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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • Too Many "Big Mac's" in the vehicle
  • swobigswobig Posts: 634
    yeah, Big Mac was in the back eating a quarter pounder, but the McVan started McShakin. You know what they say - if the McVan is rockin, don't come a McKnockin...
  • Also couldn't get the radiator drain to drain on my '96 PGV SE. Seems those drains are ornamental only.. Just unhooked the water line at the water pump as that was the easiest to get at.

    Drained and refilled with plain water 3 times, while running the engine (heater on) for a few minutes in between. Then refilled with 50% anti-freeze, 50% tap water. As someone mentioned, no need to bother with vent plugs, just drive a bit and top off. Good for another 30000 miles.

    Unless you live in an area where the water is saturated with calcium, or you change it every month, I wouldn't bother with distilled or deionized water. Those water channels just aren't *that* small (the only place they are small is in the rediator, but can we say "huge surface area").

  • Our 96 DGC LE we bought in Aug of 95 had the drain plug. Our was built in Fenton, Mo but I believe where it was built should NOT make a difference. We replaced the coolant ourselves 2 times on that van. The drain plug is there...and same for our 2000 DGCS.
  • jkc1jkc1 Posts: 5
    96 Grand Caravan 3.3 64K (I've posted to the "Can't get GCV started" forum - but I'm desperate and will have to tow). It stalled at 50 MPH and won't start. Luckily, I was close to home, able to get the car off the road and thank goodness didn't have the entire family in car at that time.

    The car turns over but doesn't start. Even after I changed the fuel filter, disconnected/reconnected the battery, banged doors/hood, it still won't start.

    Appreciate your suggestions.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    Check for spark with a timing light or a spare spark plug attached to one of the spark plug wires and touching a metal engine component. If there is OK spark then check for fuel at the fuel return line (have a fire extinguisher available). Do you have a repair manual to troubleshoot and track down problems? Have you checked for computer trouble codes?
  • Sounds like your engine relay and or engine sensors could be corroded or completely out. Our 96 GC LE w/3.3L would stall when we would decelerate off the freeway after driving up a long grade or hard driving. It would take about 20 mins before we could restart the car again. The car would turn over but would NOT start exactly like you are explaining. Make sure your engine relays and sensors are functioning.
  • my 1990 Grand Caravan came used from Avis at 6 mos. old and 14,000 miles. It now has 109,000 and yes I too have done the transmission ($1,800) at 96,000 miles and head gasket at 104,000 and 2nd transmission at 105,000 (free this time). Overall, i got my moneys worth and will buy another one. have done all the usual replacements - water pump, alternator, a/c compressor, but since almost none of the 109,000 is highway miles, and are in the 3-5 mile trips of a family of five, it has done us good. we have replaced the power window track 2-3x per window, which is plastic and make the windows go up and down. Radio great, heating and a/c good. Just a little old age shake in the rear door that will not go away. Maybe its the Firestone tires.
  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    Does anyone else have a road noise issue with their 96-00 G. Caravan or Voyager. I have a 97 Grand Voyager that seemed rather quiet when new but over the course of 40k has grown louder, louder, and louder. It is now to the point that I no longer can stand to be in the van for more than 5 minutes(yes, it's that awful). I don't now what is wrong but this should not be an issue in any new car but for some reason it seems like almost all new DC vehicles have a tinny feel with many road noise problems and complaints. Is this problem heard by anyone else?
  • Change your tires to Michelin X-Ones. What model tires did your GV come with? Switch to X-Ones or MXV4s and you will notice the difference. It's all in the tires.
  • sts2sts2 Posts: 1
    About a year ago a TSB came out stating that atf4 is not to be used in place of atf3. It also said that this might change in the future. Anyone heard anything?

    In case some of aren't aware, some '99s and most '00s and subsequent use different atf than earlier models.
  • fredk4fredk4 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. 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. After 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 at then 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 at 325 miles. Only this time, it took about 30 minutes of cool down each time to be able to start the van. 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 (obviously impractical).

    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 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
  • swobigswobig Posts: 634
    but I'm no mechanic. I think I'd give it a full tune-up on a machine and see where that leeds you...
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    There are several possibilities including various sensors, but your message sounds most like a dying fuel pump. Since fuel is used to help keep the fuel pump cool, it sounds like your fuel pump is overheating if your stalling coincides with your van running low on fuel.
  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47

