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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • jft26jft26 Posts: 35
    Thank you. I hope to be able to try it this weekend ...... weather and time permitting. :o)
  • ken1967ken1967 Posts: 6
    When the tank gets to almost half, the low fuel light and chime goes on, has anyone experienced this and any solutions would be appreciative.
  • jft26jft26 Posts: 35
    Your instructions worked! I was able to get the #1 plug. Thank you once again. :o)'
  • gophermgopherm Posts: 4
    We own a 2000 Dogde GC Sport. Now have over 67,000 miles and has been a pleasure to drive. As with almost any vehicle there have been a few minor problems, but the pleasure and comfort of the ride offset those problems. Every other vehicle I have owned has had similar or worse problems. We have had no electrical or transmission problems and usually get between 24-26 MPG on the highway. Sometimes I wish there was a little more top end in the passing gear since we live in a rural area and have to navigate Amish country and pass trucks and other farm vehicles on the winding two lane country roads.

    I have read other bulletin boards on other vans and it seems that Toyota and Honda have similar track records to the vans produced by DC...and Ford seems by far the worst to own. They seem to have a high failure rate of transmissions and steering systems as well as the electrical systems associated with the auto door locks. I know several people that own Ford vans and other vehicles whose doors lock themselves or continue to cycle until the battery is dead.

    I wish that some of the Dodge service technicians and managers were a little brighter, but on the whole, my experience with this vehicle has been one of excellence considering the ride comfort, dependability and overall handling. Two other people where I work (ironacilly) own nearly identical 2000 white GC Sport vans. Mine is the low milage vehicle of the lot. They each have over 100K on theirs and report no problems and similar admiration of the vehicles.
  • bull1bull1 Posts: 1
    i now have 29500 miles on my 2003 dodge grand caravan and have had the following problems.1. after about 5000 miles i reported to the local dealer that my vehicle was using oil at about 1qt. for 2500 miles. ans.that's normal???? my next problem was rear electric hatch solenoid had to be replaced. erractic and then didn't operate. my next problem was the transmission. the dealer replaced a pump in the transmission and electronic module. transmission would downshift with a bang. next problem was compressor for ac was very noisy when engaged. this was replaced. by the way, the local dealer in lakeland service department said there was nothing wrong with compressor noixe was normal. had to get it repaired while on vacation in n.c. local dservice dept. also said that oil consumption was normal. i have had 4 new chrysler vehicles in the last 8 years and never,never did any of them use oil between changes. i change my oil faithfully every 3000 miles. thanks for listening
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Bull, the "bang-shift" problem has been addressed by a PCM computer flash. Tell your dealer to read his service bulletins.

    Best regards,
  • I have an 02 Grand Caravan, with about 40,000 miles on it. When is it time for a Tune Up, I am told the plugs on this car are 'Double Platnum'

    Also has anyone noticed that the Engine / Trany make a noise like an electric motor after about an hour of driving?

    I had the dealer check it once and they said it was a normal sound.

  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Platinum plugs are good for 100,000 miles. Our 96 is still going strong at 78,000 miles and the original plugs with no loss of performance. I used to doubt they could go that long myself, but I am a believer. The plugs are hard to get at so appear to be not an easy do it yourself task, and likely will be expensive to replace due to accessibility problems with the back three plugs, so it is good it doesn't have to be done till 100k.

    I cannot comment on your other "electric motor" sound.
  • ken1967ken1967 Posts: 6
    When the fuel guage reaches half, the low fuel indicator comes on. Has anyone had a similar problem?
  • Anybody know how to remove black scuff marks and scratches off the rear bumper? What kind of chemical can be used that won't damage the clear coat or paint?

  • We have a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan with 50,000 miles on it and have had many problems from the gitgo. The electrical system never worked well. Unless you slam the drivers side back door numerous times the "Door Ajar" sign stays on and beeps while you're driving. Sometimes it will go on and beep even after you've been driving for an hour. The transmission went on the car. We also had to replace a "solonoid" twice in the last 6 months. Overall, I've not been very impressed with the car. I also own a 1996 Chevy Cavalier with 110,000 miles and have had it in the shop less times than with our caravan.
  • The sliding door problem is an easy fix. It's a simple adjustment of the striker bolt. Have you ever taken it to the dealer to fix?
  • My 99 Gr. Caravan has started to act up. My wife was driving the van for about 8 minutes on local roads when she slowed to make a left turn. The engine died. When she went to restart she got dash lights, radio, etc. but nothing out of the engine. No noise, clicking, anything. When I got there ~10 minutes later the van was on the side of the road and I got the same; lights, dash lights, radio but nothing out of the engine. Tried several times in the hour waiting for AAA and got the same each time. AAA put a jump on the battery and it started. Drove to the local mechanic I use and on the way for one moment, the engine felt like it wanted to stall and simultaneously the speedometer and tech revved way up but the engine did not. THen it was fine. AA and mechanic thought it was battery short. CHanged battery and still happened. THen mechanic thought it was ignition switch which he changed (put 1st battery back) and seemed OK. I picked up the van and drove for ~ 10 minutes. Parked at wor for ~ 2 hours then left. After driving about 2 minutes it died as I approached intersection to make a left turn. It restarted and died twice within 30 seconds. While waiting for AAA, 10 min., I got it started and made the turn the speedometer/tach thing happened again and then fine. Drove it back to mechanic. He said he can't find anything wrong but cannot access the engine computer. He can get into the body computer fine but not the engine one. It's at the dealer now. ANyone ahve any ideas?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Try a Discussion Search in here for stall - there's some posts that may help, like this one:

    dustyk Oct 11, 2003 9:31pm

    Steve, Host
  • I just bought a 2000 Grand Caravan SE. It has 15 inch rims like the following: prodid=11516&sid=8LpJDk0-y7txCLQ-00104543616.98

    I want to put on the 17 inch rims that come on the 2000 ES, like the following: prodid=11520&sid=8LpJDk0-y7txCLQ-00104543616.98

    Will I run into any problems? Does the ES have a more sporty suspension to handle 17 inch rims or does it matter?


