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Since having a new baby we've decided to get rid of the Jeep Cherokee and buy a Grand Caravan or Town and Country. I've found a 1998 Town and Country LXI AWD with 62,000 miles for $8,500.00. I've heard of Chrysler tranny problems and had been looking at 2001 and newer to avoid these problems but the prices are still too high for us. Was there a year when the trannies were improved? How is the reliability of this AWD with the 3.8 engine? I wont be doing any heavy towing with the van and I believe it has a factory tranny cooler. I plan to switch the tranny and AWD gearbox to synthetic fluid. Anything else I should look for with this vehicle? Thanks for the help. :gr_patrio
 

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My 96 T & C has 287,000 miles on it, and you can have it when you pry it out of my cold dead hands. The 3.8 is a fabulous engine, best I've ever had on any car. At 287K miles, it still does not lose a quart of oil between changes, and I have not been fussy about the oil change intervals. 5,000-6,000 is normal for me. The transmission is a different story. Mine worked just fine until it gave up the ghost at 198,000 miles. It had developed a leak, and was filled with the wrong fluid, Dexron, which many mechanics will tell you is fine for these transmissions. Simply put, it's not. $1,200 later, I've also learned that the leak was caused by the solenoid pack overpressurizing the tranny, and could have been resolved with a simple swap of that component. Your transmission will function just fine if you get it flushed every 50,000 miles per the owners manual, and always fill it with ATF+3 or ATF+4, whichever your owners manual recommends. And if it develops a leak that seems to be coming from everywhere and that no one can trace, get the solenoid pack looked at. They can be checked with a plug-in diagnostic tool.

As for the AWD, I've never heard of a problem with it, but then again, so few were sold, it may be tough to gauge.

Also, depending on where you live, you might want to talk that price down a bit. It's in the right ballpark, but might be a bit high--although you'd have to say 62,000 miles is quite low for the age of vehicle.

Anyhow, I think if you buy it you'll love it.

Rick
 

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I personally would not buy the AWD. More mechanically complicated, could be less reliable, worse fuel economy. But that's just me.

I would not worry about the transmission problems. They pretty much had that design all fixed by 1995, and now they are no better or worse than any other manufacturer's.
 
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