1999 Dodge Caravan Reviews

1999 Dodge Caravan 3.0 from North America

Model year1999
Year of manufacture1999
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 3.0 Automatic
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance83000 kilometres
Previous carToyota Tercel

Summary:

It is a generally reliable and very versatile vehicle

Faults:

Belt squealed when replaced, and when oil was applied to stop the squeal (upon advice from an oil change mechanic), it fell off.

General Comments:

This is a generally good and very versatile vehicle, and there is no problem with Dodge or the belt design. I did have to replace the belt after about 80,000 Km. After replacing the belt, it started squealing. An oil change mechanic suggested I apply a spray oil to it. That worked for about two days. I applied a bit more, and the belt fell off altogether. I went to the garage several times, and they were stymied that they could not make the squeal go away.

After reading this site and the success discovered with the Gates kit, it turns out the problem was buying the belt first, and afterward a Gates belt tensioner (the garage installed a Gates belt tensioner, but not the one from the kit - they are a different design). The best route to go by far is to buy the Gates (or Goodyear) kit, that includes a belt, tensioner, and idler pulley. They are all designed to work with one another. Otherwise, you will end up with a problem that will never go away and could be dangerous. The reason is that the kit has a tensioner pulley that is ribbed and has a lip on the edges that prevents misalignment, and stops the belt from squealing and/or falling off.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th January, 2011

1999 Dodge Caravan from North America

Year of manufacture1999
Engine and transmission Don't Know

Summary:

Good, but you can do better

Faults:

Regarding the fan belt issues... I believe the problem lies with the composition of the rubber used to manufacture the belts. I have had the "squeal" after only 2 months with a GatesĀ® brand belt on a Saturn. Have also had friends experience noise and belt "throwing" with new belts. They have checked pulley alignment, and have made sure the pulleys were clean and free of any oil residue. Comments on this are appreciated.

General Comments:

As far as the vehicle is as a whole: Average, but could have better ergonomics and better cornering.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 1st September, 2010

1999 Dodge Caravan 7 pass 3.0 from North America

Model year1999
Year of manufacture1999
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 3.0 Automatic
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.0 / 10
Distance when acquired99000 miles
Most recent distance125000 miles

Summary:

Style is practicable, mechanicals are not

Faults:

I hear many complaints about the belt going on these cars/vans. I do know something about that, and it isn't the drivers. The car stalling can happen anytime and not just when wet either - but most common in that event.

The brackets that hold this area together (the tensioner, etc) bend and whenever you try and put a new belt on, it will slip off again. Not because the driver is doing anything wrong, but because the area that holds these parts in is bent.

They now have a kit for the problem (no, Dodge doesn't seem to understand this is a defect). The kit is about $200 and then you need to pay for labor. I found this out after first getting the car and had gotten stranded many times. After the kit was installed (straight and true to hold the parts that are part of the belt system) then you will not have any more issues.

Just let your mechanic know, it's available for a fix.

General Comments:

Car rusts very easily, and car handles and etc also fall about very easily. Burns oil a bit too much for the year/age of car even after being well taken car of and having regular maintenance. Drives kind of nice for a Mini van, but the gas mileage isn't as good as I would have thought it should be. Basically a "scooter" van. Wind easily affects drive, etc.

I like having two sliding doors - that is pretty nice.

I also think Dodge should have recalled the problem with the bent pulley system (brackets) since I have found so many with the same problem. Kind of hard to be stranded with that issue. Can't even use the car to keep warm if it is cold out until help comes. Shabby business practices with that one. I am also concerned with the tranny. Trannys should generally last a long time when taken care of, and this car has been.

So two things that are major with this year and style: Tranny and the bent pulley system brackets.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 5th July, 2010

5th Jul 2010, 20:54

I think I know what is causing the bent pulley brackets you are seeing.

You are right. The belt is a serious problem, and should be a recall in my opinion. What I have seen is that the pivot bearing on the tensioner freezes, then the belt breaks, then a mechanic forces a new belt in place because he doesn't know the spring tensioner is even there, let alone frozen. The force required to get the new belt in place far exceeds the strength of the mounting brackets. They bend of course.

I was passing a line of cars at high speed when my belt broke. I was sore for weeks from the strain of controlling the Caravan without power steering (much harder than a normal car), so then I set out to check all my relative's Caravans.. Almost every one had frozen pivot bearings. I checked my out of town guests that had just broken a belt on the freeway. They had it replaced, but sure enough the pivot bearing was frozen solid.. The new belt was way over tightened. We tried to free up the pivot with a hammer, but couldn't. We replaced it and sawed the old one in half.. There was no sign of lube of any kind in that pivot, just a little corrosion (same as mine).

Since then I have seen several more just like that. Sometimes a drop of oil and some exercising fixes it. I think they are underestimating the work that pivot must do, and the danger when it fails. In spite of that, I love my Caravan.

Average review marks: 6.7 / 10, based on 23 reviews