1997 Dodge Grand Caravan LE 3.3 from North America


Wish they still made the '97 - Loving it at 188K miles - Can't wait to see it hit 200K!


Fuel pump made a strange noise around 90K miles - Figured I'd fix it proactively - didn't actually go out.

Mopar Belt Tensioner stuck around 110K miles - put on NAPA one - built much more solid.

Power steering pump out around 110K as well - $300ish at the dealer.

After power steering pump, the van had the belt falling off problem in water/slush/snow - Dealer was worthless with that problem - found a GM pulley that fixed that problem - haven't had it since.

Gauges occasionally lockup (1-2x per month at it's worst, but only a couple of months a year - IE 4x per year, and they come in spurts, but it hasn't happened in a while) - I simply pull the IOD fuse to reset them, then things return to normal. - I'm living with that one.

Axle seal at 186K - $180 dealer fixed it.

Wheel bearing at 150K? - $60 fixed it myself - EASY job.

Wiggle/tire balancing problems - they say it's the wheels, I say it's bad tires - Had it bigtime with Goodyear Regatta 2's, then switched to Assurance Tripletreads - Didn't ever have it with those tires, then put on cheap Goodyears - problem came back after about 15K miles, - Belt separated in one of the tires - put back on Tripletreads all around and it handles perfectly again.

General Comments:

I love our van - works great - rides excellent - couple of rattles, etc at 188K miles, but wouldn't every car?

Tranny has been perfect (surprisingly) - Never had to do major work beyond fluid changes (USE ATF+4!!!) at 60, 90, 120, 150, and soon at 190). - Sometimes it shifts funny (IE slow downshifts, etc, but that is usually remedied by pulling the IOD fuse and letting the trans computer re-learn how to shift - problem goes away immediately)

A/C and Heater are good to excellent - around town, the A/C will work to keep up - on the highway it has no problems at all. - Heater is OK at idle, but if you're moving at all (Engine off idle) it's excellent. - Took it on several trips at -30 and worse, - interior had no problem staying very warm. - Heater vents travel through the front doors - EXCELLENT - nothing like a warm door in the winter, and a cold door in the summer. - Wish they did that on the '01-current ones.

Infinity stereo is great.

Shocks are still original and giving no problems (No bobbing down the road).

Fuel economy is good - 20-30MPG easily achieved down the highway depending on speed - 70-75 = 20MPG - 55 MPH = 30MPG. - I've been very pleased with the mileage - mix of mostly town = 16-18MPG - way better than the 13-15 I got in my Cadillacs.

Power is acceptable - it will keep up with traffic easily - torque off the line is great, it dogs a little as the engine rev's up to the top, but it holds its own. - 3.8 is much faster, but economy suffers.

Body quality is good so far. - Couple of rattles in the rear doors, but it was great until about 130K - them small things, etc. - I haven't tried to fix them yet.

Roomy - 3rd row seat is great, 2nd row is nicely positioned. - Way better than the new '08 bodystyle, but I like the fold in the floor rear seat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th March, 2009

10th Sep 2009, 13:27

What GM belt tensioner did you use?

1997 Dodge Grand Caravan from North America


Rear window motors went at 65000.

Drivers side power window motor shot at 50,000, and again at 60,000.

Passenger power window went at 70,000.

Ding ding ding ding for 5 minutes after starting the car, began at 75,000.

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

Review Date: 11th February, 2009

10th Apr 2009, 13:52

I have the same issues with my 1997 doge Grand Caravan. Has anyone been able to find out what causes the ding ding ding?


12th May 2009, 10:28

My vehicle has 290,000 miles and just passed inspection (in NJ) struts finally went at 280,000. Car has been bullet proof and 27mpg on the highway has me smiling. A slight leak in the valve cover gasket has annoyed me for awhile but the CV joints are still original and boots are still intact. Gotta hand it to them I'm making all the Honda and Toyota van drivers envious.

22nd Jan 2013, 00:12

Most likely your gas gauge (even if the car has almost a full tank of gas).