  • Turns out this was a dying / dead engine computer module. Covered under Fed. Emmissions Warranty. Cost me nothing (except aggravation).
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419 While this says PT Cruiser, it applies to all Chryslers with OBDII. My 2001 Caravan set 2 codes yesterday, one being P0445 which is called a large leak in the evaporative recovery system(probably a problem with the gas cap) and the battery has been disconnected in the last 50 starts(????).
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    A torn diaphram on the evap. purge pump is the most likely cause, don't worry about the the other code (batt. discon.)
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    I lucked out because after a couple of days, the codes reset themselves and haven't come back. This is my wife's van and it's possible she didn't get the cap on tight.
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    Unless you pick 17" tires with the same diameter as the originals, your speedometer and odometer won't be correct which may also affect shift points. On many cars, this can be corrected for with a different speedometer gear in the transmission but this may not be the case here.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The most likely cause of a P0445 is the gas cap, either not being tight enough, defective, or loosened or off while the engine was running.

  • I have been reading about all of the transmission problems that have been happening with Caravans and it is disturbing since I have a 2000 Grand Caravan with 110,000 miles (I bought it new and, yes, the mileage is accurate!!). The only problem that I have had with my AC is with the fuel injectors. I had two replaced under warranty within the first 18 months. I had a third replaced in August. Have bad fuel injectors been a problem with anyone else or did I just get a "Friday afternoon engine"?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    For the 2000 model year air conditioning condenser, evaporators, and pumps were often troublesome. I don't know what the failure rate was, but 30% is not far off.

    Power window regulators and switches were also a problem.

    In the above cases later replacement parts were of much better quality, so repeats should be greatly reduced. As far as fuel injectors, I've not seen any that produced a problem.

    With respect to automatic transmissions, I think there's more myth to the belief that the problem was as big as some make it out to be. After '98, the "T" series automatics got many revisions and upgrades to address any weaknesses. And many Chrysler transmissions have had problems or failed because of the incorrect ATF being used.

    There are many Chrysler mini-vans on the road with mileage like yours that have never had a problem with the transmission. The girl scout leader that just dropped off my daughter a few hours ago has over 160,000 miles on their '99 and have never touched the transmission.

    There have been some minor mechanical things as well as computer shift programing changes to address very minor issues in '98-01s (the "bump shift" complaint is one of them). But these are very easy to identify and correct.

    Best regards,
  • jjtjjjtj Posts: 103
    I recently purchased a 2003 GC Sport with the 3.3L engine and 37K miles. I like the van, except it appears to have an annoying hesitation that is noticeable mainly when the engine just kicks into top gear, (~45 mph), and especially with a little bit of load on the engine. It's sort of a lugging and causes a vibration like the engine is missing very slightly. I'm thinking of replacing the fuel filter but I believe it's located on top of the fuel tank? Not sure how involved that job is. Or, if that would even solve the problem. Any insight would be greatly appreciated - Thanks, Jason
  • Dusty,
    Thanks so much for your comments. I have been meticulous with the maintenance on this car because I plan to drive it for a few more years. I've even considered replacing it with another Caravan in a few years (my husband wants me to get a Honda Element). I breed and show CFA registered Manx cats and my Caravan has all of the room that I need for carrying cats, food, litter, etc. I buy my supplies once a month because the closest place to get them is 2 hours away. I can carry 200 pounds of litter, 60 pounds of food, and whatever else I need over some pretty steep mountains without a bit of trouble. We took my husband's PT Cruiser to the last show and I swore I'd never do that again! One of the cats got carsick and I just didn't have enough room to clean her up. What a mess!!
  • jaskiejaskie Posts: 1
    I agree with you. I have owned a 95 Dodge Caravan and needed to replace the Transmission, the 98 Voyager we sold at 60,000 because I needed a 4 wheel drive. I then bought my current one, a 2000 Town and Country. Transmission is fine, but have replaced the motors on both of the front windows and back windows. Also have a troublesome computer issue with the inside temp gauge, only worked in the winter. We currently have 105,000 miles on it, and everything else runs fine. I plan on keeping it until it dies, mainly for the hauling capability. I am not a soccer parent, but still haul kids all over!

  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The owner's manual of my 2002 T&C LX has NO recommended transmission service.
          Dusty has written many times that use of the wrong fluid is the cause of transmission failure. Additives to the wrong fluid will NOT change it into a synthetic fluid.
  • I've heard in the news yesterday that DC is doing a recall on 98-00 minivans regarding airbags safety. Does anyone know of the specifics of this recall?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Sounds like the clockspring issue bit them again:

    Faulty air bags prompt Chrysler minivan recall (Houston Chronicle)

    Steve, Host
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