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'05 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been a while since I've posted up here. Our 4th Gen GC SXT is repeatedly showing signs that it deparately wants to retire. While the issues all seem to be repairable, it's constantly one significant thing or another and has us not trusting it. It has racked up 205K miles with half of that happening after I got it. It's been a great van, passed down from my parents who were the original owners. We usually do multi-state road trips from TX to PA to visit family at least once a year. When we are not traveling to see family we tow a Rockwood Freedom 2280 for local camping trips around TX. 80% of the furniture in my house was moved with this van. The rest of the time it's my wife's daily driver, or my Homedepot rig. I even did the console swap to the 5th Gen version with the 4 cupholders which when you combine it with the pull out tray makes for 6 cupholders in the middle which comes in very handy on long road trips with kids. So, you could say we've squeezed a lot out of this ride, and we have high expectations for our next van!

In our next vehicle search, we not completely convinced that we want to get a new van, but this van is the only one we would consider. Specifically looking at the Touring L.
My concerns are:
• The towing capability (trailer's GVWR is 3077 with a 327 dry hitch weight). That hitch weight is close and I would have to balance the way I load the trailer to be comfortable with that and get a WDH to spread the load.
• I'm also concerned that it looks like Chrysler only offers a console now with 2 cup holders in the Pacifica. Yes, I've read some of the threads and I know how ridiculous this sounds. But this is America, and when my wife and I get shakes from Whataburger, you better know that we're getting cups of water to go with them. That and my wife can't seemingly go 5 min without drinking from her insulated water bottle. We make full use of our cupholders. I'd love to hear how similar hydration gluttons manage in this vehicle. :)
• How does the infotainment system work? Our current van has a factory 6 disc changer and a separate DVD player. I know the current one has a BlueRay player, but can the front seat still listen to a CD separately from the DVD being played? Can two separate movies be watched on the two separate screens? These days we stream a ton, but sometimes you're in the hills of Kentucky and that's not an option.
• Is there any way to carry a full size spare any more? If I'm towing a trailer, I don't want a half inflated donut as my back up.

Our SXT functioned almost like a utility van, and a posh people hauler at the same time. The Pacifica looks like a Gulfstream jet in the cabin, but I hope it hasn't lost the utility of the older vans. Thanks for your input!
 

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3rd gen > all others
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With the new Pacificas I'm more concerned about the electric shifter and lack of an actual, physical shift cable/handle. I always want a manual override for safety's sake. The electric parking brake also worries me. There have been problems, and even accidents/deaths, because of the stupid electric shifter in the Jeep Grand Cherokees. Because of that, I will avoid the new Pacifica even though I like the looks.

Great job on staying hydrated by the way. :LOL: I actually need to work on that myself.
 

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I concur with R.R. above. Why not look for another clean, low-miler Gen IV? They're out there. Just one example:


My second choice would be a later Gen V. Lots and lots of those available.

We have one of each. Like the 2014, LOVE the 2005.

BTW, my wife also loves the Whataburger shakes. We're moving back to TX in the next few months, so those cups will be regular sights in the ol' cupholders!
 
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'05 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m not as concerned about the drive by wire systems that are pretty much common on most modern cars these days. I prefer a shift lever over the knob, but I can get over that on a minivan.

It is an interesting thought to just look for another Gen 4 or even a newer Gen 5. I think my wife has been a saint though in dealing with “Mallow” and dreams of Apple Car Play, better handling, and hands free tailgate openings.

Looking at the Pacifica to take advantage of all the modern conveniences. Is the Pacifica community on here pretty dead? Not seeing a ton of activity.
 

