Last post on Mar 23, 2008 at 8:43 AM
You are in the Honda Odyssey
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Dodge Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Town and Country, Chrysler Voyager, Plymouth Voyager, Van
#626 of 7485 Since we're on the topic ...(long)
Aug 21, 2001 (10:02 am)
I'll share my stories with all the three Chrysler vans I've had. I've previously said I was never "burned" or felt they were unreliable (to an extent) but they have and had their share of problems...
1988 Plymouth Grand Voyager LE (traded at 84,145 miles)
- Mitsu 3.0 V6 head gasket blew up
- A battery that would always almost go dead if too many ac systems were on. This is where the battery gauge came in handy because I could watch and tell when the battery was about to die especially at stop lights with the ac on. The '96 and '01 are kind of crappy in the respects that all they have are idiot lights. Those idiot lights would have told be jack if I had had the same problems I had in my blue van that I did in the '96 and '01.
- Electrical problem involving having to drive the car EVERY day, or else the car wouldn't start. Talk about surprised when we took a vacation right after we got the NEW van and it wouldn't start. NO dealer or our mechanic could figure it out even after 8 years. I felt bad for the dealer we traded it to who had no idea that it would be dead if he tried to drive it or give someone a test drive. From then on, we had to have neighbors drive our car every so often everyday while on vacations.
- Overhead console readout (just temp and direction readouts in '88) Towards the end, the readout would say it was 120-145 degrees F when it was anywhere from 30 to 80 degrees F out
- Loose trim pieces all around
- bubbling wood paneling that was starting to peel I guess after too much rain and too many car washes
- Many visits to the dealer for small things, which led to the obligatory, "We can't let you walk out of here driving that 'death trap' 100 things need to be replaced. Hand me $500 dollars" After so many $500-$600 dollar visits for what was probably nothing, just there way of getting our money, we almost bought a 1992 Town & Country after putting in nearly $10,000 worth of repairs from the dealer on a $20,000 van, until we found a reliable no nonsense mechanic that knew what he was doing
1996 Town & Country LXi (traded at 40,312 miles)
- after not even one day of ownership, rattles were coming from the front passenger window, and the passenger sliding door
- two weeks after buying the car, the rattling driver's side rear quarter vent window came unglued from the thing that pushes it out, so basically anyone could enter our car by opening that window
- Within weeks of that, the passenger side rear quarter vent window rattled and came unglued, too
- the third row seat after a month would NOT stop rattling. It was awful, and it never truly stopped even after 4-5 years we had the car, even though the dealer replaced the whole assembly 2 times
- rotors warped after 12,000 miles. Was told by Chrysler and later by my mechanic to just go get Midex or something, because Chrysler rotors were just plain crap (still waiting for the '01's to warp)
- after less than a year, the rear shocks had to be replaced, because of an incessant rattling which they deemed were the shock absorbers
- After about three years, we experienced door locks that would sometimes lock and sometimes wouldn't
- Around the same time as that, we got the phantom windshield wipers, plus they would stop in whatever position they were in of the car was turned off
2001 Town & Country Limited (now at 5,340 miles)
- Nothing, THANK GOD!
See, other than the electrical issues I had in the '88, which I could handle and understand what to do with, none of my vans were "unreliable," in the respects that I was afraid that on the highway it would explode or break down. The '88 could probably in fact been classified as a lemon, but it was too late until we found out about the major electrical problem. If we had caught it early on, we probably would have gotten a replacement van. So my '88 did have it's share of problems, but once we found a credible mechanic and not the slimy dealer we were taking it to, the '88 started to act OK for a change. The '96 was just filled with annoying inconveniences but nothing mechanical EVER went wrong. From what I hear, the phantom locks/windshield wipers, the bad rotors, and the rattling were all common to the '96 vans, except for the rotors whch have always been bad. The '01 so far has been fine, and the quality actually shows in this one. I still think it's wrong that Chrysler is wrong for not recalling the part on my mini just for my own piece of mind, but OH WELL..... Anyway, maybe all of this qualifies as being "burned by Chrysler" but I'm sorry, they make some darn nice vans on the outside and inside. How they used to build them is a differnet story, and I know with Chrysler, beauty is sometimes only skin deep, but I've been loyal (basically because there didn't used to be any other REAL minivan competitors) and I'm glad that they seem to be better in quality now. I'm still waiting to see that new 2003 Sienna, though.
#628 of 7485 cgaydos - a couple ?'s about your old '94 T&C
Aug 21, 2001 (10:31 am)
After almost buying a '92, I was really disappointed they didn't keep the digital dashboard that was on the '91-'95 T&C's. I take it you liked it? Our neighbors had theirs short out a couple times, but maybe that's why Chrysler got rid of it.
Also, is it me or do you think the '87-'95 'Grand' versions of the Chrysler vans have and had more leg room in the middle row. I swear, when I got the '96, it was a big difference in how the front seats really dug into the leg room in the middle row, which I remember in the '88 not being a problem. The '01 is about the same as the '96 was in leg room, too.
Also, have you had any problems with all the curves and now the power liftgate intrusion in the trunk area. I used to be able to fit two bikes in the back of the '88, but when we got the '96, I had a rude awakening when I couldn't do that anymore. This I think was partially due to all those curves in the trunk area, and the fact that the rear air compressor was moved from behind the driver (where the driver's sliding doors is now) to the trunk area, which took out some width in the trunk. But because of the more boxy trunk opening of the '88 (and your '94) it was much easier to get big stuff in. Now, not only is the '01 still really curvy in the back, but the power lift motor take up more available cargo space that I used to have even in the '96. Chrysler keeps on saying how the new vans get bigger with each redesign, but I'd like to know where they're putting the extra space other than in extra elbow room in front, which I did notice in the '96.
