Howdy, Stranger!

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

Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • ed12ed12 Posts: 100

    How do you know load leveling suspension and the deicer will not be avialable? Chrysler's website does not yet list the 2003 models.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    I know this because I've gone to the Chrysler dealer and compared the sticker of a 2002 T&C Limited and the sticker of a 2003 T&C Limited. I've also sat inside a 2003 to compare.

    No mention of load leveling suspension

    No mention of windshield wiper deicer (apparent since it's no longer on the windshield)

    Deletion of 8-way power driver's seat (tested out a 2003 4-way power seat, and all it does is recline and go forwards and more tilt, up, down, etc.)

    Full size spare now an option

    CD player now an option

    And no more CD compartment it's just an open space like in a Caravan Sport.
  • wardmwardm Posts: 23
    I too have looked at the 2003 T&C. Only the AWD comes standard with the load leveler. All other models of the T&C have it as part of the tow package. Didn't play with the power seats, however, the window stickers on the limited say 8 way power. Also, the 2003 AWD version I saw did have the defroster lines on the windshield at the resting place for the wipers. Do an inventory search on a dealership called "Koons" in Vienna, VA and look at the window stickers on the AWD's. If you find one with the tow package you'll notice that the towing packages do not have the load leveling in the package as it is standard. Now look at the non AWD's that have the towing package and you'll find it costs more and lists the load leveling. Hope this helps.
  • wardmwardm Posts: 23
    I'm not sure why chryslers site does not show the 2003. Doesn't make sense since they are plentiful at local dealers. FYI:The full size spare is also part of the tow package in all models. Take a look at and look at the standard equipment tab and price the options as well.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Yet another story that makes it harder for Ody owners to bash past DC quality. There is no doubt in my mind the Odyssey is not up to par with typical Honda quality. Even the 2002 Honda Odyssey with the 5 speed auto is not what it should be in the quality department.
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    Oh, it doesn't make it harder for me Adam, trust me. Remember, this minivan design is 4 years old (five if you count 2003, but the tranny problem was to have been fixed months ago). How long did it take DC to remedy it's transmission problems? I think every owner of a DC, Ford, or GM product should from time to time thank auto makers like Honda and Toyota, or the American public would still be driving cars and vans with quality reminiscent of the late 70s, early 80s. I wouldn't be so quick to gloat Adam. DC will have it's day again - history has shown us that.
  • I find it interesting that the Odyssey supporters find the 1.6% failure rate of the transmissions to be "no big deal." I mean, if your transmission suddenly shifts from 5th to 2nd at 70mph while rounding a turn you can pretty much say goodbye tarmac and hello off-road (without AWD).

    It seems that some of these same people made a rather big deal about a certain gas tank problem on DC vans. I'm sure that the odds of getting into a severe head-on collision followed by rollover (the basic scenario that discovered the problem in testing) is much less than 1.6% yet DC owners were mocked quite heavily about their exploding fire traps.

    The transmission issue is a safety issue not a reliability issue. It would be as much of a concern to me as the gas tank issue. Since I own a 2001 DGC you can see that it was not much of a concern to me. It is just interesting to me that some on this board can quickly dismiss small percentage problems with their own vehicle while mocking others for their smaller percentage problems
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    Although I love my Odyssey, I agree with steel's assesment - the failure rate isn't quite the issue, but it the manner in which it fails is a significant problem.

    If I had to choose between a fireballing minivan, or one that likes to go out of control on a tranny failure, I'd choose NONE of them.

    However, bdady is also correct on one point. It took Chrysler OVER 10 years to resolve their tranny problems - I know for a fact that it stems way back to the early models too. Honda took five. Taking over ten years to admit, isolate and fix a well-known problem is just unacceptable.

    Either way - anyone trying to fix their dead tranny (Ody or DC) due to bad design flaws will meet the same stiff resistance from both automakers when it comes to paying the bill.
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    "If I had to choose between a fireballing minivan, or one that likes to go out of control on a tranny failure, I'd choose NONE of them."

