1991-1995 Chrysler minivans: Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Town & Country
From the first year they were sold, the Caravan and Voyager were the most popular minivans; the Dodge Caravan had the sales lead and was Chrysler’s best-selling nameplate, a title it retained for many years. The Caravan and Voyager had the highest resale value in the small wagon segment; and Caravan and Voyager beat all competitors in 1990 customer satisfaction, despite being six years old and a quick-and-dirty extension of the Reliant. Two out of three Chrysler minivan owners bought another.
The Chrysler Town & Country, billed as the first luxury minivan (though it was hardly a luxury car), appeared in 1990; it provided a longer wheelbase and the 3.3 liter V6 engine, along with a soft-gathered leather interior and four-speed automatic transmission. All wheel drive was newly available for 1992 (as were an aerodynamic luggage rack, woodgrain delete, gold wheels, and standard Infinity II sound). The interior was soft cloth and gathered leather. Of some not, the V6 engine, entirely designed by Chrysler, was now producing 150 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque, essentially matching both the 318 V8 and the 2.2 Turbo I.
Caravan, Voyager, and Town & Country were extensively restyled for the first real change in its appearance since 1984. A huge number of body enhancements made the handling better and the interior more comfortable and refined. The size remained about the same, preserving maneuverability, garage-ability, visibility, seven-passenger capacity, low step-in height, and easy loading and unloading.
Tight budgets and the desire for all-wheel drive resulted in the loss of the manual transmission, which was never popular; and the base 2.2 disappeared in favor of a 2.5 liter four-cylinder (long-wheelbase models got a standard Mitsubishi V6). A new 3.3 liter Chrysler V6 and a four-speed automatic transmission were also available as an option on the Grand Voyager and all wheel drive models.
The LE got a tachometer, and all models got a 90-amp alternator. Four wheel antilock brakes were available with the 3.3 engine, and a trailer towing prep package was available with the V6/four-speed automatic. All but the base model had seats for seven passengers (the base model only had two rows of seats).
One big addition was all wheel drive, providing the Caravan, Voyager, and Town & Country with the same snow-bound utility as many SUVs (ground clearance was fairly high as well). All wheel drive (AWD) was only available on the Dodge-Plymouth versions in SE or LE trim.
When the minivans had taken off in sales, money was suddenly available to “do it right,” and the 1991 revision showed the results. The third generation — the first to completely leave the K base — took numerous iterations before it could match the 1991 models in comfort and performance. The 1991s were substantially more comfortable, with better aerodynamics, less noise, and a more confident feel on the road.
For most of this article we will refer to the three minivans just as "Voyagers" to make life easier. The three were practically identical save for trim and suspension tuning.
1991 suspension revisions
In 1991, nearly all Chrysler front wheel drive vehicles, and minivans, had major front suspension tuning changes to improve ride, cornering, and overall feel. The following changes were made:
- The roll center was raised by 3 inches, reducing body roll
- Caster was increased by 3° on passenger cars (less on minivans) to improve steering feel and to improve the lateral force provided by the outside tire when cornering, by reducing positive camber
- Steering geometry was revised to reduce toe change during suspension movement, which increased steering response and high-speed stability
- Steering geometry was also changed to allow the inside wheel to turn more sharply than the outside wheel during cornering
- Power steering valving was revised to be “tighter” — to increase responses to small movements
- The steering intermediate shaft and coupling were changed to eliminate torsional flexing
- Steering ratios changed from 14:1 to 16:1 on AA bodies, Shadow/Sundance, and Daytona
These changes involved changing:
- Strut towers — inclined to the rear to raise caster
- Front suspension cross member — changed for new lower control arm mounting
- Lower control arms — cast iron with front and rear bushings
- Struts — new spring rates and shock absorber valving
- Steering knuckles — modified for component mounting
- Anti-sway bar — enlarged by 1.5 mm
- New hub unit attaching to the steering knuckle with bults (replacing a pressed-on catridge type bearing that did not seal or last as well)
- New half-shaft boots using a new material, Hytrel, with greater durability.
|ENGINES||2.5 liter four||3.0 liter V6 (MMC)||3.3 liter V6|
|Displacement, (cu in.)||153||181.4||201.5|
|Bore and Stroke||3.44 x 4.09||3.59 x 2.99||3.66 x 3.19|
|Compression Ratio||8.9 to 1||8.9 to 1||8.9 to 1|
|Horsepower||100 @ 4,800||141@5000||150@4,800|
The 2.5 liter / three-speed automatic were standard on Voyagers without all wheel drive; the 3.3 liter with four-speed automatic was standard on Voyagers with all wheel drive and on Grand Voyagers. The 3.0 three-speed was optional on Voyager Base and SE, the 3.0 four-speed on Voyager SE and LE.
