I have a 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan. I did notice a burning smell a few times but figured it was one of the bad cars in front of me. But anyways, here is my problem. A few days ago while helping my fiances co-worker fix her flat tire my van started not wanting to go. It would pop in and out of the gear, making a whining noise, and then didn’t want to move.
We had the van towed to our apartments and it just sat there for 2 days. Then today I decided to see if it still wouldn’t move so I turned it on and to my surprise it started to drive with not problems, whining, or burning smell. I checked all fluids and the only thing wrong was my motor oil was really really low. I was just wondering if maybe that’s all it would need?
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First, I would urge you to make sure you check the motor oil level at least weekly and if you can’t do it at least every other week. It will keep your Grand Caravan from having major engine problems. As to its impact on whether your vehicle will move or not, it won’t, unless the level drops so low you are running it without oil in the crankcase, then if your vehicle won’t move, the chances are good that you have your own modern art creation that you can call molten, seized engine.
With that said, I think I know your problem. Your transmission has at least one filter and filter screen. Some of them have multiple filters. These devices have to be replaced regularly so that your transmission runs correctly.
Now it is possible that you have had the filter and screen replaced on schedule, as well as the transmission fluid, but here may be the problem. Sometimes, especially at a quick refill service area, the technicians are not trained to drop the transmission pan cover. If the 14 screws on that piece of your Chrysler’s transmission are not removed and the pan cover dropped then you are starting off with at least a quart of dirty transmission fluid in the pan. What this means is that no matter how good the fluid is that you use, it is starting off dirty. Further the dirty fluid may foul the new tranny filter and screen. With that said, I think this is the area that is at the heart of your minivan’s problem.
I suspect that the last time you had your fluid changed some of the hardened deposits broke free and plugged up the transmission filter. Since the device effectively starved the transmission of fluid while the filter was blocked, the tranny would likely not work temporarily. Once the new fluid has had a chance to work on the rest of the transmission’s buildups, it is quite likely that you may not experience the problem again. Do me a favor, though, have a fluid and filter change done when you have a chance, remembering to have the cover removed so that you are replacing all of the fluid.