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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • We had our van in to have the clockspring replaced and when I made the appointment, he told me about the recall and said they would take care of it at the same time. I did not get anything in the mail either. Call your dealer and ask. Ours is a 2002 SE.
  • jcroninjcronin Posts: 7
    I had a 2000 Chrysler Voyager throw about 7 belts. They used a TSB from a 1999 Voyager and all is well. Ask the dealer about the TSB and it should solve your problems. I went through alot of trouble and headaches but in the end they did come up with a fix
  • I bought my 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager in 1999 as a year old car. Loved it! At a year and a half into my ownership, the head gaskets were blown and my mechanic suggested I repair it with the dealer as it was just past the warranty. Big bill which I was partiall reimbursed for after writing a letter to Chrysler. At five years of age the drive belt came off and the pistons were found to be cracked. Diagnosis: needs a whole new engine, not worth fixing. I have three friends with similar stories but none lost their car at 86,000. miles. I got 1,200. as a trade in since the van smoked, rattled and barely made it to the Mazda dealership where I bought my 2003 MPV. I'll never buy Chrysler again.
  • Since this board only seems to attract the people that had bad experiences, I will once again post mine. I own a '96 Plymouth Grand Voyager that I purchased in '98 with 30,000 miles on it. This van has been fantastic and extremely reliable. Unless you're towing regularly I doubt if anyone out there puts it through any more stress than we do. We've driven it 15 hours straight in 100 degree heat. We've driven it 15 hours straight in -10 degree snowstorms. We drive it all over our city and county roads making many stops/starts/turns.

    Yes we replaced a head gasket for about $900 and a few other minor electrical issues that maybe totaled $200. Factor that $1100 into our purchase price of ~$15,000 and then divide it out over the four years and a half years we've owned this van and you VERY inexpensive van to drive. And did I mention it has 109,000 miles and it still rides great? And did I mention that it still looks good? As I always say: this is the best selling van in the country - there are not that many fools out there folks. For those of you reading this board wondering what to buy just keep in mind that HAPPY customers RARELY share their stories (particularly happy family customers because they're so darn busy w/family stuff to post here) but unhappy customers ALWAYS share their stories. Take the negative stories with a grain of salt. I don't doubt they're true, just like I don't doubt you'll find all sorts of negative posts on the foreign boards, but keep it all in perspective.

    - Rob
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    How many DC vans have been sold in the past 20 years? Or just in the past four years? How many posts are on this board? How many Mazda MPVs have been sold in the past four years? (The MPV is the 2nd-best van for reliability according to Consumer Reports, just behind the Sienna.) How many posts are on the MPV Problems board? (Hint: a lot more than on this board.) Doesn't prove anything, and not all posts and problems are created equal, but it's an interesting bit of trivia, no?
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    Answer to first question, 10 million DC vans sold
  • just4fun2just4fun2 Posts: 461
    Ody van site. They crow about how reliable and that is why they bought it. Then, the next sentence is, but we bought the extended warranty just in case. I think they need a site like Edmunds to get reassurance about their purchase.
  • quandaoquandao Posts: 4
    I bought the 96 DC Sport. First year, 4 sides molding broke one at the time, 4 trips to dealer.Second years, windshield gasket popped out, outside rearview gasket popped out, driver side sliding door power door lock stuck at unlock position(22K miles) caused by bad power module. Third year,second row bench replaced(poor workmanship),the driver side sliding door power module bad again at 28K and again at 37K. After 37K they did not fixed it under waranty any more. I called Dodge headquarter to complain about this why 3 power modules on the same door bad. They did not fix the problem, all they did were replaced the bad module and let it died a year later. And the answear i got was "Sorry you are out of warranty". I gave up and leave that door unlock for good. At 50K I had a bad Oxygen sensor, at 65K sometimes the van would not start, replaced starter, fixed. At 70K brake fluid leaked at rear wheels, replaced brake wheel cylinder. Inside rear view mirror fell off. At 90K replaced transmision, airbag light somtimes turned on and off. At 100K, when the weather is hot and the AC is on, the car sometimes stalls at slow traffic. I take good care of this van. I like this van very much. This is my first Dodge and probably the last one.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    I'm updating my "happy owner" report. My wife's '95 Caravan is at 98000 miles and minimal problems. I needed AC service this spring and have a faint compressor whine. Mechanic says drive it 'til it fails. I replaced front brake pads at no cost on lifetime warranty. All other service the past year are preventive maintenance. $72 repair (+$300 compressor soon) over 12000 mi= well below normal.
  • I have been a very satisfied owner of the 2000 Chrysler Voyager. Bought it brand new, and had no problems...until I hit exactly the 40,000 mark. It was as if a time bomb happened. After coming home from a short trip, I noticed a grinding, metal-to-metal sound in the front when I applied the brakes, which over the course of less than a mile became unbearably loud. Took it to the garage the next day...the front brakes were wore down to the metal. The weird thing is that I had no warning. No sqealing sound, no loss of brakes or pressure. Nothing. Just, poof. I don't know if anyone else had this happen to them. But it was pretty scary for me, as my 5 year old son was with me. When I had the van inspected in the beginning of the year, the garage said the brakes were 70/50, and it passed inspection. Go figure.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ...the garage measured the outside pads, and found them okay, but the inside pads wore out quicker due to sticking caliper sliding pins.

