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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • kriportkriport Posts: 1
    Unbelievable hassle on the 3.8 engine. The DEVIL had his hand in this one. Do just like the book says, (remove the cowling, windshield wipers, etc, then prepare yourself for an hour struggle reaching behind the engine to remove and replace three spark plugs. Human factor not concidered when engineered. No wonder you've never had it done. The job estimated at almost $400.00 to replace a 6 spark plugs and stick it on the computer.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Errr, not denying the difficulty of the plug swap, but can you name me any car or minivan with a transverse mounted V6 that offers easier access to the rear bank of spark plugs? It's been years since I attempted such a job, however, from what I remember; they were knuckle busters, each and every one, regardless of manufacturer. Wait! As you were. I remember a single exception. The VW VR6 was actually fairly easy to do a plug swap on; of course that mill has as much in common with an I6 as it does with a V6, so maybe it's not a fair comparison.

    When the time comes for our two 3.8 GCs to have their plugs swapped (late this year or early next year for the older of the two), I'm thinking to leave the swearing to the folks at the shop. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    It is not easy, but certainly not difficult either.

    The front three were easy. The one by the alternator I did from the top after loosening the alternator bracket. The remaining two were done from below with a u-joint and an extension on the ratchet handle.

    I did not need to mess with anything else like the cowl, wipers or manifold etc.

    One trick is to do this on a cold engine, so park the vehicle on ramps the night before.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "One trick is to do this on a cold engine..." Hehe, you sound like a man of experience. ;-)

    Back in college, I used to work on cars as a means of making extra money (my main job was as a janitor in a Safeway), and so I did lots of tune-ups and valve jobs, with a few engine overhauls, tranny swaps and clutch jobs thrown into the mix. One day a friend of mine came by with a 440 Charger and wanted a last minute tune up before a long trip to Arizona. I burned my hands so many times on the first (easiest) plug that I finally jacked the car up, pulled the motor mount pins, stacked a few cinderblocks under the harmonic balancer, and gently lowered the car until the motor came up off the mounts just enough to gain access to the plugs.

    Best Regards,
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ...though, I am rapidly approaching the third stage: 1. Been there. 2. Done that. 3. Can't remember!
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    If there is a leak anywhere in the brake system, there is the possibility that air will be in the lines. When you apply your foot to the brake peddle, the fluid is pushed from the master cylinder to all four wheels through the brake lines. If the fluid is really low, there is a possibility that some air got into the lines which would result in having to pump the brake peddle or the peddle going all the way to the floor. Now I'm not saying that what you said is wrong, but I know that it is better to be safe than sorry. I had a line leak on my 1986 Lincoln Town Car a few years ago. I could still stop the car, but not as well as if there was no loss of pressure. The brake system and lines contains a lot of pressure. If there is a leak anywhere or any part of it needs replacing, a good mechanic will bleed the whole system after the repair, to make sure no air was in the lines. :)
  • excessexcess Posts: 2
    My brake pedal doesn't drop to the floor, I have normal breaks for the first 1/10 of the pedal then it has a give point where the pedal drops about 1/4 of the way and the brakes come one suddenly. Almost hard enough to lock up. If you keep your foot their, they ease up and it's like normal but you start to hear the air rush around the brake pedal. Checked the fluid yesterday and it's fine.
  • awsomeawsome Posts: 2
    I have checked the bulbs. I have changed the switch and have checked the wires in the steering colum. If anyone has any insight please let me know. Thanks
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Still sounds to me like your master cylinder is bad and you may have a vacuum leak in your power brake booster diaphragm. Air in your brake lines would more likely make the brakes feel very spongy as you are compressing a column of air rather than fluid.
  • rmoellerrmoeller Posts: 3
    thnx to all for the encouragement. will give it a whirl. should i squirt some lub or wd40 or something into plug area first?
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    After what Excess just described, I believe your right. :shades:
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    No lube or WD40. When you have loosened the plugs, try some compressed air to blow out any possible loose debris that may fall down into the cylinder. Use a thin coat of anti-sieze on the plug threads before starting the thread by hand or a rubber tube pushed onto the spark plug end. Do not over tighten the plugs. Also make sure that the crush washers of the old plugs do not remain behind.
  • ymibrokeymibroke Posts: 2
    I own a car lot and have owned alot of vans with 3.3 motors. This one is losing water. I have done a pressure test and lost nothing. No leaks. I have looked in the radiator and their are no bubbles when the van is running. Heat guage stays consistent and does not run back and forth. Heater works fine. It is not showing obvious signs of intake of head problems but still loses water every week. Please help customer is getting sick of me.
  • arifsarifs Posts: 2
    Can anyone please advise at what mileage to change the timing belt pf 2001 Grand Caravan Sport?

    Thanks. :)
  • I bought a used GC 2001, and have noticed in the last few weeks that the brakes are beginning to feel soft. The peddle goes down about halfway when I stop, and when I have to make a quick stop, I feel like I'm giving my everything to stop on a dime. Because it was purchased used, I have no idea when the pads were changed before I got it. Does anyone know about what mileage the brake pads need replacing? It's at 56,000. And what should I expect to pay to have it done. I don't think this Mom can tackle that chore myself.
    Also my Son says that it looks like my rear brakes are also disc and not drum. Would these need to be replaced at the same time too?
    Thanks for any insight folks. :surprise:
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    Get a free estimate at Car-x or some other brake specialist shop. It sounds like the pads are wearing out. As the pads wear down, the brake paddle may seem to have to be pressed further in order to make the van stop. We have a 2001 DGC EX that we bought used in Sep. 03 with 37K. We have 60K now and have about 50% pad life left. I'm not sure if the pads are original or not. But either case, I'm very happy with the brake pad wear. :shades:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    We've two GC's, a 2003 model with Disc/Disc that sees about 30%/70% city/highway, and a 1998 model with Disc/Drum that sees about 70%/30% city/highway. The 2003 is good for 45,000 miles on a set of pads, while the 1998 only gets between 30,000 and 35,000. I suspect that the most significant reason for the difference is the type of driving the vans see.

