Trouble With Dodge Grand Caravan

gcan1gcan1 Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Dodge
96 Dodge Grand Caravan emits a single "click" when
ignition key turned. After two or three attempts
engine starts and runs fine. Tried jumper cables
and got the same result. Battery is 7 months old
and, while a little weak, is capable of starting my
other car. Plan to take to the shop over the
weekend but wanted to know what I should expect. I
suspect either a bad coil or the starter motor but
did not know whether the symptoms were unique to
one or the other. Any advice appreciated.
«134

Comments

  • bill11770bill11770 Member Posts: 29
    I had the same problem you described on my old boneville. It turned out to be the starter motor.
    Well, that's my two cents.... i hope this helps.
  • bnormannbnormann Member Posts: 335
    the starter to me...

    Bruce
  • gcan1gcan1 Member Posts: 2
    Service manager said the same thing. I was just hoping it would be a simpler, cheaper fix. Thanks again.
  • woody98woody98 Member Posts: 1
    Town and Country does the same thing, let me know if the starter is the fix.

    Thanks
  • daclark1daclark1 Member Posts: 4
    Our 96 Town & Country with 75K miles just started doing the same thing. It started out with just one failed attempt and now is up to 3 or 4 before starting. I was thinking starter or loose starter wire. Was the starter the problem after all?
  • talk2elceetalk2elcee Member Posts: 1
    My '97 Grand Caravan Sport w/53,000 miles has been doing it too for a few months. The service manager says it's a bad battery but I don't think so because the car will be fine for a couple of weeks & then do it a couple of days in a row. The salesman says it's the ignition switch. Also, sometimes after it finally does start the speedometer & tach don't work but the o/gauges do.
  • daclark1daclark1 Member Posts: 4
    I replaced the starter on Friday myself for $100. So far started on every attempt, but I have not driven it much as it is up for sale at a used car lot for the weekend. Wife will drive it again this week where we'll find out if this fixed the problem. Will post again if problem still exists.
  • pmarinipmarini Member Posts: 6
    Our 1995 grand voyager has a terrible 'shimmy' betwen 45 and 55 MPH. The dealer has replaced axel and transmission, and now says it can not be fixed.

    And they offer no remedie.

    Has anyone else had this problem?

    Any suggestions?
  • lrawson3lrawson3 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 96 Town & Country and since the first week we got it we have had problems.... a new gas tank... which has been the only think covered ..when it rains it leaks under the dash and has shorted out the radio... we have had the transmission worked on and if I would have gone just 30 more miles they said I would have had to get a new transmission... we have 3 roters and calipers on the front right in just 2 months and now it is leaking anti-freeze has anyone else had these problems... have more but to many to list... wanting to get another before we go broke....
  • tjcisheretjcishere Member Posts: 1
    i have 40,000 miles i found out today my head gasket is leaking. Since new i have had an oil pan leak 2 speakers replaced in the better sound system power stearing hoses changed a power door lock replaced, valve covers leaking at 30,000 miles anyone else have some of these problems ?/
  • cfgtxcfgtx Member Posts: 1
    I have a 93 grand caravan which had a very intermittent starting problem. When I turned the key, I could hear a click, but nothing more. Sometimes persistence would pay off and it would start. I replaced the starter but that didn't fix the problem. What finally fixed it was replacing the starter relay ... ($15). It had a bad contact.