    ATF-4 is still not approved as a replacement for


    I agree with Scanner. Another possibility is the fuel pump has a built-in pickup screen that is probably getting clogged on occasion. The purpose of this screen is prevent contaminants, such as water, from damaging the fuel system. The fuel pump probably should be replaced due to the labor involved. If the fuel pump is going to be removed or replaced, make sure the fuel tank is cleaned also. Hope this helps.
  • swobigswobig Posts: 634
    by removing the fuel line and turning the key to the run position. If you can do this when your van dies and you get no fuel through the line, then you know the pump is bad/going bad. I've done this before and as long as you use some common sense, your really in no danger. Could be the fuel pump, but could be a number of other things...
  • Yeah I also agree with the fuel pump being the culprit. But also I in our experience, the engine sensors and relays could be malfunctioning causing your engine to stall. The scenario on our 96 GC LE was it would stall when you slow down to a stop after you climb a short grade or drive it at high rpms when you pass. Then it would be difficult to start for 10-20 mins and after that, it would start back up again. The car would start but not turn over for that amount of time. The RPMs on the tachometer as we decelerated would drop below 1000rpm, then the engine would catch it...then it finally stalls out after it cannot regain itself. Since our warranty had already run out a couple years back, we had to make several trips to the Dodge dealer to get this diagnosed. At about $250 total of 2 sensors and 2 relays changed at the various visits to Dodge, our problem was fixed. They did notice the 2 sensors that was replaced were corroded and caused the engine to stall.
  • dcw4dcw4 Posts: 1
    my 2000 stock caravan's headlamps seem very dim.
    the lamps are clean.
    the brights seem like regular lights
    any suggestions from anybody.
    can you buy stronger lamps that are legal
  • brownsbrowns Posts: 8
    i have a 1999 dodge grand caravan with 39,000 miles. i will occasionaly here a clunk or knock from the front end when going over a bump or a rough road. has anybody had the same problem. i see a tsb for the the sway bar link but not sure that it is my problem....also new recall for 1995 to sep 1999 with 3.3 and 3,8. fuel leak at the o ring on crossover tube on fuel rail. it is posted in full at nhtsa. sounds like chrysler has no cure for the problem as of yet. hope a fire does not start before they figure it out. it goes back to 1995 so this ia a big recall.
  • elsubelsub Posts: 1
    What do you mean when the indicator lights of the buttons( back wiper,etc) are all flashing yellow?
    Is this critical to the operation of the Van?
    In the mean time the technician just remove the power somewhere , and the indicator lights are no longer flashing, but does not function.
    When I say butons, those are the ones, under the AM/FM/cassette deck.


  • I sold my 97 dodge caravan v6 3.3lt with 110,000 miles but let me give you a tip that happens a lot and you can fix it yourself and save a lot of money (in case no warranty).
    First Sign of problem :
    1. A/C will work and then stop blowing cool air.
    2. Starts heating up when driving below 65 MPH, and you end up turning the engine Off because it start beeping at you that's overheating.

    Problem found:
    1. radiator double fans are not working.
    so a/c shuts off automatically because the heat it produces can't be cooled down. also engine overheats.

    1. Buy a FAN RELAY at the dealer (I paid $40..list price $85) and replace it. It's very easy and it takes less than 10 minutes to set it up. It's located below the air filter housing.

    Remove Airfilter plastic cover, disconnect big Hose from carburator(I think that's what it is,located on top of engine, i'm not a mechanic, I do computers stuff)to loose the black plastic housing , then remove bottom housing of black plastic (1 bolt) and then you'll see the tiny square shape fan relay, remove it and replace it, it works like a champ.

    Do not turn on the car while the fan relay is disconnected 'cause it will make a new error code show up on the Engine service soon light. ( I did this mistake and I'd end up disconnecting the battery to erase the light).

    Hope this is useful. Bye
  • mark194mark194 Posts: 15
    I had a similar experience with another vehicle and the answer was the fuel pickup in the tank, it had become clogged by a bad tank of gas. I'm not sure how you could correct this but my guess would be you would at least have to remove the pump from the tank and go from there.
  • I've read somewhere that DC has decided to use the same Tranny in the 2001 Caravan that was used in previous this true?
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Yes. It is still the 42TE (formerly known as the UltraDrive 604).
  • Correction:

    It is the 41TE not 42.

    The 41TE transmissions in late 99 and current mopar vehicles currently use ATF+4 Type 9602. Most...(not all) people who experience tranny failures in their DC minivan or chrysler vehicle is from improper tranny fluid replacement with Dexron. Dexron is not compatible with the 41TE and will eventually cause it to fail. It happened to our 96 Grand Caravan LE. Only use the proper Chrysler tranny fluid ATF+3 type 7176 for pre 1999 vehicles and ATF+4 type 9602 for late 1999 and current vehicles. Never use Dexron/Mercon. Always refer to your owners manual first.

    Check this website for this information.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    That may be - but the 41TE/42LE/A604/etc. units are all the same basic transaxle - they came out of the same engineering staff, are built on the same Indiana transmission line, and are similar in design, use similar parts, and have similar histories.
  • Similar being the key word...
  • Similar is the keyword. The application in the NS minivans is the 41TE.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    The 41TE is "similar" to the UltraDrive A604 original. It is exactly the same 41TE that's gone into these minivans since 1992. The name "UltraDrive" was simply dropped in favor of the 41TE designation.
  • I don't see where you keep emphasizing on the
    ultradrive. Yes the 41TE is a improved version
    of the ultradrive. I believe that the 41TE gets tweaked here and there every year because I have not had any of those problems from those TSBs on that website or any of the current TSBs. I don't think that information is pertinent to the 96-and up vans because its dated info.

    The only thing that happened to our 96 GC LE was getting new tranny put in at 78,000 miles from the use of DEXRON in the tranny. Ever since that incident, we kept using the RECOMMENDED fluid where shift quality felt like new and didn't have any problems all the way up to 141,000 when we got rid of it. Not everyone experiences the same things but I do believe alot of tranny failures are caused by improper maintainance and lack of reading the fine print. Our 00 is doing well and it does have the 41TE. Most of us already know you dislike Mopar. Just leave it at that. It's not necessary to keep dragging it along. You made your point already. =)
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