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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions

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Comments

  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    Interesting, I've a 97 Eagle Vision TSi equipped with slap stick and 47250 miles that I bought it new in 7/97. Never had any transmission problem with it, the shift is always smooth and precise. Last August had it in for 30K miles service which they changed ATF and filter. I should of asked if they performed ATF flush. Oh well, I'll ask at the next 30K interval.
  • StrategoStratego Posts: 29
    The AWD system is a very solid design, as it is, and has been for quite some time, a Mercedes-Benz designed system. I've heard that AWD systems sap a bit of the engine power, but I haven't noticed it. It's not a racing machine, but the 3.8L V6 has plenty of low-end hp and torque. Also, be careful about towing with an AWD vehicle. They are towed with all four wheels on the ground, or if they need to be towed farther than a certain distance, they need to be put on a flatbed truck.
  • mark194mark194 Posts: 15
    I’ve been following this forum for some time now and I think it’s about time I put my 2 cents in (well maybe more). First off, I’m on my second Caravan (actually my 95 was a Caravan and my 98 is a Grand Caravan). I purchased my 98-sight unseen, but I still did my homework. I knew what I wanted and negotiated for price with a trade in. The most important part of this is the dealer – 5 star all the way, nothing else will do, if they are not, DON’T period. Dealer prep is important, make sure they checkout everything that they’re supposed to. Talk to the service manager, mechanics, and the parts department, not just the salesman. Go to the new car seminar that should be offered and then maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.
    My 95 had only two problems with it 1) It stumbled at idle due to a bad tank of gas. I then had to put in a pint of injector cleaner every 1,000 miles or so. 2) Front brakes went bad at 45,000 miles, bought a set of new rotors and pads for about 70 bucks total and 45 minutes later all was fine with the world (never did have any problems with the tranny and I got rid of it at 60000 miles)
    My 98 has never had any problems (33000 miles) but its due for a new set of tires (I have one bad tire which has been rotated to every location now except the trash bin) (Bad tires can attribute to a lot of the shimmy at highway speeds so don’t be ready to blame the vehicle when a new set of tires may be the answer). I also know the front brakes are going. In a couple of weeks I’m going to take the advice of one of the contributors to this Conference and have the tranny flushed.
    Another note to those of you who have ABS brakes. When the pads are changed don’t let the fluid in the caliper get forced back into the reservoir (it gets dirt into the ABS system, which is a no-no). What you can do is loosen the bleeder screw and pinch off the rubber brake line with a set of locking pliers with cushioned teeth so as not to ruin the hose, then push the puck in and let the fluid come out the bleeder.
    Also there are 3 computers in the GC. Engine, Transmission, and Body. If you are having electrical problems with the GC the Body computer may be suspect.
  • xingze_caixingze_cai Posts: 47
    Hi Vcheng,

    I've visited several auto parts store for the grease nipple, and it seemed that they do not know this stuff at all. Is there any special name for this product? And should I buy any special grease gun for this chassic lube or any kind of gun will do the work? Thanks again!
  • eickmeiereickmeier Posts: 19
    Xingze cai, any auto parts place will have Zerk fittings, AKA grease nipples. Try using this name for the things. You will need to be sure to get the proper size. They come in both SAE and metric sizes. I don't recall which I had in the toolbox as I long ago lost the box they came in, but I think they were the metric variety. Does anybody know what the Carvan would take? Whatever I had worked just fine. Also, you can get a low-cost, one-hand operation grease gun that will fit the Zerk fittings. It uses small grease cartridges. Look for fittings that have a 90 degree angle so that you won't need to remove the wheels to grease the ball joints.
    Hoofer, of course your non-linear contaminant dilution example is correct. Where, however, did you get the 20 quart figure? My read of the Haynes manual suggests an overhaul fluid replacement (which I presume includes the torque converter) for the four-speed transmission is a little less than 10 quarts. Where is the extra 10 quarts hanging out?
  • xingze_caixingze_cai Posts: 47
    Bill Eickmeier, thanks for your post! I will check it in the auto store tonight. By the way, did you do the Coolant change job before? If yes, is the coolant type critical? Or I can choose any after market one?
  • jdadams22jdadams22 Posts: 1
    My family is getting larger and we are starting to outgrow our 4 door Civic. We have been looking at some '94 & '95 Dodge Caravans. But after reading through this site I'm pretty much scared to death to go with a Dodge. Even though we're outgrowing the Civic fast, but at least I can rely on it. Does anyone have any stories out there about a DC lasting 150K+ miles without having $2K+ of work in it every year. The ones we're looking at have anywhere from 70K to 100K of miles on them and I was hoping to keep it until 150K or so. Should we even bother, or should we just endure with the Civic for a while and buy a brand new Odyssey in a couple years after saving our money??
  • over 110k with no problems. I think 94 and 95 are good years as opposed to 96. Honda is having its share of initial problems, but probably will have them ironed out in a couple years.
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    Are you looking at long or short wheel base? Typically, 94 & 95 model years are ok if properly maintained. But if you're really that concern, you may want to find one equipped with 3 speed auto. The 3 speed auto is not electronic, thus, more forgiving in maintenance and transmission fluid. The only draw back with 3 speed auto is available only with 3.0L engine which is typically found on short wheel base models. The 4 speed auto uses a very specific transmission fluid (ATF+3) and it will literally self destruct if any other transmission fluid type (Dexron II, Mercon, and etc.) is used. Therefore, if you're considering a Caravan, Voyager, or T&C equiped with 4 speed auto, make sure the transmission was serviced regularly at least every 30K miles and the proper fluid was used. Good luck.
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    I would be "scared to death" to buy ANY used vehicle with 70-100,000 miles on it. I found it interesting you were considering buying a used Dodge but would save your money to buy a Honda new. If buying new is a financial reach, you will be much happier with a Dodge deal (invoice less rebates and dealer incentives if applicable) than paying MSRP+ and waiting two months for an Ody.