    Just another point to do as much of the inspection stuff yourself if one has the inclination and the resources.
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    We have had our 2001 GC since new and in general, it has been a decent vehicle. However, when it was about 6 months old, it developed what to me was a significant driveability issue. On the highway with the torque converter locked up, there was no relationship between how far you pressed the accelerator and the acceleration of the vehicle until finally, the transmission downshifted and away you went. Every other fuel injected car I have driven(and with rentals it has been in the hundreds), you press the gas and you go. You press the gas more and you go more. Not so with this engine.
    It has been in 7-8 times for the problem and the dealer claims not even Chrysler can figure it what the matter is. I told the dealer I'd drop the matter if they would let me drive a similar vehicle with the same engine and I could see that it also drives that way.
    The point of this is that our warranty is soon to run out and if I'm going to take a stand with Chrysler, I have to do it soon. For anyone with this vehicle/engine combination, does it drive as you would expect or does it have a hesitation until you press the accelerator fairly far down? Your responses would be appreciated.
  • I just purchases a brand NEW 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan (with only 5 miles on it) less than a month ago and it has already been in the shop once. I have a clicking noise when I am at turning right at speeds greater than 10 mph (like onto a side street, etc). I have started to hear the clicking under the brake pedal and into the center of the engine. You can also feel the clicking vibrating on the brake pedal and steering wheel. The mechanic said he couldnt find anything and greased my brakes. It has been 3 days since the 'greasing' and the noise is BACK. I thought of a CV joint, but had that problem before and dont think that is what it is. It is intermitent and not a costant click eveytime I turn. Any ideas or similar experiences?
  • I purchased a 96 Grand Voyager Plymouth new back on 9/95. I currently have 81k miles. I was just informed by the dealer (via routine maint) that both strut towers have experienced metal fatigue and rusting and need to be repaired by a body shop. The towers were fatiguing for years and the dealer in the past stated it was not an issue.... now it is... I have filed a complaint with Chrysler but they stated that the van is well beyond the warranty period. In reviewing the NHTSA web site, I found over 13 complaints covering Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth in just 15 minutes of research.. this is not the final number as I'm not done yet. Complaints affect Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth. Has anyone else seen this problem? According to what I see on the web, this is a major, emerging issue affecting all 96 mini-vans made by Chrysler.
    For ref, I am enclosing some of the NHTSA complaints that you can review yourself.
    10030985, 10034578, 10016868, 10031538, 8016720, 8005867, 10032249, 892718, 8024099, 8023905, 10021398, 731422, 770506, 10003849

