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1997 Grand Caravan Transmission leak, WHERE?

ojm37ojm37 Posts: 5
edited July 10 in Dodge
I have a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan (with about 130,000 miles on it) that is losing transmission fluid (I have to put in about a quart a month). Where it's going is a mystery! There is no puddle under the car. However, the carpet between the front seats is stained, but it doesn't smell or feel like transmssion fluid.

Also, how much should it cost to have the transmission serviced? What does a "transmission service" entail? Should this find a stop leaks?

TIA,
Owen

Comments

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    A couple of points:

    1) Your transmission fluid loss is most probably from either the solenoid gasket or the transmission pan gasket. Crawl under the front-left of your van and look at the underneath of your transmission, I suspect that you'll find that it is wet with ATF.
    2) Under no circumstances should you put any "stop leak" in your transmission, errr, that is unless you want to buy a new transmission.
    3) A proper transmission service entails dropping the transmission pan, replacing the filter, replacing the pan and topping off the transmission with ATF+4 transmission fluid. This service should cost between $75 and $125, depending upon what outfit you have perform the work.
    4) Under no circumstances should you let a service outfit perform a "Transmission Flush". If you do you will most likely be buying a new transmission.
    5) If the shop insists that they are going to use Dextron or Mercon ATF plus some magic elixir to make it compatible with ATF+4, drive away as fast as you can and find another shop that knows better.
    6) Reason your carpeting is wet is either from clogged rainwater drains in the wiper cowling (the black tray under your wipers), or from a missing "drain elbow" that routes condensation from your A/C evaporator out through the firewall.

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • ojm37ojm37 Posts: 5
    Thanks. I'll take a look.

    How much should a "new" transmission cost (just in case).

    Regards,
    Owen
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    How much? The price varies fairly considerably. When the incorrect ATF was poured into the transmission of my former (traded-in last week after over ten trusty years) 1998 DGC, I had to buy a new transmission, and I opted for a Chrysler Factory Remanufactured unit, which is the most expensive way to go at $2,600 installed. That said, the unit I bought came with a 3-Year and 36,000 mile warranty (which I exhausted in 14 months), which was a much better warranty than the less expensive units that I found on the market.

    The good news here is that if you care for and feed your transmission properly, it should last you a good long time.

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,511
    Shipo,

    With what did you replace your 1998 DGC?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Up until last Monday we were a two DGC family so given that I've just landed a contract that will having me driving some 25,000 miles per year, I got something a tad more economical than a minivan. Instead of recounting my decision here, I'll point you to an account I wrote a few hours ago. ;)

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.ef6716a/5129

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • ojm37ojm37 Posts: 5
    Was the $2,600 price at a Dodge dealership, a dedicated transmission shop, or ?

    Thanks,
    Owen
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    My local (at the time) Dodge dealership.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,511
    Too funny, Shipo. I watch that discussion and just read about your replacement less than five minutes before checking in here.... That's me though. I am a classic :lemon:

    :blush:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I've got to admit, after over ten years and 170,000 miles, I had really grown attached to the old girl, and really miss her. Don't get me wrong, the Mazda3 5-Speed is waaaaaay more fun to drive and gets half again better fuel economy, it's just that after that much seat time in the DGC, it had kind of become part of me. :blush:

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,511
    I know what you mean, Shipo. When I purchased my DGC, I felt like I might really be settling on something (a severe compromise for the low cost to buy), but after 18 months, I actually like that van. Granted, it leaves much to be desired in terms of driving dynamics, especially compared to the Subaru vehicles I was used to driving, but it is far better than many alternatives in that regard. And, it has proven to be comfortable (especially on long trips) and reliable. Now that I have the beat-up '98 Escort sedan I purchased from a friend this summer for a song, we put few miles on the van (maybe 6,000 annually versus 20,000). Between the two, I expect that my next vehicle purchase will be November 2011, and I hope at that time that the van is not the one most eligible for retirement. ;)

    Who knows, though. 192,xxx on the ticker now. The Escort only has 113,xxx, but it is nothing more than a tin can with a drivetrain.

    Apologies to all for going completely off topic....

    I should note, though, that I flushed my transmission on the van this summer when I changed out the tranny fluid with Amsoil universal. I felt I was taking a risk in switching from ATF+3, but I very much needed the vastly superior cold weather properties of the Amsoil. The van has not missed a beat, and I changed the fluid more than 6,000 miles ago. I pulled the transmission line to the radiator and pumped about two gallons out (while adding two gallons). So far, the van is far less sluggish (hardly noticeable) in cold weather. Last winter, it felt like trying to drag an anvil across deep sand any time the weather was colder than about -10F.

    -Wes-
  • How much should it be to replace? I'm a female and don't want to get screwed.

    Tiffany
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,511
    Tiffany,

    Shipo outlined this a few messages above (HERE). I suspect those are pretty good numbers. Note that he said he went with factory remanufactured, which should be the most expensive option at $2,600 installed.

    -Wes-
  • ojm37ojm37 Posts: 5
    Men get screwed by repair shops, too. If you don't know the jargon and come into the shop not already knowing what needs to be done....
  • Where is the solenoid gasket? I have the same van and my trans works fine, until it leaks and then acts up a little until you fill it. Can I replace the gasket on the pan on the back side of the trans....near the x-member? It looks to be leaking too.
  • 2004 dodge caravan
    3.3L V6

    i've got a leak in my solenoid pack. got a price from dealer for a new solenoid pack, $238. (federated has it for $150) They also carry the gasket separately for only $7. however, the guy told me the gasket alone won't fix the leak because the leak is in the unit itself. he said he had sold them, but they don't do the job.

    Id like to know if anyone has any experience with this issue. i'm leaning toward investing the $7 to see if it works.

    Thanks!
  • shay2shay2 Posts: 9
    My grand caravan has 160K. Just this week will not accelerate when push on the pedal. Occasionally will go if wait a few seconds after you accelerate. Also problem in reverse. I assume the transmission is gone. There is a bump feeling when it finally moves. What would a new transmission cost, or a rebuilt one? The car is only worth about $1500 or less so I am not sure if it is even worth fixing. It is primarily my 17 year old daughter's bumper car, if you know what I mean.
    Thanks for any help
  • ojm37ojm37 Posts: 5
    Did you check the Transmission Fluid level?
This discussion has been closed.