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8/6/12 Open Thread - 2001 Dodge Caravan - 250k is a lot of miles!

2012-07-16 10.27.48


I don't know that it qualifies as a historic day in automotive history, but certainly historic in my automotive history.  Considering the rough life this van had before I got it, it truly is amazing that it has made it this far!



What is your mileage story?  400k in your old Merc diesel?  65k with the top down in your convertable?  You squeezed 125K out of a Chevy Vega?  (we won't believe you...)


Other posts related to this van:

2001 Dodge Caravan Headlight Lens Restoration -Worked better on the van than my wife's '96 Civic.

Working on our own junk - The most comments of any post I've made (thus far).


--Big Chris


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163634 on an '02 caravan here. Trust me, I have on occasion been somewhat hoonish

Chrysler has and always will build the best Minivans.
If you'd like, you're more than welcome to join allpars 200K miles club, which, among many others, includes a million mile Ram, and a 700K Satellite convertible.

I appreciate the invite Al!

260K on a 1993 Subaru Legacy GT Wagon. Would still be going if it wasn't rear ended in a snow storm

200k in a 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage EX.( literally the only unscheduled maintenance was (1)A/C high side fitting, (1)dead battery) Traded in for a late model Rav4. The dealership asked who detailed the car. I told him I detail all my vehicles properly.

Currently have a 2001 Sonoma with 150k on it. It still hasd another 100K to go.

2005 Ford Escape Hybrid. 221k on it, with only a water pump replaced at around 100k. Tie rods at around 150k, and brakes and tires a few times, which i consider wear items. It is a work truck, so ALOT of highway miles. Original engine with 10k synthetic oil changes and original CVT with the original fluid, as they are not serviceable. One of my co-workers has the Mercury version with over 280k, had the exact same issues so far.

Most folks I know with the Caravan have been rebuilding the transmission on average every 80k miles at over $1500 a pop. Not sure they are the best minivans. I would vote the Toyota Odyssey. I am hearing reports of 400k, no transmission rebuilds.

Honda makes the Odyssey Kenny. They are indeed good vans.

Our '98 Grand Caravan will hit 250,000 within the next month or two, with ZERO transmission problems since we acquired it at about 98,000 miles. My first car was a '71 Vega (here it comes), which had about 220,000 when I traded it in on a new Samauri. Of course, it was on its third engine (Buick 3.8l) and I had rebuilt pretty much every system in the car at least once. Being a Southern car, the only rust issues I had were around the windshields, and pulling the glass, sanding and repainting every 2-3 years kept that in check.

My all-time record (so far) was my '64 Beetle, which had over 300,000 when I sold it (and as it had only 10,000 on the rebuilt engine, it should still be going strong yet ten years later).

My TDI New Beetle is at 205,000, and if I don't hit a deer first, should easily go to 350-400,000.

1997 Ford F350 4x4 7.3 Powerstroke, 5 speed ZF ... 354k miles and going strong. A few sets of tires, 1 clutch, 1 water pump, an alternator or two. Added a GearVendor OD around 200k (it has 4.11 gears in the rear). Rebuilt the front end around 330k. Classic 7.3; it went through a few cam position sensors until I learned to buy the newer one from International, a bunch of glow plug relays, glow plugs and oddly, the engine wiring harness (which developed an intermittent open ... dammed hard to figure that one out).

1992 Ford F150 4x4 300 ci I-6, 5 speed (my wife's ride) ... 250k miles and going strong. Again, front end (about 225k), tires, 2 clutches (2nd one done early because I had to change the slave cylinder), exhaust system, fuel pump and so forth. Only odd maintenance was changing the oil pan gasket after it extruded out.

1990 Suzuki Samurai 4x4 1300 cc, 5 speed ... 305k. Now being re-manufactured in my shop (that is another story). Motor was pretty worn out, but all I did was tires and 1 clutch at about 220k and a fuel pump.

Simple vehicles without a bunch of elaborate options (what trucks used to be), maintained carefully seem to last pretty well. Helps that stuff doesn't rust out fast here in the Rocky Mountains.

I am considering a used minivan to be used as a work truck/camper. It will probably be a Chrysler or Dodge, as they seem plentiful and affordable these days.

And I think their reliability seems to be about par with the others... as we know, all used vehicles' dependability is as much the result of their previous owner(s) as whoever put it together. So if I can find one from a soccer mom, so much the better.

I don't care if it's beige either if I get a good deal LOL.

When you pull the rear seats out of a Dodge/Chrysler minivan you find a remarkable amount of space there. Though for my money, I might try to find a full sized panel van. My 2001 Caravan gets 19mpg all day every day in any conditions. Getting the larger van won't cost much more to operate & should be more comfortable to camp in.

Chris, that's very true. But I think a minivan, even a larger one, is much easier to drive and park than a full-size van. They also seem to be more comfortable and have more features.

And if a 4x8 sheet of plywood will fit on the floor, then so should I LOL.

The plywood fits width but not length - at least not in the Dodge Caravan. I actually moved a sheet yesterday in fact. Probably 18-20 inches too long to get the door shut. I needed my piece cut anyhow, so I got it ripped at the yard and it fit just fine.

Would a Grand Caravan hold a piece of plywood?

I don't know if the GC's are bigger or not. My father in law has one now (he gave me my van) so I'll have to try to remember to look next time I see it.

Meant to say Previa, not Odyssey :) thx, Chris.

That is most impressive. I've seen some BMW 3-Series owners get their early 90s cars to about 150,000, but never such a milestone as this. Good effort!

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