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
#52 of 4276 '96 Grand Caravan SE problems
Dec 27, 1999 (5:40 pm)
My wife and I have leased a 1996 Grand Caravan SE and are in process of turning it in (end of lease) and acquiring a new van (make uncertain at this time). The problems we've had with this van, however, discourage me from getting into another Dodge van any time soon, but maybe (when compared to other vans) this isn't so bad. The problems we've had are:
Battery went bad inside of two years.
Passenger-side sliding door rollers - replaced twice, third set is failing (door slides slow and requires effort to close).
Windshield wipers - turn on for no reason, wipe back and forth a few times and then stop, usually not in proper stop location. Also, when we turn the wipers to the intermittent setting, the wipers are on full (as though there is no intermittent capability). When wipers are turned off they stop immediately, regardless of where on windshield the blades are (they just stop!). Takes several clicks of wiper control to get wiper blades to normal stopped location (at base of windshield).
Rear brakes - tinker toy quality. Several visits to brake shop, drums turned, drums replaced, master cylinders replaced, shoes replaced. Still dissatisfied with brakes.
Air-conditioner - this one hurt the wallet. Compressor failed in August of '98. New compressor $800.00
Infinity ten speaker stereo (cassette w/o CD) - replaced once. Unit currently in van is bad (volume controls don't work a majority of the time. Turn up volume, gets quieter or no effect. turn down volume, sometimes no effect have to turn knob 10, 20 times to affect volume).
Serpentine belt idler tension pulley - the shaft that holds the tension pulley to the engine block broke completely off, allowing the tension pulley to fall off and get entangled in serpentine belt which was in process of coming off due to broken tension pulley. Dashboard lights lit up like a space shuttle launch gone bad. Immediate and complete loss of steering (had my wife been driving she would have crashed!). It was all I could do to manhandle the steering wheel and get us off the highway and out of traffic. Vehicle towed to Dodge dealer and repaired. Called Chrysler customer hot-line and they took care of bill for this, but still had the aggravation of another mechanical problem on this vehicle.
Cruise control - van accelerates on its own. I haven't taken vehicle in for this yet.
Power door locks - driver door lock does not always work when locking doors. It sounds as though mechanism slips. You can hear motor for door lock spin, but lock does not go up or down. On several occasions we've had to use key and manually lock driver door.
Dec 28, 1999 (3:14 am)
Sorry to hear your discouraging problems. You might want to get a look at TSBs on your vehicle. Topic 59 post 184 says there is a TSB on the wipers repaired by a new multifunction switch. Steering problem would be worth reporting to the NHTSA. www.nhtsa.dot.gov
Dec 30, 1999 (12:13 am)
Thanks for your information! There seemed lots of problems with Dodge Caravan posted from this site, especially engine and transmission. And the factory only offers 3 years warranty on it. I'm wondering if I need to have any protection solutions ahead. If I'm not wrong, what you suggested is forget about the extended warrantee, do maintainance work on Caravan regularly. If it is really broken, it just my bad luck and repair it. Is that correct? Thanks again!
#55 of 4276 xingze cai
Dec 30, 1999 (5:20 am)
First, you must research reliability from other than case reports on Edmunds such as www.intellichoice.com, Consumer Reports April Auto issue and Carpoint.com. I think intellichoice shows $1000 average repair cost or less for 5 year/70,000 miles on a '98 Caravan. I'll bet that a warranty would only cover a portion of these repair costs and cost considerably more. The Chrysler V-6 engines have a very good reputation. The 4 speed transmission was poor in '89 and '90 with somewhat slow but steady improvement. I have had a '95 for 1 year and am careful about the transmission. It must be serviced every 15000 miles. Care to use the correct fluid is important. I've added a transmission cooler ($32 for cooler + install kit at Auto Zone). I keep it out of overdrive when below 45 mph city driving. My repair expenses for 10,000 mi = $65 for a battery. If I use $1000 for 70000 mi, my budget should be .14 per mile, or $140 for 10000. I'm $75 to the good. Does a warranty cover a worn out battery - I bet not. I hope this helps.
#56 of 4276 Accident Defects
Dec 30, 1999 (2:36 pm)
My sister-in-law was in an auto accident on 12/23/99 in her '94 Dodge Caravan. She was in a line of traffic waiting to enter a mall when she was hit from behind and pushed into the vehicle in front of her. The rear hatch popped open (my nephew was sitting in the rear - 5 yrs. old), the air bags never deployed (but had on the car in front of her and behind her) and her seat snapped causing her to be in a laying position when she came to rest (which put her in premature labor at seven months!) Do you know of anyone else who may have had any of these problems or any recalls which she wasn't aware of to fix these problems?
Dec 30, 1999 (11:38 pm)
Royallen, too bad you have not been here giving that advice for the past 10 years! If all Chrysler owners followed your habits, no one would perceive any problems at all with their transmissions. As a matter of fact, the population at large would probably double the life expectancy of most transmissions with such good habits. Good work! Are you a mechanic?
Inswiz, recall or no recall, I don't think I know a human being who would not sue Chrysler if that accident happened as you say!
Community Leader/Vans Conference
Dec 31, 1999 (5:01 pm)
I suspect you're probably correct. The filters are not like oil filters, they do a long duty. The fluid does get worn out quickly, you're right, especially from heat. Good idea to install a drain plug. Can you drill this with the tranny on the car? Are you going to pull the pan yourself?
Community Leader/Vans Conference
Jan 01, 2000 (1:22 am)
I hope to drill it on the vehicle. I have 'til next summer before it is due and I'll need a plan to prevent letting the bit penetrate too deep like grind off part of a nail head and tape it to the bit so only 1/4 " is in front to work. I think I'll put something like clay in the bit groves to limit leaking as the hole forms and have a big rag and big pan to help. I'll also have an hour or two to let it drain if I need to stop before a complete hole is made. Once it drains, it should be easy to get the hole done, tap it for a 1/4 x 28 plug and use an "O" ring to seal it.
#60 of 4276 Royallen
Jan 01, 2000 (2:57 am)
I see the aspect of placing a drain plug into your transmission but I wonder how thick the steel really is? Let's say the pan is 1/16" or .0625" thick then you would only have 1.75 of thread lead to hold the plug. I would just check the thickness of the pan before going through w/ your idea. According to Unified Standards (Machinist Handbook 24th Edition) there is a 1/4-32 UNEF that would give you 2 threads per inch if they make a plug w/ that fine of a thread even 40, 48 & 56. I was a machinist for ten years in the Navy & dealt w/ many alterations on engines both gasoline & turbine. I even dealt w/ low pressure & have seen plugs blow. I wonder if there is any pressure build up in the auto transmission? I would just hate for something to happen & your on the side of the road. My 2cents.
Jan 04, 2000 (12:43 am)
Thank you for the points you made. I'll have to check out the pressure question as I assumed the dipstick tube was essentially a vent, but that could be wrong. The 32 pitch or higher thread is also an excellent idea.