    hope this helps someone save $$$
  • hudel1hudel1 Member Posts: 1
    try adjusting the engine/tranny left-to right position with the slotted right (passenger) side engine mount by loosening the two bolts, and then shifting the mount to another position. The shimmy should go away once the the engine/tranny is at the right spot. I had this problem with a 1992 caravan, and the adjusting took a lot of time with trial-and-error adjusting of the engine mount back and forth, but it helped in the end. Also, check for binding front brake calipers, rooted driveshafts (high mileage or ruptured rubber boots), and for correct frame alignment.
  • honn1honn1 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1996 Grand Caravan that will shut off as I am driving it or won't start. It will start after I keep trying or if I wait awhile. We've had the battery replaced along with a major tune up. We are ready to trade it in.
  • gkdeangkdean Member Posts: 1
    Our 1995 Grand Caravan will stop running for no apparent reason. It will restart but will only keep running by keeping the accelerator engaged. The engine light will come on and will stay on for awhile and then go out. We have had the car to the dealer and they state that computer chaeck says battery trouble. This all began after a recall for recall fix that had to do with the rear wiper shorting out. Any idea's?
  • kbmartinkbmartin Member Posts: 1
    We had the starter replaced about a year ago and started having problems again in January. Stalled twice while driving, but started again. Have had problems starting it at least once a week for past month. It's in the shop for the 4th time in a month today. Was told at first that it needed another new starter, but I said that a 4 year old van should not need to have 3 different starters. They tightened a connector wire, checked/replaced the relay and a week ago replaced a power control module (which was covered under the emissions warranty). Took it back in this morning because it wouldn't start twice yesterday. We've also had the transmission go out (at 37,000 miles) and the problem with the wipers turning on intermittently (also at 37,000 miles), which they repaired. Van has 69,000 miles.
  • jakerojakero Member Posts: 2
    I also have a 95 Grand Caravan that stalls for no reason. It seems to happen when its raining or if it is hot out. I've taken it in to be checked out but they don't have any idea what it is. It probably happens about once a month, and it starts right back up after it happens. Other than this problem the car has been pretty good. 115K miles and still the original transmission. Any body have a solution?
  • sgruber1sgruber1 Member Posts: 2
    I have replaced the starter on my 1996 caravan . symptoms 1 click after a few tries it started. The dealer told me right away that it was the starter. I did the work myself. when I ordered the part they told me they sell a lot of them, they
    have starters for 3.3l engines in stock $105.15
    not cheap.
  • dmesimerdmesimer Member Posts: 1
    For those of you who have either staring problems of engine cutting off with the 3.3 V6, the problem could be the intake may have a build up of carbon in the throttle body. I have needed mine cleaned on several occasions and it has worked well. By the way, I have a 91 Caravan with 180,000.
  • metsmanmetsman Member Posts: 1
    My dodge dealer cannot seem to repair my sensor lite that keeps coming on. He replaceed spark plugs, then plug wires - no luck. Mine is a 96
    G>C ES, 3.8 liter. Any answers??
  • jakerojakero Member Posts: 2
    Could be your oxygen sensor. If it is, your car would be running pretty rough. It should be replaced every 60K miles. I just had it done and it costed 90.00 for the part and 40.00 labor.
  • lpsmithlpsmith Member Posts: 1
    90 dodge gr caravan was clicking but no start (two events over past few years) Each time the fix was to replace the solenoid (part of starter) copper contacts (disk is still original and ok after 132K miles). It's easy to see the wear if you take it apart. Too cheap to pay the $150 for a whole starter like dealer and chains wanted me to do, I visited the first auto electric place I found w/starter in hand and they replaced the parts for about $15 while I waited. Next time they wore out (only a couple years later), called another auto electric and they sold me the new contacts for $5 and gave me a handful of worn spares. They were easy to replace and it's been going fine for at least 5 years on my repair and the spares are still in my toolbox. Washer hard/impossible to replace and can appear worn, but they work 'forever' according to the helpful guys at the second place and my experience.
  • drtandemdrtandem Member Posts: 1
    I had a used '91 voyager(3.3L) that also would not start at times. It got worse and worse. A couple of times it would not shut off. The starter motor continued to run. I had to disconnect the battery to shut it off. I then had it towed to my mechanic as I was afraid to start it again. He was unable to duplicate the trouble the day it was in his shop(of course). I think it was either the solenoid or the relay. I didn't want to mess with it as I was about to buy a new Caravan(2000). So far, no trouble with it(knock on wood). I traded it into the dealer.

    I also would like to note that I had a new(at the time) '90 caravan. 4 cyl. turbo and never had any trouble with it.
  • rmeyer4rmeyer4 Member Posts: 1
    I know this topic is happening to other Caravan owners. My 96 Grand Caravan ES clicks when I turn the key occassionally. Then I try it again and it will finally turn over and start fine. Sometimes after it starts, the speedometer and tachometer won't work. I have not taken it in yet to have it looked at. If anyone out there has had this similar problem and had it fixed, please email me so I know what needs to be done. I don't want the service shop to charge me a lot of money if I know what the problem is. Your help is much appreciated. My email address is [email protected] Thanks for the help.
  • 200car200car Member Posts: 1
    My Grand Caravan 3L V6 autotrans has been running great until now- When trying to start it, it sounds like the engine tries to start up then quickly halts. After the fourth try I finally got it started. The problem hasn't occurred again, but there is a hesitation after I start it, as if the engine may quit, before it idles. That never happened before. These are probably my warning signs-Any ideas on what it could be are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  • gary114gary114 Member Posts: 1
    My 1996 Grand Caravan also shuts off, while driving. The service center told me to use the highest octane gasoline possible to alleviate this problem. The higher octane, usually 93, actually works, although with the current gas prices, it is costly.

