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Forum topic by ajosephg posted 1045 days ago 1230 views 0 times favorited 58 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ajosephg

1850 posts in 2186 days


1045 days ago

Thinking about buying a gently used mini van with a lot of toys.

They are priced way below the Honda and Toyota offerings.

Any LJ’s have experience with these? Especially interested in how the transmissions hold up. I seem to recollect that in the 90’s they had big problems.

-- Joe


58 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15683 posts in 2843 days


#1 posted 1045 days ago

Not personally, but my good friend and neighbor recently sold one his family had been driving for 10 years. He raved about it, and said he hated to get rid of it.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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David Grimes

2072 posts in 1264 days


#2 posted 1045 days ago

They are rated well and have been for years. They kind of started the mini-van thing. I have known many people that had them and have never heard any complaints or of a lemon. Should make you a fine ride.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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489tad

2276 posts in 1636 days


#3 posted 1045 days ago

Joe you are in luck. I just so happen to have one sitting in my driveway that is for sale! 06 Touring with 73,000 (aprox) miles. Anyway, the van has been great. Plenty of room. The seats fold down so in the event you come across some 8’x 4’ or smaller it will fit. Mechanically both engine and transmission have given me no trouble. Good gas milage. My brother bought one new in the 90’s. He put heavy duty rear springs in the back for when they loaded up for travel or pulling his trailer. Both his kids used it and he sold it not too long ago. No real troubles with his. We just inherited a newer family vehicle so the van will go. I’m sure you can find one in your area but if you want to head north to Chicagoland let me know. Good luck!

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

398 posts in 1819 days


#4 posted 1045 days ago

I had a Caravan in the mid 90’s. The transmission went on that one while we were on vacation. The local dealer put a new one in for free since it was still under warranty. The new transmission lasted until we sold it 150K later. Great little van, lot’s of room inside to store stuff with seats out. Takes a 4×8 sheet with a little hanging out. I think the bigger version took it with the hatch closed.

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ajosephg

1850 posts in 2186 days


#5 posted 1045 days ago

Thanks all for the feedback.

Dan – thanks, but I am thinking something about 1 or 2 years old. I drove through a number of lots yesterday (local dealers are closed on Sunday, so you can do a survey without a salesman jumping on your bones), and to my surprise, found many.

Anybody want a 2002 Trailblazer with 175k on it? Long wheelbase, leather, 2WD, excellent cond. Replaced alternator last summer, water pump a few months ago, tires have about 30k left. Actually, I don’t want to sell it to a friend. I suspect it may have a heater core leak and the cost to replace same is almost $1000.

-- Joe

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Howie

2656 posts in 1548 days


#6 posted 1045 days ago

I had a Plymouth in the 90’s. 153k and no problems. In 2005 I bought a new caravan.(traded my Lincoln Town Car for it) it has over 90k and no problems. I would buy another one tomorrow if I was in the market.
My only suggestion would be sure and get the long wheelbase so you can lay a sheet of PW flat and all the way in.

-- Life is good.

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ajosephg

1850 posts in 2186 days


#7 posted 1045 days ago

@Howie – I assume that if you get the 3 rows of seats option you automatically get the long wheelbase?

I don’t expect to haul anything, or even put the seats down. We often travel with 5 adults with luggage so need 3 rows of seats with some room behind for luggage, etc.

-- Joe

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TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2301 days


#8 posted 1045 days ago

We have a 2003. Probably about 50K on it now. Only real complaint is the brakes. Going down hill the transmission doesn’t seem to have any compression hold the vehicle back, It has D, 3 and L, no 2nd, so it just free wheels. We normally get 60 to 70,000 out of a new cars original brakes, but this T&C needed them at 20K!! ;-(( Did them again in the mid 40’s ;-(( Other than that, no complaints. A friend had one in the 90s that he could not keep a transmission in. That seems to have been solved.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1467 posts in 2190 days


