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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Sounds too coincidental to me too, and I've read that O2 sensors are damaged by oil, etc. Sounds like one of yours got fouled in the head gasket repair.

    But I don't turn wrenches. Try asking over in the "Check Engine" light discussion. Lots of pros hang out on the M&R board.

    Anyone else?

    Steve, Host
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Pmacey, hope you saw the reply from 0patience in the CEL discussion. He's one of the "pros" I was referring to.

    (Coolant counts as "etc." right?)

    Steve, Host
  • I have a replacement motor, found a way to get to the motor from the inside of the van. But now, I need to get the wiper unhooked from the motor. I do not see how this is done. Any help here would be appreciated. Would be helpful if you emailed me with the instructions.
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    Very simple, lift wiper off rear window as far off as it will go. At the base of the wiper near th half moon shaped cover over the shaft is a locking tab. pull the locking tab away from the shaft and wiggle the wiper arm assembly until it comes off. To replace reverse the process.
  • pmaceypmacey Posts: 33
    He Steve, thanks for the tip on going over to the CEL area, and yes, I did see the replies.

    I'll be calling DC Customer Care with a few questions.

    Thanks again.
  • drivvendrivven Posts: 54
    Thanks for the response Roy. Sorry I haven't peaked at the forum for a while so I missed your comments. It just could be that the ABS is not working properly, altho she says it feels to be working ok, it gives the requisite "pumping" feeling to the pedal, but to no avail. We've tried panic stops with it on dry pavement, to the point that the ABS reacts and it stops just fine - straight line like it's supposed to do.
    In the wet conditions she says she's sailed thru intersections as if hydroplaning, tho the water isn't deep at all, it's just on the surface.
    In the meantime we've discussed this with other DC owners and they've had no problems like this. Right now we're in the market for something a bit smaller than a mini-van but yet with the driving height advantage that the minis afford. It'll probably be in the realm of the mini-suv. They're a lot of them out there right now. In the meantime she's piloting a friend's 1977 Lincoln Continental Coupe!!!! Talk about a different perspective on the road, holy schmoly!!
    Thanks again Roy.
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    In an earlier post you mentioned the tires have only 9000 miles. Check the traction rating on those tires. The ratings are printed on the sidewall. Traction (A,B, or C)A being the best. If they are inexpensive tires, the traction rating may be B or C that may be your problem
  • strokeoluckstrokeoluck Posts: 99
    To Alan555, Sorry to hear about your transmission. We have a '96 with 103k and the transmission is working fine (had some minor trans. oil coming out the top of the dipstick but local shop unplugged some breathing hole and it's fine now).

    However I do take issue w/folks - not saying you - that forever write off an entire BRAND of vehicle because of a problem. It's certainly your right, and emotionally it feels good but logically I don't think it makes much sense. Why?

    For one, in my humble opinion, you'd have to have lived in a cave to NOT have known that Chrysler products had "some" problems with transmissions. And if your car market is anything like ours (I'm talking about used cars, I'm not a big fan of paying a 25% premium to enjoy the aroma of fine Corinthian leather), the transmission problems are already factored in to the Chrysler price. Theoretically, if you saw equivalent DC, Ford and GM minivans sitting side-by-side but the DC was $2000-$3000 less expensive, wouldn't you scratch your head? Again, not saying you encountered this, but that's what my market is like. BUT, as it relates to '94-'99 (?) DC minivans, I take the risk of winding up with a spotty transmission. That's the risk I took and so far snake eyes hasn't caught us. It's caveat emptor unfortunately. If you didn't know about the trans. problems when you bought the van then you didn't do your homework (leaving out the logic of whether or not DC should have made a BETTER transmission, I think we all know what the answer is to that one, but again I'm dealing with reality and trying not to p*ss into the wind - I find it's pointless). If you knew about the problems, saved some $ and still bought... then I have a used Pinto I'd like to sell you for a screaming bargain, fire extinguisher included. If you knew about the problem and DIDN'T save $...yikes.

    Happy Tuesday to all,
  • plymouth1plymouth1 Posts: 14
    98 Grand Voyager Expresso bought new. Absolutely zero problems since day one! Very happy with it.
  • doghousedoghouse Posts: 1
    We are considering buying a 2000 Grand Caravan SE Sport.

    Has 30,000 miles on it.

    We're planning on getting the 8/80 extended warranty which covers engine and drive train. Wondering if we should spring an extra 1300 for the "bumper to bumper" coverage.

    Thoughts and suggestions?

