Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    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?
    You didn't say what year your van was but we just went through the same thing with our 2001. You could try to unlock ours and it would go through the warning sequence, begin to release and then quit. After having the dealer tell us the problem was our remote, I showed them that the inside button on the overhead console would do the same thing.
    They wound up ordering a new latch and some shims and it works. Now, the inside buttons for the sliding doors don't work.
  • Just last night after work, I got in my van, started her up and a few minutes later the engine warning light came on. I checked my owners manual and it said that it could be bad gas, the gas cap being off or lose. I checked the gas cap and it appeared to be tight. It suggested to drive it normally a few days and if the light doesn't go off, call the dealership. Well, I decided to call them today just in case. I explained the situation to the service guy and what I read in the owners manual. He said to check the gas cap and drive the van over the weekend to see if the light goes off. If not call them back to bring it in. He mentioned that it takes a couple of days for the system to clear the code if the gas cap was not tight. Has any body had this happen to them before and what was the result? I have a 2001 GC EX with 41,700 miles. Any suggestions would be great full. Thanks in advance. Also, I haven't noticed any unusually behavior from the engine or trans. since the check engine light came on. It's about 5 degrees here in Chicago with wind chills around 20-25 degrees below zero. If this matters.
  • Like aaness (post #2068), I believe the transmission in my '98 Grand Voyager is about to go out at slightly less than 60k (although I did buy it new). I feel a slight shudder when reaching about 55 mph. It doesn't last long...but is causing me concern. Anyone have an alternate explanation (other than the transmission)? I have an extended warranty which expires at 60k, so if it is the tranny, I'd like to get it taken care of NOW!
  • alilalil Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Dodge Grand Caravan LE with v6 engine (85K miles). For the first few years, it was in and out of the shop getting everything fixed. The last few have been alright, although it feels a bit odd when turning one way. Just before Christmas, an accident called for replacing the front area, at a cost of $1500, but we could not get an appt to do it, and kept driving (it doesn't look bad, and functions fine). Then two weeks ago I was driving along and the transmission went kaput (perhaps one wheel hit ice). I had it towed to a dealer and they first said 4K to replace, then said they'd found a used transmission with 75K on it they could put in for 1800. I know we could get it done for less elsewhere. But I've always hated having a van, I don't think this is the end of its troubles, one of the doors won't lock, and there is also a little damage to the back bumper.
    I've found a car I want at the same dealer, a toyota. And with help of Edmunds etc I negotiated a good deal before mentioning the van, but after some research they've told me they want nothing to do with the van. It's value is "no value" by the book (since it is not running) and they don't want to repair because they don't want to certify. They advised donating, but if it's listed as "no value" unless I pay to get it running, it's not useful to anyone, and can't even give a tax deduction. But it has a lot of good parts that someone should want . Any ideas out there about what I should do to get some money out of this mistaken purchase so I can get on with it and get a new car?
  • gino45gino45 Posts: 52
    I have a 2001 Caravan SE model with 25.000 miles. I bought the van used when it was one year old and had 10K on it. I noticed a few months after buying it that the bottom of the tailgate was showing signs of rust. It seems that the rust is originating within the bottom seam. I took it to the dealer who sanded and re painted the rust spots. After one month the paint bubbled. The dealer re painted it again, but after three months the rust came back. I just took it back last month and they sanded/grinded the rust and re painted. The problem with this is that the rust is originating within the seam and they are fixing only what shows up on the exterior of the seam. I would think that the only solution would be to open the seam and sand the rust away or replace the tailgate. Has anyone encountered this problem? My warranty will be expiring soon and I don't want to get stuck with just a temporary fix.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ...or similar, which is a pourable/injectable petroleum based wax product. This would be a little messy, but you can do it by yourself, and would not involve opening up the seam. Any good body shop can point you in the right direction. Good Luck.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Alil, the only thing that comes to mind is parting the van out. That is, selling it to someone for parts. Maybe a salvage yard would buy it.

    Masterpaul1, many auto shops now read the CEL codes for free (Auto Zone in my area started the trend).

    Hebenstr, maybe if you take it in and get it on record you'll have a case if the tranny does die in a few thousand miles. Try a Search This Discussion or ask over in Chrysler minivans transmission problems.

