Last post on Nov 07, 2013 at 3:04 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
Go to NHTSA to file a safety complaint.
Or call Monday-Friday (8 am to 8 pm ET) (888) 327-4236 TTY: (800)424-9153
#1559 of 2083 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan front end problem
Jan 04, 2008 (5:46 pm)
I own a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan with 223,000 miles and a 3.8 liter engine. While driving on the highway, I started to go down a steep hill and the steering wheel started to shake hard and irregular. I thought the wheel was falling off. The next day a Chrysler mechanic looked at it and said the wheels and all front end suspension components looked good and he could not duplicate the problem. I decided to drive the 90 miles home. 10 miles into it, the shaking started again. I noticed that it only does it when faster than ~30 mph and when decelerating. Applying brakes does not affect it. I drove it home. Can anyone tell me what this is? I am thinking differential pin after research but it sounds like that happens during acceleration and is more of a whine.
#1560 of 2083 Transmission Realibility
Jan 05, 2008 (1:10 pm)
I am considering purchasing a 1996 Caravan from the original owner. It has 123,000 miles on it and he has the paperwork that it has been faithfully maintained the entire time that he owned it, including tranny fluid changes. I am not a Mopar guy myself so I need some expert opinions on whether or not you think this tranny will last. I guess my gut feeling is that if the tranny made it this long with regular maintenance and no failures that it should keep going for quite a while or is this just wishful thinking?
#1561 of 2083 Re: Transmission Realibility [gegrunt]
Jan 05, 2008 (3:50 pm)
Which engine is in the Caravan? I would trust the 3.3 tranny combo more than the 3.8 tranny combo (personally). I've had both and I had NO problems what-so-ever with the 3.3 van, but the one with the 3.8 started having transmission problems at around 55-60K miles.
Looking at most complaints around here, I think, proves my experience to be more common than not. Plus just remember, any vehicle with 123K miles COULD experience a tranny problem, not just the Caravan/T&C models.
#1562 of 2083 Re: maintenance [blondin]
Jan 05, 2008 (7:22 pm)
I bought a 1997 GCaravan brand new and the engine snapped in half at 1,500 miles - then the trans went. Even new, Dodge just rebuilt the engine. After 8 months and hiring a lawyer, I obtained all my 8 months of payments back, minus small usage fee of the vehicle (that was in the shops for months) and bought another 1997 GCaravan - no problems except it ran a quart low of oil between oil changes (since the day I bought it - new). After 160,000 miles, I bought a 2003 GCaravan - total junk with parts going left and right. The transmission was rebuilt once and now needs it again. I haven't even paid the piece of junk off - two transmissions rebuilds, electric window motors, three power steering systems, constant rattles through-out because of the cheap interior parts, etc. I have had it with American made vehicles and am looking at Toyotas now. My advice, obtain a new vehicle under your state's lemon law and buy foreign!!!! (PS - my 2005 EC Silverado off the road truck was just as bad and I sold it last month)
#1563 of 2083 Re: 2001 Chrysler T & C - Transmission [jrakers007]
Jan 05, 2008 (7:41 pm)
I had the same problem!! The first time I had the transmission serviced on my 2003 Grand Caravan by the dealer (according to the Manufacturer's recommendation), I started smelling a burning smell - then my transmission started to jolt from 0 to first gear. This began at approximately 25,000 miles. Each time I took it to the dealer, they updated the transmission software and could never duplicate the problem. As I approached 60,000 miles, the problem got worse and did it each time I drove. With the warranty getting ready to expire, I left the car again with the dealer (more than a dozen times since this began) - again the dealer could not duplicate. I then drove with the mechanic and the car jolted 7 times! Thus, they rebuilt the transmission as a courtesy under the warranty. When I drove the van home - same burning smell. Same jolting - and now approaching 107,000 miles and the transmission needs to be rebuilt again, costing $2,300 or a remanufactured one at $4,200! Dodge refuses to pay - they will not warrant the work and only rebuilt it the first time as a courtesy. I am considering hiring an attorney due to the dealer not being more proactive in fixing the problem from the start and then not fixing it properly --- leaving me with a piece of junk or a hefty repair bill with no guarantees. I have had it with Dodge/Chrysler MOPAR - owned them since 1982!!!! DO NOT BUY one of these vans - you will regret it....