    As far as reliability is concerned, the fact that any new vehicle is completely trouble free for an extended period of time is a miracle of modern day manufacturing. When you consider all the complex systems which must all operate with zero defects to deliver a satisfying driving experience, its amazing that any vehicle builder can deliver.
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    I got back the spectrographic analysis of the transmission fluid in my 2000 GC Sport with 5,000 miles on it.

    Background: At 1,000 miles I tested both the engine and transmission oil and found high levels of silicon and wear metals in both. It took several oil changes to eliminate the silicon in the engine. I convinced Chrysler to change the filter (and the 5 quarts or so that goes with that) in my transmission. (I had asked them to do a powerflush, but they would only agree to the filter change).

    The silicon and aluminum levels in my transaxle both decreased, but are still "abnormal".

    The first test of the original fluid at 1,000 miles showed silicon = 79 parts per million (ppm), which was "severe" and the aluminum = 46ppm "abnormal".

    After the filter change, they are both 29ppm and still rate "abnormal" - the recommendation is to change and I plan to.

    I will be getting a powerflush on Wednesday (7/5). Then I'll drive about 500 miles and retest.

    If I had a Caravan, I'd do a powerflush ASAP.

    BTW: My owner's manual recommended ATF+4 (9602). There was an addendum card that stated ATF+3 (7176) was the correct fluid to use. The dipstick is marked ATF+3. I called two Dodge service departments and they both said ATF+3. I tried the 800# for Chrysler, but they are closed for the holiday.

    For now, I am going with ATF+3 in my 2000 GC.

    best of luck
  • let me try and get this... my 99 has a little over 10k...should i get the power flush or the regular... seems like you said earlier that with the power flush i would not get the filter changed...
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    please keep the updates coming. I am hesitant to take my brand new vehicle to a third party service provider. I asked my dealer about 'The Flush' and they said they don't do it--only the filter change type service. While you're still not happy with contaminant levels after this type service, I was glad to see significant reductions. I'm going to talk to some independent trans shops and keep thinking about it.
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    I would suggest that you follow the owner's manual recommendation of ATF+4 fluid because that's what the transmission controller is programmed for. If you change fluid type, it may create havoc for transmission controller. I believe the ATF+4 might be a synthetic blend. Before you proceed with changing fluid type on your vehicle, you may want to post it on the www.allpar.com board and see what kind of response you'll get from the pro's (some are Chrysler certified techs). Good luck.
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    1. I recommend doing both a filter replacement AND a powerflush ASAP. If you are going to do just one, then my advice is to do the powerflush. This is as close to a total fluid replacement as one can get. I would do it without further delay. The longer the silicon is left in there, the more damage it will do.

    2. As for having aftermarket (non-dealership) work performed on a car under warranty, this is certainly a valid question. One needs to qualify any vendor.

    If your dealership does not provide a powerflush yet, then try other Chrysler brand dealerships in the area.