    I never said I liked the defect. The gas tank issue is kind of ironic since the accident that brought it to prominence (the one in which the parents survived, but all 5 children perished) happened about 10 miles from my home.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    mliong said: However, bdady is also correct on one point. It took Chrysler OVER 10 years to resolve their tranny problems - I know for a fact that it stems way back to the early models too. Honda took five.
    Not really 5. Got to remember the earlier trans problems on the Odyssey were with the 4 speed and they weren't even 1% of the build and were NOT a safety issue. They fixed them right away and tried to make the Odyssey even better with the new 5 speed which is a completely different trans and I agree very unacceptable problem, but at least Honda wasn't sitting on their hands saying duh, what problem, there isn't a problem, duh!
  • Still amazed that some Odyssey owners did not even read the LA times article. Quote from LA Times "Spencer said Honda engineers identified the root of the problems A FEW MONTHS AGO and have redesigned the transmissions.

    The FOUR-speed models were afflicted with a bad bearing that could break apart, scattering fragments of metal that clogged fluid passageways in the transmission, causing it to shift erratically, he said.

    The FIVE-speed models typically were damaged by premature wear of the third-gear clutch pack. As the clutch friction material abraded, it scattered bits inside the transmission case, clogging fluid lines and causing erratic shifting.

    Honda and Acura dealers are replacing affected transmissions under warranty - typically with factory rebuilt transmissions, a standard industry practice, Spencer said. He said customers such as Lammens have been caught in an unusual situation because Honda has never had a run of bad transmissions and thus has never had to stockpile replacement parts. When the FOUR- and FIVE-speed automatics started breaking, he said, a backlog quickly developed." So it sure looks like there is also a problem with the "new and Improved" FIVE speed.
  • The accident refered to in Bdaddy's post was well documented here in the midwest. It appears that he never read any of the reports in the newspapers or magazines on this accident, for if he had he would have known that it was caused by a large piece of metal that fell off of a truck, was run over by the minivan, and pierced the tank.The truck was driven by a man who had obtained his license by bribery in Illinois. NO vehicle less than an armored tank or off road SUV with a reinforced sheilded gas tank could have avoided that terrible accident, including any Honda built!
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    How much does a new Honda 5 speed automatic transmission cost? Add that to the already inflated sticker price!
  • Wonder what effect the transmission issue will have on Odyssey resale values? Maybe if the owner certified it was a rebuilt with either the new bearing design (4-speed), or new clutch plate pack (5-speed), they could hope to get that high resale value we have been hearing about? Tic, Tic, Tic,
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    You are correct in noting that it does affect the redesigned 5 speed, but with the fix already implemented, this would quickly become a none-issue, until an accident happens.

    As for the resale value, I think the 1999 and 2000 Odyssey owners might get the raw end of the deal on the resale value - because of the scarcity of the replacement tranny.

    However, the 5 speed owners have little to worry about because it will be in production for a long time, and the new design fixes have already made it into the newer models.

    If history serves as a good reference point, the tranny fiasco might not ding the Odyssey resale value as much as a DC van because of two variables:
    1) Ody's are still in high demand, and they numbers are still relatively few compared to DC. Supply and Demand.
    2) Unlike DC, the Ody had a fix in less than three years for the new 5 speeds - whereas the DCs only recently had the problem resolved.

    I'm not sure if people are concerned with resale value as much as you think they are. The typical minivan owners tend to run these cars until it is time to replace them - which means that most of the value would have already been depreciated by the time they trade it in - an old beater is still an old beater, DC or HO, no difference IMHO.

    If I had to buy a minivan again today, I would still have narrowed my search down to the Caravan, Odyssey and Sienna.

    The Sienna would have been eliminated due to the size, and the caravan because of the interior style and functionality (no folding seat).

    By admitting about the tranny flaws, and moving quickly to identify and fix these problems, Honda has not only done the right thing, but they have also assured themselves of a repeat buyer. This is something Daimler Chrysler does not do very well.

    As for tranny failures, I have a 98% chance of having the whole car last me the intended 10 year lifecycle I have budgeted for it without a major drivetrain failure. That's pretty good in my book.

    There's a reason why Chrysler bumped up their powertrain warranty to 7 years folks, and it's the same reason Hyundai\Kia have a 10 year drivetrain warranty....
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    I didn't have the time to write a shorter one! :)
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    "How much does a new Honda 5 speed automatic transmission cost?"

    Why, do you want to buy one for your Dad's DC? I warned you not to gloat - DC will have it's day you can be sure.

