From: gtreible@earthlink.com (Pete Treible)
Newsgroups: rec.autos.makers.chrysler
Subject: Known Problems: 96 Caravan, Voyager, T&C
Date: Thu, 07 Mar 1996 03:23:23 GMT

Being an owner of a 96 Grand Caravan SE and having followed this group
for several weeks, and having had a number of the same problems as
others, I thought it might be of convenience to list some of the
problems discussed here as well as a few of my own.

We own a 96 Dodge Grand Caravan SE.  We took delivery in September 95.
The car has 6,500 miles on it.  We have experienced some of the
problems others have.  Read on . . .

1) Fuel filler recall:  If you own one of the CC mini vans you know
about this one.  It's a safety recall to install a ground strap on the
fuel filler tube which could generate a spark creating a fire hazard
during fueling.  My dealer promptly took care of this at NC.

2) Rear shock absorbers cause clunking/knocking sound - particularly
in cold climates.  This is covered in a Chrysler TSB.  Discussed this
with my dealer and he was aware of the problem.  Our van is scheduled
to have these replaced at NC.

3) Glass breakage - especially on the tailgate:  Seems to be a chronic
problem with the CC mini vans since early 90s. Right Charlene? 

 While waiting at my dealer the other day I overheard a discussion
between two of the Service Advisors about a customer who had just
reported that the rear door window on their 96 Caravan blew out when
they closed the hatch.  This problem may be related to the door being
out of adjustment which puts a torque on the glass when the door is
slammed closed.  I haven't  had this on ours but I'm wary and
appreciate knowing about this problem up front.

On the other hand . . . our 96 Caravan SE developed a stress crack in
the windshield!  The dealer replaced it at NC and with no fuss.  But
again I'm wary of any glass replacement in terms of water leakage -
especially the windshield.

4) Fuel tank/guage problems:  so far it's not clear what's going on
here but there appears to be a problem with either the tanks being
undersized (15 as opposed to 20 gallon) or that the fuel tank contains
4 - 5 gallons when the gauge is on Empty.  I can't vouch fo this as
I'm only relating my observations taken from previous posts.  I will,
however, be paying close attention to this on our van.

Note that if, in fact, the tanks are undersized at 15 gallons the
dealers might be pulling a fast one by claiming that there's an
additional 5 gallons in the tank when empty.  Anyone want to take a
100 mile test run on an empty tank?

5) Headlights:  this isn't a problem isolated to the mini vans - it's
a problem on all of the CC cars with the slim style headlights.  May
also be a problem with other mfgs. as well.  

There's been a lot of dialogue on this and there appears to be higher
power replacement bulbs that will swap out with the stocks.  can't
vouch for this but if you look around there's more info to be found on
this group.

There's also been some talk that the problem was fixed on the 96s.  I
can vouch that it hasn't.  In fact my wife refuses to drive the van at
night!  And, IMHO, on a rainy night they're an absolute safety hazard.

6) Sliding door rattles and misadjustments.  Don't know this to be a
genuine defect or just poor adjustments.  But there's been a number of
posts complaining of this.  Our doors appear OK.  However . . . 

The lock mechanism on the driver's side sliding door of our Caravan
stopped working.  It wouldn't unlatch from the drivers master switch.
The dealer's diagnosis is a bad solinoid which is on order.

And now some personal peeves:

a) the stereo stinks!  Reception is poor and so is sound quality.
Granted it's not the high end unit but come on - this is a $25,000
car!

b) body panel moans, squeeks, noise, etc.  I guess I'm spoiled with my
88 Accord which has 145K miles on it and still drives/rides like it
was carved from a block of steel.  The van seems to develop new
"whispers" every week.  Wonder what it'll sound like eight years and
140K miles from now?

c) no map pockets on the front doors.  This is an option that shows up
on the "high end" ES (Dodge line).  But IMHO map pockets should be a
standard feature.

d) the positions of hood release and parking brake release seem
backwards.  I'm always popping the hood when I mean to release the
brake.  