    Best Regards,
  • rmoellerrmoeller Posts: 3
    thnx alot; good info.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    What engine do you have? If it is the 3.3L or 3.8L V-6 they do not have timing belts, they have good ole American design rugged pushrod engines with timing chains that never need changing.

    I am not sure what is in the Mitsubishi 3.0 V-6, or if they still even offered that in 2001. Most likely you have either the 3.3 or 3.8.

    Maybe you are thinking about the serpentine belt rather than timing belt, which drives all the accessories. That I changed first time at about 60K miles as it was starting to chirp at low engine speeds, but it was still working OK. If it starts chirping at you, it is telling you to change it!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If I'm not mistaken, all "Sport" models used either the 3.3 or the 3.8.

    A bit of trivia:
    When we ordered our 1998 GC Sport, we were told that the only engine available for that model was the 3.3 (confirmed by the Dodge web site), however, since Chrysler was running short of 3.3s, they had made an unpublished modification to the "29N" option that included the 3.8, which we managed to get in our GC. I kept checking, and for the duration of the 1998 model year, the 29N option continued to show the 3.3 as the only available mill. Starting with the 1999 model year, 29N was configurable with the 3.8, however, that changed mid model year if I recall correctly, and it wasn't until 2002 or 2003 before I saw the 3.8 become available on the "Sport" model again (I never checked in 2000 and 2001 so it may have been available then too).

    Best Regards,
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    Compressed air, if available,should be used to clean out sparkplug area before they are removed. You can actually see the rear three plugs on 2001+ engines. I have read the earlier designs were a bit more difficult. As was said, use never-seize on the new plugs which must initally be threaded by hand. Also di-electric grease in the sparkplug boots. Good Luck!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "You can actually see the rear three plugs on 2001+ engines. I have read the earlier designs were a bit more difficult."

    Errr, really? I just went out and checked the difference between our 1998 and our 2003, and yes, the intake plenum is quite different, but I don't see how that translates to easier access to the rear plugs. Well, maybe that is too strong, I cannot see the rear plugs on either, however, on the 2003 it should be easier to reach over the top of the engine and feel for them... maybe. I didn't actually try because both engines were hot.

    Best Regards,
  • voyagerguyvoyagerguy Posts: 1
    the cooling fans ran until the battery went flat (key off, engine off). the second time, I pulled the positive battery cable (key off, engine off) to turn off the fans. the following morning, i replaced the positive battery cable and that was the last time the cooling fans ran. the voyager is very susceptable to overheating in the hot dallas climate when stuck in rush hour traffic, stop and go.
    i have enquired to a few auto part stores and none of them know if i have a relay or not, or where i might find it. they don't know if the temperature sensor for the guage (which works fine) doubles as sensor to turn the fans on and off. does anyone have any direct experience with this particular problem? thanx for your advice/knowledge.

    Frank in Dallas
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    Just to clarify, what I meant to say was: loosen the plug a few turns but do not remove. Use compressed air to remove any dirt loosened. Then remove the plug all the way.
  • zinsterzinster Posts: 1
    trying to get voyager to start replaced coil pack but the #1 wire is not sparking also replaced tps
  • zeitgeist1zeitgeist1 Posts: 1
    1994 Voyager
    New battery
    Car hasn't been started in over a month and it was fine the last time.
    Now, when attempting to start, it simply churns away without ignition.
    I checked around the wires to make sure no critters had gotten in and chewed them away or loose, but everything appears to be OK.
    Sptayed quick start into the air cleaner but nothing.
    There's no sign of any missing in the crank. It's as smoioth as can be, only it won't start.
  • treykatreyka Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Plymouth Grand Voyager. I took it in for an oil change, and the mechanic said my air filter was filthy and needed replacement--so I went to Auto Zone and bought one. The guy behind the counter said it would be easy to replace, but when he opened the hood, he couldn't figure out how to do it. He said the air filter was covered and the cover was bolted. :confuse:

    My husband unbolted it, but he still couldn't see how to change it. Can anyone advise me?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    A likely suspect is the speed or distance sensor.

  • lgalenlgalen Posts: 1
    I'm getting a warning bell that begins when my engine is running at about 1000 rpm. It stops as I get to about 1500 rpm. This began only after my car had warmed up, and I was in stop and go city traffic. At first, I thought it was related to the brakes, but experimentation showed that the ringing began even without my stepping on the brake, just as my car slowed. After 15 minutes of stop and go traffic, I went on the highway, got up to about 60 mph, and then, as I was taking my exit, the bell began to go off at 1500 rpm, and only went off at 2000 rpm. My husband is thinking it might be related to the oil filter, which probably needs changing. I couldn't find anything about this in the manual. The car has about 90K miles on it.
    Any ideas?
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A reporter is looking to speak with owners of Chrysler, Saab, Toyota or Volkswagen vehicles who did all the scheduled maintenance on their vehicle and still experienced engine sludge within the warranty period within the past year. If this describes your situation, please respond by 6pm Eastern on Monday, May 23, 2005 to
    Thanks for your consideration,
    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications
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