1989 Dodge Caravan 3.3L from North America


I miss my work horse. I miss her so much


We killed the transmission the first month we owned it. We were on vacation, and my father scorched a tranny driving in the steep mountains, with a loaded van, in over-drive. Replaced.

The second trasmission went in 1998. After YEARS of abuse. We used the van like a truck. We moved three kids to and from university FULLY loaded with every piece of furniture (seats removed)

General Comments:

What a work horse. What a genuine work horse. We beat this thing, and it wouldn't die. I RETIRED the van, it never died. The 3.3 was adequate for performance. It was a race car, but it could out accelerate a few cars that might surprise you. Especially when she was new!

But really, the thing never died, and we rarely switched the oil, rarely even washed the thing. I just put gas in, and it went, and it went, and it went.

I have learned my lesson about taking care of a vehicle though. Had I been as meticulous as I am now, I would still be driving my trusty work horse of a van.

I will miss her dearly.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th July, 2004

1989 Dodge Caravan SE 2.5 turbo from North America


A wolf in sheep's clothing! ;-)


Rear hatch handle cover is gone. Stock radio is replaced.

General Comments:

With about $20 you can make this van FAST! Don't expect to out handle a BMW in the turns, but you'll take him at the light.

Lots of room with the rear seat out (3rd row). Comfortable if not soft ride.

Cheap and easy to maintain. Parts are plentiful and inexpensive. Everything is in plain view.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th June, 2003

1989 Dodge Caravan SE 2.5 turbo from North America


A dream of an emigrant


First of all, sorry for my poor English.

Slightly leaking gasket was neutralized by decreasing the resistance of a temperature sensor by 20%, drilling of small hole in the thermostat, special breakage of a small valve located on the bottom of the radiator cup. Now I have atmospheric pressure in the cooling system all time, fan starts when the temperature reaches 95 degrees celcius.

It was successful long term re-animation.

Knocking noise from front suspension was eliminated by replaced 4 rubber bushings (7$ each).

Heater fan was worn and replaced with a new old one from a yard.

Short connection in the wires for the radiator blower power supply was diagnosed not too soon, because it disappeared periodically.

Electric stuff was corroded heavily under the hood, especially near the battery and headlights, it needed to be sprayed periodically 2 times a year.

Sensor of a speed on the transmission was never working, so the turbocharger was always off which is good for a long life with this vehicle.

Previous owner changed the transmission once after the first 50000 km, the second transmission worked till 282000 km and at last gave a leak from a place where it meets engine.

The vehicle was bought with broken stabilizer bar.

Radio was filled with a coffee, I fixed it: I added parallel power switch.

Light "check engine" had no ground, I took one from a neighbouring bulb.

A metal pipe with power steering liquid has got small sharp stones in rubber insulator where this pipe was secured on cross beam; these stones went through a metal wall. The leak was fixed by a bandage from oil resistant rubber and 3 geared straps.

When I have bought it, the steering wheel had a freedom of 40 degrees because of worn steering ball joints, it was the first thing I changed. Previous owner was a priest and god saved him.

General Comments:

It is nice van. Some repairs were reasonable. All the defective parts were replaced by the previous owner. I know that Chrysler have decreased quality later because the most Americans and Canadians prefer pay less for an object looking like a vehicle. So the taste of regular home owners and housewives was the major reason.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th January, 2002

15th Nov 2003, 14:10

The whole reason for having pressure above atomspheric pressure in the cooling system is to raise the boiling point of the coolant. If you have reduced that pressure you are bound to overheat and seize the engine!

Now that you destroyed the radiator, you can replace it with the blown head gaskets that are overpressurizing the cooling system!

28th Mar 2004, 21:36

Reply: Thanks for the comment. But the coolant boiling had never occurred: The radiator has enough surface and the computer started the fan at least 5 degrees below the boiling point. Because the temperature sending unit was intently "modified" to imitate higher temperature to help the computer with starting the radiator fan earlier.

At 300,000 Km I replaced the head gasket and accidentally fixed the turbocharger (a speed sensor connector was the problem). The pressure in the cooling system stayed atmospheric all the time. The van was sent to wrecking yard with 350,000 Km on the Odometer. I agree the thermal tricks above would be impossible in Florida, but all had happen in Ontario.

Now I have bought Pontiac Trans Sport 1992 3.8L. There is a difference. This GM van has a power plant sub-frame and noticeably higher center of a mass. It was designed not for cornering and various bumps, but for long trips on a highway. The separate review will follow.

Thanks to Steven for nice editing my review.

4th Jul 2004, 13:11

Another Ontario guy! Howdy!