Last post on Oct 23, 2006 at 1:11 AM
You are in the Chrysler/Plymouth Voyager, Dodge Caravan
What is this discussion about?
Dodge Caravan, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Voyager, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Town and Country, Van
#1937 of 4276 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan transmission
Aug 08, 2003 (1:21 pm)
My 2003 Dodge Grand Cravan Sport is under a year old and has less than 21,000 miles on it (In California it is typical to commute 60 miles per day) and has already had the front carpet repeatedly repaired (because it pulls out from the corners). The latest repair left a big 'ol ugly emergency brake exposed and the dealer considers it fixed.
The recall work has been done and just yesterday I picked it up from the dealer who had kept it for a week to repair the transmission pump. The problem arose the week before - the van would not consistently go into gear.
Oh, and have you all received your letter in the mail to let you know the A/C warranty has been extended to 70,000 miles because it is likely to break?
No, I'm not happy. I didn't pay big bucks (well it is big bucks to me - I'm in California) to deal with these kind of problems. I might expect it with a used car, but not a new one.
Aug 08, 2003 (1:42 pm)
doesn't repair you vehicle to you satisfaction just go over his head and talk directly to Chrysler HQ. Your carpet repair should look like one of the new van on their lot, don't settle for anything less.
You mentioned the extension of the A/C warranty. Honda just extended the warranty on their Ody transmission because they are likely to break and the people who own Hondas are happy about this. At least Chrysler is stepping up to the plate and providing a longer warranty.
#1939 of 4276 belt problems
Aug 09, 2003 (5:36 am)
We bought a 99 Dodge Caravan 14 months ago. The only problem we have had is with belts. The serpentine belt has been replaced three times and needs to be replaced again. It seems to get chipped off at the left edge first. Once, when we were on the way to the garage to have the belt replaced, the whole belt broke and we had to be towed. There is a definite "flapping" noise when this occurs. The last time, we had the tension pulleys replaced. There seems to be a direct correlation with wet weather and this problem. The belt often "chirps" when the van is idling in damp weather conditions.
#1940 of 4276 Re; airbag light 2002 Caravan
Aug 09, 2003 (3:45 pm)
Just to follow up on my last post. It turned out to be the clock spring. There is no re-call for the 2002 but ours did go.
There is however a recall on the power steering hoses.
Had the van in today and they did both and reset the computer. Gave us a Ram tuck 4x4 to drive for the day since we were from out of town.
Service has been great.
#1941 of 4276 Re:Belt problems
Aug 09, 2003 (9:13 pm)
There is a mechanical problem that's eating the belts: the belts themselves are not the problem. Either there is something snagging the belt and tearing it as it turns or one of the accessories is out of line. All accessory pulleys must be on the same plane; I would visually check the position of all the pulleys and then physically check each by hand looking for excessive play in one of the bearings. Also check the mounting bolts on each accessory to make sure they are all truly tight and torqued sufficiently. Look carefully on the side of the motor for loose covers or bolts that could snag the belt. Let your mechanic know you're not going to keep throwing new belts at it. Good luck.
#1942 of 4276 serpentine belt susanw3
Aug 10, 2003 (1:27 pm)
If your belt keeps on slipping (chirping) and comes off when it is raining check to see if you have the black plastic sheild installed on the bottom of your van to protect the bottom of the belt from puddles or rain. if it is missing or deformed this could be the source of your problems.
#1943 of 4276 re:serpentine belt
Aug 10, 2003 (2:19 pm)
We appreciate the feedback. We've been given two areas to check. When the second belt became frayed on the edge after only a few months, our mechanic assumed that the belt was defective. That one was replaced by the parts company that sold the belt to my mechanic and installed free of charge. (We use an mechanic who operates his own auto repair service.) Then in March, after driving over about 10 miles of slushy roads, that belt came off. We had to have the van towed to the garage. The mechanic replaced the tension pulley and inspected all parts. On Friday, road conditions were very poor with a lot of water, and the belt had chunks out of it on one side. Each time there is a sloshing sound prior to the flapping noise. We would like to thank people who have seen our message and taken time to post suggestions. We'll inspect all the parts and look at the splash guard. My husband will stay with the mechanic as he replaces the belt and inspects the guard. We did speak to the mechanic on the phone about the possibility of the guard problem. He had heard that some people purchase longer guards from the Chrysler company. We'll call the on Monday. Has anyone heard of these longer guards? The van is going to the garage tomorrow.
Aug 10, 2003 (2:35 pm)
Maybe try a different dealership. I have had problems with some. Depending where you live, ask around for people who have had positive experiences. I can recommend one if you are near Edmonton Alberta.
#1945 of 4276 SHOULD I BUY A DODGE MINIVAN?
Aug 11, 2003 (6:10 pm)
I am in the market for a minivan. I am condsidering a new or late model dodge because they are less costly compared to the the other brands. The problem is they seem like they are really just pieces of lemon-junk from the start judging from reading the complaints on this discussion. I see that dodge has many transmission problems coupled with a lot of annoying mechanical problems!
What do you think, should I even condsider this vehicle or buy a used forenign van? Money is tight with a baby!
Aug 12, 2003 (4:00 am)
We just bought a 2002 Grand Caravan Sport. It had 16000 miles and cost $16598. Took it on a 1275 mile road trip last month and it performed well.
I liked the Caravan's strong points (size, ride, low noise level, integrated child seats and various features) over the competition and the competition's strong points (magic seat and Japanese reliability) wasn't as important to us. I also liked the relative value with the quick depreciation being taking by the first owner instead of the relatively high resale prices of similar imports.
The van has the 3/36 warranty (later 2002s would have 7/70 powertrain) and, after that, I have a good mechanic who's been working on my other cars for over ten years. I figure that I can pay for a lot of maintainance for the difference between a 2002 DGC and a 2002 Sienna or Honda.
My mechanic's transmission guy says that the Dodge's transmission has been significantly improved and that the problem that cause so many failures was fixed. He talked for a while about the specifics but I don't remember all of the details. I picked the Sport trim line as it had the featuers I wanted without the features which are more likely to have failures such as the power doors and tailgate.
The 3.3L engine is good though you do sometimes wish for a bit more oomph when entering the expressway. Fuel economy for the 1275 mile trip was 24.0 mpg with speed limits of 65 or 70 for most of the trip. Given the option of the 3.8L I'd stick with the 3.3L though I'm sure some would appreciate the extra power.
Definitely get one with the rear air conditioning. It does a great job at cooling the van down on a hot and humid day.
The biggest reason I can see to not get the Caravan is if you'd frequently use the Honda's Magic Seat feature. We don't so it wasn't a negative for us. The 2002 Sienna would have been our second choice but it was a good bit more expensive, smaller, and didn't have the integrated child seats and two sets of 3-point LATCH anchors in the second row (which are a bit plus for the DGC for us). The redesigned 2004 Seinna looks very nice but we wanted to buy used, not new.
We bought from Carmax. Found the van on the web site in Greensboro, NC and had them transfer it to Nashville. Their no haggle price was a couple hundred under the TMV price so that was fine. Might have gotten it a bit cheaper from a private owner or haggled down a dealer but the convenience of searching through a dozens of vans on the web site let me find exactly what I wanted instead of just getting something close. CarFAX was clean, no evidence of rental or lease registration though I've had program cars before without any problems.