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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems

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  • the 7 yrs powertrain warranty is for autos made after 7/2001. the important word is "made after" since you could have bought the van made before 7/01 but was bought after 7/01, then the extended warranty doesn't apply at least where i am.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,214
    hmmm, tough one. Bummer!

    If you replace the tranny, what's the private party sale price going to be? $1,500? Maybe $2,500?

    If you don't replace the tranny, it's really not going to be worth much except to a mechanic.

    You could buy a used econobox (or DC minivan?) for $1,000 and hope it lasts 6 weeks. Then you'd have two cars to sell!

    What if the new car you purchased really doesn't get here for 8 or 10 weeks?

    My feeling is that you should replace the tranny, but it's not my money.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • 2001 Town and Country trans dies at 83,000 2 weeks ago . A/c compressor and drivers side window motor at 77,000.
          Mechanic knew it was the trans after a 2 minute conversation . I think he loves Chryslers . The guy will retire a rich man .
            My advice is to dump any Chyrsler minivan while you can and don't end up like me . 2,500 bucks in repairs just to trade it in . Didn't get the A/C fixed ($1200 more) as it is almost winter and no one checked at the trade in . Not that that mattered anyway as NO dealer wanted to give me anything close to what I owed on it . They all told me my best move would be to trade it back to Chrysler I would get the best value BUT I would be buying another Chrysler . I refused to do that and had to eat the loss on top of the 2500 in repairs . Good luck because if you are on this page the worst has probably already happened . I know no car lasts forever but major failures like mine are just unaceptable . I never envisioned this van not lasting 5 years without drivetrain failures . Then I started doing some research on the web and found that it is more common than I could've ever imagined .
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ...the information. What was the service history on the transmission, and type of use?

    My 99 GCS is still going okay at 4+ years, 56k+ miles, and counting......
  • what causes a chrysler trans to not engage into gear and also what does a hard downshift from overdrive to drive at exactly 30mph mean for the transmission.please help
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,851
    If you owned a Chrysler minivan before 1995, a midwestern newspaper reporter wants to talk with you. Please send your daytime contact information to bclanton@detnews.com or jfallon@edmunds.com by Friday, December 5, 2003.
    Thanks,
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com

    MODERATOR
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  • I just got back from a Thanksgiving trip to NC after paying $2300 for transmission work on my '01 T&C with only 61K. The Dodge dealer didn't have a tranny guy in on Sat so had to go to another shop (CorTran in Charlotte) to try to get home to FL ASAP. Unfortunately, I bought in Jan of '01 so I only have the 3/36 warranty. Has anyone been successful in getting the work covered anyway?? (refund?) The the 3rd generation Cortran owners thank Chrysler for the steady stream of business over the past 40 years. I'm thinking Toyota or Honda for the next one...

    P.S.: I had to replace the AC condenser this Spring - $1100. (Also out of warranty).
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    My DC van has similar mileage and is on its third trans all paid for by DC except for $600 on the last one. If you think this van is going to see it's fourth trans it will have to be with another owner.

    If you mean the condenser coil you should be able to get DC to at least pay for the part since this is one of many items in their hidden warranty list.

    I keep my DC van parked on the street hoping someone will steal it or run into it. So far no luck.
  • My wife and I just bought a 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT to replace our 1990 Plymouth Grand Voyager LE, which has been totaled due to a rear-end collision.

    The GV (3.3-liter) has 191,000 miles on it; transaxle fluid was changed once at 100,000 miles. The only problem in all those miles was one speed sensor replacement. When I ordered the GV in 1990, I specified the AHT trailer prep package which included (as is still the case, I believe) an auxilliary transaxle oil cooler. I don't know for sure how much that cooler may have helped, but I have added aftermarket coolers to my vehicles before and after the 1990 GV.
  • ace33ace33 Posts: 1
    We are looking at a 1996 GC with 127,000 miles.
    How many miles can you get out of these vans? Do they have major transmission or engine problems
    at that mileage? Obviously a car that old will need some TLC but we are wondering what major things we might be getting into. Thank you!
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ...you are looking at a vehicle with most of the life of its major components used up. A lot depends on the maintenance history of course, but No.1 on the list of potential failures would be the transmission, followed by things such as alternator, water pump, belt and tensioner, AC compressor, evaporator, suspension ball joints, shocks, etc. etc. If cared for, the engines tend to be robust, but there is a lot of other stuff that can cost a lot to rectify.

