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1995 Dodge Caravan Review, Minivamaximan


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Grand Caravan


 Model of the car:Grand Caravan
 General comments:I have always liked the power of the 3.3 V6. Never had driven anything so big, so quickly -- especially with family of 6 loaded.
But, oh the problems!
* Air conditioner compressor seized up one day, taking serpentine belt with it. $1200
* Transmission died at 130K miles. (We got by a few months with warning signs -- but people stare when you throw your car into park in middle of the road, turn it off and restart it to get it to go into a gear.) $1800 last summer for a bargain basement rebuild. (My little sister was envious that as a father of 4 I got a sizeable advance child tax credit. It went straight into the hands of my neighbor's transmission shop!) I later noticed that every trans shop in town always has 3 or 4 chrysler minivans on their lots at all times -- right up to very late models. (The newer vans have been totally remade bodywise, but my impression is the same old troubled tranny lurks under the sleek rounded hoods.)

* Right at 100K miles -- the driver door literally was about to fall off the car, when door post broke at upper hinge. I wrote a letter to chrysler saying that was just beyond the pale for a car that young. They said take a hike, of course. $100 to body shop guy on his lunch hour (he said he could do 'em with one hand behind his back, he's done so many.)

* Headlights get dimmer by the year. Check voltage
 What things have gone wrong with the car:If you're a driveway mechanic like me, you'll just _love_ changing those spark plugs. (To think I used to mutter about the back cylinders in my dad's chevy v8...!)
There are certain gotchas that will getcha sooner or later. Put a cigar box in the car and toss in a dollar for every trip to the store to save up for your transmission rebuild.
 Previous car:I just bought a 2004 KIA minivan for my wife. Now the Caravan is my work-commute car. Frankly, going back and forth between the two ... the Dodge still holds its own in performance and comfort. (We haven't had a drag race yet -- I know I'd win because the







Review 1995 Dodge Caravan Minivamaximan
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