Last post on Jun 02, 2013 at 12:09 PM
You are in the Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan
What is this discussion about?
Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Grand Voyager, Dodge Grand Caravan, Transmission, Van
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#1075 of 2070 Re: Just bought a 2003 T&C..how do I keep it running right? [masterpaul1]
Apr 27, 2006 (9:24 am)
While I am sure most people will agree that American car products fail miserably in quality when compared to Toyota or Honda, The Chrysler / Plymouth versions of the minivan are among the best American products I have owned. While there are some design issues and it is difficult to repair/replace certain items, (ie. the air filter), it is a decent vehicle in general. What I have to say about Dealer service is quite a different story.
I will never again buy a new car from a dealer or get service from a dealer, thanks to Gurnee Dodge, (in Northern Illinois). I must also thank Rockenbach Chevrolet in Grayslake Illinois for their part in my decision.
I have bought both new and used vehicles. I almost always feel cheated when buying a new vehicle for various reasons, but for the sake of keeping it short, most people would agree with me that dealers like to use slight of hand and are not usually helping the customer. Only one dealer was less evil and actually seemed somewhat helpful, Motorwerks of Barrington (Illinois). Their policies are different and they only carry Honda plus several very high end cars. Their service was good, (under warranty).
I will start with Rockenbach:
I purchased my Plymouth Grand Voyager from them in 1998 with 28,000 miles and 1 year old. They lied about it having been in an accident which I discovered 3 years later. They also cheated me on the actual price paid for a 3 year extended maintenance contract by several thousand dollars. My wife bought an identical vehicle from a private party. We had all our service done at Rockenbach. I realized the dealer contaminated my brake fluid then tried to charge me to replace the master cylinder, (around $700). They figured that since it had been just under 6,000 miles since my last service that the people that changed my oil could be blamed for contaminating the brake fluid. Lubpros informed me that I hadn't been in for an oil change in 6,000 miles, (I actually missed my appointment). It turns out that Rockenbach serviced my brakes less than 6,000 miles prior and they were the last service personnel to touch my vehicle.
I brought my vehicle to Gurnee Dodge, where they confirmed the contamination, however only charged me $375 for the same part replacement.
Now on to Gurnee Dodge:
Gurnee Dodge had been servicing my mini-van for some time. They got it right, usually but charged a lot. I brought both vans in for a recall on the key switch, as my wife's van had problems related to the recall. Her van was fixed and mine, (that was working fine) now failed. I had to rent a car at my cost while they repaired my vehicle again.
Last summer my both my wifes and my air conditioning went out at the same time. It had to do with the change in seasons, swelling and shrinking of O-rings and the leakage of coolant. I was familiar with this phenomenon and figured I would recharge both vehicles.
My van recharged fine and still works fine almost a year later. My wifes van did not work after the recharge and I much later learned that it was because she had a front and rear system with 2 evaporators. This required a more professional recharge to even work right. Not knowing this, dressed in a suit (after interviewing), I brought her van into the Gurnee Dodge dealer. I figured that for $133 it would be done right the first time and it was less expensive than Pep-Boys for the recharge. They told me at the dealer that the $133 would be the charge even if they could not fix it, but it would count toward the labor if I had any problems fixed. Knowing that it was just a seasonal leak, I decided to continue with the recharge. The service manager said for $133, they would recharge my system with dye and perform a thorough inspection for leaks. 10 minutes after being seated in the waiting area, they drove my wifes van into the service area. After another 10 minutes only, the manager came to me and stated that my van had a defective evaporator which needed replacing for $1,300. I asked if there were any leaks in the system and the manager said there were no leaks at all, just an evaporator that would not work at all. Since the van was over 87,000 miles, I decided to hold off on the repair, loosing the $133. After refusing service, I realized the dealer stated on the receipt that the evaporator needed replacing because it leaked which is not what he had told me. When I got home, I called a mechanic and asked about the cost of replacing the evaporator. He told me that sometimes a valve on the evaporator sticks and the dealer will not easily repair it, but replace the whole unit. Matt took me immediately and inspected my evaporator for free. He told me the valve was not stuck. He then looked at the place where coolant is added and questioned me about the tests at the dealer. Matt found absolutely no evidence that dye was used to test my system and thought the story of the dealer was a little strange. Matt said he thought there was nothing wrong with the system and would recharge it. If it did not work he would eat the cost, however if it worked, I would pay $166. Matt charged the system and it worked very well the first time. To prove his theory about the dye and check for leaks, he evacuated the system and recharged it again with dye. I then saw new evidence of the dye and we found no leaks. I brought the vehicle back to Matts a week later and there were still no leaks. This same mini-vans air conditioning still works well a year later.
