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The Dodge Caravan is a family minivan manufactured by Chrysler Group LLC and sold under its Dodge brand.
Other nameplate variants of the Caravan include the Chrysler Voyager (1988–present), the upmarket Chrysler Town & Country (1990–present), and the Volkswagen Routan (2008–present). On October 10, 2011; Chrysler announced that the Grand Caravan would be discontinued after the 2013 model year[3]. Chrysler introduced the Dodge and Plymouth minivans in November 1983 for the 1984 model year, using an extended derivative of the Chrysler K platform, the Chrysler S platform.
Lee Iaccoca and Hal Sperlich had conceived their idea for a modern minivan during their earlier tenure at Ford Motor Company.
Since their introduction in the fall of 1983, the Chrysler minivans have outsold other minivans in the United States,[6] with over 13 million Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth minivans[6] in over 80 countries[6] sold as of October 2008. Magician Doug Henning was used as a spokesman to introduce the Caravan as a vehicle with the space of a cargo van that would fit in a standard garage and a low step-in height for small children. The "America on the Move" exhibit at the National Museum of American History opened in 2003. In 2004, Chrysler held a Stand By Your Van Contest, where contestants had to place one hand on the new van. Special anniversary editions of the Chrysler minivans have included, in 1994, the "10 Year Anniversary Edition" Dodge SE with badges and special two-tone paint, as well as the 2004 Anniversary Edition SXT Caravan. Generation I Caravans used the Chrysler S platform, which was closely related to the K-cars, Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant. Safety features were typical of vans of the era, and consisted of 3-point seat belts for the front two passengers, with simple lap belts for the rear 5. Cargo access to the rear was via a hatchback, similar to the one on the K-Car station wagons.
Both a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission and a five-speed manual were available with all inline-4 engines, including the turbocharged 2.5 L (this was a rare combination). Subsequent years would see many design changes to the Ultradrive to improve reliability, and many early model transmissions would eventually be retrofitted or replaced with the updated versions by dealers, under warranty. For the first 3 years of production, only 2 engines were offered in the Caravan, both were inline-4 engines with 2 barrel carburetors. From 1991 through 1995, the Caravan used the Chrysler AS platform; they were the last minivans derived from the Chrysler K platform. Changes for this generation included revised trim for 1992, including roof-racks and doorhandles, among other components (prior to this, said components were largely like those found on the previous generation). In development for nearly 5 years from early 1990 to late 1994(final design approved November 1993), the 1996 redesign introduced on January 4, 1995 at the 1995 North American International Auto Show(NAIAS) using the Chrysler NS platform. The 1996 Caravan, along with the Plymouth Voyager and the Chrysler Town & Country won the North American Car of the Year award. In 1999 the Dodge Grand Caravan got new front styling on all trims above SE, and the Sport and ES models received even more sportier styling.
The 1996–2000 Dodge Grand Caravan received a "Marginal" rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's 40 mph offset test. In the NHTSA crash tests, it received 4 stars for the driver and front passenger in the frontal-impact.
Unveiled at the 2000 North American International Auto Show(NAIAS) on Monday, January 10, 2000,[7] the redesigned 2001 Dodge Caravan and 2001 Chrysler Town&Country were released for sale in August 2000. In development from 1996 to 1999, the Generation IV minivans were based on the Chrysler RS platform and featured a larger body frame with modified headlights and taillights.
In the 2002 model year, DaimlerChrysler stopped using the "DODGE" badges on the front doors, like with all Dodge & Chrysler vehicles.
2004 offered an exclusive one year only "Anniversary Edition" package to mark Caravan's 20th year in production. 2005 changes to the Caravan included a revised grille, new foglight fascia, and a system of in-floor folding second and third row seats, marketed as With Generation III, Chrysler introduced a seat management system marketed as Stow 'n Go seating. The 2001 model of this version got a "Poor" rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 's 40 mph offset test.
The 2006 model year brought optional side curtain airbags and a stronger B-pillar, which was tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's side impact crash test. Beginning with Generation V in model year 2008, Chrysler only made the long wheelbase Grand Caravan.
Chrysler introduced a seat management system marketed as Swivel'n Go seating, the MyGIG entertainment system (a stereo with built in hard drive for recording, storing, and playing music), second and third row video screens, powered second row windows, standard side curtain airbags, and dashboard-mounted transmission controls. With discontinuation of the short-wheelbase Caravan, Dodge offered the Journey on nearly an identical wheelbase and as a crossover rather than a minivan.
The market shifted briefly away from minivans and SUVs with the gasoline price spikes of the earlier part of 2008. The first update in the 2009 model year caused the Grand Caravan to have the "DODGE" badge at the trunklid's left that used to have the "GRAND CARAVAN" badge, which has since been moved to the right.
