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Over time, most forum members slowly disappear. This is the story of one, me!

In November of 1993, we ordered a 1994 Grand Caravan SE, 3.3L and the 4speed auto, and some other options including ABS. It arrived right before New Years of '93. My wife was the daily driver of it, but it was the trip car too. From Texas we drove it to Califonia, many trips back home to the midwest, to the east coast, into Ontario, to the Dakotas and Wyoming, and other places I'm forgetting. It never ever left us stranded. The Chrysler 3.3L V6 was a great engine. Other than normal plug and wire changes and replacing the front crankshaft seal (easy job), had to replace water pumps a few times, none lasted as long as the original, and belt tensioner (there again, aftermarket part quality wasn't as good as the original).

We chose the 7/70 warranty over the 3/36 bumper-to-bumper plan, and that was a good choice as we had started noticing some bump-shift actions here and there, and at 67k miles returning through Arkansas it went into 2nd gear limp-mode. Pulling over and restarting reset it. When we got back took it to a different dealer who rebuilt the transaxle under warranty, and, shockingly, did an excellent job!!!

The years were going by, the kids grew up, went to college and graduated, got decent jobs in their fields, and the minivan was running with a lighter load and no more long-distance vacations. The wife slowly started to mention how many years she had been driving it... and eventually, I started a low-key research for the next vehicle that took me a few years.

By minivan year #16, I had disconnected and replumbed flow away from the rear heater core that had started to smell, the transaxle had a slow drip from its input seal, and on a in-state trip the temp gauge went to HOT, the oil pressure gauge when to zero. Engine was fine. Something in the dash was going intermittent. I checked at both senders, grounding and open, they were ok, it was upstream from there. But the van still looked good, no rust at all here, the interior was pristine, and it remained comfortable and drove fine.

So finally the wife got her wish. We bought a new 2010 Ford Escape with the 2.5L four and 6-speed auto, which has been great and is a big gas mileage improvement. But it is a different kind of vehicle, too.

In retrospect, of all of the vehicles I and we have had over 40+ years, the 94 Grand was a likeable car and was a great choice back in 1993. To think I almost went with a Ford Windstar instead then, bleech!
I think the 1994 and 1995 with the Chysler 3.3 or 3.8 L were the best minivans that Mopar ever built.

I sold the minivan on Craig's list for a less than $600 no haggling allowed, full disclosure sale. The man that bought it owned his own business, and he was buying it for his elderly parents. I told him about all the good people and good info on this web site, don't know if he ever came here or not.
The next day when he came with the cash to pick it up, old Dad got in and drove it home. He looked happy!

So the minivan moved on for probably a few more years of life, and I stopped coming to Allpar, always thinking that I would come here and write a post like this, but never doing it. But I got a email from Allpar about inactivity for 2 years, so that reminded me.

I saw at least one user from the old days is still around, valiant67. Hi, and thanks for the help over the years!
 

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Sorry to hear that you will no longer be driving a 2nd. gen. van. I agree that that series were the best vans Chrysler ever made. I am the second owner of a 94 GC 3.3L assembled in Nov., 1993. I bought it in June of 05 for $4100; it had less than 52K miles on it. We have driven it from Chicago to: Las Vegas, Florida,& Cincinnatti without any trouble. It has never failed us and now is at 91K miles.

I have changed out many "wear out" items and have to do some more as the van still has most of the factory heater hoses and after over 19 years of service thay will probably start to obey Murphy's Law. Being a former USAF "flightline knuckle buster", I'm used to changing things before they go bad. "K" car derivatives are easy to work on, 96 vans & up are not IMHO. My BIL has a 2002 GC--- I wouldn't trade him even.

We also have an Escape; an 05 3.0L Limited with the 4 speed auto, leather inside and a moon roof. Bought from CarMax in Feb. 06. It was a Hertz rental in LA, assembled in Dec., 04. Had 13K wnen we got it---now has 20K miles. We don't drive it much.
Gets worse mileage than the van in the city. About the same as the van on the open road. Rides like a buckboard; Continental Tires howl like a banshee. Wife likes it so I'm stuck with it.

Good luck with the Escape. Just my $0.02.

