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
#3218 of 4276 1999 Dodge Caravan HELP
Sep 04, 2005 (7:41 am)
I have a 1999 Dodge Caravan and yesterday while driving the oil light came on and I lost all steering and the speedometer went down to zero. I coasted to the side of the rode and after letting it sit for a couple of minutes was able to restart the car and drive for a few miles before the oil light came on again and the car did the same thing. The oil has been recentley changes and the radio lights and all electrical stuff stills works while this happens PLease help before I take it to the mechanic????
#3219 of 4276 Re: No odometer, overhead or starting (now) [seanwood]
Sep 05, 2005 (2:21 pm)
Sounds like two problems at once. If this is a high mileage '97, I'd strongly suspect the Camshaft Position Sensors for causing the engine dying problem. The goofy light problem could be the Central Timer Module. Both are somewhat common problems on the '97-'99 models.
Of course, there could be a bad connection somewhere, too. A punky ASD Relay, Speed or Distance Sensor, or bad spark plugs, plug wires and ignition components can cause problems as well.
#3220 of 4276 Why you shouldn't Buy A Dodge / Chrysler Voyager
Sep 08, 2005 (8:10 am)
I have posted several times on this board since purchasing my 2001 Voyager and the fact is that I wish I found this board before I purchased the vehicle. I have never before in my life seen a vehicle with so many problems. I have owned the vehicle for a total of 4 months now and when I first purchased it, the vehicle had just about 50,000 miles on it. I have found that most vehicles with only 50,000 miles on it will still last a good 50,000 miles before any major repairs are needed. Well, in the last four months here are all the repairs I have done and their cost.
1. Brakes and rotors - Cost $400 (I expect to repair brakes about once a year or so, this repair I thought was no big deal. However, the brakes are already wearing and will need replaced again within a few months. After reading comments on this board, I see that this is common with Chrysler minivans, the brakes will only last 6 months to one year.)
2. Battery Cost $75
3. Brake Light Switch Cost $20 ( would have cost $200, but I installed it myself. According to most mechanics I spoke with, (including the dealership) this is an item you should never have to replace and certainly not on a vehicle that only has 50,000 miles on it.)
4. Air Conditioner compressor pump Cost $800 (the part alone can only be purchased through the dealer and costs $500. According to a popular car magazine all Dodge / Chrysler minivans have this problem. Apparently the compressors just do not last and need replacing about every 2 years)
5. Various bearings, belts, and filters replaced Cost $200
6. Check engine light needed repair because it kept coming on for no reason Cost $65 to reset it.
And to top it off, now the Master Brake Cylinder needs replacing. Those are just the major problems we have experienced. There are also several other little problems we have encountered, for instance the plastic paneling over the sliding doors keeps falling off. Before we purchased the vehicle we had it checked by a mechanic and we did the carfaqs check on it. Of course we found no faults or red flags so we went ahead and purchased the vehicle. We thought we would be purchasing a nice reliable vehicle that would last for years. We also researched it online and couldn't find any major recalls or any major problems. However, shortly after we purchased the vehicle and we encountered the brake light switch problem is when we found this board. Like I said I wish I found this board beforehand. In the past 4 months it has averaged out that we are spending $400 a month in repairs. I believe that this vehicle has many, many faults that outweigh it's advantages. And according to anyone I have talked to and according to all the posts on this board, I believe that these vehicles are poorly made. Also, talking with various mechanics while my vehicle has been in the shop being repaired, most have said it is common knowledge in auto shops that Dodge and Chrysler minivans have many faults. Most mechanics say their transmissions are also faulty and go out too soon. Thankfully we have a warranty on the engine and transmission, so if they go out they should be covered. But, I tell you from my experience with this vehicle, I would never buy another Dodge or Chrysler vehicle and especially not a Voyager. I would not reccomend that anyone purchase a Voyager or any other Dodge/Chrysler minivan. I would strongly suggest you take a hard look at all other minivans and options on the market.