    If anyone has seen this problem or remedied it, please provide feedback.
  • tko5otko5o Posts: 1
    And I thought I was the only one out there with the 96 Grand Voyager that was a piece of crap! I bought mine used in 98 with about 60k on it, and within six months I had to rebuild the entire motor, replace CV joints,struts, tie rod, rack and pinion,Cooling fans and relay switch,The brakes are always bad, constant transmission problems and a long list of numerous other problems. My radiator just cracked, my A/C compressor just went out, which by the way has been leaking for a year, 1 can every two days. I too have the “phantom” windshield wiper problem when I use the turn signal. (I thought it was just my eyes) :~) I have major road noise no matter how expensive or well rated the tires are. This is the first “non-Chevy” vehicle we have ever owned, and nothing but problems with it, these van's are a road and pocket hazard! I will stick with my Chevy’s and throw the Plymouth over the mountain (there are plenty here in Hawaii).
  • Interesting find. I think I have this problem as well - in a minor way. About a month ago we had a spot of rust on the frame just below where the driver's side door slides shut. It was not a big deal and I probably could have left it alone but I decided to sand it down and throw a little primer on it to stop it's progress (fortunately the grey primer just about matches the silver paint so I didn't bother painting it).

    While I was feeling manly I threw open the hood to check things out. I noticed that the driver's side strut tower was a little rusty. I just assumed it was because at one point we had a slightly leaky windshield trim piece, now I'm starting to think maybe a leak still exists and we just don't know about it. Anyway I dug into the rust with a hammer and screwdriver and broke off most of the major flaking. There's still a boatload of good metal under there and I sprayed the heck out of it with primer but I realize I didn't solve the main problem: the leak...wherever it is. But for us it's ok. We may hold the van another year, maybe two and there's no way this rust is doing anything in that timeframe, not even up here in Michigan.

    I can't see why Chrysler would do anything about the problem now - it's an eight year old van. But hey, keep us updated if they do anything for you and I'd be happy to take it in for a free body repair.

  • Has anyone experienced this same problem with a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth Minivan and know the "FIX"???

    While driving on a hot day with A/C on, van suddenly stalls (while coasting / idling – foot is OFF the accelerator).

    When attempting to re start (in N or P), after turning the key it will start momentarily then immediately stall - it will not remain running. However, if you PUMP THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL as it momentarily starts it will then start, idle then resume normal operation...

    Very intermittent problem that has now occurred three times: May 10 @ 78K, August 19 @ 82K (2002) then August 26 @ 99.7K (2003).

    After the second incident, I had the following actions performed by a reputable local repair shop on August 22, 2002: "replaced fuel filter, performed a combustion chamber cleaning of fuel injection system and combustion chambers".

    Nearly one year later, when problem re occurred for the third time after re starting (by method described above) van stalled two or three more times on the way home, then again problem “disappeared”. For lack of better idea, while in neutral at a stop light, I floored the accelerator for about five seconds (rev limiter kicked in @ 5500 RPM) to “blow out” the fuel system??? I drove it the last three days no re-occurrence... running fine.

    Thank you for your help and taking the time to read this... looking forward to replies!

    Robert Rendano
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I presume you have the 3.3 liter engine. I had a similar problem due to the throttle body needing cleaning. After having the throttle body service at a dealer, I started spraying the TB with Gunk TB cleaner every few months. I disconnect the air cleaner and spray with the engine running per instructions. You have to increase the idle while you spray so the engine doesn't die. That was about 6 yrs. ago and no problem since.
  • I took the van (mentioned in posting #1967) to the Chrysler dealer this past Thursday. Got 2 quotes for the strut towers. #1 was for $600 and involved adding a metal cap over the existing towers inside the engine compartment which is rivoted / welded to the existing tower. Doesn't stop the existing rusting... just adds more metal. Dealer stated that folks who complained within the 7yr/70k warranty would get fix #1. #2 was for $1000 and involved replacing both strut towers.

    Will probably opt for #1 as it should make it last for several more years. The body shop mgr stated that he had done over 50 '96 Chrysler vans so far and has started to see some '97 vans recently. Stated that there was tech bulletin and Chrysler made a special cap part available for warranty work as I mentioned above. He specifically stated that it was a design defect. I have 3 co-workers here who have Chrysler vans. I mentioned it to the one who has a '98 and he stated that he has seen rust starting on his strut towers but it wasn't as bad as mine. I told him that his is 2 years newer and 2 years ago, mine looked similiar to his.

