15th Oct 2008, 14:11

I have a 97 Dodge Grand Caravan with 126000 miles so far. It's the biggest piece of s... t I have ever bought - many, many problems.

AC repaired 3 times, serpentine belt, water and fuel pumps changed - hoses leaks - now the transmission went out on me and will cost $1200 to rebuild.

Never again will I buy a Dodge.

15th Oct 2008, 21:18

My 1997 Caravan has been good to me, other than regular maintenance and a trans rebuild at 134000 miles, the only other problem I have had is the radio clicking on and off to the point of not working at all; does anybody know how to correct the problem? The speakers are OK, as also is the radio, seems to be a module or wiring situation, anybody have any suggestions?

28th Mar 2009, 12:39

I am looking at a 1997 Dodge Caravan - not so sure now.

There are a lot of people on this site who have brake problems. I had a Chrysler Cirrus and had to get brakes like three times in a year or so. It turned out it was the ABS system burning out the regular brakes.

I pulled the fuse on the ABS system, and the problem was solved, just like that. When you pull the fuse on the ABS, your car just uses your regular brake system only.

9th Apr 2009, 14:39

I have had my 97 Dodge Caravan since 2003. Since that time, I have repair the air. Replaced the radio, replaced the brakes, rotors and cylinders many times. and rebuilt the transmission at roughly 135,000 miles. Went to an after market belt adapter that has ribs on both sides to stop the belt "spin off" when wet. The drivers side window is permanently closed now due to the electric window motor burning out after the cable broke. BUT!, I now have nearly 225,000 miles and the vehicle runs like a champ, doesn't burn oil and passes inspection every time. Even with 3 year old plugs!!

So there you have it. I have mixed emotions about this van. I bought it cheap and paid cash. It hauls anything nearly. I have literally used it like a truck and I have packed it full of kids with great results.

So I guess it depends on your outlook. It's a comfy van and is a real work horse, but it does have issues.

27th Apr 2009, 10:08

I own a 1996 and 1997 Dodge Caravan. Yes they do tend to have problems on occasion. I also understand that I purchased these vans USED. I have had to do very little to either except for regular maintenance. The 1996 has 240,000 miles on it and the 1997 has 150,000 miles on it. I work for a used car dealer and let me tell ya, I don't care if you buy GM, FORD, Chrysler Etc. Everyone is going to have some type of issue once it hits a certain mileage. I see it everyday. So it is not only Chrysler that has mechanical issues.

4th Jul 2009, 08:53

Of the Detroit 3, Chrysler is the least reliable and suffers from poor quality. They use cheap plastics in their vehicles. We own a '97 Dodge Grand Caravan SE and have had several problems and will not buy another Chrysler vehicle.

- Air conditioning stopped working in Summer 2006, which caused button lights to blink on the center console

- Cassette jammed in cassette player, which makes a horrible noise

- Oil leak

- Transmission surges sometimes (this is a replacement transmission)

- Trunk lid lock broken.

23rd Jul 2009, 10:02

I love my 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan. The big engine and comfy captain seats are the best. I only wish the guys who did the engine also did the electrical systems. Wipers run randomly. Dashboard blinks out randomly. Radio left speaker works when you pound on it. All are costly to keep the dealer people working on these mysterious things. Engine computer cost $1000 to fix and now only works when you pound on the dashboard.

11th Sep 2009, 16:17

I purchased my 1997 Grand Caravan new. It now has 147,000. The transmission failed at 130,000 and was replaced for $1600. The wipers will occasionally come on and stop on their own. I have replaced several serpentine belts and they seem to come off easily in heavy rain. One interior light stopped working and came on for a short time before failing again. Overall, the motor seems reliable and I have not had AC issues yet. My wife still loves the van and wants to keep it a few more years so hopefully we will not run into any additional major issues.

12th Sep 2009, 21:27

I have had 2 Dodge Grand Caravans in the last 9 years, and I love em.

My first one was a 99 that I bought in May of 2000, with 10,000 miles on it, and it lasted until May of 2004 when somebody turned left in front of me and I hit them doing 30 mph. The van at that point had 171,000 miles on it, and ran like a champ. I had the mysterious wipers on mine and the only parts that the car went through was and EGR solenoid, speed sensor, and 3 master cylinders. Of course the usual brakes and rotors and tires, but other than that an a+++ van.

The other one I have now is a 97 with 232,000 miles on it and that one has blown its tranny up twice and now has electrical gremlins, but is still a great van. I've put 100,000 miles on it in 3 years and used it and its predecessor hard, but they have stood up well to the abuse.

The 3.3 motor is an iron horse - tough to kill. (Just go to youtube and look up chrysler cash for clunkers. They put 4 quarts of sodium silicate into it to seize it and it still wouldn't stop all the way! It could still rotate and almost start.)

But I will say those vans got regular maintenance and that is most of the battle.

22nd Aug 2010, 18:12

I'm a single parent, and needed a cheap ride. We bought this 1997 Grand Caravan SE for about 3.000.00.

The second day the electric window suddenly came straight down. Thinking it simply came off its track, I opened it up and saw it was much worse than that. Long story short, took it to the shop and had it fixed for around 225.00. A year to the date, the same thing, same window. Three months, same thing, same window. I don't deliver papers and don't smoke in the van. Only time I use it is at drive thrus, and to spit once in a great while!

The windshield lights blinked from the time we bought it, so I thought nothing of this, then the air bag lights started coming on, as well as the check engine light. Took it to the shop, and they couldn't figure it out, so off we went to Dallas from Arlington, and the engine just stopped, so we had it towed back to the shop. Turns out it was electrical.

Then the air con. light and blower light began to flash, yet we had all the comforts; didn't think too much of it. Two weeks ago, got on the freeway (which costs you these days) LOL and it got to about 40, then slipped into neutral (seemed like). Let it slow down to about 30, then I went back into gear. Had it towed again. Checked all the fuses, then went to have it hooked up @ Auto zone and they said the speed sensor circuit & transmission control module failed. What to do... Not happy with Dodge at all!

27th Oct 2010, 18:27

The weirdest thing about my 1997 Dodge Caravan is that the serpentine belt seems to come off in heavy rain. It's the weirdest thing! That belt has come off 4 times! And it's a pain to put it back on!

The 2 power windows don't work, but that belt is such a pain that I don't even think about the windows.