  • ginoc1ginoc1 Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 Caravan with 29,000km on it. I had to replace the front rotors at 21,000km since they were warped. Though the warranty on the rotors had expired my dealer changed them for $75Cdn. My invoice mentioned that the rotors were being replaced as a "goodwill gesture" and not under warranty. I figure that the $75 covered the labor and that Chrysler picked up the tab on the parts. Thus if you have a low mileage van with warped rotors complain(nicely) to your dealer and you may get a break on the replacement cost.
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    My 2000 Caravan is a basic 4 cylinder model with 59K miles. I have yet to encounter problems, other than a power window switch replaced under warranty, but to be safe I bought an after market, bumper to bumper 100K warranty. I have read about a lot of problems here, and heard about a lot elsewhere, but like strokeoluck says, I bought cheap, expecting the worst and hoping for the best. So far it has been the best. Excellent vehicle.
  • monty2222monty2222 Posts: 48
    I have a 96 Dodge Grand Caravan ES, 86K miles. Bought used last Fall. The headlights have always looked foggy inside, maybe moisture? I inquired about new headlight assembly at an auto parts store, its listed at $250. Not worth it of course, so just wondering if anyone else has this problem, and if they have been able to clean it out somehow. FYI, I love this van so far, gets lots of use, very smooth, roomy, and comfortable, tranny was replaced about 2K miles before I bought it (by dealer/with warranty), paid $7,000 for the van. Problems: AC noise sometimes (hisses), rain leaks in around drivers door and rear liftgate.
  • monty2222monty2222 Posts: 48
    I have a 96 DGC. I thought there was a thread about door locks before, but cannot find it. Is there some way you can cause all the doors to lock when you go out? My wife locked the keys in the car (engine running), says she did not push the door lock switch, but shortly after she exited and shut her door, she heard all the locks go down. What are the different ways this can happen? Luckily the baby was not in at that time. Also, the passanger slider does not unlock with the drivers unlock button, why? Thanks.
  • strokeoluckstrokeoluck Posts: 99
    Re: doors locking. Boy I never heard of the doors locking automatically - I didn't even know it was possible to set it like that. About all ours do is lock once you're going >15mph. We've had the same sliding door problem as you...twice. Once it was replaced under warranty and about two weeks ago we had it repaired at an independent shop. Here's what it says on the bill: "R&R sliding door cover, replace frozen door lock motor". They charged me $70 in labor and $24.85 for the part. This was the same problem we had in the past, we couldn't manually lock it and we couldn't lock it with the driver/passenger button either. The shop corrected it.

    Re: the headllights, it sounds like maybe a stone chipped it? I had this happen on a few of my road-weary cars, ones I used to drive 40k+ miles/year. When a stone chips it good then water gets in and fogs it up. I don't believe there's a way to correct it, at least not that I know of. Have you tried contacting junkyards or go online and search for the part? I don't know what it takes to replace the headlight assembly but I "think" the '96 is still a bit easier than today's assemblies.

    To the guy who's van is leaking. Have you tried a good silicone caulk? Our '96 PGV was leaking around the windshield near the passenger seat. The Chrysler shop pointed out the problem and just told me to use some silicone caulk (not the cheap washable painter's type; the good sticky gooey stuff). I did, that was two years ago and we haven't had a leak since then.

    Good luck,
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    The 96 remote unlock feature requires the following, one push unlocks drivers door only, 2 pushes unlocks all doors. Its printed on the back of the should work unless you have the faulty lock as described in a previous post.
  • monty2222monty2222 Posts: 48
    Take a look at post #1357 " Sliding Door Lock Design Problem!" by teekson Jul 08, 2002 . That is the post I remember. I will have to try what he says and see if mine does the same thing. Worth knowing for everyone if true.
  • jlewelling1jlewelling1 Posts: 65
    Well today is the end of the road for my 53,000 mile 1996 Voyager. Despite over $8,000 in out-of-pocket repairs (not including 3 head gaskets
    replaced by Chrysler) it is now dead with a kaput transmission.

    Well, even thought the mileage is low (and I gave it all the Mopar tranny flushes one could ask for) it is a seven-year old car (and in Dodge-years that is 21 years old).

    Buying a Dodge-Chrysler car is like marrying an alcoholic--don't do it no matter how much you're tempted. There's just no way it will turn out well.

