Last post on Oct 23, 2006 at 1:11 AM
You are in the Chrysler/Plymouth Voyager, Dodge Caravan
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Dodge Caravan, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Voyager, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Town and Country, Van
#122 of 4276 Electrical problems?
Feb 27, 2000 (8:04 pm)
My wife and I bought a 97 Caravan in Aug of 1997. The vehicle currently has just over 34,000 miles. All maintenance is done at the dealer using the Dodge maintenance recommendation for short trip usage. So far we've had to replace the brakes (including rotors), the water pump, and the CD player. We've had the mysterious windshield wiper problem, but haven't pursued it. Recently we've run into a problem with the electrical system which causes all kinds of unusual things. The dealer couldn't find the problem, but they did replace the battery. The situation is a bit unusual and sometimes difficult to reproduce, but when it happens any number of symptoms arise including: speedometer/tachometer not working, no power windows, no radio, no gear indicator, no milage indicator... I believe the problem is with the ignition switch, but the dealer claims to have checked this with negative results. What I have found is that when the ignition key is turned on to its fullest, it sometimes gets stuck in that position. When that occurs, the electrical problems begin. Unfortunately, it doesn't "stick" all the time, so I'm wondering if anyone has had similar problems and might be able to quantify the issue a little better than I. We live in New England, so it may have something to do with the climate, however, I had the problem in both fall and winter.
Feb 27, 2000 (10:34 pm)
Thank you very much for your points about transmission oil change, I think I may have it done in the car shop. Right now, my Caravan has 15,000 miles on it and the friend here suggested for services every 15,000 miles, should I bring it to dealer or any other shop as their price is quite different. Any comment? Thanks
#124 of 4276 More about this noise
Feb 27, 2000 (11:58 pm)
Glad you wrote back again.
No, not CV joints; that is one area I have had experience with (had an 85 DC that needed replacement of CV joints/boots 3X - thank goodnes for the old 7/70 protection coverage!) The 92 DC has been very good as far as repairs, except for the computer sensor responsible for all the dashboard guages (a mere $550 to fix). That conked out a few years ago. But back to the clunk.
I did, however, just notice "the noise" when I shifted from park to reverse today. Same noise. Then, as usual, it occurred a few more times during the day's drive, almost always at the moment you let up on the accelerator. The 3-speed trans shifts fine. Hmm. Maybe some kind of gear shift linkage/transmission problem?
Any and all thoughts most appreciated.
Feb 28, 2000 (2:42 am)
it is CRITICAL that the tranny gets the right fluid. Please use only the fluid listed in your owners manual no matter what anyone tells you.
Feb 28, 2000 (2:59 am)
Noise might be bad motor mounts. You might have someone do shifts while you look under the hood at the mounts. You might want to chock the wheels in addition to using brakes for safety.
#127 of 4276 JRODZ RE ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS
Feb 29, 2000 (5:52 am)
In our '96 GC (which Chrysler traded us out of for a '97), we had similar electrical problems. We never saw anything similar in our '97, except for last fall. While we were on vacation, I stopped for gas. When I restarted the GC, it seemed that all of the electrical circuits on the accessory circuit were not working. I quickly concluded that the battery was going out. I went to Sears, the battery was bad, and the symptoms disappeared after the new battery was installed. I suspect that the problem is rooted in the body computer. Hope this helps. I know it is frustrating.
#128 of 4276 DC frontend noise
Feb 29, 2000 (4:23 pm)
I too have the the knocking sound when I let up on the accelerator in the lower gears. I have the three-speed transmission in a '90 Caravan with the 3.0 L V6 and 105K miles. Mine has been doing this for quite a long time but the transmission seems to be working just fine. I thought it could be CV joints but I had the driver's side drive axle replaced about 5K miles ago due to a bad outboard CV boot and I can't feel any unusual motion in the passenger's side axle and the knock persists. The other tests for CV problems, like noise when turning or vibration at highway speeds are negative.
Royallen, I also have thought about the motor mounts as a possible cause, particularly the front mount. How does one examine a motor mount to determine if it is faulty? Will a faulty mount be obvious upon inspection? My wife hit a deer with this van several years ago. The radiator got mashed back into the engine and I am sure the lower front cross member and motor mount took a hit as well. I don't think the mount was replaced when the body work was done. Since I have forgotten when the knock first appears I can't say there is any correlation.
Xingze cai, the transmission fluid change is pretty easy. Just make sure that the MOPAR 7176+3 fluid is used. I gather you must be especially careful about this if you go to a quick-lube place as they will likely dump in Dextron and screw things up.
I new problem I have had now for about a year is that the headliner is sagging. It really sags in cold weather and appears to tighten in warm weather. I got a load of those headliner repair "buttons" and they have helped. I was wondering if you could use some sort of spray-on material (hair spray?) on the fabric when it is taut to keep it from more sagging when cold. Has anybody had this problem and come up with a clever solution?
#129 of 4276 motor mounts
Feb 29, 2000 (8:17 pm)
Most are hard rubber with a bushing and bolt. They fail when the rubber deteriorates so it looks cracked and maybe part missing and the engine will move excessively and cause noise when shifting from park to reverse or drive.
#130 of 4276 Transmission or Motor Mount Noise
Mar 01, 2000 (2:42 am)
I checked today with C. shop foreman on the front end noise in my 92DC (3.0 V-6, 3-speed auto). Without seeing/checking it out he is convinced (from my description) that it is either a transmission or motor mount, with greatest liklihood it is the transmission mount (royallen # 154 got it right - thanks! - , and it sounds like #153 eickmeier has same/similar mount problem). The fact that it acts up more in warm weather than in cold is probably a result of its hard rubber make-up (expand/contract). It goes in to shop on Thursday. Part runs about $33 bucks.
Thanks to all who replied. I'll post an update after the "surgeon's" bill is in.
For what it is worth, those who have those 4-speed transmissions might want to cut the recommended 30K service interval in half. Spoke with a former Chrysler service manager. He said that more frequent (15K) servicing had reduced the number of breakdowns they were seeing. He worked for them from the late 80's to mid 90's.
#131 of 4276 (Jrodz) Electrical Problems
Mar 01, 2000 (4:53 am)
I have a 97 Town & Country LX (32k) which also suffers from a mysterious windshield wiper problem. Out of the blue, or in the clear blue, the wipers make one pass, and shut off. I also haven't pursued yet. The radio also inadvertently cuts out for various lengths of time. Dealer said it was the CD, replaced, but problem still exists. Panel on radio lights up, appears to work fine, other than no sound.