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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • I have a 95 grand voyager that I just purchased. When I fill the tank it indicates full, but after about 75 miles the gauge drops to empty. Do I need to drop the tank and replace the sending unit or is there some other/easier fix? Also I have noticed that when I am taking off from a stop, there is a slight shimmy in the front end until you get to about 20mph. Any ideas?

    Thank you,

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Bob, first the shudder. This could be coming from the torque converter. You didn't say how many miles were on your Grand Voyager, but because of the year I would guess it's over 60,000 miles.

    In any case, especially since you are not the original owner, I would have the transmission filter replaced and have a complete transmission fluid change. Torque converter shudder is indicative of oxidized or contaminated transmission fluid. Not changing the fluid can lead to more serious transmission problems. Also, make sure that who ever does the work uses the correct fluid, which I believe for you year is ATF+3, or Chrysler 7176.

    Your fuel gauge problem could be bad or corroded connections to the fuel sending unit in the tank. I would check the wiring first. If the connections are good, the sending unit in the tank is probably bad.

    Good luck,
  • Dusty,
      thanks for the info. By the way it has 135000 mi on it. As a follow up, do I need to have the tranny fluid pumped out or will a filter change and drain and fill myself suffice?

       On a side note, I see from your profile that you have alot of GM experience. Maybe you could tell me how to get more power out of my Tonawanda 454 in my RV. :-)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I would most certainly recommend a complete flush of the system, ie: pump the old fluid out, and a replenish with new ATF.

    With respect to the 454 Chevrolet block in your RV. It depends on the year. On older versions there isn't a lot you can do with cylinder head profile. Raising compression as a way to increase power might be problematic, if at all possible. I think what you want is to increase torque.

    I don't know if money will be an object for you. Fairly easy things would be to install a more torque-friendly cam and maybe even a more effective intake manifold. Opening the exhaust flow can sometimes hurt torque, but this might also be something to explore.

    By the way, ever have a cracked exhaust manifold on that beast?

    More up-to-date profile heads and a corresponding intake manifold might be a good way to realize power increase, but now you are talking some bucks.

    Just some thoughts.

    Good luck,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    From the 2003 Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue, overall reliability:

    Chrysler Town & Country = average

    Chevrolet Venture = worse than average

    Dodge Caravan = average

    Ford Windstar = much worse than average

    Honda Odyssey = average

    Mazda MPV = better than average

    Nissan Quest = average

    Pontiac Montana = worse than average

    Oldsmobile Silhouette = worse than average

    Toyota Sienna = Better than average
  • We had the van in to the dealership on Fri. They tell us the air bag light is on due to something in the seat belt malfunctioning. They have ordered the part and we go back in two weeks. The clunk from under the front end turned out to be a bad stabilizer bar and some other part. The work was done under warrenty but we can't help wondering why with only 48,000 km( approx 27,000 mile)did it go bad? This is a 2002 after all!We asked about the shudder on deceleration and they said it was *normal* for a Caravan.
    We finally figured out why the van steered so poorly when we bought it in May, the stabilizer bar was bad. Why were they not able to figure it out then?
    It handles much better now, we still like the van. The dealership is working things out and we are pleased. Anyone had to have this work done?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Dusty, where are you looking in the 2003 Annual Auto Issue? In my copy, the T&C is rated worse than average, the Caravan and Grand Caravan worse than average, the Odyssey better than average, the MPV and Sienna much better than average, and the Quest isn't rated because it's a new model (although the Sienna is new also...). Additionally the Sedona is rated average.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My apologies. I was looking at the 2002 issue!

  • ro22tolro22tol Posts: 24
    I have a 2000 GC that had the steering wheel click or chirp noise. I suffered with it for about a year when new, then a TSB came out for it. Took it into the dealer and they did the tsb. Install a steering wheel shim kit. I had heard on that this was just insulating tape used in back of the clock spring. This worked for a while but the clicking came back and now out of warranty. I was going to replace the leather steering wheel (the sun had done a number on it) so I thought that I would take a look at what might be causing the clicking.

    I used the directions found on to replace the cocksping. Took the old clock spring off and found that the insulating tape on the back had compressed and no longer was doing its job. I added some small strips of 1/8 inch foam tape on the back of the clockspring. NO MORE TICKING (so far anway)!!