    I have also had sporadic problems with the starter on the 96 Grand Caravan. The service center is aware of this problem, but does not have a solution. My starter works fine for a month, and then won't start for 3 or 4 tries for a few days. The starter then works fine for a time period.
  • caravandrivercaravandriver Member Posts: 1
    Several years ago I purchased a five year old 1988 Dodge Caravan 3.0L SE, 35,000. I now have over 167,000 on this minivan and it still runs like new. Since I transferred the factory warranty over ($100) I used the warranty at just under 60K Miles to receive repairs on a oil leak (seal), new complete heads (recalled-high oil consumption), and the transaxel rebuilt/updated (slipping reverse and also on recall).

    It uses less than 1-qt. oil between changes (10W-30 or 10W-40). Shocks and struts have been replace. If have over 60K miles and plan to keep it for a while, I would highly recommend this since handling was highly improved.

    I've have had similar problems as others on starting, and engine stalling, and will give my 2-cents worth.

    The no start (click-click then starts) is the copper contacts in the solenoid of the starter as mention in another post. You can replace the entire starter ($100+labor) or replace the contacts ($10+labor). This is after you have troubleshot this system, since other factors can be involved.(Weak/dead battery) I'm still on my original starter and second pair on contacts. My original contacts lasted about 85K miles. I have also done this on a 2.6L 1984 Caravan. Since this starter is used on several other models and other brands of cars, (example:Toyota, Mitsubushi), it's good info.

    Second the stalling like it's "running out of gas" (slow shut-down), rather than "turning off the key" (quick shut-down), tends to be fuel related. After common things are checked, (fuel filter, restrictions/leaks), the fuel pump should be suspect. This will generally not be seen on the carb. models, but mostly with the fuel injected systems, since higher pressures are required (about 50psi). This problem is highly intermitted, and makes it hard to troubleshoot. Try to aggravate the problem by running the fuel tank low on fuel. When the problems occurs, check the fuel pressure and volume.

    Coolant leaks can be from the water pump on 3.0L engines. Since it is hidden from sight and is driven by the timing belt, it can be difficult to troubleshoot and replace. If a head gasket is suspect, have a radiator shop do a test on it. They use a chemical to check for unburned hydrocarbon and it is cheaper than having a mechanic using a sniffer.