    I use non-Chrysler vendors for gasoline, oil changes, and alignment/tire balancing on my new car. I always try to use the same vendors (especially for oil changes). Then if there is a problem, I have recourse against the vendor.

    For me, the risk of leaving the silicon in the transaxle to wear it out prematurely outweighs the risk of having Penske do a powerflush. I asked Chrysler to do it and they refused. Penske is 50% the price and I can wait on the car (they do it while I wait) vs. leaving it at the dealership for the day and arranging rides to work.

    3. ATF+3 is what my Owner's Manual addendum is recommending. It supercedes the original recommendation of ATF+4. I have the service manager at my 5 star dealership confirming this with Chrysler today. I called two other service departments and they stated ATF+3 is the correct AT fluid for my 2000 GC. The addendum also cuts the recommended transmission service intervals in half. Perhaps Chrysler is catching on that there is a problem with the transmissions (one look at my spectrographic oil analysis reports would clue them in - SILICON contamination).

    More to come...
  • It is worth remembering that people WITH problems are more likely to post, and that Chrysler has the highest market share by far in minivans - currently 40%, but in the past it was much higher.
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    about Hoofer's work (and unique in my experience with various Edmund's topics over the last year) is that he is a dedicated, concerned owner searching (and spending his own money) to find the root of the problem with NUMEROUS reports of below industry standard transmission reliability. I am a supporter of Chrysler...witness three Chryco vehicles in my driveway and no other brands...but at the same time VERY interested in avoiding reliability problems. Hoofer is talking very cheap insurance here, when compared to a major driveline failure. In a way, its reassuring to find that its not a design issue, but a manufacturing process that is reversable by the end user. Its probably good advice for any equipment showing the contaminants he's observing in his original research. That's what's caught my eye, is that he is NOT just complaining, but spending his own money to do original research. Hard to knock it. Easy to learn from it. If you don't believe it, buy the testers and do your own.
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    Yes, I love my two GC's. I loved my Fords, Toyotas, and Hondas too. They are all just machines, with various strengths and weaknesses.

    Where I am concerned is that this might be a systemic problem, not just a sample defect affecting my one unit. I would expect DC to investigate and remedy if that is the case. Take away the complaints about transmissions and you take away most objections to DC minivans. Seems like enough benefit to justify the cost from the OEM point of view.

    My neighbors have a 1999 GC and I'm going to pull a sample from their tranny and have it tested. If it shows high silicon too, then I'm going to press home for a discussion with somebody in a position of authority at Chrysler. That'll be a 1996, 1999, and 2000 all with contamination. Too many for sample defects IMO.

    Now on to the continuing saga of ATF+3 (7176) vs. ATF+4 (9602).

    Thanks for the poster with the link to www.allpar.com. It referenced the TSB that holds the key.

    All 2000 GC made after certain dates in October 1999, use ATF+4 - see the website for details. My 2000 GC was made on 9/9/99 and uses ATF+3. It took a call to the 800 Chrysler CS number to get that straightened out. My owner's manual addendum was correct.

    What a mess: even the dealership service departments are confused.

    I'm guessing the difference between 2000's based on the month of manufacture means it took them that long to use up all the older design transmissions. I don't know if I should be high-fiving everyone because I don't have to buy $9.00 per quart ATF+4 or crying because I got one of the last of the Mohicans ;-).

    I took my 2000 to my local Penske place to have the powerflush done. We had our nice long talk about ATF+3 being the correct fluid and low and behold I caught the mechanic carrying out Mercon/Dexron III to use. Turns out he thought that was ATF+3 and he admits that is what they used on my 1996 CG in May (some 1,800 miles ago). I showed him the printout from allpar.com and he agreed to notify Penske (they are all reportedly using the wrong fluid) and to make good when the manager returns tomorrow. I am going to press for an immediate reflush with ATF+3 out of the bottle that I witness opened or full refund and I'll go elsewhere.

    I CONTINUE TO RECOMMEND watching anyone like a hawk when they are adding transmission fluid. Even the dealerships can't always get it right.

    The saga continues...
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    Exactly my fear about third party service providers! While the dealers may not be perfect or completely up to speed about which month's production gets which ATF fluid, they do have the factory standing behind them, which can make a big difference when you get into the big bucks of a transmission replacement due to the wrong fluid. Any manufacturer would love to pull the warranty if they found out you used the wrong fluid from a third party service provider. Betchya they look at it different if their dealer screws up like that.
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    Re: #400 Hoofer,

    That's amazing! The guys at Penske powerflushed your transmission with Dexron?!?! You would think in the year 2000 that everyone would know better, especially a large chain like Penske. Sounds like the kind of service I would expect from the guys at Shifty Lube or Inept Boys.