FredB
 

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In 2011, I finally had to say good by to my 89 Caravan with 191,000 miles. As best I could keep the 3L, 3 speed auto running, the Chicago winters finally took their toll on the body. With holes in the doors (I mean see through holes) and the passenger side door not closing and the sliding door not opening, I finally called it quits after the brakes went out (ironically, I was going about 3 blocks away for a run to the local store on my daughter's wedding day-- just like that movie Christine!). After ebuilding the motor in my garage and fixing the tranny twice, I decided that any money into the brakes would just be thrown away a short while later. I really liked that little van and wish Chrsler would begin making SWB's again.
But, I will tell you that my 98 GC with the 3.8L has been more reliable and more comfortable that the 89 and those little faults in the 89 were corrected in the 98. I like the way that the water pump is not part of the motor on the 3.8 as it is on the 3L.
I don't tell the wife but I routinely search the Ebay for a SWB 98 in good condition.
 

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I had a 1991 Grand Voyager LE with a 3.3 which was, in my opinion, the one of the better equipped years. Every one of the 4 captains chairs had a lumbar support. I planned to replace it with a 1994 or 1995 Town & Country but instead opted to move up for the dual sliding doors and the 3.8 so I bought a 1999 Town & Country. The 1999 was every bit as reliable as the 1991 though the seats in the 1991 were a bit more comfortable.
 

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There have been many Chrysler minis in the family. My favorite was my 88' Plymouth Voyager LX, it had the chrome trim that ran along the wheel well and bottom of the doors. It looked great and had grey plastic that run undernieth on the doors, that gave it a very upscale look. Too this day, I have not seen another one.

The next favorite wast Grandmas 93' grand LE, loved it! So comfortable! However the ABS was always having issues & mulitiple electrical issues and failures(A/C would work whenever it felt like it)
 

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Here is a pic one...you will noticed the trim is missing from unnder the tail light, our came loose and we fixed it

 

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Well; my 1994 Caravan SE 3.3 will be replaced soon due to metal fatigue issues.

Apparently the previous owner(s) had kids who'd like to hang on the open doors which did rude things to the A pillars; I had each side welded at least twice at both door side of the hinges as well as at the A pillars. The R/H hinge is breaking out of the door again and 'someone' out there is telling me that it's time to seek a replacement vehicle. Bummer since there's no cancer at all.

Note this van also needs a complete strip and repaint, HVAC system gone through and a bunch of minor repairs.............

I don't want a 1996+ van since I have a tendency to crack my head when getting in (I'm extremely long waisted) so; my future vehicle in unknown at this time.

I'd consider getting another 1995 down body and transplanting the drivetrain but that might become a basket of snakes real fast even though emissions are not an issue here.
 

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Our 99 T&C is slowly going on. Exiting the scene one little part at a time.
It's such a comfortable van for us old farts to slide in and out of, that we keep it running.
It won't be long till other guys my age can no longer drive.
Wont that bring on a bad case of Cabin Fever?

Till then, I'll still drop around to see y'all once in awhile.
 

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Although I missed the 2nd generation versions, we've had a Chrysler made mini-van in our family since 1986. We bought the 86 new and kept it until 2009. It was still running fine at 260,000 miles but looking pretty ratty due to Florida sun Damage. That was traded in and subsequently destroyed in the governments cash for clunkers program. We got $4500 credit toward a new Toyota RAV4 that my wife wanted (no mini-van would have qualified for that credit).

In the early 2000's, I picked up a 1996 Gen III Grand Voyager from an Allpar poster from south Florida who was having an intermittant problem that his mechanic could not fix. The vehicle cost about $2600 and had 119,000 on it. It was in nice shape cosmetically and I ultimately resolved the intermittant problem and we have put nearly 100,000 more miles on it. Last year we did a Florida to New England driving vacation and it was very comfortable. I have had to do a lot of work on it myself and would not have been able to pay a mechanic for all that I did (i.e., my labor is free and parts are cheap). The vehicle only failed on the road (not counting 2 tire blowouts in one trip) one time and it was 6 miles from home which was really caused by the initial intermittant problem that we resolved with a used PCM.