Jan 05, 2008 (9:42 pm)
"I bought a 1997 GCaravan brand new and the engine snapped in half at 1,500 miles - then the trans went. Even new, Dodge just rebuilt the engine."
Sorry, gotta call a hearty BS on that one. If your engine really did "snap in half", then there's no way it could be rebuilt.
"...and bought another 1997 GCaravan - no problems except it ran a quart low of oil between oil changes (since the day I bought it - new)."
IIRC, your 1997 DGC called for a 7,500 mile oil change interval, and virtually any car will require a quart of oil over the course of 7,500 miles, regardless of manufacturer. FWIW, our 1998 3.8 liter DGC Sport uses a quart of oil roughly every 7,500 miles while our 2003 3.8 liter DGC ES uses a quart of oil roughly every 5,000 miles. In both cases I consider that oil consumption "normal".
"...I bought a 2003 GCaravan - total junk with parts going left and right."
Hmmm, completely different from my experience. Our 2003 DGC ES has 104,000+ miles on it, has the original transmission and virtually every other factory part still intact. To date, that van has needed two batteries, a front wheel ABS sensor, and that's it outside of regular maintenance.
"The first time I had the transmission serviced on my 2003 Grand Caravan by the dealer (according to the Manufacturer's recommendation)..."
Recommendation? What recommendation? Per your Owner's Manual, your transmission never needs service; it came from the factory with ATF+4 fluid which is considered a "Lifetime" fluid. Our 2003 is still running the factory fluid at 104,000+ miles, and it shifts perfectly and has no burning smell.
The fact is that your experience is so incredibly different than the one we've had with our two vans of virtually identical vintage that I find myself wondering of you've used a little poetic license with your posts.
From my perspective, our two vans, which are nearing 260,000 combined miles, have been models of reliability. Last time I checked, our total bill for unscheduled maintenance has yet to reach $3,000, which in my mind is pretty darn good for over a quarter of a million miles of driving.
#1565 of 2083 Re: Transmission Realibility [superwoody]
Jan 06, 2008 (9:21 am)
I talked to the owner again today and he says it has the 3.0 V6, is that supposed to be a reliable motor?
#1566 of 2083 Rust on strut tower
Jan 06, 2008 (11:59 am)
This is a little off topic but I didn't see any forums related to suspension so I will post the question here. I went and looked at the 1996 Caravan with the 3.0 V6, the tranny seemed to shift fine and the fluid looked good. What bothers me is the clunking sound that I would hear whenever I hit a bump, it was somthing that seemed out of ordinary. There is also a line of rust breaking through inside the engine compartment along the top of the area where the strut mounts, this seems like a very unusual place for rust to start as it is not exposed to the outside. Was there a common problem on these vans with rust forming in this area?
#1567 of 2083 Re: Transmission Realibility [gegrunt]
Jan 06, 2008 (1:08 pm)
The Mitsubishi 3.0 liter motor seems to be farily reliable, that said, it is a bit of an oil burner/smoker. That and it has a timing belt (which requires periodic replacement and that replacement ain't cheap) unlike the Chrysler motors that use a timing chain.
Personally I wouldn't own one even if it was free.
#1568 of 2083 Re: Rust on strut tower [gegrunt]
Jan 06, 2008 (1:14 pm)
The clunking may or may not be coming from the sway bar bushings. As for the strut tower rusting, that is a know problem with the Gen 3 vans. Some weren't properly prepared and have rusted to the point of failure (and a potentially catastrophic failure at that), and while Chrysler has released a repair kit for rusted towers that is apparently pretty good, I'd prefer to have a van like our 1998 that has zero rust around the strut towers.