    But, you do make a good point about not counting on even a dealer to get it right. My tip is to personally talk with the mechanic who's going to do the fluid change to make sure they know what type of fluid to use, and I would make sure to get the type of fluid used printed on my receipt.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    This is very interesting research you're doing. Thanks for sharing the results here!

    KarenS
    Vans host
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    Chrysler has a silent warranty on the 4-spd auto for 100,000 miles and I like to use the local dealer to perform fluid changes at their recommended intervals of 30K miles. It costs a little more than independed shop but at least I know they use the correct fluid and includes any transmission controller software update. The software update is important and don't think the independed shops have access to them. However, when it comes time to change the fluid on our 2000 T&C, I'll make sure they use ATF+4.

    With all the know problem about using correct fluid type for transmissions, why don't the manufacture use different color for fluid types?
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    Hoofer,

    How about you leave the Dexron in your transmission so we can find out how long it takes before it blows up? :-)
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    After 10 years it amazes me to hear stories like Hoofer's. This is one thing GM and Ford owners don't have to worry about.

    BTW, I'm still waiting for someone with and early 90's Chrysler minivan Owner's manual to confirm that 7176 was always the preferred 4-speed transmission fluid, and not a fix as some tend to suggest.


    -----------------------


    Cesarp,

    Sounds like a good idea, but I'm not sure if using a different color fluid would be as simple as it sounds since the current red dye is used because it changes color to indicate overheating.
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    but I have to decline the offer for the destructive transaxle field test in my 1996 GC. I'd love to see what would happen, but our testing budget does not have room this year.

    I concur with the conclusion about dealer foul-ups while under warranty. It would be safer to have the dealer do it. There is only one party to fight with. This is one reason I stick with one preferred vendor for services (e.g. Texaco Havoline for oil, Firestone for alignment, etc.). Then if there are problems relating to oil changes, the finger points at Texaco.

    I will go to the dealership until I am out of 36/36 warranty on my 2000. Point well taken. As for my 1996, there is no warranty in effect so I will stick to my preferred vendor rule.

    As for the comments that GM and Ford owners don't have the same concerns about having the wrong fluid put in their vehicles: What is to stop them from putting Type F or ATF+3 in your GM/Ford? Do they have a sensor in the filler neck? The bottom line is that you have to manage any repair. I thought that I had. The only reason I caught this mistake is that the bulk tank was empty, so they were getting the transmission fluid off the sales floor. Luck of the Irish I guess.

    I am amazed as anyone else that there is so much confusion over which transmission fluids to use. This ain't rocket science!

    Ask for Penske, they are falling all over themselves to make things right. I have 1,800 miles on the Dexron, so we might get a destructive field test afterall. My 1996 Owner's Manual does specify that Dexron/Mercon III is acceptable to use when ATF+2 or 3 is not available - based on the www.allpar.com information, I don't get a warm fuzzy feeling about it.

    Penske is reportedly alerting their whole organization to the problem and ordering up a 55 gal. drum of ATF+3 just for moi. They will be changing out my Dexron with a complimentary double flush of ATF+3.

    If my tranny does croak, we'll probably never know if it was from the high silicon in it for the first 50k or the clean Dexron for 1.8k.

    As for using ATF+4 in your 2000 "cesarp", double check your date of production as per the link you provided to www.allpar.com.

    In Atlanta we have a Consumer Guru named Clark Howard (a big supporter of Edmunds BTW). His website is www.clarkhoward.com. Great info. for consumers. Check out his "cars" board. As sharp as many of you are on cars, you could probably help answer questions there.

    best of luck
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    Hoofer,

    Thanks for the heads up on the ATF+4 warning, I checked our T&C build date and it is 12/99, so we got the tranny with ATF+4. Don't know if that is good or bad (no one is carrying ATF+4 except for dealers). As for your 1996, is it a three speed or 4 speed? If is a three speed, chances are a Dexron II won't harm much. Four speed on the other hand ... rather not think about. I agree with using the dealer for in-warranty services. However, a Chrysler technician, who posts regularly at www.allpar.com strongly recommends having the transmission controller software updates. I like to change the trans. fluid myself but I figure I'll use the dealer services until the silent 100,000 miles warranty runs out.
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    You keep mentioning this "silent" 100,000 mile warranty on Chrysler transmissions. More info please.
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    both my 1996 and 2000.