All three of the former engine choices were replaced by the new Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 with six-speed automatic transmission, now the sole powertrain choice for all models. Other changes included extra sound insulation, acoustic glass, new seats, softer-touch surfaces, new LED ambient lighting and center console, and halogen projector headlamps with LED accents. In Canada (2008–2010) the 3.3 L was the standard engine across the range, combined with the 4-speed 41TE automatic transmission.
Automotive news reported that, from January to October in 2010, Dodge sold about a third of its 2010 Grand Caravans to rental fleets. Beginning with Generation V, Volkswagen began marketing the Routan, a rebadged variant of the Chrysler RT platform minivan with revised styling and content, for the North American market. The Routan, made at Windsor Assembly alongside the Grand Caravan, debuted in 2008 at the Chicago Auto Show.

The Dodge Caravan has incorporated various seating systems for their minivans to enhance interior flexibility. In 1996, Dodge introduced a system of seats to simplify installation, removal, and re-positioning, marketed as Easy-Out Roller Seats.
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Thank you to everyone who contributed information for this section.Please wait for all pictures to load before proceeding. Along with its nameplate variant, the Plymouth Voyager, the Caravan was introduced for the 1984 model year. Chrysler followed with a long wheelbase (LWB) model, the Grand Caravan in 1987, also based on the Chrysler S platform.
Henry Ford II had rejected Iaccoca's and Sperlich's idea (and a prototype) of a minivan in 1974, then rumored to carry the name "Maxivan".
Only recently, has Chrysler ceded the top-selling minivan spot to the Honda Odyssey,[6] if Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country sales are considered separately.
The display also marked the 20th anniversary of the minivan and the year Chrysler sold its 10 millionth minivan worldwide.
The person whose hand was on the longest won a brand new Caravan and was one of the first consumers to experience the new Stow 'n Go seating. There were three trim levels on the Generation I Caravan: base, mainstream SE, and upscale LE. 2 bucket seats with attached armrests and open floor space between them in the front, a 2 person bench seat in the second row, and a 3 person bench seat in the back row. The rear seats had no headrests, while front seats with non-adjustable headrests came only on the LE and in conjunction with vinyl upholstery on the SE. The sliding door allowed easier access in a confined suburban garage, compared to the double doors found on most full-size vans of the era.
The hatch was hinged at the top and held open by gas struts, and it was the source of much confusion among Caravan owners.
The Plymouth Voyager which was a rebadged version of the Caravan was also available with a manual transmission. These efforts were mostly successful, and most 1st generation Caravans eventually got an updated transmission.
Its main competitors were the Toyota Van and the Volkswagen Vanagon, both of which had similarly sluggish performance. The increasing popularity of the short wheelbase Caravan had a dramatic effect on the captive import from Mitsubishi, called the Dodge Colt Vista, and was no longer imported to North America starting in 1991.
The Caravan itself won Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year 1996 and appeared on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1996 and 1997. The ES model was the first minivan to receive the "AutoStick" transmission and 17 inch wheels. The EPIC was powered by 28 12-volt NiMH batteries and was capable of traveling up to 80 miles (130 km) on a single charge. The structural performance and restraints were graded "Acceptable", but the foot injuries were very high.
In the side-impact test, it received 5 stars for the driver, and 3 stars for the rear occupant, and resulted in a fuel leak that could cause a fire hazard.
In addition to other detailed changes, power sliding doors and a power hatch became available as options. This package was offered on higher level SXT models, and included chrome wheels, body color moldings, special interior accents and a unique fender badge. It did protect its occupants reasonably well, and the dummy movement was well controlled, however, a fuel leak occurred. This van debuted at the 2007 North American International Auto Show and had exterior styling by Ralph Gilles.
This trend began to reverse itself towards the fall of 2008.[11] In 2009 and 2010 the Dodge Grand Caravan continued to be the top selling minivan in Canada, with over 60% of the market's monthly sales. The suspension was heavily re-tuned, with both Dodge and Chrysler minivans gaining a larger front sway bar and new rear sway bar, increased rear roll center height, adjusted spring rates, a new steering gear, a revised front static camber setting, and lowered ride height.
Interior trim was restyled on both vans, in addition to major exterior revisions highlighted by the new "double-crosshair" grille on the Grand Caravan and a new chrome grille for the Town & Country. The 4.0 L engine and six speed combination was available as an option on only the top of the range SXT models.
Sales began in autumn of 2008, and features neither Chrysler's Stow'n Go nor Swivel'n Go seating systems.
These seats continued as an available option through Generation V until they were discontinued in 2010. In 1987, the Dodge Grand Caravan long-wheelbase (LWB) model was introduced and sold alongside the short-wheelbase (SWB) Caravan. The two bench seats in the rear were independently removable, and the large 3 person bench could also be installed in the 2nd row location via a second set of attachment points on the van's floor, ordinarily hidden with snap-in plastic covers.

Base models and cloth-trimmed SEs did without front headrests which were not mandated due to the van's "light truck" legal status.