    Thanks allpar for the instruction on how to remove the clockspring without setting the airbag off!
  • rancinrancin Posts: 4
    Our 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan went through it's second transmission pump in 2 1/2 years and 57,000 miles. The first one went while it was under warranty but the second one wasn't. The pump was warranted for one year and it had been several months past that. The replacement estimate was between $1500 and $2000, depending on what they found when they tore into it. We talked to the service manager of the dealership and complained that when we bought the van, we were told the transmission nightmares were no more. He said he would talk with Dodge and get back to us. They decided that if we paid $100 they would cover the rest and we have a new transmission since they found some abnormal wear when tearing into it.
    We are very pleased with the outcome but wonder if this will be a continuing problem in the future with the transmission. We'll have to wait and see for a couple more years since the trade-in value is less than half of what we paid for it.
  • What were the symptoms? How did the van behave? Ours (2002) shudders if you let off the gas and while slowing down to stop. They said this is *normal* for a Caravan. I'd like to hear how you found your van to act.
  • ro22tolro22tol Posts: 24
    It is normal to hear the typical CR tranny noise as you come to a stop. They all do it, but you should not feel this at all. If you can feel something as you come to a stop it is more than likely the transmissions speed sensor. As it kets worse the car will not want to come out of gear as you come to a stop.
  • rancinrancin Posts: 4
    It is a constant whining sound when the transmission is in gear. Only when in neutral does
    it stop. It is not obvious at normal speed but when going slow, you can really hear it. If the
    pump does fail, then the transmission is a goner.
  • ssg1ssg1 Posts: 2
    I hope I can explain this so you can understand what really is going on. But twice now, we have been driving down the highway and the T&C just quit. I had the cruise on, everything going just great when all the sudden all power to the engine just quit. I first thought the cruise just went off, but no. Engine was still running but I was not getting any RPM's or engine revving when I pressed on the gas - as though it was starving for gas. After about 45 minutes of turning the engine off and on to try to get it moving - it started to work as if nothing ever happened. We got 20 - 30 miles down the road and it did it again. Totally stalled, engine will start but rattling and vibrating, popping sounds as if something was vapor locked, I thought the darn thing was back firing. Got it to an Auto Zone, they put the device to it and it only showed it had "miss fired". The darn thing started working perfectly normal again, but 60 miles down the road -- guess what! This time it took us about 4 hours to go 60 miles. Has anyone ever heard of this or experienced it themselves? I have ideas but want to hear your thoughts before I take it in to get checked out. One person says to change all the fuel filters and fuel pump. Another says it's more likely a bad sensor that's getting hot, then after cooling down things start to work somewhat properly. It did this only once several months back (another long road trip - it started working great after about 45 minutes), and hadn't done it since till this road trip. All the time in between it's been driven around town. Would love some experienced feedback to take to the shop with me. Thanks!!
    PS. It has a new transmission in it replaced last year.
    Year is a 1996 and has 98500 miles on it.
    Thanks again - SSG

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  • Has anyone experienced a problem with the van not moving when you are in reverse? I put the van into reverse , the motor raced up but it would not move! Another thing, all the letters ( PRD3L)
    had a circle around it like it does when you put it into gear. Only the reverse should have had the circle. This has happened to me twice.
    I just play with changing back to park and the reverse and the other gears and it finally works.
    This is a 2002 Caravan SE. If anyone knows what this is, please help ! Thanks
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    Shawn (ssq1), you may need a dealer's help because the possibilities include some obscure engine functions. Check out and you will see what I mean. My unexpert thought would be an intermittent coil failure related to heat. Roy
  • ssg1ssg1 Posts: 2
    WOW, Lulu....... I was just reading through the notes to see if anyone had an answer for my van and noticed your note. The exact same problem is now occurring with our '96 Town and Country. Did you ever get the problem resolved?? PLEASE let me know. Thanks Dusty and Roy for your feedback.
    Shawn (ssg1)
  • vvgvvg Posts: 10
    We have a 1999 Caravan with 70K miles. About two weeks ago, my wife noticed that sometimes the key would not turn in the ignition.

    We called the dealer, who suggested we pull the wheel left or right until it hits the lock stop, and also insure that the shift lever was all the way in park.

    This morning she tried for 10 minutes to get the key to turn in the ignition with no luck. This included twisting the steering wheel and lifting up on the shift lever. A tow truck driver also tried.

    Anyone ever hear of a problem like this?
  • vidtechvidtech Posts: 212
    i have solved the problem myself by relieving pressure on the steering takes a lot of effort.i don't know if you tried another key?i also had a bad lock cylinder and a broken gear inside the steering rare cases,an ignition switch can jam.
  • I have a 1996 Plymouth Grand Voyager with a 3.3.

    When I go to turn on my fan for A/C or heat it will not go on. I can put the switch on any setting and it still will not turn the fan on.

    I've replaced the resistor and switch and checked all the fuses. I was told by the dealer this year did not have a relay. The switch is not getting any power at the plug-end, if I'm doing it right.

