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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    I did this once in my teens. We were changing drivers so the eighteen year old was in the drivers seat at the beer drive thru. We both locked our doors out of habit with the car running in middle of the street. The police office slim-jimed it in about two seconds. Ever since I take the keys out of the ignition and put them in my pocket when getting out of the car for any reason what so ever.

    Teekson- glad your child is all right. Here in Texas it seems like not one year goes by without someone leaving their child in a vehicle and the child dying from the heat. You were very wise to have them break the window.
  • I wanted to add my experience to the many that I see posted regarding Voyager Vans and their reliability. We purchased our first Chrysler product, a Grand Voyager SE on 9/95. At the time, the standard warranty was 3/36. The dealer sold me a comphrensive 7/70 extension warranty for $625 with only a $25 deductible. The extended warranty has just expired and the costs covered under the warranty came to $2914 that I did not have to pay. Major issues covered were:
    * AC evaporator (this was expensive)
    * AC condensor (and so was this)
    * Front right axle
    * O2 sensor
    * Starter
    * Water pump
    * Thermostat

    After some pestering, I just bought another 2yr/24k warranty from the dealer from DC that will take the van to 9yrs/94k. It cost me $840, has a $50 ded and covers the engine, driveline, transmission and A/C. It is referred to as DC's Powertrain Plus coverage. The dealer sold it to me for $100 over their cost. While $840 may should steep to some, one A/C problem will pay for the cost.

    I wanted to make sure that I had the tranny & AC covered since they were the most probable sources of problems. The newer AC's use R134A and run at a much higher pressure than the old R12 systems, thus they are more prone to develop leaks.

    Other than above, I have paid about $1k out of pocket for things like battery, brakes, front rotors, accessory belt, tranny change, etc..
  • teeksonteekson Posts: 3
    I completely understand his comment and if you want to go back and forth as to what triggered what, I think you have to go back to the car's design as the startng point of the problem. If the car lock system was designed properly in the first place (again, why did they change it in the following year's model?) then I get in the car from the other side with no issues. Was placing the keys there the best decision...easy to say no at this point. Should it have been an acceptable option...most certainly yes. But had the carlocks been designed properly, they wouldn't have stayed there before closing the door. So, the problem lies with the manufacturer. I've shown half a dozen people the same scenario and asked them to tell me whether they felt it was safe to close the door and each and every one of them agreed with me.

    Even if I am easily mislead, (which I am not) why design a system that misleads even one person...especially with so much riding on door locks. I have no doubt that this system was a mistake to make and Chrysler was awaew enough to redesign it for the following year's models. Where they fall short is in not having done a full recall on that year's model.
  • xingze_caixingze_cai Posts: 47
    Hi there,

    I have 98 Caravan sport and the current mileage is 39000. Is the above service required? Thanks for any advice!

