1999 Dodge Grand Caravan SE 3.3 V6 from North America
Belt/pulley design on this van is flawed and a major safety hazard, Chrysler should recall
Malfunction sliding door lock at delivery.
Transducer sensor (input) fault at 20,000 miles. It caused erratic acceleration while driving. All meters display erratically.
Transducer sensor (output) fault right after warranty expired at 38,000 miles.
Replace belt tensioner (and belt) at 42,000 miles. Dealer said the tensioner is close to lose all the strength.
Serpentine belt came off while driving at a rainy day with couple inch deep water on some sections of road. Around 43,000 mile.
I thought this minivan was a fairly good people mover. It is roomy and comfortable at front and middle seats.
Honestly, the dependability was better than I thought during warranty period. It had only one sensor problem while driving. However, I am not so optimistic after warranty expired.
But one thing changed my mind, the serpentine belt. The belt came off while I drove in a rainy day (with 2 to 3 inch deep water on some roads). I thought it was because the dealer didn't install the belt tensioner and belt right which wasn't too long ago. But the dealer put the belt back on and told me that the belt for this van is easy to come off if you drive in deep water! Another dealer confirmed this and said several same vans towed in because of this. This really surprised me!
The serpentine belt is the only belt driving all the accessories, including power steering, water pump, alternator, etc. Without power steering, this van is hard to control. (Fortunately I was driving slowly on a local street.) Whatever the condition is, I think the belt should NOT come off at all. If it has a chance to happen, it is a major safety hazard, and Chrysler should recall the flawed belt/pulley design.
This van is supposed to be a safe family van, but now it carries a major safety hazard. My wife drove the van most of the time, now she is scared to drive it when it rains.
I will keep the van for now (it's a big lose to sell it since it drops in value greatly), but find a replacement car for family use. I won't recommend this van to anyone with whole family's safety in mind before Chrysler is really willing to address the problem.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 22nd October, 2002
16th Dec 2002, 01:37
I own a 1999 Dodge Caravan and had the same experience. While driving through standing water on a rainy day, the belt came off. The loss of power steering was the first indication of trouble. Shortly thereafter the overheating light and beeping alarm started.
This is certainly a problem and Dodge should remedy it. It's hard to imagine anywhere this car could be used without the chance of splashing through a puddle of standing water and risking the loss of steering control.
I do not, however, consider it a "hazardous" condition since anyone traveling at high speeds through standing water can't be protected from themselves.
If I were in the market for another van and someone offered a 1999 Dodge Caravan with this belt unrepaired, I would not buy again.