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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • I need to do a tune up on my van too. Mine is 1 year older but has got less millage (56k). I have looked at the spark plugs and they seem to be difficult to get out. Please let us know how it went after you have done it. Thanks!
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    I'm really not sure. You can check with your local Dodge/Chrysler Dealer. :shades:
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I think you'll find that most disc brake "vibration" problems today are more likely to be caused by hard spots on the rotor surface, or scuz build up, then actually being out of radial roundness from warping.

    Also, in most cases regardless of where or who's name is on the box a replacement rotor comes in, the rotor will be a factory ( OEM ) blank. The casting numbers may be different, but on Chrysler's especially you will often find the Chrysler part number on them. In some cases there might be an aftermarket manufacturers number or identification, but in all likelihood the blank was cast by the OEM.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I think you'll find that most disc brake "vibration" problems today are more likely to be caused by hard spots on the rotor surface, or scuz build up, then actually being out of radial roundness from warping."

    Hmmm, "Hard Spots", we might be saying the same thing here, I believe I called them "Hot Spots", which is the term that the old gray beards that I learned to turn a wrench from used to use (of course that was something like 30 years ago). According to what I remember, the description of a hot spot is where a rotor was heated up enough to re-temper some of the metal so that it was either harder or softer than the surrounding metal. As such when the rotor surface with the hot/hard spot area slides past the pads, it has a different amount of friction in that one spot, hence the pulsing.

    Regarding the "Scuz Build-up", I don't think that's too likely as I use semi-metallic pads.

    Regarding being out of radial roundness or warping, while I admittedly have not mic-ed the rotors, I've seen no evidence of such a situation.

    "Also, in most cases regardless of where or who's name is on the box a replacement rotor comes in, the rotor will be a factory ( OEM ) blank. The casting numbers may be different, but on Chrysler's especially you will often find the Chrysler part number on them. In some cases there might be an aftermarket manufacturers number or identification, but in all likelihood the blank was cast by the OEM."

    Fair enough, however, the rotors that I took off of the 1998 were clearly stamped with the ChryCo pentagon, while the NAPA rotors that I replaced them with came from NAPA's United Brake Parts affiliate/subsidiary, and while my information is once again about 30 years old, back then at least, UBP was making their own replacement parts. Also, unlike the 2003, for which NAPA only lists one part number for the front rotors, they carry a "Tru-Stop" brand, which if I'm not mistaken is made in China. Additionally, if the OEM was casting rotors for other non-ChryCo distribution channels, would they really cast in different part numbers on the back of the hat? I ask because while I didn't check the rotors that I put on the other day, I did just check the set for our 2003, and there are clearly non-ChryCo identifiers cast into the back of the hat. It will be interesting to see if said casted identifiers match up with the rotors that I take off this weekend.

    Best Regards,
  • chuckgchuckg Posts: 69
    Here is a procedure for "bedding" new pads and rotors. Maybe this would help with your hot spots:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Thanks Chuck. I don't think it is a "bedding" issue as I have "bedded" pads on dozens of cars including my 328i and my 530i. I also don't think that this is a bedding issue since the problem doesn't start to manifest itself until about 20,000-25,000 miles after the brake job. Thanks just the same. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • I've got a 99 plymouth minivan that had a similar problem, as well as a 1990 dodge dynasty that did the same thing. What is happening is the computer is detecting a transmission error and going into "limp in" mode. What this basically means is that the transmission shifts into 2nd gear and stays there. The transmission is electronically controlled transmission, controlled by 2 shift sensors. I'm not exactly sure where they're located, but if you change them, it probably will eliminate the problem. The shift sensors run about $25 - $30 a piece.

    Good luck..
  • I had the same thing I found when I took the assembly off that the wire clip that hooks into the circuit board was burnt on one of the wires that in case you have to get a new clip and a new assembly
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Okay VCheng, I've added a few shots of rotor details to my "Caravan Stuff" directory on my Yahoo! Photos site. Said photos can be seen at:

    The first four shots titled "RotorDetail01-RotorDetail04" show various angles of the new 1998 rotor mounted with the new 2003 rotor resting on the ground leaning on the 1998. The last two shots titled "RotorDetail05-RotorDetail06" show two slightly different angles of the new 2003 rotor laying flush with a used 1998 rotor.

