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High stiffness contributes to low noise by minimizing vibrations transmitted through the structure. It also adds firmness to the ride and handling feel, contributing to occupants' confidence in the vehicle. High bending stiffness contributes to ride quality by attenuating inputs from the suspension system such as driving over tar strips and other impact bumps. Bending and torsional stiffness also lessen the potential for BSR's (buzzes, squeaks and rattles). Torsional stiffness contributes to a solid feel and crisp handling qualities by allowing the suspension to work without the effects of body deflection.
High bending stiffness also reduces the vibration of secondary components such as the instrument panel and steering column, because it does not transmit their natural frequencies. Steering column mounting stiffness is best-in-class. With a steering column resonant frequency 14% higher than the prior model, steering wheel response to road inputs and engine idle vibrations is minimized.
The body structure is optimized to provide the level of stiffness required for collision resistance, ride, handling and overall quality while maintaining a best-in-class weight-to-volume characteristic. With the largest interior volume in the minivan market, the long wheelbase body structure weighs less than some smaller competitors. The short wheelbase body has similar weight to volume characteristics. Diagonal stiffness of the liftgate opening is 3 times greater than that of the prior body. This assures an accurate, consistent liftgate fit and minimizes noise-producing conditions. To achieve the liftgate opening stiffness required an intense engineering effort. Both the three-door body and the four-door body, which is slightly more flexible, were developed to meet the structural objectives. As a result, customers will not detect a structural difference between them.
The new minivans have a "one millimeter" body, meaning that all measured characteristics are maintained within one millimeter of the designed position. An accurate body structure contributes to the customer perception of good workmanship by providing flush body panels with tight and uniform gaps and by making trim and other mating parts fit well. Furthermore, it means that doors fit properly, reducing potential for wind noise and water leaks. Accuracy is obtained through early establishment and acceptance of dimensional requirements from design engineering through manufacturing feasibility to the production plant.
A Windshield Wiper De-Icer is available to minimize ice build-up at the base of the windshield and on the wiper blades during wintertime operation. The new minivans are the first to use this feature, which also enhances defroster performance. The de-icer is a grid like the rear window defroster but it covers only a small area of the glass at the base of the wiper pattern which is also where the wipers park. The system operates with the electric rear window defroster and/or with the windshield defroster. (See also Customer Controls under Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning in the Body Interior section.)
With cab forward design comes a windshield that is 32% larger than that on the previous minivan. Side windows are also larger. New solar control glass is available to help keep passengers comfortable and to reduce damage to organic materials from solar radiation. It lowers peak interior temperature under maximum sunlight by 2 degrees F and reduces the temperature of passengers and objects in direct sunlight. These reductions in interior heating mean that the time to reach an acceptable comfort level is reduced by 2.5 minutes and interior glare is lessened compared to conventional tinted glass.
The electric liftgate window defroster is asymmetrical to provide additional heat where the wiper blade parks to prevent ice build up on the blade and reduce the possibility of having the blade frozen to the glass. The grid area is enlarged 10% from that on prior models.
The windshield and liftgate window are flush with the surrounding body and trimmed with simple push-on moldings of extruded black PVC plastic for a neat appearance. They are bonded and sealed to the body with a urethane adhesive.
Front and rear bumper and fascia systems provide protection for any part of the body not directly in the load path and for safety-related components during barrier and corner impacts up to 5 mph (8 km/hr). These systems exceeds bumper performance requirements in all markets and prevents damage in bumper performance tests used by Consumer's Union. All fascias are molded of abrasion-resistant TPO (thermoplastic olefin).
The front bumper system includes molded high-density polypropylene- bead foam energy-absorbing material, which conforms to both the interior shape of the fascia and the bumper beam. It cushions low-speed impacts and restores to near its original shape to help maintain fascia appearance. Box-section front bumper beams of roll-formed ultra-high strength steel include welded brackets that bolt to the body structure.
Rear bumper beams are formed by welding two "hat" section stampings of high strength steel. The beams bolt to extensions of the underbody structural rails. A molded plastic bracket attached to the beam supports the fascia.
Plymouth and most Dodge front fascias have body-color painted upper surfaces with molded-in accent color lower surfaces. This provides a two-tone effect without painting twice. These are the first Chrysler Corporation fascias to use a combination of molded-in color and paint. Rear fascias on these lines are molded in accent color. The unpainted areas are grained to provide a pleasant appearance. Town & Country models have front and rear fascias that are painted body color. The Town & Country front fascia has a unique design with a bright nerf strip. Front fascias have provision for fog lights on Town & Country, Caravan LE and Caravan with ES or Sport Decor Packages.
All front fascias provide openings for cooling air. Upper openings include a grill texture. On Chrysler models, the grille texture is mounted prominently. It retains the traditional Chrysler "waterfall" appearance and a high-gloss chrome-like metallic finish. It has a molded substrate of flexible, proprietary thermoplastic copolymer that can withstand 5 mph (8 km/hr) impacts without damage. The bright finish is microscopic particles of iridium metal applied to the substrate by a proprietary vacuum metallizing process. A clear urethane finish coat provides sealing for long term appearance and durability.
Voyager models have a grid-like grille texture that has been associated with the Plymouth brand for several years. It is molded in accent color TPO and attached to the rear of the fascia.
Cooling openings in Caravan fascias provide the "cross-hair" appearance identified with Dodge. A black, fine mesh grille texture of mold-in color TPO is attached to the rear of the fascia. It minimizes see-through to the cooling system components.
For consistent color and gloss throughout the life of the vehicle, exterior parts having molded-in color are made from plastic that resists attack by air-borne chemicals or ultra-violet light. The cowl screen, outside mirror housings, and front door pillar appliques all are mold-in color black plastic with a unique high-gloss finish that is provided by polishing the molds. The front door window opening moldings, which are molded in combination with the upper weatherstrip and glass run of EPDM rubber, have a special finish to duplicate the color and gloss of the mold-in-color parts. This coating, which is applied in two parts and baked on, also prevents ice from forming on the surface.
An all-new roof luggage rack is standard on Town and Country LXi and optional on most other models. The Caravan Sport Decor Package rack is painted body color; the others are black. Sturdy aluminum side rails are mounted on pedestals, affording additional tie down locations. A series of holes pierced in the rails receive movable locking pins on the cross bar stanchions to hold the cross bars in place. Hole spacing allows the stanchions to be placed side-by-side if desired. Cross bar adjustment is much easier than with the previous rack because the push- button locking pin mechanism has a detent in the free position as well as the latched position. With both pins in the free position, one person can easily slide the cross bars to any longitudinal location. Raised steps on the end pedestals retain the cross bars. The stanchions at both ends of each cross bar include dual cargo tie-down loops. The stanchions also have raised guards that provide lateral restraint for lumber, ladders, or other items resting on the cross bars. The cross bars and stanchions are designed to support loads up to the capacity of the rack -- 150 pounds (68 kg) -- whereas the former rack was designed to hold items resting on the roof only. Air foil cross bars assure freedom from wind noise.
Every part of the body structure exposed to the exterior environment, including the roof, is coated with zinc on both sides by galvanizing or galvannealing for life-of-the-vehicle corrosion protection. The body assembly is thoroughly cleaned by immersion and then coated with zinc-phosphate crystals, also through immersion, to improve primer adherence. Primer is applied using an electro-coat or E-coat process in which the body is electrically charged while fully immersed in a tank containing a water-based epoxy primer solution. The electric charge causes a uniform deposit of primer (without sags or runs) to adhere to the entire body, including all cavities and crevices. The body design incorporates openings to assure 100 percent E-coat coverage. Chrysler uses a "high-build" E-coat material that produces a film 20% to 50% thicker than competition. Besides providing an excellent base for adhesion of the finish topcoat paint, the E-coat is also resistant to corrosion. If the topcoat and E-coat are chipped, the E-coat resists the spread of corrosion from the edges of the chip.
The new minivans have the only full-coverage molded plastic front wheelhouse liners in the industry. They prevent corrosive materials from reaching crevices in the forward body structure and fenders and eliminate the possibility of stone chip damage in this area.
Molded plastic stone chip protectors are installed on the trailing edges of the front wheel openings. They extend below the wheel openings to protect both the fenders and sills against damage from debris picked up by the front tires. On all Town & Country models and on Caravan and Voyager with SE or LE equipment, they are painted body color for a neat, unobtrusive appearance. The plastic is more resilient than steel to effectively resist paint chipping. With base equipment they are mold-in- color black.
A full-body anti-chip coating gives for superior protection against stone damage. A specially formulated epoxy polyester powder is applied to the entire exterior body surface and melts in the primer oven to form a continuous film. A second coat is applied to the sill areas for added chip resistance. In addition to chip protection, this primer increases the overall durability of the paint in the presence of ultra-violet radiation.
Waterborne base (color) coat paints are used exclusively. This paint forms a glossier finish than solvent-based materials. Enhanced patina and added brilliance of metallic colors are also noticeable compared to solvent-based paint.
A second sliding door, on the driver's side is available on all models. It operates exactly like the passenger's side door. All new hinging and latching mechanisms provide easier, more convenient sliding door operation. On a level surface each sliding door will close by itself from the fully open position. Inclined tracks allow gravity to facilitate door closing. Ball bearing rollers provide low friction. The rollers are plastic coated for smooth operation. The sliding door design minimizes cantilever loads on the hinges for low effort and continued smooth operation. With low friction and gravity-induced movement, inadvertent closing of a sliding door is avoided by including a positive hold-open sliding door latch. Customers identified this as a needed feature even without the effort-reducing refinements. The hold open latch engages automatically when the door reaches the fully open position. The hold- open latch is released from inside or outside the vehicle by the same action as opening the door. Opening and closing a sliding door from the inside is a one hand, one grip operation. The hold-open latch and the main latch to open the door are operated by an ergonomic push button, which is integrated with the easily accessible vertical pull handle at the front edge of the door above the belt line. User surveys confirmed that this new operating system is both logical and easy to use.
