The 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan has no recalls or technical service bulletins (TSB) published on the oil pump problems many Caravan owners are experiencing. Many of the oil pump problems are being attributed to other engine problems, which are causing the oil pump to not work properly.
Oil Pump Leaking
The 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan is reported to be having a problem with the oil pump leaking. The seals on the oil pump are prematurely wearing, causing the seals to fail and creating a leak. The oil pump is running hotter than normal because the oil filter is allowing excessive debris to filter through and into the oil pump. This overheating of the oil pump is causing the seals to crack and prematurely wearing out, creating a leak. The oil filter needs to be replaced at regular intervals to prevent this oil pump problem in the Grand Caravan. The Dodge owner's manual recommended the oil filter be changed during an oil change at 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
Oil Pump Failing
The 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan is having a problem with the valve cover gaskets and cam plugs leaking oil, causing the oil pump to fail. This oil leak causes the oil pump to work harder to pump oil through the engine, creating an overheating problem. Once the oil pump begins to overheat, the pump fails, preventing oil from flowing through the engine, causing the engine to overheat. The valve cover gaskets and cam plugs need to be replaced to prevent the oil pump from failing. The Grand Caravan owner can determine if the valve cover gaskets are leaking by inspecting the engine. Oil can be seen seeping out of the valve covers just above the spark plugs and wires.
Timing Belt Fails
The timing belt is stretching on the 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan, causing the oil pump to not allow oil to flow through the engine. When the timing belt loosens because of stretching, the oil pump pulley does not rotate at the required speed to pump oil through the engine, causing the engine to not be lubricated. If the engine is not properly lubricated the cylinders wear more quickly and build up heat inside the cylinder causing the cylinders to warp. The engine can completely fail and need to be replaced when the cylinders warp. The belt must be replaced or tightened in order to ensure enough tension remains on all the engine components, including the oil pump.