I'm trying to keep an open mind on "buy American" here.  Granted this
is the first production year of the "New" vans.  I am a fan of the
Hondas because of my excellent experience with my 88.  And my next
vehicle (the van belongs to my wife) will probably be another Honda.
My 88 Accord has 145K miles on it and still runs/drives like new.  

The Honda has never been back to the dealer for ANYTHING.  It's never
had a single problem other than the usual maintenance items one would
expect: barkes at 60K and 120K;  exhaust at 90K;  timing belts at 130K
(really pushed that one); clutch at 140K;  oil/filter every 3 - 5K.

And for you buy American fanatics out there: this has nothing to do
with nationalism.  I work hard for my income and beleve in getting the
best value for my dollar.  The CC mini vans might just be the best
value on the market in that catagory.  In fact we test drove the new
Honda van (as well as most of the others) and kept coming back to the
Chrysler product.  But I don't think the Americans have quite caught
on (or caught up) to the Japanes on high quality mis-sized family
vehicles.

PS Please spare any pro America diatribe.  Lets keep this objective
and informative.

I test drove the Stratus.  It's a nice looking car but it's not in the
same league as the Hondas and Toyotas.

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From: aakre <76027.1457@CompuServe.COM>
Newsgroups: rec.autos.makers.chrysler
Subject: Re: 96 Caravan, Voyager, T&C door lock & other problems?
Date: 7 May 1996 21:29:56 GMT

Great to hear from another suffering 96 Minivan owner! My Grand 
Caravan has been a nightmare from pickup to present. Un-commanded 
wiper activation, grinding rear brakes, transmission lapses(in 
reverse on cool mornings), hesitating to the point of stalling at 
both acceleration and cruise, as well as random drop-outs of 
various electronic elements. And I'm sure that I have forgotten a 
few. Meantime , the dealer advises "could not duplicate"..

The one thing that I hope to tell CC at the end of my lease is 
that I "cannot duplicate" another order for a CC product.

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From: bmorris812@aol.com (BMorris812)
Newsgroups: rec.autos.makers.chrysler
Subject: Re: 96 Caravan: turning groans, rear end thump
Date: 8 Jun 1996 20:34:05 -0400

Hello Tommy,

     I have the latter of your two problems.  During initial acceleration
there is a thumping noise that comes from the rear.  I too checked to make
sure that everythings was locked and secured in place, and it was.  The
fact of the matter is
that this is a common problem with these minivans, and CC is aware of it
as per my service manager, but to this day they do not have a fix for it. 
I mostly here the noise with close to a full tank and as the gas runs out
the noise goes away.
My service manager suspects it has something to do with the gas tanks not
having any bafflles in it, so the gas moves around violently during
initial acceleration.  I think that we pay too much for these vehicles for
them to have the number of problems that they have, this is just only one
of the many problems I have with this van.

Morris Brown,

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Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 06:53:47 +0000
From: MCHAMBER 
Subject: Re: FYI

FYI:
 I would like to share with your readers my experience with my '96
 Caravan. I've been driving the van for seven
        months now and have a lot of positive things to say about the
        handling and interior features of the van. It truly drives
        more like a car than my previous van ('93 Voyager), however
        around 9,500 miles my transmission went out and things have
        not been the same since. My wipers mysteriously come on and
        go, my new transmission makes a whinning sound when pulling
        hills, and I've had to have the tires balanced three times
        with under 12K miles on the van and they need it again. 

        Chrysler has a lot to offer with this van (especially if you
        have a handicapped individual to transport), but they have got
        to make transmission improvements! I'm currently looking at
        trading it in on a Maxima or Mazda. Looks like I'll have to
        take a bath to get out from under it, but I think it's the
        wisest thing I can do for dependable long-term transportation.
        If anyone has any comments or suggestions regarding the Maxima
        and/or Mazda, please mail me at ALSCP@AOL.com. Thanks for the
        opportunity to share this information with your readers! 

        Al, aol.com 

Just thought I would share this with you.  No reply expected.


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