Side door latching, unlatching and locking actions by the customer are changed into movements that the latch mechanism requires by a control plate assembly mounted on the door inner panel. Sliding doors have a Child Guard feature as standard equipment. This feature prevents the doors from being opened from the inside. It is selected by moving a lever that protrudes through the front face of each door. With the Child Guard lock feature activated, the button remains active to release the hold-open latch but will not operate the main latch to open the door.
A rectangular lock button, which is ribbed to make it easier to grip, rides in a bezel at the top of each door trim panel adjacent to the lock pillar. A rubber-padded bumper on the inside of the door provides a positive stop for rearward motion. This bumper is aligned with the door's vertical center of gravity to avoid stressing or distorting the hinges and tracks when the door is opened vigorously. This helps assure low operating effort for the life of the vehicle. Secondary stops are included on the tracks to assure that the door is properly restrained under all circumstances. The upper hinge tracks are outside the passenger compartment, increasing head clearance for entry and exit compared to the previous model. This track mounting system provides added head clearance for the front passenger, allowing full rearward travel for the seat that was not available on previous models. Placing the hinge outside the passenger compartment also provides an uncluttered interior appearance.
The second sliding door includes a fuel-filler door interlock. The interlock prevents the sliding door from opening if the fuel door is open. This avoids the possibility of damage to either. The interlock adds no effort to operation of the fuel filler door and is imperceptible to the customer unless an attempt is made to open the second sliding door while the fuel filler door is open. The interlock operates a latch in the body pillar that traps a striker on the rear edge of the door, preventing the door from opening. Low effort is the result of the high mechanical advantage of the mechanism. A full-perimeter tubular weatherstrip seals each sliding door. Sliding doors are also equipped with four secondary weatherstrips. A tubular weatherstrip above the upper track reduces wind noise and directs water running off the roof away from the door opening. A lip seal along the leading edge of the door above the belt line fills the gap to the front door for appearance and wind noise control. Another tubular weatherstrip along the lower edge of each door stops road splash from soiling the sill and blocks road noise. A lower seal attached to the door presses against the scuff plate to block noise coming from the lower hinge cavity. All of the weatherstrips are made of EPDM rubber. Sliding door windows are mounted flush with the adjacent body panels and fixed for security and quietness. The sliding door includes a key cylinder. Red reflectors on the rear face of each sliding door provide a nighttime warning that the door is open to overtaking drivers. Front Doors Front doors have roll-formed window frames rather than more common full stamped construction. This more compact construction allows a larger door opening for easier entry and exit. The rolled section, which forms a channel for the glass to slide in, is made from stock that is three times thicker than a full stamped door would be for stiffness. The rolled section is cut and welded at the corners, then welded to the conventionally stamped lower door. Front doors have three stage sealing. A weatherstrip along the windshield pillar and across the top of the door sheds 90% of the water and eliminates wind noise and turbulence. This weatherstrip is combined with the door glass run and overlaps the door frame to produce a black- out appearance. Two full-perimeter tubular weatherstrips - one body mounted, the other door mounted assure that neither moisture nor noise get through to the passenger compartment. The door-mounted seal has the added benefit of contacting the body outboard of the sill to prevent road splash from soiling the sill. New front door latches improve on the best-in-class qualities used on prior models.
Three rubber "snubbers" have been added to absorb opening and closing sounds. These snubbers also minimize rebound when a door is slammed and prevent the door from "popping" when opened. With optional power locks, the lock motors are integral with the latches. Locking and unlocking effort is equally low with power or manual locks because the key does not turn the power lock motor. Rectangular lock buttons, which are ribbed to make them easy to grip, ride in bezels at the top of each door trim panel adjacent to the center pillar. New two- position door checks provide quiet, positive operation. Molded inside handles are mounted high and forward on the doors for easy access and swing inward on vertical axes. They blend with the door trim panel bezels which are recessed to provide ample hand clearance. Front door windows are operated by a drum and cable mechanism. Low- profile manual window regulator handles are molded in color to match the interior. They have large matching molded knobs with knurled outer diameters.
Liftgate Liftgate geometry and new temperature-compensated gas props assure smooth, easy operation under all ambient temperature conditions. Compared to the prior model, closing effort is 30% lower and opening effort is 10% lower. The temperature-compensated gas props have internal valves that open at high ambient temperatures to prevent the build-up of gas pressure that makes closing effort excessive in conventional gas props. By closing at low temperatures, the valves assure sufficient pressure is always available to hold the liftgate open. An easily accessible inside handle aids in closing the liftgate. The handle is fitted into a recess in the trim panel so that the handle will not reduce cargo volume. Fully open position of the liftgate is above the heads of 95% of the US population but within reach of all but 5%. The liftgate has an outside handle to release the latch and a key cylinder for unlocking. Pulling up on the paddle-type handle releases the latch and raises the liftgate with the same motion. The lock also may be operated with a power lock switch or with the remote keyless entry transmitter. The handle is painted body color at the premium and luxury equipment levels but molded in black with other equipment levels. A full-perimeter tubular weatherstrip seals the liftgate. A secondary weatherstrip across the top of the opening helps prevent any water that accumulates above the primary seal from entering the cargo area and also helps prevent wind noise. A two-stage latch on the liftgate is similar to that used on front doors. The latch grips a high-strength wedge-shaped striker that stabilizes the liftgate in the opening to minimize the potential for BSR's. Outside Mirrors Consumer research determined that larger outside mirrors were desired. Jury evaluations determined the size selected. The mirrors are body mounted for greater stability and lower wind noise than door- mounted mirrors. They are aerodynamically designed for minimum drag and wind noise. These mirrors fold forward and backwards to minimize the possibility of damage from contact with an outside object. Base mirrors are manually operated. Heated power mirrors are standard with all other equipment levels and optional with Base equipment.
Quarter and Side Windows Vented rear quarter windows are standard on all models. Power operation is available. The power mechanism uses a motor mounted in the pillar and a simple direct linkage. The manual vent windows have a T- handle that is easy to grip and has a "friendly" surface to make operation easy. Quarter and side windows have a completely smooth outer surface that is flush with the adjacent body panels. Hinges at the front and the latch at the rear are bonded to the inner surface of the glass. Left side windows on three-door bodies are fixed like those on the sliding doors for increased security and quietness.
Opposed wiper blades operated by computer-designed four-pivot linkage clear the large windshield from pillar to pillar. The opposed wiping action clears a larger percentage of a larger windshield than the 1995 system did. The wiped area is larger than that required by any regulation. To do this, wiper blades are 600 mm long - among the longest in the industry. The wiper blades have a low profile and open- back frames that minimize aerodynamic lift to maintain wiping action at high speeds. The entire windshield wiper system is mounted in a detachable molded composite tray beneath the cowl screen. The modular assembly enhances wiper action by keeping system components aligned for smooth, clean wiping action and accurate control of the wiper pattern. Cab-forward architecture, while maximizing interior room, placed the passenger compartment air intake above the engine. This moved the wiper system further forward and required that the wiper module be removable for underhood service. See also Windshield Wiper De-Icer under Glass in the Body Exterior section. Liftgate Wiper A 172 degree swept angle clears the largest liftgate wipe pattern in the industry. The rear wiper may be operated either at a constant speed or intermittently. Delay time during intermittent operation is inversely proportional to vehicle speed. See also Vehicle Speed-Sensitive Delay Intermittent Wipe, below. Washer Systems The windshield washers have dual, cowl screen-mounted nozzles to assure coverage of the wiped pattern. The system includes anti-drain back valves that prevent water from running into the nozzles and freezing. The liftgate washer has a fluidic nozzle mounted above the window to properly distribute fluid over the wiper pattern.
A Single-Fill Washer Reservoir located under the hood serves both windshield and liftgate washer systems. This provides the convenience of having to fill only one reservoir and eliminates confusion associated with finding the rear washer reservoir. To simplify refilling, the reservoir holds 1.3 gallons of fluid. When the low washer fluid light in the instrument cluster is illuminated, a full gallon of fluid may be added, making it unnecessary to store the unused portion of a gallon until more is needed. The reservoir cap is yellow for easy identification. It is hinged and counterbalanced in the open position for easy refilling. A separate pump feeds each system. The rear washer hose is routed, with the body wiring, from the dash panel to the rear sill in a depression in the center of floor pan. The hose is clipped with the wiring to avoid rattles and protected by a snap- in cover. The 18-foot (5.5 m) hose is then routed along the sill to the liftgate pillar and across the header to the nozzle on the liftgate. If the "washer" function is selected with the wiper(s) off or in intermittent mode, the wiper(s) will operate continuously at low speed while the demand exists plus two cycles after the demand is removed. After the demand is removed, wiper operation returns to its prior state. Liftgate washer operation for more than 10 seconds is perceived as a system failure and action stops. Vehicle Speed-Sensitive Delay Intermittent Wipe Vehicle speed sensitive delay intermittent operation is standard for both windshield and liftgate wiper systems. The delay interval varies from 0.5 to 18 seconds for front wipers. This doubles when vehicle speed is below approximately 10 mph because wiping is less needed then. For the liftgate wiper the delay is nominally 7 seconds but diminishes in proportion to vehicle speed. At 60 mph the delay is reduced to 4.9 seconds. "Mist Mode" Operation Pressing the wash button momentarily, turns the wiper(s) on for just one cycle without spraying any washer fluid.