#3221 of 4276 Re: Why you shouldn't Buy A Dodge / Chrysler Voyager [johnbender]
Sep 08, 2005 (9:14 am)
While it is certainly unfortunate that you've had so many problems with your (second hand?) Voyager, your rant is both unwarranted and filled with personal opinion that bear little resemblance to the facts regarding the reliability of DC minivans.
My wife and I own two GCs, and we know many other folks who own any number of flavors of DC minivans. As a rule these vans have been nothing short of stellar as far as reliability. Regarding your various complaints:
1) Brakes and rotors, the worst mileage we've gotten from a set was a little over 30,000 miles (lots of driving in and around NYC), and our 2003 had over 45,000 miles (with an easy 5,000 left on the pads) when I did the brakes on both of them earlier this summer. Regarding the cost numbers you posted, I'm at a loss as to explain them because I was able to do the front brakes on both of our vans for less than $150 combined (new rotors and pads for both). As for your comments about brakes lasting only 6 months to a year, yeah, I suppose that could be true if you were driving at the rate of 5,000 miles per month.
2) The battery. Geez, you've never had to replace the battery on a car before? I'm thinking that four years on an OEM battery is pretty damn good, regardless of what manufacturer built the car.
3) Brake light switch. It's a fact of life, switches fail. Both of ours are original, however, if either fail I certainly wouldn't use it as an indictment against the vehicle or the company. It failed, you fixed it, move on.
4) A/C compressor. Both of our vans have the original A/C compressor, one is over seven years old and has nearly 100,000 miles on it, the other is over two years old and has nearly 50,000 miles on it. So much for only lasting two years.
5) Four years on the life of belts and bearings? I'm not hearing anything earth shattering here either.
6) With the advent of the ubiquitous OBD-II (On Board Diagnostics), all cars from every manufacturer occasionally get the "Check Engine Light". Reasons for this are quite numerous with the most common being a loose gas cap (which by the way is self-correcting once the cap has been retightened and driven for a tank of gas or so).
7) Master brake cylinder. The fact is that brake fluid absorbs water, water that can eat away at brake components. That's why many manufacturers recommend that you fully flush your entire braking system every other year. My bet is that your van didn't have that service done.
8) Your "poorly made" comment is pretty funny. On the whole, my bet is that the DC vans are the best made in the world, Honda and Toyota not withstanding. In our neighborhood the owners of the DC vans have a MUCH higher level of satisfaction than the Odyssey owners.
9) Your comments about mechanics making bad comments about these vans is also seeming to be a little bit of an exaggeration. I'm a former mechanic and as such, I usually chat it up with those who I hire to perform work on my cars, and so far at lease, I've never heard anyone mention anything bad about the DC vans except for the transmissions. Which brings me to your next point...
10) ...the transmissions. These transmissions require proper care and feeding. Going the cheap route and using anybody except the dealer for transmission service is roughly akin to playing Russian Transmission Roulette. Entirely too many non-dealership service based personnel wrongly believe in the concept of "universal filters" and "universal fluids" or "compatible fluids". Wrong! Use the dealership for transmission service or be prepared to replace your transmission.
11) Recommending the DC minivans to others. Our 1998 will cross the 100,000 mile threshold in the next month or two. Other than routine maintenance I've spent considerably less than $100 for unscheduled repairs, ditto our 2003. The sum and total of said repairs are as follows:
a) Replace the battery on the 1998 at about 45,000 miles. Got a Sears DieHard Gold.
b) Replace the battery on the 2003 at about 45,000 miles. Got a Sears DieHard Gold.
c) Replace the drivers' side door light switch at about 88,000 miles.
That's it. Guess what? I have no problem in recommending DC vans to any and all who ask.
#3222 of 4276 I second Shipo's comments.
Sep 08, 2005 (10:53 am)
MY van is a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport, now with 81000 miles. It has been more reliable than my other much more expensive cars from "premium" brands. It is still my vehicle of choice for long journeys.
The only repairs covered under warranty were the battery vacuum tray and the EGR valve. Otherwise, I have routinely maintained it, perhaps fairly meticulously, and it has rewarded my family with cheap, reliable and comfortable transportation, exactly what is was designed to do.
