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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ...that sounds like the normal working of your anti-lock braking system.
  • mrl11777mrl11777 Posts: 154
    Gosh, ABS has been pretty common for about 10 years. There is a book in your glove compartment; probably says "Dodge" on the cover. Read it -- it is full of useful information, including a section on "brakes".
  • For your info. I did read my owners manual from front to back. My last car didn't have ABS, 86 Lincoln Town Car. My wife's 98 Pontiac Sunfire has ABS and it feels nothing like what I felt in the van. You should really watch what you say to people and stop assuming. I came here for answers not smart remarks.
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    Get to know your brakes. Find a nice flat spot, in a parking lot, that is slippery. Hammer the brakes and leave them on, don't let up. If you hear a pulsating sound and feel the brake pedal virbate then you likely have ABS. ABS allows you to maintain steering control in a panic stop. Do this again and again until you are comfortable with the feel.
  • mrl11777mrl11777 Posts: 154
    My T&C manual contains a full description of the van's ABS system and a useful primer on how the brakes feel when the ABS system kicks in. It is very important to learn how ABS brakes work because if you do not use them correctly the vehicle is more dangerous than one that is not equipped with ABS. This has been proven out by the IIHS. It is frightening how little many people know about the vehicles they drive, and that puts those sharing the roads with them at risk.

    If people actually read their owner's manuals (which are written at a 5th-grade level) there would be only half as many posts on boards like these.
  • The dashboard lights (as well as the lights for the heating/air conditioning panel in the center console) have failed on our 1994 Plymouth Voyager. The warning lights still come on when the key is turned in the ignition, as does the "low fuel" light, so it's not as much of a safety issue as it might have been.

    Our local Amoco station has worked on this van constantly (that's another sad story) and has checked the fuses and the electrical connections and has been unable to fix the problem other than to suggest taking it to a dealer.

    I am not about to sink any more money into this turkey and prefer to drive at night with a small flashlight aimed at the dashboard to keep from speeding if nobody can come up with a better idea!
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    My best advice would be to get a wiring diagram for your exact model. Familiarize yourself with the electrical paths, then you can begin tracing wires. It's always possible that all the bulbs burned out, but I wouldn't start tearing apart the dash without a diagram. A Haynes manual should have one, if not, try calling your friendly local Dodge dealer and see if you can photocopy the pages you need from a shop manual. I'm thinking the boys at the Amoco aren't electrical experts.
  • I have found that the steering wheel speed controls and dash-mounted controls for power mirrors and parking/headlights are not illuminated, so they cannot be seen at night. There is a lighted indicator to show when fog lights are on. My vehicle is a 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT.

    Is this lack of illumination a design "feature" or does my vehicle have an electrical defect? I will be seeing the dealer's service department in a couple of days.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    An ABS equipped vehicle should have an ABS warning light on the dash which lights with the key "ON" and the engine not running.
    Dash lights not coming on could be a dash light control switch moved to the "OFF" position. This switch could also malfunction leaving the lights off. A repair option other than a dealer would be an auto electric specialty shop. Roy
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    When ABS is in action in Dodge(I have seen it in our van and my old Stratus), it makes the usual ABS noise and brake pedal pulsates differently from our other cars; 95 Cutlass Supreme, 99 GA, 96 Camry, 01 RX300, or 97 Camaro. I feel GM and Toyota cars have less ABS noise/pulsation than Chrysler products. Not that there is anything wrong with them, just different.
  • Anybody experiencing a humming noise coming from the transmission on your new 04 Grand Caravan? The noise happens when coasting to a stop between 0 and 25 MPH. I have less than 150 miles and just purchased a couple of days ago.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    It is likely the normal operation of the solenoids that control the fluid flow in the transaxle. If you listen while walking on the street, most DaimlerChrysler 4-speed transaxles make the same bzzzz-tic sound as the solenoids open and close the valves.
  • My wife's van is a 1999 Grand Caravan ES AWD. My understanding of the AWD system is that the car is normally 100% FWD. When the front tires slip, torque is transferred to the rear. My question is what happens when you are backing up? Does the AWD work in reverse gear or is reverse strictly front wheel drive? Our driveway is up hill from our garage. When trying to back out of the garage and go up the driveway in snow or icy conditions, the front wheels spin and the van goes nowhere. Is my AWD system functioning properly or not?

