1998 Dodge Caravan Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1998 Dodge Caravan as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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32
Known Problems

Illuminated of the airbag warning light may be caused by a lost connection between the clockspring (behind the steering wheel) and the steering wheel-mounted electrical components. Other steering wheel-mounted controls like the horn, speed (cruise) control, or radio controls (if equipped) may be inoperative. There is a lifetime warranty on the clockspring as specified in a combination of recall campaigns. For more information on these recalls please us the following links; 1996-1998 models, please click here». For 1998-2000 models, please click here»

A dirty throttle body may cause low engine idle speed or frequent stalling, as oily residue blocks air flow in the throttle when the throttle is closed. Throttle body cleaning may be necessary to correct this condition. Our technicians caution against spraying cleaner directly onto the throttle body as this may damage the throttle position sensor (TPS).

A malfunctioning switch in the steering column can cause the front windshield wipers to self-activate or not turn off. A failed windshield switch will require replacement.

An oil leak from the oil filter adapter may be evident. Dodge has made a revised oil filter adapter is available.

Worn sway bar bushings or sway bar end links may cause a rattling or clunking noise from the front suspension during low-speed driving. Though not always the root cause, front struts are often replaced for this condition.

Oil leaks at the valve cover gaskets and cam plugs at the rear of the cylinder heads are common.

One or more power windows may stop working due to a failed window motor or regulator. In some cases these items are replaced as a set. If not, diagnoses will be required to determine which is at fault.

An engine Oil leak may develop at the cam sensor o-ring seal. Our technicians tell us this is often misdiagnosed as an external head gasket leak.

Defective speed sensors on the transmission can cause problems with the cruise control and speedometer operation, as well as erratic shifting. The connectors on the sensors can corrode and/or the connector terminals can spread (poor connection), which will create similar symptoms. Any of these problems can cause Check Engine Light illumination.

 

Timing cover oil and coolant leaks are common, this can cause an oil and coolant intermix which can damage the engine. Our technicians recommend to replace the timing chain and cam sprocket if the timing cover is removed to reseal - or for any other reason.

Hood misalignment, cowl cover misalignment, wiper module drain tube(s), and/or the lower plenum drain hose may cause the HVAC housing to leak water onto the passenger side floor. Diagnoses will be required to confirm the location of a water leak in the front passenger area.

Intermittently, the key may not start the car or release from the ignition. If it is excessively worn, replace the key. If the new key doesn't work, replacing the lock cylinder including tumblers should correct this concern.

A momentary loss of power steering can occur when the AC or defroster is on during high humidity conditions. This is due to condensation from the evaporator draining onto the serpentine belt.  To fix the problem, a spout on the AC evaporator drain and a new serpentine belt should be installed. Some vehicles may need a revised serpentine belt tensioner.

A loose timing chain on early models will produce a rattle (in the front of the engine) because the chain hits the guide. The timing chain should be replaced (the cam sprocket should always be replaced at the same time). Remove and discard the timing chain guide; on later V6 models, the guide has been eliminated.

Some vehicles may develop a musty odor coming from the HVAC system, Dodge has issued a cleaner/disinfectant and a coating for the evaporator designed to inhibit bacterial growth.