Headlights are combined with park/turn/side marker lights in a headlight module with a one-piece lens. The lens has horizontal lines for appearance purposes but no optics. The module is firmly mounted to the body structure, allowing a close, consistent fit to the fascia and surrounding body panels. No body adapter is required as it is with movable headlight units. With the headlights firmly mounted, aiming is done by moving the reflector and bulb unit inside the lamp assembly. These molded headlight assemblies use replaceable halogen bulbs. The halogen bulb and socket in the reflector extend through a rear opening in the outer housing that is sealed with a rubber boot. The housing is vented to allow water vapor, which might condense inside, to evaporate and be expelled when the lights are on. The vents prevent the entry of water and include filters to keep out dirt. A new high-efficiency axial- filament bulb provides 20% more light output than the prior bulb. It works with a computer-designed complex reflector to provide a substantial improvement in customer perceived light on the road compared to prior models. Optical characteristics for directing the light are provided exclusively by the reflector. The reflector has a vacuum- metallized surface with vertical segments some of which have shallow flutes - 0.001-0.002 in. (0.025-0.050 mm) deep - that improve the appearance of uniformity in the light pattern projected on the road. Thermosetting reflector material remains stable for consistent performance at the high temperatures in the light housing. Front Combination Lights Park, turn signal and side marker light functions are provided by a single amber bulb inserted in a separate cavity in the headlight module. An amber side reflector insert is "welded" into the side of the lens. To meet the Canadian daytime running light requirement, front turn signal bulb filaments are on continuously when headlights are off except when these filaments are providing their normal function. See also Junction Block under Wiring System in the Body Electrical and Electronic Systems section. Fog Lights Fascia-mounted fog lights are standard on Town & Country and optional on Caravan LE. They operate with the headlights when the headlight knob is pulled out. Taillights Taillight, stop light, turn signal, side marker and back-up light functions are housed in a three-bulb lamp unit. At the top, a dual filament bulb provides taillight and stop light functions. In the center, a dual filament bulb is used for taillight and turn signal functions. Projection of light from this bulb through the side of the lens provides the side marker light function. On the bottom, the backup light bulb has a single filament. The back-up light has more light output than the prior unit for improved visibility when backing up at night. The backup lens is clear and has optical elements to distribute the light. The remainder of the lens is red and includes both rear and side reflectors. Each bulb is housed in a wireless low-profile socket that twists into the rear of the molded housings with a quarter turn. Wedge-base bulbs press into the sockets. Electrical terminals in the sockets align with ribbon conductors in the housing that are sandwiched by a back plate that is ultrasonically welded in place. A single wiring connector delivers power to all three bulbs and normally remains attached to the housing. A two-bulb CHMSL is mounted at the base of the liftgate window, behind a trim cover that matches the liftgate trim panel. Two versions of the light are used. With regular tinted glass, the housing reflector is natural color plastic. With deep-tint glass, the housing has a bright, vacuum metallized surface to provide the same visible light output through the dark glass. A two-bulb "light bar" mounted in the liftgate illuminates the license plate. Two bulbs assure adequate light for European number plates which are longer than those in North America. The molded plastic light bar housing also has finger depressions that allow it to be used as a handle for raising the liftgate.
Body Control Modules (BCM) that operate a variety of electrical/electronic features are standard on all models. They provide the following new functions:A unique Battery Saver feature that automatically turns off electrical loads if this is not done manually after a reasonable time. These loads could discharge the battery and prevent starting if allowed to continue with the engine off. Studies showed that, of the electrical loads customers can or might leave on, the primary cause of battery discharge is leaving lights on. Therefore, the BCM will turn off any exterior lights left on for 3 minutes. It will also extinguish all interior lights after 15 minutes whether they remain on as the result of having a door ajar or because the light was manually switched on. The customer can override the Battery Saver by leaving the key in the ignition switch with the ignition "off". The automatic exterior light shut-off does not affect the headlight time delay feature, which leaves the lights on for only 1 minute.A warning chime for conditions that did not have chimes on prior models:exterior lights are on when the key is removed from the ignition switch with the driver's door open or ajarturn signals left on for more than one miledome lamp on when exiting the vehiclelow oil pressureengine temperature critical - higher than that required to illuminate the cluster warning lamp or rising rapidly to that level warning lamp announcement - conditions that turn on a warning lamp but do not have a continuous chime function are preceded by a single chimeTwo warning chime repetition rates: 50 chimes per minute for reminders and 180 chimes per minute for serious conditions requiring immediate attentionThe reminder (low rate) chime sounds to remind the driver to fasten the seat belt and that turn signals have been left on for more than one mile.Serious conditions that trigger the high-rate chime include: exterior lights or dome lamp left on or key left in ignition when exiting the vehicle, low engine oil pressure and engine temperature critical.Logic for controlling interior lampsWhen the dome lamp switch is in the "on" position, the front overhead reading lamps do not come on to avoid interfering with the driver's visibility.On vehicles with remote keyless entry, interior lamps will not come on when the remote keyless entry transmitter UNLOCK button is pressed, if the dome lamp switch is in the "defeat" position.Control of the high engine temperature indicator lampCustomer programming for the automatic power door locksOn vehicles with power door locks, the automatic feature will be enabled when shipped from the factory.Instructions for enabling or disabling the feature by a simple sequence of ignition switch and power lock switch actions is provided in the Owner's Manual.
The Personalized Remote Entry System allows two drivers to pre- program their personal power seat and power mirror positions for instantaneous recall. The system is operated by individually programmed remote keyless entry transmitters and by switches on the driver's door trim panel. A stand-alone electronic control module for the system is located under the driver's seat.
A multiplex wiring network delivers operating signals to a variety of electrical and electronic systems. The first automotive company to use multiplexing, Chrysler remains the leader in the minivan segment for applying this technology to meeting the customer's requirements for "intelligent" electronic features at reasonable cost and complexity. The multiplex wiring network provides increased reliability through a reduction in the number of circuits and circuit connections.
Access to the network is gained through the patented C2D (Chrysler's Collision Detection) circuitry incorporated in every module connected to the network. Since only one module at a time can transmit data to the network, access of each is prioritized - high priority data has immediate access, low priority data must wait until the line is clear of higher priority transmissions. Each module is assigned a message identification code or codes based on priority. When data is available for transmission, the module sends or blocks it depending on its priority relative to other data being transmitted. The BCM, TCM and PCM all share data and transmit control signals to one another and the equipment they operate over the network. These and all other electronic controllers in the vehicle, except the HVAC control, are also connected through the network to a common data link connector, simplifying diagnostic access with a scan tool.
Wiring capacity to carry logic signals is enhanced through resistive multiplexing - the use of resistors in series with switches on the same circuit to indicate by a voltage level which switch has been pressed. This is done in conjunction with a control computer that can respond to differing voltage levels. Resistive multiplexing is used for power door locks, door key switches (in conjunction with the Vehicle Theft Security Alarm), headlights, automatic speed control, turn signals, windshield and liftgate wipers.
An outlet for electrically powered accessories, located to the left of the instrument panel cup holder module, is standard on all models. This outlet will also operate a conventional cigar lighter unit (available from a dealer in the Smoker's Package) if desired. A second outlet in the rear corner of the cargo area - left side with long wheelbase bodies and right side with the short wheelbase - is also available. It is useful for powering compressors, power coolers, TV's etc. Both outlets include tethered caps labeled with the ampere and voltage rating of the outlet. For safety and to protect the battery against discharge, they receive power only when the ignition is "on" or in the "accessory" position.
Wiring System Electrical Distribution Wiring The most important feature of wiring is its reliability. A new wiring system incorporating an Electrical Distribution Wiring (EDW) harness provides higher reliability than previous systems. The EDW wiring harness combines several harnesses into one, providing point- to-point wiring between electrical components - switch to motor, sensor to control, relay to light, etc. - without intermediate connectors or splices. The fewer connectors and splices, the greater the reliability. The EDW harness is a 25-pound (11 kg), 21-foot (6.4 m) assembly that stretches from headlights to taillights and many places in between. It includes several key systems such as exterior lighting and power seats commonly supplied by separate harnesses in the past. Also for reliability, the wiring system provides separate ground circuits for each functional system to prevent a single ground failure or circuit failure from affecting additional systems. Ground terminals are provided on seven grounding blocks which are attached to threaded studs welded to the body structure in strategic locations.
The EDW harness is routed along the centerline of the vehicle in a trough stamped in the floor pan. It is clipped to studs welded to the floor pan to prevent rattles and protected by a snap-on plastic cover. In other areas of the vehicle, hole liners and chutes guide the wiring during installation to prevent damage. Clips hold the harness in place to avoid squeaks, rattles, or interference with adjacent components.
As in the past, the air bag circuits include gold plated terminals for maximum reliability.
Power Distribution Center The power distribution center (PDC) provides a central location for high-current maxi-fuses that protect major power distribution circuits, micro-relays and ISO relays for all underhood power equipment. The PDC is also a wiring node to which the EDW and engine compartment wiring harnesses connect. It is mounted outboard of the battery and has exposed terminals to which battery cables connect. The location minimizes voltage drops in the wiring.
Power is distributed through four layers of ribbon conductors that are held in place by grooved plastic separators. Connectors extend from functional component terminals on the top surface of the PDC and from the wiring terminals on the bottom through the insulators to the correct ribbon.
The IOD (ignition off draw) circuit is fed from the PDC. Its fuse cavity includes a snap-in holder, allowing the fuse to remain in immediate proximity to its regular location when removed to reduce current draw during long periods of storage.
Junction Block A junction block mounted on the dash panel above the driver's left foot combines in a single location, connection points for the EDW harness, a central location for passenger compartment circuit fuses and relays, and a mounting point for the BCM. The junction block is a node in the wiring system, distributing power and control signals among the connecting circuits on thin, flexible plastic printed circuit boards. These circuit boards are similar in appearance to those in electronic equipment, but carry higher current. Also like other printed circuit boards, terminals are soldered to them. Five separate boards are needed to provide connections for 180 or more terminals depending on complexity of the vehicle. Localizing this complexity in the junction block, has eliminated 40 to 120 circuits outside the block.
The junction block has also simplified the daytime running light (DRL) feature required in Canada and the subject of a possible US safety standard. To provide DRL, the standard turn signal flasher is replaced by a relay unit with additional terminals that delivers power to the turn signal filaments when the headlights are off but allows them to flash for turn signal purposes. See also Daytime Running Lights under Front Combination Lights in the Body Systems section.