  • Thanks Eneth for your reply. Only problem is that the vehicle was not making this noise when we drove off the lot. We went back to the dealer and for the heck of it test drove another new exact model and it did not make the noise. Dealer is checking it out.
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    Hello all!

    My buddy hit some pavement with the oil pan on his 96 caravan. Upon inspection, the oil pan is dented but doesn't leak, but it seems that gasket is leaking.

    Does anyone have anything to relate to replacing an oil pan gasket?

    Do you just put the new one in and tighten the screws, or is there any kind of glue you should use?

    Thanks in advance,

  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Most likely the oil pan itself will have to be replaced. If it's dented, then it may never seal up correctly again even with a new gasket. I can only imagine how tough that will be with the engine in the van.
  • I have a 1999 Town and Country Mini Van. For the past year I have been having a problem with the van when I attempt to start the vehicle. When I put the key in the ignition and turn the key the van starts up but once I let go of the key the van cuts off. After trying to start it about three times in this manner then the van won't turn over at all. I notice that this problem occurs only when I use the keypad to lock and unlock the door. When I first started having this problem a friend suggested I let the vehicle sit for about 20 minutes then use the key instead of the keypad to open the door and it worked the vehicle would start right up. Lately though it has gotten worse and when I go to start the car I turn the key let go and it cuts off and won't start after any period of time. I have had to have it tolled three times already. Twice it went to places that were not the dealership. They both said that the Anti-theft system had a short in it. They also said that they couldn't fix the problem and that it would have to go to the dealership. Neither places charged me anything. I took the van to the dealership as suggested and told the people at the dealership what I was told. At the time I got the van to the dealership it was working and since the people at the dealership could not create the problem they said they could not fix it. It made since to me and the next time it broke it was towed to the dealership. I explained what I had been told about the anti-theft system causing the problem and was told right away by the service personnel on the phone that, that was not it. After the vehicle was checked out by a mechanic I was told that my battery was dead and that I needed a new starter. I paid a total of $816.00 for a battery a starter and a few other services not related to the problem that I knew needed to be done. I took the van home and not even 24 hours later the van broke down for the same problem. The van had to sit for a day and a half because of the holidays and the dealership sent a tow truck for it but when I put the key in the ignition the van started so I drove it to the dealership. They kept the van for about 5 days trying to recreate the problem by using the key pad but the problem never occured. There was no charge for them to keep the van and check it out. I picked the van up just yesterday from the dealership at 4:00 p.m and at 9:30 p.m the van broke with the same problem. Again they will have to come tow the van. Hopefully this time they will concentrate on a different area since I have a new battery and a new starter. Has anyone heard of this problem. I like my van and I want to keep it.
  • dalawdalaw Posts: 37
    I have a 96 Voyager with the Mitsubishi 3.0 V6 and 70,000 miles. Does anyone know if my timing belt needs to be changed? And does the engine have enough clearance to allow the breaking of the belt? I aaked a dealer and they said its gonna cost 600 dollars.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227 says change every 60K, 3.0L SOHC noninterference but 3.0L DOHC interference which means the piston will hit the valve if the timing belt breaks on the DOHC version. You might get an independent mechanic estimate. If you need ideas for a good independent, check:, "MechanXfiles" on the home page. Roy
  • We traded our problematic 2002 Caravan for a 2003Caravan. It has under 3000 km (just over 1000 miles)now. We bought it Dec. 1/03. the other day I noticed red liquid dripping onto the snow. I had it towed in to the nearest dealer and they said it had a ruptured transmission cooling hose and that the connection to the rad was loose. They said it was a good thing I had towed it not driven it in.
    Anyone heard of this in a brand new van? It has been very cold here,but I do warm it up for 10-15 min before I drive it. Just curious.
  • sxt4mesxt4me Posts: 7
    Our 04 Grand Caravan SXT with only 300 miles is still making a high pitch whining sound as we come to a coast approaching a stop, especially down hill. Sound goes away when gas peddle is pressed and comes right back when not pressed. Sound kicks in under 25 MPH. We have owned lots of cars and even an older Caravan but have never heard this type of noise. Dealer says tranny is normal. We think it is not. Can anyone shed some light on this? Should we take the Van into another dealership for a second opinion or a reputable transmission service company?
  • ppekppek Posts: 58
    Do you have the sound at all times (even after the engine warms up)? We have 2002 ES AWD and we had a whining noise only when it was cold. It ended up being something tied with the power steering pump, and was fixed when a recall service was performed. We heard the noise when coasting and also when stopped, but only when the engine was cold. If you don't hear it while stopped, it probably isn't this.