Voyagers without all wheel drive came with standard P195/75R14 tires; Grand Voyagers and all wheel drive Voyagers came standard with P205/70R15 tires. Conventional spares were optional. Fancier tires and wheels were optional but 15 inches were as big as the wheels got. The standard spare was a compact version, stored under the cargo floor; on all wheel drive models, stored under the rear seat. It was lowered via a winch from within the vehicle.
Instrument panel (Voyager LE shown with optional features)
The Voyager instrument panel was new for 1991 and features a black brushed finish cluster with color-keyed padded top, cubby bin, and new pull-out cup holders. A large speedometer, located above the steering column for easy reading by the driver, went up to 100 mph / 160 kph and included a trip odometer with pushbutton reset. Gauges were provided for fuel level and engine coolant temperature while warning lights monitored voltage and oil pressure. LE models and SE and base models with the Popular Equipment Package (Code AAB) featured a tachometer, and gauges replaced the warning lights for voltage and oil pressure. A "check gauges" light alerted the driver to extreme gauge readings. As in past years, there was little difference between Dodge and Plymouth.
Electronically controlled 4-speed automatic overdrive and engine stuff
The new A-604 was to get a horrible reputation, largely because Chrysler did not make it absolutely clear that the transmission required a special, friction-modified fluid and more frequent changes than in the past. The owner's manual said Dexron would do when ATF+3 was not available; the dipstick didn't warn of the consequences of Dexron any more than the manual.
The transmission was revolutionary, providing new standards of quietness, speed, and smoothness, in a compact and lightweight package. The world’s first fully adaptive electronic controls provided kick-down shifts with unmatched smoothness, thus giving the power train a more responsive feel with no increase in harshness. The adaptive controls compensated for changes in engine or friction element torque to provide good consistent shift quality for the life of the transaxle, which unfortunately tended to be fairly short.
Forward ratios were: 2.52, 1.57, 1.0, and 0.69 with lockup available in the 4th gear. The shift quadrant had six positions: P, R, N, D, 3, and L.
The TorqueFlite automatic transaxle featured wide-ratio first and second gears that provided quick acceleration from low to second to high. The TorqueFlite selector lever was mounted on the steering column and the P R N D 2 1 dial and indicator were located on the instrument panel.
TorqueFlite gear ratios are: first, 2.69 to 1; second, 1.55 to 1; third, 1.00 to 1; and reverse, 2.10 to 1. Overall top gear ratio was 3.22 to 1 with the 2.5-liter engine and 3.02 with the 3.0-liter engine.
A starter with permanent field magnets was used on all Plymouth Voyager models equipped with a 2.5-liter engine. The use of the six permanent magnets in the field assembly eliminates potential field-wire-to-frame electrical shorts that can occur in conventional wound-field starters. Starter reliability was also increased through the use of a flexible automated modular production line which assembles and completely tests the entire unit.
Rack-and-pinion power-assisted steering Voyager’s rack-and-pinion steering is engineered for good returnability and excellent stability-and a power assist is standard for low turning effort. As a result, steering effort-especially in parking maneuvers-is very low. A fast steering ratio reduces steering wheel turns to 3.1 revolutions over the entire steering range and provides responsive steering.
All Voyager models had power-assisted brakes- disc front, self-adjusting drum rear. A dual master cylinder with two separate diagonal braking systems provides extra braking safety. In addition, a body height-sensing valve kept front and rear braking balanced properly under all passenger and cargo load conditions.
The standard 500-ampere maintenance-free low-profile battery provided reliability and constant power.
Stereo and other stuff on the 1991 Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager
The top of the line stereo was the Infinity line, available in I and II variants; both had AM stereo, FM with seek and scan, cassette with tape program search, and ten speakers in six locations. Infinity II mainly added a graphic equalizer.
The turn signal lever was modified to allow a lane-change feature (light pressure brought temporary blinker action), which is now standard on all cars. Another now-common feature is the momentary high-beams activator for headlights. When the turn signal control lexer is pulled toward the driver.
Wiper blades had an airfoil element which adds aerodynamic pressure to help keep the wiper elements in contact with the glass at higher vehicle speeds. Arm-mounted washers used two nozzles which deliver a total of five streams of washer fluid across the glass. Included was an electronic control that can be set for wiper action delays of from 2 to 15 seconds. The intermittent wiping action was designed for use during light precipitation and misting, when normal wiping action would dry up the windshield and cause streaking.
