My van has the 3.3 litre V6 engine with the 4 speed trans. with overdive. It's not a good tranny as you've read here. The rebuilder said it's similar to unit fitted in the old Dodge Omni and Horizon compacts from the 80's. Guess they had lots of spares. You can expect to replace it about every 40 000 miles. The engine is very good actually, I never had much trouble with it other than a head gasket being replaced once. The ABS system failed at around 150000 miles and it was under warranty for life, low cost repair.
What a great vehicle. I bought in '98 with about 45,000 miles and "commuted" from LA to Vancouver - up to 10 times a year! 2 long days of driving. I am tall, lowered the driver's seat 2 inches, took out the back seats and made a comfortable, almost queen size bed, good for a "micro motor home". Good fuel economy with the 3L engine. The a/c pump is about all I've had trouble with. Engine and tranny are great, after 13 years. Change brakes and tires, oil & tranny fluid - that's it. Thanks, Chrysler, for a great vehicle.
This was the first of two Dodge Caravan purchases. The 1993 has 192,000 miles and the 1996 has 152,000 miles. Both have the 3.0 engine. In both vehicles, the engines are extraordinarily reliable with VERY FEW repairs. On the other hand, both have needed transmissions within 70,000 miles and each van has had three transmissions (two replacements each). Neither vehicle was used in towing or hill climbing nor have they been overloaded. Both were used for daily commuting on the FLAT Chicago area roadways. If it weren't for the poor transmission quality, these would be outstanding vehicles.
At 70,000 miles it started leaking oil; was told the problem was blowby, which can only be fixed by replacing engine (I have been told by more than one mechanic that this is fairly common for Caravans like mine). I've been able to live with the oil leak, but now at 133,000 miles the transmission is going out. Talking with other caravan owners, transmission problems are very common. Before buying an older Caravan I would make sure to have a mechanic check out the transmission carefully.