    Steve, Host
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    What you are describing is EXACTLY what my 96 Caravan did just before the differential pin came out and cracked the housing of my transmission, draining it. A fairly common occurance, I'm told. Caused a complete replacement of the transmission. $3000.

    I guess you can see the alternatives from here. Perhaps if you can get that pin repaired before it blows off, you may avoid a total rebuild?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Many used vehicles have NO VALUE when a major component fails. Happens with Hondas as well as DaimlerChrysler, GM, and Ford.
        It appears you will have to absorb the small loss of junking your old Grand Caravan LE instead of some unlucky, hapless soul who may have bought it and had the transmission go out a few months later.
        Aren't you glad you did not pay the $1500 to fix the front end BEFORE the transmission failed?
        BTW, did you buy the van NEW or did some used car dealer rip you off selling you some known junk?
  • baedalbaedal Posts: 1
    Dear Everyone,
    I got many insightful comments from this site and from Royallen regarding engine stall problem. My 1999 2.4L Caravan stalls when it is decellerated to stop in traffic lights or to enter ramp in highways. The car never showed that problem until I have a dealer replace head valve casket and whole upper part of engine block at $2,400 in December 2003. I claimed the stalling problem to the dealer and the dealer replaced oxygen censor (another $130). The number of incidence has been reduced but the car still stalls. There is no problem in re-starting whenever it stalls. Could anyone give comments?
  • Just put 73000 mile on the 96 grand voyager se. It turned 8 years old on 1-20-04. Wouldn't you know it. the engine needs to be rebuilt. I mean I can understand buying new roters every 2 years instead of brake pads, and of course the transmission was relaced in 2000 at 37000 miles but shouldn't a v-6 engine with timely oil changes last more than 73000 miles? I see chrysler has almost $4000 rebates on a new voyager. Somehow I just don't think I'll take the bait. Donated the Voyager & bought a Toyota Sienna the dealer drove 120 miles just to show me
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Probably a good decision.....
  • I have a 2000 Grand Caravan Sport. The back door on the drivers side is jammed. I took it to a dealer and they told me they would have to cut into the door to release the rear latch. Has anyone had/heard of this problem? Does any one have a solution that would not involve slicing and dicing my van?

  • I took my van to the dealer and found out that the gas cap wasn't sealing and had to be replaced.
  • The coolant level in my 2001 Chrysler T&C keeps dropping with no sign of external leakage. We pressure tested the cooling system and found that the pressure dropped steadily. Has anyone had similar problems, what was the cause,and how much did it cost to fix the problem.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Sounds like a classic head gasket failure to me. You should start experiencing one of the following soon, if you're not already;

    Hard Starting
    Rough run at start up
    Mist in the exhaust, that smells sweet
    or water in the oil

    If it's out of warranty, I'd trade it off, myself.
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    Sounds unethical to me?
  • That way you can have "two" people complaining about the same vehicle and never buy another one from that car company.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Wow. I'm a big fan of ethics myself, but I'm surprised trading it off bothers you guys. I would not sell it without disclosing the concern, but I don't feel I'm representing anything about the car on a trade in, personally. Maybe a dealer feels differently about it than I do. The dealer usually low balls me so badly on a trade in, that I don't feel any guilt about it. Am I wrong?
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    OK, got in my mom's '98 caravan this weekend to move it so I could shovel more snow. Right when I started it, the windshield wipers kicked on for one pass, then shut off. I reached for the switch, and it was already off. According to my mom, this is happening often, and they sometimes turn on when she is driving.

    Is this a relay or the multifunction switch? Is this hard to repair (DIY)? Mom's not made of money, so I will try to fix it myself.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    This phantom occasional intermittent wipe was common on first model year but I don't know how many model years of that version Caravan that the problem showed up. Fortunately, ours started doing that while van was still under warranty, and I believe they replaced the multifunction switch, but can't say I paid much attention to it when it was repaired as it didn't cost us anything.

