Chrysler Mini-Vans

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Ford Driver, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. Ford Driver

    Ford Driver Guest

    I drive a 99 Ford Windstar mini-van and am looking to purchase a new or up
    to 2 years old mini-van. I would like to hear from Chrysler mini-van owners
    their likes, or dislikes, about Chrysler mini-vans. Any particular problem
    areas, such as the Windstar manifold problem (OBD-II P0171 and P0174 codes)
    and intermittent ABS light, with Chrysler mini-vans?

    Information on Plymouth or Dodge mini-vans also welcomed. A bit leery of
    Dodge as I had a bad experience with a new 1996 Stratus.

    Thanks for your time and information.
    Ford Driver, Sep 28, 2006
  2. Ford Driver

    NewMan Guest

    Due to my 1994 Dodge Grand Caraven being written off, I recently
    purchased a 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan.

    I do like it vey much. Lots more creature comforts, and it is also
    more stylish.

    When purchasing, I was offered an extended warranty. There was some
    work to be done, and it would be covered by the warranty, so I
    purchased the warranty. And am I ever glad I did!

    There have been lots of little stuff, and it is the kind of stuff that
    the previous owner let go, that kind of stuff that can 2-bit you to

    The trick with my warranty (by GM I might add) is that there is a $100
    deductable per INVOICE. So you wait, and then have everything fixed
    all at once! My dealer has been great. Every time I go in, I get a
    loaner VAN - not a sub-compact!

    If the van yo wish to buy is 2 years old, then it should still have a
    warranty. But if I were you, I would still buy the extended warranty
    if you can. Mine covers pretty much EVERYTHING. All electrical stuff,
    modules, cable harnesses, engine, transmission, A/C....

    I love my van dearly. And I will pass on to you some recommendations:

    1) Get a more "deluxe" van. While I had rentals and loaners looking
    for my new van, I noticed that the more basic models had really
    uncomfortable seats! My current van has - for the driver - a power
    adjustable seat. This puppy can be adjusted for the most amazing
    driving comfort! I love it. The basic models were aweful!

    2) Have a full independant mechanical inspection - just to be sure.

    3) The most common engines in these vans are 3.0 litre, 3.3 litre, and
    3.8 litre. The 3.0 litre is an overhead cam Mitsubishi Engine. The 3.3
    and 3.8 are basically the same block, domestically designed and
    manufactured, and are overhead VALVE! What this means is NO TIMEING
    BELT! :)

    It is my recommendation to stay the hell away from the 3.0 litre
    Mitsubishi engine. I had one in an old Accalim. It was a pain in the
    ass. Changing the timing belt was not that cheap. It never ran
    correctly when conditions were moist. It PUKED oil like there was no
    tomorrow. "Fill up the oil, check the gas" was the watch phrase.

    By comparison, the 3.3 litre enigines I have had are workhorses! They
    NEVER let me down, and did not require a lot of maintenance. My old
    van had a 3.3, and my new van has a 3.3. And if I had to go out and
    get one tomorrow, it would have a 3.3 as well!

    4) Make sure the dealer or seller takes the van into the DEALER and
    have teh Transmission Control Module (TCM) and Engine Control Module
    (ECM) checked to make sure they have the latest firmware in them.

    My only beef with my current van is it gets HORRIBLE gas mileage.
    HOWEVER, it is currently at the dealer, and the dealer said that I am
    SEVEN versions of firmware out of date between teh TCM and ECM! I
    suspect THAT could have a little to do with the mileage problem! Time
    will tell.

    5) If you can, depending upon the model year you actually manage to
    get, try to get a van with the "Stow and Go" seats! I was a couple of
    years shy of this. Buy my old boss purchased one, and she LOVES it.
    Her and her husband do a lot of travelling and camping, and they have
    no idea how they ever got along without this feature - and this
    feature is the one thing that I wish my van had!

    Can't think of anything else at the moment.

    Good luck!
    NewMan, Sep 28, 2006
  3. Ford Driver

    Ford Driver Guest

    Thanks for all of the information. Don't have my eye on anything yet but
    don't plan to look at anything older than 2 years. Most likely I will buy
    new but it doesn't hurt to look. Nothing special about 2 years; just the
    cut-off point I chose.

    Gas mileage is a consideration. My Windstar gets 17 in town and 25 on the

    Thanks again.
    Ford Driver, Sep 28, 2006
  4. Ford Driver

    philthy Guest

    after working on both i do much more work to the fords than whats needed in a
    chrysler van
    i have seen them go 250 k and a never seen a windstar do that. we have a 99 with
    100k and a cracked head the customer declined repair due to cost and it has been
    there long enough for us to get title from them
    philthy, Sep 29, 2006
  5. Ford Driver

    jtees4 Guest

    I can't really speak on the newer Chryslers, but I have owned four
    Chrysler cars, three bought new, one used. One was a new minivan (1992
    which I still have). I will never buy a Chrysler again...AND I used to
    consider myself a Chrysler guy. Evry car has had all kind of problems.
    The strong point of Chrysler is the motors..they are good and can go a
    long way. If you don't mind annoying constant problems, then maybe a
    Chrysler is for you. Every car had problems within the first few
    years...from leaking head gaskets on two at less than three years to
    serious (and widely reported) transmission problems on the van at
    about 8 years old. I am the type that always worried more about the
    motor than other small problems, but I came to realize over the years
    that these little problems are not nearly as prevalent on other
    manufacturers products. I have replaced two Neons with two Hyundai
    Elantra GT,s. These cars are superior in every way and of course are
    backed by a ten year warranty. Good luck.
    jtees4, Sep 29, 2006