    Hope this helps...David
  • bikaloubikalou Member Posts: 1
    I got a 1988 Dodge caravan. The rear drum brakes, and mostly the left one, easily locks the first times I hit the brakes, even smoothly. Afterward it's OK. The pads are OK, like 30% used. I wonder the reason of that. Could the drums be out of specs? could that explain this phenomena?
    A mechanic told me the drums could be oval (not circular anymore), but I don;t feel anything when I brake and the problem disapears when the brakes have been used a few times. Any clue?
    Pascal.
  • victork1victork1 Member Posts: 1
    My family owns a 1992 Grand Caravan, and it has same problems with rear breaks, we were/are trying to solve, but not yet found out the solution...as soon as we will, I'll post it here right away...
  • ptoddptodd Member Posts: 2
    My Caravan has only stopped a few times, but lately it seems to be doing it more often. I appreciate everyones suggestions and will take them into consideration if I decide to keep the van. This is just one of the many annoying problems I have had since I purchased the van. Transmission went out at 13,000 miles, the latch on the back will not release the windshield wiper fluid on the back window does not work. Rear ashtray fell out. Interior moldings come off etc.............. I will NEVER own another Caravan.
  • ptoddptodd Member Posts: 2
    Has anyone had problems with their gas gauge? Mine stuck a few times, but always got better. Now it is just going bonkers. Any suggestions. It's a 1994 Grand Caravan.
  • nododgeformenododgeforme Member Posts: 1
    My Caravan?? Problems started around 37,000 miles. First wipers automatically going on. Then brake light stayed on. (Dealer claims it meant that it needed brakes. Chrysler must have hit the jackpot when they invented a light that comes on when you need brakes. Needless to say we took it to a mechanic that said the brakes were fine.) Then the "stop running" started. With two kids in the car a few times on the interstate. A few times around town. A few times on vacation. Every time it went in for this problem they couldn't find anything but continued to charge me the $50 deductible on my extended warranty. FINALLY it died and they towed it in. Thankfully it continued to not start for them this time and after a week of working on it changed the idle motor. Got it back for 3 weeks and the air bag light stays on and the headlights only turn off if you turn them off BEFORE your turn off the engine. NOW - We were driving along and even though the van continued to run, we lost all power on the inside. The radio, air, gauges, and lights all turned off. They came back on and pulsated for a few minutes and went back to normal. Now it keeps doing this and the dealer has had it for 2 days so far with no answers. It has 62,000 miles on it. Besides junking it, any suggestions?? Why aren't we all on Dateline or 20/20? Shouldn't the public be notified of the big lemon Chrysler puts out? In interviewing friends, I find that there are a lot more of these vans with problems than there are not.
  • daclark1daclark1 Member Posts: 4
    Had a 96 Chrysler T&C LXi, talked about selling it for the last couple of years and finally did. It had the automatic wiper problem which they could not fix, fuel gauge says empty and it took 12 or 13 gallons to fill up, dealer put in a new tank, still did same thing. New transmission at 47,000, new front wheel bearings and all surrounding housings due to failure, new a/c, new brakes every year and the list goes on and on. Had 78,000 when sold. Had got an extended warranty and all $5,000+ repairs except brakes were covered. No Dodge or Chrysler for me... ever.
  • lbrosslbross Member Posts: 24
    I have noticed water stains on the carpet in front of the right slider of my '98 G.C. I can't locate the area of the leak, but I suspect it is coming from underneath the bottom track. Has anyone else had leaking problems? I checked for TSBs on this problem with no luck.
  • dms0097dms0097 Member Posts: 1
    Sometimes when I start my 97 Dodge Caravan I get this clicking coming from the dash. If I shut the van off then restart it, it goes away. If anyone can tell me what this is and how to repair it I would be very grateful has anyone else had this problem?

    I am very disappointed with my Caravan and Dodge, at 20,000 I had to replace both rotors. It was definitely a manufacture defect they just rusted out. The van is used everyday, there is no way for rust to build up on them, the brake pads were only 1/3 worn out. I called the dealer and they said the warrantee does not cover breaks and gave me a 1-800 number to call. When I did the person at the Dodge complaint center said she would note my complaint I said I wanted the $125.00 it cost me to replace them she said, "you are Not going to get that" Dodge to me seems like they really don't care to please there customer's.

    At 45,000 miles the transmission went with no warring at all. Luckily I had purchased the 7 Year 100,000 mile warrantee the cost of that was over $1,800 the tow truck driver said he is towing Dodge all the time with transmission problems.

    The windshield wiper switch was just replaced because they ware turning on all by themselves.