    I will do spectrographic oil analysis on my 1996 every 500 miles for the next 1500 to check for upward trends in wear metals. This should give me a clue as to whether or not the Dexron III did any damage (wear metals were trending down prior to the fluid goof).

    I too would like more details on the Silent 100k tranny warranty. Is there a TSB number, Campaign number, etc?

    As for the ATF+4 I checked every major oil company site I could find last night. They all have ATF+3, but no mention about ATF+4. Somebody is making the fluids for Chrysler (they don't have their own refinery). I think it might be Texaco. Maybe a call to their 800# will find a cheaper way to get it than $9 per quart at the dealership.

    This is a great resource and I appreciate everyone's input and assistance.

    best of luck
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    I found out about the silent warranty through the site listed below:

    ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/rec.answers/autos/chrysler-faq/general/part2

    At first I didn't really believe it, but I've herd from several Chrysler technician that there is a 75K to 100K miles warranty on the 4 spd trannies as well as other components. I think it is warranted to the original owners but I'm not sure. I used the method described in the How to Deal With Chrysler Corp. on a problem I had with the dealer on my 97 Eagle Vision Tsi and I actually got a favorable result. I cut and paste a small section of interest from the site listed above.

    **************************************************
    HOW TO DEAL WITH CHRYSLER CORP.
    **************************************************

    * Don't expect Chrysler to change something because it's listed in a TSB (technical service bulletin). TSBs describe solutions to problems which may not apply to your car; they are *not* recalls, though Chrysler often fixes cars out of warranty if there is a known problem and TSB on it. (Daniel Adams notes that Chrysler sometimes extends transmission warranties to 100,000 miles; there are extended warranties on some a/c parts and ABS systems).

    Hoofer,

    Thanks for the update, I too checked several oil companies and no luck finding ATF+4 so far. But I'll keep trying. I herd ATF+4 might be a synthetic blend.

    Hope this helps.
  • liz22liz22 Posts: 2
    My ac work fine for some time, then the two driver side vents seem to spew warm air. The mode setting for the ac is face. Same with mode at foot. Any ideas.
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    Just had an interesting experience with my 300M. At 43,000 miles, I had a sway bar bushing failure. Made one heck of a racket but remained driveable. I have a three year, 100,000 mile extended warranty on the car but chose the mid-level Chrysler coverage which does not include this component. So, bottom line, it wasn't covered. Before the dealer even called me with the report ID-ing the problem, he had contacted Chrysler and gotten approval to cover the repair for the cost of my extended deductible-$100. Job was estimated at $600-$450 parts, $150 labor but it took the mechanics twice the estimated labor because more disassembly was required than originally thought. The parts were so high because Chrysler wanted the entire bar and bushings on both side replaced with new parts. My buddies on the 300M topic said there was a TSB, but I didn't bother to investigate it because I felt like the dealer and Chrysler were being more than fair with me.
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    Sounds like you have a good dealer that is willing to work for you! Keep using that dealership for services.
  • xingze_caixingze_cai Posts: 47
    I replaced the transmission fluid and filter on my 98 Dodge Caravan Sport 3 weeks ago, I found the fluid level is a little bit low today and want to fill it up, when I fill it, I suddently noticed I took the engine oil bottle(they got quite closed color as bottle 7176), and little engine oil was refilled into the transmission system. What should I do now? Need your immediate suggestions!!!
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    You've got no choice. Me, I'd tow the vehicle to the shop so it doesn't get driven with the engine oil in it.

    best of luck
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    Hoofer, I notice you always have the shop do your work. With the concern over doing it right, using the proper fluid etc. how hard is it to do yourself?
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    when I will do the first oil change myself. Do you think its important to also change the filter this early? Do the contaminants Hoofer is tracking go right through the filter?
  • totally paranoid... have never had one of my vans give me any tranny problems at all...but im gonna power flush it.. wonder if anyone in town does that?..and then Im gonna watch.. yes watch the fluid they put in it..
  • 2000gcs2000gcs Posts: 2
    I just hit 60k on the '94 GV SE and was planning to do a fluid change - its been 30k since the last - and AutoNation Dodge does the full flush for just under $150. This is about double the price of the normal fluid change but it seems to be cheap insurance. I need to ask them about any software updates for the trans controller.
    I would not trust anyone but a DC dealer to do the trans flush. At the very least you have a better chance of having it done right, and recourse if its not.
  • I have a 99 Caravan and everything was fine until few days ago. I have 24K miles on it and have love to go on long drives, vacations.