I guess I am one of those described in your post title: Old mini-van owner and old Allpar user :)
 

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I loved my 89 Caravan TURBO and had a lot of fun with a quick Black Cherry breadbox with transplanted Chrysler Laser (Daytona clone) five spoke wheels. Tornado got it at 190K. Our 94 T&C got traded in at 280K. We love our Journey too. We traded the T&C for it. Not QUITE as comfy as the T&C for long trips with three kiddos, but better on gas and better in reliability than my neighbor's Buick. No repairs in 20K miles, and his has been in the shop three times in that period.
 

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I'm still here on occasion. I may not have my '94 T&C anymore, or my beloved '87 XJ, but I still come around and check in. I need to replace my FIance's Bonneville here soon and am looking into a EEK for her as they are cheap and reliable.
 

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John Wood said:
Although I missed the 2nd generation versions, we've had a Chrysler made mini-van in our family since 1986. We bought the 86 new and kept it until 2009. It was still running fine at 260,000 miles but looking pretty ratty due to Florida sun Damage. That was traded in and subsequently destroyed in the governments cash for clunkers program. We got $4500 credit toward a new Toyota RAV4 that my wife wanted (no mini-van would have qualified for that credit).

In the early 2000's, I picked up a 1996 Gen III Grand Voyager from an Allpar poster from south Florida who was having an intermittant problem that his mechanic could not fix. The vehicle cost about $2600 and had 119,000 on it. It was in nice shape cosmetically and I ultimately resolved the intermittant problem and we have put nearly 100,000 more miles on it. Last year we did a Florida to New England driving vacation and it was very comfortable. I have had to do a lot of work on it myself and would not have been able to pay a mechanic for all that I did (i.e., my labor is free and parts are cheap). The vehicle only failed on the road (not counting 2 tire blowouts in one trip) one time and it was 6 miles from home which was really caused by the initial intermittant problem that we resolved with a used PCM.

I guess I am one of those described in your post title: Old mini-van owner and old Allpar user :)
Our 93 Voyager with the 3.3 went in for clunkers for my 09 Civic. It had almost 200,000 miles on it, had been in at least 4 accidents, was fighting electrical gremlins at the end and the sun was killing the roof. It was the most punishment to this day I've ever seen a car take over time. It was a solid car, and my dad and I still talk about it longingly. It was fast, fun, looked good for the most part, and saved each member of the family at least once. Our original minivan (the 85) which thanks to some parts from John Wood still runs like a top. I live in Raleigh now, but it sits in my parents driveway, adorned with a car cover, and is driven 2 miles every week, until I come visit. Then its driven like the old days (Normal Orlando visits put 300-500 miles on it). 286,000 miles and I'm dying to get the antique plates for it.
 

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codypet said:
Our 93 Voyager with the 3.3 went in for clunkers for my 09 Civic. It had almost 200,000 miles on it, had been in at least 4 accidents, was fighting electrical gremlins at the end and the sun was killing the roof. It was the most punishment to this day I've ever seen a car take over time. It was a solid car, and my dad and I still talk about it longingly. It was fast, fun, looked good for the most part, and saved each member of the family at least once. Our original minivan (the 85) which thanks to some parts from John Wood still runs like a top. I live in Raleigh now, but it sits in my parents driveway, adorned with a car cover, and is driven 2 miles every week, until I come visit. Then its driven like the old days (Normal Orlando visits put 300-500 miles on it). 286,000 miles and I'm dying to get the antique plates for it.
Good to know that you still kept the 85, even with the relocation. Also, it is good to know those parts provided some help. :)
My son lost his manager job in Orlando at the gas station and is now working at Brighthouse (cable/Internet provider) in Clearwater area. He gets much less pay, but much has much less stresss.... and with some decent benefits; especially the health insurance benefit. It is the first time in his life that he has specific work hours, 5 days a week.

I hope all is going well for you and thanks for the updates on the old mini's. :)
 

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Good luck with your Escape. I work at a Ford dealership and if there is one vehicle that I would NEVER buy is an Escape. Noisy, rattly and a transmission made our of china ceramic.

