After a disappointing experience with the ’90 Ciera, I was on the hunt for a new vehicle. I had my new job for a while, and was able to get a small loan for a good vehicle. Mom had a 1990 S-10 Blazer that I liked, so I was looking for something kind of tall. While passing a Chrysler dealer on my trip home, I spotted something with a roof rack in a back row.
I wasn’t specifically looking for a van, but something about this one caught my eye. I stopped and had a look, and took it for a test drive. I loved the visibility and driving position, and it seemed to pull along good with its 3-liter V6 and 3-speed Torqueflite. Numbers were discussed, and we settled on a price. I think it was $4000 and tax. I finalized the loan, and the van was mine.
I had a problem the first week I had it. The throttle pedal stuck down. I had a look, and the throttle cable was frayed and had stuck in the sheath. I pulled off the extra cabling, and called the dealer. They initially said that the van was sold as-is, and it was my problem. I pointed out it didn’t actually say that on the bill of sale, and they agreed to repair it. Not impressive. Plain but functional.
It didn’t have a whole lot of features. Crank windows, non-functional A/C, AM/FM cassette (which I replaced with a GM CD player), and cruise. It was pleasant enough to drive, with enough power to haul around a full load of people or a small trailer. The transmission developed a shudder around 170,000 KM, which worried me a bit. I found Allpar to be an excellent resource over the years, and it suggested it was a torque converter lockup shudder, and some new ATF+3 fluid would cure it. I picked up the supplies at the local dealer, and performed the deed. It took care of the shudder in no time. The V6 also gave no trouble either – smooth, revvy, and a good match for the Torqueflite.
I put a hitch on the van, and occasionally pulled a trailer with it. I moved a friend home to Cape Breton from the Annapolis Valley once, with a U-haul trailer and the van fully loaded. It didn’t give a minute’s trouble at all. There were a few small issues. It had a tendency to throw the serpentine belt when driven in deep snow. I carried a 15 MM wrench under the seat for that problem – a new tensioner didn’t even fix it, so one had to be prepared. A more serious issue reared its ugly head when had to make a panic stop – the rear wheels locked up and the van started to slide. I was a lot more cautious after that.On a fall ritual – looking at the leaves changing.
Being 23 at the time, I got some ribbing about buying a van. Being single and a young guy, I was told I should have something sporty – more suitable for my age. I didn’t really care what they thought – or even still do for that matter. I drove the van for a year and a half, till I had paid my loan off – and had grown tired of it. I wanted something smaller and better on fuel as fuel prices were kind of high in 2003. My experience with this Chrysler was excellent – and is still my favourite Caravan variant. They’re pretty thin on the ground now, though. I had a few more Chryslers over the years, and they were all good. I was able to sell it, and bank some of the money sold – and bought another, smaller Dodge. I do wish I could be satisfied with a car over the long term, but there are very few that I have kept longer than a year and a half. Does anyone else have this affliction?