Sounds like you have a rear heater. That would explain why the rear heat is good.
First, check to see if there is a calibration procedure for the computer. 1996 and 97 minivans needed this done anytime the battery was disconnected or went dead. It could be extremely frustrating to pass the tests, but I think by '99 it was no longer necessary to do this.
If you take it to the dealership, they will most likely try a different computer first. If you're lucky, that will solve the problem. Total repair will likely be around $300.00 to $500.00. Dual zone computers cost a lot more than the standard ones.
If there's no calibration procedure, and a new computer doesn't help, expect to find a broken temperature door inside the heater box, or a defective actuator. Both require removing the steering column and dashboard. The broken door repair also involves discharging the air conditioning system, and removing the heater box to disassemble it. Typical repair is commonly between $800.00 and $1200.00. That's a high price to pay for one person to be 2 degrees warmer than the other person, but people buy cars based on all these frills. It's also the reason I'm still driving a 1988 Grand Caravan. The front and rear heaters work just fine and there's not a single computer involved. So many people have been stung so many times by these repair bills, (be thankful you don't have a GM product), and the manufacturers can't figure out why no one wants to buy their cars!
Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 AT 11:36 PM