  6. I've owned 14 Chrysler mini vans. 3 were bought from individuals who
    were finished with them, and the rest were bought at auction for cheap,
    so obviously I'm talking about vehicles that had been well-tested. They
    have ranged from 1984 to 1999. Two of them had the Chrysler 3.3
    engines. Both of these ran very well and were very dependable, but they
    leaked a lot of oil. For daily use they seem indestructible. The 1999,
    which we are driving now, has the 2.4 liter four cylinder engine which
    gets better mileage than the six cylinder engines. I thought it was
    going to be a weak performer, but it gets the job done surprisingly
    well. When the van is loaded with adults it has a noticeable lack of
    get-up-and-go, but most folks drive empty vehicles most of the time
    anyway, right? I wouldn't drive it for delivery work, but for the wife
    and kids it's a nice van. Besides the crappy 1984 four cylinder we had
    a long time ago, the rest of the vans I've owned over the past ten years
    have had the much-maligned 3.0 V6 (1987 to 1996 models). I've read a
    lot of gripes about this engine on this group, but I have loved all 10
    that I have owned. Mine have all had a history of starting immediately,
    running well, being reasonably fuel efficient, and hauling whatever you
    can fit in the van. I ran 1800 pounds of paper brochures from Kansas
    City to St. Louis several years ago, and I noticed only 2 or 3 mpg less
    gas mileage. Another thing about this engine is that although you
    should do routine maintenance, if your timing belt does happen to break
    it will not hurt the engine because it is a non-interference design,
    meaning that the pistons do not hit the valves. This has been an issue
    for me twice. The older 3.0 engines used to suck oil through the valve
    guides and produce smoke at idle, including all but a couple of mine,
    but I have heard that this issue has been addressed in the newer ones.
    Engine-wise, you can't go wrong with these vans, in my opinion.

    Transmissions could be another story. The overdrive models have had
    more of a history of failure than the non-overdrive models, which is
    also reflected in my own experience. I tend to run vehicles from
    150,000 miles to 250,000. The highest mileage vans I have had were all
    non-overdrive models, and they all just kept going. I have had a few
    overdrive transmissions that failed, as well as one non-overdrive. The
    statistics clearly favor the non-overdrive type. I had one of these
    that went to 275,000 on the odometer before I sold it.

    As for the van itself, these are well-built vehicles. They have a very
    nice ride, and as another guy already mentioned, the seats are pretty
    comfortable. I have noticed that the little problematic quirks seem to
    be due to design defects that occur in different places from year to
    year. For instance, the pre-1991 vans had little issues with the
    sliding door rollers and mounts, as well as the back door latch and the
    stupid plastic window tracks. The 1991 to 1995 vehicles all lost their
    interior hood release handles sooner or later, as well as most of their
    paint, and the electric window cables sometimes had trouble if you ran
    them up and down enough times. Our 1996 and 1999 vans lost all of their
    cheap plastic hubcaps (you see these with naked wheels all over town),
    and the handgrips on the back of the front seats tend to come off. And
    for some reason the sun visors have problems. Obviously I have no
    opinions about the vans of the past 7 years, but I would guess that
    getting one would be a safe bet. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that
    there is some new bug in the interior furnishings somewhere, but all in
    all, they're great vehicles. They stack up very well against the
    Robbie and Laura Reynolds, Sep 29, 2006
  7. Ford Driver

    Tom Duller Guest

    Hi, I'm new here. I don't have a lot to contribute other than that I just
    traded my 96 Windstar with a blown intake manifold gasket for an 05 Town and

    I've only had it for a few weeks but I like it a lot. It's the basic model but
    has as many features as I want. All I really need is a machine to get me from
    here to there.

    Comparing to the Windstar:

    It's quite a bit smaller. You could get 7 grown-ups in the Windstar pretty
    comfortable. It would be a bit cramped in the T&C.

    The 3.3 in the T&C is a bit weak compared to the 3.8 in the Ford, but it will
    get you on the freeway with no problem and gets better milage the couple times
    I have checked. About 25 for the T&C v.s about 22 for the Ford in similar
    mostly highway conditions.

    I've found it doesn't have a lot if you are passing. It makes a lot of noise
    if you floor it and pull out to pass, but doesn't really get up and go. But
    hell, it's a mini van... Just plan your passes to take a bit longer.

    Both cars have heaters and air aplenty. I have only used the heat in the T&C a
    few times, but it's a lot. Enough that you don't want it all the way up even
    though I like it warm. Like the Windstar, it warns up quickly and you get some
    heat within a mile or so of starting out, but like I said I just got it a few
    weeks ago and it hasn't been very cold out yet (Wisconsin).

    Comfort-wise...I'd give the edge to the Windstar on a long trip, but I haven't
    got the T&C quite tweaked the way I want it yet. It is quite comfortable, but
    I liked the Windstar better. Or maybe I was just used to it.

    Overall I like the T&C a lot so far. This is the only newsgroup I've found so
    far related to it and I don't see the kind of complaining here that I see on
    the Ford newsgroup. I'm taking that as a good sign. I should probably go look
    for Dodge and Plymouth newsgroups too. Anybody know of any I should join?

    Tom Duller, Sep 30, 2006
  8. Ford Driver

    Art Guest

    The key thing to keep your chrysler happy is using the correct auto tran
    fluid with no addiitves and changing it every 30k miles or so. Stay away
    from peanut butter lube shops who want to use their standard fluid.
    Art, Oct 2, 2006
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