Positive Temperature Coefficient Devices Positive temperature coefficient devices (PTC's) operate as automatic resetting circuit breakers. On the new minivan they are used for the first time in the automotive industry for wiring protection. They permit the uses of smaller, lighter weight wires by preventing electrical distribution system overloading not occasioned by failure. Circuits involved include power door locks, power windows where a circuit breaker is also eliminated, engine compartment circuits that were previously fused and the windshield washer pumps. In several years of use as motor protection devices, they have demonstrated exceptional reliability. For wiring protection they are soldered into the junction block printed circuits for added reliability. Each PTC consists of two metal plates separated by a high-temperature cross-link polymer that encapsulates a matrix of carbon black particles. The carbon black particles conduct electricity with very low resistance under normal conditions. When a high current is applied, the polymer expands, separating the particles. This greatly increases the resistance which has an effect similar to tripping a circuit breaker - reducing current to less than 1/2 A. Each PTC is calibrated to "trip" at a specified current level. When voltage is removed, the polymer cools in about 15 seconds and the PTC is again ready to transmit power. As in the past, PTC devices are used for internal protection from electrical overload of power door lock, power vent window and power seat motors.
Front and rear seats offer more features than any competitive vehicle. Front seat cushion pans of lightweight aluminum are formed to help keep the lap belt in position and to keep the occupant in position to impact the knee blockers during impact. A front passenger seat back assist handle that aids entry and exit through the passenger's side sliding door is standard with most equipment levels. The driver's seat back also has an assist handle when the second sliding door is installed.
Eight-Way Power Driver And Front Passenger Seats - Eight-way power driver and front passenger seats including power recliners are available. They offer best-in-class smoothness and quietness. Power seat and recliner controls are located on the outboard side of the seat side shield for easy access and to minimize restriction to the walk-through area between the front seats. This location also prevents interference with or inadvertent operation by purses or brief cases placed in the walk-through area. Furthermore, this location is consistent with passenger car practice. Acceptance of the switch relocation was confirmed in surveys. Adequacy of room for operation was proven in jury evaluations and on road test trips. The controls are operated by two ergonomic switch assemblies. The switch knobs are shaped and positioned like a seat cushion and back, respectively. Movement of the seat corresponds to movement of the knobs.
The power seat combines 7.87 inches (200 mm) of fore-and-aft travel with 1.57 inches (40 mm) of vertical travel to accommodate persons between the 5th and 98th percentile in stature. Vertical travel at the front and rear of the cushion is divided equally above and below the position of the manual track. The power recliner has a 38* range of travel.
A driver's power seat memory feature on Town & Country LXi - the only minivan to offer this feature - allows two persons to store their personal seat and recliner position preferences in memory. See also Personalized Remote Entry System in the Body Electrical and Electronic Systems section.
The power seat cushion frame and tracks are constructed of light weight aluminum. Four motors assure rapid, smooth response. They provide separate control of the front and rear cushion height adjusters, the tracks and the recliner. Refinements in the motors, gearing and tracks assure best-in-class smoothness and quietness.
Manual Front Seats - Manual front seat recliners are operated by a lever with a molded handle on the outboard side. The lever is near mid-cushion for easy access. The recliner has a 38* range of travelthe same as the power recliner - in 1* increments. Fore-and-aft seat movement of the manual front seats is the smoothest and easiest ever on a Chrysler vehicle and will stay smooth due to new construction that does not depend on the rollers to carry structural loads. Fore-and-aft seat movement is enabled by a low-effort, horizontal adjustment bar that spans the width of the cushion. Travel is 7.87 inches (200 mm), the same as the power seat.
Bench Rear Seats Bench rear seats offer easier removal and more comfort, safety, and versatility than any competitors seats. Easy Out Roller Seats(TM) are as easy to remove, install or reposition as the name suggests. Each seat is latched to floor-mounted strikers. When the seat is unlatched, eight rollers lift each seat so that it can be rolled fore and aft. Molded tracks of high-crystalline polypropylene, attached to the floor, guide the rollers and reduce resistance to rolling. The tracks have locator depressions for the rollers at each latch position for convenient installation or relocation. The rollers are tough, durable Nylon for long life. An ergonomic lever at the back of each seat riser releases the floor latches and raises the seat on its rollers in a single motion. Reversing the process retracts the rollers and locks the seat in place. To assure that the seat will be properly latched, a red indicator projects out of each handle until latching is complete. To facilitate rear seat removal, outboard Unibelt restraints are body mounted and retract away from the seats when not in use. Also for this reason, rear seat belt buckles and the center lap belt on the rear seat ar attached to the seat frame rather than the floor.
Multi-position bench seat recliners are included in the deluxe seating package. A lever with a molded loop-type handle at the right end of each seat operates the recliner. The two-passenger bench seat reclines 36*; the three-passenger seat reclines 66*. The recliners move in 3* increments. With deluxe seating, the two- passenger seat also folds flat for cargo loading versatility. Folding is controlled by the same lever as the recliner. The standard two-passenger bench seat with SE and LE equipment also folds, but does not recline. On the three-passenger seat, the handle is higher on the frame for easy access next to the trim panel. For cargo loading, the three-passenger seat has an additional lever that is accessible from the rear to facilitate folding. The two-passenger seat release lever is readily accessible through the right sliding door.
With seven passenger seating, the rear seat retains the three- position fore-and-aft adjustment with 6 inches (152 mm) of travel and the folding back feature. The adjuster mechanism has release handles in front and back for convenient operation by seat occupants or when stowing cargo behind the seat. The handles are located below the cushion to the right of center. Intermediate and rear seat backs have carpeted rear surfaces for protection when carrying cargo on them when they are folded.
The intermediate seat of seven passenger models can be removed and the rear seat moved forward to provide five passenger seating. There is an additional set of seat mounting strikers recessed in the floor rearward of the normal intermediate seat position - called the limousine position - that allows the rear seat to be repositioned for more legroom than the standard position provides. Installing the rear seat, with its three-position adjuster, in either the normal intermediate or limousine position theoretically provides six different "intermediate" seating positions. The intermediate seat may also be moved to the limousine position on short-wheelbase bodies when there are no rear seat passengers.
Quad Command Individual Intermediate Seats Removable Quad Command individual seats in the intermediate seat location are optional. The quad seat backs recline 66* in 3* increments and also fold flat for cargo storage versatility. A lever with a molded loop-type handle at the right side of each seat operates the recliner. When folded, the molded seat back panels can serve as tray tables for rear seat passengers. These back panels each include two cup holder depressions. The right seat assembly tilts forward for access to the rear seat via a gas prop-assisted mechanism that is easier to operate than the prior mechanism. Floor tracks and strikers are the same with Quad Command seats as with a bench-type intermediate seat, allowing maximum seating position flexibility for the rear seat.
Each quad seat latches to the floor using two strikers which are the same as used for the roller seats. The latching lever is at the front of each seat to aid seat removal through the side door. The quad seats may be placed in the limousine position on short- wheelbase bodies, if desired.
The base of each quad seat is cast magnesium, the lightest structural material commonly used in automotive applications. This reduces weight below 50 pounds (22.6 kg), three pounds (1.4 kg) lighter than the previous Quad Command seats, making seat removal a one person job.
Seat Construction and Trim All cloth seats have trim covers molded to the pads as did the cloth seats of prior models. Leather seating surfaces are sewn to vinyl facings. In recognition of positive customer response to other new Chrysler vehicles, new minivan seats are firmer than their predecessors. Cushion shape and firmness were comfort-tuned during ride and drive evaluations to minimize occupant fatigue and provide support under varying driving conditions. All front seats have full-foam cushions. Base front seat backs have foam padding with a flex mat supported by tension springs. Premium and luxury seats have thin, full foam backs that increase intermediate seat knee room.
All rear bench seats have foam cushions over a flex mat supported by tension springs and full foam backs. Quad Command rear bucket seat cushions and backs have foam padding with a flex mat supported by tension springs.
Two levels of cloth are used as part of differentiating between equipment levels. Base and SE equipment levels have separate trim styles using the same fabric. Chrysler and Dodge LE seats have a deluxe fabric and unique style that is also included on Dodge/Plymouth SE with Quad Command seats. Town & Country LXi has two-tone gathered leather seating surfaces. Leather seating surfaces are optional on other Town & Country models and on Caravan LE.
Highback front seats are standard at the base and SE equipment levels. Adjustable front seat head restraints are standard with all other equipment levels. Vertically adjustable rear seat head restraints with twin-post supports are standard on all Town & Country models. They are included on all Caravan and Voyager SE and LE optional seats. The intermediate bench seat with optional Child Safety Seats on base Caravan and Voyager also includes head restraints. Head restraints are available as a dealer installed option on standard Caravan and Voyager intermediate and rear seats. They are permanently installed with the optional Child Safety Seats but are removable from all others, if desired. To aid cargo loading on seven passenger short wheelbase models with the rear seat in the intermediate position and moved to the full forward position on its track, head restraints may be removed and stowed on the seat cushion, then the back folded forward and latched over them. With cloth seats, head restraint covers match the seats; with leather, the covering is vinyl. See also Head Restraints under Active Restraint Systems in the Safety & Security section.
Inboard, folding armrests are included on driver and front passenger seats for occupant comfort without restriction to entry or exit. Quad Command intermediate seats include folding arm rests: two on the right seat and one on the left. With the second sliding door, the left seat also has a left armrest. The intermediate seat in all seven passenger configurations except the base Grand Caravan/Voyager has a folding armrest on the right side. A similar armrest is included on the left side of the intermediate seat with the second sliding door. All folding armrests have a molded, color-keyed vinyl skin over a foam-padded nylon armature.