#9 posted 1045 days ago

Hey Joe,
I have been driving these minivans since 1988 (Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth), a new one approx. every two years. My current 2010 has been in the shop the most, harder on tires and the transmission is leaking @ 70K miles. The last one was a 2008 model and was never in the shop. Also not sure when they changed but the newer ones are all longer wheelbase, the don’t make the short ones anymore.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

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Howie

2656 posts in 1548 days


#10 posted 1045 days ago

@Tim, hate to see a grown man cry but I just took the original rear tires off my 2005 at 82k. They still had tread but I was afraid of dry rot. The spare has never been on the ground.
@Joe…the stow and go is the solution. If you need to haul something just drop the seats into the floor. I went from a Lincoln and Chevy S-10 to my Caravan and frankly I like the van better. It has everything the Lincoln had and was 20k cheaper! The S-10 was a loser. Do your homework and choose wisely and I feel you will be real happy with a T&C.

-- Life is good.

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1850 posts in 2186 days


#11 posted 1040 days ago

I rented a 2012 Town & Country (with most of the toy options) today for a 300 mile day trip.

I think I’m hooked. Love the 6 speed trany and the option to drive in an economy or performance mode. It also got almost 25 mpg.

It totally beats a Kia that I test drove. (Problem is that there is a humongous cost difference between the two.)

-- Joe

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1264 days


#12 posted 1040 days ago

... as well there should be. I think you’ll be happy with the T & C.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View rsdowdy's profile

rsdowdy

105 posts in 1821 days


#13 posted 1040 days ago

ajosephg,

I bet you wonder what I do for 70 hours a week for a job. Well, I’m a salesmanager and have been selling cars for 17 years. We have owned 3 Chrysler vans since the 90s. When we bought our first one the -fact- that Chrysler had terrible transmissions was established, but the vans were priced 5400.00 under the competition, and you could buy your next factory transmission installed for 2200. Well, I’m not a math wiz, but it made since to buy them for our family: 1st van replaced transmission at 92k and sold it at 280k mi, 2nd replaced trans at 115 and put 360k on it, 3rd van made it to 290k before the trans went and we decided to put it out to pasture. So I am a believer in Chrysler vans. Chrysler also started the minivan market as well. Do I sell Chryslers? No, Fords, but I did sell them for 7 years and think for the money, you cant beat the van. Now if you don’t plan on putting alot of miles on the van, and plan to replace it in 2 or 3 years, nothing will hold it’s value like the Honda, and then the Toyota follows just after. So your best value in that case would be to buy a Honda knowing you will be recouping your investment. But if you are going to keep it 4+ years, and will put more than 15k mi a year on it then buy the Chrysler. If you have any more questions, please let me know. Now is a good time to get a Chrysler van at invoice pricing, if you need help in going about that, just let me know.

Royal

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RibsBrisket4me

1376 posts in 1130 days


#14 posted 1040 days ago

Funny thing is I only replaced two transmissions in my life. Both in MOPAR products. A 1988 K-car and a 1997 Dodge Intrepid. I heard that the Chrysler trans fluid is very thin and if trans service is done @ 30K mile WITH MOPAR ATF there are very few issues. Most of us do not service the trans that often and when I did, the mechanic put in Dextron. WRONG!!!!! Both trans went south before 90K miles for me. Hope this helps.

-- http://www.PictureTrail.com/gid6255915

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1850 posts in 2186 days


#15 posted 1039 days ago

Royal – I tend to keep cars a long time and drive quite a bit. For example I am trading an ‘02 Trailblazer with 180k miles, so your scenario regarding the Chrysler is a good choice. I am also obsessive about good PM, which in the long run has paid off for me. I’ve never had a catastrophic engine failure and only one tranny in a ‘79 Chev. conversion van. (And that wasn’t catastrophic, as I found clutch debris in the pan while doing a trans service.

I’ll let you know if I need some help on pricing.

Todd – hopefully MOPAR has solved their trans issues. I think the 6 speed (introduced in 2011 model year) is completely different from the older ones, but so far I haven’t heard of any failures. As I said before, I’m totally impressed with the 6 speed. It even automatically downshifts when going down steep hills on cruise control to keep the speed at the set point.

-- Joe

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