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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • I thought it was contacts on the passenger slide door. Nope. Turned out it was a scending unit inside the door. Repaired happily by the dealer.
  • I've had a new dodge GC sport for two months. I just read Edmund's review. Are we talking about the same vehicle??? I would be hard pressed to put any credibility to that reviewer's opinions again. The author really seemed biased...must be a Honda owner.

    I've had Hondas, Chryslers, Mercurys, and now a Dodge. I've driven Fords, Pontiacs, and Chevys. I like my Dodge GC just as much as I did the Honda.

    And the 'gimmick' trunk lid... you've got to be joking. I have kids and do a lot of home improvement hauling. That power liftgate, which I wouldn't have ordered had I spec'ed the vehicle, has been the most useful feature on the car. Nothing like it when you've got an armload of supplies...especially when it's raining!

    E Schlene
    West Lafayette, IN
  • I had the same door ajar problem in my '94 Voyager as spiritualquest describes in message 1314. I fixed it with a couple of small pieces of masking tape.

    The sliding door has "plungers" at both front and back of the sliding door. The plunger at the *back* of the door was causing my problem. The metal on which it pushed had gotten slightly dented-in over the years and was no longer pushing the plunger quite enough. I used a few layers of masking tape to "build up" the metal where the plunger pushes it.

    The problem went away. Of course I don't expect the "repair" to last too long, but long enough for me to think of how to fix it more permanently. And the price wasn't too bad. :)

    Good Luck!
  • gmusic7gmusic7 Posts: 42
    does anyone know how to remove the driver's side sliding door interior plastic panel? i want to get to the door lock and get that to work again.
  • brophbroph Posts: 85
    My sister-in-law has a '97 T&C w/ 70K on it. It has developed a starting problem where it would turnover but not start. This has stranded her more than once & dealer cannot duplicate the problem & it doesn't display any codes. They had it for a week & it started every time. It mostly happens when it is cold & once when it was hot. I thought maybe a fuel sending unit going bad or fuel pump. I also thought maybe a crack in the distributor cap(she had it tuned up in Feb.)with all the humidity in the air. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • bettygbettyg Posts: 9
    The engine light came on in our
    van while we were on vacation in
    Wisconsin...we took it straight
    to a 5 star dealer where they
    said it was an emission problem.
    They smoke tested it but found
    nothing. They reset it and said
    we might not have tightened the
    gas cap sufficiently but that it
    wouldn't hurt to drive it. This
    was on a Wednesday. We were on
    our way home on Monday when the
    light came on again. We had driven approximately 800 miles and had half a tank of gas. It
    happened both times the first time the ignition was turned on
    in the morning. We have made an
    appointment for next week to take
    it in again. Has anyone had this
    problem? If so, would appreciate your input...thanks
  • The Engine OBD Light came on in our NEW 2002 T&C eL at 787 miles. Took it in to dealer where the diagnostic test indicated faulty gas cap.
    Since the original gas cap on the 02 T&C looked exactly like the original gas cap on our 99 GC, we took the locking gas cap off the 99 GC and put it on the 02 T&C. Obviously, the locking gas cap that worked fine on the 99 GC was NOT adequate for the more sensitive systems of the new 02 T&C.
    We got a NEW locking gas cap for the 02 T&C and have had no more OBD light come on and the van now has 9600 miles on the odometer.
  • bettygbettyg Posts: 9
    Will advise service dept. and ask
    for a new cap. So far, this is
    the only problem. We averaged
    25 mpg on our trip to Northern
    Wisconsin. Wish the sport came
    with leather seats and a power
    lift would sure help!
    Otherwise, love the van...
  • I found a 97 Grand Caravan Sport with 54,000 miles on it for $8500. The small car lot that is selling it refurbs recovered thefts and flood cars. This vehicle had its nose in the water (not salt), did not reach interior, but engine siezed and was replaced with a 3.8 litre (original was 3.3) from a lower mileage '96 GC. He gave me the original owners name and number, all the title and papers when he bought the replacement engine. It looks and runs nice, and he will give a one year powertrain (Buyers choice) warranty. I test drove it and the check engine light is on, the AC button is sticky, but that's about it. He said they would be fixed, maybe just O2 sensor needed. I'm trying to check out the transmission, but since I have not driven these before I'm not sure if it has any signs of trouble coming. Works fine, but seems to me the shifting kind of slides from gear to gear, not a hard engagement. Is that the way it should be? There is no revving or obvious problems, maybe a little shuddering at about 55mph (overdrive engagement?). I read here about one test to do, checking the engagement delay when shifting from drive to reverse, etc. Can anyone who had tranny problems be more specific? Anyone see other likely problems with a van with this history? Thanks.
  • wg45678wg45678 Posts: 55
    Go ahead and buy the car -- if you want a trip to automotive hell. If you don't, take your money and run run run.