  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    Well the 2001 had a lot more changes then just the locks, it was a complete redesign. Those locks you are talking about date back to 96 and maybe even back to 93. Most cars you can't really tell anymore weather the door is loked or not just by looking at it. Millions of new cars have a horizontally mounted lock switch so there is no up or down just right or left, front or back, red showing or just black. Point is having owned the car all of 20 minutes it would be hard for anybody to tell how exactly a new car functions. I read a writeup on the new BMW 7 series, you almost need a semester long college class just to figure that thing out! I really am sorry for your experience, but really don't think your baby's life was in danger. You could have just broke the window 20 seconds after it happened, no danger of loss of life in that situation. Now just yesterday some dingbat locked here baby in the car, in the sun on a 90 degree day and went into the casino to gamble, now there I have a problem.
  • ody01ody01 Posts: 100
    Owner Manual contain information on required service. Additional service = More Profit dealer or service facility.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I haven't found any need for a fuel injection flush in 60K miles. I think this is a dealer profit center along with engine flushes. I did need the TB service once but now spray Gunk TB cleaner into the air intake with the engine running, about every other month and haven't had another problem with the TB.
  • xingze_caixingze_cai Posts: 47
    Anybody has done that job? If yes, can you share your exprience, easy or hard, etc? Thanks!
  • jimmehjimmeh Posts: 3
    I haven't written that many posts in here, but until now they have been quite positive towards my 01 DGC Sport. On May 25, there was a loud squeal from the engine compartment, which resulted in the A/C breaking. After 4 trips to my dealer, leaving each time with the problem unresolved and waiting for a different part to be ordered, I had enough. Because there are no courtesy cars for basic warranty customers, and Dodge doesn't stock replacement parts to cut costs, the customer is left doing the leg work making repeated trips to the dealer. I contacted the GM of the dealer, and I was promptly provided with a replacement vehicle (a 2002 Caravan SE) to use until they repaired my AC. After 2 weeks, they called to say that it was ready, but within minutes of turning it on, I knew that the AC was not working correctly. I took it straight back, where the mechanic who worked on it was called up and agreed that the AC system (although running) was not blowing cold air. Today was one month to the day that I dropped the van off and the dealer called to say that they were finally finished. They replaced many parts including: the compressor, evaporator, dryer, H-valve etc and the service manager himself conducted an exetensive road test to make sure that the problem was now fixed. The problem is that whereas the system is blowing reasonbly cold air, I still dont believe that it is as cold as it used to be, or as cold as the Caravan replacement vehicle I had. Actually, considering that my replacement van only had the base AC and my van has 'dual' ACs, mine should technically cool down faster. How can I tell if the system is working to factory specs? Can I myself take the temperature of the air from the vent? If anyone knows, or has a recomendation of what to do next, I would be happy to hear your suggestions!
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    xingze: You would be well served to obtain a Haynes manual for lots of help like fuel filter change. On my '95 the fuel filter is under the right rear. There are two clamps to loosen. The main concern is high pressure in the line even after the engine is stopped. A complicated procedure is described to bleed off the pressure. The gas filler cap should be loosened. Also some gas will leak out and will present a fire risk. I admit I did not do the long decompression procedure but waited 3 hours for pressure reduction. Maybe 3-4 oz of fuel spilled. Wear latex gloves.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    The factory manual says to bleed off the fuel under pressure at the fuel rail. There is a fitting on top of the engine. You will probably have to get a tool from the dealer to do this.
  • tartan1tartan1 Posts: 2
    I have a 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan SE with 85K. Lately it's been having episodes where the gauges start flickering and gauge needles jump up and down and it eventually dies. One instance, we had to have it towed because we couldn't get it re-started. The service department couldn't find anything after running diognostics on it again and again. Anyone have ideas?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    My '99 GCS did that a few weeks ago. The cause was a battery that failed (literally failed, not just died) after 31,000 miles. After a day of diagnosis and a new battery, the problem disappeared. I don't know what else the dealer may have done to reset the computer (they said the computer was messed up from the failed battery).
  • And we had decided on the 1999 Odyssey LX-C, placed a $500 NON-refundable deposit, and ordered a Granite Green LX on 16 March, 1999.
    Four days later, we bought a loaded 1999 GC SE MSRP $27,490 for $22,590. Zero problems until 35,002 miles when coolant leak was noticed. Dealer replaced both head gaskets under warranty the next day and no more problems. Average fuel economy was 23.4 MPG for the 37,240 miles driven until we traded it in on a NEW 2002 Chrysler T&C eL on January 26, 2002.
    Since it was such an exceptional vehicle, our daughter and son-in-law purchased from the dealer as soon as we traded it in.
    We know dozens of people who own DC minivans and only 2 have had problems: Julie of Dallas, Texas had a used 96 T&C LXi that had an A/C problem so they looked at all minivans and did not like any as well as the T&C so they traded it in on a used 99 T&C Limited. They did purchase an extended warranty.
    Dale and Heidi have a 96 T&C LXi they use to tow a large trailer. The van transmission had to be repaired at 180,000 miles and the water pump was recently replaced at 240,000 miles. They feel the DC minivan is the best vehicle for their needs.
    I am pleased to read that DaimlerChrysler minivans now have very few problems and are recommend now by Consumer Reports along with the Odyssey and Sienna.
  • We liked them very well on the 99 GC SE and just as well on the 02 T&C eL.
    We miss the feature when we drive my sister's very nice 2001 Odyssey EX. They love to travel and have us drive the Odyssey home from the airport when they leave and drive it back to pick them up a week later when they return.
    On a test drive for the 01 Ody EX, the odometer read 34.8 miles. On an exact repeat of the drive in our 99 GC SE immediately afterward, the odometer of the GC read 34.0 miles. After buying the 02 T&C eL we drove it on the same exact route and it read 33.8 miles. Apparently our gas mileage would be even better in our DC minivans if the odometer read "high" as in my sister's 01 Ody EX.
    I can tell very little difference in the quality of ride in any of the 3. The T&C is the quietest of the 3 with the Odyssey very slightly noisiest. The Automatic Temperature of the Ody EX works flawlessly but I think the feature causes the vehicle to burn more gasoline as my brother in law does not get mileage as high as we do in the DC minivans. However, he may be a more aggressive driver and thus the lower mileage.
    We set cruise at 75 MPH when my wife and I travel alone on I-15 to and from Anaheim but 65 MPH when there are 6 of us in the vans.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    There's no question about the fact that the improvement in quality and reliability of the new generation of DaimlerChrysler vans is directly attributable to the competition from Toyota and Honda - for all those years where there was no practical competition, Chrysler produced underengineered junk. Competition improves the marketplace - no question about it.
  • Our '97 GCS is overheating during city driving but not on the highway. Any ideas? Thermostat? Fan?
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    If it's mainly around town I'd say maybe it's not getting enouigh airflow through the radiator. At highway speeds you don't even need a fan at all, the wind at even 30 MPH will more more air then any fan will. So I'd check and make sure the dual electric fans are both coming on and spinning freely (keep your hands away though!) My Brother's 96's only problem so far has been that one of the fan's breings froze and they needed the whole fan assembly replaced for about $350. The A/C worked a lot better after that, and the frozen motor was putting a high electrical load on the alternator causing the belt to make strange noises as well. All was cured with the replacement of the fans. The fans may be fine but a relay to turn them off and on may be messed up, that would be a lot less then $350 to fix.
  • Thanks for the advice. My wife has it out of state on vacation and was taking it to a dealer (extended warranty). Just wanted her to have a little knowledge before she walked in.
  • I have a 1992 Voyager that has developed a problem with the door chime and light coming on without any apparent reason while I am driving down the road. It is really annoying. All the doors are shut properly. I tried to trouble shoot by pushing in the door switches to figure out which door is causing the problem, but to no avail. The overhead lights do not come on when it is happening. Could there be a central switch that could be faulty?
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    With some of the newer vans, the sliding door has a series of plungers that make contact with matching pads on the frame. If the Older Chryslers use that system, you might try cleaning the contact pads with a pencil eraser.
  • vvgvvg Posts: 10
    We have a 1999 Caravan Sport with the AM/FM/Cassette player. We would like to be able to play CD's. Should we replace the factory unit, or is there asingle disk CD player that we could add?
  • Hello, thanks for the advice. I did that, but made no difference. The bell rings constantly, and the "door ajar" light comes on intermittently. Any other ideas?
  • I am not quite sure if there is an auxilary port on the back, but you can check it. I had one on the stereo cassette I replaced the existing stereo with and then ran an adapter with a mini plug out from the back to a portable CD player which I mounted on a make shift console. That is one way. If you want a changer, you will have to get the same make as the stereo you have. If that is the standard one that came with your van, then you will have to go through Chrysler, which can be quite expensive.
  • vvgvvg Posts: 10
    I've found quite a few AM/FM/Cassette/CD units for sale, from dealers and eBay for anywhere from $175 to $350. One dealers says the right # for the 1999 Caravan is #P04858579. But I've seen a number of units for sale that claim to fit, look pretty much identical externally, but have #'s of P04704383, or P04858518. While they fit?