    Unless the price is great, I would suggest looking at a newer one with less mileage. There are a lot of choices with these vans, and it should be possible to locate a better one easily.
  • sxt4mesxt4me Posts: 7
    Anyone just purchase a new 04 T&C w/3.8L? Do you hear a wining sound that kicks in as you slow down, or are coasting to a stop, especially down hill?. We have a new 04 Grand Caravan SXT that is making an annoying high pitch wining sound as the van is coming to a stop. When the gas is pressed slightly the sound goes away and then comes right back when the gas peddle is not pressed. Dealer says transmission is normal. We are test driving a new one on the lot tomommorw to compare.
  • rg144rg144 Posts: 4
    I have a '96 at 125K and it is running fine. Tranny does a funny wiggle at times and the A/C is dead. The wipers died and it cost $400 for the control computer. I think with *any* used vehicle you role the dice - who knows what could fail. If well maintained I don't see why 200K is not possible but you should see if they changed the oil every 3k since it *will* smoke soon if not. I like the following with GC: exhaust systems really last (my 1985 Caravan never needed a thing), better ride than Ford's, 3.3 has plenty of power.

    One other note - I was going through serpentine belts pretty quick and had even replaced the tensioner. I finally fixed it myself by putting a shim on the bottom side of the tensioner (just a washer on the peg of the tensioner) because it was not aligning with the next pully - Pep Boys and mechanics had failed to spot it.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Guess I will join this forum for a while. My 96 Caravan has had the very best of care and maintenance, and I really thought I would get a couple hundred thousand miles out of it before something this major happened. But the transmission started acting wierd between gears for a few weeks, then self destructed totally. Complete new unit required, including casing, which was cracked by flying internal parts, the dealer tells me. $2600 for those who would like to know. 3/36 warranty on the new one. I haven't put a new transmission in any car I have ever owned before, so I'm disappointed.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ....tell us a bit more about the maintenance done, especially to the transmission? Thanks. I have a 99 GCS coming on to 60k miles, and I just want to hear more from other people about whether I should be thinking of selling it before something like this happens.
  • The transmission on my 02 Voyager completely disintegrated over the holidays - the day after a long trip. Had it towed to the dealer - completely covered under warranty. Very unhappy with this van - the second Voyager. Also had major problems with the brakes/rotors not covered under warranty, but that is for another board. I am looking elsewhere for another van. Just hope my Jeep stays together longer.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I simply had all maintenance done per specs in the manual, by the dealer since new. The car was never abused, or over loaded. There's no neglect, no abuse, and the dealer agreed. The transmission threw a differential pin, that broke the casing and got jammed in the cogs, he said. Whatever that means.
  • just4fun2just4fun2 Posts: 461
    Yes, very disappointing when that happens. Honda Odys transmissions were having bearing failure and that caused the bearing to break into pieces causing transmission failure.

    Every make has some horror stories. Good Luck.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The differential pin coming loose is not uncommon problem in those years. In fact, I doubt your transmission was really a problem at all. Anytime you hear of a cracked or perforated transaxle case, you can bet the differential pin was the problem.

