2005 dodge grand caravan possible lifter question

want to start off by saying thanks to all the great folks on this board.

I want to bounce an question off those more experienced.

I have a 2005 dodge grand caravan sxt with the 3.8 v6 152,000 miles

been running great no real issues, gets regular oil changes and maint.

Issue I have noticed lately is after it sits for the night upon first start up I’ll get what sounds like a lifter tap for a second or 2 then goes away, I’m pretty sure it’s a lifter and not bearing knock or anything in lower end, It don’t always happen but has been a intermittent issue for a little bit now, once started never hear it, if started warm never hear it. I’m thinking it’s a possible lifter issue, maybe not holding prime and bleeding down. Don’t know if I buy oil pressure, oil has always been clean and changed often with no loss of oil between changes, I’ve taken this on many cross country trips, kind of bought it as my trip vehicle as I do volunteer relocations for rescued dogs. My second question is if it is a lifter how dire is it that it gets replaced, should I plan to replace soon or wait until it gets worse?? I’m thinking if it is ok to wait to next summer as I do my own work just don’t have a garage to work in and don’t want to risk not finishing before winter hits here in MN where it gets cold, and not sure if I can get the down time to complete job before winter hits, to many other projects in the works that need to be done before winter hits. Other than that light tap at startup everything seems in good running order, no codes, runs smooth and even.

Feel free to ask any questions

and thanks again in advance,


This is a common problem with hydraulic lifters as they age. If the sound goes away after a second or two then I wouldn’t worry about it. If it clicks all the time then I would see about getting a new set of lifters installed but not before then.

Try adding a can of Restore the next time you change the oil. I have used this with older cars to quiet them down.

If you are using Fram or Mopar oil filters, try a different brand.
I changed to a Motorcraft after reading a tip on the Allpar forum and it cured the lifter tick on my 3.3 minivan. I am sure there are many other good brands that would work.

On my V6 Mazda the noise went away with synthetic oil use.

I had a similar problem, ended up being bad bearings in a tensioner. Proper diagnosis for a proper repair, leave it overnight at the shop if you have to.

I’ll second what oldtimer 11 said. I had a similar problem with my old LHS and a different filter fixed it. I’ve found Wix filters seem to agree pretty well with Mopar products. The worst as far as retaining oil in the filter overnight have to be the cheapest Fram filters.

thanks all for the great advice, At this point I’m wrestling with the idea of trading in for a newer lower miles mini-van or keep this one until won’t drive anymore. Trying to weigh trading while can get a bit of return on a trade in or keep this one. I normally have no problems getting 250,000+ miles out of the vehicles I have owned in the past, just I got this van with the thought of being able to not worry about working on it as much, and worry now it’s getting to the point where I may want to upgrade. The thing is this one has pretty much all the options I need regarding the dog transporting, rear air conditioning, even had remote start put in with interior temp monitoring. Other than that slight tick and I am sure it’s a lifter tick, it runs fine, just this last July I put over 6,000 miles on it. Plan on another several thousand in late Dec/Jan. How do all the knowledgeable folks here feel about these vans, My choices are either keep this one which is paid for and look at putting money into it for upcoming maint issues I know will start to creep up with the ever increasing mileage, or trade off for a lower mileage newer van but have payments. I know this van will need a brake job soon, I just put new tires on it, but hopefully could arrange to have them transferred to new van if I do decide to trade.

I will defiantly look at trying a different filter, I have been using a shop to do my oil changes, have to look and see what brand they use, and maybe I will do my next one and try the Wix brand if I can find it I my area or the motor craft as suggested.

Again, many thanks

The Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravans like to eat transmissions. They are generally reliable but, like many minivans, they are rough on transmissions and these models don’t have as tough of a tranny as some of their competitors. On the plus side they are much cheaper to fix or replace when they fail. If it is running well and not emptying your wallet for repairs every month I would hang onto it.

^^ I had read the same about Caravan’s, but bought a used 2000 with 60K miles and kept up with regular transmission service with ATF +4 recommended by Chrysler and the transmission was shifting just fine at ~180K miles when I sold the car. Now there was a lot of other things that went wrong with the car from 100K miles on which really put a dent in the cost of ownership and eventually forced us to sell it, but not the transmission-maybe I was lucky.

I had a used 1999 Voyager and now have a used 2007 T&C. The Voyager had bad strut tower rust and when a friend found us a newer van, improved design not prone to STR, we went for it.

I’ve had some startup noise that was concerning. It was more apparent in cold weather. Thinking it might be a hanging up starter, I installed a rebuilt, but no diff. The local dealer thought it was the power steering pump making some noise in the moments before it built up pressure. They replaced the PS reservoir, but no diff. Someone else at the dealer said it could be the pulley on the alternator, which has a clutch and the clutch can go bad. I had a local auto electric shop replace the pulley with a solid (no clutch) pulley and the noise changed but did not go away. Then I had a that shop replace the pulley with a clutch-type pulley of their choice. The startup noise has been gone ever since.

The possibility of a noisy idler pulley, as has been suggested, exists.

You could eliminate (or keep under suspicion) several of the usual suspects by taking off the serpentine belt and listening for any change in the startup noise.

If it still seems to be a noisy lifter, I would follow the advice given above: try a different oil filter. Use the recommended oil (probably 5W20) and if the noise persists after all this, keep the van and don’t worry. A few seconds of startup lifter noise means almost nothing in the big picture of engine function and life.

BTW a new version of the Chrysler van is due in 2016.