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
#2135 of 4276 Considering 2003 Grand Caravan
Feb 07, 2004 (10:59 am)
Now that my wife's Subaru Legacy wagon is about to turn 10 years old, she is starting to drop "I want a minivan" hints. A new Sienna or Odessey is not financially possible at this time. However, a local dealer has been advertising pre-owned 2003 Grand Caravan Sports for $13K-$15K, with between 10K and 20K miles. The basic Sport model has all the features that we would need in a basic minivan.
Of the seven neighbors who have or have had late 90's vintage Dodge/Plymouth minivans, none have had any major problems other than a power steering pump failure that took out the steering rack. All have generally been happy with their vehicles.
Based on reviews I've read of the domestic minivans, the DC minivans tend to be higher rated than those from Ford and GM. What are the problem areas with the current generation of DC minivans? I know that earlier models had a higher than average rate of transmission problems. Have there been any transmission design changes in the latest generation? Granted, the 2003s have the 7/70 powertrain warranty, so that would be some help against future problems. Am I saving $8K-$10K now only to be nickel and dimed to death years down the road? Overall, what do people think?
Feb 07, 2004 (5:46 pm)
Go for the grand caravan. I have an '02 Sport and love it. My company has been using them for company vehicles for more than 10 years. In the early/mid 90's we had a lot of tranny troubles, but in the last 4-5 years or so, they have really improved these vans. We have been exclusively buying the Sport models, and have had no problems with any of our 2001-2002 models. I think the newest generation (2001-on)are a smart buy.
Feb 09, 2004 (11:46 am)
I second that jpelder. We have the EX and love it. It was bought used with only 37,020 miles to which we have over 42,400 miles now. We bought the bumper to bumper maximum care warranty to 70,000 miles or May 2007.
Sunburn make sure to read up and do research on all vans being considered before making your choice. Then go and test drive each of them. Make sure to buy the extended warranty no matter which van you purchase. It will come in very handy down the road. All vans of different makes and models have there problems to which you can read here on edmunds. I have not seen a lot of powertrain problems for Dodge/Chrysler Minivans. I do believe that the quality is much better than years before the 2001 redesign.
#2138 of 4276 Chrysler Mini-van Reliability
Feb 09, 2004 (4:36 pm)
After 2000, the electronic adaptive series of 4-speed FWD Chrysler transmissions received several major upgrades. The majority of problems on older versions were the solenoid packs and electrical wiring going to them. The solenoids were found to magnetize the solenoid plungers after some time in service rendering them irratic in operation. That's been fixed with a new design.
Since then transmission problems attributed to hard failures have dropped significantly. However, there still exists the problem of using Dexron-Mercon fluid in Chrysler transmissions, and this causes premature failure. After 2000, all Chrysler automatic transmissions require ATF+4.
My company has several thousand 2001s through 2003s in service (national fleet). Each year since 2000 they have been getting better. Most of our issues in the last few years with Caravans have been relatively minor. Some of the '01s had body hardware and electrical issues. The '02s and '03 have been very, very good. Nothing major at all. At this point they are so far much better than the Windstars and a whole light year ahead of Astro vans.
Are they perfect? No, but compared to the other domestics a very reliable product in the last few years.
#2139 of 4276 Loaded Voyager?
Feb 10, 2004 (9:28 am)
Can you buy a new Voyager with Town and Country features? Rear disc brakes, power seats, quad seating, upper console with mpg, compass, temp, etc..? I like the size of the Voyager but find them as stripped, entry level vehicles at dealers. Only alternative is the Mazda MVP.
Feb 10, 2004 (11:17 am)
If you can't find what you want at a Chrysler dealer, head for your local Dodge dealer. It sounds like you want a short wheel base version of Chrysler minivans well equipped. The Dodge dealers will have Caravans available pretty well loaded up which is short wheel base version (also available Grand Caravans, long wheelbase versions equivalent to Chrysler Town and Country). The Caravans are are identical to the Chrysler Voyagers just some of the exterior styling-mainly front grill/bumper is different and option packages available are different.
#2141 of 4276 Re loaded Voyager
Feb 10, 2004 (5:33 pm)
Chrysler sells a short-wheelbase Town & Country. The Caravan SXT is also pretty loaded and a great value--I see them advertised in my area below $17,500 sometimes (w/o ABS).
#2143 of 4276 Loaded Voyager
Feb 11, 2004 (8:00 am)
Shorter Town and Country vans do not have rear disc brakes, power seats, etc.. found in the LX and LXI. AT least none of the dealers I visited had them or indicated their availability. I currently have a '97 Grand Caravan SE and would like a shorter van.
Feb 11, 2004 (9:14 am)
Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I do not believe that you can get rear disc brakes on any short wheel base DC minivan. However, rear disc brakes are overhyped anyways as the vast vast majority of braking is done by the front brakes on almost all vehicles. This is why you will generally see that disc brakes on the rear of those vehicles that do have rear discs generally have non ventilated rotors, while the fronts are ventilated. The rears are not really doing much, no matter what style they are.
You can check right here at Edmunds new car section to see what options are available on the various DC Dodge or Chrysler short wheel base minivans.