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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions

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Comments

  • dcaterdcater Posts: 1
    Let the dealer tackle this as it should be done completely free of charge. It is most likely the clockspring which was recalled last year. Your dealer should know all about it. I had this same problem on my 98.
  • chuckgchuckg Posts: 69
    I'll bet you're happy to get this fixed. Nothing to it. :D

    Thanks for reporting back.
  • Did you ever find the cause of this? My 2003 Grand Caravan had just started doing this when it rains.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    It is probably your serpentine belt that drives all the accessories. Replace the belt and likely it will go away. Fairly easy do it yourself project if you are mechanically inclined. Belt costs about $25 aftermarket at NAPA.

    It could also be related to the tensioner or tensioner pulley bearings, but I would change the belt first. I replaced the belt once so far on our 1996 Caravan, and also later on replaced the tensioner pulley as the bearings in that pulley started to squeal a couple years ago. I used an aftermarket pulley and replaced it myself.

    The squeal related to damp conditions probably means your serpentine belt is getting cracked and dried out and is slipping somewhat when wet.
  • 97vanowner97vanowner Posts: 11
    Hi Sylvia: Sorry about the e-mail request, but I was somewhat desperate--and had a scheduled appointment with the dealer since the "ghost activity" with the wipers continued AFTER I had paid $741.39 to get the wipers fixed. To bring you up to date, After replacing the BCM (body control module) the first time around--which did restart the wipers, yesterday they installed a new multi-function switch to fix the "ghosting" problem - another $151.00. Should it cost $892.00 to simply get the windshield wipers fixed? I don't think so. I would like to hear from anyone else as to similar experiences. I talked to a service person at the lawn mower repair place as I picked up my mower today and she says her Caravan is doing the same "ghosting" thing that my van did for 60,000 before it finally completely died. She has 68,000 on her van. I suggested thinking about planning to trade. Anyone else have any ideas? Thanks.
  • fepfep Posts: 3
    My 96 Dodge Caravan has nearly 90K miles. On both my long trips this winter the vehicle lost power after crusing at 65 -70 MPH for about 2 hours. The "check engine soon" light would flash and than stay on as I coasted to the side of the road and stalled. One time it cleared immediately and I was able to travel side roads for an hour before it reoccured. The other time it reoccured nearly a dozen times going anywhere from 100 yards to 2 miles at each event. Both trips resulted in no work being done because after letting it sit for an evening it would run fine the next morning. Also the "Check engine soon light" was cleared after finding the code to read "Random Misfire." Is it possible for a over heated fuel pump to prevent the gas flow and the "check engine soon" light to come on? This is what the mechanic told me but that would mean that if a Caravan were to run out of gas the "Check engine soon" light would also go on. That doesn't sound right? It's been running great for nearly 3 months now but I haven't taken any long trips. Any ideas?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Okay, it seems that our 1998 GC Sport 3.8 is having its third unscheduled component failure (the first was the battery and the second was the driver's door switch for the interior lights). The overhead temperature display is, ummm, erratic to say the least. This afternoon for instance, I got in the van with my two kids and the display showed -40, which the kids thought was rather hilarious as we were in the low seventies at the time. It stayed at -40 for maybe a mile then went to -5, no wait, 37, 105, -27, 55, 59, 51, 58, -40, all in the next mile. Me thinks it's broke.

    I've never heard of this problem before. Is it common? Is the sending unit the likely culprit? If it is, where is said sending unit mounted? Is there a simple "Hold the A/C button while pushing the rear wiper and the rear defogger button together 47 times with one hand while scratching your nose with your other hand" type of reset command?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo

    P.S.
    I'm not actually sure that I even want to fix this, ummm, errr, entertainment feature. My kids seem to actually enjoy shouting out the current OAT as it goes through its improbable series of displays. Either that or they bet each other what the REAL OAT is. ;-)
  • fishing1000fishing1000 Posts: 38
    how much oil did your van burn every 1500 miles? How much did the new head gasket cost? Did you replace it by yourself? Thanks!
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    Sounds like that, or its wiring is the culprit. The probe sensor is mounted behind the grill, off the center support. You will need to take the front bumper cover off to be able to trace the wiring harness. The harness has a connector that can be poorly placed and fatigue out the wires within. A replacement sensor is not too expensive if the wiring is not the problem.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Thanks, I'll check it out and report back. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Shipo,

    You can always check outside temperature the old fashioned way, stick your arm out the window.