    I did research the NHTSA web site and found dozens more complaints. The search engine on their web site requires you to entire the year, manufacturer, vehicle type and problem description. In other words, you have to search on Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge separately for Voyager, Grand Voyager, Carvan, Grand Caravan, T&C and then by suspension selections.

    Just sharing with the rest of you........
  • I have 96 Grand Voyager.
    I'm having a problem starting my van. I have to turn the key several times to start, sometimes like 20 times. It only makes ''click'' sound when it fails to start.
    In this board, I learned that many people have experienced same problem. How much will it cost to have it fixed ? Please help!!
  • Could be a bad starter, failing battery or charging system, or deteriorating electrical cables from the battery to the frame or battery to starter.

    If you still have thr original battery you might want to replace it regardless as seven years is a long time for a battery and you're likely to have problems soon if you aren't already. The Battery cables are relatively cheap so you might consider replacing them as a preventative measure as well. The rest of the electrical system can be tested by your mechanic.
  • Thanks for your input.
    I also thought it is battery, so I brought the van to Auto Zone. But surprisingly, battery was OK. (My battery was replaced 2 y. ago.)
    As you suggest, they said it may be bad cables or bolts connected to the battery.
    But if it is starter, will it be expensive ?
    I have already fixed transmission, AC, head gasket, brake, shocks, speed and O2 censers, and I do not want to spend any more money for this van !
  • A two year old battery should be fine, especially since it tests good. It's in the five year old area where batteries frequently fail as, apparently, your first one did. That's normal.

    At your van's age a bad starter wouldn't be unheard of. Definitely do the new battery cables, though, even if the starter is bad. If those cables are seven years old then it's worth the trouble to replace them as weak cables can contribute to the starter failing so you'll want nice new cables to go with a new starter.

    I didn't know any specifics about your van but asked by mechanics for a rough guess on the cost of changing a starter. The starter from the dealer would be about $200 but he thought he could get one in the $100-$150 range. It'll take about an hour's labor to install so that depends on your mechanic's shop rate. My mechanic charges $59/hr, dealers are typically higher maybe $75 or $80/hr. So a really rough stab would be a total somewhere in the $160-$280 range.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Sounds like you have a starter going bad. Are you handy at all? If so it might be reasonably easy to change out a starter yourself. You can buy rebuilt starters pretty inexpensively from auto parts stores (not the dealer, you will pay too much). They usually give you a credit for turning in your old starter. Take a look at where your starter is, see if you want to try to tackle it yourself. It might surprise you, some starters are very easy to access and replace. It is usually just above the oil pan mounted on the engin block on the front (radiator) side.Just a couple of wires to disconnect and reconnect and two bolts on many of them. I haven't had the need to investigate this on my '96 Caravan, however and access may be better or worse depending on which engine you have. Did it myself on our old 85 Caravan about 10 years ago and it was a snap to to myself.
  • I have a 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan. The auto lock (all doors lock when the van starts moving)"feature" is a real pain. Is there a way to disable this feature??

    Thanks for your help.

  • Yes, the autolock feature can be disabled (at least in the 2002 it can). Check your owners manual for the procedure. If you don't have the manual I'll look it up in mine and let you know the procedure.
  • thanks for the reply. The manual does not mention disabling the lock feature. What does the 2002 manual say - just curious -maybe it will work on my 1996...
  • From the 2002 Caravan Owner's manual:

    The automatic Door Locks can be enabled or disabled by performing the following procedure:

    1. Close all doors and place the key in the ignition switch.

    2. Cycle the ignition switch ON/OFF four times ending in the off position. (Do not start the engine)

    3. Within 10 seconds of the final cycle, press the interior driver's door lock switch to the LOCK position.

    4. A single chime will sound to signify that you have successfully completed the programming.

    You can turn the feature back on by repeating the above mentioned procedure.
  • thanks for the reply. The manual does not mention disabling the lock feature. What does the 2002 manual say - just curious -maybe it will work on my 1996...
  • That's what I just posted. :)
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