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Plymouth Grand Voyager Repairs

Q. Dear Vincent, I am a without knowledge to typical repair costs. Beyond getting an inspection or having tires mounted, I'm very uncomfortable having anyone touch my car. I depend completely upon my vehicle as I live in a rural area, and must drive my children to school and myself to work.

Plymouth Grand Voyager Repairs

I have a 1997 Plymouth Grand Voyager, V-6, 3.3 liter, automatic transmission, ABS, A/C, PS, PW, Cruise and 72,000 miles. Within the past few weeks, one at a time, things started happening. In order, wipers occasionally came on independently, cruise control stopped engaging, air bag light remains on, a snapping noise when making tight turns, and now all plus the snapping noise whenever turning.

I had the car looked at by the dealer to be told the problem is a bad Clockspring and multi-function switch. Cost is $465.00. Warrantee expired due to mileage. I cannot afford to have the van repaired right now. My questions: Does this cost sound fair? Is the car safe to drive? I can live with the occasional wiper coming on, should I not have this repaired or will it lead to further damage, or problems?

The dealer was unclear except to say it will get worse, and I don't want to risk an accident. Is there any way to research repair costs and have a general idea how much a job and parts should cost? Would I be better off having an independent mechanic do repairs or is it best to go to the dealer? Thank you for any advise you can offer, I am an independent Mom and need my car, but I don't want to take any dangerous chances.

Thank you...

A. Well Dana, may I call you Dana? You now have a friend in the business and you can come to me with your questions anytime at all.

Let me explain what the Clockspring Assembly/Spiral Cable is and what it does. The clockspring is snapped into a plastic mounting platform on the steering column behind the steering wheel. This assembly consist of a flat ribbon like electrically conductive tape which winds and unwinds with the steering wheel rotation. The clockspring is used to maintain a continuous electrical circuit between the wiring harness and the driver's airbag module, along with horn and cruise control connections.

A new clock spring from Chrysler is about $85.00 with one hour labor to install it. So The ball park figure would be about $160.00 installed. The Multi-function switch is about $68.00 and can be done with the clock spring with no additional labor charge since you have to take one off to get to the other. So we are looking at about $230.00, $250.00 max.

Now these are two known problems with this van requiring replacement with improved parts. Depending on how far out of warranty you are, you may get help from Chrysler with this. Call Chrysler Customer Service at 1-800-853-1403 and request a meeting with the district factory representative. He may very well go for at least a 50 - 50 split of parts and labor. Be nice, but be firm and I think you'll get help with this.

Just FYI, the two bulletin numbers are: number 19-09-99 issued on Feb. 11, 2000 titled "Steering Wheel - Click/Rattle Sound" and number 08-31-98 Rev. A issued on Jul. 24, 1998 titled: "Front Wipers - Self Activate Or Won't Turn Off"

And, if possible, it should be fixed as soon as possible.

Additional Information provided courtesy of ALLDATA

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