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Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Grand Voyager, Dodge Grand Caravan, Transmission, Van
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#297 of 2083 I've noticed a trend here...
Apr 15, 2003 (5:29 am)
Have not read all 15 pages of posts--only about every third page or so. I have noticed, however, one piece of pretty interesting information. The vast majority of the problems are for 1996 to 1998 vans. One guy about 10 posts ago bought a used and badly abused 2002 T&C (as evidenced by the 35k mi in less than a year!) and is having problems, just about every one else has a van at least 4 years old. The vans since 2001 have different transmissions, and they do not seem to be showing up on this thread. My 1993 Caravan SE had transmission problems. I trusted that the new ones would be better, so in 2001 I bought a new Voyager. Nothing but flawless, smooth operation. Traded for a 2003 Voyager LX almost two weeks ago, took a road trip to the beach last week, and this van feels better than the 2001 model. All I can suggest is that to the owners of 1996 Caravans having problems and saying they will never own another Dodge product again are doing themselves a huge disservice. The new vans are very smooth and comfortable--and from what I can tell, the transmissions work great! They would not cover them for 70,000 miles if they thought they would have to replace them at 60,000 miles.
#298 of 2083 dtownfb
Apr 15, 2003 (5:31 am)
You are right. My 2003 Voyager LX stickered for $26,010 and had a selling price of $20,588. Then, I got the additional $750 off when I put $750 down myself.
Apr 15, 2003 (3:17 pm)
I think one of the reasons the newer van transmissions may be reliable than the older ones is that I heard starting in 98 they began using different seals for the transmissions. And in 99, they started adding an automatic transmission fluid cooler. Burned tranny fluid (and Dexron) are definitely reasons for a lot of the failures. And the later vans are now using ATF+4. I've also read that Chrysler's warranty costs are down a lot from a few years ago. My guess is that Chrysler started beefing up the small electronic components and other parts that caused the larger problems and it's been paying off. People also have to realize that Chrysler is the first to go mass-market with a lot of innovations, notably the electronically controlled transmissions. Unfortunately the extended warranties don't appear to be helping Chrysler sell a whole lot more vehicles - but it's funny that it worked for the Korean car makers.
#300 of 2083 The 1998 on rumor again
Apr 15, 2003 (4:38 pm)
Nothing suggests that the current models are any more reliable than the past. CR data, and EVERY OTHER CONSUMER SERVICE, suggest similar failure rates and still consider the DC van the highest reliability risk of any minivan, though Windstar (and Taurus) have similar transmission failure rates.
Apr 15, 2003 (4:54 pm)
>Burned tranny fluid (and Dexron) are definitely reasons for a lot of the failures.
Definitely true, at least for some of the failures. I would run away from any shop that tries to put Dexron in your DC or Mitsubishi tranny.
>And the later vans are now using ATF+4.
I think they (DC vans and most Mitsus) all used ATF+4. Not sure though. I'd get the fluid from the dealer, or use one of the oil company's support lines to ensure I had the right fluid. You simply cannot rely on the guys at Floyds Service Station or Cheapie Lube.
>I've also read that Chrysler's warranty costs are down a lot from a few years ago. My guess is that Chrysler started beefing up the small electronic components and other parts that caused the larger problems and it's been paying off.
I havne't read that anywhere, but I certainly admit I haven't researched that much. I mostly rely on info from people in the business (independent tranny shops mostly) who fix trannies for a living.
I have also heard (and seen on these boards) lots of complaints about DC trying to dishonor warranty claims and that they are no longer covering the "secret warranties" that were on some of the worst of the earlier models. This too could lower warranty costs. I'm not throwing stones. I admit that you'd have to review the data pretty closely to glean anything useful. Just not sure what it means without more info.
>People also have to realize that Chrysler is the first to go mass-market with a lot of innovations, notably the electronically controlled transmissions.
Maybe or maybe not but everyone has them now, and only DC and Ford have mucked it up.
>Unfortunately the extended warranties don't appear to be helping Chrysler sell a whole lot more vehicles - but it's funny that it worked for the Korean car makers.
I doubt that the extended warranty is selling the Korean cars. The Consumer mags so their reliability is up (especially Hyundai) and their prices are right. Long warranties are a sign of a distressed company. No one insists on long warranties from Honda, Toyota and Nissan but they sell just fine also.
DC has cutting edge styling, easily the best across the board IMHO, and comfort, but they need to put some money into quality control and reliability.
#302 of 2083 mmimmo
Apr 16, 2003 (6:09 am)
Your post may be all correct, but you can not argue that the vast majority of problems on this thread are listed for vans from about 1999 on back. The newer vans (esp. 2001 to present, the current design) are not here in any significant number. If the transmissions of today were like the transmissions of the mid nineties and before, the newer vans would be showing up in larger numbers by now. I also think long warranties play a big role in how a car line sells. Hyundai offered it and people took a chance. The buyers found the cars to be good and the sales have continued upward. I also think image and perception play big roles. Odyssey transmissions are famous for failing, yet people still buy them as fast as they can. If a DC van has a transmission problem, it gets chalked up to yet another junk DC transmission. I think the fact that Chrysler offers the 7/70 powertrain warranty means they believe the transmission will hold up over the years--at least the great majority of them will, anyway.
Apr 16, 2003 (4:07 pm)
No doubt that 99 or older are more likely to fail than 00-02s. But I doubt it has to do with anything other than mileage. DC has promised redesigned trannies several times, including, I think, 89, 93, and 98. Now the 98s and 99s are failing regularly, even by your admission. I don't remember there being any redesing after 99.
>Odyssey transmissions are famous for failing, yet people still buy them as fast as they can
I don't particularly like the Ody (especially the interior and pricing), but "famous for failing" doesn't square with the facts. All the consumer magazines rate it, along with Sienna, as the most reliable. Consumer Reports lists only one year, the 1998 Ody, as having less than exceptional transmission reliability. It is still rated better than the 98 DC. I personally believe all the minivans, except DC, Windstar, and EV, have sufficient reliability so that I wouldn't rule them out. (Its painful for me to admit that even the Kia is putting up acceptable numbers at this point.) Why do these DC threads always become Oddity vs. DC threads?
#304 of 2083 New to Minivans
Apr 16, 2003 (6:46 pm)
I've never posted here but have been reading for a while. I'm looking for a mini van; my second child is on the way. I need a vehicle that will double as a family vehicle and a truck (my truck was totaled last month . I do a lot of woodwork and need something that I can carry 4x8 sheets plywood etc. Can the Caravan, or Grand Caravan hold a sheet of plywood? Can it hold it flat or does it need to lay across the wheel wells? All this anti-DC stuff is a bit much. Are the vehicles really that bad? I can't believe that they are complete junk . . . they sell so many. I've owned Honda, Toyata, Saab, VW, and a few American brands in my time. They all have some problems. If I buy a Dodge, should I expect some terrible transmission problems? I have to admit I'm getting cold feet reading this forum.
Thanks in advance for your opinions.
#305 of 2083 No Problems
Apr 16, 2003 (8:08 pm)
We have a 2000 Town & Country LX 3.3 with 61k miles and is still running great with no serious problems. It's been a great car and I enjoy driving it very much. The Town & Country has good style, especially for a minivan and stands out among all the drab, gray Odyssey vans around. If Chrysler minivans are such junk, then why hasn't ours fallen apart by 61k miles?
Apr 16, 2003 (9:24 pm)
Hey Adam - been a while. Good to see you on Town Hall posting again.