    Unless you're getting one from an independent, the remanufactured ones from Chrysler have the fix for that.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    No I insisted on a Dodge rebuild from the dealer. The warranty company wanted to bring in one from a wreck, but I paid the difference for a new one. My daughter and grandkids use this van when we're in Vegas, and I don't want a repeat. Glad to hear that problem should be resolved.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    There were some other upgrades that should be in the new replacement unit, including upgraded solenoid packs and increased fluid flow to the overdrive unit.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • sodak2sodak2 Posts: 4
    I have a 1996 Plymouth Voyager with 117,000 miles. The vehicles is almost trouble free. I bought it in Oct. 1996 with 21,000 miles. In the last year (2003 to present)I have experienced a "Wiggle" from 35mph to 55mph. The entire car "Wiggles". It stops wiggling at the speeds noted when I let off the gas. Therefore, I assume its drive train related not a bent wheel (which have been checked). I have been to four different shops. shop 1 checked the axles; O.K.. They recommended a trans shop (Shop 2). Trans shop said that transmission was bad. They said it makes noise at 35mph. I road tested the vehicle with the mechanic. Could not hear the noise. went to another trans shop (shop 3). The mechanic and I road tested the vehicle. The mechanic did not hear the noise either. He felt that the motor mounts might need to be replaced. Finally went to shop 4. Shop 4 felt that motor mounts are O.K. They did not know what the problem is without further diagnoses. I do not want to throw darts trying to find the problem. That is to costly. Does anyone know what the problem is. Please post your input.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Much as I like to stay away from dealer service departments, this could be one for them, as they see a lot of the same vehicles over and over and maybe can diagnose it better than Joe's Garage.

    Otherwise, problem could be something like a tire carcass problem, bent wheel, balance issue, maybe bad CV joint, wheel bearing, etc, etc. I certainly wouldn't jump to the conclusion that it is a transmission problem as it may be something much more simple and inexpensively fixed.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I have a 2002 GC with the 3.3L and 71,000 miles. It has been great, but the last few months I've been hearing a whining sound, almost like the wind whistling. I hear it most around 2300 RPM, and it varies as I adjust the accelerator. A couple other factors...it doesn't act up when the engine is cold, or when RPMS are above 3000RPM or when the engine is rapidly accelerating. You can hear it change pitch with the transmission switches gears. It is particularly loud when in 3rd gear.

    This is a leased company vehicle, and I am considering purchasing it next month. Should I be concerned? I have a company maintenance plan, and am going to try again to get the issue identified. My gut feeling is it is the torque converter. Any ideas or suggestions? This is my 4th company van, but my first time with possible tranny trouble.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Is this problem intermittent/

    Does it change with temperature?

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    A couple of things. Transmission whine related to engine speed is associated with low AT fluid. What you describe sounds more like transmission pump noise than torque converter, although thats still a possibility.

    Transmission pump noise is most often related to a clogged transmission filter or resistance to flow in the cooling lines (cooling tank gummy, pinched transmission lines, loose transmission lines allowing vibration, etc.).

    If the transmission has never been serviced (changed filter and fluid flush), nows the time.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    Thanks for the feedback. The noise seemed to start right after I had the tranny serviced (flushed, new filter)a few months ago. I had it serviced at a Chryslyer dealership, so I doubt they used the wrong fluid. I will get it serviced again and see if that helps.

    Thanks again!
  • sodak2sodak2 Posts: 4
    Dustyk asked if wiggle problem was intermittent and if it was effected by temperature. The answer is no. the wiggle occurs all the time and it is always the same. Vehicle temp. and air temp. do not effect it. It is not a bad wheel. This has been confirmed. The trans. shifts properly. It goes from "park" to "drive" properly. No weird sounds coming from the trans., engine, or axles. Please help if you can.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    Well, the dealer looked at my van today and said the sound was not the transmission. The mechanic said it was the Alternator, and they will replace it this week. I'll let you know if that eliminates the noise.
  • rg144rg144 Posts: 4
    Same as my post #363. I asked a tranny guy. It's really a "shudder" not a wiggle. It is the torque converter slipping. When you get up to cruising speed the trans goes from pushing fluid to direct conversion of torque at the torque converter. To do that two surfaces mate. In a old trans it can slip, ie. the shudder. It's likely due to shellac like coating. He said best bet is to get fresh fluid but that's about it other than rebuilding. Also when changing fluid he said not only to drain it, but also pump out what is in the torque converter (there are links on the web if you want to do it yourself).
    I am thinking of using Valvoline ATF for older cars and hoping it has extra detergents to clean it. It's about twice as expensive. I'll post results later.
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