The fuse block was altered to make fuse-changing easier, while big halogen headlights provided bright light.
The heater/defroster system included six adjustable outlets on the instrument panel to provide bi-level, forced air ventilation when the system is operated in the vent or bi-level mode. Four adjustable outlets were located on the facing of the instrument panel while two additional outlets were mounted astride the steering wheel, directly below the instrument cluster. The system included side window demisters in addition to the six panel outlets. Then fan had four speeds.
Quicker heater warmup was provided by bypassing the radiator and connecting the heater hoses directly to the water pump. Thus, coolant heated by the engine went directly to the heater during warmup without first passing through the radiator.
The electronically controlled liftgate window wiper/washer helps keep the rear window clear in all types of weather. The system is actuated by two switches conveniently located for the driver- one controls the fixed 6- to 10-second intermittent mode and the other activates the washer when held down. A washer fluid reservoir is mounted in the left rear quarter area and can be filled by raising the liftgate and removing the reservoir cap. The system has been engineered to provide a larger than normal wipe pattern for a larger field of vision.
The Voyager ignition lock and switch-and the tough fiberglass-filled nylon housing that surrounds them-are especially designed to reduce the possibility of car theft. The ignition lock housing contains an antitheft pin that makes forceful extraction of the lock mechanism difficult.
1991 minivan seating and stuff
Unibelt restraints were provided for all outboard seating positions. Outboard seat belts consist of a single belt for the lap and shoulder belts. These belts are attached to pillar-mounted retractors that are vehicle speed-sensitive. They lock up instantly during severe deceleration of the vehicle or in a collision. Low-tension retractors that make tension relievers unnecessary are provided. Also included are falling latchplates which always rest just above the seat cushion, against a button on the belt, when not in use. Lap belts were provided for the center position on the rear bench only.
After 1991 (we don’t have the year yet - 1993?), integrated child seats were added as an option. Considerably safer than strap-in seats, these were designed for infants, replacing front-facing seats over a fairly wide weight and height range. A fairly wide adjustment range made the seats useful for a long time, and the use of these seats may have saved many small lives, given that studies showed most strap-in infant and child seats were not installed correctly. (This was also long before vehicles were required to have standardized anchors in 2001.)
The driver's bucket seat could be moved a full 6.7 inches from front to rear on an inclined track. The seat moves higher as it is moved forward and lower as it is moved rearward. This full-range seat adjustment travel helps accommodate drivers of various sizes in comfort. Front bucket seatback recliners enable the driver and front-seat passenger to recline the seatbacks to numerous angles at increments of less than 1°. LE models featured an adjustable lumbar support on bucket seats. A lever mounted on the side of the seatback gave the occupant a choice of support settings.
Tinted glass cut down on glare and also helped to hold the inside temperature down on bright days.
Minivan body and such
Voyager's and Caravan's cargo compartment holds almost twice as much as the cargo compartment in some passenger-car station wagons, when the rear seats are removed; and the cargo compartment floor is wide enough between the rear wheel housings to accommodate a sheet of plywood 4 feet wide.
This wide-opening sliding side door had vertical exterior and redesigned interior door handles for good gripping and easy sliding of the door for opening and closing. A new childproof door lock was included and an outside key lock was standard. The door window glass was hinged at the front and had a flip-out latch at the rear for ventilation. The door was guided by three tracks with gliding rollers with premium sealed needle bearings for low effort operation. The door was stabilized when closed to prevent rattle and shake while the vehicle is moving.
Voyager and Caravan equipped with a scissors-type jack and jack supports on the sills near the four wheel openings. The jack supports have locating pins and engage the jack to help prevent the vehicle from slipping as it is raised. It is stored under the hood along with the combination jack handle/lug wrench.
The liftgate had two heavy-duty gas-pressurized cylinders to hold it open. The liftgate glass was fixed and incorporated a center, high-mounted stop light for safety's sake.
Air conditioner and such
The air conditioner had equipped a new, more efficient compressor with redesigned ducting. The air conditioning control panel had five pushbuttons and two sliding levers. A gentle push on any of these buttons activated a power mechanism. Sliding the temperature control lever to the extreme left caused air inside the vehicle to be recirculated. The bi-level feature put 70% of the air through the main vents (dashboard) and 30% through the floor (heater) vents. Likewise, Defrost put 70% through the defroster and 30% through the floor, while activating the air conditioner compressor to dry the air. The air conditioner compressor could also be activated by a simple on-off button, so that selecting the vents did not in itself turn on the a/c.