Storage The new minivans have best-in-class storage capacity. This means the largest gross storage volume of any minivan in the long wheelbase body and more volume than most of the competition in the short wheelbase body. It also means more loading versatility: the ability to store more "real world" objects - lumber, skis, bicycles, soft bags, duffel bags, suitcases, golf clubs, large and small picnic coolers, etc.; the most versatile cup holders and more closed storage capacity than any other minivan. A survey of over 400 customers focused entirely on what objects customers carried in their minivans. All the frequently mentioned items can be accommodated. For instance, seventeen locations can hold a container of facial tissue.
Underseat Storage Drawer A 635-cubic inch (10.4-L) underseat storage drawer has guides of high lubricity plastic for smooth operation. Rollers are not used to reduce the potential for noise. The drawer includes a lock and a low-effort mechanical latch.
Cup Holders Instrument Panel Cup Holders - Based on QFD analysis of consumer research data, cup holders are given third priority in the instrument panel center stack, just below the radio and the HVAC controls, and well within reach. Other customer requirements for the cup holders were adjustability to various size containers, stability to prevent spills and quietness. The cup holders are concealed in a drawer when not in use. As the drawer is opened, movable arms swing out to create two openings each deep enough and large enough for the largest available drink containers including cups with handles. Each arm can swing in on a three-position ratchet to grip smaller containers. When pushed inward past the smallest position the ratchet releases and the arms swing out again to the largest position.
Rear Cup Holders - Dual cup holders in the quarter trim panels adjacent to the intermediate and rear seat positions accommodate the same range of containers as the instrument panel cup holders. With the second sliding door, dual underseat cup holders are provided for intermediate seat passengers. The underseat cup holder unit is shallow to minimize interference with the ability to store long objects under the seat. The cup holder also has a lower cover to protect it from objects under the seat. With bench seat, the cup holder slides out from under the center of the seat. With Quad Command seats, the cup holder unit is stored in the left seat riser and slides out toward the center of the vehicle. These underseat cup holders have the same features as the instrument panel cup holders.
Rear Compartment Storage Bins Storage bins under each quarter trim panel armrest are individually and collectively the largest available in any minivan. Total storage bin capacity is increased from 470 cubic inches (7.7 L) to 1300 cubic inches (21.3 L) compared to prior models. Each bin has a hinged, latching cover. Easy-to-use latches are operated by levers recessed in the edge of each cover. The latches use a "living hinge" spring to provide positive latching action. The hinges have detents that hold the cover in the fully open position for easy loading and unloading. The bottom of each bin is a tray with a raised lip to retain liquids that might be spilled inside.
Cargo Area Storage Intermediate seat backs and Quad Command seat backs fold flat to permit storage on top. This is in addition to the folding rear seat which continues. With all rear seat backs folded, 4x8-foot sheets of building material may be stored in the long-wheelbase body on top of the folded seats with the liftgate closed. The front seats must be moved slightly forward of the rearmost position to store 4x8-foot sheets on top of the rear seats. Ability to carry 4x8-foot sheets on the floor is enhanced from prior models due to an increase in the space between wheelhouses.
In-line seat stanchions allow long objects such as lumber or skis to be stowed on the floor without moving the seats. The long wheelbase body will carry 28, 8-foot 2x4's under the seats. The short wheelbase body can carry a smaller quantity of 8-foot 2x4's by using the pass-through area. The number of sets of skis that will fit under the seats exceeds the passenger capacity.
The liftgate and liftgate trim panel are concave to enhance cargo volume. To help take the guesswork out of loading the cargo area to full capacity, the liftgate sill plate has a raised line and adjacent "Load to this line" nomenclature molded in. The line indicates how far rearward cargo can be placed without interfering with liftgate closing. The liftgate striker is recessed into the sill plate to facilitate loading without damaging or interfering with cargo stowage.
Cargo loading aft of the rear seat is facilitated by adding a recliner position that is slightly more upright than the design condition. The adjustable rear seat, a carryover feature, also aids cargo loading aft of the rear seat.
Large picnic coolers can be stored behind the rear seat or beside the intermediate seat on all models. The intermediate seat area is even wider than the ample space provided by prior models due to increased overall width and a thinner sliding door. There is also increased width for a cooler between the front seats because of the wider pass-through area.
Additional Storage The following additional storage features are available:Premium interiors include a storage pocket on the back of the front passenger seat.Town & Country LXi has a passenger seat side shield storage compartment on the left side of the seat, replacing the underseat storage drawer. The compartment is lockable like the drawer. This unit also has a small open cubby box in the top surface. There is an anti-rattle rubber mat in the bottom of the box.Between the instrument panel cup holders is a credit-card size tray. With the optional Smoker's package, a removable ash receiver is inserted in this location.Coin holder slots in the instrument panel cup holder tray will hold up to $3.00 in U.S. quarters, nickels and dimes. It will also hold Canadian dollars. The coin holder has a rubber pad that grips the coins to prevent rattles.Depending on equipment level, the instrument panel center section has an open lower bin or a hinged, storage bin with cassette or CD storage slots.The instrument panel center section has an open cubby box between the cup holder drawer and the lower storage bin.Right of the center stack in the lower section of the panel is a bin-type glove compartment with an easy-to-use pull-up latch. The bin-style construction and a check strap prevent the contents from spilling.Front door map pockets included on Town & Country LXi are larger than those offered previously.The left side trim panel adjacent to the intermediate seat is sculptured into two cavities, increasing cargo volume on three- door bodies. On all except the base equipment level, a cargo net is installed across this area to hold miscellaneous items.Left side trim panels have molded depressions, approximately juice-box size, forward of the armrest that can hold miscellaneous small items.With the second sliding door, a molded cup, approximately juice- box size, is attached to the door trim panel bolster at the belt line. An ash receiver is installed in it when the Smoker's Convenience Package is added.
Primary Controls Steering Wheel and Column The three-spoke steering wheel has a sculptured appearance. Its location, rim section, overall shape and spoke location are the result of customer surveys and ergonomic studies regarding reach, instrument cluster visibility and clearance to the panel. See also Automatic Speed Control Switches under Instrument Panel and Secondary Controls below.
The wheel has a one-piece cast aluminum armature for light weight and an air bag module that is 0.7 lb. (0.3 kg) lighter than its predecessor to help keep the wheel steady in the driver's hands. The wheel has a molded vinyl rim section that was jury selected for hand comfort.
A compact, light weight air bag inflator weighs only 3.9 pounds (1.8 kg). The combination of air bag and steering wheel is 3.6 pounds (1.6 kg) lighter than the prior assembly. This contributes to a slim steering wheel hub for enhanced instrument cluster visibility, to a solid, steady wheel position and to easy tilt column operation.
Both fixed and tilt steering columns provide best-in-class functional attributes. The tilt column has 10 positions at 2.25* angular increments for outstanding adjustability. Light weight reduces the amount of spring counterbalance required to help make tilting easy. The steering columns are designed provide a steady, solid feeling steering wheel - not subject to road induced deflection or mechanical vibration. This is accomplished through rigid mounting and light weight which reduce the demands on mounting structure. In addition to the lightweight steering wheel and air bag, four lightweight magnesium castings help reduce column weight by approximately 2 pounds (0.9 kg) compared to previous columns. The instrument panel cross beam provides a rigid mounting surface. A rigid structure isolation pad between the column and the cross beam contributes to stability. A tuned-mass damper, installed on the steering wheel hub, helps keep the wheel steady at idle.
Column-Mounted Shifter The shifter has a fixed mounting to maintain a constant relationship between driver and shifter regardless of column position. The lever pivots on an axis perpendicular, rather than parallel, to the column, providing a small amount of fore-and-aft movement when shifting. A compact crank mechanism translates movement from shifter to transaxle through a cable. The shifter operates the transaxle via a cable that is parallel to the steering column, minimizing cable length for positive shift feel and accurate correlation of shifter position with the transmission selector lever. Parallel routing minimizes conduit curvature for low friction. The shape and position of the lever allow comfortable operation and proper clearance for access to the ignition switch. Lever position, operating effort, range of movement and detent height were optimized.
Steering Wheel and Column-Mounted Controls Ignition Switch - The ignition key cylinder and switch in the steering column have best-in-class effort and travel. This translates into comfortable, easy operation for the driver with n awkward hand or arm angles. Low effort is particularly helpful if the wheels were turned when the key was last removed because this can cause the lock to bind. In the past, customers reported that it was necessary to turn the steering wheel slightly to relieve the binding condition. Friction in the mechanism is reduced 60% from the prior level, allowing the key to turn with normal effort at all times. Low angular switch travel from "lock" to "start" positions enhances the sense of low operating effort by allowing the driver's wrist to remain in a comfortable position that maximizes leverage. Key insertion and removal are also easy. Reversible keys need not be oriented before insertion. The key cylinder is angled toward the driver. A halo light ring makes the key cylinder easy to see at night but turns off after 30 seconds or when the engine is started to avoid creating a distraction for the driver. A warning chime will sound if the key is in the ignition switch when the driver's door is opened. To minimize the possibility of locking the key in the car, the doors cannot be locked with the power lock switch if the key is in the ignition switch and the driver's door is open. A new ignition key with a sculptured head of soft-touch molded plastic provides an improved grip and feel compared to the previous key.
Horn Switch - The horn switch is in the center of the steering wheel, under the flexible trim cover - the place customers said was the most natural for them to use. An ISO "bugle" horn symbol is molded into the cover. The switch is a thin membrane, not a button, that is placed between the cover and the air bag module. It is actuated by pressing or punching almost anywhere on the pad because the membrane area is 70% of the cover area. Switch effort is equal to or less than that of most buttons. To permit air bag deployment, the lateral air bag tear seam in the cover is offset away from the membrane. (Always wear your seat belts) Locating the horn switch in the center of the wheel, allows the speed control switches to be mounted in the spokes of the wheel.