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Drive by wire is separate from shifter-by-wire. The problem is the shifter module gets a glitch, freaks out, and slams it into PARK - - While you are driving!!! This caused a nearly deadly accident when a Jeep Grand Cherokee experienced this at 75 mph and spun/slammed into the side barrier on a freeway, almost getting hit by a big rig in the process. That's a NOPE! for me. I'd take a mid-model year run of the 5th gen van first, but they have their own problems. Currently have a 2011 Toyota Sienna XLE as the family van. We would consider a 5th gen van, except their placement of the upper seat belt shoulder anchor is too far forward to keep a rear seat occupant safe in a crash. It's a little too critical to just chop and weld one farther back and hope it holds, so that's out. Wish someone would devise a manual shifter cable/bracket system for the Pacifica to swap out the electric shifter motor, and then it would look more appealing.

Good luck on the hunt!
 
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So instead of going through your known reliable vehicle and fixing it proactively, you're going to go spend tens of thousands more on a vehicle well known for numerous issues from electronics to transmissions to auto stop issues that will inevitably leave you stranded on the side of the road....... Makes sense. /s
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So instead of going through your known reliable vehicle and fixing it proactively, you're going to go spend tens of thousands more on a vehicle well known for numerous issues from electronics to transmissions to auto stop issues that will inevitably leave you stranded on the side of the road....... Makes sense. /s
I get that perspective. Mine is a bit different. This van has now stranded me and my family multiple times due to the various issues that keep popping up. Dash lights and HVAC systems going out, transmission solenoid pack issues, radiator leaks, 3rd ignition coil in 2 years with the last one going out in Jayton TX (that ended up being an overnighter), spark plugs going out, radiator fans literally fragmenting while driving down the road, etc.

I can fix all of these things, and some things are just part of car maintenance like the spark plugs. But after a while you just start driving a vehicle around wondering if it’s gonna make the trip. Sitting on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with dashboard warning lights on and your family staring at you is not something I like happening multiple times a year.

All that being said, maybe I look at getting the engine and transmission rebuilt/replaced and keep this thing. I can dump a decent chunk of change and breathe new life in to it while saving way more than if I bought a new vehicle right now. How realistic is that?
 

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The big problem here is the Pacifica simply isn't any more reliable. They're only good for 30k miles or so before they start having issues, that's why there's so many for sale with low mileage, and why there's so few Pacifica people on site.
 

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The hybrid seems to be a lot more reliable. I know a lot of people that owns them (about 7 or so). In top of that, the company who I work for owns a few. The highest mileage that I am aware within them being now over 110 000 km for a 2019 model. None of them have reported any significant issues. They are even a lot cheaper then the non hybrid one here counting the incentives when new.
Without the incentive or if you get it used, they are significantly more expensive.
 

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The hybrid seems to be a lot more reliable. I know a lot of people that owns them (about 7 or so). In top of that, the company who I work for owns a few. The highest mileage that I am aware within them being now over 110 000 km for a 2019 model. None of them have reported any significant issues.

I can't even imagine thinking under 70k miles is "high mileage" nor thinking that making 70k miles without issue is an accomplishment.
Is this really what vehicles have come to now? People really think no issues under 70k miles is a pinnacle of reliable?

Jesus, I don't consider a vehicle reliable unless it can break 200k miles (321,000kms) without major issue.
 

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When we got our minivan from my mom last year, it only had 83k miles on it and felt like it was almost new. They always kept it in a garage and took very good care of it, so that helps, mostly on the looks side. Two of the cars we've bought with our kids (they have to pay 50%) had 94k miles and 149k miles on them and were in great shape. My GTO had 167k miles on it and it a daily driver, although I've replaced some of the commonly-worn items like the front strut bushings and rear springs. It still feels very well put-together with barely any issues.
 

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I can't even imagine thinking under 70k miles is "high mileage" nor thinking that making 70k miles without issue is an accomplishment.
Is this really what vehicles have come to now? People really think no issues under 70k miles is a pinnacle of reliable?

Jesus, I don't consider a vehicle reliable unless it can break 200k miles (321,000kms) without major issue.
The vehicles are so new, it is normal that their mileages are not higher. Also with shared company cars that runs a lot in idle, a similar private vehicle would probably have 2x or 3x this mileage with the same wear and tear.
 