    This also has the added benefit of telling you other data. If it is raining, it will come back wet. If snowing, it will come in white. If you are driving too close to oncoming traffic, it may not come back in at all!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Thanks, got a good laugh out of that. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • cct2cct2 Posts: 1
    Hey fep. I still have my 96 T&C that had the exact same problems a few years back. After a few unsuccessful dealers misdiagnosed the problem, it was determined that it was - in fact the fuel pump (located humorously within the fuel tank) that would overheat as the gas level went below the pump (half a tank). The pump apparently as it fails, overheats and ironically - the gasoline (acting as a coolant) keeps the pump cool until the gas level drops below the pump. Cost to repair was about $500.
  • chubb2ichubb2i Posts: 3
    Thanks for input. I have not had a problem since replacing the Cam Position Sensor a couple of weeks ago, but I have had it go for several weeks without acting up. then start giving trouble again, so I don't know if problem is solved or not. I will probably get a TCM next time at junkyard.
  • awsomeawsome Posts: 2
    I have this problem also. I bought a replacement switch module and it did not fix the problem. Did you find out what the problem was?
  • jwheeler1jwheeler1 Posts: 6
    I do not have the stalling problem but I'm getting a constant cylinder misfire code for cylinder six,cylinder 1 and multiple missfires.I have replaced and cleaned the o-rings on the fuel injectors to my 98 voyager.I have replaced both oxgen sensors and the map sensor,and the pcv valve.Along with new plugs,distributor,wires and the vfan still keeps bringing up this code.I can't get through Conneticutt emissions because of this light.Anyone with Idea's please write. THankyou. J.W.
  • jwheeler1jwheeler1 Posts: 6
    This occurs when the oil is not yet into the block during cold starts.Also check your oil level.
    Jerry
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Which V6, 3.0, 3.3, or 3.8?
  • jwheeler1jwheeler1 Posts: 6
    The newer vans have this problem I'm told with the o-rings on the fuel filler tube to the fuel injectors and the o-rings between the fuel injectors and the injection manifold (they rot,crack,corrode)They may need to be replaced.Some owners have had fires!
  • jwheeler1jwheeler1 Posts: 6
    3.0 liter
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Hmmm, power by Mitsubishi. :P

    While I've never been aware of too many problems with that engine from following the various postings that I've read on the net, I have had several friends with Mitsu powered Dodges and Chryslers. Said cars seemed to have been prone to overheating, and once over heated even a single time, they've had nothing but problems. So much so that two of them required new engines within the first 50,000 or so miles. Weak head gaskets were said to be the blame, although I never saw any actual evidence of that. So, has you engine ever overheated? Have you pulled the spark plugs and taken a good look at them? If you have, did the plugs for your problematic cylinders look any different than the others (you'd be looking for things like rust or significantly more deposits)?

    Beyond that, I've never had the chance to tear one of those mills apart so I don't really have any other pearls of wisdom to offer. Maybe one of our members who is more familiar with the Mitsu V6 can chime in here.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • fepfep Posts: 3
    cct2

    Thanks for the information. I had a service represenative suggest I try replacing the fuel pump but I was doubttful because a fuel pump failure I thought would have the same symptoms as running out of gas. I didn't think if I ran out of gas my "Check engine soon" light would come on or get "random misfire" codes. Did you get these? Please advise and thanks for the feedback.
  • nina317nina317 Posts: 3
    We just had the brakes and an oil change done last week. The van smells hot when it's driven any distance. Now the van dies when I come to a sudden stop after being driven a little bit. When I am at a constant speed (freeway) it feels like it's going to stop dead at any minute, lots of learching.
    I've checked the oil it's new and at the right level. I'm going to check the transmission fluid level next.
    Any ideas besides driving it into the lake????
    Thanks
    Nina317
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Sounds to me like someone screwed up your brake job and the brakes are dragging all the time. Maybe parking brake not released all the way, or your brake pads and shoes are not retracting from the rotors and drums. The burning smell could be your brake pads and shoes quickly burning up, and the jerkiness is because you are always needing extra power to overcome your dragging brakes.

    Take it back to whoever did your brake job and make them do it right. You may need new rotors and drums too as they could be damaged and warped due to overheating.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    I second that. Years ago on my 1977 Ford LTD II I had a complete brake job done on both the front and back at Car-X. When I went to drive my car it wouldn't move forward unless I gave it a lot of gas. (I had to floor it in order for it to move). When my Dad took it back to Car-X, (I was in my late teens at the time) they said the brakes were adjusted to tight and therefore was applied all the time. Once they adjusted the brakes all around, everything was fine. :shades:
  • nina317nina317 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the information. I will take it back to the shop on Monday.

    I have another question on the same post.

    I checked the brake fluid level. The manual said the fluid should be at the full mark on the container but I can't tell. When I opened the brake fluid container it is bone dry at the top. It could have some fluid in it but it bothers me. Is there another way to check this??? I tried using a flashlight to shine thru the plastic.
    Also, what color is brake fluid???? I found a leak on the garage floor around the passenger tire well. It is pink but the transmission fluid level is perfect.