I contacted a Vice President at the dealer and he had me speak with a Director of Service. The director brushed me off and offered me a $133 credit at their shop to make me feel better. I was upset in that I felt the dealer was trying to cheat me. After speaking with others, I figured out why they tried to cheat me. They saw me in a suit, their shop was empty and they had to pay several service people to work. Simply charge the unsuspecting for expensive service, only recharging the airconditioning and stay in business. Apparently this practice regularly occurs at dealers.
I contacted the better business bureau and filed a complaint. The dealer tried to explain the situation and state that there were and still are leaks in the evaporator because it leaked out. After explaining my seasonal expanding/shrinking o-ring theory, the dealer president stated I did not know what I was talking about. I offered proof of my theory and the dealer backed down. The president offered me a $166 refund, the amount I paid them and the difference in cost in going to the private shop. But they said they admit no wrongdoing in the whole matter.
Restating the obvious, a dealer is not sacred because they stand behind the Diamler Chrysler logo, nor does the manufacturer stand behind their dealers. A dealer is simply a franchise that sells and repairs merchandise under their own policy. Do yourself a favor and find a reputable private
#1076 of 2070 ATF "Mercon Mix" + transmission lockup
Apr 27, 2006 (2:47 pm)
I have been getting an education scanning this discussion. Could anyone clarify the AFT needed for a 99 Town and Country? Yesterday my Service Engine Soon light came on and it seemed like it wasn't shifting right.....the van has been in the shop all day. The ind. mechanic (seems like a good guy--always been straight with us) says he thinks it is an electrical component of the trans.... a computer sensor...that the trans is stuck in 2nd gear. Never had problems with the tranny; just had it in for a fuel filter problem, and had $700 worth of reg. maint. done. (New plugs, filters, ...and the kicker...trans flush and filter.) The mech says that he filled it with a "Mercon mix" and that should have no effect on this problem.
(I can't run out to the car to check the right fluid requirements, since it is at the shop). Any idea what the right fluid is, and what could I expect from putting the wrong fluid in? Thanks for the heads up...
#1078 of 2070 Trans fluid and filter
Apr 28, 2006 (4:28 pm)
According to the 5-star dealer I bought our '05 T&C from, they no longer do fluid replacements on tranny's. I was inquiring about fluid replacement vs pan drop, filter replacement and refill fluid. Was told the reason was that when doing fluid replacement you're draining out the old fluid and putting in the new fluid under pressure which can break loose particles inside the tranny and cause a failure.
I think this is hogwash but didn't tell him so. Anybody verify if this is truly a Chrysler directive?
Got filter & fluid replaced with ATF+4 according to receipt.
#1079 of 2070 Re: Trans fluid and filter [gregman]
Apr 29, 2006 (5:33 am)
I no longer get coupons in the mail from the dealer for the standard pan-drop-refill. They want you instead to get the flush which is twice as profitable for the dealer.
#1080 of 2070 Is my transmission going south?
Apr 30, 2006 (6:19 am)
I have a 2001 T&C EX. It has about 63K miles. Couple of weeks ago, after I back out of the garage, the transmission would not shift to "D"rive (it stayed in "R"everse). I had to turn off the engine and restart to get it working.
Now, whenever the transmission downshifts from 3rd to 2nd (I think), I feel a jerk on the car similar to if someone pops a clutch on a manual tranny. Otherwise, the transmission works fine.
Is this the beginning of the end from my transmission? Any help would be appreciated.
#1081 of 2070 Re: Is my transmission going south? [jc86]
Apr 30, 2006 (3:47 pm)
At 63,000 miles has the trans ever been serviced? If not, I would get the fluid and filter replaced. Make sure the fluid is ATF+4 ONLY!
#1082 of 2070 Re: Is my transmission going south? [97xpresso]
Apr 30, 2006 (6:50 pm)
The transmission was serviced twice at 30K and 60K miles, and it was done at a Chrysler dealer. Whether it was ATF+4 or not, I don't know.
#1083 of 2070 Re: Is my transmission going south? [jc86]
May 01, 2006 (6:44 pm)
The dealer would use the correct fluid. Sounds like a "bump shift" which I have read about in other forums. I don't think it's fatal, I tried a search for that term but cannot locate a fix for it.
#1084 of 2070 my transmission keeps leaking!! help
May 01, 2006 (10:03 pm)
i have changed all 3 seals and the same day it started leaking agian i have a 93 plymouth grand voyager 3.3. my dad has the same problem with his dodge caravan also and he re- build his transmission. the guy at the part store said something about a bushings but where is the bushings at? we cant find it.