Because only one sliding door was offered, the smaller 2nd row bench seat was installed off center, shifted to the drivers side of the van, to allow easy passenger access to the 3rd row seat.
It could only be released by the key, or by a button on the driver's control panel; it did not have a traditional door handle. The Chrysler Town & Country which was a more luxurious repackaged version of the Caravan had no manual transmission option. The higher performance fuel injected version of the 2.2L engine later offered in the Chrysler K-cars was never offered in the Caravan, and the 2-bbl version would remain the base powerplant until mid-1987. However, by 1986, new competition from Ford's Aerostar and Chevrolet's Astro had highlighted how underpowered the Caravan was.
With Generation III, Chrysler introduced a seat management system marketed as Easy Out Roller Seats. 1999 also saw the addition of a one year only 15th anniversary "Platinum Edition", to mark Caravan's 15th year of production. Chrysler corrected this problem starting with the 2002 models, moving it up to an "Acceptable" rating. What I would recommend is removing the shaft completely so that you can work with it on a bench. The SWB model was discontinued after the 2007 model year; and, since the 2008 model year, the van has been sold only under the Grand Caravan nameplate.
All trim levels were also available in a slightly longer body, called the Grand Caravan, which allowed significantly more cargo space behind the rear seat. This configuration allowed for conventional 5 person seating with a sizable cargo area in the rear.
The cargo area behind the rear seat was very limited on the standard short body model, however, the seat could be adjusted forward in 2 increments, the first of which removed roughly 6 inches (150 mm) of legroom from the back row passengers, and the second of which would push the bench all the way to the back of the 2nd row, making the seats unusable. Once the hatch had been "popped", the key could be removed, and the hatch lifted by a handhold above the license plate holder.
V-6 engines were only offered with the venerable fully hydraulically operated TorqueFlite, until the computer controlled Ultradrive 4-speed automatic became available in 1989.
Sales of the 2.5 turbo dwindled to nothing, and it was quietly dropped at the end of the year.
1994 also saw exterior trim changes, such as a body colored grill and moldings on certain models, as well as the addition of a one year only "10th Anniversary Edition" model. A conventional door handle and lock was added to the rear hatch, eliminating the confusing pop-and-lift maneuver which had been required on earlier models.
This package was offered on various trim levels, and included Platinum Metallic paint, and fender badges. Some other changes during this generation included new colors, and interior fabric.[citation needed] The 3–Door with 1 sliding door is discontinued and it's replaced with 2 sliding doors as a 4–Door.
This year also saw the appearance of an optional factory-installed rear seat DVD system with single disc player mounted below the HVAC controls. The rear passengers, however, could leave this accident unharmed, as there is a low risk of significant injury in a crash of this severity for them. Most of the interior trim, controls, and instrumentation were borrowed from the K-car, leading to a very "car-like" interior look and feel. However, many owners did not identify the handhold area, and instead used the turned key as a handle to lift the hatch, resulting in many broken keys. The Ultradrive offered much better fuel economy and responsiveness, particularly when paired with the inline-4 engine.
This gave the base Caravan noteworthy performance among its (mostly heavier, rear wheel drive) peers. Available as an option on a mid-level Caravan and Grand Caravan (also offered on Voyager models as well), the popular "10th Anniversary" package featured 2-tone paint schemes, which included a contrasting light gray colored lower break, along with a gold fender badge.
The Pacifica actually did come to be in 2004, based on the current Caravan, except that it became a crossover SUV rather than a minivan.
Other innovative available features included remote operated sliding doors and rear hatch, which could be opened and closed as the push of a button, either inside the vehicle, or with the keyless entry fob. NO LUNGING FORWARD, THE TURBO REACTS THE SECOND I STOMP ON THE GAS, AND IT HAS A LOT MORE POWER AND EVEN SOUNDS BETTER TO ME.
Coupled with the lower floor that the front wheel drive design allowed, this helped to make the Caravan seem more like a large station wagon than a van, enticing many buyers who would not have otherwise been comfortable driving a van.
The act of moving the seats, however, typically required 2 adults, and lifting them back into the van was a very awkward procedure. The smaller 2nd row bench was not adjustable, nor foldable; it could only be removed entirely. However, it suffered from reliability problems, usually stemming from what is known as "gear hunt" or "shift busyness", resulting in premature wear of the internal clutches. An 8-passenger model with a bench front seat accommodating a middle front passenger was offered in the SE trim level in 1985 only, and was not repeated due to poor sales. It also requires an uncommon type of automatic transmission fluid and is not clearly labeled as such, leading many owners to use the more common Dexron II rather than the specified "Mopar ATF+3", resulting in transmission damage and eventual failure. I GIVE YOU ALL THE CREDIT FOR YOUR DIAGNOSING THE PROBLEM, JUST FROM THE SYMPTONS I GAVE YOU OVER THE e MAIL.

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