    My advice to anyone thinking about buying a Dodge is BUY SOMETHING ELSE or be sure to get the extended warrantee. I will never buy another Dodge as long as I live. If Dodge wants to loose a customer over $125.00 that is their problem. Each year Companies spend millions of dollars trying to get back customer's they already had, if they would have just admitted to their mistakes and stood behind there product.
  • garyst16garyst16 Member Posts: 1
    I own a 1993 Gr. Caravan, 3.3 with 172,000. I am on my 5th (and last) transmission. For about the last year or so the engine cuts out for a split second while accelerating. This usually happens while driving on the freeway after I have been at a steady speed and then push down on the accelerator. I know this is an electrical problem because when it cuts out, the speedometer drops to zero, and then immediately jumps back up to whatever speed I am actually going. It only cuts out for a second and then comes right back. I have had the dealer check this out on 3 separate occasions and they can not find anything wrong. HELP!
  • mwrandmwrand Member Posts: 1
    I have '96 Gr. Caravan with a similar problem. It has been going on for more than a year now. It is at the dealer now and they can't duplicate the problem which is that the 3.3 engine hesitates when I accelerate from a stop sign or after deceleration. I describe it as a "hiccup". Sometimes the engine will stall, but start up just fine. No codes show up. I have no confidence that the engine will accelerate when I am in dangerous situations. Any help?
  • mjdubie2mjdubie2 Member Posts: 3
    We have been having similar problems with our '96 Grd. Caravan. It started with the stuttering when accelerating noticed mostly around 45 mph. 2 days ago it stalled on my wife twice. The second time was right by the service garage. She took it there right away. Of course, they were not able to duplicate the problem/stall. There were no error codes registered. They have looked at it before without knowing what is wrong since there were no error codes. They replaced the idling motor thinking that may be the problem. They also suggested it was just in my wife's head. I have to calm down a little before I talk to them since the stuttering has happened to me as well. My brother who is a mechanic suggested they look at the fuel pump if the problem continues.
    We are looking at dumping this and getting a Pontiac Montana. My wife is refusing to drive it any longer for fear of it stopping in the middle of traffic.
  • tomthrashertomthrasher Member Posts: 1
    A fascinating thing happened upon visiting our non-dealer related car mechanic (ours is terrific!)& asking about this problem. They said it might not be an electrical problem at all, but a transmission/computer problem and the best part was it costs nothing to fix: they suggested draining ALL power from the car and battery and restarting the car. Supposedly, this RE-SETS the cars computer. After this the car works great again. AMAZING--After all the other dealers telling us they also could never find the problem and it was probably something electrical. We've had all the problems mention in #s 36-38 and re-setting the computer has worked great. I'd be interested to know if and hope it works for you also.
  • bucklerbuckler Member Posts: 1
    Trying to replace the starter on my 90 caravan with a 3.3 liter and find that there is a bumper brace right over the starter location.

    Does this brace need to be removed to access the
    starter?

    The caravan manual I have shows 3 bolts holding the starter, but I see only 2 and one is difficult to get at because of the bumper brace.

    Appreciate any help I can get.
  • tbone14tbone14 Member Posts: 10
    We were looking at the 00 Chevy Venture, and took another look at the Caravan. I have a local dealer with at least 25 of these puppies on the lot. Not sure what that means, overbought, having problems or not priced correctly. Anyway I hear some horror stories above, can anyone let me know how their 99 or 00 model is treating them. Also any killer deals that could give me a benchmark on how low they will go with such an inventory.
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    I think you will get a lot more input if you take a look at the Caravan (and the Venture) topics over in our Vans Conference.

    This conference deals with maintenance and repair issues of already purchased vehicles. Over in Vans, you'll find recent purchasers, those considering purchases and pricing discussions.

    I advise you to use the Topic Search feature on the left side of the page for Caravan and then check out the topics listed under the Vans Conference. You can do the same thing for Venture if you'd like.

    Good luck.

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • jbwalljbwall Member Posts: 1
    In response to #39, Do you just disconnect the battery or does it have to wait for a few minutes or hours? The problem has been so intermitten that it is hard to trace.
    Mine has been at our mechanic and same results as the others. He replaced the fuel pump and filter last year and did it again a few months ago. This is not easy since it is in the tank! He kept it for 3 weeks and tried various things. He has put a pressure gauge on the line and drove it all over town with no failures. My daughter picked it up and go only about 3 miles away and it stalled in the middle of a intersection! For the last 3 weeks it has run perfect but I am anxious to try anything! I talked to him about the clogged intake manifold and he checked with a rebuild shop and they said they had not noticed that problem.
    I will update if this helps.
  • scbratcherscbratcher Member Posts: 2
    Sometimes when I try to enter the car, dash and dome lights are off. Starter turns over engine but does not start. Slam doors, hood (one time lights flickered) finally it starts. Ran for 90 days without any problem. Died while driving twice on one day. One time while running 70 mph going into Kansas City at midnight. Coasted onto shoulder (power steering off), dash and radio lights came on, shifted into neutral, hit started and on I go. Be going this for over a year. Service manager has really worked trying to find out what is happening. Never does it for him. The post by #39, tomthrasher sound worth trying. Any suggestions from any body???? HELP????
  • bernermombernermom Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone had a problem with a Grand Caravan (mine is a 1999) and a broken rod which the dealer (after 11 days of trying to "find" the problem) now says was water damage in the engine - of course not covered by warranty (after being told consistently from day 6 through day 10 that it was a warranty item and would be covered in full by Dodge.) As of day 10 the problem I was told was a bad bearing and broken rod (cause undetermined). Yes it was raining - hard - this is Jacksonville, Florida, but mine was the only car in rush hour that pulled to the side - everyone else - in small er cars had no problem negotiating the wet streets and puddles. We were all going the same speed - S L O W !