    Thanks again for your help
    Nina
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    jwheeler1, one added source of misfire I had on a '96 Intrepid was intake manifold gasket leak. My independent mechanic couldn't figure it out but the dealer got it right the first visit. Roy
  • dp3dp3 Posts: 1
    Same exact problem with 1997 T&C - though doesn't always need a battery reconnect to get it going - did you ever get this properly resolved? I was guessing the ignition relay???
  • jm52jm52 Posts: 4
    Whats a girl to do
    I'm not a mechanic nor is my hubby. My bank account ???
    They see me coming - problem - 1999 Plymouth Voyager.
    tranny replaced - now having electrical problems. tranny repair shop, reputable business says not related to tranny replacement. Vehicle will stall loses electrical power lights on dash flash odometer and radio blinks and dies. shut it off today
    would not restart. seemed dead - battery fine - when vehicle shut down a clicking sound could be heard from ignition or close by - sounded like something shorting out. after 10 min vehicle started. tranny repair shop says not solenoid what could it be. vehicle break down at midnight not an option
  • andee1andee1 Posts: 2
    We just bought a used Grand Voyager and happened to notice (of course after the purchase) that the front doors are shifting. There is a crack on the drivers door and front passenger door, up near the lock. When someone puts their arm on the arm rest, you can feel the door shift downwards. Is this a problem that a lot of Grand Voyagers have? I am wondering if maybe this vehicle was in an accident and this was over looked upon the repair of the vehicle or if it is a flaw with the vehicle. would anyone know?
  • rmoellerrmoeller Posts: 3
    have a '98 gc; 141000 mi; want to tune it, but have been told it's a chore. any tips?. never been tuned, original owner.
  • jwheeler1jwheeler1 Posts: 6
    Thankyou for your input.My engine has never overheated yet anyway.The plugs all look normal,clean as far as I can tell.I bought some botch platinums yesterday and I'm gonna try installing those.I don't know if they'll help.Maybe the problem is not the spark it could be the gas.I can't tell if any injectors are on the blink,I just cleaned them and replaced the o-rings.The compression test at the dealership was normal.I've thought maybe the head gasket but I haven't had any loss of power issues.I don't hear the engine running rough except occasionally sitting at a red light in gear it will vibrate a little.Thanks again I'm gonna keep trying.
    J.w.
  • jwheeler1jwheeler1 Posts: 6
    I would venture a guess that your problem is a sensor ,I'm no expert but I had a sensor go a couple of years ago that wouldn't let me start my van.I had it replaced under warranty so forgive me if I can't remember which one it was.I know the crank sensor won't allow the vehicle to run if it go's.If this is not it check your battery cables to see that they are not corroded and espescially check the positive cable at the starter and make sure its not loose or a bad connection.If this is a faulty connection or loose cables on battery or starter,or corrosion is on battery terminals(white soot)any of these could mimc your problem.Another possible is a relay.Black box next to your battery.The relays are labled on the inside of the cover as to their location.Your starter/shutdown and your fuel relay you could try checking.Any good shop should be able to check them with any electical tester.Or you can check them yourself for continuity.A tester is about $18-20 at walmart,home depot.Etc.These relays cost me 11 dollars apiece to replace.I wish you the best of luck. J.w.
  • gino45gino45 Posts: 52
    Just a follow up. I took my 2001 Caravan to the dealer who diagnosed a problem with the clockspring. It cost me $45 for a diagnostic, $83 to replace the part and $ 53 for the clockspring. Dcater- you mention that there was a recall for this part? The dealer mentioned there was no recall for clocksprings on 01 Caravans. Has anyone has a similar problem with a 2001 Caravan and had the repair done under a recall program?
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    Brake fluid is kinda of clear/yellow. Try and clean the outside of the master cylinder so that you can see the brake fluid line mark. Locate the full line mark, which might be located on the outside of the master cylinder. As for the red fluid, it's either trans. fluid. or power steering fluid. Under your hood, locate the power steering pump and the transmission. This should give you a sense of where the leak is coming from. :)
  • jm52jm52 Posts: 4
    Thanks for info and advice - will look into things you have suggested and let you know. Again, thank you for responding [jm52]
  • nina317nina317 Posts: 3
    OK, you guys were right about the brakes. I took it back to the shop and of course nothing was wrong with it but for some strange reason they work alot better.

    Now I have a new problem. It died on me while making a slow turn. The oil light came on but it started right up. I have read the other posts about needing a fuel pump and or tune up. Is there anyway they can tell me tune up or pump without costing a million dollars???????

    History, we have replaced the engine gaskets (seals), oil pump, water pump, ac compressor (It broke again and still is broken), transmission seal(s), belts, brakes, oil, fixed the ghost wipers. Thats all off the top of my head, not much else left to fix - LOL.