Automatic Speed Control Switches - Push-button operated speed control switches in the steering wheel spokes provide best-in-class functionality. They are easy to operate with both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
The switch layout is more ergonomic than on previous Chrysler vehicles. ON-OFF and SET buttons on the left spoke initiate and terminate speed control (cruise control) action. The ON-OFF button includes a green LED "on" indicator with two-stage light intensity - high for daytime, low for night - to avoid glare. RESUME-ACCEL, CANCEL and DECEL buttons on the right permit one hand control of the system while in motion. In logical fashion, the RESUME-ACCEL button is highest on the spoke and DECEL, lowest. The CANCEL button is raised for easy identification by touch. All switches require minimal travel and operate by momentary contact. All except the raised cancel button are flush with the surrounding bezel for a neat appearance.
Multi-Function Switch - A steering column-mounted lever operates turn signals with "lane change" feature, headlamp high/low beam and optical horn features, windshield wipers, and windshield washers. These functions are combined in a single switch assembly that also includes the hazard warning flasher switch. Hazard warning flashers are operated by a push button on top of the column. Operating effort of each function and detent effort between functions, i.e., lane change to continuous turn signal and windshield wiper intermittent to full-time operation is light and consistent as defined by customer surveys and benchmark studies. Switch effort can be light because the switches handle small amounts of current. (High current switches require high effort.)
High current required to operate each function is instead carried by a relay actuated by the switch. Low-current switches are also small, contributing to a lightweight column and a compact steering column cover. Based on customer surveys and ergonomic analysis, the lever is higher on the column and closer to the steering wheel than on the previous minivan.
Instrument Panel and Cluster Instrument Panel The instrument panel pad has a color-keyed grained vinyl surface molded over a 0.4 in. (10 mm) foam pad. The panel structure is molded from a blend of polycarbonate, ABS and other plastics. It is supported by a hydroformed steel cross beam bolted to the cowl sides for strength, stiffness and freedom from BSR's. This beam is also the primary support for the steering column and passenger air bag. Seamless passenger air bag doors in the right side of the panel improve panel appearance by eliminating door gaps and by providing a continuous panel surface. The air bag doors are in the face of the panel rather than the top, allowing a lower profile panel that enhances the sense of interior roominess. Seamless construction also eliminates the potential for squeaks of a separate door, resists tampering or abuse that might affect air bag operations and reduces the likelihood of air bag theft.
Instrument Cluster and Information Center The cluster includes speedometer, fuel level and coolant temperature gauges with all equipment levels. With highline, premium or luxury equipment, the cluster also has a tachometer. Research showed that these were the only gauges that customers used. By providing only these gauges, the cluster has larger, more legible graphics than its predecessor. Cluster features, graphics and displays were also benchmarked.
The analog gauges are electronically driven by a microprocessor in the cluster for accuracy and smoothness. For stable operation, fuel level is measured every second but gauge position is an average over the last 10 seconds when the vehicle is stationary and the last 5 minutes when it is moving. To assure the accuracy customers want, pointer settings are fine-tuned electronically within 2* before installation in the vehicle. Electronic control positions all gauge pointers at zero or the minimum reading when the ignition is off.
Gauge graphics are white on black with orange pointers. Gauges are back lit through the graphics. Blue-green cluster and display lighting is continued because customers prefer it to other colors.
The transaxle gear position indicator (PRNDL) is located at the base of the cluster. Two types are used, each with improved legibility compared to the previous indicator. With the 41TE transaxle, the indicator is a vacuum fluorescent electronic display. A lighted box around the letter or number notes the selected gear. With the 31TH transaxle, a orange band appearing in a slotted mask indicates the selected gear.
Odometer and trip odometer information is shown in a one-line vacuum-fluorescent electronic display at the base of the cluster. A push button toggles the display between the two modes. When trip odometer information is displayed, the word "trip" is illuminated. Trip mileage is reset to zero by a second push button.
Indicator lamps are grouped in two areas for easy visibility: at the base of the cluster and in the information center "eyebrow" above the cluster. Cluster warning indicators are provided for the charging system, liftgate ajar, driver's seat belt, low washer fluid, door ajar, check engine and low fuel. The low fuel indicator is illuminated when fuel level reaches approximately 3.5 gallons (13 L). The information center is a carryover feature based on positive customer response to this feature on the previous minivan. It includes turn signal, headlight high beam, brake system, low oil pressure, high coolant temperature, air bag, anti-lock brake and (where included) vehicle theft safety alarm set indicators. The high coolant temperature indicator is supplemented by an extreme temperature warning chime. All cluster and information center indicator lamps are illuminated for two seconds when the ignition switch is turned to the run/start position. Light intensity for the information center indicators is finely tuned to assure their visibility at night without causing annoyance or distraction. See also Additional Features under Body Controller in the Body Electrical and Electronic Features section.
Instrument Panel-Mounted Controls Headlight Switch - Headlight and fog light switch functions are operated by one knob located to the left of the steering wheel on the instrument panel. The knob rotates for parking lights and headlights. Fog lights, where used, are operated with the headlights by pulling the knob out. An LED in the switch bezel indicates when the fog lights are on. When the knob is rotated to the off position, a cam on the switch also turns off the fog lights. ISO graphic symbols on the switch and the knob "pointer" are illuminated for nighttime visibility.
Interior Lamp Switch - A thumbwheel to the right of the headlamp switch allows continuously variable adjustment of instrument cluster, electronic display, instrument panel control and door switch lighting intensity. It also operates the courtesy lamps. All courtesy lamps except the front map/courtesy lamps may be switched on simultaneously by rotating the thumbwheel upward to the end of its travel. The wheel also has an intermediate detent position at which light intensity of electronic displays is maximized for daytime visibility with the headlights or parking lights on. A "defeat" position, in which the interior lamps will not come on at all when a door or the liftgate is opened, is reached by rotating the thumbwheel downward to the end of its travel. Switch nomenclature includes ISO graphic symbols for light intensity and interior lights, and a variable-width band indicating relative intensity of cluster, electronic display and instrument panel control nomenclature.
Power Mirror Switches - The power mirror switch module is on the instrument panel to the left of the headlight switch. It includes a rocker switch to select the left or right mirror and a circular platform that is pressed in the direction of desired mirror movement. Direction arrows on the platform are lighted for nighttime operation.
Liftgate Window Defroster Switch - The electric rear window defroster switch is a push button on the HVAC control panel. The button face has a lighted ISO graphic symbol and includes an LED "on" indicator.
Liftgate Window Wiper and Washer Switches - The liftgate wiper and washer are controlled by three push buttons on the HVAC control panel - for continuous operation, intermittent operation and washer. The button faces have ISO graphic symbols that are illuminated for nighttime convenience. The wiper buttons also have LED indicators to show when they are in operation.
Parking Brake Release - The parking brake release lever is placed just below the headlight switch. It is flush with the upper panel surface but the lower panel is recessed below the lever for hand clearance.
Hood Release - The hood release lever is readily accessible at the lower edge of the instrument panel but is flush with both face and bottom of the panel surface.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning System The heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system is absolutely world class in every aspect of performance. The air conditioning system has enough capacity to cool a 1500 square foot house. It reduces the time required for customers to become comfortable by 20% compared to the previous system. The heater provides a comfortable interior 25% faster. Under the hottest conditions encountered in the US, customers will begin to feel comfortable in 10 minutes and will be "fully comfortable" in 20 minutes whether stuck in traffic or traveling at highway speeds. This results, in part, from 30% more air flow than the previous system as well as additional ducting and a sophisticated electronic refrigerant control system. The system is also quieter than that in any other minivan. System performance is enhanced by available solar control glass and by air exhausters. See also Solar Control Glass under Glass in the Body Exterior section and Air Exhausters elsewhere in this section.
Front Compartment HVAC System Front Compartment Controls - HVAC controls are ergonomically designed and located in the center stack for easy access. Mode (air outlet selection) and blower speed controls are rotary as preferred by consumers. Temperature is modulated with a lever. This actuation was preferred in customer surveys and facilitates the new Dual Zone Temperature Control feature - individual side-to-side control of air outlet temperature using separate levers. The driver can easily slide both levers simultaneously to the desired setting when there is no one else in the vehicle.
Mode and temperature are actuated by the HVAC control computer for accuracy and consistent effort. Operation of the knobs is especially smooth and easy because they control variable electrical resistors instead of the more common cables. Operating effort of the knobs by design meets customer expectations rather than being the effect of friction they have to overcome in cables and door hinges. Nomenclature for the controls is backlit for easy nighttime visibility without glare. The mode and blower knobs also have lighted pointers.
Modes are identified on the control by the ISO (International Standards Organization) symbols that graphically show where the airflow is directed. These locations are described as "panel,""floor," "bi-level" (air flowing from both floor and panel outlets), "defrost" and "mix" (air flowing from both floor and defroster outlets). The mix mode is used for the first time on a Chrysler minivan. In panel mode, all air flows from the panel outlets. In floor mode, 95% of the air flows from the floor outlets and 5% from the defroster outlets. In defrost mode, these proportions are reversed. Air flow variation in response to movement of the control is continuous, but the control has detents across the range of travel to give a sense of positive operation. Based on inputs from the mode and temperature knobs the HVAC computer operates doors in the unit through electric motors with feedback position sensors to provide accurate temperature adjustment and mode variation. Computer actuation enables continuously variable proportioning of airflow between modes.
The blower has five separates speeds and "off" - one more than before. When the fan is off, the HVAC computer closes the recirculation door to prevent outside air from entering the passenger compartment.
With air conditioning, interior air may be recirculated to speed up heating or cooling in all modes except defrost and mix by pressing the "recirculate" button on the control panel. To reduce humidity for rapid defogging, the air conditioning compressor, where included, runs automatically in modes from 'mix" to full defrost when outside temperatures are above freezing. Air conditioning is available in any mode by pressing the "snowflake" button. Both the recirculate and air conditioning button graphics are backlit and have LED indicators to show when these functions are in operation.