    A car such as the one you describe is about worth it's salvage value and will cost you much more than that between the time you buy it and when you discover the only way to get rid of it -- now that ist is a 'salvaged car' is either to sell it to salvage yard or drive it back into the nearest river.

    You will find nothing but continual problems with any car that has been submerged. Recommend strongly that you take anything you are considering buying to a trusted mechanic (even the brand name dealer's mechanic - but not one who works for the dealer where you are considering the purchase) for an inspection.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    The last year or two, the radio preset station push buttons-this is on the upgraded original equipment (Infinity I believe) stereo/cassette system-require a very hard push to get them to engage and actually switch radio stations. Anybody else have this problem and were you able to fix it without costing an arm and a leg? Anything one can do themselves to fix? I would hate to spend a lot of money fixing this, as it is a mere irritant at this stage, but if it gets worse than it is, the buttons may become non-functional.
  • Have other owners of 2002 Town & Country and Grand Caravans experienced fuel leaks at the gas tank, specifically at the rollover valve? We've had two in our shop recently. Chrysler had to replace the whole tank.
  • I recently heard a noticable noise when changing to reverse gear the first time in the morning almost every day, the rest during that day seemed to be OK. I'm driving 98 caravan sport. Anybody got ideas? Thanks!
  • scbillscbill Posts: 1
    I had a '88 with auto/od. 185,000 miles without changing fluid or screen and no problem. 1993 w/o od went out @110,000. It took (5) times for the guy to fix. Turned out to be a crack in the (new) radiator leaking fluid into the trans. 30,000 miles later it's running fine. Still bumping 22 mpg on the open road.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    We're on our third trans and had the clunk with the first two. Haven't noticed it with the new reman trans but it wouldn't surprise me. As long as your trans isn't slipping or otherwise malfunctioning there isn't anything to worry about yet.
  • Looking for used grand caravan. Many do not have rear air. Is the AC unit itself bigger (more capacity) when the van has rear air option, or is it the same unit and just ducted to the rear also? Thanks.
  • petecespeteces Posts: 1
    I am interested in purchasing a used Caravan (1998/1999), preferably with AWD and the 3.8 liter engine. What is all this stuff I hear about Chrysler transmission problems and is there anything else I should watch out for or expect. Are certain years better than others?I have also heard of electrical problems and body hardware issues. Any advice is greatly appreciated-
  • maw1982maw1982 Posts: 62
    I just bought a '99 GC ES AWD slate with gray leather. all options except rf rack and htd seats. 53k miles and 30 day warranty. I bought it from a dealer. It has new tires, hoses, and stereo head unit (cd player was skipping). It was checked by a dodge mechanic (done by a prospective buyer not the seller) and was given a clean bill of health. has a clear title (lease return). all it needs is a good detailing inside and out. I paid 10700 for it.

    I did not want he awd at irst however it does include the rear disc brakes (not available on fwd) and load leveling suspension (impossible to find on fwd models used or new).

    I think I got a steal of a deal but just want encouragemtn/opinions. I jumped on this one because reasonably-priced es models are few and far between (only other one available in the DC area was a fwd model with 80k miles for $14k.)

    As for body integrity, this van drives solidly and quietly (no squeaks/ratles). It feel much more solid and has much fewer creaks and ratles than my parents' '99 Silhouette.
  • PLEASE provide feedback! I would be new to Dodges and minivans...looking at a 99 GC 3.8 L V6 w/ 23,092 mi and the 29 N package. Dealer want 16,000 but I am thinking 15,000-yes? Anyone have any comments on this car? It might even get certified. Is extended warranty worth it? How hard is it to remove the captain's chairs? I am a single woman and desperate for advice on this car and the offer I should make. THank you!
  • maw1982maw1982 Posts: 62
    For price, did you check edmunds price calculator and/or It is pretty good and accurate (especially edmunds).

    If you think te price is too high, shop around. Where I live (DC metro area) '99 GC Sport models are comon (they were dodge's big seller at that time). When I went looking I found many sports but few Es models (what I wanted). See my post above yors.

    As for seats, I have not played wth the seats on mine yet (just bought the van Friday) but have many friends who have these vans. The back seat would be impossible for most woman to handle (I am an average-built man and the seat is a chore for me to handle). The captains chairs are easy to remove but can be tricky to reinstall (watched a salesperson fumble with one in a 2002 model. If you buy this van and need cargo space, I recommend removing he middle buckets and roling the back bench up to the middle postion.