    Thanks for your help,
    Nina
  • excessexcess Posts: 2
    1992 Voyager 6 cyl. This sounds dumb but I can't find where to check brake fluid or add. Five blocks from home I started to air coming from the brake pedal? Now they have pressure for about first 1/4 of pedal then a give point where the pedal drops and the brakes grab now. Hoping it's just low fluid.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    If what you described is true, adding break fluid won't help. There is air in the lines. You will first need to add the brake fluid and bleed the brakes. (This gets all of the air out of the lines). Then check for leaks in the brake lines/system. usually the master cylinder is located under the hood in the top back part on the drivers side by the steering pole. (Not sure of proper name). :shades:
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    If you hear a hissing air sound from your brakes, it is likely the vacuum assist diaphragm is leaking, not air in you brake lines.

    If you pedal goes to the floor and you have to end up "pumping" the brake pedal to get it to stop and it slowly drops to the floor, your master cylinder is likely leaking.

    I doubt if your problem is low brake fluid. Either way you need to get this fixed pronto.
  • kriportkriport Posts: 1
    Unbelievable hassle on the 3.8 engine. The DEVIL had his hand in this one. Do just like the book says, (remove the cowling, windshield wipers, etc, then prepare yourself for an hour struggle reaching behind the engine to remove and replace three spark plugs. Human factor not concidered when engineered. No wonder you've never had it done. The job estimated at almost $400.00 to replace a 6 spark plugs and stick it on the computer.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Errr, not denying the difficulty of the plug swap, but can you name me any car or minivan with a transverse mounted V6 that offers easier access to the rear bank of spark plugs? It's been years since I attempted such a job, however, from what I remember; they were knuckle busters, each and every one, regardless of manufacturer. Wait! As you were. I remember a single exception. The VW VR6 was actually fairly easy to do a plug swap on; of course that mill has as much in common with an I6 as it does with a V6, so maybe it's not a fair comparison.

    When the time comes for our two 3.8 GCs to have their plugs swapped (late this year or early next year for the older of the two), I'm thinking to leave the swearing to the folks at the shop. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    It is not easy, but certainly not difficult either.

    The front three were easy. The one by the alternator I did from the top after loosening the alternator bracket. The remaining two were done from below with a u-joint and an extension on the ratchet handle.

    I did not need to mess with anything else like the cowl, wipers or manifold etc.

    One trick is to do this on a cold engine, so park the vehicle on ramps the night before.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    "One trick is to do this on a cold engine..." Hehe, you sound like a man of experience. ;-)

    Back in college, I used to work on cars as a means of making extra money (my main job was as a janitor in a Safeway), and so I did lots of tune-ups and valve jobs, with a few engine overhauls, tranny swaps and clutch jobs thrown into the mix. One day a friend of mine came by with a 440 Charger and wanted a last minute tune up before a long trip to Arizona. I burned my hands so many times on the first (easiest) plug that I finally jacked the car up, pulled the motor mount pins, stacked a few cinderblocks under the harmonic balancer, and gently lowered the car until the motor came up off the mounts just enough to gain access to the plugs.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ...though, I am rapidly approaching the third stage: 1. Been there. 2. Done that. 3. Can't remember!
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    If there is a leak anywhere in the brake system, there is the possibility that air will be in the lines. When you apply your foot to the brake peddle, the fluid is pushed from the master cylinder to all four wheels through the brake lines. If the fluid is really low, there is a possibility that some air got into the lines which would result in having to pump the brake peddle or the peddle going all the way to the floor. Now I'm not saying that what you said is wrong, but I know that it is better to be safe than sorry. I had a line leak on my 1986 Lincoln Town Car a few years ago. I could still stop the car, but not as well as if there was no loss of pressure. The brake system and lines contains a lot of pressure. If there is a leak anywhere or any part of it needs replacing, a good mechanic will bleed the whole system after the repair, to make sure no air was in the lines. :)
  • excessexcess Posts: 2
    My brake pedal doesn't drop to the floor, I have normal breaks for the first 1/10 of the pedal then it has a give point where the pedal drops about 1/4 of the way and the brakes come one suddenly. Almost hard enough to lock up. If you keep your foot their, they ease up and it's like normal but you start to hear the air rush around the brake pedal. Checked the fluid yesterday and it's fine.
  • awsomeawsome Posts: 2
    I have checked the bulbs. I have changed the switch and have checked the wires in the steering colum. If anyone has any insight please let me know. Thanks
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Still sounds to me like your master cylinder is bad and you may have a vacuum leak in your power brake booster diaphragm. Air in your brake lines would more likely make the brakes feel very spongy as you are compressing a column of air rather than fluid.
  • rmoellerrmoeller Posts: 3
    thnx to all for the encouragement. will give it a whirl. should i squirt some lub or wd40 or something into plug area first?
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