Dual Zone Temperature Control - Dual Zone Temperature Control allows completely independent side-to-side control of the incoming air temperature. The new minivan is first to offer this feature. It is operated by separate temperature levers on the control panel labeled "driver" and "passenger". The full range of temperature that the system can produce in any mode is available on either side of the vehicle. Mode and fan speeds remain common. The front compartment HVAC unit is divided in half, each side feeding air at the desired temperature to provide this feature. Air temperature from the left and center floor and instrument panel outlets is controlled by the "driver" lever. The right outlets are controlled by the "passenger" lever.
Instrument Panel Outlets - The system has five fully adjustable instrument panel outlets that have significantly more total area than the previous system for quiet operation while delivering more air flow.
Mid-Cabin Comfort Control - Ducts in the front door trim panels with rearward facing outlets provide Mid-Cabin Comfort Control by delivering approximately 1/8 of the total system airflow to intermediate seat passengers. Air is transferred from the front unit to these outlets in all modes. Mid-Cabin Comfort Control is standard on all equipment levels except the base. The new minivan is the first in the domestic U.S. industry to deliver air in this way to rear passengers in all system operating modes. Intermediate seat passengers may vary the proportion of air flow between upper outlets at armrest height and lower outlets near floor level by moving a low-effort lever on an adjusting wheel at the upper outlet. ISO graphic symbols for upper-level and floor air flow are molded into the adjusting wheel. The upper outlets have movable vanes to direct the air laterally. Air is supplied to the door ducts from the instrument panel through molded seals that prevent air leakage.
Demisters - Demisters that aid in defrosting and defogging front door windows are standard on all models. Demister ducts in the door trim panels are fed by ducts in the instrument panel through molded seals that prevent air leakage.
Defroster Outlet - A single, centrally mounted outlet delivers air for defrosting the large windshield. Because outlet vanes are not needed to direct flow, a simple grid is used to prevent things from falling into the duct.
Front Compartment Unit - The front passenger compartment HVAC unit is the largest ever installed on a Chrysler vehicle to meet customer expectations. It provides best-in-class performance in a body with larger volume and greater glass area than its predecessor. The unit is in two sections to facilitate Dual-Zone Temperature Control. The blower, evaporator and heater core are in one section. Electric motor-operated doors to proportion air flow and adjust air temperature are in the second section, which is mounted on the centerline of the vehicle behind the instrument panel center stack. With Dual-Zone Temperature Control, this section has a center partition and two separate temperature control doors that allow fully independent side-to-side variation of air temperature. Ductwork to the various outlets is housed in the instrument panel.
Mode and temperature doors are moved by electric motors and have position sensors to assure accuracy and consistency of operation. Motor operation provides continuously variable mode selection that is not possible with conventional vacuum actuators. Heater performance is enhanced by increasing coolant flow 30% over the previous system through lower heater core and coolant circuit flow resistance. Through interaction with the PCM (powertrain control module) heater performance is also enhanced at low temperatures by raising the engine idle speed for more coolant flow through the heater core. Below 30* F (-1 *C) ambient temperature idle speed is raised 100 rpm.
Rear Compartment HVAC System Rear Compartment Controls - Available rear compartment heating and air conditioning enhances the comfort of intermediate and rear seat passengers. It is available on long wheelbase models only. Operation of the rear heater/air conditioner unit is controlled primarily by a switch on the front HVAC control panel and secondarily by a blower speed switch located on the left roof rail within easy reach of adult intermediate seat occupants but out of reach of small children. The switch on the HVAC control panel, has four positions: off, RR, "low" and "high". With this switch in the RR (rear) position, the rear switch controls operation of the rear unit's blower speed - off, low, medium or high. The rear switch is inoperative in all other positions of the front switch. Operation of the air conditioning compressor for cooling is selected by pressing the air conditioning button on the front control panel. Mode of the rear unit - air flowing from the upper or lower outletsis switched by the driver's side temperature lever on the HVAC control panel. Temperature lever settings above 80% of lever travel from "cold" to "hot," provide heated air flow from the lower outlets; below 20%, cool air flows from the upper outlets. The wide range of lever positions between which the mode of the rear compartment unit remains the same allows the driver to move the lever from an initial maximum or minimum setting to an intermediate position when the front compartment reaches a comfortable temperature without causing the mode of the rear unit to change. There is no variable proportioning of air flow between the outlets.
Rear Outlets - In air conditioning mode, four overhead outlets on the roof rails distribute cooled air to all rear occupants. Upper outlets are preferred for directing cool air to the occupant's upper body - an approach similar to residential or office air conditioning systems. Each outlet has adjustable vanes to direct or stop the flow. Cool air is delivered to the upper outlets through ducts concealed by the interior trim. The molded plastic ducts run along the right rear roof pillar, the liftgate opening header and both roof rails.
In heat mode, air flows to the intermediate and rear seat areas from three outlets in the right quarter panel near the floor. Heated air is delivered to these outlets across the top of the right rear wheelhouse through a duct concealed by the quarter trim panel.
Rear Compartment Unit - The rear heater/air conditioner unit is tucked neatly behind the right rear wheelhouse. It uses recirculated air for quick heating or cooling. Air enters the unit through a grille on the rear roof pillar trim panel. Coolant for heating and refrigerant for cooling are supplied in parallel with the front heater/air conditioner unit. Plumbing is routed under the floor.
Refrigeration System To provide fastest possible cooling during maximum demand and to maintain consistent outlet air temperature, sophisticated control logic in the HVAC computer regulates evaporator temperature. The new minivan is the first U.S. vehicle to use this concept. The evaporator temperature regulation system uses more input signals and adaptive computer logic to surpass the performance of previously known control systems. Because the computer logic identifies maximum cooling demand from operation of the recirculation button along with a minimum temperature setting, it does not have to compensate for minimum demand conditions that compromise performance as other less flexible systems do. Therefore it keeps the evaporator temperature as near as possible to the ideal temperature for maximum cooling and dehumidification (just above freezing) more accurately than any other system. It uses a running average of evaporator minimum temperatures during successive compressor cycles. (The switching point is not the minimum temperature, because the evaporator continues to cool momentarily after the compressor stops.) This average reading is used to bias the switching point to maintain a stable minimum regardless of operating conditions. This temperature is measured by a thermistor (temperature-variable resistor) inserted between evaporator fins as on previous systems. This same system maintains outlet air temperature within 5*F (3*C) at any temperature setting.
To simplify the vehicle wiring, the PCM cycles the compressor based on a signal received from the HVAC computer. This signal is also used by the PCM to increase or decrease engine speed just before the compressor starts or stops, compensating for the engine sag or surge sensation commonly associated with compressor cycling. The PCM also monitors refrigerant head pressure and temperature for possible malfunctions and shuts off the compressor if necessary to prevent damage. See also Computer Systems Network in the Body Electrical and Electronic Systems section.
The refrigeration system uses CFC-free R-134a refrigerant. A ten- piston, fixed-displacement compressor quietly and smoothly provides ample refrigerant flow. An inertia hub on the compressor pulley helps damp out compressor pulsations for smooth operation. Compressor mounting is stiffer, lighter and transmits less noise to the passenger compartment than any previous Chrysler vehicle because compressor mounting stanchions are cast integral with the compressor housing. The compressor bolts directly to the 2.4, 3.3 and 3.8- liter engines. A new, compact bracket is used with the 3.0-liter engine.
The refrigerant system includes a state-of-the-art aluminum plate and fin evaporator, which is the most efficient evaporator design known and a high-performance aluminum condenser. With rear air conditioning, a second, smaller, condenser is added in series with the main condenser. The second condenser is mounted forward of the main unit. Premium refrigerant hose material and hose to tube connections assure long life. For reliability, hose use is limited to locations where flexibility is required. Also for reliability, there are only two in-line connections in the refrigerant system. Lightweight aluminum tubing, which is relatively inert to chemical reaction with the refrigerant for long system life, is used for all refrigerant lines and couplings. In-line O-ring seals at the evaporator and condenser allow component removal for service while assuring a reliable seal.
Ample cooling capability is aided by two cooling fans with variable speed control. A single ceramic capacitive pressure transducer at the evaporator inlet continuously monitors refrigerant pressure for both high and low pressure conditions. It also provides an input signal for cooling fan operation. This method of control allows quieter operation of the air condition system by keeping the cooling fans off under conditions where cooling demand is low. This pressure transducer signal is also used to tell the PCM when the compressor is about to start for engine "surge" control. See also Variable Speed Fans under Cooling System in the Chassis Section.
Air Exhausters Air exhausters in the lower rear corners of the body enhance comfort for rear seat passengers by causing air to flow through the body from front to rear. The exhausters also reduce blower noise at any given air flow level compared to vehicles without them and help reduce door closing effort. The molded rubber exhauster housings are concealed by the rear fascia and have one way valves to prevent the entry of outside air. Air flows to the exhausters through grilles in the right rear roof pillar trim panel and the jack access panel along a tortuous path that helps prevent the entry of road noise.
Secondary Controls Inside Rearview Mirrors A manually operated prismatic day-night inside rearview mirror is standard on all models except Town & Country LXi which has an electrochromic automatic dimming rear view mirror. This mirror is also optional on Dodge LE. It helps ease nighttime driving strain by reducing glare. It dims to the level needed while providing rearward visibility appropriate to operating conditions. It allows the driver to concentrate on driving without concern for the glare of following headlights. It has true gray-scale light absorption, becoming progressively darker as the intensity of incoming light increases and returning automatically to normal reflectance when intensity decreases. The mirror consists of a thin layer of electrochromic gel between two pieces of glass. The amount of reflected light is reduced by darkening the gel. The intensity of incoming light is measured by a photocell and electronic circuitry in the mirror. A variable electrical current passing through the gel darkens it in proportion to the light intensity. To aid visibility when backing up at night, the mirror automatically switches to full reflectance when the transmission is shifted to Reverse.