#3223 of 4276 Re: Why you shouldn't Buy A Dodge / Chrysler Voyager [shipo]
Sep 08, 2005 (11:36 am)
I third Shipo's comments. We have a 01 DGC EX with over 64K that we bought used back in September 2003. The only none maintenance problems we had was to replace both front power window motor regulators right after purchase, (Covered under warranty) and replace the gas cap in 2004.
Although, unfortunate that you have had so many problems with your used 01 Plymouth Voyager, you did buy it used. Do you know how the previous owner/s took care of it? How about their driving habits? All this should be taken into account when you purchase a used vechicle. (Not to mention why they traded it in.)
Regarding what you said about having to replace the battery. (I'm assuming this was the original battery being replaced). It was about time for it to be replaced. Most batteries need replacement every 4 yrs. (Depending on where you live weather wise). We replaced our battery in our 01 DGC just mid 2004 when in for a routine oil change.
I'm not sure on our van when the brake pads were replaced before we bought it. But, we have not had to replace our pads yet and still have around 50 % pad life left. (We have put on over 27K on our van since ownership).
Our trans. was serviced at 34K and 56K and no problems.
Our air conditioning works well when over 90 degrees outside, keeping me and my family cool. You might want to check with your Daimlerchrysler dealer about this, but I was told by our dealer that we have a 75K extended warranty on the air conditioning compressor. (Although for us it doesn't matter since we have a bumper to bumper warranty to 75K or May 2007).
I am very pleased with our van. It has been very reliable and fun to drive. I make sure that all scheduled maintenance is done, rather by me doing it or our dealer. Good luck with your van.
#3224 of 4276 Re: Why you shouldn't Buy A Dodge / Chrysler Voyager [shipo]
Sep 08, 2005 (12:02 pm)
Certainly you are entitled to your opionon as am I. All I am doing is letting the consumers know the facts before buying. Here's the link to the Consumer Automotive guide regarding Voyagers. It lists the benefits as well as the known problems. http://auto.consumerguide.com/Auto/Used/reviews/full/index.cfm/id/2489/act/usedcarreviewsh- owall/
If you check out the problems section you will notice they mention the brakes and air conditoner compressor as both being known problems. If your Caravan is running great then I am happy you have a good running vehicle. Two other people I know both have Caravans as well and both have encountered similar problems with air conditionoing compressors, transmission, and brakes. Caravans do seem more reliable then Voyagers though. Like I said it's no big deal to replace batteries, brakes, tires, etc due to normal maintenace. However, at 50,000 all mechanics I have spoken to have said the same thing about the brake light switch, the a/c compressor, and the master cylinder...those should all last much longer then they have. And as far as the brakes wearing quickly, check out previous posts on this same forum and you will notice a lot of the same complaints. As far as mechanics go, yes they all have their own opinons about which vehicles are better as well, but when I have 3 different mechanics from 3 different places all say the same thing, then I listen to what they have to say. Even the mechanic at the dealership said the brake light switch should never have gone out and he admitted the air conditioner compressors do not last as long as they do on other vehicles. Most of our work and parts we have had done through the dealership except for the brake light switch which I installed myself and the brakes which were done by a local shop. Our brakes are still under warranty so we will have them replaced free of charge, but we have only driven about 3,000 miles on them so far. The brake pads came directly from the dealership, so they are not an inferior product. The delearship wanted to charge $200 to install the brake light switch, which took all of 15 minutes to do. Like I said though, I am glad you have had nothing but reliable transportation from your vehicle. But in my opinon and I have owned many, many vehicles over the years, and I have never seen a vehicle with only 50,000 miles on it have so many problems. Compared to someone I know who owns an Oddesy, our problems are overwhelming. He has over 100,000 miles on the Oddesy and he has never had the check engine light come on, he never had to replace a bad a/c compressor, brake light switch, or any of the other stuff. He even still has the original stock battery in the vehicle. The only maintence he has had to do is tires, brakes, and oil changes. Whereas all the folks I know who have Caravans and Voyagers have had a lot more time in the shop, including major repairs such as transmission and engine problems. The problems I had listed are just the major repairs we have done in 4 months. We have also done many minor repairs to the interior and exterior that were due to faulty equiptment. For instance the molding over the doors kept falling off and needed latches to be replaced on them, the plastic guard on the windshield wipers also keep coming off and needed to be replaced, a platic insert near the hood needed to be repaired etc. All those things added up together just let me know that the vehicle is poory made...in my opinon. Our vehicle was inspected prior to us buying it and has never been in an accident and according to carfaqs only had one previous owner. So when we purchased it we thought it would be buying a nice reliable vehicle. So far it has been nothing more then a waste of time and money.
