Regular Maintenance yet problems persist
By Larry on
2003 Dodge Grand Caravan ES Fwd 4dr Minivan (3.8L 6cyl 4A)
Purchased at 22K (used) currently at 66K. On the way home after the purchase (no joke!) we noticed a transmission shudder on the 1-2 upshift. We now avoid the 1800- 1900rpm 1-2 upshift (at least 2000rpm). Also, tranny was leaking fluid in the garage so the dealership replaced the solenoid (at 52K). Overall, the tranny is very, very delicate and we do not tow/haul 7 passengers whatsover. The power steering fluid must be topped up/checked often or else it will scream. Also, links/bushings were replaced at 50K as well as tie rods replaced at 60K. The e-brake may not release causing the rear discs to drag. If this happens pump the brakes/work the release handle.
Love the 3.8L torque, effortless acceleration but weak past 75. Quick working heater and nice A/C performance. Good visibility too with a comfortable ride.
Of note the wipers are too slow in a downpour. The engine is bulletproof though the tranny is weak. I can't imagine not flushing it often. The new six-speed in the '09 must be better. First time Caravan owner and unfortunately the last one too. Bottom line: Quality is paramount.