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
#158 of 4276 What to do about lemon 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan
Mar 10, 2000 (6:08 pm)
I have a 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan SE that I have had into the dealer 9 times since it was bought new in July 1996. 3 of those times have been for a check engine light that was related to the transmission, one was to replace a failing battery (that battery failed also failed after 2 years), once to turn the brake rotors, once to replace the brake rotors (6 mo. after they were turned), once for a failed water pump (stranded on roadway), and this last time for a recall and check on the transmission, which appears to be slipping. I was told that the transmission needs an overhaul, which will cost from $1900-$2100. This is not a high mileage car, only 45000 miles.
I feel that this is an intolerable list of problems, and this is starting to cost me money that I do not want to spend. Is there any way to get some relief from these problems, other than just complaining? Does Dodge do anything about transmissions that fail way too early, or about vehicles that have such poor reliability?
This car is the most unreliable I have ever had, and this includes a '83 Alfo Romeo GTV6 that I owned for a few years in the later 80's.
#159 of 4276 Phantom WIper Issue
Mar 11, 2000 (12:22 am)
My brother works in parts at a Dodge dealer. He said the 'phantom wiper' issue is very common on 96-98 vans. Replacement of the wiper switch assembly 'cures' it - at least it did on my 1997 GV. (6 months with no mystery wiping) This part should be under recall for the 1998, but not 1996-7.
FYI - I bought the new wiper switch assembly from the dealership db works for. DB found a pricing issue. The recalled/replacement part and the 1996/97 part are identical BUT the two parts have different part numbers in the parts catalog. So if it's replaced under warranty one part/price is charged, if it's paid for my the owner the other part/price is charged. Guess who gets the better price - big suprise. The recall replacement is $30-$50 LESS than the 1996/97 part. So if you're paying for the replacement switch out of your own pocket, have the parts guy look up both parts and give you the CHEAPER one. And don't fall for a line about how they're really different parts. The 1998 recall replacement is working great in my 1997 GV.
#160 of 4276 any 4-cyl issues
Mar 11, 2000 (6:08 pm)
I am considering purchasing a base 2000 Caravan/Voyager. Are there any issues w/the 4-cyl model other than hp?
#161 of 4276 4 cyl sensitive to overheating
Mar 13, 2000 (2:32 am)
I have an 89 2.5L Caravan that has had 2 heads replaced, the second one when the camshaft broke in two. Also replaced the engine twice, the second within a month, then replaced pistons when the cylinders scored and the pistons started slapping. It has a tendency to form an air pocket at the thermostat, which then will not open, and the engine overheats. The first problem was at about 80,000 miles. I don't know whether Dodge has redesigned the engine, but it's worth looking into. Other than that, the car has been very dependable.
#162 of 4276 Need to know
Mar 13, 2000 (3:55 am)
Did you start to have problems soon after having your anti-freeze changed? Also, did the same mechanic perform all of the repairs on you van?
Chrysler stopped using the 2.5L engine in minivans in 1995. Chrysler minivans switched to the 2.4L in 1996 which is based on the 2.0L. I've heard of some head gasket problems earlier on, but nothing lately out of the ordinary.
#163 of 4276 tranny issues
Mar 15, 2000 (6:03 pm)
Are the tranny issues related to van size - long vs short wheel base, or is it to engine size - 3.0, 3,3 & 3.8. Do I understand it correct that the 2.4L w/3 speed tranny has no problems-other than it can't get out of its own way??
#164 of 4276 General Info
Mar 17, 2000 (6:45 pm)
I noticed a lot of info posted on the older Caravans. I have an 85 model with 195,000 miles on it. Runs great. Only problem I've ever had was the carb., replaced it once and the van runs better than it did. I'm in the process of replacing the struts and battery cables. I've found the key to keeping it going is (of course) changing the oil often, but I have also had all the belts, hoses, plugs, and plug wires changed twice since I bought it. Even if it didn't look like any of these needed changed. I also make sure the gas filter is changed once or twice a year. I put a container of gas treatment in every other gas fill up. My mechanic says it will probably last longer than any of the new ones.
I also have a 94 Caravan, with 64,000 miles. It seems to have developed a miss in the past couple of months. Anyone else having problems with that? The mechanic can't find any reason for the miss.
#165 of 4276 what exactly is the transmission problem?
Apr 04, 2000 (7:53 pm)
Has anyone ever discovered exactly what the cause of the transmission problems is?
Seems some aftermarket person/company would have a cure?
What fails inside the Chtco xmission and what causes the failure/
Parts too small?
Apr 04, 2000 (11:34 pm)
My Voyager transmission failed twice in two different modes. Being stuck in second gear evidenced the first failure (42K miles). The transmission was replaced under warranty. I don't know the actual failure mode inside the transmission. My guess would be that a check ball was stuck in the hydraulic control unit. A Chrysler dealer had serviced the transmission at 31K miles.
The second time it failed (92K miles), I would put the transmission in gear and nothing would happen. When I increased the engine RPM, the transmission would engage with a clunk and the van would jump. Slipping clutch packs would most likely cause this.
There is a belief that the wrong type of transmission fluid could have caused both of these failures. An excellent reference for transmission fluid that also lends credence to this belief is:
At this site, Ford and GM ATF's are mentioned, the recommended ATF for Chrysler is conspicuously missing.
Apr 04, 2000 (11:51 pm)
Since your first transmission was serviced at the Chrysler dealer at 31,000 miles, are you saying that both the factory and the dealer may have used the wrong transmission fluid and that may be why it failed?? Also did the dealer continue to use the wrong transmission fluid in the second transmission, and that is why it failed?
I guess it could be argued that the special transmission fluid that Chrysler developed for the 4 speed automatic (after it had major reliability problems using dextron for which it was originally designed) may still not be the "right" transmission fluid. I am more inclined to believe that it was a poorly designed transmission from day one and still has reliability problems 10 years latter. This belief is shared by most transmission repair specialists - - just ask a few.