10th Sep 2007, 09:13

I own a 1996 Chrysler Town and Country LXI, 119,000 miles. For a while I had an issue where I would attempt to turn the van on and nothing would happen. I would play with the ignition switch and after about 4 attempts at turning the car on, it would start. Last week I went to turn the car on and the starter would not shut down even after the car was on. By the time I got to the car battery to disconnect it, the starter had over-heated and caught fire. The fire was real brief, but it scared the Hell out of me because it is my only means of transportation to work. I purchased a new starter at $110.00. So far so good, but what happened that caused my starter to burn like wood?

19th Oct 2007, 18:57

Previous poster - your starter was going out, probably pulling high amps, overheated and caught fire.

One of my prevous posts mentioned a started just going out with no warning. I guess I was lucky it didn't overheat.

That was August. Since then, I've put on another 5000 miles! Its now at 195,000. Still sticking to the $600 of maintenance every four months. Replace a bad passenger side window motor and pully mechanism. Cost about 200 installed (used a mobile mechanic on Craigs list).

Just passed Oregon Environmental Quality test fine. So next big job will be bent axle replacement causing a wobble in front end ($500 job). If it holds out until January or February, timing chain is next.

Will drive it until the wheels fall off.

2nd Nov 2007, 09:16

My 96 T&C LXi has multiple electronic and mechanical gremlins. I'm just about ready to trade it in today. The wipers have been out for over three years due to module in dash that costs $800 to replace. So I use RainX and wiper/washer that still functions. The rear wiper washer has quit for two years. The door ajar alarm won't stop. Replaced transmission at 88K. Replaced radiator fan relay under recall, but it still fried causing radiator module to burn out while on out of town trip in June 1999. Cost $800. Replaced starter. Another weird thing when the Engine cyclinder wall cracked and had it welded to repair it in 2005. Cruise control had to be repaired this summer because battery acid ate away battery holder that just happens to have vacuum line attached to it underneath holder. Air bag and ABS lights constantly come on and off for no reason. I forgot to mention the faulty repairs made on brakes, serpentine/tensioner, A/C controller, and now the headliner is falling down. Now I vow to never buy another Chrysler product again. Honda or Toyota products only from now on. I already own two Accords and Camry. I'm looking to get either Honda Element or Pilot as trade in for the T&C. Good riddance.

7th Jan 2008, 02:42

I purchased a 1996 Chrysler Town & County Van brand new that currently has 250,000 miles. I am now trying to sell the van since it has been replaced by 2007 Nissan Xterra. I have enjoyed driving this van, however it also has had the following problems other have related:

Replaced Transmission Six (6) Times -

The transmission lasts only about 60,000 miles and requires major overhaul and replacement. I have been told that the transmission was originally designed for smaller sedan cars and does not hold up. I have paid $1800.00 three times for completely rebuilt transmissions, the other three replacement were at no cost since they were within the warranty period.

Faulty Windshield Wipers -

You need to replace the entire left turn signal/windshield wiper stalk. It is an easy swap with only a few screws to remove and a plug in connector. I found two 1996 Chrysler vans at the junkyard and bought the stalks for $15 each. Works fine now.

Bad Starter -

I have replaced the starter twice. Van just died again tonite in the rain, so it appears I now need another one since it would not even "click" with a jump. Will have it towed to local repair shop and get the money back on part.

Front disc brakes -

I usually change out the front disc pads after 20,000 miles. The pads are a bit small for the van, and with its heavy weight, it eats up rotors and pads quickly to the point of having metal-to-metal grinding.

13th Jan 2008, 18:00

I am the unfortunate owner of a 1996 Grand Caravan, with the 3.3 liter engine, automatic transmission, 2wheel drive, A/C. Lets see:

1. I too have had my wipers possessed by the devil - the rear wiper would just randomly take a swipe across the back (usually when I first start the car, scaring the heck out of me!). The front wipers quit working intermittently, then almost not at all EXCEPT when I push the washer button in. If I barely turn the wiper stalk knob to "ON", every once in a while they will randomly come on for anywhere from one to five wipes, then shut off until they feel like coming on again. The Dodge dealer says it's a body control module (after I paid them $230 to replace the multi-function switch in the steering column that they said was the problem).

2. The rear wiper motor FELL OFF into the rear hatch interior. That ended the random rear wiper problem, but not an elegant fix to be sure...

3. I have replaced the electric door window lifts on the driver's side twice, and the passenger side once already. (And I expect the passenger side is going to just fall into the door again any day now...) (The Dodge dealer wanted $319 just for the part! Checker Auto had one that worked fine for $98 new.)

4. The CD player used to kick out the CD if I stacked a second CD on top of the first about halfway in to tension the ejector. Now that won't even work. And the radio is dead too.

5. The micro motor that runs the electric door latch on the sliding doors sounds like a chainsaw on steroids when I push the clicker on my key fob.

6. I've replaced both front axles, and all three motor mounts. The front end still wobbles like a drunken hula girl. I've had them tell me it was bad alignment - but I've had the alignment done 4 times now. I keep eating front tires up every 10-12,000 miles.

7. Today, the starter motor just decided to quit without warning. I went out and turned the key - CLICK. CLICK. CLICK. After about 6 tries, it started. But now it's a random event until I can get the starter motor replaced.

The 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan - a four wheeled hole in the street you shovel money into! The ONLY reason I keep it is because I can load my wife's electric scooter into it through the side door with a suitcase ramp. That, and the fact that I am kept too broke paying to fix the &!@#% thing to be able to afford a replacement for it. If you are looking to buy a minivan - STAY AWAY FROM THE DODGE CARAVAN.