1997 Dodge Grand Caravan Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1997 Dodge Grand 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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Known Problems

There have been reports of premature head gasket failure; an updated gasket design is available to correct this problem.

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.

If the heater is on and no heat is felt from the right side dash vents, there may be a problem with the blend air door shaft; a revised part is available to address this concern.

The auxiliary heater hose connections (that are routed to the rear heater under the vehicle) can develop coolant leaks.

Timing cover oil and coolant leaks are common, the oil and coolant don't normally mix. Our technicians recommend to replace the timing chain and cam sprocket if the timing cover is removed to reseal - or for any other reason.

A problem with the sliding door track and door stops can allow the door to slide out of the track and fall off the vehicle. This is more common when doors are opened fast and allowed to hit the stops with a lot of force.

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.

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.

Coolant leaks coming from the underbody on vehicles equipped with rear heat/AC are common. The underbody hoses should be inspected as part of regular maintenance. If you drive on roads where salt is prevalent the problem is generally more severe. Some 2005 models are involved in a special service action, no government recall was issued.

When braking during low speeds (under 10 MPH), the brake pedal may vibrate and the ABS hydraulic unit may cause a rumbling noise. This is caused by a momentary loss of the wheel speed signal to the ABS controller. Adjusting or replacing the wheel speed sensor will commonly fix this problem.

The door ajar light may illuminate and chime during driving, even when the sliding door is closed. Often, this is caused by a faulty switch in the C-pillar; a revised switch is available.

Misalignment of the accessory pulleys or a faulty drive belt tensioner may cause a chirping or squeaking sound while the engine is running. In If the replacing the belt tensioner does not correct the noise, the alternator pulley may require replacement.

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.

 

The airbag warning light may remain illuminated while the ignition switch is in the "on" position. This can be caused by water that has entered into the airbag six-way connector in the engine compartment.

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.