    One thing that I didn't notice until looking at these pictures is the difference in the hat height. That alone would preclude using the 2003 rotors on an older van because the calipers wouldn't be properly centered, and might possibly rub on the inside of the wheel.

    Best Regards,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    To get the full resolution of the details, you need to "Download" the Yahoo! photos to your local computer and view them from there.

    Best Regards,
  • top3guntop3gun Posts: 4
    Turns out that 2000 caravans dont have distributor caps and rotors. I checked out the fuel filter and it was in a location that a beginner like me would not be able to replace it. The worker at autozone said that the pcv valve wouldn't need to be replaced, so cross that out also.

    I decided to only do the plugs and not the wires because they seem to be in great shape. I changed the plugs. They were in awkward locations, but after playing "Tetris" with the limited tools I had, I got them all out and replaced them.

    But the check engine light is still on. Earlier, AutoZone ran a test and it pointed out a "cylinder misfire" which resulted from the plugs. I guess I'll take it back to Autozone to have them run the diagnostic again.

    Feel free to reply with some tips or whatnot you think would be beneficial for me. Thanks!
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yes, we are talking about the same thing. As you described very well, the rotor will become harder in one localized spot. The end-effect is a pulsating that is interpreted by the driver as a warped rotor.

    In most cases, not all, I think you'll find that where ever the rotor comes from the casting is OEM. The reason is cost. It's cheaper for the aftermarket manufacturer to buy blanks from the OEM and then finish the rotor as opposed to designing a new casting and molding. If you go to the Brembo site they tell you that they "...start with a factory blank."

    Yes, the OEMs will cast identifiers for aftermarket outlets. I would bet this is what NAPA does.

    Nice pictures, by the way.

    Good luck,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, starting with a factory blank... Interesting, I wonder why NAPA has two different rotors for the 1998 Caravan, one being nearly twice the price of the other. Could this be one of the few cases where a manufacturer decided that given the number of vehicles on the road that it might be cost effective to in fact create their own tooling and cast their own?

    Best Regards,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Thanks guys! ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • Any thing I need to pay attention to so that I dont mess things up when removing the plugs? How long did it take you to replace the plugs?

    You may want to check that the electrical wires from the cylinder to the computer that the computer has identified that misfires are in good order. My daughter's escort had a problem with the fuel pressure sensor and everyone told me to replace the sensor. I was not sure because the car was running fine. I did all kinds of tests only later to find out that the problem was a wire that feeds the computer with the pressure signal being cut.

    Another thing. Have you checked out the plug wires. Granted that they looked good. But that could be deceiving. A bad wire can be located by turning the engine on at night. If you see some arc along a wire, he wire is bad.
  • top3guntop3gun Posts: 4
    It took me, a true beginner, approx. an hour to change the plugs. just be sure to put the same wire back to the same place it was.

    i checked the wires out at night and saw nothing that would lead me to suspect that the wires are bad. the van is driving much better now.
  • bossebosse Posts: 1
    I’m living in Sweden and I’m an owner of a Chrysler Grand Voyager LES, 2000 (3,3 litre v6, automatic) on its 110 kmiles. I’m having problem with vibration in the speed range of 45-55 miles per hour. The vibration is rather heavy, in a low frequent (approximately 5 Hz) and appears only when accelerating. My conclusion is that it comes somewhere from the transmission. Is there anybody out there that has a clue what is causing this vibration? If so please tell me what this might be and the approximate cost would be to repair it.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    1. Torque converter shudder: (check fluid levels in the transmission, right type of fluid, worn clutch packs)
    2. Worn CV joints. (check boots, grease, free play)
    3. Worn ball joints and/or tie-rod ends. (thorough front end inspection)
  • We recently bought a 92 grand voyager. It now has been going through belts very frequently. I have replaced the power steering pump and the tensioner pully. Yet the problem still presists.

    Any help would be apreciated.