    Either way, does not sound normal.

    Take care,
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    Yesterday, we sold our 97 Dodge Caravan with 3.3 L engine. The kids are driving and wife wanted a RX300. We bought the van new and put 130K miles on it. It never had transmission problem that so many people had trouble with. The fluid/filter were replaced at Dodge dealer at 44, 75 and 118K miles. I put Blizzak snow tires on during winter months, so the front tires never spun on ice and hit the dry patch that damages so many FWD tranny.

    The body had no rust, and the exhaust was original. the front rotors/rear drums were replaced at 108K miles. Went through a water pump and three belt tensioners. It also went through three batteries, and the starter was rebuilt once. Never had any leaks. But it used about half quart of oil every 1000 miles. No blue smoke or leaks, just used that much oil. Used 89 octane gas all the time., and 91-93 when we took trips and pulled our camper.

    Had the clock spring problem that after I paid for it, Chrysler came out and made a recall and got my money back.

    If you live in snowy area, I highly sugget that you get snow tires to be easy on the transmission. Those Bridgestone Blizzaks are amazingly effective in ice and snow driving.

    It was a wonderful van on long trips, Great room, decent gas mileage, and quite. If I had room to store it, I would have kept it.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    Just a guess, but the thing that ties all of your symptoms together is the Central Timer Module. I've seen these fail on earlier Chrysler mini-vans, too.

    It also sounds like you're dealers are not very enthusiastic.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Some people have gotten a lot of mileage out of the myth that Chrysler automatic transmissions -- especially in the mini-vans -- are troubleprone. The fact remains that transmission problems are not existant in over 93% of Chrysler mini-vans.

    My company has operated them, as well as Ford and GM versions and the transmission repair rate on the Chrysler's is actually better than the Windstars. With over 8000 mini-vans in our national fleet the statistics speak for themselves.

    The difference is that we require the assigned driver to perform the necessary maintenance as specified by the manufacturer. If not, it shows up in their performance apprasial. We also require the correct automatic transmission fluid be used, which has been a major cause of problems and failures on Chrysler in the past.

    Our automatic transmission problem rate is about 4% across the three (Caravan, Venture, Windstar). That's about 1.2% below the national average of non-fleet cars and trucks. Considerably lower than fleet.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    I don't have the link anymore but when Honda extended their warranty due to failing trannies on the new generation Odyssey, a failure rate of 1.5 to 2% was widely quoted. And I've seen ads for remanufactured trannies that claim only a 2% failure rate.

    Is the real number closer to 5% overall?

    Steve, Host
  • I have a 99 Grand Voyager SE in which the Service Engine Soon light came on and my local mechanic said it was the O2 Sensor....Are these easy to replace? I'm very much the car novice but very handy so....
  • My rear hatch lock no longer functions....The remote and power locks mechanism seems to be functioning....The broken part seems to be the mechanism that actually releases the latch...Where could I look up and order such a part?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    In my rush I may have used misleading language. The last time I saw a figure, it was 5.2% REPAIR rate on automatic transmissions. That was based on the number of vehicles registered in the United States and the number of repairs made. I believe it was compiled by the national association of AT rebuilders (forget the acronym).

    That figure varies and has varied over the years. A decade or so ago that figure was actually much higher.

    Best regards,
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    It seems to me that comparing "fleet" repair rates to national rates is not comparing apples to apples because the age of cars on the road is likely to be considerably older than those in the fleet category. The average age on the road I believe I've seen stated between 8 and 9 years. In addition not all failures of cars on the road are repaired as they are likely to be in the fleet. I personally have had 2 transmission failures that were "retired" and not repaired. Roy
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