    I don't suppose Dodge extended the warranty on that issue, so you may be out of luck for getting it done free, but I am sure their service departments have fixed enough of them to know the problem. They can probably give you a cost estimate over the phone.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Now that my wife's Subaru Legacy wagon is about to turn 10 years old, she is starting to drop "I want a minivan" hints. A new Sienna or Odessey is not financially possible at this time. However, a local dealer has been advertising pre-owned 2003 Grand Caravan Sports for $13K-$15K, with between 10K and 20K miles. The basic Sport model has all the features that we would need in a basic minivan.

    Of the seven neighbors who have or have had late 90's vintage Dodge/Plymouth minivans, none have had any major problems other than a power steering pump failure that took out the steering rack. All have generally been happy with their vehicles.

    Based on reviews I've read of the domestic minivans, the DC minivans tend to be higher rated than those from Ford and GM. What are the problem areas with the current generation of DC minivans? I know that earlier models had a higher than average rate of transmission problems. Have there been any transmission design changes in the latest generation? Granted, the 2003s have the 7/70 powertrain warranty, so that would be some help against future problems. Am I saving $8K-$10K now only to be nickel and dimed to death years down the road? Overall, what do people think?
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    Go for the grand caravan. I have an '02 Sport and love it. My company has been using them for company vehicles for more than 10 years. In the early/mid 90's we had a lot of tranny troubles, but in the last 4-5 years or so, they have really improved these vans. We have been exclusively buying the Sport models, and have had no problems with any of our 2001-2002 models. I think the newest generation (2001-on)are a smart buy.
  • I second that jpelder. We have the EX and love it. It was bought used with only 37,020 miles to which we have over 42,400 miles now. We bought the bumper to bumper maximum care warranty to 70,000 miles or May 2007.

    Sunburn make sure to read up and do research on all vans being considered before making your choice. Then go and test drive each of them. Make sure to buy the extended warranty no matter which van you purchase. It will come in very handy down the road. All vans of different makes and models have there problems to which you can read here on edmunds. I have not seen a lot of powertrain problems for Dodge/Chrysler Minivans. I do believe that the quality is much better than years before the 2001 redesign.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    After 2000, the electronic adaptive series of 4-speed FWD Chrysler transmissions received several major upgrades. The majority of problems on older versions were the solenoid packs and electrical wiring going to them. The solenoids were found to magnetize the solenoid plungers after some time in service rendering them irratic in operation. That's been fixed with a new design.

    Since then transmission problems attributed to hard failures have dropped significantly. However, there still exists the problem of using Dexron-Mercon fluid in Chrysler transmissions, and this causes premature failure. After 2000, all Chrysler automatic transmissions require ATF+4.

    My company has several thousand 2001s through 2003s in service (national fleet). Each year since 2000 they have been getting better. Most of our issues in the last few years with Caravans have been relatively minor. Some of the '01s had body hardware and electrical issues. The '02s and '03 have been very, very good. Nothing major at all. At this point they are so far much better than the Windstars and a whole light year ahead of Astro vans.

    Are they perfect? No, but compared to the other domestics a very reliable product in the last few years.

    Best regards,
  • pb17pb17 Posts: 33
    Can you buy a new Voyager with Town and Country features? Rear disc brakes, power seats, quad seating, upper console with mpg, compass, temp, etc..? I like the size of the Voyager but find them as stripped, entry level vehicles at dealers. Only alternative is the Mazda MVP.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    If you can't find what you want at a Chrysler dealer, head for your local Dodge dealer. It sounds like you want a short wheel base version of Chrysler minivans well equipped. The Dodge dealers will have Caravans available pretty well loaded up which is short wheel base version (also available Grand Caravans, long wheelbase versions equivalent to Chrysler Town and Country). The Caravans are are identical to the Chrysler Voyagers just some of the exterior styling-mainly front grill/bumper is different and option packages available are different.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Chrysler sells a short-wheelbase Town & Country. The Caravan SXT is also pretty loaded and a great value--I see them advertised in my area below $17,500 sometimes (w/o ABS).
  • pb17pb17 Posts: 33
    Shorter Town and Country vans do not have rear disc brakes, power seats, etc.. found in the LX and LXI. AT least none of the dealers I visited had them or indicated their availability. I currently have a '97 Grand Caravan SE and would like a shorter van.
Sign In or Register to comment.