A second sliding lever on the panel labeled OFF and HI (with a fan symbol between) either shut off the system or controlled the fan speed. The OFF position disengaged both the blower motor and the air conditioner's compressor.
Fixed, louvered outlets in the garnish moldings at each end of the instrument panel bleed air from the air conditioning and heating systems onto the front door windows to keep the side windows clear.
1991 Chrysler minivan options
From Chrysler press materials:
The electrically heated rear defroster features an electrically heated grid in the liftgate window that defrosts and defogs the glass to improve visibility to the rear during inclement weather. A control switch on the instrument panel is close to the driver. An automatic timer turns the heating element off after approximately 10 minutes of operation.
The roof luggage rack will hold up to 150 pounds of luggage, making it ideal for extended vacations. NOTE: If 150 pounds are loaded on the roof rack, the gross cargo compartment capacity weight is reduced by the same amount.
The new forward console incorporates the new climate controls and also features an upper cubby bin and illuminated cigar lighter. A larger pull-out ash receiver and a new pull-out cup holder device are also included. The large lower pivoting storage bin with integral cassette holder provides additional storage.
Steering wheel-mounted switches operate the features of electronic speed control. An ACCEL feature has been added to allow a constant acceleration rate until the vehicle reaches the desired speed. When released, this is the new set speed. Tapping this button increases the set speed by two miles per hour. Multiple "taps" will be remembered by the system and speed increased accordingly. When the brakes are used to slow down, the speed control becomes disengaged-but a memory feature accelerates the mini van back to the preset speed when the switch is moved to the RESUME position. Electronic speed control uses an electronic microprocessor that adjusts the throttle position eight times per second-to control speed within one or two mph of the set speed. Also, when there is a sudden change in the ratio of engine speed to vehicle speed (through loss of traction), a safety feature immediately cuts off the speed control.
The tilt steering column can be adjusted to five different positions as it is tilted up and down. This enables the driver to select the column angle that is most comfortable-and to move the wheel up and out of the way when entering or leaving the driver's seat.
Voyager LE and Grand Voyager LE feature a lockable storage drawer located under the front passenger seat.
The console contains a mini trip computer, switches tor power vent windows, map/reading lights and storage compartments for a garage door opener and sunglasses. Additional reading lights are provided for second seat passengers. The mini trip computer provides vacuum fluorescent display for the compass and for the outside temperature readings. It also features a trip odometer, average and instantaneous fuel economy, distance to empty, and elapsed time functions.
The rear passenger compartment air conditioner/heater (whicih required front a/c) had two sets of upper level outlets in the left trim panel to deliver cooled, dehumidified air to the first and second rear seats. This included a 120-amp alternator but only activated when the main a/c was on.
Four-wheel antilock brakes were available.
A variable rate A/C compressor prevented moisture in the air from freezing on the surface of the system's evaporator and eliminated the noise and vibration of operation changes as well as variances in the outlet air temperature and the dehumidification of inside air.
Sunscreen privacy glass was dark-tinted glass for all Voyager and Grand Voyager windows except the windshield and front door windows-which had the regular tint that is standard on all Voyager windows.
Power windows for both front door windows was available, with low-travel, rocker switches. At one end of each switch, the surface of the switch has a raised portion or mound. The end opposite this has a depressed portion in its surface. By means of these surface variations, the driver or passenger can operate the switches by sense of touch.
The automatic power door locks were vehicle-speed-sensitive and activated at 15 mph. The driver's door could not be locked with the door switch if the key was left in the ignition.
The sliding side door now included a memory lock. With this feature, if the door was open when the power lock switch was pressed, the body computer "remembered" the switch position and carried out the command once the door was closed.
The six-way power driver's seat lets you adjust the driver's seat six ways-up, down, forward, rearward, plus tilting forward or rearward. Adjustments are made by three control buttons on the inboard side of the driver's seat. The center button moves the seat up and down, and front to rear. The end buttons tilt the seat forward or rearward.
Power rear quarter vent windows: a small electric motor at each window drives the operating mechanism through a cable. A switch for each window is on the optional overhead console.
Folding third seat on adjustable track with 7-Passenger Seating Package: the seat back on the third seat can be folded forward to a horizontal position* to provide extra cargo capacity. A carpeted cover on the seatback provides a durable surface for the extra cargo. The seatback locks in the upright and in the folded positions. The adjustable track provides six-and-a-half inches of front-to-rear seat travel with three latching seat positions: forward, rearward and midway.
