..., but when it's designed to be a kid-carrying vehicle, you would think DCX would put every reasonable safeguard in it. Other car companies started using the Interlock in the late '80's, and nearly all had them by 1996, except the DCX minivans.
  • iaameeiaamee Posts: 4
    Owner Notification Date: 4/2/2002
    Number of Units Potentially Affected: 545,311
    NHTSA Campaign Number: 02V076000

    Description of Recall Campaign: Vehicle Description: Mini vans. The D-pillar mastic sound barrier patch can loosen and drop into the rear outboard seat belt assembly, causing the seat belt to become inoperative.
    In the event of a collision, the seat occupant may not be properly restrained, increasing the risk of personal injury.

    Dealers will replace the mastic patches with foam blockers and inspect and replace all 3rd row seat belt assemblies. DaimlerChrysler has not yet provided the agency with a notification schedule. Owners who take their vehicles to an authorized dealer on an agreed upon service date and do not receive the free remedy within a reasonable time should contact DaimlerChrysler at 1-800-853-1403.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    '94 GC doesn't have brake shift interlock, either. Rug rats should not be allowed to play behind the wheel, in front of, behind or under the vehicle under any circumstances. Gen 3 seatbelt buckles are a much greater hazard IMO.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    Monoco2, it a good thing the govenment is there to protect us from orselves. I can just imagine Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Frankin sitting back drinking a cold draft wondering how the federal government one day will be making rules regarding how safe it is to leave a horse, hitched to a carrage, with no adult, and a 2 year old in back, in a rattlesnake infested prarie. "You know Ben, maybe we shold make some kind of federal regulation that automatically unhitches the horse when the owner gets off the seat. It's one thing if we were talking about a plow, but these covered wagons are meant for carring children you know." Ahh, progress. Where I live saying one dealer has better service because of the make of car they sell is flawed. Mainly there are no dealers here that sell just one make. If you said Honda had the best service then you'd have to include Pontiac and Cadillac. If you said Mercedes, then you'd have to include Olds and GMC. Dodge also sells Lincon, Mercury, and Suzuki. Mazda and Jeep are together, Subaru and Buick, Nissan and Hundai... It's all about the ownership. I alway take my Dodges to the Jeep dealer for warranty or other work. I learned when I used to have a Jeep they could do any Chrysler product and were actually the only 5-star DC service center around. The Dodge dealer did OK the one time I went there but I can tell a little difference in service, and the Jeep guys are 2 blocks from my work.
  • rolfe2rolfe2 Posts: 81

    The squeal you are hearing in your 2001 T&C might be caused by the rear brakes. They can squeal either in a turn or when starting from a stop.

    There is a TSB which addresses this intermittent problem. I had it applied to my 2001 GC ES. It is quite involved; it took the dealer a couple of hours.

    Sorry I don't have the TSB number with me; press your local dealer to look up the TSB associated with rear brake squeal if this sounds like your problem.

    Hope this helps.

  • gwindygwindy Posts: 5
    Have a problem with the braking system of a 2001 GC since I purchased the van. The squeaking, humming and now the failing of the brakes. Anyone have problems with the brakes failing to hold the car?
  • At the risk of sounding like a safety nut, the brake shift interlock doesn't just protect people from themselves, it helps protect very young kids who don't know what they are doing. Sure it's the parents responsibility, but humans do make mistakes and are careless at times. How many times have we heard "I only turned my back for a second..."

    People get out of their vehicles to go to their mail box, or drop off a package; it only takes "a second." Most people don't know or realize there isn't a brake interlock on these vehicles.

    Also, you may be conscientious, but what if your kids are transported by other parents or sitters, who may not realize the potential danger. And don't forget, this just doesn't affect the negligent parents and idiot kids, the van can roll into, injure and kill, other innocent kids and people in the area.
  • erucehteruceht Posts: 26
    I've been hearing a sort of a clicking/rubbing noise from the front of our 2001 T&C Ltd. when turning at low speeds. Anyone else had a similar experience?
  • "People get out of their vehicles to go to their mail box, or drop off a package; it only takes "a second." Most people don't know or realize there isn't a brake interlock on these vehicles"

    All you have to do is remove the key, it only takes a second.
  • Why do almost all domestic and foreign car makers, including DaimlerChrysler, now have the Brake Shift Interlock on all of their vehicles? It's not required by Federal law, nor any motor vehicle safety standard. It's so easy for any parent with half a brain just to remove the key to prevent kids from shifting out of Park.