    Is there any design flaw causing water to enter these engines easier than others?
  • jkc1jkc1 Member Posts: 5
    96 Grand Caravan 3.3 -- I'm not surprised, like many of the foregoing, my car has finally died!!! It turns over but doesn't doesn't start - doesn't appear to be getting any spark. I've just put in a new fuel pump thinking that was the problem -- but it still won't start. Can anyone specifically let me know what I have to do to get the car running so I can get rid of it!!

    PS --I've had all the problems as #36-9 has (air bag light stays on, washers turn on intermittently, new transmission, loss of power, brake grinding noises, annual new brakes, etc etc).

    Appreciate your advice on how do I get the car started. THANKS.
  • afceaafcea Member Posts: 1
    I see several you you have reported problems with the wipers coming on by them selves. Mine will go on several times during a 8 mile trip to work. What was done to correct this problem. I've made a call to my local Dodge Service Garage and made an appointment. When asked why the wipers come on by them selves, the answer back was like I did not know what I was talking about.
  • mytreatmytreat Member Posts: 1
    Wow! I've never heard so many bad things about the caravan. I own a 91 with with 110K on it and it's doing pretty well.

    I'm going to cover a couple of topics in this post including trans problems and solutions and also the no start and intermittent stall and/or no start.

    I will agree with everyone on one item- the 4 speed Overdrive electronic trans blows goats. I'm on # 3 trans. The first two times it was "fixed" was by aftermarket shops who full of bull. If your trans goes, do not take it to a non-dodge dealer to fix. The truth of the matter is this trans is so advanced and unlike any conventional trans that most mechanics who maybe great at fixing typical transmissions may have no real clue as to what they are doing. This trans is completely computer controlled. If your trans should go out, my recommendation is that you visit a good local dealer and bypass the service advisors by walking in the side door when they aren't looking and ask the first mechanic you see who the trans mechanic is. Chances are they will tell you. Go over and talk to the trans mechanic and tell him what your problem is and ask if he does side repair work. I did this the last time my trans went and got a complete overhaul for $500. Talk about a bargain. After that, the trans never worked better! And, it only took a week! That was over 20K miles ago.

    Now, on to the electrical problems- Your typical caravan has 3 computers on board. This first is the engine computer (SBEC), transmission computer (EATX controller), and body computer. The engine and trans computers are self-explanatory and they do communicate with each other to control things like shift points. The body computer controls almost everything else including lights, windshield wipers, air bag, etc.

    If your windshield wipers are doing weird things, a previous post says resetting the computer by disconnecting the battery cable for a couple of minutes may help. This may be your solution, but you need to bear in mind that the transmission computer loses all its shift application presets. If you reset the computers, you may notice awkward tranmission performance, i.e. long shifts, and at different speeds. This indicates that the trans computer has lost it's presets. If you drive normally after resetting the computer, you stand to do damage to your trans. After resetting, you need to drive your caravan very gingerly on a flat road letting it run through all its gears and after the upshifts feel comfortable, start stepping on the throttle lightly getting it to downshift. You may need to repeat that process many times.

    As for the no start condition, the first thing you should do is check for engine computer fault codes. YOu do not need a special tool for this believe it or not! Merely cycle the key from the off to on position (not start) three times. On the third cycle, leave the key in the on position and observe the check engine light. It should stay lit for a few seconds and then go out. After going out, it should start blinking. These blinks represent numbers. the number of blinks correspond to single digits 1-9. When you notice a longer space between the blinks, that is a space between the first and second digit. Fault codes are two digits in length. Your vehicle could plausibly have many of these stored. You will know when the fault codes have finished when the light blinks "55" For example, "55" would look like ***** ***** Do your self a favor and buy the factory service manual if you can (info for these is available at a dodge parts counter). Otherwise, a chilton's will do (they have those fault codes listed and what they correspond to). If no codes are present and light only indicates "55", this means that the engine computer cannot detect the fault on its own.

