1997 Dodge Grand Caravan SE from North America - Comments

31st Dec 2002, 15:41

The ol' starter gave us a heck of a deal this holiday.. same problems as you guys.

Roy D. Mercer ain't happy.

2nd Jan 2003, 09:54

Our 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan has been in to the dealer for repairs 15 times in 4 years/8 months with very similar (some identical) problems:

4/21/97 Interior lights not working

10/17/97 Brake recall (supposedly fixed)

Replaced door lock activator and plunger assembly

10/21/97 Brakes locked up. Had to be towed.

Removed master cylinder piston, cleaned out old fluid and re-lubed parts; reinstalled master cylinder and removed excess fluid.

7/20/98 Brakes shimmying;

Resurfaced front rotors and replaced front pads.

Replaced CD player.

Replaced under seat storage drawer.

3/18/99 Replaced sliding door latch and motor assembly.

Replaced rear brake shoes and resurfaced drums.

8/16/99 Replaced door latch and rods (again)

9/9/99 wouldn’t start; dash gauges worked randomly;

Door locks buzzed and wouldn’t work AGAIN

Replaced battery (said it was all due to low voltage)

4/7/00 Tire blow out; new tire and rim.

3/28/01 Van overheated and had to be towed

Replaced serpentine belt and tensioner (Belt was stripped and tensioner was binding) Replaced drain plug (stripped).

3/28/01 cont…

Replaced water pump (Bearing failed).

Replaced front brake pads and resurfaced rotors.

Resurfaced the rear drums and cleaned the shoes.

8/30/01 Replaced clockspring.

11/7/01 Replaced cooling fan relay.

Replaced multifunction switch because windshield wipers would go on for no apparent reason, although they couldn’t find any reason for this.

A/C works sporadically; they found no apparent reason.

1/02 Tire blowout.

4/17/02 Recall: Rail Fuel replaced.

7/03/02 Wouldn’t start / Replaced battery.

7/02 Tire blowout; same place as before (right front), although a different tire.

10/2/02 Wouldn’t start / Replaced starter.

12/3/02 Wouldn’t start / Replaced starter again.

At the present time, December 30, 2002, my brakes squeak, the dealer says they are “glazed” and need to be resurfaced. The van makes a squeaking noise when going over speed bumps, the dealer says the “control arms are worn and has soft struts”.

This report does not include routine oil changes, etc.

21st May 2003, 06:01

I just replaced the transmission in my 1997 grand caravan due to a fluid leak. I also have replaced the air conditioner, the thermostat, and now the fan motor relay is out. (It's leaked oil for 3 years, I just can't afford to fix it.) I have spent in excess of $3,000.00 in the last two years. I will not be buying another Dodge!

4th Sep 2003, 05:15

I have had to replace the serpentine belt on my 97 three times. Also replaced the pulley and tensioner twice.

I also have the wipers going on randomly, the clock spring replaced, etc. plus lots of minor annoying problems...

5th Jul 2004, 10:01

Our Dodge grand caravan has had many problems all these that are listed and... A little more... In the last three years the brakes have had to be replaced due to manufacturing recall problema. The last two times were 5 months from each other. This Van cannot be trusted as a family vehicle as you never know if it is safe to go into traffic. We went to a family function an hour away and the brakes just went out and we were in the middle of heavy traffic. No warning or anything.

16th Oct 2004, 16:11

I don't know what you guys are all complaining about. I have owned Two Dodge Grand Caravan's and currently own a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan. I love this van and it drives great and I have had no problems what so ever with either of the vans. I love my 1997 model as it is great to look at and is very room and comfortable. It has 133,000 miles on it and I have faced no problems. You just have to take care of your car and maintain it. You can't expect a car no to give you trouble if you don't maintain it. I will surely be buying another Grand Caravan in the future.

28th Dec 2004, 06:31

I'm sort of on the line with this one. I too have a 1997 Caravan SE and I love the ride, comfort and convenience.

I had the following problems:

All letters lit up on gear shift. They replaced the switch on the transmission. No more problem.

Steering wheel functions went out, cruise, air bag, etc. They replaced the clockspring under a recall. No more problem.

Head gasket leaking problems...twice. But after the second time, at about 100K miles, everything went south. I ended up buying an engine from a salvage yard and having a neighborhood mechanic replace the whole thing. That was almost a deal breaker for me, but the rest of the vehicle was in too good of shape to junk the whole thing.

Power steering pump went out.

Now, at 130K miles, everything seems to be stable again. I have a check engine light, but I know it's one of the two oxygen sensors, so I just put black tape over the light.

I have had no transmission problems yet... fingers crossed.

I'm going to run it until either the tranny dies or the engine goes again... then, it will go to the junkyard.

I don't know if I'll buy another Caravan... I think I'll go with a Toyota.

30th Dec 2004, 06:10

Yes we are having transmission problems also. It seems to be slipping in and out of gear at highway speed. Of course it finally blew so we had it repaired. Guess what, two weeks later it has started to do the same thing again.

Nice wipers, fortunately it is the rear wiper on our Caravan that is possesed, starting and stopping when it pleases.

This is our last Dodge!

20th Feb 2005, 08:26

My 97 Caravan the other day had the door locks start locking and unlocking and the interior lights kept coming on an off, then the door ajar light came on,now the interior lights stay on with the door ajar light on. Please tell me what this is all about, unhappy customer.

23rd Mar 2005, 18:57

My 97 Grand Caravan LE has had the serpentine belt, tensioner and bracket replaced 3 times. Symptom of a bad serpentine belt is a LOUD squeal. A bad tensioner and bracket creates a loud chirping sound. WD40 gives temporary relief.

I figured I had a friendly ghost who was saying hello every time the wiper came on by itself, I always say hello back.

Transmission still leaks, had it fixed once, but now I just keep an eye on the fluid level.

Cassette player ate my favorite tape the day I drove it home (used, at 35,000 miles). I don't use it anymore.

Electric door lock on rear passenger door works when it feels like it, but we can work around that.

Even now at almost 100,000 miles. it has never failed to start and has never left me stranded.

Wish I had it when the kids were much younger, we'd have taken more vacations. Great for long trips, very comfortable. The kids love the rear climate controls and plug-in for their CD players. Grand Caravan has plenty of leg and head room for my TALL 16, 18 & 20 yr. olds. I'm still hauling them and their friends around in comfort.

Make sure to get the tinted windows, keeps the van cooler in the summer. Head rests are a must, too.

Love it and will miss it when I no longer need a vehicle this large. Will certainly consider a Dodge for my next vehicle.