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Dodge Grand Caravan Cruise Control Problem...

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Gooserider, Feb 1, 2009.

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  1. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I'm encountering a problem with the cruise control on the GF's 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan w/ about 150K miles on it... Any good Dodge mechanics here, or can someone possibly point me at a good site for asking about this sort of problem?

    The issue is an intermittent failure of the cruise control. We are driving down the highway, engage the cruise and for a while everything is fine, it holds the set speed very well, the accellerate and decellerate buttons work fine, and so forth. At some point, which I've found to be anywhere from a couple of minutes to an hour or so, with no obvious pattern, the cruise suddenly kicks off - the indicator light on the dash goes out, and we start to decellerate as the control is no longer working the gas pedal. Once the cruise has kicked out, that's the end of it for that trip - pushing the on/off button does nothing, I can't even get the dash light to come on. We don't get any other symptom when this happens - no check engine light, and the throttle works just the same as it does any other time.

    I haven't tried power cycling while moving, but after shutting the car off and restarting it, the cruise again works - so it appears that whatever is failing is "latching" the cruise off, and then resetting it the next time the car power cycles.

    Any idea about what the problem might be? Cost / effort to fix? (Given the vintage of the car, it probably isn't worth a lot of expense, but if it's a cheap part....)

    Gooserider

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  2. Ugly

    Ugly New Member

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    I've dealt with this specific issue an other Chryslers twice- both times it was vacuum related. I'm not saying that's what's wrong with yours , I can only relate my experiences. If the vacuum dies slowly to the control system, the cruise suddenly cuts off. On my Jeep, it was the vacuum cannister, I'd actually damaged it offroading with my kid and I didn't figure it out until it was bad enough to effect other systems (heater position controls etc..) . On the wifes car at that time it was simply a cracked vacuum hose to the cruise system and the system would bleed off and the cruise would disengage. Both use the same same design and parts as the minivan you mention. Hope that helps as a place to start.
  3. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Minister of Fire

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    I had a similar problem wth the cruise control on my Land Rover. The vacum hose was cracked where it attached to the module. For me the fix was to cut off 1 inch of hose and reattach.
  4. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    Chrysler had issues with the cruise not holding maintaining speed due to vacuum tank issues (under the battery) but since you say the light does not even turn on I would guess the servo is going bad or a steering wheel switch is acting up. My money would be on the servo.

    The only way you can really see what is happening is to have a scan tool on it when it is not turning on and then see if it shows the cruise switch being pushed. Not any easy thing is you do not have the capability. If the system is working normally I doubt it will show anything wrong until it quits and then you would have to use the scan tool without shutting the van off to keep it in the state of not working.

    There is the chance it could be the clock spring behind the steering wheel going bad but they usually ether work or don't and you are having intermittent issue.

    If you were to just take a stab at it I would guess servo as when I worked at Chrysler it was not uncommon to replace them, but this time I would just be guessing.
  5. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for the replies - the GF did find the recall blurb on the clock spring, but she said when it kicked out on her the other day she tried the horn, and that still worked - supposedly the clock spring issue also takes out the horn...

    One person mentioned the heater sometimes getting affected by a vaccum leak... Ours works, but it seems like it doesn't crank out the heat like it used to, though it's hard to tell.

    I'm just guessing, but I'd imagine the servo itself would be an expensive part, however it doesn't sound like it would be hard to have the shop take a look at the vaccum lines the next time we send it in for other stuff (I could do a lot of the repair work on the van, but have chosen not to for various reasons...)

    Gooserider
  6. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    The clock spring wire can break only on one circuit so the horn still could work. I really doubt the cruise would work at all if it were the clock spring.
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