Quad Command seating provides two intermediate bucket seats along with a rear 3-passenger bench seat for enhanced occupant comfort. A quick release mechanism on the intermediate bucket seats assures the cargo-carrying versatility Voyager owners have come to expect.
Models with the 7-Passenger Package can be arranged for hauling five passengers by removing the 2-passenger bench seat and moving the 3-passenger bench third seat forward into a unique set of floor attachments located about six inches to the rear of the 2-passenger second seat position. All rear bench seats have standard quick-release mechanisms that enable them to be removed quickly for hauling additional cargo.
The Converta-Bed adds another dimension to your Voyager. The 3-passenger rear seat combines with the intermediate 2-passenger bench seat to become a full-size bed. They also feature a quick-release assembly for easy removal.
1991 Specifications: Plymouth Voyager, Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country
Town & Country
|Overall Length (in.)||175.9||175.9||190.5||190.5||190.5|
|Overall Width (in.)||69.6||69.6||69.6||69.6||72|
|Overall Height (in.)||66.0||66.0||66.4||66.4||64.8|
|Fuel Tank Capacity (gal)||20||18||20||18||20|
|Head Room -Front (in.)||39.1||39.1||39.1||39.1||39|
|Leg Room -Front (in.) (Max.)||37.3||37.3||37.3||37.3||38.2|
|-Rear (in.) (Min.)||37.7||34.5||37.0||37.0||37.8|
|Hip Room-Front (in.)||52.9||52.9||52.9||52.9||52.9|
|Shoulder Room -Front (in.)||57.5||57.5||57.5||57.5||58.4|
|Cargo Rear Seats Removed||115.9 cf||115.9 cf||134.4 cf||134.4 cf||n/a|
Lists and such
A short run-through of options:
- Power rear quarter vent windows were available on SE and standard on LE models
- New front and rear fascias with integrated rub strips standard on all models
- Dual-note horns standard on SE and LE models
- Dual outside power mirrors standard on base and SE models, with heated glass on LE models
- LX Decor Package available on short wheelbase LE models
- Air foil front windshield wiper blades with dual nozzle, wet arm washer system standard on all models
- 7-passenger seating now standard on Voyager SE and LE
- AM/FM stereo radio standard on all models
- AM/FM stereo radio with cassette tape player available on all models
- Leather interior with vinyl trim available on LE models
- Air conditioning standard on LE models
- Power liftgate release standard on SE and LE models
- Overhead console with mini trip computer, compass, digital outside temperature readout, reading lights, and convenient storage standard on LE
- New Quad Command seating available on SE and LE models
- Rear Wiper Washer with Intermittent Wipe
- New steering wheels incorporate controls for models with electronic speed control
- The rare seven-passenger convert-a-bed option!
New Safety features
- Unibelt restraints on all outboard seating positions.
- A lap belt secures the center rear seating position
- Sliding side door features new child guard locks
Standard convenience features
- New instrument panel combines styling and ergonomics
- New glove box with in-door cup indents
- Liftgate with Prop Assist
- 20-Gallon Fuel Tank
- Front and Rear Fascia with Bright Protective Rub Strips
- Gas-Charged Position Sensitive Front Struts
- Spare Tire Carrier Sport Wheel Covers
- Disc Brakes-Power Assisted
- Air Foil Wiper Blades
- Power Assisted Steering
Voyager SE and Grand Voyager SE Wagons
The SE had all the exterior and chassis features of the base Voyager, plus:
- Bodyside and liftgate tape stripe
- SE nameplate on liftgate Luxury wheel covers
- AWD nameplate on front doors (AWD models only)
- Power liftgate release
- 3.3-liter MPI V6 engine on Grand Voyager and AWD models
- 4-speed automatic electronic overdrive transaxle standard on Grand Voyager and AWD models
- Fixed interior spare tire carrier (Standard wheelbase AWD only)
- 18-gallon fuel tank (AWD models only)
- P205/70R15 steel-belted radial black sidewall tires (Grand Voyager and AWD models only)
- Dual-note horn
- Electric Rear Window Defroster
- Bodyside Moldings
- Dual Power Mirrors with Heated Glass
- Woodgrain Appliques (on exterior)
- Power Vent Windows
- Fuel Filler Door Remote Release
Voyager LE and Grand Voyager LE Family Wagons
The LE has all the exterior ami chassis features of the SE, plus these differences:
- Deluxe sound insulation package
- Dual power remote control heated outside mirrors, black
- Woodgrain appliques on bodysides and liftgate with woodgrain surround moldings
- LE nameplate on liftgate
- Electric rear window defroster
- Fuel filler door remote release
- Power door locks
- Power rear vent windows