2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited Review – Long-Term Update 3


Shortly after my last update went live, my inbox filled up with dozens of letters from Pacifica owners. They all reported having similar stalling issues with their vans, and a few had their vans in the shop for long periods of time like I did. They pointed me to PacificaForums, where I found multiple threads detailing problems similar to what I’ve been dealing with. It was starting to sound like my experience wasn’t at all unique.

But we’ll return to that. After the engine cut out and refused to restart on its own just one week after getting the van back, I texted my service adviser to let him know that I’d be coming in again. Just like last time, he hooked up a diagnostic reader and found some codes. He told me it’d be another few days of diagnosis and that my rental would again be covered under warranty. I then mentioned that the suspension knocking noise was back and demonstrated it by rocking the van from side to side. He took note and added it to the work order.

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This time, the Pacifica was in the shop for 11 days rather than a full month. The technician traced one of the codes to the anti-lock brake system control module. Determining it to be faulty, the tech replaced the ABS control unit with a new part. That seemed an unlikely culprit to me, but it made slightly more sense than the exhaust gas recirculation cooler that was blamed the last time.

The suspension knock was fixed by replacing the front anti-roll bar links. According to the tech who performed the suspension work, it’s not standard practice to replace the links when you swap in a new bar. The original links are reused, but he noted that at least one other customer had come back complaining of front end noise after their van’s anti-roll bar was replaced, as ours had been. Could there be a design flaw in the front anti-roll bar setup? Or were the links the problem the whole time? It’s hard to say, but this technician says he plans to replace the links and the bar together from now on. It’s been nearly three months since that repair, and so far the suspension has been quiet.

Things seemed to be fixed with the stop/start problem, as well, but three weeks after I picked up the van, it stalled again—exactly the same as before. Two unsuccessful repair attempts totaling more than 30 days in the shop would meet the minimum criteria to file an arbitration claim under California’s lemon law. That is, of course, if I had purchased the car myself. Rather than head to the dealer a third time, we took FCA up on a previous offer to look at the vehicle. It’s true that this exact option wouldn’t be available to an owner, but one of the potential awards of an arbitration claim is an additional repair attempt, which often involves a crack team of technicians charged with doing everything possible to fix the car and save the automaker from having to buy it back. With that in mind, we were OK with Chrysler engineers poring over our long-termer.

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