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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • I'm not sure if this is a problem or not. I noticed that the rear hatch doesn't open in temperature below 40 degrees. It does the beeps and I hear the lock cylinder release and the door tries to open, but the door doesn't open enough to lift up and therefore closes again and locks. I lubed the lock cylinder with WD40 and this didn't work. The owners manual says the automatic door will not work below 20 degrees because the gas in the lifters are cold and will not be able to lift the door. (I'm going from memory here and could be wrong about some of this info.) Also, any suggestions on what to put on the bottom of the rear hatch so when opened it won't get damaged, (paint finish or dents) when striking an object?

  • xbomberxbomber Posts: 12
    Having a problem on my 98 Caravan, 112,000 miles. Recently started having a problem were the engine will not start. Here a click from the starter but no start. Turning the key to the off position 1 or 2 times and then it will usually start. Thought it was the 5 year old battery so I replaced it. Started OK for a week. Today it was having start issue again. Can here the click, but no start. The battery voltage drops to about 11.5 volts when the we are trying to start. So I think it is pulling current.

    Does this sound like the starter? has anyone experienced this? I don't want to change out the wrong thing, so all advice is appreciated.
  • dhodho Posts: 2
    I had a similar problem. My brake lights would stay on even after I turned off my headlights. The problem was the brake light switch. I bought a new one at Kragen and replaced it and now it's fine. The switch is right under the brake pedal. very easy to change. cost $20.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Sure sounds like a starter to me. I haven't had that problem on our 1996 Caravan yet, but the symptoms are exactly the same as we had on our old 1985 Caravan when the starter began to go bad. I bought a rebuilt starter and installed myself. Less than $100, two bolts and a couple of electrical connectors to remove and reinstall and it was fixed.

    If there is a separate starter relay remotely located from the starter, I suppose it could be that, but our 1985 the relay was part of the starter. I frankly don't know how your 1999 is setup.
  • If it ain't the battery, then it's the starter. The major auto parts chain usually sell rebuilt starter for a fraction of the cost of a brand new one. They come with a warranty and will perform as good as new. They may require you to trade in your old defective starter.

    Removing the old one and installing the rebuilt one is not that hard. If you are a little bit mechanically inclined, this may be one of the easier parts replacement. No alignment or timing to worry about. As a safety precaution, do not forget to disconnect the ground connector of your battery before you start removing that starter.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    How old is your van? As the vehicle gets colder, the gas struts do get weaker and can't support as much weight. However....

    as the vehicle gets older, the struts also get weaker. I owned an '88 Reliant Wagon that used gas struts to support the tailgate. As the manual explained, in cold weather the strut got too weak to support the tailgate. As the car got on in years, the strut got to weak to support the tailgate even in hot weather.
  • hhallhhall Posts: 8
    I was reading some of the information on the site about the quality and reliability of the dodge mini vans and it was not very encouraging information. I would enjoy hearing from people if they have good experiences with the 2004 dodge caravans, or should I stay away from them?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Son got 2002 GC Sport with 13,000 miles on it last year. Now has 36,000 trouble free miles. I got a 2002 T&C LX a few months ago with under 27,000 miles on it and have no problems.
         Another son has a 99 GC SE with 70,000 miles with no problems...not even had to replace front disc pads or shoes on rear brakes.
         DaimlerChrysler reliability has drastically improved in the past 5 or 6 years.
  • It's a 2001. The manual says: "The power liftgate will not operate in temperatures below -12 degrees. Gas props support the liftgate in the open position. however, because the gas pressure drops with temperature, it may be necessary to assist the props when opening the lift gate in cold weather."
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    are anything like the ones on My old Plymouth Reliant wagon, the struts got weaker with age and they wouldn't even support the tailgate in warm weather. Apparently they were "Just" strong enough when new without any reserve capacity to allow for aging.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The gas prop on an acquaintances's Volvo Station Wagon fell off before the Volvo was 3 years old. It provided no assist after about 1 year and the Volvo had only 1 gas prop.
         Glad Chrysler vehicles last longer than Volvo.
  • ppekppek Posts: 58
    We own a 2002 Grand Caravan ES AWD with 35,000 miles. for the last 5,000 - 10,000 miles, we have had trouble with a high pitched squeak coming from the rear when we brake. The dealership said some components are rusted in the e-brake system and that they would need to replace the pads, rotors, and e-brake components and it would cost over $450. They even charged us $88 just to diagnose this!

    They said this was caused by lack of use of the e-brake. Has anyone ever heard of this? This is my wife's van and she probably only uses the e-brake when parking on a hill, but I would not think lack of use would cause this. Even so, can't something be lubricated to help with this?

    Thanks for your help.