  • I had a similar problem with a different car. I had to replace the ignition module

  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Sounds like you must have some sort of pulley alignment problem, which may have occured during the pump or tensioner pulley changeouts. I would try to find a good trustworthy mechanic to check this out.
  • 41014101 Posts: 1
    i have a 96 grand voyger and the front end shakes really badly when doing speeds of 40-45miles per hr. at higher speeds the viabaration is still there but not as noticeable. have any suggestions
  • vredvred Posts: 1
    Asking this for my Brother in law...94 Caravan, 3.0 L engine, 120,000K miles.
    intermittent torque converter lock up at idle in gear..causes lurch forward and stall, shop is unable to duplicate problem, seems to happen when cold outside and first started, no codes were found during scan {van has an overdrive lockout button on dash]
    Thanks, Ed in Toronto
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    Check the tensioner pulley very carefully. I had the belt come off once in six years of ownership, and it was caused by an aftermarket tensioner that was just a tad off alignment. A new OEM part from Dodge cured it.

    I compared the OEM and aftermarket tensioners carefully. All the dimensions are spot on correct when you are holding both outside the car. However there is one big difference: The OEM part has the tensioner spring lie flat against the bracket, while on the aftermarket part, the spring is enclosed, and only the stud keeps the tensoner flat once you put on the belt. That, I think, is the reason, the aluminum casing warps just a little, causing the misalignment.

    There is a new OEM part where the roller pulley is made of plastic. I am not too keen on this change, but that is one I have on my vehicle now, and so far, so good.
  • 8bobcat88bobcat8 Posts: 3
    I have a 2002 T&C AWD with 60K miles. It has been a great vehicle except for the clunky 2-1 coasting downshift and the classic engine lifter valley corner oil leak. I documented the oil leak but refused a warrantee repair because I didn't want the repair possibly screwed up etc. It really doesn't use oil.

    Anyway, a question for the forum experts please. In reading this transmission forum, it is somewhat apparent that a DIY transmission oil change might not be prudent. I have the repair manual and it really doesn’t mention this loss of prime and control unit reset issue.

    Since I do as much of my own service as possible I had thought this oil change would be a piece of cake. What exactly are these issues and what specifically will this loss of prime do if you just drive it “carefully (?)” and let the transmission “adapt”? Also, is the DC reset routine built entirely into the tool or do they also get new flash via their intranet hook-up. Does anyone sell a reset tool?

    Waiting to get down and dirty with transmission oil,
  • philip84philip84 Posts: 2

    Thanks very much for your reply. I happended to have changed the fuel cap on my 2001 Town & Country minivan, had the light reset, but I continue to get the light after a few days. Any other ideas?
  • philip84philip84 Posts: 2
    I actually changed the gas cap and still get the same light with the same EVAP code. Any ideas out there?

  • soc2661soc2661 Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 Dodge Caravan that has been sitting up for several months. It has been started from time to time, but not use regularly for 9 months. I had to charge a dead battery to use it today and when I connected the charger the flashers started going and did not stop. The swith inside is off, the falsher in the fuse box has a ground for something running to it. (Looks after market) Could it have something to do with the keyless entery? That isn't working either but I think it needs a new battery. Haven't done much research yet, but open to any suggestions.

  • ebrownebrown Posts: 1
    Have 101k miles on our 1998 Grand Voyager with 3.3L engine & auto trans.
    Car runs and drives great and has caused no probs until 2 weeks ago. Then,
    the front wipers came on at random times all by themselves, with the switch in
    the OFF position! Had the local Dodge garage look it over and they replaced
    the switch. No help there. Then they replaced the wiper motor and it took 2
    weeks to get the new motor. Motor was noisy and did not solve IWP. Replaced
    motor again but somehow it did not take 2 weeks to get 2nd wiper motor. 2nd
    motor is quiet but did not solve IWP. Finally, we got it to act up when the
    mechanics could hook a diagnostic computer to it... bingo... bad computer.
    Why the wipers have to be controlled by a $500 computer instead of a
    separate $3 circuit totally escapes me but that is what we have. Will replace
    this week with a new factory computer. Hope that this FINALLY cures this
    issue. Other than this, the van has been a real gem. Personally, I think that
    this is a sign of over-engineering and making the system more complicated
    than it really needs to be and more than it should be for best reliability. Perhaps
    with a new computer on board, we can go another 100k with it. Yeah, I know...
    dream on... :-)

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