What’s the real deal on the ‘06? - DodgeTalk : Dodge Car Forums, Dodge Truck Forums and Ram Forums
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-16-2019, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
thelambliesdown
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What’s the real deal on the ‘06?

Hi, my first post here, looking at an ‘06 Caravan with the 3.3 V6, only 80,000 miles...

I’m reading WILDLY different reviews about these, 1/2 of folks like them while the other 1/2 is begging me not to buy one due to tranny and rack/pinion issues

Any really experienced Caravan owners here that can give me some advice? Are there some that are made in China vs NA? Is that why so many contradictory reviews? Thanks!
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-05-2019, 12:34 AM
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Greetings. I have a 2003 Grand Caravan, C/V with 3.3 L V6 4Spd AT. 122K on the clock and it has been great. Im the second owner so I got very fortunate. Pick it up at the right price and that you should be OK. Let me know if you have any other questions.


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post #3 of 7 Old 05-08-2019, 02:26 PM
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Honestly, as long as maintenance has been taken care of and the body looks good, I say go for it. Vehicles of this age, you're buying documentation and a clean history. If one checks all the boxes for you, why not take the leap. Do some comparisons on third-party sites like Cargurus, Autotrader, Autolist and see what you can get for a deal. Remember to compare mileage, body condition, and maintenance history.

Good luck with your search!
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-19-2019, 08:39 PM
stev
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2006 & 2007 are the two best years for the 4th gen Caravans. AVOID the 2005 electrical gremlin year!

Pros
- Stow-n-Go is a plus all the way around.
- Harbor Freight roof rack platform fits like a glove
- With the 3.3L engine, doing the 3.8L Throttle body swap is AWESOME.
- Air Intake box mod is easy
- reroute PVC hose eliminates oil sludge in the intake plenum and the engine runs way smoother.
- Better MPG with the 3.3L and the engine wakes up with the 3.8L TB mod without MPG decreasing.
- 3.3L engine is EASY to reach and change the spark plugs vs. the taller 3.8L engine.

Cons
- Rear leaf spring is a single type. Replace shocks every 2 years or run with Nivomat shocks for long life.
- Rear jounce bumpers, avoid the doormans.
- Power Steering reservoir at least once gets replaced in the van's lifetime. Just use ATF+4 to avoid headaches with this.
- Gauge cluster is dim at night. Easy to take out, clean the contacts and drop in LEDs or a brighter lamp type.

Power Sliding Doors. No matter who makes a minivan with these, they will fail in time. Good thing is, the Caravans can be operated manually.

If you end up getting a GC 3.3L, the TB mod is EASY and any of the SE models already have the electrical connections to add from pull-a-part donor models.

Quirks ...
Rear window wiper arm will get crude build up at the hinge and spring. A good cleaning fixes this.

71 Duster 340, 74 T&C 440-Interceptor, 74 Duster /6 225, 76 Aspen /6 225, 79 Volare S/6 225, 81 Pacer I6 258, 88 Colt I4, 85 Caravan 2.6L, 94 Caravan 3.0L, 96 Caravan 3.3L, 00 Ram Van B1500 3.9L, 01 Ram Van B2500 5.2L, 05 Caravan SXT 3.8L, 03 Ram 2500 5.7L HEMI
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-19-2019, 09:10 PM
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These are excellent vehicles, and easy to fix to boot. My '05 has 308,000 miles on it, uses no oil, and has never had the engine or trans taken apart.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-25-2019, 11:11 PM
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I spent a couple years as a taxi fleet mechanic and a third of that fleet was 01-07 Caravans and Town & Countries. Aside from transmissions shitting in part or in whole (solenoid valve packs) and rack and pinions leaking as fast as we could change them, they're also notable for intake gasket leaks, oil pan gasket leaks, brake pads were generally only good for around 35K, tie rod longevity was hit & miss, alternator and/or decoupler failures, the power steering reservoirs as somebody else mentioned, water pump failures, occasionally rusted through coolant pipes from the engine to the radiator and always rusted through pipes for auxiliary rear heat (I can't remember for certain, but they may have finally started installing aluminum lines for the rear heaters starting in 06 which would eliminate that complaint.), harmonic balancers wobbling and causing chronic belt chirps, the occasional fuel pump cracking its own housing on top the tank, sway bar links and bushings wearing out hard, rust and rot in the rear quarter panels, plenty of various evap component failures, engine mounts failing, (albeit I saw this much less in non fleet minivans), and whatever else I've forgotten since. I left the fleet mechanic life and joined the service repair side a few years ago. I loved having those show up in my bay because they were just as bad in daily driver form from my customers. To put it shortly, they were job security.

It's not to say entirely you shouldn't consider buying this one though. 80K sounds enticing as long as the price is right. That kind of mileage suggests the van has been owned by somebody who is older and would never beat on it. If they can share any service records showing transmission fluid maintenance, or good maintenance in general, I might be enticed to buy it. I would have it inspected no matter what before any commitment to buy. But, if I did commit to buy, I'd buy it on the notion that I'm going to put 50,000 more rounds on the odometer and then it gets traded in no matter what. You can't forget that even though the mileage is low, the van is still 13 years old. Depending on climate and how the vehicle is stored when not being driven, it can still have rust and rot and mechanical & electrical gremlins waiting to cost you a lot of money. Some of those things I mentioned will hit you along the way. Hopefully, it would just be some of the little things.

Whatever you decide or did decide to do, good luck.

No matter how much technology changes, there still isn't much that can't be solved with the sensible and practical application of a bigger hammer.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-29-2019, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by thelambliesdown View Post
Hi, my first post here, looking at an 06 Caravan with the 3.3 V6, only 80,000 miles...

Im reading WILDLY different reviews about these, 1/2 of folks like them while the other 1/2 is begging me not to buy one due to tranny and rack/pinion issues

Any really experienced Caravan owners here that can give me some advice? Are there some that are made in China vs NA? Is that why so many contradictory reviews? Thanks!
1. There are no unusual "tranny issues" with these vehicles. Frankly, the transmission would be the last thing I'd worry about, since it's easy to replace. Just change the fluid and filter.

2. The rack and pinion issues have a lot more to do with crappy rebuilt racks than any real flaw with the originals.

3. There were/are no Chrysler minivans sold here made in China. Anything built in China is for the Chinese market.

4. When well maintained and not abused, these minivans are excellent value for the money, and are much easier and cheaper to keep on the road than a Toyota or Honda, or god forbid, a Nissan or Kia minivan.

Bear in mind that because these minivans were sold in vast numbers, they will seem to have more "problems" than brands which are less common, due to the human tendency to see raw numbers rather than ratios.
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