    On to the ignition system: The 3.3 and 3.8L engines do not have distributors. They use what's called a distributorless ignition system (commonly abbreviated DIS) The chances of the coil pack (where all the spark plug wires connect to) going bad are somewhat slim. The first thing you should check if no fault codes are indicated are the engine computer input sensors. Two sensors control ignition on these engines: The crankshaft sensor and the camshaft sensor. The crankshaft sensor is located on the backside of the powerplant in the trans bell housing close to the engine block. It's a cylinder shape with a flange that bolts it to the bell housing. In my case, when my engine mysteriously stalled, what I found was a small fleck of metal on the tip of this sensor (you have to unbolt it to inspect it). For those of you who experience the momentary power outages, this probably does not apply). This sensor is magnetic and will hold bits of metal on to it. These bits hinder its proper operation. If you should find anything on the end surface of the sensor, remove them. Before reinstalling the sensor, you need to make sure the proper gap between the engine flywheel and sensor is maintained. The thickness of one the heavier-type index cards should suffice. Cut out a circle of it the size of the sensor face and glue it on. This is not permanent and only needs to hold while your are tightening the mounting bolt. And for good measure, check that the the connector below all the plug wires on the coil pack is firmly in place. If your chariot should roar to life, congratulations! If not, try taking a look at the camshaft sensor located in the timing chain cover (the same principles apply).

    I hope that at the very least, you who have read this far gained a better understanding of how your vehicle works. If my advice helped you fix it, I'd like to hear from you <<A HREF="http://[email protected]">[email protected]>.

    Aloha
  • fredk4fredk4 Member Posts: 2
    We have a 97 Caravan which was trouble-free until about 42,000 miles. We drove it from San Diego to Atlanta in 3days in January, and the vehicle ran great. In early February, after about 150 miles of freeway driving, and while cruising at 70 mph, the vehicle began to shudder and lose power. I pulled off the road and the car was gasping and shuddering. I shut it off and let it sit for 10 minutes. It started right up and sounded OK. We finished the last 50 miles without incident.

    I drove it around town (20 mile radius)without incident for a week, then went on a 350 mile road trip. About 200 miles of freeway driving, the problem occurred again - same scenario.
    After 15 minutes, it started fine and we completed the trip.
    We returned from that trip, 350 miles without incident.

    One week later, I repeated the 350 mile trip. The stall out occurred after about 200 miles of continuous driving, and again about 75 miles later.

    I had a local shop replace the fuel filter. Two days later, on the return trip, the incident happened again after about 275 and again 50 miles later. Only this time, it took about 30 minutes each time to be able to start the car. Initial attempts resulted in very rough idling, with pops and sputters.

    I took the vehicle to a local mechanic, and he said the onboard computer registered a lean code, but no other codes were registered. They could not reproduce the stall, and said that the only way to figure this out was to capture the code with the diagnostic device while an incident is in progress.

    Since the last occurrence, I have put about 1500 miles on the van by in-town driving without incident. The longest trip was about 75 miles of freeway driving each way in one day. I am very reluctant to put it on the road for very long, yet that's why we have the van, to take trips.

    I sure would appreciate some advice so we can begin to exorcise the demon, and get back on the road. Anything anyone can suggest will be appreciated.
    Thanks, FredK, Alpharetta, GA.
  • abaltoabalto Member Posts: 22
    That questions and technical advice web site...

    I have also looked for a good Dodge web site to ask questions and technical advice, opinions, etc. The best site I have found is www.moparchat.com This site is clearly the best in quality, with over 60,000 posts! Good luck either way Trevor!
  • dcdrexdcdrex Member Posts: 1
    I feel like I am in a support group for frustrated Dodge Grand Caravan owners. I have 3 questions.

    1. My wipers have a mind of their own and will suddenly turn on while driving down the road. Yet the dealer doesn't have any answers?

    2. My ABS light illuminates and stays on some times when I start the minivan. In order to extinguish the light I have to turn off the van and restart it. The dealer again can find nothing wrong.

    3. I have a "clunking" noise from the right front wheel-well when I turn just to the left. Any ideas?

    4. I agree on the transmission--not designed to last! Mine was replaced at 74,000 miles. The biggest factor according to the mechanic is that this Chrysler transmission runs really hot and you need to replace the transmission fluid every two years (though the maintenance manual doesn't say that). Apparently that will help a lot!

    I would appreciate any answers to the questions about the windshield wipers that have a mind of their own or the ABS light. Thanks.
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