I might get my mom's 2002 Grand Caravan by the end of summer. She's planning at buying either a 200, Dart or Civic.
 

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John Wood said:
Good to know that you still kept the 85, even with the relocation. Also, it is good to know those parts provided some help. :)
My son lost his manager job in Orlando at the gas station and is now working at Brighthouse (cable/Internet provider) in Clearwater area. He gets much less pay, but much has much less stresss.... and with some decent benefits; especially the health insurance benefit. It is the first time in his life that he has specific work hours, 5 days a week.

I hope all is going well for you and thanks for the updates on the old mini's. :)
I'm glad to hear your son found new work, the steady work hours and benefits go a long way in helping with stability. We talked briefly when I picked up the parts. IIRC he had a 3rd gen SWB correct?

As far as the mini goes, my cousin had a identical twin of mine that saw its end a few years ago thanks to a Ram 1500 running a red light. Since then we've done all we could to keep mine in good shape. Insurance is dirt cheap on it, and it costs virtually nothing to maintain since I replaced so much on it when it was a daily driver. It made complete sense to hold onto before you factor in all the emotional attachment to the car and there is a very comfortable home feeling getting behind the wheel of it.


Ian said:
Good luck with your Escape. I work at a Ford dealership and if there is one vehicle that I would NEVER buy is an Escape. Noisy, rattly and a transmission made our of china ceramic.

I might get my mom's 2002 Grand Caravan by the end of summer. She's planning at buying either a 200, Dart or Civic.
Oh if I could offer a bit of advice, I'd be very careful with a Civic. My 2009 rattles like crazy, and the power windows have screamed on warm days since I bought the car, and in a case of bad omen, the H fell off the steering wheel on a particular hot day last summer. The transmission has started to feel sloshy, but its at 50,000 miles hand hasn't had the fluid changed in it yet. The engine block has been prone to cracking on these models (Honda extended the engine warranty to 8 years) Gas mileage in a place that has a lot of hills declines like crazy, and I've heard the newer Civics have been panned for looking and feeling even cheaper. I haven't been inside the 200, but I've sat in the Dart and it was really nice for what it is. I don't know anything else first hand about either, but I though I should caution you on the Civic. As always, other peoples experiences may be different.
 

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I just bought a 1990 Chrysler Town & Country early production version with the 3.0 V-6, look forward to the wealth of information provided here. I own several other Chrysler products as well.
 

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So, another day but a sad one for us. We just sold our 2000 3.3 Shorty.

We bought it used with 60K miles in 2006, sold it today with less than 160K on it. It had its own share of problems, The only car I ever had to call a tow truck on and not once, but 4 times, for various issues. On a positive note, engine was still strong and passed emissions with flying colors, did not burn oil at all. Had a lot of minor leaks here and there and you can spot where our van got parked on the street. None of them worth fixing. The paint started to fade on the roof and hood, so didn't look nice at all. I babied the transmission with ATF+4 fluid changes every 30K miles and it worked just fine.

But, it was the kids hauler for 7 years when they were growing up and wife loved the driving position. This was the only car my youngest remembers driving in. My oldest practiced her 1st driving session in it yesterday. Now she has to try in our other car.
Wife never deals with this stuff well and is in tears, even though she is the one who said it is time to let it go. Getting too old and fixing it was essentially a part-time job for me. I learned a lot from fixing this car, also a lot of help from this forum which is deeply appreciated.

The replacement, a Mazda CX-9 was already purchased a few months ago, but never put to real use until starting today...
 

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Believe it or not, but out of the 6 Mopar mini vans I've owned over the years, my favorite was my 89 Caravan. It had the 2.5 four banger with the 3 speed automatic and I loved that van. It had the most comfortable seats out of all the vans I've had. I still think it rode better than the current 99 GC that I have. I like the one I have now, but if I could have kept one out of the bunch, it would have been the 89.
 

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Well i can´t tell any stories from the past, but i got my 90´ EU Voyager (AS - 1st gen.) since one year now. I love those minivans. They´re extremely rare in Austria, another thing to take care of them.It would

be cool to see some old pics of your past (or present) minivans here, nice touch i´d say.
 
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