    Hope this helps

    BTW, where are the caravan owners to answer our posts. I would love to ear other's opinions on the deal I got.
  • iaameeiaamee Posts: 4
    Hello roomie! I have a problem with my cruise control. Since yesterday, my 1998 GC 3.8L won't hold speed when going uphill. When i press accel (the cruise function) many times, the car won't accelerate/very slow to accelerate. What is happening here. My GC used to have swift acceleration when the accel button is pressed and will hold speed whenever doing a step climb. Help please with any suggestions. Thanks.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    Check out the vacuum lines first of all. There is also a TSB on this problem that involves a new battery tray vacuum reservoir.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I have a '99 GCS with the 3.8L engine. It has 33,000 miles on it now, and overall I've been happy with it. It's smooth, comfortable, and has good handling for a large vehicle. It is a great cruiser for long trips. Reliability has been fair, with a couple of recalls, a bum speed sensor, a failed battery (unusual in my experience after only 3 years and 30,000 miles), and rattling side doors. The captain's chairs are a bit of a trick to replace, as noted; be sure the seller gives you a tutorial. If I were you I'd go for an extended warranty if it is reasonably priced; I have one on my GCS and it gives peace of mind for major trouble. As for the price of the van, $15,000 seems a little high unless the van is in exceptional condition. If it's Dodge-certified, then $15,000 isn't bad at all IMO. It's a lot of car for the money. However, be sure to have all major components checked because a 3-4 year old van with so few miles may have had hard use, with many short trips that are tougher on a car than highway mileage.
  • pmaceypmacey Posts: 33
    During a tire rotation and getting a price quote on brake work for our 1998 Voyager at the local Mavis shop, I was told the left front caliper was bad, was sticking or locking up and tore up the rotor (agree that I had some sort of problem, awful grinding noise going on)

    Mavis told me they like to use loaded calipers and are sold only in pairs...price quote including install, tax, etc, would be $219 (single rotor was $79 installed)

    I've never done brake work myself, and know you can probably buy the parts much good a price is Mavis giving me? Same at Goodyear, or any other major tire store? Cheaper at a local gas station?

    BTW, 46K miles, had the pads and rotors replaced at 29K...this seems typical of what I've read about Chrylser brakes, every 15-20K miles needing replacement of pads/rotors...agree? (We have the base model with 14 inch tires, no ABS)

    Thanks in advance
  • steelengsteeleng Posts: 71
    If the price quoted includes replacing both rotors then it is a great deal. The preloaded calipers are about $65 each and the rotors run close to $50 each. These are for aftermarket parts at a local parts store. If the price does not include the rotors then I would try to get them to come down on the cost of the rotor installation. There is almost zero extra work to replace rotors on modern vehicles once the calipers are removed (they almost fall out on their own).
  • pmaceypmacey Posts: 33
    The price included only one rotor (and tire rotation) as they say only the driver side caliper locked up, trashing just that side's rotor

    As mentioned, they said the calipers 'should' always be replaced in pairs.

    I got a higher price (by $20) from another major tire center, seems Mavis's price is the best so far, from the local tire shops
  • rstcrstc Posts: 3
    Bought a 99 Ltd with 39000 miles on it. It has TIGERPAW APW tires on it in excellent condition. Was getting a deal on GoodYear REGGATA-2's. $150 for all 4 after trading in the APW's. Is it worth it ?
    Also need your expert advice on the following:
    1) Hear a very strange buzzing sound from the rear at exactly 50 mph. Is this normal ??? The van is FWD.
    2) There seems to be a slight vibration in the steering. Got the tires balanced but problem is still there.
    Thanks in advance
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    >>> ... this seems typical of what I've read about Chrylser brakes, every 15-20K miles needing replacement of pads/rotors...agree? <<<

    Not in my experience. My '91 Caravan (SWB, base model, non-ABS, 14" wheels) went 40k miles before it needed new front pads. Rear brakes never needed servicing in 59k miles. My '99 GCS (16" wheels, ABS) has not had the brakes serviced in 33k miles, and still had lots of pad/shoe left at 30k checkup. Note that both vehicles are driven mostly in town, lots of stop-and-go.
  • Backy, what do you mean by IMO?
    Also, what is meant by checking out the maajor components/ Please be specific as to what that means...? Also, what kind of mileage do they get? The car I am considering was a fleet vehicle whatever that means out of Plainview, NY - is the cold up ther bad for car?
    THANKS! Please any more comments on a 99GC Sport? and the 29 N package?
  • pmaceypmacey Posts: 33
    backy: Not sure if somewheres around the '98 model year (3rd generation/4th generation?) if something changed in the hardware re: the braking system, but I did various google searchs on 98 voyager and brakes, and it was much more the norm to have short rotor and/or pad problems (and some complaints of short life on calipers as well) than abnormal...something about auto-sensing wear or auto adjustments coming into play.

    Even though the Mavis tech said the same thing as above, I took it with a grain of salt as these techs are also part salesman.
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