  • xingze_caixingze_cai Posts: 47
    I found that my 98 Caravan sports won't start as quickly and smoothly as it used to be when the engine is cold, it can still be started every time in the morning. If the engine is getting warmed, it can be started very smoothly. Any suggestions? Thanks!
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    You might want to replace the battery esp. if you have the original. Batteries are so cheap you can replace them every 4 yrs. and not have to worry about a no-start. Wal-Mart has a good selection and cheap. When the engine is cold it's harder to start so a new battery may make a difference.
  • My 1997 grand voyager with 100,000 miles will not always start when I turn the key in the ignition. The dash lights come on but the engine will not turn. After I remove the key and try again, it starts. I took it in for repair and nothing wrong could be found. The key mechanism (tumblers) were replaced and new keys issued. That was two weeks ago. The problem has re surfaced. Any suggestions?
  • If the battery is low or if there is corrosion on the terminals, sufficient electricity is available to turn the lights on but NOT make the starter work.
    There could also be a cable damaged so that it will not permit sufficient electricity to properly operate the starter.
  • browneybrowney Posts: 104
    I have a 2000 Voyager with the 3.3L engine.
    The transmission went into limp mode at 36021 miles and the check engine light came on. (21 miles after the warranty ran out!!)
    Luckily I purchased an aftermarket 7/100kmi bumper to bumper warranty from Heritage.

    Drove it 4 miles to the dealer in limp mode(dealer said to do this instead of getting it towed).
    Dealer said the input speed sensor was bad.
    Also said the output sensor should be replaced because when the input sensor goes bad the output sensor soon follows. (sounds fishy to me but since the Heritage warranty will pay I don't care)

    The main point of this post is because the dealer says the transmission fluid smells burnt. He suggests replacing the fluid and filter ($115).

    I parked the vehicle within a few hundred feet of first seeing the check engine light.
    I checked the transmission fluid before even calling the dealer. It did not smell burnt and was not discolored.
    I have done my own vehicle maintainance and most repairs for about 30 years so I know a little about what to look for.

    My question is why after driving the vehicle only 4 miles to the dealer in limp mode the fluid had a burnt smell?
    Especially since an external speed sensor was the original problem.

    Any comments from the mechanics out there about this?
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