Door-Mounted Controls Power Window Switches - Power front window and quarter vent window switches are grouped on the driver's door as power window switches would be on a car. Having power vent switches on the door is unique in the minivan market. The switches are high and forward for ease of visibility and within easy reach. The driver's window has a "one-touch down" feature that is being used for the first time on a Chrysler minivan. The switches are operated by paddles that are arranged to correlate with window operation: vertical for front doors, horizontal for vent windows. There is also a power window switch on the front passenger's door. Switch paddles are illuminated for nighttime operation convenience and safety. Light intensity is adjusted by using the interior lighting control on the instrument panel. The power window switches are designed for low effort and a positive feeling. See also Instrument Panel-Mounted Controls under Instrument Panel and Instrument Cluster elsewhere in this section.
Power Door Lock Switches - Power door locks are operated by paddle switches located just forward of the inside front door handles. The switches are illuminated for nighttime visibility. Light intensity is adjusted by using the interior lighting control on the instrument panel. They have low effort and a positive feel. Effort is low because the switches carry low current. Power to operate the lock motors is supplied by relays operated by the body controller. The body controller also operates the power lock delay feature that "remembers" a locking signal sent when a sliding door or the liftgate is open and completes the locking action when all doors are closed. See also Instrument Panel-Mounted Controls under Instrument Panel and Instrument Cluster elsewhere in this section.
Overhead Console The overhead console is more car-like than its predecessor. It has softened lines and a color-keyed trim bezel that helps integrate it with the headliner. It includes a new trip computer reset switch. Buttons and graphics are larger for easier operation and legibility. Switch nomenclature is printed on the faces of the buttons and illuminated from the back for nighttime convenience. The sunglasses holder and garage door opener compartments are larger than before. They will hold virtually any of those items and more than any competitive overhead console. The garage door opener compartment includes a strip of Velcro(R) tape that secures the opener in place to prevent rattles.
The console has a variable intensity blue-green vacuum fluorescent display. Choice of metric or customary units for the display is obtained by pressing a button. Overhead console functions include:Eight-point compassOutside ambient temperatureTrip odometerTrip elapsed timeInstantaneous fuel economyTrip average fuel economyFuel tank range (distance to empty)
Compass and temperature outputs are determined by the computer in the overhead console. Other functions are computed by the BCM and transmitted to the trip computer over the multiplex wiring network.
Audio Systems General Information All radio functions are obtained by operation of a single control. There are no hidden functions and it is never necessary to push more than one button simultaneously.
Horns Dual-note horns are included in SE, LE, LX and LXi equipment levels. A single note horn is standard with base equipment.
Most door and quarter panels and all pillar and liftgate trim panels are made of low-gloss high-crystalline polypropylene having molded- in color. The material is lightweight and possesses good color and gloss stability for an overall impression of high quality. Trim panels in the door openings press against flexible tubular inboard extensions of the door weatherstrips for gap-free alignment. Concealed fasteners attach trim panels in most visible areas, providing a neat appearance. These fasteners are attached to the back of the part and snap into holes in the body panels.
Front Door Trim Town & Country LXi - Town & Country LXi front door trim panels are molded by a proprietary process that provides a soft surface with sculptured lines. The panels have a three-layer construction consisting of a vinyl surface, foam padding and a glass-fiber reinforced urethane structure. A grain texture is molded into the surface for good definition. These trim panels include integral "hockey stick" pull handles for customer convenience. Bolster material, which is molded onto the trim panel, flows down from the belt line over the armrest. A woodgrain appliquÇ is added to the vinyl-covered bolsters. The lower portion of each trim panel is carpeted. Roomy lower map pockets are inserted in openings molded into the trim panels. A red reflector at the base of each Mid-Cabin Comfort Control upper air outlet provides a nighttime warning to oncoming drivers when the door is open.
Except Town & Country LXi - Sculptured front door trim panels include a padded armrest. A pull cup is inserted in the armrest to aid door closing. Base Town & Country, LE and SE trim panels include padded bolsters covered in vinyl with leather seats or cloth that matches the seats, carpeted kick panels and red reflectors at the base of each Mid-Cabin Comfort Control upper air outlet.
Rear Door and Quarter Trim General Information - All quarter trim panels include molded armrests that also act as covers for storage bins. The sliding door inside handle blends with the upper trim panel and encompasses the latch-release push button. See also Rear Compartment Storage Bins under Storage.
Town & Country And Caravan LE - Sculptured rear door and quarter trim panels on Town & Country And Caravan LE models have padded bolsters that are cloth-covered to match the seats or vinyl-covered with leather seats. The lower section of each door trim panel is carpeted. This trim style is also included in the Dodge and Plymouth SE equipment level when Quad Command seats are ordered.
Base and SE - Rear door and quarter trim panels at the base and SE equipment levels have the same basic configuration at the higher equipment levels. SE panels have padded bolsters with cloth covers that match the seats. Base panels are plain.
Liftgate Trim Panel The sculptured liftgate trim panel includes an easily accessible inside handle to aid in closing the liftgate. The handle is fitted into a recess in the trim panel and does not reduce cargo volume. With the Light Package, lenses for the liftgate flood lights are integrated with the sculptured surface of the trim panel.
Floor Covering Carpeting in front and rear compartments is standard at all equipment levels. New carpet material has thicker, denser pile than before. The carpet is molded to fit neatly over floor pan formations and against trim panels. An insulating, cushioning pad is placed under the carpet. Acoustically improved carpet, which provides a higher degree of noise attenuation than the standard carpet, is standard on Caravan LE and all Town & Country equipment levels. It is also used with quad seats at the SE equipment level. Molded plastic seat roller tracks are permanently attached to the floor. The tracks rest in molded depressions in the carpet and the padding is cut away to keep the tracks steady and at the same height as the carpet pile.
Sun Visors Sun visors with illuminated mirrors are included on some equipment levels. These visors also include sliding extensions that increase their effective length for side window sun protection. The illuminated mirrors on both driver and passenger visors have variable intensity lighting that is adjusted by a sliding potentiometer. Lifting the cover turns on the mirror lamp.
Standard visors are cloth covered and include mirrors. The driver's visor mirror has a sliding cover; the passenger visor mirror is uncovered.
Additional Trim Items Coat Hooks - Four coat hooks are mounted on the roof rails adjacent to the intermediate and rear seating positions of all models. With roof rail courtesy/reading lamps, they are integrated with the lamp modules and fold flush with the modules' outer surface when not in use. A "coat hanger" graphic, visible on the face of each hook when it is folded, identifies its presence for the user. Without roof rail lamps, all four stand alone and are fixed.
Assist Handles - Town & Country LXi has roof rail-mounted passenger assist handles for intermediate and rear seat passengers that are integrated with the air conditioning outlet and roof rail reading lamp assemblies. Assist handles for intermediate seat passengers are provided on other lines in conjunction with rear air conditioning. The handles are mounted on spring-loaded hinges. They rest flush against the bezel but swing down when grasped. A fixed assist handle for the front seat passenger is provided on Town & Country LX and LXi. It is mounted at the mid-point of the windshield pillar where consumer surveys indicated that people tend to grasp for support or assistance when entering or exiting the vehicle.
Interior Lighting General Information The new minivan has more available interior lights than any other minivan. They provide useful, functional light throughout the vehicle. All interior lamps are illuminated when a door is opened. Additional control is provided by switches on some individual lamps, by the dome lamp switch, and by the remote keyless entry system.
Front Overhead Reading Lamps Front courtesy/map lamps are included with the Light Package or the overhead console. With overhead console the lamps are mounted in a molded bezel surrounding the console. The bezel flows from the molded surface of the headlining to the console, allowing the lights to be angled toward the driver's and passenger's laps for effective use without glare that might affect the other person. The lamps have individual switches operated by pressing on a depression in the lens. They are also illuminated when the doors are open or the remote keyless entry system unlock button is pressed. However, they are not operated by the dome lamp switch on the instrument panel.
Front Door Courtesy Lamps All Chrysler models, Dodge LE and Dodge/Plymouth SE with Quad Command seats include courtesy lamps in the center of each front door trim panel to light the foot wells, sills and adjacent ground.
Roof Rail Reading LampsRoof rail-mounted reading lamps for the outboard intermediate and rear seating positions are available. Both intermediate and rear lamps are standard on Town & Country LXi. The intermediate position lamps alone are included with premium equipment. Intermediate position lamps are included on Caravan and Voyager SE in conjunction with rear air conditioning. The lamps are combined with the rear air conditioner outlet assemblies when rear air conditioning is installed. The lamps have individual switches operated by pressing on the lens. A depression in the lens identifies the pressure point. These lamps are also illuminated when the doors are open or the remote keyless entry system unlock button is pressed. They have two-section lenses. One section provides focused, non-glare light for reading without disturbing other passengers. The other section provides more general lighting for the door sill and the ground outside.
Dome Lamps Two dome lamps are standard on base models: one lights front and intermediate seats, the other lights the rear seat and cargo areas. They are operated by the door switches and the interior light thumbwheel on the instrument panel. Dome lamps are deleted when roof rail reading lamps are installed.
Liftgate Flood LampsDual liftgate-mounted flood lamps are included in the Light Package, which is standard on Dodge LE and all Chrysler equipment levels. The lamps are located near the sides of the liftgate and integrated with the interior trim panel. They illuminate both the cargo area and the ground outside. Wide spacing of the lamps assures that a person standing under the liftgate cannot block the light.
Smoker's Convenience Package Smoker's convenience items are not include as standard equipment. Instead, a Smoker's Convenience Package is optional. It consists of an instrument panel-mounted cigar lighter installed in the auxiliary power outlet location and ash receivers in the cup holder tray and left side and quarter trim panels. With the second sliding door, the ash receiver is installed in an add-on cup in the trim panel bolster.
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1996-2000 Chrysler, Plymouth, and Dodge Caravan, Voyager, Grand Voyager, and Town & Country minivan information