    Hayneldan - I'm well aware of what caused the accident. I am suggesting that this accident, while not directly related to design of the DC gas tank, did serve to bring it to prominence, that's all. Like I said, glad you own a vehkicle with a perfect pedegrie.
  • I was not aware of the incident that bdaddy mentioned. It is good to know what the cause was. The only time I have heard of the DGC gas tank problem showing up was in the IIHS crash tests. After they did their simulated offset crash they turned the van over and noticed a small leak at the filler neck. That is a very severe and rare crash combination.
  • After hearing about the problem with the sloshing noise in the Ody I looked under my DGC and noticed that it has a relatively long flat tank. I have never looked at the tank under an Ody but if it is flatter than the one under my van it would have to be a real pancake. Has anybody here compared the two?
  • Keep in mind that 1.6% of all Odysseys on the road are not dropping transmissions and sending the vans out of control. Though any crash is unfortunate, I have not yet seen one published report of an injury or fatality from this mode of failure.

    Is it possible? Sure. Anything is possible. In that regard, anyone can somehow extrapolate a great number of mechanical problems into a huge safety panic. Do they recall every vehicle with any known drivetrain, braking or suspension problem?

    So are loss-of-control transmission failures likely with the Odyssey (or any vehicle with know transmission issues)? I doubt it. Even taking the 1.6% replacement rate at face value, the odds of the failure happening while driving are not 100%. The odds of them happening in a dangerous situation are even less. Keep in mind that many major mechanical problems do manifest themselves with noises or other indicators and give some warning of impending failure. Plus, a sudden downshift does NOT necessarily mean loss of control. Your brakes and steering still work. It's not like the throttle or accelerator being stuck. If you don't panic, you probably won't lose control, and you can even turn off the engine if you can't change gears to neutral.

    Even the notorious Chrysler transmissions of the late 90s never aroused panic in me for safety reasons. I heard numbers upwards of 50% failure rates for some series of these automatics. Thankfully, the one in our '95 Cirrus never had a problem. I was never panicked about it being a safety issue, though relatives and friends can attest that it was a severe annoyance issue. The dismal crash tests and blind spots were a far greater concern to me, especially once we had children...

    I do not think this is a safety issue, and not (yet) much of a reliability issue. Time, as always, will tell.

    Just my $0.02...
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    Yes, it is wide and shallow - which is why is can make sloshing noises from time to time.

    Caviller - it's really funny how thought about shifting to Neutral if that were to happen to you - considering that's the action I thought of when the LA times article first came out.

    Did chrysler get around to solving their tranny problems? What was the culprit? As you can tell, I have a year's worth of news to try and catch up on.
  • You posted ". I heard numbers upwards of 50% failure rates for some series of these automatics. " If you have a credible source please post it, otherwise it is pure conjecture. The Mopar chat boards ackowledge problems with the 4 speed units used in models starting in 1989. Some, but not all, of the problems were attributed to using or adding the wrong type of transmission fluid in these transmissions. GM or Ford fluid will work for a while then the clutches start to slip requiring a rebuild to replace all the clutches. Quick lube service locations were probably the biggest contributor to this problem. Most of these would fail by slipping or refusing to move the vehicle.
  • Isn't speculation and unsupported conjecture a great thing? It works well with just about any documented reliability issue.

    The 50% number probably referred to the worst series of the original A604 version of this engine, though it was presumably much improved by the mid and late 90s. True? I have no idea, and really don't care since we no longer own the Cirrus. Here are some details on the problems, from various viewpoints:

    The point is you can find documented reliability issue on most vehicles. That doesn't mean they are all safety issues, nor does it mean that buyers of the current models necessarily even have the same liklihood of problems.

  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    ...that every single 90s Caravan owner I know with the 4spd has had the trans replaced. When I meet somebody with one and we talk cars, that's my first question and it's a yes answer without fail. I did have one no response, from a 3spd owner who tows with his 4cyl. Seems like DC can make them bad and good.
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    from the Caravan owners I knew, 3 out of 3 had them fail and replaced in less than 5 years. One was on their fourth when they decided to ditch the minvan.

    They were certainly patient people.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I have had no transmission problems so far. This is the 4 speed with the 3.3 Liter engine. So now you know of at least one who has not had a transmission failure.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I drove my '89 Voyager for ten years/90,000 miles and never a peep out of the tranny.

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • DC sold over 8 million minivans and they are nearing 10 million. using the "acceptable" Honda failure rate of 1.6% times 8 million that would mean 128,000 failed. Maltb and milong let us know when you have found more than 128,000! Now you know three that did not, 96 Grand Caravan ES with 60,000 miles and no problems.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    your title doesn't show up...weird.

    Knowing 3...
    have we met before?
This discussion has been closed.