  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    You should get that diagnosis and pricing in writing and send it to DC and ask them why their dealer ratings are so low. Other than the cost of wear items, this repair should be covered under warranty. This dealer is clearly trying to rip you off.
  • I agree with 97expresso. Also, go to a different dealership and get a second opinion. Make sure not to mention what the first dealership told you until after they write you up an estimate. (Check to see if they are going to charge you to look at the brake system before hand.) If they do and you don't want to pay for an estimate, then go to a Car-X. They give free estimates.
  • smmhcsmmhc Posts: 10
    Just bought an 04 base caravan off lease. MPG highway at 68-72 apprxly 30-32. Engine 3.3 with 4spd tranny. Problem: in town driving (a small town at that) MPG drop to 10-12. Have found that I can do 5-7 MPH in my driveway as I backup and on level ground about the same going forward. Do you think this is a simple throttle issue or what. Car is under DC warranty for next 18000 miles. Thanks for the help.
  • duhlsduhls Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 Grand Caravan 3.3 liter. It has rough idle only when vehicle is in drive or reverse. Idles smoothly in Park or Neutral. Engine runs smoothly during driving and acceleration. There is no "Check Engine Light" or trouble codes stored in the engine controller. Any idea ?
  • aegiusaegius Posts: 2
    Hey guys,
    Computers are my forte`, cars are not. I figured I'd ask you experts here (and even those of you with similar experience;) about a problem with the power window on me and my wife's Caravan SE 2001. Basically, it doesn't work. While rolling up once it seemed to slow down a bit, then stays in the up position. Is this a fuse or motor problem? Anyone have suggestions that I could check? I know there's a fusebox under the hood somewhere LOL....and another under the dash somewhere? LOL thanks in advance guys :)
  • Sounds like the same problem on our van, same year too. Both power window regulators needed to be replaced. Seems like this is a common problem with the 2001 modules.
  • aegiusaegius Posts: 2
    Thanks for the reply! One of our friends had the same issue with theirs. The $148 labor and $80 to $130 for a regulator price the dealer just quoted me, though .... ouch!
  • myleomyleo Posts: 1
    MY 2001 Grand Caravan with 53,000 miles has a problem that has my favorite mechanic and even the dealership stumped. Off and on for a day or so it would stick in 2nd gear, the speedometer would stop working then the transmission jerked so badly I couldn't drive it.The malfunction light wwould come on during this time then go off. After I backed it down the street in reverse all problems disappeared until the next day. It ran great for the repair shop.It was scanned by my mechanic computer then at the dealers. No code appeared except the one when we replaced the battery long ago. ( Can they not make a battery that lasts longer) Also the air bag light comes on and off constantly while driving. Is this related? Thanks for any input. Myleo
  • Our 03 GC recently started stalling at start-up and while driving. It is at a local Dodge dealership and they have no clue. They have taken it out for a test drive with their computer hooked up, got all good readings, stopped at a light and it stalled. It took several attempts before it came back to life. They also let it run at their shop and it stalled there as well. They are going to call Tech Support for an assist since they can not find any problem. Has anybody else had this problem, had it fixed, and if so what was the fix?
  • Has anyone experienced problems with the delay wipers quitting and needing to be reset?
    I have a 99 Grand Caravan. It is an intermittent problem.
    When I turn the delay wiper on to various delay settings, they may swipe a few times, then it appears the wiper "jumps" and quits. At this point, none of delay wiper setting work, and I need to turn wipers off and then back on. When I turn the wipers off, the blades will swipe windshield from 2-4 times before shutting off.
  • Sounds like it is either the wiper motor going bad or the wiper switch.
  • léaléa Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 dodge grand caravan and since we have it, it's always at the garage. Last saturday oct30-2004, The transmission went.In 2003 a power steering hose went. Then we went for the door at the back,it wan't closing right. We had some chrysler car before and we never had problem. The next one wont be a van. I'm tired of having to bring the van to the garage and they don't let you another car for the time of repair.Bought the van in Ontario
    from Gatineau
  • 5bucks5bucks Posts: 10
    I have a 98 grand voyager with about 82k miles. 2 years ago at about 45k miles we had a very intermittent problem with the instrument cluster going completely dead. We took it to the dealer for service but of course it was not having the problem at the time. Over time this problem has occurred more and more frequently. At this point the dashboard is out more often than not. Additionally, about 6 months ago the indicator lights on the buttons for A/C, rear wiper, and rear defrost started flashing. No pattern to the flashing.

    When the dashboard is out we lose all lights in the driver's console and none of the instruments function. Cruise control still works but its' indicator light does not come on. Mileage does not increase when the dash is out. All the controls (turn signals, headlights, radio,heat and a/c, cruise) still operate properly. There does seem to be a loss of engine power when the dash is out, but it is subtle and only really noticeable when passing at highway speeds. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when we lose the dash and when it starts operating again. It's gone out while driving and come back on while driving. Other times it's fine one day and then out when we start the vehicle the next day. I did notice once that the gauges came back on at the instant the passenger side sliding door was slammed shut while driving slowly. Check engine light has been on constantly for about 18 months.

    Anyone have any ideas? I am hesitant to take this back to the dealer without a better understanding of what might be going on. The few cases I have found with a similar problem have been back to the dealer numerous times at great expense mainly without solving the problem. I have re seated all the electrical connectors that are accessible under the dash. The dealer solutions that mostly haven't worked that I've read about are: Replace the computer, Replace the body control module and check a ground in the area of the passenger side B pillar. I really don't want to pay $400 for a new computer from a dealer that does not solve the problem.
  • Check your fuses. In your owners manual there should be a listing as to which functions are connected to each fuse. As far as the check engine light, go to Murray's or Autozone and have them to check the code. They do it for free.
  • 5bucks5bucks Posts: 10
    Thanks for the reply.

    I have checked the fuses many times. They've always been fine. Have re-seated all fuses as well. As for the check engine light - I'm fairly certain it's coming on due to the small loss of engine performance that happens when the gauges go out. Back when the gauge problem happened much less frequently I could disconnect the battery and reconnect to get rid of the check engine light. Never came back on until I would lose the gauges again.
  • Question, 2000 plymouth voyager 124,000 miles. The heater is giving no heat. The mechanic flushed the heater core, no help, then installed a new thermostat & gasket, new antifreee no help. He is stumped and I am freezing. The fan is working fine but blows "lukewarm" heat only after the van runs for about an hour.
  • Seems to be a bad ground somewhere under the dash. Do you have a service manual? It lists all the places the dash is grounded.
  • I have an intermittent problem with all PRDNL indicator lights coming on when turning on the ignition. If I play with the shifter or just wait a few minutes it will go back into park. The dealer has replaced several parts already transmission control module, IPM, transmission range sensor and body control module. Any ideas?

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