    Right now I'm using the cigarette lighter to run the fan. One more thing I have 122,000 ml and I'm on my fourth transmission!!!
  • I have a '96 T&C, it had 45,000 miles when the symptoms were first noticed; long trips, engine under full or close to full load, climbing hills, going fast, etc...Replaced plugs, wires, leads everything easy and obvious. Finally replaced the fuel pump and it stopped 100%. We do the same trip about once every two weeks over and it used to do it every single time. It stopped the day we replaced the fuel pump. Approx $500 CDN
  • I replaced my power steering pump recently when it went out at like 70,000 miles, and now it's 2 weeks later and it's starting to go out again. Is there some kind or recall or any possible way to fix it so it won't fail again like that?
  • Well, this is a sure sign that our beloved minivans are desired by *someone* other than appears our '96 Plymouth Grand Voyager was stolen last night! My wife came out of the mall to discover that our van was gone (& yes, she and the security guards drove around for an hour looking for it...I asked the same question). Who in their right mind wants a 7 year old van with 115,000 miles on it!?!? The police told me a '98 was stolen two hours after ours about five miles away. Not sure how insurance will handle this but we're off shopping for a new van this weekend. It will very likely either be a new Dodge G.C. or a 1-2 year old one.

    - R
  • We bought a 2002 DGC last last summer for $16,589. It had 16k miles. These things depreciate so fast that you can save quite a bit by going with a 1 to 2 year old van instead of new.

    We bought through carmax, as we have a local outlet, and their system let me search for vans in the entire region. I was able to find the exact combination of options and mileage that I wanted and had the van transferred (via truck) to the local lot. The price ended up being about $200 less than Edmund's dealer TMV so couldn't complain there.

    Would have saved a few hundred more if I could have found one from a private seller but that's a lot harder to find and I wouldn't have had the vast number of vans from which to choose. I monitored the carmax web site daily for a week or two and there were always at least 12 or 15 vans in our region matching my criteria. I rated them by miles and price and had the salesman get detailed reports on the top few vans until I found the right one.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    This is spooky, I had exactly this problem with my '99 GCS, 46k miles, last Friday! Unfortunately, the van was parked at the entrance to a hospital emergency room, where I had just taken my wife (good timing). Anyway, I tried two different keys and no go. I called the 800 number for warranty service (have the DC extended warranty) and they told me to pull the wheel hard left, which I did but it was locked so it wouldn't move. The tow truck came and the driver was able to budge the wheel enough to make the key turn. I drove it to my local Dodge dealer, who replaced the lock cylinder under (extended) warranty--cost me the $50 deductible. Later my wife told me she had been having trouble turing the key for several days.
  • Hello. I'm new to this forum. So any help will be greatly appreciated. First, let me state that I know absolutely nothing about cars. I'm just trying to get a fix on what the problem is with my '96 Plymouth Grand Voyager (112,200 miles). I do know that it has a 3.3 engine. The problem that I am having is everytime I turn on my car and begin to drive it, it revs high and then jerks. It does this sequence three times. Then after this sequence of jerking and I try to go 40 mph, I can hear the engine as if it's trying to get power and the RPM needle is past the number three (3). If I want to go 35 mph, the RPM needle is between the two (2) and the three (3). The jerking sequence tends to happen after I turn the car off, turn it back on, and then begin to drive. Some are telling me it's my transmission not being able to get out of second (2nd) gear. Some are telling me it might be a clogged fuel filter. I'm leaning more towards the first because there seems to be a pattern to when this happens. I'm trying to narrow it down before I go to an auto shop/dealer so I can get a idea of the cost for repair.

    Anyone have any clue as to what the problem/cost would be? Thanks for any and all help.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    I assume that it is a 4-speed automatic (41TE). The issues may range from low fluid level (very cheap to fix, ATF+3 fluid about $3 per quart), bad speed sensors (cheap fix about $100-150) to a dying transmission (expensive - about $1500-2000). What is the service history and type of usage on the van?
  • Well, I bought the van used on 12/01. Aside from the basic maintenance (oil change, tune-up, etc.), a new relay switch, and the recent purchase of a new starter, nothing major. I use the van to go to and from work (approx. 20 min drive) and travel once a year (vacation), but that's it. I've had ATF added last week. Can the problem be diagnosed through computer diagnostics?

    Thanks for the possible fixes. :)
  • Pupadu did you have the transmission problem before or after you added ATF? If not, it might have been the wrong type ATF which would cause this problem. Check your owners manual for the correct ATF to use on your 96 Voyager.
  • Can you please explain what limp mode is? That is the term the mechanic used for my van when they did some work on the transmission.Thanks
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