    Yet all of them voluntarily install this Interlock. Some have even had service campaigns to install them on vehicles after they were bought by customers. Auto manufacturers always look for ways to save pennies on production costs per vehicle. Why would they add something that costs them at least a dollar or two, and has the capability to malfunction and cause customer dissatisfaction, to all of their vehicles? It's baffling to me.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    The manufactures sometimes will try and avoid potential lawsuits filed by people who always try and pass the blame to somebody else. Like the whole rear latch thing, the biggest lawsuit involved a wreck where 12 people were injured and a few killed in a single Dodge minivan roll over. Last time I checked there was never a Dodge minivan that could seat more then 8 but the jury still awarded a huge amount to the stupid parents of the family. So some other careless person will roll a van away and some jury will award the stupidity with a lottery sum. What's another 50 million to a big car company right? I wonder how inexpensive cars would be if the manufactures didn't have to account and pay for other peoples incompetence.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Maybe you are to young to remember but a number of years ago Audi just about went out of business when they had a rash of cars backing up by themselves. They always claimed that it was the drivers fault for not putting them into park right. Anyway since that point in time most manufacturers have included the interlock.
  • I remember the Audi problem very well. It ivolved mostly the automatic 5000 model. The brake pedal and accelerator pedal were close together and almost the same distance to the floor. Shifting into Park was not a problem; the problem occurred when people shifted out of Park into Drive gear. When they meant to press on the brake pedal, they actually pressed on the accelerator pedal, causing the infamous "unintended acceleration."

    Actually the techs in our shop had to be careful of this even though they worked on them everyday, because the pedals were close together. So, Audi then introduced the brake shift interlock, that required the brake pedal to be depressed before it could be shifted out of Park. This would eliminate the so-called "unintended acceleration" problem they had. No one ever found a cause of why the Audi's just "took off" by themselves, and most experts concluded that the accelerator pedal was being depressed by mistake.

    Audi had a special problem with pedal position and angles, especially with short drivers. In the late '80's and early 90's other car makers installed the interlock so it wouldn't happen to them. But I don't understand why DaimlerChrysler didn't install it in their vans from 1990-2000, and then decided to do it for the 2001 models.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Audi was the most notorious case of unintended acceleration, however they were not the only one. Ford also had a number of cases reported, with the same findings that it was driver error. I would suspect that DC just bowed to the inevitable and added the interlock
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    Actually, a real cause of sudden acceleration, not associated with driver error, was discovered in the case of Ford vehicles. The cause was traced to a malfunction of the Idle Air Control Valve. The way I understand it, in fuel injected models, this device controls air injection while the computer adjusts fuel injection to maintain engine timing and idle speed. When it malfunctions, the valve delivers excessive air which causes the computer to counter by increasing the fuel delivery to maintain a balanced mixture. The engine speed increases and remains at an elevated level without ever touching the gas pedal. I am only aware of this because I recently experienced this condition on a '95 thunderbird. After exiting an expressway, the tach flew up and the engine felt like it wanted to run through the traffic in front of me. Fortunately, I had shifted into neutral and was able to pull over to the side and stop without incident. After stopping and restarting the engine, I was able to drive the vehicle carefully to a repair shop. It was a very scary experience.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    A lot of the problems with the Audi and others were that people weren't getting the transmission completely into park and while leaving the engine running to run into the house/store, etc. only to have the car shift into reverse and away it went. Cases reported of the car running over the driver.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    Chrysler vans without the interlock never had these type of problems even though they sold in much, much greater numbers then any Audi. I'm sure the vast majority of any "sudden acceleration" or increasing acceleration at the same time as reduced breaking ability is just a case of pedal confusion in a moment of panic. I can floor my van either while driving or while stitting still and the brakes are always powerful enough to overcome the motor's power. It just as crkeehn said, DC just caved in to potential mass hysteria, it didn't cost much to do and now they won't get "dinged" on sites like this as being an unsafe product. I still stand by that a car without the interlock is not and unsafe product, but that it is an unsafe practice to leave a car idle with out somebody in the drivers seat. Maybe they should put an interlock in that senses the driver's weight in the seat and shuts off the motor when they try to leave.
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