One last thing, what did you think of all the leather that was along the inside of your '94 T&C. When looking at pictures, it looks really luxurious, and better than the vinyl I had in the '96, and now the sued in the '01.
Sorry about all the questions, but since that was the one generation of Chrysler vans that I did not get, I'm just wondering if there were things you liked better about it when compared to your new '01. I know there are still things I want back that were on my '88, such as a full amount of gauges and less curves and intrusions in the trunk area. I guess you can't win them all though...
#629 of 7485 Check the pictures
Aug 21, 2001 (10:33 am)
If you go to the IIHS site and look up the DC tests, you will see the picture of the leaking tank.If you look closely at the enlarged version, you will see that the tank is removed and tipped at what appears to be a 45 degree angle to show the leak area. They stated that the flange that leaked is on the TOP of the tank. Unless the laws of physics change liquid cannot flow uphill! So the tank could only leak under the following conditions: 1. Full tank (including filler neck) and a 40 mile per hour crash. Just pulling out of a gas station or within 20 miles of a fillup. 2. 40 mile per hour crash with van on its side or roof. And remember in the first test it did not leak. The government mandates that on a rollover crash no fuel should leak. Let them make the decision. You should not top off your tank if you are worried until this is resolved
#630 of 7485 Carleton - I agree with you
Aug 21, 2001 (10:42 am)
I think Chrysler vans are finally on par with the other competitors now in terms of quality and I'm glad to hear that you've had such good luck with your '99.
I'm just thinking when I look at vans again for the 2004 model year, the Toyota and Chrysler vans will be the only vans with the luxury features I'm looking for. That's great that Honda is finally offering heated leather seats, but Chrysler has been doing that since 1990 with the Town & Country and since 1998 with the heated part. When the Odyssey first came out, it's big selling point for me was the auto temp control, which is now in the Toyota and the Chryslers, thus not making it a real big possibility on my list since I want luxury more than a 6 month waiting list and a fold away seat, which is supposed to be on the 2003 Sienna anyway.
Plus, I've had such good luck with the four Toyota's I've owned that I'm not too worried about having problems in a Toyota. And by reading my previous post, you can tell that all those problems I had in the two Chryslers didn't scare me away from getting a new 2001 Chrysler. Plus, I have trust in Toyota for at least making a vehicle on par with my Chrysler. I'll just have to see what happens....
#633 of 7485 re: dave210's questions about 94 T&C
Aug 21, 2001 (5:28 pm)
1. Yes, the digital dashboard was functionally better than the analog. I never had problems with it.
2. I can't be sure, but there probably was slightly more leg room in the middle row of the old minivans. I wish DC offered second row seats that should shift forward and backward, like the Sienna and Windstar.
3. Yes, there may be some compromises in cargo room behind the third seat between the first generation and the post-96's. I think that in terms of cubic feet the post-96s have more cargo room, but partly that's because the post-96's have a wider stance, which contributes to better stability and ride, but the aerodynamics may take away some usable cargo room. Two things I've done in the '01 to help are: 1) remove the headrests (not needed as the kids in the back are in car seats) and 2) move the seat back to the most upright position. The '94 rear bench did not have an adjustable seatback, and as I recall it was closer to vertical than the normal '01 seatback.
4. I find the leather/suede on the '01 to be luxurious. I think there is a difference in that leather was not a common option in '94, so it looked and felt like it was done by an aftermarketer. You know, it didn't exactly fit the seats or the panels, leaving a lot of extra material in wrinkles and folds which can seem more luxurious. The leather we have now definitely seems factory installed, and fits exactly.
5. Overall, except for the electronic dashboard and perhaps rear cargo room there is NOTHING I like about the '94 over the '01. It had a harsher ride, poorer handling, much more wind noise, rotten windshield wipers and sprayers, no left sliding door, no power doors, rotten rear climate control (the vents were all on the left), no wheels on the seats for removal, seats that were very difficult to remove and to lock back in place, a stupid place for the tire jack (next to the engine, so it was guaranteed to be too hot to touch), a rubber pad where the hood met the car that kept coming off, a stupid hood ornament that hurt gas mileage and added noise, impossible-to-clean white alloy wheels, a rear climate system that let the kids turn the heat on full while the front was putting out A/C, and horn buttons on the sides of the steering wheel instead of the center. Not that I have an opinion about the '94 or anything.
However, having said all that I would buy the '94 again. Amazing, huh? But at the time that was the best minivan choice out there for those who needed a larger minivan.
#634 of 7485 cgaydos - Thanks for the info
Aug 21, 2001 (7:09 pm)
By reading what you wrote, it makes me wish I could remember just how different my van drove compared to when we first got the '96.
In my '88 Grand Voyager LE, I do remember all the rear air vents being placed below the middle row driver's side window and the back row driver's side window. The setup in the '96 made more sense, but I kinda missed how the '88 was semi "dual zone" in the respect that the '88 and your '94 had the ability for the rear passengers to choose heat or air. Now that was not nearly as advanced as what the '01 has which REALLY lets the back-seat choose what temperature they want.
I take it your '94 was a white van based on what you said about your wheels. While you didn't have them and some people may have liked them, I thought the '93-'98 GOLD Chrysler wheels were incredibly tacky and bad looking. I hated the gold wheels on my LXi. I thought it would take Chrysler an act of God to finally get rid of those dumb gold flower design wheels, which they finally did when the Limited came out in '98 as a '99.
But enough about that, I agree with you that even compared to my '96, the '01 vans are giant leap for Chrysler in terms of quality and definitely luxury.
#635 of 7485 cgaydos
Aug 21, 2001 (10:33 pm)
Here's a picture of my van
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