    And so ends my brief attempt to give the American Auto Manufacturers another chance!
  • just4fun2just4fun2 Posts: 461
    53,000 miles in 7 years works out to about 7600 miles per year, not a lot of yearly miles. Do you drive in city or highway traffic? I also would want more out of a vehicle, but, a vehicle that is driven in the city mostly will shift up and down more times that cruising down the freeway. I believe 53,000 miles of city driving can easily equal 100,000 miles of freeway driving. Again, I understand your frustration.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    I had a '91 Caravan with the 2.5L and 3-speed automatic that I drove for only 59,000 miles in nearly 8 years--lots of in-town driving. Never had a signficant problem with it. But it was a very basic van, so not much to break, plus the 3-speed auto is known to be much more reliable than the 4-speed. But it does prove that it's possible to drive a DC van under these conditions and get reliable service from it. If I had had an experience like jlewelling1's, I would never have leased my current van, a '99 GCS. That van has had a couple of minor problems in four years and 41,000 miles, but has also been pretty solid. However, I will probably turn it in at the end of its lease next spring rather than tempt the transmission demons--it's under warranty to 50,000 miles.
  • I wrote quite awhile ago about trying to get the rear wiper away from the wiper motor, and someone told me that there was a pin holding it on. I cannot find the pin or the retainer. Can anyone give me a better clue on what to look for? Give me a picture, or something, please.
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    If you run your finger along the top of the wiper arm from right to left, near the center rear of the wiper arm is a 3/8 inch tab (not a pin), with a screwdriver or your fingernail push this tab up it should move up parallel to the window about 1/4 to 3/8 inch. Then wiggle the wiper arm until it comes off the shaft.
  • If it were just the transmission (and if I hadn't done the Mopar flush every 12,000 miles or so) I wouldn't be so anti-Chrysler. It was also the 3 head gaskets, the 4 brake jobs (including replacing the calipers), the replaced computer, the overhaul of the electronics, replaced valve cover, other assorted gaskets, and of course, starter, alternator, etc.

    I realize some have had good experiences with Dogde-Chrysler vans (thats why I bought my 1996 4 cyl.), but I am embittered (and on foot) as a result of my experience.

    So now I have to buy another car--I have a 2001 Sienna and I need something that would fit 2 adults and 5 kids when necessary. Something dependable and something affordable--What should I buy?
  • "Affordable" is a very relative term...what does that mean for you? $200 monthly payment or $20,000 off-the-lot cost?

    Are you sure you don't want to consider another Dodge? What are the odds of lightning striking twice? And with their longer warranty you could still buy a slightly used one and be protected for 5-6 years at the rate you put miles on.

    If not a Dodge then what about Kia? You can get a FULLY LOADED van - and I'm talking leather, sunroof, etc. - for $20,000. They have a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty and so far I hear pretty good things about these vehicles. And of course virtually every other minivan, and many SUV's, should be able to accomodate your passengers. If you're considering a car I know the Taurus/Sable wagon can handle seven but it's not real safe or comfortable. But you can find them cheap!

    Good luck,
  • Well, I like to buy a car every 5 years and keep it for 10. That way we always have one good car and one that is fine for a second car. I prefer to have one car payment at a time (but that is not going to be the case now).

    Our first car is the Sienna, which we bought 2 years ago. It is a very good car and I think I will be able to keep it and rely on it for another 8 years, based on the model's reliability. I bought a second minivan because , with 3 kids you need one good minivan--and the Voyager was already unreliable. In other words, I don't really want a second minivan.

    So I'm looking for a car that will seat two adults and three kids comfortably. I'd like a sedan or sedan-sized SUV. Reliability and safety are primary concerns.

    As I will be making two car payments at one, costs will be a big factor. Normally I agree that the off-the-lot costs is more important than low monthly payments. Unfortunately, I'm in a position where the low monthly payments are a bigger deal.

    I've been thinking about an Accord--maybe a used dealer-certified car. On the other hand, I might be able to swing lower payments on a new car (longer payment periods and low financing costs). I've thought about Hyundai's because of the 10-year, 100,000 mile warrenty. I've not given Kia much thought. Should I? Are they reliable?

    (I am sure I don't want to give Dodge another chance. I am so sick of this car and dealing with the company. I'm also not very impressed with Fords.)
  • Sorry. I said 5 kids in my first post. I only have three that I know of.

    Must be a guilty conscience causing me to mistype!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    The used Accord would be a good bet, but you are smart to look into the buy-new option because of the incentives being offered now. Other cars to look at would be a '01-'02 Taurus (although new ones are under $15k now), an '02 Sonata, a '01-'02 Camry, or a '02 626. Depending on how big the kids are you could even look at a compact with a big back seat; the '01-'02 Civic would probably be your best bet with your emphasis on safety and reliability.
  • Thanks for the advice.

    I will give the Civic a look--also the Corolla.

    It would be a very rare occasion where I would have all five of the family in this car. Mostly I will be tooling around the city and parking in underground garages. Probably a little car would make more sense.
  • mopar68mopar68 Posts: 1
    hi , a friend of mines got this 97 dodge caravan w/ 3.3liter,auto trans.,a/c,(milage??).. it overheats while sitting in traffic. I replaced temp.sensor near thermastat.. replaced radiator cap,can't find fan relays, fans do not come on even when a/c is on.tested them,they come on w/direct power..what is wrong w/ it can you help??also the comp. had been replaced once due to it malfunc. thing is van runs as if it isn't overheating..normal..& when driven on stretch of street or freeway w/ no traff. it around normal..?
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    These are located inside the fender liner of the left front wheel, and failure is common for that year.
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