Some general reasons why readers would see a chapter as a dead end:
- They don't care about what is happening in the chapter.
- They don't see how the chapter contributes to the story.
Possible reason: Readers don't yet care enough about the character, and so don't know why they should care about the events of the chapter.
Possible reason: Readers don't understand what problem the character is trying to solve. Sometimes the fix for this is as simple as stating the problem explicitly. (Stating it through the character, of course.)
Possible reason: Readers don't understand what makes this problem so important to the character. If the character were to solve the problem, what would that do for him? What is at stake if the character fails? Sometimes the fix for this is as simple as stating the stakes or motivation explicitly. (Again, through the character.)
Possible reason: Readers don't see how the character's actions are an attempt to solve the problem. I like the idea that a story is always the story a struggle. So one (somewhat fuzzy) test of a chapter: How does this chapter contribute to the struggle?
Possible reason: Readers don't see how each chapter moves the story forward. In genre fiction, moving the story forward often means making things worse. The character tries something. It fails. And it fails in a way that makes things even worse.
Possible reason: Readers don't see how the outcome of each chapter influences the character, or influences what happens in later chapters. Do things get worse? Does it raise the stakes? Does it reveal to the character that things were worse than he feared? Does it destroy an important resource or relationship that the character was counting on? Does it distrupt a skill or ability that the character was counting on? Does it eat up precious time, and make the ticking clock tick faster?
I'm just scratching the surface here. But if I think that if readers care about the character, and they care about the problem the character is trying to solve, and they see how each chapter is an important part of the character's struggle to solve the problem, you won't get that kind of "dead end" feedback.
ETA: I realize that I haven't answered the bottom line question of whether to remove the chapters or keep them. Instead, I've given ideas about how to figure out what people might be responding to in your story when they say "dead end." My hope is that, if you can pinpoint the problems (if indeed there are problems), that will give you a better idea of whether to keep them, throw them out, or improve them.