#3225 of 4276 Re: Why you shouldn't Buy A Dodge / Chrysler Voyager [johnbender]
Sep 08, 2005 (12:38 pm)
"All I am doing is letting the consumers know the facts before buying."
Uh-huh, well right, wrong or misguided, your so called "facts" are anecdotal and backed up by your biased anger. As such, they should be taken with a very large grain of salt.
Specific to your post, you said, "If you check out the problems section you will notice they mention the brakes and air conditoner compressor as both being known problems."
Regarding the A/C: There was a reference to the A/C compressor failing if folks didn't use the rear controls. Weird, but it is what it is. Iíve never known an owner of a DC minivan that needed to replace the compressor. Did they always use the rear controls? I have no idea.
Regarding the brakes: Sorry, but I read the entire page you provided a link to and there wasn't one single reference to any known problems with the brakes. I've seen a number of posts here recently regarding the brakes, however, as far as I can tell they are from folks who were incorrectly equating brakes that generate lots of dust with low quality brake pads, which if you are at all automotively aware you know is simply not the case. The fact is that every German built car sold here in the United States (and many others as well) has a difficult time driving 200 miles without suffering from noticeable brake dust build up. Saying that dust producing brake pads are of low quality is pretty silly, it is like saying that the very dusty brake pads that came on my 530i were cheap. Yeah, they were so cheap that when a motorcyclist pulled out directly in front of me on the Autobahn doing about 50 mph while I was doing more like 130, said motorcyclist lived to tell the tale, barely (like by one foot). The simple truth of the matter is that the higher the performance of the brake pad, the greater the amount of brake dust generated.
All in all, I think that you are understandably angry about your purchase of a used (and probably poorly maintained and maybe even abused) vehicle and instead dealing with the issues that are inevitably going to pop up on such a vehicle, you are trying to pass the blame. The real fact of the matter is that DC minivans are considered to be some of the most reliable minivans on the market and most folks are able to easily drive them to well over 100,000 miles with just basic maintenance.
Sep 08, 2005 (12:50 pm)
Masterpaul, I am glad to hear you have the full bumper to bumper warranty. Naturally when you buy a used vehicle the thought always goes through your mind that you may have purchased a lemon, but when I heard other folks with the same complaints then it makes me think that isn't the case. For instance recently I met somebody who owns a 2002 Voyager. They bought the vehicle new in 2002 and it has only about 45,000 miles on it, but when we got to talking it turns out they had quite a few of the same problems we had. Their a/c compressor needed to be replaced. Thier check engine light also came on for no reason and needed to be reset and they too had problems with their Master Brake Cylinder. Most of their problems began occurring when the vehicle hit 40,000. They also had a few more problems that I haven't encountered yet, but needless to say they fell the same way I do about the Voyagers. They don't plan on purchasing another one anytime soon.
But, I am glad to hear that you haven't had any of those problems, and I hope you never do. Luckily you have a full warranty so you should be alright. By the way, according to the delearship out here the a/c compressor isn't covered in most warranties and they only give you a one year 15,000 mile warranty on a new one. One of the reasons we bought our vehicle from the delearship in the first place was because it does have a warranty as well. But wouldn't you it, all the stuff that has gone wrong so far has not been covered by the warranty.
#3227 of 4276 Re: [johnbender]
Sep 08, 2005 (1:56 pm)
You said that you took the van to a mechanic to have it inspected before you purchased it. Didn't this mechanic know what the other mechanics knew about this type of van and give you a heads-up warning about what problems you might be facing?