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The vehicles are so new, it is normal that their mileages are not higher. Also with shared company cars that runs a lot in idle, a similar private vehicle would probably have 2x or 3x this mileage with the same wear and tear.
It's not uncommon to already see 2017+ GCs with well over 300k miles, yet seeing a 2017+ Pacifica over 100k is a rare sight. Why?
 

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Because we started to see them widely "orderable" in Canada in 2019, and even then, they really started being reliably delivered with the 2021 models. The Dodge Caravan stopped being produced in 2020 here as there wasn't any other real options for minivan by Chrysler before that. They would sell 10 DGC for 1 Pacifica all the way till the end of production. This was a very canadian situation as in the USA, it was around 1 for 1 starting in 2018.
 

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Because we started to see them widely "orderable" in Canada in 2019, and even then, they really started being reliably delivered with the 2021 models. The Dodge Caravan stopped being produced in 2020 here as there wasn't any other real options for minivan by Chrysler before that. They would sell 10 DGC for 1 Pacifica all the way till the end of production. This was a very canadian situation as in the USA, it was around 1 for 1 starting in 2018.
Here in the US, the Pacifica started being sold in 2017, they sold plenty and it's very rare for any to break 100k without major issues.
 

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Here in the US, the Pacifica started being sold in 2017, they sold plenty and it's very rare for any to break 100k without major issues.
What would a few of the main issues be. Sorry, I own a 5th gen van and got around knowing it's inside and out pretty much by now. There is a lot of topics but I don't know which are commons and which are more rare. Just looking to see what would cause it as the more I read into it, the gas version of the 6th gen vans is much more similar to the 5th gen then I originally thought mechanical and features wise.
 

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What would a few of the main issues be. Sorry, I own a 5th gen van and got around knowing it's inside and out pretty much by now. There is a lot of topics but I don't know which are commons and which are more rare. Just looking to see what would cause it as the more I read into it, the gas version of the 6th gen vans is much more similar to the 5th gen then I originally thought mechanical and features wise.
The 6th gen vans run the PUG engine over the non PUG engine in the 5th gens. They're similar but not the same. The start/stop system is notorious for issues and failures early in life that brick the van.
They also run the 9-speed auto over the 6-speed in the 5th gens. The 9-speed is very clunky and prone to early failure with no amount of maintenance changing that.
The Chassis are completely different between them, the GC being on the old RT Platform and the Pacifica being on FCA's Compact Wide Platform. This newer platform is plagued with electrical gremlins.
They share pretty much nothing mechanically nor electronically between them.
 

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Interesting... but that just brings me with more questions!

The start/stop system is notorious for issues and failures early in life that brick the van.
Would that be the push button system or the starter?

They also run the 9-speed auto over the 6-speed in the 5th gens. The 9-speed is very clunky and prone to early failure with no amount of maintenance changing that.
That explains why the hybrids don't have that problem. The transmission in them is different and simpler from what I understand.

That's actually very good info and here I was thinking last month about taking a new drivetrain and try to put it in my 13 DGC just for the challenge if my current one broke. I might not consider do that after all and keep a period correct drivetrain! It is crazy how modern thermal engine cars are too complex to the point of being unreliable now.

About the chassis, I don't know if since it is mostly an electric vehicle, the electrical bits might be made different, or maybe the general weather could help/do trouble to the van. It would be interesting to see if the van got more reliable with the years also as it was available much latter here and most of them are hybrids.
 

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@Louprotecteur They have the "auto start/stop" system that shuts them off at stoplights and such. They are extremely troublesome.

I have not heard much for issues with the hybrids transmission wise, but they are the same electrical mess and worse. Even being recalled for starting on fire at one point.

Modern vehicles in general have gotten to the point of "too complex to be reliable" and it's not just a Chrysler problem, it's across the board.
 
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