    Problem # 1 ---->
    My van's steering vibrates when I'm cruising between 45-50 mph and so does the van. It feels like you are sitting on a massaging chair. This happens ONLY during that speed range. The road is a new one, just constructed, and very smooth. HAs anybody faced this? Can anybody tell me why this is happening? Do I need to get do wheel allingment or what? I do regular oil changes as recommended, am I missing something?

    Problem # 2 ---->
    When I brake down fast, for example in the situation you see Orange light and cannot make it through the intersection and need to stop before it falls to Red from 45-50 mph or while taking exit from a free-way, the van again shakes. I don't think I experienced this earlier. But the more I try to replicate the effect, the more I'm convinced, something is really bad with my van.
    First I thought it was my ABS, but when ABS is activated, it is different. Can anybody HELP why is this happening? What should I do?

    Problem # 3 ---->
    The only other it vibrates is if I go more than 90 mph on free ways. The coffee cups or the soda cans in the cup holder starts to rattle. I think this is OK for a large vehicle, but still have any of you faced this too?

    This is my first vehicle which has caused my so many problems within 30K miles.

    Please HELP, GUIDE.....

    Thanks,
    Anand Dighe
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    1. You cannot do a power flush without the specialized machine. You can do a filter change yourself, but it only changes about 5 quarts out of 9.1. If there are contaminants left in the system the new fluid will dilute them, but a powerflush is the best way to eliminate them. I recommend both if you have high contamination levels.

    2. If you have been doing regular transmission servicing, then you might want to test your fluid via spectrographic oil analysis first. Each test costs $7.50. If you are behind on tranny service, then I'd do a powerflush and then do spectrographic analysis. If there are excessive wear metals or contaminants, then I'd do successive filter changes and/or powerflushes until contaminants were at acceptable levels. It depends on how bad you want to avoid buying a new transaxle.

    The catch with the spectrographic analysis is that you have to buy at least a 6-pack of kits. It is $45 UPS'd to your door. All the return postage, etc. is included in the price. They are good for engine, transmission, or any other petroleum based lubricant. A bargin in my opinion.

    See www.schaefferoil.com for the 800# to order oil test kits. Tell them you want to order a 6-pack of "wear metal analysis kits". They might want a credit card the first time you order. After that they usually bill 30 days.

    You can get an inexpensive pump to draw samples from the dipstick tube or collect them during regular oil and transmission filter changes:

    http://www.blkfeather.com/gadgets.htm

    You want the OP-1 12Vdc pump for $7.95 plus about $5 shipping and handling. I bought one for engine oil and one for trannies so I don't have to worry about cross contamination.

    3. As for not changing the filter when you change the oil, it is liking taking a shower and putting your dirty clothes back on. Spend the extra $5.00 or less for a new filter. It is cheap insurance. And yes the wear metals and contaminants go through the filter media, that is how they show up in the oil samples I take.

    4. The poster with the vibration concerns probably has multiple problems:

    A. The vibrations at a certain range of speeds sounds like a harmonic wheel imbalance (wheel alignment problems are not related to vibration). It is possible that the person balancing the wheels did not spin them fast enough or that their machine is out of calibration or that you threw a weight.

    I buy lifetime balancing (usually only a few $$ more per wheel) when I buy tires. Then I can (and do) take it back for rebalancing often.

    B. If it is not a harmonic wheel imbalance, you may have a wheel (tire and/or rim) that is out of round. They can check this with a runout gage (they place a dial gage against the rim and rotate the wheel and check the mils of displacement against the standard).

    C. It could also be brake rotors that are warped. The vibration under heavy braking sounds like warped rotors to me. Also can be checked by a runout gage.

    D. After that we look at bushings, bearings, elongated wheel lug holes, and a myrid of other suspects. If you are still under 36/36 warranty they will cover all but brakes and tires.

    5. Be assured that I only let someone else touch my vehicles when I don't have the proper tools, when I don't have the time to do the work myself, or when it is warranty work.

    best of luck
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    I spoke to a gentleman at Texaco's lubricant information line and he stated that Texaco is the manufacturer of Chrysler's ATF+4 transmission fluid under license (I had suspected the same after examining the bottles of Chrysler and Texaco fluids on my shelf and noting similarities).

    At present all he could say was that there were no agreements for Texaco to market ATF+4 under their label. They would have to get permission from Chrysler to do so.

    I would suspect that the other major oil companies like Quaker State, Pennzoil, etc. won't be coming out with their own "ATF+4" anytime soon.

    I guess that $9 per quart for ATF+4 at the dealership will be SOP for awhile.

    As for using ATF+4 in vehicles that previously had ATF+2 or +3 in them, I found a website that has the contents of TSB 21-16-99 in it. It basically says that ATF+4 should not be retrofilled into trannies using the previous types until special TSBs addressing the procedures are released:

    www.dodgeram.com/tecnical/TSB99/21-16-99.htm

    best of luck
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    The previous link I gave for 99-12-16 was no good, so try this one:

    http://www.dodgeram.com/ram_frame.html

    best of luck
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    I agree with Hoofer, sounds like the wheels may be out of balanced and/or out of alignment. As for breaking, as Hoofer mentioned, is caused by warped rotor. To aliviate this problem, the rotors will need to be turned. Also, to help reduce rotors warpage in the future, make sure the wheels are torqued to no more than 90 ft. lbs. Good luck.
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    Thanks for the info on ATF+4. I suspect other vendors also makes the ATF+4 but have similar license agreement. Looks like for now, we're stuck paying $9.00+ a quart.
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    Went to the parts store tonight, bought oil and filters, approaching 900 miles, will change oil AND filter before leaving on 1200 mile trip Wed. morning. I will feel good about it, it will cost me $6 and no doubt my crankcase will be happy. Cheap insurance indeed!
  • Thanks guys,

    I now know where to look into and what to tell the service guys.
    I will do this as soon as possible and let you know whether the things worked or was there any other problem.
    Thanks to Hoofer and Ceaser.
  • liz22liz22 Posts: 2
    I have intermittent problems where the turn lights just don't work. Flipping the lever doesn't do anything. I don't even hear the click when you move the lever up or down. It works fine soemtimes and for no reason fails abruptly.

    Also, the a/c works fine for sometime but after a while the driver side vents blow warm air. This is irrespective of the mode setting.

    Any suggestions
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    Sounds like there is a bad connection developing on the instrument cluster. Unfortunately, there are several possibilities for this type of problem. I believe the instrumentation on this vehicle is being controlled by a computer and you may want to have a dealer to run some diagnostics with a scan tool. Take a technician for drive and try to duplicate the problem. If he/she has the scan tool, it'll be able to isolate the problem. Do not leave the vehicle with the dealer until the problem has been isolated or you'll receive a can't duplicate problem and cost you some $$. Good luck.
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    multifunction switch that controls the turn signals and windshield wipers. Ever have an uncommanded sweep of the wipers (they come on by themselves for one or two cycles)? If so, then I suspect the switch. DC should fix for free.

    Check for recalls and TSBs at:

    www.alldata.com
    www.nhtsa.dot.gov

    As for the AC it could be a related electrical problem as cesarp suggests. It might be totally unrelated, like a low charge of R-134a.

    You can do a little homework and check for Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC's) on your 1996 DC by doing the following:

    With the engine off, turn the key to the "run" position (just before the starter engages) and off again like so:

    ON - OFF - ON - OFF - ON

    Do this within a 5 second window and then watch the Malfuction Indicator Lamp (MIL) or "check engine light". It will flash 2 digit codes, example:

    pause is a "23".

    Write down any codes. A "55" is the end of file code. If this is all you get, then it means that there are no DTC's stored.

    The dealership can still query the Body Control Module (computer that controls a lot of the non drivetrain electrical stuff) and might get more information than what you can get with the ON-OFF trick.

    You can get more information on what the DTC's mean and how all that computer stuff works on your vehicle at:

    www.obdii.com (try this one first)

    www.alldata.com
    www.westecauto.com

    You march into the service department armed with your TSBs and DTCs and they'll be watching their Ps & Qs.

    best of luck
  • nukesnukes Posts: 8
    Quick question. I'm a new owner of a 97 caravan and have noticed that about once each time I drive the van it (for lack of a better word) hiccups a bit for about two seconds, like it is losing acceleration or not getting fuel -- then goes right on back running like a champ.. thoughts??????

    Thanks,
    Mark
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